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The Edge Computing Opportunity: It’s Not What You Think

CloudFlare Blog -

Cloudflare Workers® is one of the largest, most widely used edge computing platforms. We announced Cloudflare Workers nearly three years ago and it's been generally available for the last two years. Over that time, we've seen hundreds of thousands of developers write tens of millions of lines of code that now run across Cloudflare's network.Just last quarter, 20,000 developers deployed for the first time a new application using Cloudflare Workers. More than 10% of all requests flowing through our network today use Cloudflare Workers. And, among our largest customers, approximately 20% are adopting Cloudflare Workers as part of their deployments. It's been incredible to watch the platform grow.Over the course of the coming week, which we’re calling Serverless Week, we're going to be announcing a series of enhancements to the Cloudflare Workers platform to allow you to build much more complicated applications, lower your serverless computing bills, make your applications even faster, and prove that the Workers platform is secure to its core.Matthew’s Hierarchy of Developers' NeedsBefore the week begins, I wanted to step back and talk a bit about what we've learned about edge computing over the course of the last three years. When we launched Cloudflare Workers we thought the killer feature was speed. Workers run across the Cloudflare network, closer to end users, so they inherently have faster response times than legacy, centralized serverless platforms.However, we’ve learned by watching developers use Cloudflare Workers that there are a number of attributes to a development platform that are far more important than just speed. Speed is the icing on the cake, but it’s not, for most applications, an initial requirement. Focusing only on it is a mistake that will doom edge computing platforms to obscurity.Today, almost everyone who talks about the benefits of edge computing still focuses on speed. So did Akamai, which launched their Java- and .NET-based EdgeComputing platform in 2002, only to shut it down in 2009 after failing to find enough customers where a bit less network latency alone justified the additional cost and complexity of running code at the edge. That’s a cautionary tale much of the industry has forgotten.Today, I’m convinced that we were wrong when we launched Cloudflare Workers to think of speed as the killer feature of edge computing, and much of the rest of the industry’s focus remains largely misplaced and risks missing a much larger opportunity.I'd propose instead that what developers on any platform need, from least to most important, is actually: Speed < Consistency < Cost < Ease of Use < Compliance. Call it: Matthew’s Hierarchy of Developers’ Needs. While nearly everyone talking about edge computing has focused on speed, I'd argue that consistency, cost, ease of use, and especially compliance will ultimately be far more important. In fact, I predict the real killer feature of edge computing over the next three years will have to do with the relatively unsexy but foundationally important: regulatory compliance.Speed As the Killer Feature?Don't get me wrong, speed is great. Making an application fast is the self-actualization of a developer’s experience. And we built Workers to be extremely fast. By moving computing workloads closer to where an application's users are we can, effectively, overcome the limitations imposed by the speed of light. Cloudflare's network spans more than 200 cities in more than 100 countries globally. We continue to build that network out to be a few milliseconds from every human on earth.Since we're unlikely to make the speed of light any faster, the ability for any developer to write code and have it run across our entire network means we will always have a performance advantage over legacy, centralized computing solutions — even those that run in the "cloud." If you have to pick an "availability zone" for where to run your application, you're always going to be at a performance disadvantage to an application built on a platform like Workers that runs everywhere Cloudflare’s network extends.We believe Cloudflare Workers is already the fastest serverless platform and we’ll continue to build out our network to ensure it remains so.Speed Alone Is NicheBut let's be real a second. Only a limited set of applications are sensitive to network latency of a few hundred milliseconds. That's not to say under the model of a modern major serverless platform network latency doesn't matter, it's just that the applications that require that extra performance are niche.Applications like credit card processing, ad delivery, gaming, and human-computer interactions can be very latency sensitive. Amazon's Alexa and Google Home, for instance, are better than many of their competitors in part because they can take advantage of their corporate parents' edge networks to handle voice processing and therefore have lower latency and feel more responsive.But after applications like that, it gets pretty "hand wavy." People who talk a lot about edge computing quickly start talking about IoT and driverless cars. Embarrassingly, when we first launched the Workers platform, I caught myself doing that all the time. Pro tip: when you’re talking to an edge computing evangelist, you can win Buzzword BINGO every time so long as you ensure you have "IoT" and "driverless cars" on your BINGO card.Donald Knuth, the famed Stanford Computer Science professor, (along with Tony Hoare, Edsgar Dijkstra, and many others) said something to the effect of "premature optimization is the root of all evil in programming." It shouldn't be surprising, then, that speed alone isn't a compelling enough reason for most developers to choose to use an edge computing platform. Doing so for most applications is premature optimization, aka. the “root of all evil.” So what’s more important than speed?ConsistencyWhile minimizing network latency is not enough to get most developers to move to a new platform, there is one source of latency that is endemic to nearly all serverless platforms: cold start time. A cold start is how long it takes to run an application the first time it executes on a particular server. Cold starts hurt because they make an application unpredictable and inconsistent. Sometimes a serverless application can be fast, if it's hitting a server where the code is hot, but other times it's slow when a container on a new server needs to be spun up and code loaded from disk into memory. Unpredictability really hurts user experience; turns out humans love consistency more than they love speed.The problem of cold starts is not unique to edge computing platforms. Inconsistency from cold starts are the bane of all serverless platforms. They are the tax you pay for not having to maintain and deploy your own instances. But edge computing platforms can actually make the cold start problem worse because they spread the computing workload across more servers in more locations. As a result, it's less likely that code will be "warm" on any particular server when a request arrives.In other words, the more distributed a platform is, the more likely it is to have a cold start problem. And to work around that on most serverless platforms, developers have to create horrible hacks like performing idle requests to their own application from around the world so that their code stays hot. Adding insult to injury, the legacy cloud providers charge for those throw-away requests, or charge even more for their own hacky pre-warming/”reserved” solutions. It’s absurd!Zero Nanosecond Cold StartsWe knew cold starts were important, so, from the beginning, we worked to ensure that cold starts with Workers were under 5 milliseconds. That compares extremely favorably to other serverless platforms like AWS Lambda where cold starts can take as long as 5 seconds (1,000x slower than Workers).But we wanted to do better. So, this week, we'll be announcing that Workers now supports zero nanosecond cold starts. Since, unless someone invents a time machine, it's impossible to take less time than that, we're confident that Workers now has the fastest cold starts of any serverless platform. This makes Cloudflare Workers the consistency king beating even the legacy, centralized serverless platforms.But, again, in Matthew’s Hierarchy of Developers' Needs, while consistency is more important than speed, there are other factors that are even more important than consistency when choosing a computing platform.CostIf you have to choose between a platform that is fast or one that is cheap, all else being equal, most developers will choose cheap. Developers are only willing to start paying extra for speed when they see user experience being harmed to the point of costing them even more than what a speed upgrade would cost. Until then, cheap beats fast.For the most part, edge computing platforms charge a premium for being faster. For instance, a request processed via AWS's Lambda@Edge costs approximately three times more than a request processed via AWS Lambda; and basic Lambda is already outrageously expensive. That may seem to make sense in some ways — we all assume we need to pay more to be faster — but it’s a pricing rationale that will always make edge computing a niche product servicing only those limited applications extremely sensitive to network latency.But edge computing doesn't necessarily need to be more expensive. In fact, it can be cheaper. To understand, look at the cost of delivering services from the edge. If you're well-peered with local ISPs, like Cloudflare's network is, it can be less expensive to deliver bandwidth locally than it is to backhaul it around the world. There can be additional savings on the cost of power and colocation when running at the edge. Those are savings that we can use to help keep the price of the Cloudflare Workers platform low.More Efficient Architecture Means Lower CostsBut the real cost win comes from a more efficient architecture. Back in the early-90s when I was a network administrator at my college, when we wanted to add a new application it meant ordering a new server. (We bought servers from Gateway; I thought their cardboard shipping boxes with the cow print were fun.) Then virtual machines (VMs) came along and you could run multiple applications on the same server. Effectively, the overhead per application went down because you needed fewer physical servers per application.VMs gave rise to the first public clouds. Quickly, however, cloud providers looked for ways to reduce their overhead further. Containers provided a lighter weight option to run multiple customers’ workloads on the same machine, with dotCloud, which went on to become Docker, leading the way and nearly everyone else eventually following. Again, the win with containers over VMs was reducing the overhead per application.At Cloudflare, we knew history doesn’t stop, so as we started building Workers we asked ourselves: what comes after containers? The answer was isolates. Isolates are the sandboxing technology that your browser uses to keep processes separate. They are extremely fast and lightweight. It’s why, when you visit a website, your browser can take code it’s never seen before and execute it almost instantly.By using isolates, rather than containers or virtual machines, we're able to keep computation overhead much lower than traditional serverless platforms. That allows us to much more efficiently handle compute workloads. We, in turn, can pass the savings from that efficiency on to our customers. We aim not to be less expensive than Lambda@Edge, it’s to be less expensive than Lambda. Much less expensive.From Limits to LimitlessOriginally, we wanted Workers’ pricing to be very simple and cost effective. Instead of charging for requests, CPU time, and bandwidth, like other serverless providers, we just charged per request. Simple. The tradeoff was that we were forced to impose maximum CPU, memory, and application size restrictions. What we’ve seen over the last three years is developers want to build more complicated, sophisticated applications using Workers — some of which pushed the boundaries of these limits. So this week we’re taking the limits off.Tomorrow we’ll announce a new Workers option that allows you to run much more complicated computer workloads following the same pricing model that other serverless providers use, but at much more compelling rates. We’ll continue to support our simplified option for users who can live within the previous limits. I’m especially excited to see how developers will be able to harness our technology to build new applications, all at a lower cost and better performance than other legacy, centralized serverless platforms. Faster, more consistent, and cheaper are great, but even together those alone aren't enough to win over most developers workloads. So what’s more important than cost?Ease of UseDevelopers are lazy. I know firsthand because when I need to write a program I still reach for a trusty language I know like Perl (don't judge me) even if it's slower and more costly. I am not alone.That's why with Cloudflare Workers we knew we needed to meet developers where they were already comfortable. That starts with supporting the languages that developers know and love. We've previously announced support for JavaScript, C, C++, Rust, Go, and even COBOL. This week we'll be announcing support for Python, Scala, and Kotlin. We want to make sure you don't have to learn a new language and a new platform to get the benefits of Cloudflare Workers. (I’m still pushing for Perl support.)Ease also means spending less time on things like technical operations. That's where serverless platforms have excelled. Being able to simply deploy code and allow the platform to scale up and down with load is magical. We’ve seen this with long-time users of Cloudflare Workers like Discord, which has experienced several thousand percent usage growth over the last three years and the Workers platform has automatically scaled to meet their needs.One challenge, however, of serverless platforms is debugging. Since, as a developer, it can be difficult to replicate the entire serverless platform locally, debugging your applications can be more difficult. This is compounded when deploying code to a platform takes as long as 5 minutes, as it can with AWS's Lamda@Edge. If you’re a developer, you know how painful waiting for your code to be deployed and testable can be. That's why it was critical to us that code changes be deployed globally to our entire network across more than 200 cities in less than 15 seconds.The Bezos RuleOne of the most important decisions we made internally was to implement what we call the Bezos Rule. It requires two things: 1) that new features Cloudflare engineers build for ourselves must be built using Workers if at all possible; and 2) that any APIs or tools we build for ourselves must be made available to third party Workers developers.Building a robust testing and debugging framework requires input from developers. Over the last three years, Cloudflare Workers' development toolkit has matured significantly based on feedback from the hundreds of thousands of developers using our platform, including our own team who have used Workers to quickly build innovative new features like Cloudflare Access and Gateway. History has shown that the first, best customer of any platform needs to be the development team at the company building the platform.Wrangler, the command-line tool to provision, deploy, and debug your Cloudflare Workers, has developed into a robust developer experience based on extensive feedback from our own team. In addition to being the fastest, most consistent, and most affordable, I'm excited that given the momentum behind Cloudflare Workers it is quickly becoming the easiest serverless platform to use.Generally, whatever platform is the easiest to use wins. But there is one thing that trumps even ease of use, and that, I predict, will prove to be edge computing’s actual killer feature.ComplianceIf you’re an individual developer, you may not think a lot about regulatory compliance. However, if you work as a developer at a big bank, or insurance company, or health care company, or any other company that touches sensitive data at meaningful scale, then you think about compliance a lot. You may want to use a particular platform because it’s fast, consistent, cheap, and easy to use, but if your CIO, CTO, CISO, or General Counsel says “no” then it’s back to the drawing board.Most computing resources that run on cloud computing platforms, including serverless platforms, are created by developers who work at companies where compliance is a foundational requirement. And, up until to now, that’s meant ensuring that platforms follow government regulations like GDPR (European privacy guidelines) or have certifications providing that they follow industry regulations such as PCI DSS (required if you accept credit cards), FedRamp (US government procurement requirements), ISO27001 (security risk management), SOC 1/2/3 (Security, Confidentiality, and Availability controls), and many more.The Coming Era of Data SovereigntyBut there’s a looming new risk of regulatory requirements that legacy cloud computing solutions are ill-equipped to satisfy. Increasingly, countries are pursuing regulations that ensure that their laws apply to their citizens’ personal data. One way to ensure you’re in compliance with these laws is to store and process  data of a country’s citizens entirely within the country’s borders.The EU, India, and Brazil are all major markets that have or are currently considering regulations that assert legal sovereignty over their citizens’ personal data. China has already imposed data localization regulations on many types of data. Whether you think that regulations that appear to require local data storage and processing are a good idea or not — and I personally think they are bad policies that will stifle innovation — my sense is the momentum behind them is significant enough that they are, at this point, likely inevitable. And, once a few countries begin requiring data sovereignty, it will be hard to stop nearly every country from following suit.The risk is that such regulations could cost developers much of the efficiency gains serverless computing has achieved. If whole teams are required to coordinate between different cloud platforms in different jurisdictions to ensure compliance, it will be a nightmare.Edge Computing to the RescueHerein lies the killer feature of edge computing. As governments impose new data sovereignty regulations, having a network that, with a single platform, spans every regulated geography will be critical for companies seeking to keep and process locally to comply with these new laws while remaining efficient.While the regulations are just beginning to emerge, Cloudflare Workers already can run locally in more than 100 countries worldwide. That positions us to help developers meet data sovereignty requirements as they see fit. And we’ll continue to build tools that give developers options for satisfying their compliance obligations, without having to sacrifice the efficiencies the cloud has enabled.The ultimate promise of serverless has been to allow any developer to say “I don’t care where my code runs, just make it scale.” Increasingly, another promise will need to be “I do care where my code runs, and I need more control to satisfy my compliance department.” Cloudflare Workers allows you the best of both worlds, with instant scaling, locations that span more than 100 countries around the world, and the granularity to choose exactly what you need.Serverless WeekThe best part? We’re just getting started. Over the coming week, we’ll discuss our vision for serverless and show you how we’re building Cloudflare Workers into the fastest, most cost effective, secure, flexible, robust, easy to use serverless platform. We’ll also highlight use cases from customers who are using Cloudflare Workers to build and scale applications in a way that was previously impossible. And we’ll outline enhancements we’ve made to the platform to make it even better for developers going forward.We’ve truly come a long way over the last three years of building out this platform, and I can’t wait to see all the new applications developers build with Cloudflare Workers. You can get started for free right now by visiting:

