Industry Buzz

10 Tactics to Beat Your Online Competition

The Domain.com Blog -

Online business is a fiercely competitive arena. There are hundreds of thousands of companies just like you vying for the same set of customers. There are over 24 million eCommerce sites on the web and this number is bound to go up in the coming years. Our current state of digitalization has allowed customers to have endless choices. For them, moving to your competitor is as easy as clicking a different link. However, it is this competition in the business that makes it so exciting. Even more so in the eCommerce landscape. If you’re looking for ways to one-up your competition, then this article is for you. 10 Tactics to Succeed Online 1. Know your unique selling point. Your unique selling point (USP) is what differentiates your brand from others. It’s a trait–like product quality, competitive pricing, exceptional customer service, being conscious about the environment — it’s something you have but your competitors don’t. In short, your USP is your competitive advantage. Identifying your USP is the first step toward standing out from the crowd. It’s what makes potential customers choose you over your competitors.  To find your USP, ask yourself the following questions: Why should a customer buy from your business and not from your competitor?What is that one thing that you do differently? What does your target audience truly care about? Once you’ve identified your unique selling point, showcase it on your website, ad copies, and all the places where you can catch your customers’ eyeballs. 2. Understand your audience. The only way you can beat the competition is by truly understanding your target audience, especially their needs and pain points. You need to gather as much data as you can about your customers and their purchasing behaviors. There are plenty of marketing tools available that can help you better understand your users. Apart from these metrics, you also need to know what motivates them, what scares them, and, more importantly, what makes them click the “Buy Now” button. Having a clear understanding of your customers will help you speak their language and communicate how you can make their lives better as clearly as possible. 3. Establish your niche. Establishing your niche in a crowded marketplace and clearly communicating with your audience what you do can give you an edge over your competitors. One of the ways to do this is by looking at finer details such as your domain name.  For example, look at these two web addresses and guess which one might be an eCommerce store: www.bettergardens.comwww.bettergardens.store The latter immediately establishes that you’re selling supplies that help people make their gardens look beautiful. Domain extensions such as .STORE help you add more meaning to your domain name and your overall business. They give you credibility against competing generalists and help you focus on the right segment of a larger market. 4. Engage with your customers. It’s important to create a continuous, two-way dialogue between your brand and your users. Be active on social media and get involved in conversations that your prospective customers are passionate about. Focus on platforms where your prospects and customers are likely to hang out and provide value whenever possible. The key is to stay authentic and true to your brand’s values. What is important is building relationships that are meaningful. Also, send out feedback forms regularly to find areas to improve and focus more on the things that keep your customers happy. It will communicate the fact that you listen, understand their needs, and acknowledge their opinion. 5. Provide great customer experiences. When customers have a great experience with your business, it’s likely for them to come back. It also increases customer satisfaction levels. They will become your promoter and refer you to other people, improving your word-of-mouth marketing efforts.  Think about the unspoken needs of your customers and address them. What can you do to make this purchase a wonderful experience? Use quick delivery, hassle-free billing, and flexible return policies to delight your customers and create great customer experiences. It’s the little details such as these that set you apart from your competition. 6. Study your competitors regularly. If you need to stay ahead of your competition, you need to understand and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Actively studying them and learning from their best practices is crucial when it comes to running a successful online business. You need to go back to the drawing board periodically and have an active strategy in place to keep track of all your competitors. Here are some of the things you need to stay updated on: Website and advertisementsShipping policiesProduct priceProduct range and qualitySocial media presenceOnline reviews and customer grievances You can use online tools, like G Suite or Microsoft 365, to track and manage this information.  7. Experiment often. Any business that doesn’t innovate is wiped out by new disruptors. Innovation is key when it comes to standing out from the crowd.  Try to keep up with trends and see if you can apply anything to your business. Make brainstorming a regular team activity and come up with radical ideas. If you get it right, your audience will love you for it. You can also experiment with your online storefront and the whole customer experience. Start with small, incremental, and measurable changes and see if it makes a difference.  8. Be aggressive in your marketing. To stand out, you’ll need a holistic, all-around marketing strategy to reach a newer audience and upsell to existing customers. Use content marketing, SEO, PPC, social media, email marketing, and affiliate marketing to leverage all marketing channels. You can give some of these a spin in the beginning and focus on the ones that give you the most bang for your buck. A combination of both inbound and outbound tactics create brand awareness, produces loyal customers, and ultimately increases your bottom line. Some of these strategies might require outside help from marketing agencies or consultants, but it’s easy to get started on your own. 9. Optimize your web-store for mobile. Providing a great mobile experience is one of the key ranking factors in SEO.  Most website builders automatically optimize your website for mobile, but the job isn’t done. You need to make sure that your web pages load fast, and the entire shopping experience is as seamless on the phone as it is on a desktop. You can check your page speed with a free tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights.  10. Stay up-to-date with trends. You always need to stay up to date with market trends, especially the ones in your niche. Most of the time, your competitors will have put in the work to identify new trends. Following them will help you anticipate market shifts and make informed decisions.  Be active in communities and forums where your users are discussing this trend. Follow and establish relationships with key influencers in your niche. Staying connected through these channels will give you a headstart on upcoming trends. Ready to level up and beat the competition?  This constant rise in the number of online businesses is only increasing the competition. On the bright side, the crowded field proves the demand for such businesses is also on the rise, making eCommerce an exciting place to be. Launch your eCommerce store today with Domain.com! Author Bio Alisha is a Senior Content Marketing & Communication Specialist at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .STORE and .TECH. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.  The post 10 Tactics to Beat Your Online Competition appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Why DTC Ecommerce Matters More Than Ever Today

Nexcess Blog -

In 2020, DTC ecommerce has proven to be another sensible way to reach your customers, and many brands are looking at starting from B2B and transitioning to direct to consumer. Those of us working in ecommerce have been seeing the shift for a while now. As more and more stores transitioned their inventory online, the ecommerce boom wasn’t just happening – it was inevitable. Fast forward to spring of 2020 though, and NOBODY could have predicted what happened next.  Massive store closures triggered the single largest exodus from brick and mortar the world has ever seen, with more than 100,000 small businesses in the US alone closing for good as a result of the COVID-19 shutdowns. But small businesses weren’t the only ones to take a hit. Larger retailers like Neiman Marcus have filed for bankruptcy in the last few months, and that list continues to grow. All things considered though, the pandemic has thrown into sharper relief the need for a stronger ecommerce presence for many of these retailers. Record-breaking numbers are rolling in for ecommerce for 2020, including a growth spurt that put the industry four to six years ahead of schedule. The Problem With Wholesaling During COVID-19 Even in spite of many shoppers setting their sights online, manufacturers saw major hits to their B2B sales as brick and mortar stores shut down. Those relying on wholesale relationships to float their revenue took devastating hits in the midst of the shutdowns. As consumers turned to ecommerce sites like Amazon though, the fallout continued. In mid-March, Amazon restricted their B2B purchasing of nonessential goods in the wake of unprecedented demand for household staples. As Amazon made room in their warehouses for hand sanitizer and toilet paper, purchase orders for nonessential goods rolled to a trickle or stopped completely, and manufacturers saw B2B sales plummet. In the scramble to recover these revenue losses and brace for a potential second wave of retail shutdowns, many manufacturers are turning to DTC ecommerce models. What Is DTC and a DNVB? DTC stands for direct-to-consumer. It’s an ecommerce model wherein the brand sells directly to consumers, rather than through retailers, essentially cutting out the middleman. Some DTC evangelists will tell you the goal is to handle production, sales, distribution, and marketing under one roof and never go wholesale, but in 2020, it’s proven to just be another sensible way to reach your customers, and many brands are looking at starting from B2B and transitioning to DTC. A DNVB is a digitally native vertical brand that starts this way. Best typified by brands like Avocado Green Mattress and Allbirds, DNVBs typically start with a simple product line (typically one or two options), clear, crisp branding, and a strong mission-driven component. With brick and mortar sales remaining unstable and manufacturers now dealing with the fallout from their Amazon backlogs, DTC ecommerce is looking more attractive all the time – and consumers are taking notice, too. Mission-Driven Shoppers Are Fueling the Fire Interestingly, DTC brands are creating evangelical customers and devoted fan bases centered around two things: Amazing productsA unifying brand mission Consumer data shows that millennials now make up the majority of buying power in the US, and are 63% more likely to purchase from a brand because of their mission and values.  This data, coupled with the boom the DTC sector has seen from innovative consumer goods startups has created a replicable business model that’s looking all the more attractive to manufacturers who entered the industry through wholesaling. Four Components of a Successful DTC Ecommerce Site Over and over again, we see brands killing the game in DTC ecommerce, and the best of them have a few things in common: Clean branding. Visually-driven shoppers respond to powerful messaging and clean logos. Brands like Tushy and Anese are leading the pack with memorable branding that leaves a mark in a saturated market. Smooth UX. At Nexcess, we know that an ecommerce site’s performance is directly linked to its ability to generate revenue. The best DTC ecommerce sites have an intuitive layout, load fast, and have a smooth interaction with their shoppers. Simple product lines. They say simplicity sells, and that’s certainly the name of the game in DTC ecommerce. Strong DTC brands typically have one or two flagship products they make their mark with and expand on. Strong missions. The data supports that today’s consumers are more conscious of their purchasing decisions than ever. Making your mission clear and building your brand around it (instead of as an afterthought) will literally win you more sales, and good karma. Is It Time for You to Go DTC? If COVID-19 has taught us anything in ecommerce, it’s that you can’t have enough backup plans. Diversifying how and where you sell your products makes all the sense in the world. Those high-volume retail POs may seem nice for a while – until they vanish, and your revenue vanishes with it. Build resiliency, connect with your customer base, and get in on the thrill that is DTC ecommerce. Talk to one of our experts today about what it would take to get your brand online and selling DTC. The post Why DTC Ecommerce Matters More Than Ever Today appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

7 Best WordPress Review Plugins

HostGator Blog -

The post 7 Best WordPress Review Plugins appeared first on HostGator Blog. If your website is selling a product or service, then you need to have customer reviews integrated into your site.  Customer reviews can help to push your visitors closer to that buy button. By adding customer reviews to your site the right way, you can add social proof and make it more likely your customers will buy. Luckily, WordPress makes it easy to add reviews to your website via a WordPress review plugin. No matter your niche, or the type of review you want to add to your site, you’ll be able to find a plugin that’ll help you reach your goals.  Below we dive deep into WordPress review plugins. You’ll learn what they are, why they’re valuable, and we’ll showcase the the top WordPress review plugins on the market today.  What is a WordPress Review Plugin? To make things simple, a WordPress review plugin is a plugin that lets you add and set up reviews on your WordPress website.  The type of review plugin you’re looking for will be determined by the kind of site you’re running.  For example, a small business website might want to integrate Yelp and Google Business reviews into their sites. On other hand, an eCommerce store owner would want a plugin that lets users submit their own product reviews.  Still, no matter the type of WordPress review plugin you’re looking for, some of the foundational features will be the same. Here are some of the core features you’ll want to look for in a WordPress review plugin: A star rating system for each reviewThe ability for visitors to write their own reviews on your websiteA user dashboard that allows you to manage and publish certain reviewsThe ability to aggregate reviews from other sources like Yelp, Google, and moreBuilt-in options for displaying your reviews on different locations across your siteDesign features to ensure the layout and color schemes of the reviews integrate with your existing designLets your users upload other forms of media like photos, videos, and more.  Best WordPress Review Plugins There are a ton of different WordPress review plugins out there for you to sort through. Instead of having to spend hours browsing through the plugin repository, just spend a few minutes looking over the list below. Here are seven of the best WordPress review plugins on the market today:  1. Site Reviews Site Reviews is a very simple and easy to use review plugin. This plugin offers you an easy and straightforward way to let users add reviews to your site.  You can create a simple review form on your site and then choose where you’d like your reviews to display across your site. You can display reviews via widgets, shortcodes, and blocks. You also have complete control over how you want your reviews to look and can choose which reviews to showcase at the top of the list.  This plugin also integrates with Akismet for spam protection, and your reviews will show up as rich snippets in the search engines.  2. Google Reviews Widget If you have a ton of Google reviews that you want to integrate into your website, then the Google Reviews Widget plugin is for you. Instead of allowing users to submit reviews on the site, the plugin will aggregate any existing Google reviews and display them across your site. This plugin uses a widget to display all of your reviews, so you can showcase your reviews across any widgetized section of your site. The free version of the plugin is limited to five Google reviews and three Yelp reviews, so if you want to display more reviews you’ll want to upgrade to the premium version of the plugin. The plugin also comes with a few different themes you can choose from, so you choose the theme that best matches the design of your site.   3. WP Product Review WP Product Review is a plugin that lets you add user reviews to your website. It’s a very versatile plugin and supports many different types of reviews. For example, you can add pros and cons lists, user reviews, rich snippets (for search engine rankings), starred reviews, and more. You can customize how you want your reviews to display, and can create stunning review tables with a lot of customizable options.  This plugin is best suited for review-style websites that require detailed product breakdowns and comparison options. However, it can also be used to display customer testimonials with photos, quotes, and more.  4. WP Review Pro WP Review Pro is a feature-packed review plugin. It can support nearly every type of review out there.  It’s equipped with 16 different pre-made review templates. So, if you’re posting review-style content on your own website, all you have to do is choose a template and customize it to your liking.  There are also a ton of different integrations, like Yelp, Facebook, and Google Reviews. You can even integrate with WooCommerce, if you’re running an eCommerce store on WordPress. If you need a very versatile review plugin and you don’t feel like installing more than one plugin, then let this plugin take care of nearly all your review needs. 5. Taqyeem Taqyeem is a WordPress review plugin that offers you near unlimited customization options when it comes to displaying your reviews on your website.  For example, you can add a bar rating system, a star rating system, a percentage rating system, add unlimited colors, fonts, and more.  This is a great plugin for website owners who want to integrate reviews into their site, while also ensuring the branding of the reviews 100% matches the site’s design and style guide.  This plugin currently has over 150 reviews on CodeCanyon, with an almost-perfect five-star rating.  6. Customer Reviews for WooCommerce Online reviews are a very common part of the online shopping experience for eCommerce stores. So, if you’re a WooCommerce store owner and you want to add user generated product reviews to your website, then you’ll want to check out the Customer Reviews for WooCommerce plugin. The free version of this plugin has everything you need to gather and display reviews on your product pages. For example, you can setup automatic customer notifications for customers who recently bought something, but haven’t left a review yet.  Plus, all of the reviews are authenticated, so your visitors know that the review was left by a real person. Finally, all of the reviews can include rich snippets, so your ratings will be shown on Google.  The premium version of the plugin gives you access to premium support and even more features.  7. Photo Reviews for WooCommerce You might have come across a unique feature on Amazon where reviewers can upload images of themselves using the product. If you run a WooCommerce store and you want to make this same feature available to your users, then check out the Photo Reviews for WooCommerce plugin. This plugin can help to improve social proof even further and even encourage more of your users to actually leave product reviews.  There’s both a free and premium version of this plugin available. The free version is equipped with all kinds of advanced features like the ability to generate coupons for users who choose to leave photo reviews.  You can also include a sorting option, so your visitors can sort product reviews via star ratings, verified purchases, and more.  Why Use a WordPress Review Plugin? Adding reviews to your website can be incredibly advantageous. No matter what kind of website you’re running, or what you’re selling, you can benefit from using a review plugin. It’s very difficult to add reviews to your site without the help of a plugin. All you’ll really have access to is the WordPress post editor. This could work for things like testimonials that you’ve sourced. But, anything else and you’ll run into the limits of WordPress pretty quickly. Luckily, WordPress has all kinds of review plugins you can use to add a variety of different review formats to your site. Whether you want to add product reviews, Yelp reviews, Google reviews, or something else entirely, the WordPress plugin ecosystem has you covered.  Some review plugins even allow you to add user generated reviews to your site, so you can let the reviews stack up while you sleep.  By using a WordPress review plugin you can experience all the benefits that come with adding reviews to your website.  Benefits to Using a WordPress Review Plugin Some users will want to add Amazon-like reviews to their product pages, while other people might want to embed their existing Facebook and Google reviews into their sites.  Regardless of the type of website you’re running, or the products or services you sell, you can benefit from adding reviews to your site.  Here are some of the biggest benefits to adding reviews to your WordPress site: 1. Reviews Add Credibility and Social Proof Even if you have the best sales page in the world, your customers will be a little skeptical if you don’t have any testimonials. Customer reviews can help to reinforce what you say and make it more likely your customers will buy from you.  Spend some time exploring the product pages on Amazon and you’ll find that the products that sell the best also tend to have the highest number of positive reviews.  Having a high volume of positive reviews shows new buyers that you can be trusted and your product or service is high quality.  2. Reviews Can Act as Free Advertising Reviews are one of the biggest buying factors for online consumers. Think of it as a form of free advertising.  Even reviews that aren’t on your website will influence a buyer’s decision making process. For example, if they’re searching for a local business, they’ll probably end up going with the company that has the highest number of positive reviews.  By incorporating existing reviews into your site and giving visitors an easy way to leave new reviews on your website, you can expect your reviews to start to stack up and work for you.  3. Reviews Can Provide Valuable Product Feedback Reviews can be a great source of feedback for your products and services. Maybe there’s a weak feature of your product, or the review points out a hidden benefit you never thought of? Reviews can be a valuable way to hear what your customers think, both good and bad. Plus, by mining customer reviews you can find new phrases, pain points, and benefits to add to your product and service sales pages.  If you do get a negative review, responding and engaging in a dialogue can often bring that customer over to your side.  4. Reviews Can Round Out Your Product/Sales Pages No product or sales page is perfect on its own. A lot of online shoppers will value reviews more than the copy you write yourself.  How do they know you’re actually telling the truth about the products and services you sell? By reading honest and real customer reviews.  So, by having a variety of reviews integrated into your website you strengthen your product pages, and make them more likely to convert your visitors into actual buyers.  Put simply, no business website is complete without a handful of user reviews on your site. Choosing the Best WordPress Review Plugin for Your Needs By now you should have a better grasp on how valuable a WordPress review plugin can be. As you can see, WordPress review plugins are equipped with all kinds of features.  You probably won’t need to install every plugin mentioned in the list above. Website owners who aren’t running an eCommerce store won’t have a need for product photo reviews, for example. Instead, choose the best WordPress review plugin for your respective niche. We tried to cover nearly every type of site that could benefit from a review plugin above.  Remember, when choosing a review plugin for your site you’ll want to ensure that it has all the features you require, integrates with your existing design, and is easy enough to use.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Why SMBs Should Opt for Fully Managed Web Hosting