Reflecting on my first year at Cloudflare as a Field Marketer in APAC

CloudFlare Blog -

Hey there! I am Els (short form for Elspeth) and I am the Field Marketing and Events Manager for APAC. I am responsible for building brand awareness and supporting our lovely sales team in acquiring new logos across APAC.I was inspired to write about my first year in Cloudflare, because John, our CTO, encouraged more women to write for our Cloudflare blog after reviewing our blogging statistics and found out that more men than women blog for Cloudflare. I jumped at the chance because I thought this is a great way to share many side stories as people might not know about how it feels to work in Cloudflare. Why Cloudflare?Before I continue, I must mention that I really wanted to join Cloudflare after reading our co-founder Michelle’s reply on Quora regarding "What is it like to work in Cloudflare?." Michelle’s answer as follows:“my answer is 'adult-like.' While we haven’t adopted this as our official company-wide mantra, I like the simplicity of that answer. People work hard, but go home at the end of the day. People care about their work and want to do a great job. When someone does a good job, their teammate tells them. When someone falls short, their colleague will let them know. I like that we communicate directly, no matter what seniority level you are.”The main themes were centered around High Curiosity, Ability to get things done, and Empathy. The answer took me by surprise. I have read so many replies by top leaders of leading companies in the world, and I have never seen such a down to earth reply! I was eager to join the company and test it out. Day 1 - Onboarding in our San Francisco HeadquartersEvery new hire in Cloudflare will have to attend a two week orientation in San Francisco (well, they used to until COVID-19 hit and orientation has gone virtual), where they have a comprehensive program that exposes them to all the different functions of the company. My most memorable session was the one conducted by Matthew Prince, where he delivered a very engaging and theatrical crash course on the origins of Cloudflare and competitive landscape surrounding cloud computing. Even though the session took 1.5 hours, I enjoyed every second of it and I was very impressed with Matthew’s passion and conviction behind Cloudflare’s mission to build a better Internet.There was also a very impressive session conducted by Joe Sullivan, our Chief Security Officer. Joe introduced us to the importance of cybersecurity through several real life examples and guided us through some key steps to protect ourselves. Joe left a very deep impression on me as he spoke in a very simple manner. This is important for someone like myself who didn’t come from a security background as I felt that it is important for me to understand why I am joining this company and why my contribution matters.I also had the chance to meet the broader members of my marketing team. I had about twenty meetings arranged in the span of one week and I am thankful to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to help me understand how the global team worked together. Needless to say everyone was really smart, nice, and down to earth. I left the San Francisco office feeling really good about my start in Cloudflare, but little did I know that was just the tip of the iceberg. Back to Singapore, where the fun happens!After I returned to Singapore, Krishna, my manager, quickly put me to work to focus on building a pipeline for the APAC region. In a short span of six months, I had to quickly bring myself up to speed to understand the systems and processes in place, in addition to executing events across the region to ensure that we have a continuous pipeline for our ever-growing sales team. I am going to be completely transparent here, it was overwhelming, stressful and I was expected to deliver results in a short period of time. However, it has also been the most exciting period of personal and professional growth for me, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to join an amazing team in one of the most exciting companies of the century. As a new team member, I had to quickly understand the needs of the sales leaders from the ASEAN countries, ANZ, the Greater China Region, India, Japan, and Korea. There were so many things to learn and everyone was very supportive and helpful. More importantly, there were many challenges and mistakes made along the way I felt supported by the entire team throughout. In my first six months, I had to immediately plan and execute an average of 28 events per quarter, ranging from flagship events like Gartner Security Risk Management conferences in Sydney and Mumbai, the largest gaming conference ChinaJoy in Shanghai, AWS series across the ASEAN countries and leading security conferences in Korea and Japan. When Cloudflare IPO-ed on September 13, 2019, I was tasked to organize an IPO party for over 150 people in our Singapore over a short span of 3 weeks. What an adventure! At our largest event in Singapore, where over 30 Cloudflarians from the Singapore team took time to help out.Just when I thought 28 events per quarter is an achievement (for myself), my team and I were given once in a lifetime opportunity to lead a series of projects related to our Japan office opening.  "As the third largest economy, and one of the most Internet-connected countries in the world, Japan was a clear choice when considering expansion locations for our next APAC office,” said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. “Our new facility and team in Tokyo present a unique opportunity to be closer to our customers, and help even more businesses and users experience a better Internet across Japan and throughout the world.”Japan is a new market for me and I had to start everything from scratch. I started off with launching our very first Japan brand campaign where the team worked closely with leading Japanese media companies to launch digital advertisements, advertorials, video campaigns to spread our awareness across Japan in just under 3 months. While it is a complete unknown path for us, the team was really good at experimenting with new ideas, analysis results, iterating and improving on our campaigns week by week.Check out our amazing Japan city cloud designed by our very talented team I also had the opportunity to be part of our very first hybrid (physical and virtual) press conference that was held across Singapore and Tokyo, where we had 35 journalists participate (with 6 top-tier media in attendance and 29 journalists online). News of the office opening/event was covered in Japan's most influential business newspaper, Nikkei, in an article titled, "US IT giant Cloudflare establishes Japanese corporation.". I cannot wait to tell you more about what’s coming down the line!Career Planning - Take charge of your career!With so many things going on, it is easy to lose sight of the long term goal. Jake, our CMO is very focused on ensuring the team remains engaged and motivated throughout their time in Cloudflare. He launched a mandatory career conversations program where the team had to have at least one discussion with their respective managers on how they would envision their future to be within the company. This is a very useful exercise for me as I was able to have an open discussion with my manager on the various options that I could consider as Cloudflare is a company which supports cross departmental/borders transitions. It is beneficial to know that I am able to explore different opportunities going forward and lock down some next steps on how I will get there. Exciting times! Inclusivity - Women for Women and DiversityAs a young woman, I am very fortunate to be part of the APAC team led by Aliza Knox. Aliza is extremely passionate about encouraging women to pursue opportunities in business and tech. As a woman, I have never felt more comfortable under her leadership as gender discrimination is real and most companies are predominantly led by men. With Aliza, all opinions and ideas are strongly welcomed and I never felt bound by my age, seniority, experience to reach for the skies. It is ok to be ambitious, to do more, to ask questions, or something as simple as getting 15 mins of her time to ask if I should pursue an online course at MIT (and I did!). Did I also mention Cloudflare's Employee Resource Group (ERG)? I am the APAC lead for Womenflare where our mission is to cultivate an inclusive, inspiring, and safe environment that supports, elevates, and ensures equal opportunities for success to all who identify as women at Cloudflare. As part of our global Womenflare initiative, I organised an International Women’s Day luncheon in March this year where we had members of our APAC leadership team share about their experiences on how they have managed their career and family commitments. Other ERG in Cloudflare includes Proudflare, where we support and provide resources for the LGBTQIA+ community, Afroflare, where we aim to build a better global Afro-community at Cloudflare and beyond, and many more! COVID-19I am writing this blogpost as we all embrace the challenges and opportunities present during COVID-19. When COVID-19 first hit APAC,  I was very impressed with how the global team exhibited flexibility to adapt to everyday challenges, with great empathy that it might be challenging to work from home, to how it is ok to try new things and make mistakes as long as we can learn from it. Our Business Continuity Team provided regular employee communication on local guidelines and Work From Home next steps. Our office support team immediately supplied computer equipment/office chairs that employees can bring home for their remote working needs. Our Site Leads came up with different initiatives to ensure the team remains connected through a series of virtual yoga sessions, Friday wine down, and lunch and games. The latest activity we ran was Activeflare, where a group of us from the Singapore and Australia offices exercised together on a Saturday and drew a map of our activities using tracking technology. That was fun!The global team has also launched a series of fireside chats where we get to hear from leaders of leading companies, which is a really nice touch where we get to gain exposure to the mind of great leaders which we otherwise would not have the opportunity to. My favourite so far is from Doug, our Chief Legal Officer and Katrin Suder, one of our Board Members.My very first experience as a TV host on Cloudflare TVMatthew, Cloudflare co-founder and CEO, recently launched Cloudflare TV for the team to experiment and connect with the Cloudflare community, even while we're locked down. And that community shares common interests in topics like web performance, Internet security, edge computing, and network reliability. Aliza and myself are hosting a series of Zoomelier in APAC soon to connect with winemakers and sommeliers across the region and share some interesting wine recommendations that one can drink with technology. So hope you'll tune in, geek out, feel part of our community, and learn more about Cloudflare and the people who are building it. Check out the Cloudflare TV Guide: forward, second year in Cloudflare, what’s next?I am at the point where I feel like I have a good amount of experience to do a good job, but not good enough to be where I want to be. In Cloudflare, I strongly feel that “The more I learn, the less I realise I know” (Socrates). I aim to continuously learn and build up my capabilities to strategize and deliver results for the present and the future, and I must end this blogpost with my learnings from John, “overnight success takes at least 10 years, I read a lot to stay up to date on what’s happening internally and externally. The gym (exercise) is really important to me. It's challenging and takes my mind off everything. Many people seem to view the gym as dead time to fill with TED videos, podcasts or other “useless” activities. I love the fact that it’s the one time I stop thinking.” I have applied this learning to both my personal and professional life and it made a huge difference. Thank you John.If you’re willing to join an impressive team and work for a very dynamic company to help create a better Internet, we’re looking for many different profiles in our different offices all over the planet! Let's have a look!

Looking for a business recovery strategy? These 10 tips will help Blog -

By Alisha Shibli The unprecedented advent of the COVID-19 pandemic gave birth to a vicious economic downturn that resulted in the stagnation of business operations all over the world. With lockdowns and social distancing as the ‘new normal,’ many small business owners feel the burn when it comes to sales and turnover. They also struggle […] The post Looking for a business recovery strategy? These 10 tips will help appeared first on Blog.

The Best WooCommerce Themes You Need Today

Nexcess Blog -

WooCommerce powers a vast number of ecommerce stores and is a very popular WordPress plugin that allows users to easily add ecommerce features and functions to a WordPress site.  Picking the best theme for your WooCommerce store will make or break how the site looks and performs. Picking a bloated theme that will cause issues for the store is something that you really want to avoid. The two best theme options that work very well with WooCommerce are Astra and GeneratePress. Astra Astra theme is free and can be installed in wp-admin on your site, but the power for Astra comes with Astra Pro.  Astra Pro is provided at no cost on Managed WooCommerce plans on Nexcess.  Astra Pro is installed as a regular plugin which will unlock and extend the Astra theme. Astra Pro has a huge number of features and modules just for WooCommerce.  Also, the Astra theme is designed to work with a number of solid page builders like Beaver Builder and Elementor. Being able to use a solid and easy-to-use page builder will allow your store to look exactly as you like. Astra Pro options can be easily enabled from wp-admin by going to: Appearance > Astra Options Make sure that the WooCommerce Pro module is activated in the Astra options setting to be able to control WooCommerce using the Astra theme.  You can make the WooCommerce related changes in the Astra theme using the customizer in wp-admin. The Astra theme is designed to be a very clean starter theme which is feature rich but also one which is performance-based, and will not cause issues when using it with WooCommerce. GeneratePress The final theme recommended is GeneratePress, which is another very clean starter theme. GeneratePress theme is also designed to work with most page builders and contains a page builder container setting. GeneratePress can also be extended using the premium plugin, which is installed as a regular plugin on your site in wp-admin. GeneratePress premium includes a number of modules that will extend out the GeneratePress theme. GeneratePress will also work very well with WooCommerce which means you can use a very clean theme which is also designed to work with WooCommerce. Astra Pro for the Win While both of the two themes are solid choices, Astra with Astra Pro includes the most features and the most options to be able to extend the theme and control of how WooCommerce displays. Also, it works without having to use a lot of code snippets to control WooCommerce elements. Don’t rush when choosing your store theme, as that saves time and money later with potential plugin or layout issues that may appear later as your store grows. No amount of site optimization is going to fix root issues on your store being caused by the active theme. Managed WordPress with Nexcess Includes Astra Forget about researching themes and choose Managed WordPress with Nexcess, which includes Astra out of the box along with AffiliateWP, WP 101, iThemes Security Pro and WP All Import Pro with the WooCommerce add-on. The post The Best WooCommerce Themes You Need Today appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

Divi vs. Elementor: Which WordPress Page Builder Is Right for Your Site?

HostGator Blog -

The post Divi vs. Elementor: Which WordPress Page Builder Is Right for Your Site? appeared first on HostGator Blog. If you’re interested in getting a website up and running and want to do it yourself, then WordPress is an excellent bet. WordPress is the most popular content management system and powers 35.2% of all websites. WordPress also gets increasingly easier to self-navigate as the days and years progress, and there are several excellent WordPress page builder software programs that will help you through the process of building your website. With all of the different website builders on the market, though, how is a novice to know which one is the best? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for, how much you already know about website building and your budget. To help you make an informed decision, here is an in-depth review of two of the most popular WordPress page builders on the market, Divi vs. Elementor. What is Divi? You may already know Divi as one of the most popular WordPress themes, but it’s more than that. Divi is also a website building platform that makes building a WordPress website significantly easier. Divi also includes several visual features that help you make your website more visually appealing. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most impressive features of the Divi WordPress builder.  Features of DIVI Here is what you can expect feature-wise when you select Divi as your WordPress page builder. Drag & drop building. Divi makes it easy to add, delete, and move elements around as you’re building your website. The best part is you don’t have to know how to code. All of the design is done on the front end of your site, not the back-end. Real-time visual editing. You can design your page and see how it looks as you go. Divi provides many intuitive visual features that help you make your page look how you want it to without having to know anything technical about web design. Custom CSS controls. If you do have custom CSS, you can combine it with Divi’s visual editing controls. If you don’t know what this means, no worries. You can stick to a theme or the drag and drop builder. Responsive editing. You don’t have to worry about whether or not your website will be mobile responsive. It will be. Plus, you can edit how your website will look on a mobile device with Divi’s various responsive editing tools. Robust design options. Many WordPress builders have only a few design options. Divi allows you full design control over your website. Inline text editing. All you have to do to edit your copy is click on the place where you want your text to appear and start typing. Save multiple designs. If you’re not sure exactly how you want your website to look before you publish it, you can create multiple custom designs, save them, and decide later. You can also save your designs to use as templates for future pages. This helps your website stay consistent and speed up the website creation process. Global elements and styles. Divi allows you to manage your design with website-wide design settings, allowing you to build a whole website, not just a page. Easy revisions. You can quickly undo, redo, and make revisions as you design. Pros of Divi Why would you want to choose Divi vs. Elementor? Here are the top advantages of Divi to consider as you make your decision. More templates. Divi has over 800 predesigned templates and they are free to use. If you don’t want to design your own website, simply pick one of the templates that best matches your style. Full website packs. Not only does Divi have a wide range of pre-designed templates, but they also offer entire website packs, based on various industries and types of websites (e.g., business, e-commerce, health, beauty, services, etc.).  This makes it easy to quickly design a website that matches your needs. In-line text editing. The in-line text editing feature is an excellent feature. All you have to do is point and click and you can edit any block of text. Lots of content modules. Divi has over 30 customizable content modules. You can insert these modules (e.g., CTA buttons, email opt-in forms, maps, testimonials, video sliders, countdown timers, etc.) in your row and column layouts. Creative freedom. You really have a lot of different options when it comes to designing your website. If you can learn how to use all of the various features, you’ll be able to build a nice website without having to know anything about coding. Cons of Divi Before you decide to hop on the Divi bandwagon, it’s essential to consider potential drawbacks. Here are the cons of the Divi WordPress website builder to help you make a more informed decision. No pop-up builder. Unfortunately, Divi doesn’t include a pop-up builder. Pop-ups are a great way to draw attention to announcements, promotions, and a solid way to capture email subscribers.  Too many options. While Divi has so many builder options that you can do nearly anything, some reviewers believe that all of the options are too many options. This can distract from the simplicity of use. Learning curve. Since there are so many features with Divi, it can take some extra time to learn how to effectively use them all. The Divi theme is basic. It’s critical to remember that the Divi theme and the Divi WordPress builder are two different things. You can use the Divi WordPress builder with any WordPress theme, including the Divi theme. However, if you opt for the Divi theme, it’s nice to know that some reviewers think the Divi theme is a bit basic. You may want to branch out and find a more suitable theme. Glitchy with longer pages. Some reviewers also say that Divi can get glitchy when trying to build longer pages. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you’re only looking for a basic website. What is Elementor? Elementor is an all-in-one WordPress website builder solution where you can control every piece of your website design from one platform. Like Divi, Elementor also provides a flexible and simple visual editor that makes it easy to create a gorgeous website, even if you have no design experience. Elementor also touts their ability to help you build a website that loads faster and that you can build quickly. Features of Elementor You already know what Divi can do. Here is what you can expect feature-wise when you sign up with Elementor vs. Divi. Drag and drop builder. Elementor also includes a drag and drop website builder, so you can create your website without knowing how to code. It also provides live editing so you can see how your site looks as you go.  All design elements together. With Elementor, you don’t have to switch between various screens to design and to make changes and updates. All your content, including your header, footer, and website content, are editable from the same page. Save and reuse elements and widgets. You can save design elements and widgets in your account and reuse them on other pages. This helps you save time and keep your pages consistent across your website. 300+ templates. Elementor has a pre-designed template for every possible website need and industry. If you don’t trust your drag and drop design skills, then simply pick one of the pre-designed templates. Of course, you can customize the theme with the drag and drop feature, but there is no need to start from scratch. Responsive mobile editor. It’s no longer an option to have a website that isn’t mobile responsive. Elementor makes it a point to help you customize the way your website looks on a desktop and a mobile device, so you are catering to all your website visitors, not just those visiting from a desktop computer. Pop-up builder. The use of pop-ups is a strategic way to draw attention to a promotion, an announcement, or your email list. Elementor’s pro plan helps you make pixel-perfect popups, including advanced targeting options. Over 90 widgets. You can choose from over 90 widgets that will help you quickly create the design elements you need to incorporate into your website. These widgets help you add things like buttons, forms, headlines, and more to your web pages. Pros of Elementor Here is a quick overview of the pros of the Elementor. If these advantages are important to you, Elementor may be the perfect fit for you. Rich in features. Elementor is one of the best WordPress builders on the market and has tons of different features to help you create a quality website. Maximum layout control. Elementor’s interface is extremely intuitive, and the design features are easy to use. You don’t have to train yourself on how to use Elementor. You just login, and start working. Easy to use. For the most part, Elementor’s drag and drop interface is easy to use. You can choose from different premade blocks, templates, and widgets. Finder search tool. In the event you can’t find something easily with Elementor, you can turn your attention to the search window, type in the feature or page you’re looking for, and Elementor will direct you to it. Always growing. Elementor’s team is always working to stay ahead of the curve by pushing out new features often. WooCommerce builder. Elementor has a nice WooCommerce Builder in their pro package. It’s easy to design your eCommerce website without having to know how to code. Widgets you can use on your product page include an add to cart button, product price, product title, product description, product image, upsells, product rating, related products, product stock, and more. Integrations. Elementor provides various marketing integrations that most website owners use on their sites. Integrations include AWeber, Mailchimp, Drip, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, HubSpot, Zapier, GetResponse, MailerLite, and MailPoet. WordPress plugins include WooCommerce, Yoast, ACF, Toolset, and PODS. Social integrations include Slack, Discord, Facebook SDK, YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, SoundCloud, and Google Maps. Other integrations include Adobe Fonts, Google Fonts, Font Awesome 5, Font Awesome Pro, Custom Icon Libraries, and reCAPTCHA. There are also many 3rd party add-ons and you can build your own integrations. Cons of Elementor As with any website builder, there are advantages and disadvantages. Here are the cons of Elementor to consider when making your choice between Divi vs. Elementor. Less templates than Divi. Elementor only has 300+ templates as opposed to Divi’s 800+. While there are fewer templates, however, they are still well-designed and will help you build a beautiful website. Some people may actually consider this an advantage, because there are fewer templates to sort through, and it doesn’t take up as much of your time to choose a template. Outdated UI. Some reviewers say the Elementor user interface is outdated, making some features more difficult to find and use. It will be interesting to see if and how Elementor innovates its user interface in the future. Issues with editing mode. Sometimes the website will look different when in editing mode. This can be frustrating for some users. Margin and padding adjustability issue. When using the drag and drop builder, you can’t adjust the margin and padding, according to some reviewers. Customer support. It can be difficult to quickly get in touch with a customer support team member and to quickly get custom solutions to your issues. No white label. Elementor doesn’t come with a white label option. Problems with third-party add-ons. While Elementor allows for a lot of third-party add-ons, these add-ons often cause issues. Divi vs. Elementor: Which Will You Choose? Regardless of which website builder you select, Divi or Elementor, you’ll need a web hosting company to park your WordPress website.  HostGator provides a secure and affordable managed WordPress hosting plans that start at only $5.95 a month. Advantages include 2.5x the speed, advanced security, free migrations, a free domain, a free SSL certificate, and more. Check out HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting now, and start building your WordPress website. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

13 Best Content Writing Tips for Small Business Websites

InMotion Hosting Blog -

If someone offered you an entirely free way to increase brand awareness and generate revenue for your small business website, would you hear them out? Can content writing tips do all that? It may take some time and effort, but believe it or not, that’s exactly what writing great content can do.  Whether you’re preparing to begin creating content for your small business website or just aren’t satisfied with your current content’s performance, producing great content is one of the most proven and cost-effective ways to attract a larger audience and bring in new customers. Continue reading 13 Best Content Writing Tips for Small Business Websites at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Bring Your Website to Life with .LIVE

Reseller Club Blog -

Live in the moment… Live your best life… Live Success… Live the .LIVE! With live streaming, live videos, live webinars and live online classes becoming the ‘new normal’; you can create a powerful online presence with .LIVE.  .LIVE has become one of the most sought after TLDs with more and more individuals and brands understanding the need to get online and give their customers the best live experience. From Yoga instructors to musicians, from news websites to educational institutes; everyone is working towards creating a live platform to connect with customers and clients and continue doing business as usual.  Why Invest in .LIVE? The .LIVE TLD is synonymous with everything and anything that’s live and lively — news, online events, video streaming, classes, seminars — it thus represents:  Energy Sense of urgency A Call-to-Action  Interestingly, the word ‘live’ can be perceived in two ways — as in live online events or live a happy life. So, the .LIVE domain extension is perfect for not just people taking over the digital space with live events and streaming but also those promoting the need to live a happy or healthy or balanced life. Furthermore, even the travel and tourism industry can benefit offering reasons why people may want to ‘live’ in a particular place.  Who Can Benefit from .LIVE? Businesses and individuals who want to offer live services — yoga, music, art, cooking etc.  Businesses and individuals who promote the art of living life a certain way — meditation, nutrition, happiness, mental health etc.  Businesses and individuals who promote travel and tourism to help people live in different cities or countries — immigration, student visas, travel enthusiasts etc.  Businesses or individuals who want to highlight energy or dynamic living — concert organizers, event planners, travel agents, adventure sports, etc.  Top 3 Reasons to Get a .LIVE Domain  1. On-Brand If you or your business is all about the ‘live’ online experience the .LIVE domain is true to your brand and reflects your brand personality.  2. Call-to-Action Your .LIVE domain will be the first and most effective call-to-action — right from the start you’re asking people to go live with you.  3. It Works!  .LIVE has already worked wonders for established brands and celebrities, you can be the next most sought after .LIVE platform online. Don’t believe me? Check these out: – a website that gives live updates on the Coronavirus statistics – here’s one for the theatre and movie buffs Go .LIVE with ResellerClub At ResellerClub we aim to help our customers get the best deals and offers, so they can give the best experience to their customers. Get the .LIVE domain at just $2.99 (limited time offer!) and take the online world by a storm! Ready to go .LIVE?  .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Bring Your Website to Life with .LIVE appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