Reseller Club Blog -

Businesses around the globe are going online. While taking their businesses online is comparatively easy for well-established companies, small & medium businesses end up losing clientele for not being online or due to poor online services.  However, with changing times and the growth of affordable web hosting services in India, small entrepreneurs and SMBs are building a comprehensive online presence. As per a survey, nearly 33% of all small businesses in India have a website, while close to 19% have shown interest in building a website soon. This is a huge statistic considering the number of MSMEs in India. With more SMBs opting to go online, there is a need for customised hosting plans that tackle the specific needs and concerns of this sector. Most SMBs do not have the luxury to spend their limited resources on hiring technical staff. This lack of financial freedom to hire IT staff coupled with sub-par technical knowledge can incur huge losses for these businesses.  The high demand for hosting and the specific concerns gave rise to a new service offering targeted at SMBs – Managed Web Hosting. The capabilities of the hosting service will determine how quick your website will load, the uptime of your website, even your SERP ranking (a quick loading website ranks better), and the resources in terms of time and money you will have to allocate in maintaining the hosting service.  Thanks to Managed Web Hosting, SMBs are now able to modernize their businesses and have an impactful digital footprint. So, what does a fully managed web hosting offer that has enticed SMBs to opt for it?  What Is Managed Hosting Service? Fully managed web hosting is a service where your hosting company performs all the essential tasks required to maintain your website. Managed web hosting can be either Shared, Virtual Private Server, Dedicated, or even managed Cloud Hosting. Managed Hosting service frees you from the technical tasks such as configuring the servers, security, data storage, data backup, etc.      As a business organisation, you need to make sure that your website works normally, and for that, your one-stop solution can be Fully Managed Hosting. Fully Managed Hosting packages provide ready-to-go software installation, regular updates, and continuous monitoring. It also comes with regular security updates to mitigate hacking attempts. Most Fully Managed Hosting service providers offer customised hosting solutions and features that are designed exclusively for your business. By purchasing a Managed Hosting service, business organisations can expect services right from hardware & software setup to technical support. The availability of a support team ensures that expert advice is only an email away. This allows you to ask any query that you have and get it resolved immediately. Benefits of Fully Managed Web Hosting Having a Fully Managed Hosting plan can help you and your business in several ways. The benefits are listed below.  1.     Advanced Caching Features – Managed web hosting is equipped with pre-packaged cache features which are developed for scalable websites. You will not have to set up and optimise cache features. 2.     Integrate Apps – The cloud platform has several apps and CMS (Content Management Systems) on the cloud marketplace, which you can directly deploy as per your requirement. From building a landing page to an eCommerce store, everything can be done instantly. 3.     Integrated CDN – Good Managed Hosting providers also add the Content Delivery Network (CDN) to your plan and reduce the server response time by fetching the data from the nearest data node available. This will boost the page loading speed and help in your SEO too. 5.     Scalability – Managed hosting providers also take care of the scalability requirement. It does not involve downtime or high costs, making scaling up easy and hassle-free. So, SMBs can initially opt for a low resource plan and then scale as the business grows.  6.     Security – Web hosting providers offering Managed Hosting services can provide robust security available in the market. With good service providers, you also get cloud backups, SSL certificates, web application firewalls, and other top-rated security features. 7.     Power of cloud – Cloud applications provide sturdy performance, quick loading time, automated data backups & recovery, reliable customer service, and more. Cloud Web Hosting also has managed services that provide the best of both worlds. You can get all the benefits of the cloud, as well as, ease in operations. How to Select A Fully Managed Web Hosting? Before finalising on any Fully Managed Web Hosting, you need first to analyse the requirement for your organisation and the amount you are willing to spend. The features offered such as security, updates, tech support, etc. should also be considered. Security: As a regular update, security patch installation and the overall security upkeep is the prerogative of the hosting provider, it is imperative that you pay close attention to the security specifications offered by the provider.  Updates: Get in-depth information regarding the backup software used, the frequency of the backups, the process of the backup, the process for data recovery in case of any failure, etc.  Tech Support: You opt for Managed Hosting as you do not wish to spend the time and effort on managing the technical aspects. However, tech issues might crop up even in the Managed Hosting setup. Therefore, it is crucial to go for a hosting company that offers 24×7 customer support. While Fully Managed Web Hosting comes with its fair share of benefits, it will leave you with a limited option for customisation. Besides, the definition of ‘fully managed’ may vary from one hosting service provider to another in terms of services offered.  One way to make the best use of Fully Managed Hosting services is by researching each company’s plan in detail and comparing it to your needs. Almost every hosting company has multiple 24/7 customer service channels. Make complete use of them.  Only when you’re satisfied that the company provides everything that you need should you consider as a possible choice. To know more about our hosting services, and other updates from the world of hosting head to our Hosting Blogs now. .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post Why SMBs Should Opt for Fully Managed Web Hosting appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Questions You Should Ask Before Partnering With an Infrastructure Provider