How to Stay HIPAA Compliant While Employees Work Remote

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Ever since the United States introduced the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996, organizations that deal with health information have been greatly restricted in the way they store, transmit, and process data. Until recently, for example, nearly every company in the health industry knew not to use unsecured networks, unencrypted devices, and shared data hosting in their work. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, things changed. Thousands of organizations were forced to transition their operations to the new decentralized environment (although some have even decided to stay that way indefinitely). But what’s important to understand is that, remote or not, every regulated workplace is still required to stay HIPAA-compliant throughout. So what does following HIPAA regulations mean for remote companies? And how can everyone ensure the way they work right now is fully compliant? Let’s start with reviewing data requirements. What Are HIPAA Data Requirements? If you read the official HIPAA regulation and try to boil it down to actionable insights, you’d deduct two distinct requirement categories, relating to tools and rules. Tools include all the equipment, hardware, and software your company needs to operate as well as the way the whole ecosystem should be set up, from encrypted data to the use of virtual private networks (VPNs). Rules include all the essential guidelines your employees have to follow to stay HIPAA-compliant, from signing confidentiality agreements to recognizing data access restrictions. New to HIPAA Compliant Hosting requirements? Download our HIPAA Hosting FAQ. Tools: Hardware and Software The first step to compliant data protection is to ensure that your employees are only using your company’s devices for work-related activities. It’s also recommended to have robust mobile device management (MDM) solution in place to oversee all the computers and be able to interfere (e.g. wipe them out) if required. When it comes to individual devices you give out, verify that all of them have pre-approved software installed, with two-factor authentication enabled (where possible), including an active top-grade antivirus. Configure protective firewalls that limit certain incoming connections and set the hard drives to encrypt their contents automatically. Turn on the lock screen functionality that requires a password after a short period of inactivity. Next, thoroughly instruct employees on proper home Wi-Fi setup. They should use unique and complex passwords on their Wi-Fi networks, with at least WPA2 (or better WPA3) certifications and AES-based encryption modes — all of which could be adjusted from the admin router settings. Offer to exchange any old routers that only support the outdated WEP security. Finally, carefully calibrate your own internal network, so that it only lets your employees’ devices (using VPNs) through its firewall, and establish various levels of access. Write timeout scripts to scan all remote access activity to cut off any suspicious (or old) connections. And these are only a few of the HIPAA-Compliance challenges that you will face. Rules: Employee Guidelines To meaningfully change behavior within your newly remote company, you have to invest in cybersecurity training. After all, your company security and HIPAA compliance is only as strong as its weakest link, and it takes just a single phishing email to unwind years of your efforts. From the very first day, every employee should understand their role in effectively handling any protected health information (PHI) as well as the level of their organizational access. Dedicate some time for everyone to read, question, and sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. Remind your employees that they should avoid transporting company computers without valid business reasons or copying PHI data to any external devices without prior approval. Most importantly, they can’t share access to their computers with anyone, under any circumstances, not even with family members. If your line of work requires processing physical documents, make sure that every employee who needs to handle paper forms has a lockable cabinet or safe and is able to destroy the files with a shredder when they are no longer needed. Servers: Information Flow You might be surprised that the directives above don’t mention any HIPAA requirements related to the servers that host your data. That’s not because there are none, but rather because there are too many. HIPAA-compliant hosting requires the highest level of uptime, truly redundant backup management, advanced safeguards, and even a list of physical security policies. The truth is that HIPAA server requirements are just too numerous and difficult for most companies to implement. So when you decide that your company should go remote, you should go above and beyond to verify that all the tools (hardware, software) and rules (employee guidelines) are in place, and leave the server-side management to a hosting company that has already built its whole business around HIPAA compliance. Your data is at the heart of your operations, and no one understands that better than a team of professional technicians at Liquid Web. Not sure how to safely migrate your data to a HIPAA-compliant data center? Contact Liquid Web and we’ll advise and walk you through all the necessary policies and server reconfigurations that your business needs today. Download our HIPAA Hosting FAQ The post How to Stay HIPAA Compliant While Employees Work Remote appeared first on Liquid Web.

Diversity Welcome - A Latinx journey into Cloudflare

CloudFlare Blog -

I came to the United States chasing the love of my life, today my wife, in 2015.A Spanish native speaker, Portuguese as my second language and born in the Argentine city of Córdoba more than 6,000 miles from San Francisco, there is no doubt that the definition of "Latino" fits me very well and with pride. Cloudflare was not my first job in this country but it has been the organization in which I have learned many of the things that have allowed me to understand the corporate culture of a society totally alien to the one which I come from.I was hired in January 2018 as the first Business Development Representative for the Latin America (LATAM) region based in San Francisco. This was long before the company went public in September 2019. The organization was looking for a specialist in Latin American markets with not only good experience and knowledge beyond languages ​​(Spanish/Portuguese), but understanding of the economy, politics, culture, history, go-to-market strategies, etc.—I was lucky enough to be chosen as "that person". Cloudflare invested in me to a great extent and I was amazed at the freedom I had to propose ideas and bring them to reality. I have been able to experience far beyond my role as a sales representative: I have translated marketing materials, helped with campaigns, participated in various trainings, traveled to different countries to attend conferences and visit clients, and on. Later, I was promoted as a sales executive for the North America (NAMER) region.Cloudflare poster signed by colleagues after our Company retreat in 2018I have been very fortunate to be able to closely observe the growth and maturity of the organization throughout my time here. Today, Cloudflare has three times more employees than when I started, and I can say that much of what makes this organization unique has remained intact: Cloudflare's core mission is to help build a better Internet, to be transparent, to protect vulnerable yet important voices online through its Project Galileo, our open door policy, the importance of investing in people, among many others.Myself with Matthew Prince and Michelle Zatlyn, co-founders of CloudflareIn recent weeks I have participated in conversations around "how do we recruit more under-represented groups and avoid bias in the selection process" - This has really filled me with joy but is certainly not the first initiative of its kind at Cloudflare. The company takes pride in having several Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) created and led by employees and executive sponsors—and highly encouraged by the organization: Afroflare, Desiflare, Nativeflare, Latinflare, Proudflare, Soberflare and Vetflare are just some of those groups (we have over 16 ERGs to-date!).At Cloudflare I have found a space where I can develop professionally, where my ideas count, and where I am allowed to make mistakes—this is not something that I have experienced in my previous roles with other employers. I am not afraid to admit that in other organizations I have felt the stigma of being a person of color and that the working conditions were unfair compared to my colleagues.Cloudflare’s values have continued to shine through during the current COVID-19 situation ​​and we have strengthened overall as an organization.Being an immigrant (a person of color) it is a challenge to make the decision to work for organizations that don't fully understand the value of adding more diversity to their workforce. Cloudflare is a company that does value diversity in its workforce and has demonstrated a genuine interest in recruiting as well as retaining under-represented groups and creating a collective learning environment for them and the rest of the teams within the organization.The company is committed to increasing the diversity within our teams and we want more diverse candidates in our selection processes. To achieve this we want to invite you (or please encourage others) to visit our careers page for more information on full-time positions and internship roles at our locations across the globe and apply. And if you have questions, I will leave you my email: It would be a pleasure to be able to guide you and put you in touch with the right people within Cloudflare to better understand our technology and where we are going. Your experience and skills are what we need to continue improving the Internet. Come join me at Cloudflare!Our team culture lives inside and outside the company - Here is our Soccer team!

Design Series Part III – Creating Website Pages, Adding Content and Publishing

BigRock Blog -

Your website is a combination of several components. It begins with deciding the domain name and hosting service, designing it and ends with setting it up. Our website design series helps you design your website easily. We began by selecting the right theme followed by colour and fonts for your website. With the above two steps, you’ve achieved creating the visual blueprint of your website. Now, we move on to the most crucial aspect of a website – the content.  In this final article of the design series, we will explore content in-depth, including – compiling data, creating pages and SEO, followed by testing and lastly, making your website live! Adding Website Pages Your business niche decides the look and feel of your website design along with the pages that need to be added. However, there are certain pages that you mustn’t compromise on.  Homepage About Us Contact Us Product offering page  First impressions matter a lot and your homepage is your website’s deal-breaker. Not only do the right colours and fonts matter on this page but also the amount of content on it. If you design this page carefully, you increase the chances for your end-user to scroll through it and might also visit other pages.  Tip: Take care that all your website pages follow your branding guidelines. Both in terms of design and content. Apart from the above-mentioned pages, if you’re a business website, as opposed to a blog, then you may as well add a ‘Blog’ page.  Furthermore, having sections on your website is important – the header, body and footer. Not only should your pages look appealing (content and branding) but they must also be easy to navigate. Now, that you’ve seen the pages you must add to your website or blog, it is now time to focus on the content that goes in them. Content – What and Why? Content is data and experiences aimed at the target audience. Content can be in written form or can be depicted pictorially.  When it comes to website content, one of the key things to remember is that it must be unique. Unique content helps you establish your brand and even offers a different experience to your end-user. Say, for instance, you aren’t using unique content somewhere, then make sure you cite the original source. This not only avoids plagiarism but also helps you build your credibility.  Next, is the amount of content that goes on the page. The idea is to neither have too much or too little. According to research, in general, people read 25% less when reading it on a screen. Too much content can be off-putting to the reader and might result in higher page bounce. Content is important when it comes to ranking your website on search engines. Hence, you must take care that all your content is optimised i.e you take care of the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Certain things to achieve a good SEO ranking include the use of targeted keywords, internal linking, backlinks, and more. If you’re a beginner, a good SEO practise is to think from your target audience’s perspective and assess if your webpages can answer all their queries positively, and accordingly do your keyword research.   To summarise:  Unique branded content  Moderate content length  On-point SEO practices Testing your website At this point in time, your website is ready. The theme fits your niche, the content is decided, and the pages have been created keeping in mind the brand colours and fonts. Now, all that remains is publishing your website to the world.  Hang on! You first need to test your website.  Here is a simple checklist: Check if your website is optimised and responsive for all devices (desktop, mobile, tablets) Check your content and proofread it for spelling and grammar Check if all the links embedded in your website content, both external and internal are working properly Check the page load time for your website. The faster the better  Check your website for branding Check the SEO keywords and other elements All checked? All Good? Go ahead — Hit Publish  Congratulations! Your website is ready and can now be live!  Your website is a running project, there will always be scope for improvement, updating the content and pages, checking the plugins installed, the links embedded etc. If your website is your source of income, adding Analytics to your website would be of great help!  Keeping a track of analytics can help you in figuring out the most visited pages, products and more. There are plenty of ways to track the behaviour of your end-users on your website – Analytics, Heatmaps, etc.  Conclusion Designing a website may seem like an uphill task, however, with the right planning and precision, it is a rewarding one! To summarise, take care of your theme, your branding guidelines (colours and fonts) and the content that goes on your website.  So, what are you waiting for? Register your domain and hosting, and start designing your website today! We hope this design series helps you design your website — easily and effectively.  If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below! Also, head to our Websites category on the blog to know more and stay updated.  The post Design Series Part III – Creating Website Pages, Adding Content and Publishing appeared first on BigRock Blog.

Facebook Creator Studio: What Marketers Need to Know

Social Media Examiner -

Want to manage your Facebook and Instagram marketing tasks in one place? Are you taking advantage of all of the features of Facebook Creator Studio? To explore how to use Facebook Creator Studio, I interview Mari Smith on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Mari is the leading expert on Facebook marketing and author of The […] The post Facebook Creator Studio: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

5 Ways to Integrate Accessible Design into Fast-paced Projects

Facebook Design -

By Caterina Falleni, Product Design Lead for Accessibility, and Mike Shebanek, Head of AccessibilityIn celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and National Disability Independence Day, we’re sharing our lessons learned incorporating accessibility into all projects, especially those with fast timelines.Product release cycles continue to get shorter — days and weeks-long instead of months — making the task of integrating accessibility early in the process look even more challenging. But it’s a myth that making a product accessible is too difficult, too time-consuming, and requires specialized resources. Our experience at Facebook over the last two years building products for over 3 billion people has proved otherwise. Preparing for accessibility early in the product development process can save time and resources, improve overall usability, and set you up to design within fast timelines.Designing for accessibility means enabling people of all abilities to perceive, understand, interact with, and contribute equally to the web and digital world. We have been learning a lot about this by supporting fast-paced projects, especially in the last few months launching Rooms, the Covid Info Hub, and Covid hashtags.1. Acknowledge that accessibility is not a one-person jobIt’s a common idea that only a specialist can contribute to an accessibility project. We’d like to dispel this myth here and now. It takes a village to launch an accessible product. Accessibility is a team effort. No matter what your level of experience and passion, no single person can do the job well. In order to start on the right foot you’ll need to get the right team in the room. It’s tough enough in normal circumstances to get everyone in the same place at the same time to collaborate, and lately it’s been impossible for us given the coronavirus social distancing limitations.We have learned the importance of involving people with situational, temporary or permanent disabilities directly into our design process, by either organizing co-design sessions or planning multiple testing rounds with them. These participants might include people with low vision, hearing, cognitive and motor impairments, and people with low technical literacy.“Waiting to incorporate accessibility after-the-fact sets up your project for failure.”Finding people with disabilities may seem difficult, but the benefit of their input and feedback in the beginning and throughout the product development process is critical to ensuring the overall usability and success of your products. Reach out to disability advocacy organizations and chapters in your area that represent and support individuals with disabilities, such as the LightHouse for the Blind, United Cerebral Palsy, the National Association of the Deaf, and the National Federation of the Blind.For some projects, it won’t be feasible to get everything done on the first go. Don’t let that stop you from getting the project off on the right foot. Waiting to incorporate accessibility after-the-fact sets up your project for failure. You may end up building the project on an inaccessible architecture or accrue insurmountable accessibility tech debt before a proper team can be put in place, resulting in a product that excludes the people it was intended to serve.Image: The Facebook core accessibility team hosts a design workshop in Los Angeles, California for product designers, engineers, researchers, content strategists, and people with vision impairments.2. Make a game plan to tackle accessibility in your processWe’ve all been there: everyone is moving fast in every direction and feeling great about how much energy they’re putting into the project — but it’s not working. Stress has a way of showing you what really works, and what’s just wishful thinking. When we started incorporating accessibility into our project process, we weren’t really good at it. But we didn’t let that stop us, and we weren’t afraid to fail because we knew we’d get better. So here’s what we’ve learned to do at each step of the development process to incorporate accessibility into fast-paced projects:PlanIntegrate accessibility into your project brief and missionWe start by considering how to fill in this phrase: “Our mission is to enable [target audience] by shipping an accessible [product or feature] to give equitable access to people of all abilities to create community.“ Including a phrase like this into your project brief mission statement will help align you and your team and keep the high-level goal crystal clear during development.Integrate accessibility into your product roadmapPlan to review and identify accessibility issues before shipping your product.Plan to test for screen readers and keyboard navigation.Work with your accessibility QA team to create a burndown list of tasks and bugs to resolve before shipping your product.DesignCreate design specs(See the design examples in the next section).Review your designEvaluate color contrast ratios, tap targets, accessibility labels, focus areas/order, keyboard navigation and whether or not content is accessible to people with low technical literacy.After struggling through a number of fast-turn projects, we realized that we needed to be better prepared. We began to offer accessibility training for product designers and content strategists and make accessibility “office hours” available on request to review design specs and product accessibility. This helped us identify issues that we would have otherwise missed. We strongly encourage you to listen to and learn from disabled users. There really is no substitute for this. But if you’re not able to engage people with disabilities early in the process, at least engage an accessibility expert in your company (if you have one) or find an external accessibility expert. The key point is that you get someone else who is knowledgeable to validate your work. We all know this is good practice, yet this is one of the first things we skip when under pressure.DevelopLint your codeAs your engineers begin coding, make sure they are linting. We found this to be a powerful method for finding code issues and recommend implementing linting in your web stack.Conduct accessibility quality assurance testingPartner with an external accessibility vendor who employs QA engineers trained to perform accessibility evaluations in lockstep with your product lifecycle process. You should define the user flows to be tested and the optimal cadence for your team. They will test your flows, find bugs, and create tasks for you to address.ShipFor fast development cycles (measured in weeks, not months or years), it’s not always possible to get in a last-minute check before shipping. But if at all possible, we’ve found that an expert accessibility review just prior to releasing a product almost always reveals issues we missed. At the least, it helps us identify and prioritize what we need to do next immediately after shipping.MaintainContinually improveChances are good (okay, it’s certain) that you won’t be perfect — especially the first time through the process. Now that you know you need to make improvements, what do you do? In addition to designing for accessibility up front, your process must include remediation when there’s regression. Your method for managing this should match your team’s current regression management process. At Facebook, we have developed our own QA process that has helped us improve how we design and implement accessibility features. This is how we monitor quality and make sure that we are continually improving over time. If you don’t have an established QA process, we encourage you to create one, and accessibility is a great place to start. It will be impossible to make progress on accessibility at scale without at least some monitoring, checks, and remediation to ensure you’re raising your quality bar over time.Get user feedbackWith your product released in the wild, you can and should collect and act on user feedback, and we strongly recommend that you create a mechanism in your product that makes it easy for users to provide it. We apply special rules and tagging on feedback related to accessibility so it’s easier to find and prioritize. Providing a channel for feedback will ensure that you catch major regressions that might be missed by engineering and QA, discover actionable insights from users of your products, and signal to the outside world your commitment to inclusion. You don’t necessarily need to respond to all inquiries, but you should track and taskify everything that is valid and reproducible.3. Know your prioritiesBy definition, a fast-paced project doesn’t allow you to do everything you want to do in the first go. However, waiting until later to consider and incorporate accessibility into a design may lead to additional hurdles that may otherwise have been avoided. So consider accessibility from the outset for fast projects (remember, this means days or weeks, not months or years). This will set up your projects for future success, and help prioritize which of the many accessible design considerations you need to incorporate first (on the way to implementing them all). Of course, your priorities will change depending on the project, but we default to the following list unless the project or the schedule demands we shorten it or allows us to lengthen it.Respect color contrast ratiosDesigns should respect at least WCAG’s AA standard of at least 4.5:1 for standard text, 3:1 for large text (18pt and larger when rendered) and graphics.Test for color perception impairmentsMake your design work without depending on color. Convert it into grayscale to see if it relies on color alone to convey important information. The design should convey information as well in grayscale as it does when using color. Use multiple visual cues beyond just color such as icons, textures, patterns or descriptive text to communicate important states.Create accessibility labels and image alt-textAll controls should have succinct and informative accessibility labels, whether they have a visible label or not. Decorative elements that do not communicate specific meaning do not require accessibility labels.Create focus areas and orderCursor and screen reader focus should move in a predictable, logical way to aid in user comprehension and efficiency.Respect touch target size standardsTappable elements should have at least a 44x44dp surface area that accurately respond to people’s taps and have at least 8dp space between tappable elements.Design for low digital literacyContent should be written and presented in a way that enables people who are less tech savvy to understand and interact with your products. Examples include simple workflows, reducing visual density, pairing text labels with iconography, using plain, simple language in short sentences, and using images or drawings in addition to text.Create inclusive visual representationVisual assets such as illustrations, icons and emojis should represent the diversity of people’s abilities (or disability) including race, gender, and culture.We’re not suggesting these are the only considerations for accessible design. We’ve simply found that these serve well as a feasible, solid place to begin, even on the fastest project startups. All of these recommendations have high value to people with various disabilities. Refer to the WC3’s WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines for a more complete list of accessibility considerations.4. Transform an accessibility challenge into an opportunityInvariably, you’re going to find a few accessibility barriers in your design, and you’ll find them in places you may never have expected. In one recent project, a team received input from people with disabilities that hashtags not displayed in CamelCase (#designforeveryone vs CamelCase #DesignForEveryone) were preventing screen readers from accurately speaking descriptions for people who are blind. We also found that hashtags in all uppercase and all lowercase are difficult for people with cognitive and learning disabilities to read and understand. While remedying the hashtag accessibility barrier wasn’t a ‘quick fix,’ having this information was important. In response, we were able to highlight this barrier for a future fix with another team, while also keeping our focus on other barriers we could surmount more quickly to deliver a strong accessibility result for the disability community.While this may sound like a miss, we consider it a victory. By incorporating accessibility into our design thinking from the outset, we caught this issue early and were able to get another team, unrelated to our project, to investigate it. That team proposed a fix in parallel while we quickly got our project up and running. That never would have happened if we had waited until after the project was “mature” to perform our first accessibility audit, and we may have been so far down the line that the effort to fix it would have cost us more in time and engineering, elongating our delivery time. The more we’ve incorporated accessibility from the outset, the better we’ve become and the more we’ve learned about which issues are common and which are unusual. This approach has enabled us to fine-tune our process, our tools, and our intuition so we can find problems and fix them even faster in the future.5. Nurture an inclusive design cultureInfluencing your whole company or team culture may not be easy, but it’s definitely one of the most impactful and long-term outcomes you can make happen through your work.Designing for accessibility in the digital space has for decades been an engineering-driven practice, and unfortunately, an afterthought for many product teams. More recently, awareness of designing for accessibility has increased in the design community and more product designers have started advocating for it and writing about it. We’re all now much more aware of the importance of creating a corporate culture of inclusive and accessible design and hope you join us on this journey.Facebook’s well-known bottom-up culture has allowed many individuals and teams to innovate and push boundaries in accessibility, and inspired a volunteerism culture. But in order to make a lasting, significant change in how we design products, we must also have a top-down culture of accessible and inclusive design.To address this, we spun-up a series of activities and programs to help product teams to integrate accessibility in their process. These programs inspired leadership to adopt accessibility more formally into our company culture and policies. Here are a few of the initiatives we kicked-off to inspire you, and hopefully help you nurture a more inclusive design culture in your company:Accessibility guides, resources and best practicesWe created corporate design accessibility guidelines, training resources, design cases, best practices, and an accessibility component library. These enable product teams to be more self-sufficient and improve our consistency across products and platforms.Accessibility training sessionsWe kicked off an onboarding training program to provide an overview of what inclusive design and accessibility is and to orient our “n00bs” (“new-bees” or “noobs” are our new designers, researchers, content strategists and engineers) on what’s expected of them.Accessibility office hoursWe make available “office hours” (originally in person but now virtual) hosted by our more experienced designers and accessibility program managers. During office hours, anyone can get answers to their questions about accessibility and inclusive design, and we can review product designs together.Open (digital) space to discuss accessibilityWe created an internal online company forum using our own Workplace product to answer common questions from product teams and share updates on best practices, new tools and techniques from our team. This space often provides answers faster than scheduling office hours, and reaches more people who may share the same question.Internal and public eventsWe organized several events to amplify awareness and inspire and educate internal and external communities about accessibility and inclusive design. Recently, we hosted “Accessibility Week 2020” in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day in May. We normally host this only for employees but decided to make it virtual this year and made two of the three sessions public. In the first we hosted design icon Don Norman, who set the stage for “why accessibility” by sharing his thoughts on the importance of designing for disability and the elderly. We then hosted three amazing and diverse speakers who shared what it’s like to live a typical day with a disability. This session helped our designers better understand who they’re designing for. The final session trained all of our designers on how to apply the lessons we’ve shared in this article, our priorities and process, and how to use our internal tools to create accessible designs.Accessibility councilWe’ve also recently started an accessibility council to facilitate cross-pollination across the org about inclusive design, and to align guides, best practices and training across our company.Accessibility task forceWe created an accessibility task force to support unexpected projects, like the Covid Info Hub and other projects, to ensure they integrate accessibility thinking from the start.The Bottom LineWe hope these lessons will enable you, and give you the courage to incorporate accessibility and inclusion into even your fastest, most aggressive product development cycles. It’s okay if you’re not immediately successful. Your company culture may not change overnight, but we’ve learned that the tipping point for this shift lies with individuals. If you’re willing to integrate inclusive design and accessibility into your mindset, you can and will influence your entire design practice, product development process, and corporate culture.We certainly don’t yet have all the answers, but we’ve learned a lot along the way and wanted to share what we’ve learned with the hope that it will encourage others who have yet to take this step. We continue to learn how to support designers and product teams by integrating accessibility into our design practice, and we’re taking a stand for inclusion through design. We hope you do, too, and that this article will help empower the broader design community to do the same._Caterina Falleni is also the author of Accessible by Design, due out in 2021.Thanks to:Gui Schneider, Virginia Cagney, Jonathan Lee, Gregory Sarkis-Kelly, Gillian Terzis for being great teammates and for the great feedback and support along the journey of publishing this article.Matt Brennan, Matt King, and the entire Facebook Accessibility team for their invaluable help, experience, and knowledge of accessibility and inclusion.Tori McGoogan for her artistic direction of this article’s illustrations.Mike Shebanek, Jesse Beach, Tali Krakowsky Apel, Shali Nguyen, Jeff Wieland and Espen Tuft for their continuous support in Caterina’s evolution as an accessibility design lead.Shannon O’Malley for her gentle editing of this piece.5 Ways to Integrate Accessible Design into Fast-paced Projects was originally published in Facebook Design on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Spam Filtering on cPanel: Everything You Need To Know About SpamAssassin

cPanel Blog -

Spam is a huge challenge for anyone who hosts email, even though users only see a tiny fraction of the spam they’re sent.  Most unwanted messages never reach inboxes, but an incredible 54 percent of all email traffic is spam, and that’s down from 70 percent a decade ago.    The good thing is ISPs and hosting providers are better at stamping out spammers, and users are more aware of the risks.  Still,  hundreds of billions ...