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Partnering with an infrastructure provider can be one of the best ways to grow your own business. Why? Because the right partner can open doors for your organization. New markets, new services, new segments of clients…the possibilities for expanding your business are vast if you have the right partner at your side. But as with any relationship, there are “good” partners and “bad” partners, and it is imperative that you have a framework for partner evaluation if you are to ensure success. Below, we will lay the groundwork for that evaluation so that your choice in infrastructure partners will help, not harm, your business. Here are five questions to ask when evaluating infrastructure partners, not just for your clients, but also for your own business. 1. Are All of the Services that Your Clients Need Offered by the Infrastructure Provider? There is no point in considering a provider that doesn’t offer the services that you and your clients require. For example, many providers offer shared hosting and email but don’t offer dedicated servers. Others offer Managed WordPress but don’t offer VPNs. Finding a provider that checks all the boxes of the services you need will keep you from having too many relationships with too many disparate vendors. Most providers will have a well-documented website that gives you all the details you need to evaluate their suite of services and products. Pro Tip: List out the services that you and your clients require and check them off as you evaluate vendors. This will help you avoid overlooking some essential service that you may forget about if trying to evaluate things by memory alone. You can find out more details here: 2. Does the Infrastructure Provider Guarantee Uptime? Perhaps the most important metric by which to judge a hosting provider, at least when it comes to technology, is their uptime guarantee. In the infrastructure world, this is often referenced as “five nines,” “four nines,” or “three nines.” That is a reference to the percentage of time that the service is guaranteed to be working correctly. Five nines is equivalent to 99.999% of the time. Four nines correspond to 99.99% uptime, and so on. Infrastructure is bound to have a problem every now and again. After all, servers, switches, power supplies, and cabling do occasionally break in the course of regular use. What is important is how responsive and organized your hosting partner is in addressing these issues.” For example, Liquid Web guarantees network uptime to be 100%. This guarantee assures you that all major routing devices within the network are reachable from the global internet 100% of the time. By using redundant systems and quality components, Liquid Web can offer an industry-leading uptime guarantee. Contrast that with an infrastructure provider offering only “three nines” as their guarantee; that means almost nine hours of allowable downtime per year! Pro Tip: Use a website monitoring tool to track your website uptime. Many of these tools are free to use and can even notify you in the event of downtime. This will give you an extra layer of confidence that your website is always online. 3. Does the Infrastructure Provider Have a Positive Reputation? Most infrastructure and hosting providers have beautiful websites that promise wonderful services devoid of any problems. They will boast of peak performance, high-availability, and the best customer service. Of course, the reality is often very different. It is essential to check the reputation of each provider before signing up or choosing to partner. Customers who have already used the provider over a long enough period can attest to its reliability. Online reviews and forums are excellent sources of information about the provider’s service offerings and support levels. You can also find their comments on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Professional review websites like HostAdvice also maintain a selection of the best infrastructure providers. For example, take a look at their evaluation of Liquid Web. Pro Tip: Focus on recent reviews and articles. A provider can see its reliability vary over the years, depending on the renewal of its infrastructure and the life of the company. 4. Is the Infrastructure Provider Active Online? A provider must be able to communicate quickly with its customers if an issue arises. It is a reasonably reliable indicator of its professionalism and it is quite easy to verify. Start by checking that the provider has at least a Twitter account. Is this account active? Does the provider use it only to relay its new offers, and does it interact with its clients? Does the provider maintain a blog or news section on its site? Is there a network status page that allows you to know the current incidents and maintenance schedule in real-time? Aside from helping you learn more about potential partners, this digital footprint can be a good indicator that you won’t have trouble getting in touch with them should an issue arise. Pro Tip: Follow the social media accounts of infrastructure providers you are considering before you finalize a partnership. The information shared about the company, products, services, and customers will provide information useful to your evaluation. 5. Can You Communicate With the Infrastructure Provider? Perhaps the most critical component of a quality partnership is excellent communication. Can you get in touch with support easily?Is your Account Manager constructive and helpful, or hard to track down?Do the business hours align with your business hours or, even better, is your potential partner available 24/7/365? Liquid Web’s industry-leading SLA, for example, guarantees that the phone will be answered and live chat responded to in less than one minute. Contrast that with some providers that don’t even provide phone or chat support. Pro Tip: Give your prospective partner some support scenarios that you’ve experienced in the past and evaluate their response. You’re likely to glean valuable insight into their responsiveness and technical skill by actually discussing potential use cases. Set For Success With Your Infrastructure Partner Partnering with an infrastructure provider is a critical decision for your business’s long-term success and the businesses of your clients and customers. The right partnership can and should help your business grow. The right hosting or infrastructure partner should offer all the features and services that you and your clients need and the support you require. Although it should rarely happen, you may have some issues at some point, and you want a provider that will assist you quickly and efficiently. Take the time to make the right choice. Otherwise, you may lose a lot of time trying to change to a new partner or provider later on. If you are interested in learning how Liquid Web can serve as an infrastructure partner for your company and clients, contact us now. The Most Helpful Humans in Hosting have been partnering with small and mid-sized businesses for almost twenty years to provide industry-leading infrastructure solutions. Download our Hosting Buyer’s Guide The post Questions You Should Ask Before Partnering With an Infrastructure Provider appeared first on Liquid Web.

How to Convert Website Traffic With Facebook Ads

Social Media Examiner -

Wondering how to re-engage website visitors who don’t convert? Looking for Facebook ad types that work? In this article, you’ll discover how to convert your site traffic with two types of Facebook and Instagram ads. Understanding Where These Campaigns Sit in the Facebook Ad Funnel Before we dive into ad creation, you first need to […] The post How to Convert Website Traffic With Facebook Ads appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

Why I’m Helping Cloudflare Grow in Japan

CloudFlare Blog -

If you'd like to read this post in Japanese click here. I’m excited to say that I’ve recently joined the Cloudflare team as Head of Japan. Cloudflare has had a presence in Japan for a while now, not only with its network spanning the country, but also with many Japanese customers and partners which I’m now looking forward to growing with. In this new role, I’m focused on expanding our capabilities in the Japanese market, building upon our current efforts, and helping more companies in the region address and put an end to the technical pain points they are facing. This is an exciting time for me and an important time for the company. Today, I’m particularly eager to share that we are opening Cloudflare’s first Japan office, in Tokyo! I can’t wait to grow the Cloudflare business and team here.Why Cloudflare?The web was built 25 years ago. This invention changed the way people connected—to anyone and anywhere—and the way we work, play, live, learn, and on. We have seen this become more and more complex. With complexities come difficulties, such as ensuring security, performance, and reliability while online. Cloudflare is helping to solve these challenges that businesses are facing in a very effective way, and I wanted to be a part of it. Even back to the days when I was with Cisco, where I got to know many people in the network technical community—many of these people have mentioned Cloudflare as the vendor for the future of the Internet. Cloudflare is in a unique position to help make the Internet better for everyone across the globe.I want online users to have a better experience—one that’s fast, secure, and reliable—and I’m excited to help make this a reality while working with Cloudflare. I believe the team here is providing the tools to make the Internet better and easier, and is making customers happier. One thing that is important for me, one of my values you could say, is focusing on solving customers’ problems. This is something that I saw Cloudflare has always been deeply involved with as well. I’m passionate about helping more and more customers in Japan, and now in this new role, I’m ready to help make a better Internet part of their reality.Cloudflare JapanSome of the current challenges in Japan I see are that Japanese enterprises still have old on-prem systems and are late to move to the cloud. This includes companies that heavily rely on using the Internet and may be facing complexities or difficulties, which shouldn’t be the case. Cloudflare provides these very solutions to move to multi-cloud environments much faster and easier. We have been working with various customers in Japan already, and I’m excited to begin helping more and more businesses in the region. We’ve been committed to our partner network as well, which I’m excited to now be involved with and help grow even more. We have a number of channel partners in Japan, including large system integrators and mid-size cloud integrators, which cover various industries in the region. Cloudflare’s massive network, one of the largest in the world, currently spans 206 cities and more than 100 countries across the globe—including many in Asia-Pacific, and Osaka and Tokyo in Japan. This global network and team enables Japanese customers and partners (in various verticals and of all sizes) with the security, performance, and reliability solutions that are needed for their business-critical applications to connect to their users all across the world.We are continuing to grow the Cloudflare team and are now hiring for roles in our first Japan office, in Tokyo. if you're interested in joining this ambitious mission to help build a better Internet—for everyone, including companies and users in Japan—please visit our Tokyo careers page here. You can see the open roles for this office, which include Sales, Marketing, Technical Support, and more. I can’t wait to see what the Cloudflare team does for the region and on.Our opportunities in Japan and onI’m looking forward to enabling Japanese customers with the network and tools to scale their businesses. There are still many users that are building their security protections and other solutions by themselves in on-prem and cloud environments. If you are facing complex issues, or seeking security features in multi-cloud environments, looking to reduce cost, and on—reach out to me (maoba@cloudflare.com). We have a solution for that. We are here to help you.

What Legal Requirements Apply to Your Small Business Website and Online Store?

HostGator Blog -

The post What Legal Requirements Apply to Your Small Business Website and Online Store? appeared first on HostGator Blog. Are you ready to set up your online store or small business website? Make sure you’re clear on the laws you’ll need to follow. We’ve written before about the permits or licenses your business may need to operate online. In this post, we focus on website-specific legal issues. First, our disclaimer: I’m not an attorney, and you should check in with a business lawyer if you have questions. The Fine Print: Terms of Services Make sure your site complies with your web host’s terms of service (TOS) and acceptable use policy. For example, HostGator’s TOS requires—among other things–that site owners be at least 18 years old and not be in a country under sanction by the US government. The acceptable use policy, meanwhile, prohibits using the service for gambling, bitcoin mining, live sporting event broadcasts, and other  heavily regulated or resource-intensive businesses. Next, it’s time to create some fine print of your own. Display your business terms and conditions about pricing, returns, shipping, and billing so customers know what to expect. This is especially important if you’re selling products or digital goods directly from your site. Security and Data Privacy Your customers want to know they can trust you with their information. Data breaches can wreck your business with financial losses, lost trust, and legal penalties. And with the EU’s far-reaching General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now in effect, even the smallest businesses need to step up their security compliance. GDPR applies to all businesses that offer goods and services to people in the EU, no matter where those businesses are located or how many people they employ. GDPR is a huge law, but the basics for small business owners are: You must have clear consent to collect consumer data. For example, you can add a GDPR-compliant cookie consent banner to your site. You must delete customer data on request. You need to keep customer data safe or face fines. HostGator’s SSL certificates encrypt data to and from your site, making it compliant with privacy laws and PCI-DSS security standards. HostGator’s Security and Privacy Bundle protects your website from viruses, malware, hackers, and spam by automatically scanning your website to detect and remove threats. You must report serious data breaches to law enforcement within 72 hours of discovery. Anti-Spam Laws No one likes spam emails, and lawmakers around the world are serious about stopping it. How serious depends on the region—US anti-spam laws have looser restrictions and lower penalties than those in Canada and the EU. If your new company will do cross-border business with Canadian and European customers, or if there’s a chance you will do so in the future, your best move is to follow the strictest anti-spam protocols. In the US The CAN-SPAM law, which stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing, only deals with business-to-consumer marketing emails. CAN-SPAM requires recipients to opt out of messages they don’t want to get, and the unsubscribe process can be a multi-step hassle. CAN-SPAM violations can result in fines of as much as $40,000 per incident. This law doesn’t clearly address marketing emails sent to US residents from outside the country. In Canada Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) created an opt-in system, which means people must sign up to get your marketing emails (or texts, voicemails, and other direct marketing digital communications) unless they already have a recent business relationship with you. CASL applies to emails sent to Canadians from outside Canada. Unsubscribing must be easy and fast. CASL violations can result in fines up to $10 million. One more potential penalty for CASL violations hasn’t taken effect yet: the right of individuals to sue companies that spam them for as much as $1 million per day. That part of the law is under review. In the EU GDPR covers spam, and its provisions are stricter than the US and Canadian laws. Not only does GDPR require recipients to opt in to marketing messages, there’s no implied consent by people who are already your customers. To add people, you need to make a separate, specific request, with no pre-checked boxes, and parental consent for anyone under the age of 16. GPDR fines are roughly $11 million per incident. In Brazil Brazil passed its own privacy law in August 2020. The law, which is called Lei Geral de Protecao de Dados (or the LGPD), is similar in scope and effect to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Like the GDPR, the LGPD requires businesses handling personal data to be accountable for collecting, using and managing that information appropriately. It also provides individuals with new rights. You can learn more about the basics of the LGPD here. Anti-Spam Best Practices to Follow For your existing list, only send marketing messages to people you’ve done business with within the past two years.  For all new sign-ups, create a separate opt-in form that includes a tick box for recipients to indicate whether they’re age 16 or older. Identify your business clearly in all your marketing messages. Include an easy-to-use opt-out tool with every message you send. Comply with opt-out requests quickly. Your Intellectual Property Technically speaking, you hold the copyright to the stuff you create as soon as you create it, but a copyright notice on your site is always a good idea. It accomplishes the obvious goal of letting visitors know that the content on your site belongs to you. If you have registered trademarks for your business name, products, or services, include a trademark notice on your site. We talk about trademarks in our article on small business permits and licenses. Your Website’s Accessibility The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that most businesses make their websites accessible for people with vision, hearing, and other impairments. The ADA requirement may not apply to your business if you’re very small or just getting started. Businesses that operate at least 20 weeks each year *and* have 15 or more full-time employees must maintain accessible web sites. “Public accommodation” businesses like transportation and hotels must also comply. Even if you’re not required to make your website accessible, it’s a good idea, because more than 12% of Americans have some form of disability. Not only that, accessible features like larger fonts, clear contrast between fonts and backgrounds, transcripts of videos, and written descriptions of images can be useful to everyone—think about how many people watch videos with the sound off and you’ll see why captions or transcripts are a smart move. UC Berkeley has a great guide to making your site accessible. Make Your Small Business Website Legally Compliant Creating a compliant site takes some work, but the payoff is a safer business web site, stronger customer trust, and a lower risk of privacy and security related fines and losses later on. If you’re a HostGator customer, contact us to add the Privacy and Security Bundle to your website now. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Cloudflare outage on July 17, 2020