Internationalizing the Cloudflare Dashboard

CloudFlare Blog -

Cloudflare’s dashboard now supports four new languages (and multiple locales): Spanish (with country-specific locales: Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Spain), Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, and Traditional Chinese. Our customers are global and diverse, so in helping build a better Internet for everyone, it is imperative that we bring our products and services to customers in their native language.Since last year Cloudflare has been hard at work internationalizing our dashboard. At the end of 2019, we launched our first language other than US English: German. At the end of March 2020, we released three additional languages: French, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese. If you want to start using the dashboard in any of these languages, you can change your language preference in the top right of the Cloudflare dashboard. The preference selected will be saved and used across all sessions.In this blog post, I want to help those unfamiliar with internationalization and localization to better understand how it works. I also would like to tell the story of how we made internationalizing and localizing our application a standard and repeatable process along with sharing a few tips that may help you as you do the same.Beginning the journeyThe first step in internationalization is externalizing all the strings in your application. In concrete terms this means taking any text that could be read by a user and extracting it from your application code into separate, stand-alone files. This needs to be done for a few reasons:It enables translation teams to work on translating these strings without needing to view or change any application code.Most translators typically use Translation Management applications which automate aspects of the workflow and provide them with useful utilities (like translation memory, change tracking, and a number of useful parsing and formatting tools). These applications expect standardized text formats (such as json, xml, md, or csv files).From an engineering perspective, separating application code from translations allows for making changes to strings without re-compiling and/or re-deploying code. In our React based application, externalizing most of our strings boiled down to changing blocks of code like this:<Button>Cancel</Button> <Button>Next</Button> Into this:<Button><Trans id="signup.cancel" /></Button> <Button><Trans id="" /></Button> // And in a separate catalog.json file for en_US: { "signup.cancel": "Cancel", "": "Next", // ...many more keys } The <Trans> component shown above is the fundamental i18n building block in our application. In this scheme, translated strings are kept in large dictionaries keyed by a translation id. We call these dictionaries “translation catalogs”, and there are a set of translation catalogs for each language that we support.At runtime, the <Trans> component looks up the translation in the correct catalog for the provided key and then inserts this translation into the page (via the DOM). All of an application's static text can be externalized with simple transformations like these.However, when dynamic data needs to be intermixed with static text, the solution becomes a little more complicated. Consider the following seemingly straightforward example which is riddled with i18n landmines:<span>You've selected { totalSelected } Page Rules.</span> It may be tempting to externalize this sentence by chopping it up into a few parts, like so:<span> <Trans id="selected.prefix" /> {totalSelected } <Trans id="pageRules" /> </span> // English catalog.json { "selected.prefix": "You've selected", "pageRules": "Page Rules", // ... } // Japanese catalog.json { "selected.prefix": "選択しました", "pageRules": "ページ ルール", // ... } // German catalog.json { "selected.prefix": "Sie haben ausgewählt", "pageRules": "Page Rules", // ... } // Portuguese (Brazil) catalog.json { "selected.prefix": "Você selecionou", "pageRules": "Page Rules", // ... } This gets the job done and may even seem like an elegant solution. After all, both the selected.prefix and pageRules.suffix strings seem like they are destined to be reused. Unfortunately, chopping sentences up and then concatenating translated bits back together like this turns out to be the single largest pitfall when externalizing strings for internationalization.The problem is that when translated, the various words that make up a sentence can be morphed in different ways based on context (singular vs plural contexts, due to word gender, subject/verb agreement, etc). This varies significantly from language to language, as does word order. For example in English, the sentence “We like them” follows a subject-verb-object order, while other languages might follow subject-object-verb (We them like), verb-subject-object (Like we them), or even other orderings. Because of these nuanced differences between languages, concatenating translated phrases into a sentence will almost always lead to localization errors.The code example above contains actual translations we got back from our translation teams when we supplied them with “You’ve selected” and “Page Rules” as separate strings. Here’s how this sentence would look when rendered in the different languages: Language Translation Japanese 選択しました { totalSelected } ページ ルール。 German Sie haben ausgewählt { totalSelected } Page Rules Portuguese (Brazil) Você selecionou { totalSelected } Page Rules. To compare, we also gave them the sentence as a single string using a placeholder for the variable, and here’s the result: Language Translation Japanese %{ totalSelected } 件のページ ルールを選択しました。 German Sie haben %{ totalSelected } Page Rules ausgewählt. Portuguese (Brazil) Você selecionou %{ totalSelected } Page Rules. As you can see, the translations differ for Japanese and German. We’ve got a localization bug on our hands.So, In order to guarantee that translators will be able to convey the true meaning of your text with fidelity, it's important to keep each sentence intact as a single externalized string. Our <Trans> component allows for easy injection of values into template strings which allows us to do exactly that:<span> <Trans id="pageRules.selectedForDeletion" values={{ count: totalSelected }} /> </span> // English catalog.json { "pageRules.selected": "You've selected %{ count } Page Rules.", // ... } // Japanese catalog.json { "pageRules.selected": "%{ count } 件のページ ルールを選択しました。", // ... } // German catalog.json { "pageRules.selected": "Sie haben %{ count } Page Rules ausgewählt.", // ... } // Portuguese(Brazil) catalog.json { "pageRules.selected": "Você selecionou %{ count } Page Rules.", // ... } This allows translators to have the full context of the sentence, ensuring that all words will be translated with the correct inflection.You may have noticed another potential issue. What happens in this example when totalSelected is just 1? With the above code, the user would see “You've selected 1 Page Rules for deletion”. We need to conditionally pluralize the sentence based on the value of our dynamic data. This turns out to be a fairly common use case, and our <Trans> component handles this automatically via the smart_count feature:<span> <Trans id="pageRules.selectedForDeletion" values={{ smart_count: totalSelected }} /> </span> // English catalog.json { "pageRules.selected": "You've selected %{ smart_count } Page Rule. |||| You've selected %{ smart_count } Page Rules.", } // Japanese catalog.json { "pageRules.selected": "%{ smart_count } 件のページ ルールを選択しました。 |||| %{ smart_count } 件のページ ルールを選択しました。", } // German catalog.json { "pageRules.selected": "Sie haben %{ smart_count } Page Rule ausgewählt. |||| Sie haben %{ smart_count } Page Rules ausgewählt.", } // Portuguese (Brazil) catalog.json { "pageRules.selected": "Você selecionou %{ smart_count } Page Rule. |||| Você selecionou %{ smart_count } Page Rules.", } Here, the singular and plural versions are delimited by ||||. <Trans> will automatically select the right translation to use depending on the value of the passed in totalSelected variable.Yet another stumbling block occurs when markup is mixed in with a block of text we'd like to externalize as a single string. For example, what if you need some phrase in your sentence to be a link to another page?<VerificationReminder> Don't forget to <Link>verify your email address.</Link> </VerificationReminder> To solve for this use case, the <Trans> component allows for arbitrary elements to be injected into placeholders in a translation string, like so:<VerificationReminder> <Trans id="notification.email_verification" Components={[Link]} componentProps={[{ to: '/profile' }]} /> </VerificationReminder> // catalog.json { "notification.email_verification": "Don't forget to <0>verify your email address.</0>", // ... } In this example, the <Trans> component will replace placeholder elements (<0>,<1>, etc.) with instances of the component type located at that index in the Components array. It also passes along any data specified in componentProps to that instance. The example above would boil down to the following in React:// en-US <VerificationReminder> Don't forget to <Link to="/profile">verify your email address.</Link> </VerificationReminder> // es-ES <VerificationReminder> No olvide <Link to="/profile">verificar la dirección de correo electrónico.</Link> </VerificationReminder> Safety third!The functionality outlined above was enough for us to externalize our strings. However, it did at times result in bulky, repetitive code that was easy to mess up. A couple of pitfalls quickly became apparent.The first was that small hardcoded strings were now easier to hide in plain sight, and because they weren't glaringly obvious to a developer until the rest of the page had been translated, the feedback loop in finding these was often days or weeks. A common solution to surfacing these issues is introducing a pseudolocalization mode into your application during development which will transform all properly internationalized strings by replacing each character with a similar looking unicode character.For example You've selected 3 Page Rules. might be transformed to Ýôú'Ʋè ƨèℓèçƭèδ 3 Þáϱè Rúℓèƨ.Another handy feature at your disposal in a pseudolocalization mode is the ability to shrink or lengthen all strings by a fixed amount in order to plan for content width differences. Here's the same pseudolocalized sentence increased in length by 50%: Ýôú'Ʋè ƨèℓèçƭèδ 3 Þáϱè Rúℓèƨ. ℓôřè₥ ïƥƨú₥ δô. This is useful in helping both engineers as well as designers spot places where content length could potentially be an issue. We first recognized this problem when rolling out support for German, which at times tends to have somewhat longer words than English.This meant that in a lot of places the text in page elements would overflow, such as in this "Add" button:There aren't a lot of easy fixes for these types of problems that don't compromise the user experience.For best results, variable content width needs to be baked into the design itself. Since fixing these bugs often means sending it back upstream to request a new design, the process tends to be time consuming. If you haven't given much thought to content design in general, an internationalization effort can be a good time to start. Having standards and consistency around the copy used for various elements in your app can not only cut down on the number of words that need translating, but also eliminate the need to think through the content length pitfalls of using a novel phrase.The other pitfall we ran into was that the translation ids — especially long and repetitive ones — are highly susceptible to typos.Pop quiz, which of these translation keys will break our app: or Nestled among hundreds of other lines of changes, these are hard to spot in code review. Most apps have a fallback so missing translations don't result in a page breaking error. As a result a bug like this might go unnoticed entirely if it's hidden well enough (in say, a help text flyout).Fortunately, with a growing percentage of our codebase in TypeScript, we were able to leverage the type-checker to give developers feedback as they wrote the code. Here’s an example where our code editor is helpfully showing us a red underline to indicate that the id property is invalid (due to the missing “l”):Not only did it make the problems more obvious, but it also meant that violations would cause builds to fail, preventing bad code from entering the codebase.Scaling locale filesIn the beginning, you'll probably start out with one translation file per locale that you support. In addition, the naming scheme you use for your keys can remain somewhat simple. As your app scales, your translation file will grow too large and need to be broken up into separate files. Files that are too large will overwhelm Translation Management applications, or if left unchecked, your code editor. All of our translation strings (not including keys), when lumped together into a single file, is around 50,000 words. For comparison, that's roughly the same size as a copy of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" or "Slaughterhouse Five".We break up our translations into a number of "catalog" files roughly corresponding to feature verticals (like Firewall or Cloudflare Workers). This works out well for our developers since it provides a predictable place to find strings, and keeps the line count of a translation catalog down to a manageable length. It also works out well for the outside translation teams since a single feature vertical is a good unit of work for a translator (or small team).In addition to per-feature catalogs, we have a common catalog file to hold strings that are re-used throughout the application. It allows us to keep ids short ( common.delete vs some_page.some_tab.some_feature.thing.delete ) and lowers the likelihood of duplication since developers habitually check the common catalog before adding new strings.LibrariesSo far we've talked at length about our <Trans> component and what it can do. Now, let's talk about how it's built.Perhaps unsurprisingly, we didn't want to reinvent the wheel and come up with a base i18n library from scratch. Due to prior efforts to internationalize the legacy parts of our application written in Backbone, we were already using Airbnb's Polyglot library, a "tiny I18n helper library written in JavaScript" which, among other things, "provides a simple solution for interpolation and pluralization, based off of Airbnb’s experience adding I18n functionality to its Backbone.js and Node apps".We took a look at a few of the most popular libraries that had been purpose-built for internationalizing React applications, but ultimately decided to stick with Polyglot. We created our <Trans> component to bridge the gap to React. We chose this direction for a few reasons:We didn't want to re-internationalize the legacy code in our application in order to migrate to a new i18n support library.We also didn't want the combined overhead of supporting 2 different i18n schemes for new vs legacy code.Writing our own trans component gave us the flexibility to write the interface we wanted. Since Trans is used just about everywhere, we wanted to make sure it was as ergonomic as possible to developers.If you're just getting started with i18n in a new React based web-app, react-intl and i18n-next are 2 popular libraries that supply a component similar to <Trans> described above.The biggest pain point of the <Trans> component as outlined is that strings have to be kept in a separate file from your source code. Switching between multiple files as you author new code or modify existing features is just plain annoying. It's even more annoying if the translation files are kept far away in the directory structure, as they often need to be.There are some new i18n libraries such as jslingui that obviate this problem by taking an extraction based approach to handling translation catalogs. In this scheme, you still use a <Trans>component, but you keep your strings in the component itself, not a separate catalog:<span> <Trans>Hmm... We couldn't find any matching websites.</Trans> </span> A tool that you run at build time then does the work of finding all of these strings and extracting then into catalogs for you. For example, the above would result in the following generated catalogs:// locales/en_US.json { "Hmm... We couldn't find any matching websites.": "Hmm... We couldn't find any matching websites.", } // locales/de_DE.json { "Hmm... We couldn't find any matching websites.": "Hmm... Wir konnten keine übereinstimmenden Websites finden." } The obvious advantage to this approach is that we no longer have separate files! The other advantage is that there's no longer any need for type checking ids since typos can't happen anymore.However, at least for our use case, there were a few downsides.First, human translators sometimes appreciate the context of the translation keys. It helps with organization, and it gives some clues about the string's purpose.And although we no longer have to worry about typos in translation ids, we're just as susceptible to slight copy mismatches (ex. "Verify your email" vs "Verify your e-mail"). This is almost worse, since in this case it would introduce a near duplication which would be hard to detect. We'd also have to pay for it.Whichever tech stack you're working with, there are likely a few i18n libraries that can help you out. Which one to pick is highly dependent on technical constraints of your application and the context of your team's goals and culture.Numbers, Dates, and TimesEarlier when we talked about injecting data translated strings, we glossed over a major issue: the data we're injecting may also need to be formatted to conform to the user's local customs. This is true for dates, times, numbers, currencies and some other types of data.Let's take our simple example from earlier:<span>You've selected { totalSelected } Page Rules.</span> Without proper formatting, this will appear correct for small numbers, but as soon as things get into the thousands, localization problems will arise, since the way that digits are grouped and separated with symbols varies by culture. Here's how three-hundred thousand and three hundredths is formatted in a few different locales: Language (Country) Code Formatted Date German (Germany) de-DE 300.000,03 English (US) en-US 300,000.03 English (UK) en-GB 300,000.03 Spanish (Spain) es-ES 300.000,03 Spanish (Chile) es-CL 300.000,03 French (France) fr-FR 300 000,03 Hindi (India) hi-IN 3,00,000.03 Indonesian (Indonesia) in-ID 300.000,03 Japanese (Japan) ja-JP 300,000.03 Korean (South Korea) ko-KR 300,000.03 Portuguese (Brazil) pt-BR 300.000,03 Portuguese (Portugal) pt-PT 300 000,03 Russian (Russia) ru-RU 300 000,03 The way that dates are formatted varies significantly from country to country. If you've developed your UI mainly with a US audience in mind, you're probably displaying dates in a way that will feel foreign and perhaps un-intuitive to users from just about any other place in the world. Among other things, date formatting can vary in terms of separator choice, whether single digits are zero padded, and in the way that the day, month, and year portions are ordered. Here's how the March 4th of the current year is formatted in a few different locales: Language (Country) Code Formatted Date German (Germany) de-DE 4.3.2020 English (US) en-US 3/4/2020 English (UK) en-GB 04/03/2020 Spanish (Spain) es-ES 4/3/2020 Spanish (Chile) es-CL 04-03-2020 French (France) fr-FR 04/03/2020 Hindi (India) hi-IN 4/3/2020 Indonesian (Indonesia) in-ID 4/3/2020 Japanese (Japan) ja-JP 2020/3/4 Korean (South Korea) ko-KR 2020. 3. 4. Portuguese (Brazil) pt-BR 04/03/2020 Portuguese (Portugal) pt-PT 04/03/2020 Russian (Russia) ru-RU 04.03.2020 Time format varies significantly as well. Here's how time is formatted in a few selected locales: Language (Country) Code Formatted Date German (Germany) de-DE 14:02:37 English (US) en-US 2:02:37 PM English (UK) en-GB 14:02:37 Spanish (Spain) es-ES 14:02:37 Spanish (Chile) es-CL 14:02:37 French (France) fr-FR 14:02:37 Hindi (India) hi-IN 2:02:37 pm Indonesian (Indonesia) in-ID 14.02.37 Japanese (Japan) ja-JP 14:02:37 Korean (South Korea) ko-KR 오후 2:02:37 Portuguese (Brazil) pt-BR 14:02:37 Portuguese (Portugal) pt-PT 14:02:37 Russian (Russia) ru-RU 14:02:37 Libraries for Handling Numbers, Dates, and TimesEnsuring the correct format for all these types of data for all supported locales is no easy task. Fortunately, there are a number of mature, battle-tested libraries that can help you out.When we kicked off our project, we were using the Moment.js library extensively for date and time formatting. This handy library abstracts away the details of formatting dates to different lengths ("Jul 9th 20", "July 9th 2020", vs "Thursday"), displaying relative dates ("2 days ago"), amongst many other things. Since almost all of our dates were already being formatted via Moment.js for readability, and since Moment.js already has i18n support for a large number of locales, it meant that we were able to flip a couple of switches and have properly localized dates with very little effort.There are some strong criticisms of Moment.js (mainly bloat), but ultimately the benefits realized from switching to a lower footprint alternative when compared to the cost it would take to redo every date and time didn't add up.Numbers were a very different story. We had, as you might imagine, thousands of raw, unformatted numbers being displayed throughout the dashboard. Hunting them down was a laborious and often manual process.To handle the actual formatting of numbers, we used the Intl API (the Internationalization library defined by the ECMAScript standard):var number = 300000.03; var formatted = number.toLocaleString('hi-IN'); // 3,00,000.03 // This probably works in the browser you're using right now! Fortunately, browser support for Intl has come quite a long way in recent years, with all modern browsers having full support.Some modern JavaScript engines like V8 have even moved away from self-hosted JavaScript implementations of these libraries in favor of C++ based builtins, resulting in significant speedup.Support for older browsers can be somewhat lacking however. Here's a simple demo site ( source code) that’s built with Cloudflare Workers that shows how dates, times, and numbers are rendered in a hand-full of locales.Some combinations of old browsers and OS's will yield less than ideal results. For example, here's how the same dates and times from above are rendered on Windows 8 with IE 10: If you need to support older browsers, this can be solved with a polyfill.TranslatingWith all strings externalized, and all injected data being carefully formatted to locale specific standards, the bulk of the engineering work is complete. At this point, we can now claim that we’ve internationalized our application, since we’ve adapted it in a way that makes it easy to localize.Next comes the process of localization where we actually create varying content based on the user’s language and cultural norms.This is no small feat. Like we mentioned before, the strings in our application added together are the size of a small novel. It takes a significant amount of coordination and human expertise to create a translated copy that both captures the information with fidelity and speaks to the user in a familiar way.There are many ways to handle the translation work: leveraging multi-lingual staff members, contracting the work out to individual translators, agencies, or even going all in and hiring teams of in-house translators. Whatever the case may be, there needs to be a smooth process for both workflow signalling and moving assets between the translation and development teams.A healthy i18n program will provide developers with black-box interface with the process — they put new strings in a translation catalog file and commit the change, and without any more effort on their part, the feature code they wrote is available in production for all supported locales a few days later. Similarly, in a well run process translators will remain blissfully unaware of the particulars of the development process and application architecture. They receive files that easily load in their tools and clearly indicate what translation work needs to be done.So, how does it actually work in practice?We have a set of automated scripts that can be run on-demand by the localization team to package up a snapshot of our localization catalogs for all supported languages. During this process, a few things happen:JSON files are generated from catalog files authored in TypeScriptIf any new catalog files were added in English, placeholder copies are created for all other supported languages.Placeholder strings are added for all languages when new strings are added to our base catalogFrom there, the translation catalogs are uploaded to the Translation Management system via the UI or automated calls to the API. Before handing it off to translators, the files are pre-processed by comparing each new string against a Translation Memory (a cache of previously translated strings and substrings). If a match is found, the existing translation is used. Not only does this save cost by not re-translating strings, but it improves quality by ensuring that previously reviewed and approved translations are used when possible.Suppose your locale files end up looking something like this:{ "verify.button": "Verify Email", "other.verify.button": "Verify Email", "": "Verify Email to proceed", // ... } Here, we have strings that are duplicated verbatim, as well as sub-strings that are copied. Translation services are billed by the word — you don’t want to pay for something twice and run the risk of a consistency issue arising. To this end, having a well-maintained Translation Memory will ensure that these strings are taken care of in the pre-translation steps before translators even see the file.Once the translation job is marked as ready, it can take translation teams anywhere from hours to weeks to complete return translated copies depending on a number of factors such as the size of the job, the availability of translators, and the contract terms. The concerns of this phase could constitute another blog article of similar length: sourcing the right translation team, controlling costs, ensuring quality and consistency, making sure the company’s brand is properly conveyed, etc. Since the focus of this article is largely technical, we’ll gloss over the details here, but make no mistake -- getting this part wrong will tank your entire effort, even if you’ve achieved your technical objectives.After translation teams signal that new files are ready for pickup, the assets are pulled from the server and unpacked into their correct locations in the application code. We then run a suite of automated checks to make sure that all files are valid and free of any formatting issues.An optional (but highly recommended) step takes place at this stage — in-context review. A team of translation reviewers then look at the translated output in context to make sure everything looks perfect in its finalized state. Having support staff that are both highly proficient with the product and fluent in the target language are especially useful in this effort. Shoutout to all our team members from around the company that have taken the time and effort to do this. To make this possible for outside contractors, we prepare special preview versions of our app that allow them to test with development mode locales enabled.And there you have it, everything it takes to deliver a localized version of your application to your users all around the world.Continual LocalizationIt would be great to stop here, but what we’ve discussed up until this point is the effort required to do it once. As we all know, code changes. New strings will be gradually added, modified, and deleted over the course of ti me as new features are launched and tweaked.Since translation is a highly human process that often involves effort from people in different corners of the world, there is a lower bound to the timeframe in which turnover is possible. Since our release cadence (daily) is often faster than this turnover rate (2-5 days), it means that developers making changes to features have to make a choice: slow down to match this cadence, or ship slightly ahead of the localization schedule without full coverage.In order to ensure that features shipping ahead of translations don’t cause application-breaking errors, we fallback to our base locale (en_US) if a string doesn’t exist for the configured language.Some applications have a slightly different fallback behavior: displaying raw translation keys (perhaps you've seen in an app you're using). There's a tradeoff between velocity and correctness here, and we chose to optimize for velocity and minimal overhead. In some apps correctness is important enough to slow down cadence for i18n. In our case it wasn't.Finishing TouchesThere are a few more things we can do to optimize the user experience in our newly localized application. First, we want to make sure there isn’t any performance degradation. If our application made the user fetch all of its translated strings before rendering the page, this would surely happen. So, in order to keep everything running smoothly, the translation catalogs are fetched asynchronously and only as the application needs them to render some content on the page. This is easy to accomplish nowadays with the code splitting features available in module bundlers that support dynamic import statements such as Parcel or Webpack.We also want to eliminate any friction the user might experience with needing to constantly select their desired language when visiting different Cloudflare properties. To this end, we made sure that any language preference a user selects on our marketing site or our support site persists as they navigate to and from our dashboard (all links are in French to belabor the point).What’s next?It’s been an exciting journey, and we’ve learned a lot from the process. It’s difficult (perhaps impossible) to call an i18n project truly complete.  Expanding into new languages will surface slippery bugs and expose new challenges. Budget pressure will challenge you to find ways of cutting costs and increasing efficiency. In addition, you will discover ways in which you can enhance the localized experience even more for users.There’s a long list of things we’d like to improve upon, but here are some of the highlights:Collation. String comparison is language sensitive, and as such, the code you’ve written to lexicographically sort lists and tables of data in your app is probably doing the wrong thing for some of your users. This is especially apparent in languages that use logographic writing systems (such as Chinese or Japanese) as opposed to languages that use alphabets (like English or Spanish).Support for right-to-left languages like Arabic and Hebrew.Localizing API responses is harder than localizing static copy in your user interface, as it takes a coordinated effort between teams. In the age of microservices, finding a solution that works well across the myriad of tech stacks that power each service can be very challenging.Localizing maps. We’ll be working on making sure all content in our map-based visualizations is translated.Machine translation has come a long way in recent years, but not far enough to churn our translations unsupervised. We would however like to experiment more with using machine translation as a first pass that translation reviewers then edit for correctness and tone.I hope you have enjoyed this overview of how Cloudflare internationalized and localized our dashboard.  Check out our careers page for more information on full-time positions and internship roles across the globe.