CloudFlare Blog -

Today a configuration error in our backbone network caused an outage for Internet properties and Cloudflare services that lasted 27 minutes. We saw traffic drop by about 50% across our network. Because of the architecture of our backbone this outage didn’t affect the entire Cloudflare network and was localized to certain geographies. The outage occurred because, while working on an unrelated issue with a segment of the backbone from Newark to Chicago, our network engineering team updated the configuration on a router in Atlanta to alleviate congestion. This configuration contained an error that caused all traffic across our backbone to be sent to Atlanta. This quickly overwhelmed the Atlanta router and caused Cloudflare network locations connected to the backbone to fail.The affected locations were San Jose, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, Richmond, Newark, Atlanta, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris, Stockholm, Moscow, St. Petersburg, São Paulo, Curitiba, and Porto Alegre. Other locations continued to operate normally.For the avoidance of doubt: this was not caused by an attack or breach of any kind.We are sorry for this outage and have already made a global change to the backbone configuration that will prevent it from being able to occur again.The Cloudflare BackboneCloudflare operates a backbone between many of our data centers around the world. The backbone is a series of private lines between our data centers that we use for faster and more reliable paths between them. These links allow us to carry traffic between different data centers, without going over the public Internet. We use this, for example, to reach a website origin server sitting in New York, carrying requests over our private backbone to both San Jose, California, as far as Frankfurt or São Paulo. This additional option to avoid the public Internet allows a higher quality of service, as the private network can be used to avoid Internet congestion points. With the backbone, we have far greater control over where and how to route Internet requests and traffic than the public Internet provides.TimelineAll timestamps are UTC.First, an issue occurred on the backbone link between Newark and Chicago which led to backbone congestion in between Atlanta and Washington, DC. In responding to that issue, a configuration change was made in Atlanta. That change started the outage at 21:12. Once the outage was understood, the Atlanta router was disabled and traffic began flowing normally again at 21:39. Shortly after, we saw congestion at one of our core data centers that processes logs and metrics, causing some logs to be dropped. During this period the edge network continued to operate normally.20:25: Loss of backbone link between EWR and ORD20:25: Backbone between ATL and IAD is congesting21:12 to 21:39: ATL attracted traffic from across the backbone21:39 to 21:47: ATL dropped from the backbone, service restored21:47 to 22:10: Core congestion caused some logs to drop, edge continues operating22:10: Full recovery, including logs and metricsHere’s a view of the impact from Cloudflare’s internal traffic manager tool. The red and orange region at the top shows CPU utilization in Atlanta reaching overload, and the white regions show affected data centers seeing CPU drop to near zero as they were no longer handling traffic. This is the period of the outage.Other, unaffected data centers show no change in their CPU utilization during the incident. That’s indicated by the fact that the green color does not change during the incident for those data centers.What happened and what we’re doing about itAs there was backbone congestion in Atlanta, the team had decided to remove some of Atlanta’s backbone traffic. But instead of removing the Atlanta routes from the backbone, a one line change started leaking all BGP routes into the backbone.{master}[edit] atl01# show | compare [edit policy-options policy-statement 6-BBONE-OUT term 6-SITE-LOCAL from] ! inactive: prefix-list 6-SITE-LOCAL { ... } The complete term looks like this:from { prefix-list 6-SITE-LOCAL; } then { local-preference 200; community add SITE-LOCAL-ROUTE; community add ATL01; community add NORTH-AMERICA; accept; } This term sets the local-preference, adds some communities, and accepts the routes that match the prefix-list. Local-preference is a transitive property on iBGP sessions (it will be transferred to the next BGP peer). The correct change would have been to deactivate the term instead of the prefix-list.By removing the prefix-list condition, the router was instructed to send all its BGP routes to all other backbone routers, with an increased local-preference of 200. Unfortunately at the time, local routes that the edge routers received from our compute nodes had a local-preference of 100. As the higher local-preference wins, all of the traffic meant for local compute nodes went to Atlanta compute nodes instead. With the routes sent out, Atlanta started attracting traffic from across the backbone.We are making the following changes:Introduce a maximum-prefix limit on our backbone BGP sessions - this would have shut down the backbone in Atlanta, but our network is built to function properly without a backbone. This change will be deployed on Monday, July 20.Change the BGP local-preference for local server routes. This change will prevent a single location from attracting other locations’ traffic in a similar manner. This change has been deployed following the incident.ConclusionWe’ve never experienced an outage on our backbone and our team responded quickly to restore service in the affected locations, but this was a very painful period for everyone involved. We are sorry for the disruption to our customers and to all the users who were unable to access Internet properties while the outage was happening.We’ve already made changes to the backbone configuration to make sure that this cannot happen again, and further changes will resume on Monday.

Managed WordPress vs DIY vs cPanel: Which Is Best?

Nexcess Blog -

BACKUPS cPanel: You can connect to cPanel’s backup tools, but know that it will save the files onto the source destination by default. This might be acceptable, but it should be noted that, in the unfortunate event that your server ever crashed, your backups would go along with it. DIY: To ensure you have proper backups, you’ll need to configure what you want backed up and when. This will involve continuously testing your backups, verifying them, and manually removing them so as not to overload your space. It’s a continuous and complex process, but it’s better than losing a backup before you really need it.Managed WordPress: We take care of the boring and time-consuming work for you here, backing up every site on your account and removing old backups as needed. You can set up a daily schedule that suits your needs and run one-offs in between as desired. You can also rest easy knowing your backups are saved for 30 days on a separate server, eliminating risks and increasing security overall.  PLUGINS AND CORE UPDATES cPanel: cPanel offers the ability to install WordPress onto a website. The process involves downloading it, uploading it, and verifying it. It’s work for certain, but it gets the job done. Plugins can be added through the WordPress repo, but updates must be done on a manual basis, backing up the site (as previously mentioned), confirming the details, and agreeing to the update. Once it’s live, you can check your site to make sure everything worked as expected. DIY: There are many plugins and services that can assist with general updates, but nothing can automate the process for you for all. This leaves you in the driver’s seat to confirm updates for the many plugins you use on every WordPress site you manage. You’ll also need to spend some time after the updates to make sure everything still works right on your site — it’s not something that happens often, but plugin updates can adjust all sorts of functions and features you expect to be safe.Managed WordPress: Nothing is left to chance with the managed approach. We run checks before any given plugin is automatically updated using our visual comparison tool, confirming your site will still look the same after the update as it did before.  MANAGING MORE THAN ONE SITE cPanel and DIY: Everything required for regular upkeep is done on a per-site basis. Multiple third-party tools are needed to simplify the process, which often comes with additional expenses and management tasks.Managed WordPress: Every Managed WordPress account comes standard with iThemes Sync, giving you the ability to manage all of your sites in one beautiful dashboard at no additional cost. You’re also able to set up reporting and notifications as needed, tailored to your portfolio’s needs.  CACHE + PERFORMANCE cPanel: If you want to keep your individual sites running fast and smooth, you’ll need to investigate what plugins are available based on your specific capabilities. The best of these will not be free, but the alternative is too expensive. The management of these will all be on you, though some automation may be included with more premium options.DIY: There are many things that require configuration and this will be necessary for every site you manage. All costs associated with the services employed are added to your monthly investment and obtaining support may be challenging, as each service is separate and solely focused on their product alone. The DIY hosting approach will also require regular tests and verifications, because setting these things up wrong is worse than not using any at all! Managed WordPress: From Varnish to Memcache to Redis and more, we take care of the licenses and support for you, pre-configuring all of it to help you run the fastest, most stable site possible.  OVERALL CONTROL There’s a common misconception that Managed WordPress is really just about giving up control to the host, but that couldn’t be further from the truth…  In reality, you’re gaining MORE control! With more free time to focus on things that matter and access to SSH, phpMyAdmin, and your database, you can do everything you could with the DIY approach and more with Managed WordPress.  The post Managed WordPress vs DIY vs cPanel: Which Is Best? appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