… and you get a hostname! And you get a hostname! And you get a hostname!

cPanel Blog -

Solving a hostname security warning: The first time a user tries to log in to WHM on a newly-installed server, they see a security warning. It can be scary, especially for users on a trial license running cPanel & WHM for the first time. This happens because most modern browsers display a warning whenever a user tries to visit a site or domain with an invalid or self-signed certificate. cPanel & WHM attempts to secure ...

Announcing Seamless Login and Single Sign-On for WP Engine Sites

WP Engine -

As we continue to support our customers’ digital vision with best-in-class performance and an enterprise-grade security environment for WordPress, we’re also making sure their user login experience is smoother and more streamlined than ever before.  One of the ways we’re achieving this is by offering two new, easy-to-use, and easy-to-enable identity features: Seamless Login and… The post Announcing Seamless Login and Single Sign-On for WP Engine Sites appeared first on WP Engine.

When is it time to leave Shared Hosting & upgrade to Managed WordPress?

Nexcess Blog -

One of the best things about shared hosting is the low monthly price. One of the worst things about shared hosting is the low monthly price. The reality that both statements are correct presents a constant challenge to customers who are slowly outgrowing their initial decision to use shared hosting.  Before we start talking about when it makes sense to leave shared hosting and upgrade to a Managed WordPress solution, let’s highlight why so many people start off with shared hosting. The 3 reasons people start with shared hosting While there may be many reasons why people choose shared hosting for their first WordPress and WooCommerce sites, there are three that rise to the surface anytime you find yourself talking about hosting. First, the low price can’t be beat.  Ask anyone and they’ll tell you they’re looking for lower prices. This isn’t anything new.  In the days before wireless phones, where people paid for phone lines, there was a constant desire to look for lower prices for both local and long distance calls. That’s partly because no one understood the complexity that was hidden from them.  Hosting is very similar. Since everything technical has been abstracted away, it all seems easy and therefore, it shouldn’t cost that much. Shared hosting offers monthly hosting at prices lower than a complicated Starbucks order.  Second, no one knows what resources they’ll eventually need.  Another dynamic when it comes to hosting is that few people can predict how well their site will do (in terms of traffic) and how that relates to the resources they’ll need.  Homeowners face a similar challenge when considering solar panels. They’re often asked by professionals to evaluate how many kilowatts of energy they’ll consume in a day or month. Most of us have no idea because it’s a resource that we don’t measure directly or need to keep track of. When it comes to hosting, it’s hard to know if you’ll need a lot of CPU or a little, whether you will see consistently high RAM utilization or whether it will peak at random intervals. When you don’t know, sometimes it’s just easier to buy an inexpensive plan to start with and see how it goes. Third, most of us underestimate the need for advanced support.  The third and final reason most people get their start with shared hosting is that they don’t place a high value on advanced support. If you’ve never hosted anything before, it’s especially easy to hope that everything will work out and you’ll never need to make a phone call. Most customers of shared hosting assume that support will be there when they need it and rarely test to see if that’s actually true. Then, when they really need support, it’s somewhat shocking to discover that it doesn’t perform the way we assumed it would. Signs that it’s time to shift to Managed WordPress Hosting As you can imagine, the signs that it’s time to shift to managed hosting are the very reasons why someone may have chosen shared hosting to begin with: Low prices create slow performance Those low monthly prices are available because your website was placed on a shared infrastructure that houses thousands of other sites. The assumption is that you won’t get enough traffic to create a problem, and when you have a problem you won’t notice it. Often you’ll notice your site getting slower over time. That simply means the server your site is on is getting more and more packed. That’s what high density shared hosting is all about – packing the most sites on a set of servers. Slow performance is a sure sign that it’s time to think about making a move.  Slow performance and connection errors require more resources Even worse than a site that gets slower and slower over time is a site that stops loading or presents 502 errors (or 503, 504, etc.). Even if you don’t see these errors, your customers will. More importantly, your website will be “down” for those customers, which can impact your brand or revenue. These errors tell you that you need more server resources and likely a different configuration of your setup, but that isn’t available for $4/month. Poor support experiences mean you need better expertise The third way to figure out you need to shift from shared hosting to managed WordPress hosting is potentially the easiest one to spot. If you submit a ticket and the majority of the work is put back on your plate, you know it’s potentially time to make a change. Hosting companies that offer managed WordPress plans staff their support with experts who understand what you’re going thru and can help you. Shared hosting often doesn’t want you getting on the phone at all, redirects you to their knowledge base articles, and invites you to solve your own problem. When is it time to make the move to Managed WordPress? The answer to the question is rather simple – the time to make the move from shared hosting to Managed WordPress is whenever you experience any of the following: A site that is so slow that customers leave before the page loadsA site that seems to consistently get slower, month over monthA site that gets connection errors / becomes unavailable for othersWhen support organizations want you to do most of the work yourself When you experience any of these situations, you may want to check out Nexcess Managed WordPress or WooCommerce hosting. The post When is it time to leave Shared Hosting & upgrade to Managed WordPress? appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