Best Free Video Hosting Options for Budget Bloggers

InMotion Hosting Blog -

For some reason or another, you may be looking to choose a free video hosting platform and you’re not sure where to start. To be sure, video is becoming more and more important. With Cisco reporting that by 2022 videos will make up 82% of all online consumer internet traffic, hopefully, you already know the reasons your website needs video.  And if you’ve decided to add video integration to your website, you’ve probably done some research on video content and how to use video to market your blog or small business.  If you’re like a lot of bloggers, there’s a chance you’re blogging on a budget. Continue reading Best Free Video Hosting Options for Budget Bloggers at InMotion Hosting Blog.

5 Easy Ways Small Local Businesses Can Drive More Website Traffic

HostGator Blog -

The post 5 Easy Ways Small Local Businesses Can Drive More Website Traffic appeared first on HostGator Blog. Managing a website for your small or local business is one of the best things you can do for your business. Not only is it affordable and easy to build a website, but it’s also one of the best ways to acquire customers. Stats show that most Americans prefer to shop online, but websites aren’t just beneficial for eCommerce stores. Websites are also integral when it comes to driving local businesses to your brick-and-mortar location.  In fact, there has been a 900% growth in “near me tonight/today” searches recently. Also, 72% of people who conduct a local search will visit a store within 5 miles. Not to mention, 78% of local mobile searches result in purchases. A website will boost your business, but to get the most out of your website, it’s critical that you do everything you can to increase your online visibility. Here are five surefire ways you can drive more website traffic. 1. Optimize your website for local search Did you know that nearly half of all searches on Google are local? This means people using Google are trying to find a product or service in their local area. Additionally, 88% of local business searches via a mobile device will call or visit the business within 24 hours. However, if you haven’t optimized your website for local search and claimed your Google Business listing, it will be difficult for those active customers to find you.  To claim your Google business, start by going to google.com/business and follow the steps to make a Google account for your business. Once you have a Google business listing, local searchers will be able to quickly find your business information. 2. Invest in paid advertising on Google One in ten SMBs doesn’t invest in any type of digital marketing. This means if you do invest in digital marketing—like paid search—you’re one step ahead of your competitors when it comes to driving traffic to your website. As a quick review, paid ads take the top slots on the Google search engine results page (SERPs), and searchers know it’s an advertisement because Google places a small text reading “ad” before the search headline.  Instead of relying on search engine optimization (SEO), SMBs can pay for a Google Ads advertisement, and the top bidder is rewarded with the highest paid listing slot.  For example, let’s say you sell dog food. You can create an ad on Google Ads and bid on relevant keywords (e.g., “dog food). Google will rank your ads based on how much you pay in relation to other advertisers. Paid search is an excellent way to boost traffic to your small business website. This is especially true if your website is relatively new since it often takes a few months for new websites to rank in organic listings (SEO).  Paid search works, too. Seventy-five percent of internet users click on ads, and 49% of people are most likely to click on a text ad. Stats also show that paid search often results in higher conversions, as PPC (pay-per-click or paid search) visitors are 50% more likely to purchase something than organic visitors. 3. Drive traffic to your small business website through email marketing Email marketing is one of the top marketing tools small businesses use to capture business. It makes sense that email marketing would be such a popular pick, considering email subscribers are among the most loyal followers, and a majority of consumers say permission-based email is the preferred way for you to communicate with them. Email marketing also has the highest ROI out of any other digital marketing strategy. However, email marketing is most effective when used to drive traffic to your website. Some popular ways you can use email to drive people to your website include: Linking a special promotion or discount that redirects visitors to your websiteProviding an email link to free content (e.g., eBook, guide, etc.) on your websiteSending a loyalty discount code Providing a freebie consumers can add to their purchaseOffering a chance to win a contestAnd more! Remember, a top email service provider, like Constant Contact, allows you to capture email subscribers with a form you can put on your website, organize your lists, segment your subscribers, and even send triggered email promotions based on user activity. 4. Find an influencer that loves your small business When is the last time you purchased a product, visited a website, or participated in a charity because your favorite Instagram influencer or YouTube personality recommended it to you? Chances are, it wasn’t long ago considering 70% of teens trust influencers more than celebrities, 86% of women use social media for purchasing advice, and 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations. If there is an influencer that you know loves your small business, try asking them or even paying them to create an ad for your website.  Influencer marketing is becoming one of the fastest-growing marketing strategies and it produces desirable results. Influencer marketing campaigns earn $6.50 for every dollar spent, according to some studies. Influencer marketing is also the most cost-effective marketing strategy according to 22% of marketers, making it a great option for SMBs with smaller budgets. 5. Optimize your website for SEO While it’s true that paid search will help you see an immediate boost in traffic to your website, search engine optimization (SEO) efforts will provide long-term and ongoing traffic opportunities. The first step in creating a website that Google will love is to make sure your website ticks all the SEO checkmarks from the get-go. You can either pay a programmer hundreds, or thousands, of dollars to do this or you can use a proven template from HostGator’s Gator Website Builder to build your website.  All HostGator templates are mobile-responsive and designed with SEO goals in mind. The best part of using a HostGator template is you don’t have to do anything except pick the one you like best. The next step is to engage in all SEO basics before you even pick your domain name. This is a slightly involved process and requires a small learning curve. However, taking the time to make sure your website is fully optimized for search will pay off in the long run. There are 15 main steps, and all of them are covered well in this article on SEO for new websites. The best news is you don’t have to know anything about SEO to make sure you’re following all the website and blog post optimization rules. There are several resources (like the guide listed above) as well as plugins (Yoast SEO, for example) that will guide you through the SEO process every time you create a post.  Additionally, HostGator has an added SEO service you can purchase if you don’t want to think about SEO at all. This is a good idea if don’t have the bandwidth to monitor your SEO, and would rather have a HostGator expert do it for you Get your small business website up and running with HostGator today! If you own a business and haven’t yet built a website for your small business, what are you waiting for? The time is now. HostGator hosting is affordable, convenient, and every time you purchase a hosting package, you get a free domain name as well as access to hundreds of customizable, SEO-friendly, gorgeous website templates. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Meet a Helpful Human – Christopher Eller