12 Ways to Get the First Sale on Your New E-Commerce Site

DreamHost Blog -

You’ve just set up your e-commerce site. The design is trendy, the product descriptions are top-notch, and you’ve set up the perfect payment gateway. You’re officially open for business — boom, mic drop, collar pop! Now you just sit back and wait for the orders to come in, right? via GIPHY Sorry, Charlie. Getting that first sale can be a challenge, even with a solid marketing strategy. Ideally, you’ll want to begin to market your offerings even before your store is launched. However, you can take many of the same steps to promote your shop after it’s up and running. All you need is a little patience and an understanding of which techniques are most effective and affordable. In this article, we’ll discuss 12 ways you can get that first sale on your e-commerce site. Let’s get started! Your Store Deserves WooCommerce HostingSell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world's biggest e-commerce platform.See Plans 12 Ways to Make Your First E-commerce Sale 1. Reach Out to Your Network The first people to be aware of your business will likely be family and friends, and you can solicit their help in getting that first sale. If your product genuinely solves a pain point for anyone in your personal network, sell them on the benefits of buying from you. This is not much different from promoting to strangers online. To get started, ask your immediate family and friends to try out your products. You could even provide free samples. You can also reach out to your personal network on social platforms like Facebook, where you’ll likely be connected to old classmates and colleagues. The key here is to know your products inside and out, be aware of what problems they solve, and sell people on their benefits. Make sure to follow up with anyone interested and take the time to thoroughly answer their questions. Related: 12 Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Local Business 2. Start a Blog A blog offers a way to increase brand awareness and bring new traffic to your website. It’s also a platform where you can better expose your products to your audience. The more visitors you can bring to your site, the higher the probability you will make a sale. Some examples of content you can create on your blog include: Articles that demonstrate how to achieve a goal using your products Roundup posts that showcase your best solutions for solving a specific problem FAQs that answer questions people who might be interested in your products will have To improve your success rate, you’ll also want to do some keyword research. Organically working in some relevant keywords can help your posts rank higher in search engines. Related: How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy 3. Build a List of Email Subscribers Email marketing is a proven tactic for customer acquisition and retention. This means it can be a core part of your e-commerce marketing strategy. Signups for newsletters generally indicate interest in your brand. Therefore, an email list can generate one-off sales and drive repeat purchases from customers whose interest you’ll keep active by sending them regular (and relevant) content. Tools like Jackmail (which enables you to send automated emails) and Mailchimp (which provides email templates and tools for tracking metrics) can help you create and manage your own newsletters easily. Get Professional Email @yourdomainPromote your website with every message you send when you set up professional email with DreamHost. Plans start at $1.67/mo.Sign Up Now 4. Solicit Help From Social Influencers As a new brand, it’s vital to keep costs low. One cost-effective strategy for getting your first sale is working with influencers – or to be more specific, micro-influencers. Micro-influencers give you access to small, targeted audiences who already have a connection with the influencer and trust them. These influencers actively cultivate engaged and loyal followers and can get your product in front of that audience with their seal of approval. This is a worthwhile investment because the costs involved are typically low. That also means you can work with multiple influencers to reach increasingly larger audiences as your budget increases. The first step to getting started with this type of marketing is to search for influencers within your niche. You can explore relevant accounts on social media to locate candidates, or use a dedicated influencer database like Socialbakers. Related: How to Build an Awesome Online Store with the OceanWP Theme 5. Host Giveaways Everyone loves free things. When you’re just starting out, you can use this simple fact to your advantage to create awareness of your business and products. Hosting contests and giveaways can bring much-needed attention and help you build trust with potential customers. You don’t have to start big, nor do you need to give out your most expensive products. However, you do need to be willing to offer a few starter products for free. Giveaways can help you generate interest in your brand, as you’re drawing the attention of both participants and winners to your paid offerings. Participants may also share your products or information about the giveaway itself with their friends and networks. Services like ViralSweep and Gleam help you run contests and giveaways online while keeping things simple and professional. There are also dedicated WordPress plugins you can try out, such as RafflePress. 6. Give Discounts Unlike giveaways, discounts do not require you to give away your products entirely for free. Plus, discounts may make it easier to persuade a potential customer to buy from you. It can be difficult for new buyers to justify purchasing from your store at full price, especially when you have no established reputation or past customer reviews. Offering some of your best or most affordable products at a reasonable discount can be a strong incentive, reducing the risks and enticing visitors to give you a chance. Just remember that when setting up discounts, you’ll need to take production and shipping costs into account and make sure you don’t overextend your budget. It’s also a good idea to create sales with time limits, which play to visitors’ Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). Related: Word of Mouth: Why Customer Testimonials Work 7. Simplify Your Site’s Design By simplifying your website’s design, you can make it easier for potential buyers to use your site without any hassle. This is key for turning interested visitors into e-commerce conversions (in other words, your first sales!). One way to simplify your site’s design is by reducing the number of products displayed on its pages. You want to ensure that your site’s interface is not cluttered, and that a visitor doesn’t have to jump through many hoops to find what they want. This is one reason to have a prominent search bar and clear menu options for easy navigation. You’ll also want to use a lot of blank space to help focus visitors’ attention on your Calls to Action (CTAs). That can mean removing distracting and unnecessary elements and avoiding the temptation to include too much information on each product page. Finally, keep in mind that mobile phones far surpass desktops and laptops for making online purchases. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that your store is fully responsive. Related: WooCommerce Website vs. a Shopify Store: An In-Depth Guide 8. Build Your Brand on Social Media Building a brand makes it easier for existing customers to stay connected. It also helps potential customers find and learn about your business and the people behind it. To this end, you’ll want to create accounts on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok. By using social media, you can tap into audiences that are already using those platforms. You can grab their attention and create positive feelings towards your brand while creating and sharing relevant (and engaging) content. Attracting an audience through social media is a topic worth several posts of its own. In short, you’ll want to begin by doing some audience research, and deciding what platforms to focus on. Then you can start sharing content and promoting your products, linking followers back to your e-commerce site. Also, don’t forget that many social media platforms have groups formed around specific interests and topics. Joining these groups can help you connect with relevant potential customers and generate interest in your band. A great place to start is by signing up for and posting on Facebook Groups that are centered on your niche or industry. You’re Cordially InvitedJoin DreamHost’s Facebook group to connect with like-minded website owners and get advice from peers and experts alike!Join the Community 9. Market to B2B Clients An alternative way to generate your first sales is by selling to other businesses, rather than (or along with) directly to individual customers. Ultimately, your goal is to get your products into buyers’ hands, whomever they might be. This can be done by selling to wholesale retailers, either on a local, national, or even international level. Selling to businesses might not result in high profit margins, but it is a way to get your products in front of the right consumer audience. Once you have enough brand awareness, you can start to target customers directly. Related: How Your Online Business Can Nail Customer Service 10. Refine Your Product Descriptions You’ll only make a sale if your site’s visitors understand your products and what benefits they offer. This means creating clear and detailed product descriptions. It’s important to include all the relevant details and specifications, as well as high-quality images and other media. Some users might research products beforehand and only visit your store to make a purchase. However, others will begin their buyer’s journey on your site and will be entirely dependent on the information you provide. You want to ensure that those users can learn everything they need to know about your products without having to leave your site to find more information. To make that happen, you’ll want to find out what questions your target audience is asking, and include those details for your products. 11. Streamline Your Checkout Process You may have generated interest in your products, but people aren’t buying because they’re frustrated by your checkout process. For that reason, you’ll want to do everything you can to reduce cart abandonment. If users have to create an account or are forced to answer too many questions during checkout, they may decide it isn’t worth continuing. Each additional step is a chance for your customers to change their minds about following through on their purchases. One practical step to take when streamlining your checkout process is asking only for essential information, such as billing and shipping details. You may also want to include a progress indicator to let customers know how close they are to being done. Related: How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway for Your E-Commerce Website 12. Attend a Trade Show Of course, there are also ways to market your brand offline, such as by attending trade shows. You can likely find both regional and national events that are relevant to your niche and audience. There are plenty of sites that compile trade shows by industry and enable you to search for them, such as 10times, EventsEye, and TradeFairDates. At these events, you’ll get to meet both individual customers and wholesale vendors. You can drum up interest by offering free samples, exclusive coupons, or promo codes to any visitors who come by your booth. While it takes a little more work than some of the other options on this list, trade shows are an excellent way to get some exposure and start building relationships. E-Commerce Insights in Your InboxWhether you need help choosing a domain name, boosting your conversion rate, or creating a Facebook ad, we can help! Subscribe to our monthly digest so you never miss an article.Sign Me Up Get Those Online Sales Launching your online store is only the first step in starting an e-commerce business. Getting your first sale can be a real challenge. However, by taking a few well-proven steps, you can start your e-commerce store off on the right foot. One of the best strategies for getting those initial sales is to put a lot of high-quality content out there, via your blog and social media profiles. You can also host giveaways and offer discounts to drum up interest or look into less obvious options such as marketing to B2B clients and attending trade shows. If you’re looking to build or grow an online store, our WooCommerce hosting packages make it easy to sell anything on the world’s biggest e-commerce platform. Don’t hesitate to check them out! The post 12 Ways to Get the First Sale on Your New E-Commerce Site appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

DataBank Announces Opening of “SLC5” Salt Lake City Data Center

My Host News -

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – DataBank, a leading provider of enterprise-class colocation, connectivity, and managed services, announces the opening of its fifth Salt Lake City data center (SLC5) and is the 20th data center the company has opened in its nine metro markets. SLC5 is strategically located in Bluffdale, UT, on DataBank’s 23-acre Granite Point Campus, an engine of digital growth that is helping to give the region its “Silicon Slopes” nickname. The campus features its own 66MW, N+1 substation guaranteeing lower costs and scalability needed for the most ambitious enterprises and hyper-scale cloud ventures. DataBank’s newest facility features 50,000 sq ft of raised-floor space, 13 MW of total power availability, a comprehensive suite of Colocation, Cloud, Connectivity, and Managed Services, and has been designed from the ground up with a full suite of customer amenities and all the security features needed to meet HIPAA, PCI-DSS, SSAE-18 SOC1 and SOC2, GDPR, and FedRAMP compliance requirements. This combination of power, network, facilities, and the convenience and peace-of-mind of a campus setting ensure that DataBank’s SLC5 is the ideal data center for the high-performance computing, content providers, cloud giants, hyperscale providers and large enterprises. In addition, the Granite Point Campus is located in an area of low natural disaster risk, making it an ideal backup and recovery location for customers looking for an alternative to data centers in Los Angeles or San Francisco. “DataBank’s expansion in Salt Lake City is further evidence of the city’s growing importance in the data center market,” says Philbert Shih, Managing Director of Structure Research. “The region’s accessibility, quality of life, and business-friendly climate are attracting technology companies and talent, making it a legitimate data center location option for those on the west coast.” “DataBank has long been a believer in Salt Lake City as a fantastic data center market,” comments DataBank CEO, Raul K. Martynek. “We’ve demonstrated our commitment to the metro by investing heavily in the Granite Point Campus. SLC5 is just our latest expansion, and if market response is any indication, it will not be our last. Plans are already on the drawing board for SLC6.” For more information about SLC5, or to take a virtual tour, please visit About DataBank DataBank is a leading provider of enterprise-class data center, cloud, and interconnection services, offering customers 100% uptime availability of data, applications and infrastructure. DataBank’s managed data center services are anchored in world-class facilities. Our customized technology solutions are designed to help customers effectively manage risk, improve their technology performance and allow them to focus on their core business objectives. DataBank is headquartered in the historic former Federal Reserve Bank Building, in downtown Dallas, TX.


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