Liquid Web Official Blog -

We’re the employees you would hire if you could. Responsive, helpful, and dedicated in ways automation simply can’t be. We’re your team. Each month we recognize one of our Most Helpful Humans in Hosting. Meet Christopher Eller Christopher has worked as a web developer, designer, and manager for 24 years, starting his career pre-Internet building websites on California State University servers. He’s worked with over 20+ companies and contracts, hundreds of clients, and thousands of websites, working with DotNetNuke, ASP, ASP.NET, C#.NET, Telerik Sitefinity, SharePoint (MOSS and WSS), and has been focused on WordPress since 2007. He had been hosting a collocated server at a Liquid Web data center since 2016, and realized how much more support he received from Liquid Web than any other web host he had hosted with. He began to refer clients to Liquid Web, counting on their legendary support to help him and his clients in their times of need. When an opportunity arose in 2019 to join the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting, he jumped at the opportunity due to his belief in our mission and values. We sat down with him to learn more about him and his journey. Why did you join Liquid Web? I joined Liquid Web because I was in a support chat for a client’s website late one night a few years ago, and I realized that in the three years of hosting hundreds of clients at Liquid Web, their Support had always been there to help in less than a minute, without fail, 24/7/365. After years of being on hold for as much as an hour for clients with web hosts other than Liquid Web, I realized I really wanted to be part of the team that did this incredible one minute support thing, so I searched their Careers Page until I found a position where I could make a contribution. Today, I’m an Affiliate Program Manager and work with a superb, fun, and dedicated group of people on our Affiliate Team. Is there something specific at Liquid Web that you just love? I love the Helpful Human culture that flows through everyone, especially internally. At my first All-Hands meeting (our annual Q&A with Leadership), I discovered that from top to bottom, Liquid Web is an open and caring organization. People care about you inside of Liquid Web as much as they care about the company and the customer, which is truly rare. In most organizations, it’s all about profit and the customers: that’s not how it is at Liquid Web. They have built a culture unlike any other. It’s legit, amazing, and refreshing. In your eyes, what’s the difference between Liquid Web and other employers? Liquid Web invests in their employees both personally and professionally. Besides the intangible benefits of working with wonderful people across many departments, the tangible benefits are far superior to benefits I’ve experienced with other companies. We receive amazing health benefits, which are absolutely essential for my family, and it provides much better coverage at a lower cost for us than I have had with other employers. That’s truly something I am grateful for. Tell us about a truly rewarding experience you’ve had with a customer. I received a Slack message from a Liquid Web Support team member that I had worked with when I was a client for Liquid Web stating that he was chatting with a former WordPress client of mine who had nothing but great things to say about me. And my former client wanted the Support team member to relay a hello from him to me. I also found out that the client now hosts all of his clients with Liquid Web. Building relationships that last beyond company and career transitions is both rare and rewarding. What is one thing you wish our customers knew about their hosting? I’m constantly sharing comments, posts, and emails with notes about our 59-Second Initial Response Guarantee. But it’s not just the speed at which Liquid Web responds to issues for customers that is impressive. Many other web hosting companies offer triage support, meaning that the initial person you speak with will not have the authority or knowledge to solve your request or issue. At Liquid Web, the first technician you work with almost always has the ability and knowledge to resolve your request, or be able to dive with you into the issue and solve it alongside you. Only the worst issues roll into tickets. Even more importantly, Liquid Web Support handles requests that fall outside the normal scope of work; we call this “Beyond Scope Support.” These are the issues that other web hosting companies won’t touch, and Liquid Web Support techs are happy to dive in and help as best as they possibly can, even though it isn’t necessarily their responsibility to do so. They are that helpful. I have never encountered this level of support anywhere else in the Hosting Industry. Work aside, what are some of your hobbies? I love hanging out with my wife and kids, landscaping, gardening, and cooking. But my favorite pastime is writing and studying fiction literature and screenplays. I have a book of short stories published on Amazon. One of my favorite quotes about writing is by one of my favorite authors Robert Heinlein, “Yes, I write but I only do it in private and I always wash my hands afterwards.” What is your nickname at Liquid Web and why? My Affiliate teammates call me “The King of Dad Jokes.” Here’s a few classics that are sure to get your audience staring at you: “What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?” “Can you drop an egg on a concrete floor without cracking it? Yes, it is very hard to crack a concrete floor with an egg.” “Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees? Because they’re so good at it.” What is your favorite TV show? I wait until the end of the season and binge watch everything at once so I can enjoy the entire story continuity of the whole season at once. Some of my top shows are Breaking Bad, House of Cards, The Americans, Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, and Man in The High Castle. If you could have dinner with one famous person [dead or alive] who would it be? If I could have dinner with any famous person, I’d love to enjoy an evening of dinner, wine, and cigars with Mark Twain. Many don’t know this, but Mark Twain had a dry sense of humor which effortlessly pops out of his work in The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm (and look up his quote on smoking cigars in moderation). His work, and life, is an inspiration to me for my writing on fiction. You can follow Christopher Eller on LinkedIn. We hope you enjoyed our series, and stay tuned for the next Most Helpful Human in Hosting profile. The post Meet a Helpful Human – Christopher Eller appeared first on Liquid Web.

Serverless Rendering with Cloudflare Workers

CloudFlare Blog -

Cloudflare’s Workers platform is a powerful tool; a single compute platform for tasks as simple as manipulating requests or complex as bringing application logic to the network edge. Today I want to show you how to do server-side rendering at the network edge using Workers Sites, Wrangler, HTMLRewriter, and tools from the broader Workers platform. Each page returned to the user will be static HTML, with dynamic content being rendered on our serverless stack upon user request. Cloudflare’s ability to run this across the global network allows pages to be rendered in a distributed fashion, close to the user, with miniscule cold start times for the application logic. Because this is all built into Cloudflare’s edge, we can implement caching logic to significantly reduce load times, support link previews, and maximize SEO rankings, all while allowing the site to feel like a dynamic application.A Brief History of Web PagesIn the early days of the web pages were almost entirely static - think raw HTML. As Internet connections, browsers, and hardware matured, so did the content on the web. The world went from static sites to more dynamic content, powered by technologies like CGI, PHP, Flash, CSS, JavaScript, and many more. A common paradigm in those maturing days was Server Side Rendering of web pages. To accomplish this, a user would request a page with some supplied parameters, a server would generate a static web page using those incoming parameters, and return that static HTML back to the user. These web pages were easily cacheable by proxies and other downstream services, an important benefit in the world of slower Internet connection speeds. Time to Interactive (TTI) in this model is usually faster than other rendering methods, as render-blocking JavaScripts are avoided.This paradigm fell out of style as the web standardized and powerful hardware became easier to access. Time To First Byte (TTFB) is a concern with Server Side Rendering as this model incurs latency across the Internet and the latency of rendering pages on the server itself. Client side rendering allowed for a more seamless user experience for dynamic content. As a result of this shift, client applications became larger and larger, and SEO crawlers quickly had to adopt frameworks to be able to emulate the browser logic that is able to run and render these client applications. Tied into this is the idea of AJAX requests, allowing content on the single page application to change without the need for a full page reload. Application state is changed by requesting asynchronous updates from the server and allowing the client side application to update state based on the data returned by the server. This was great, it gave us amazingly interactive applications like Google Mail.While this is a great structure for dynamic applications, rendering on the client side has a side effect of reducing shareability of content via link previews, increases time to interactive (TTI), and reduces SEO rankings on many search engines.With Cloudflare’s Workers platform, you can get the benefits of server side rendering with greatly reduced latency concerns. The dynamic web pages in this example are delivered from any one of Cloudflare’s edge nodes, with application logic running upon request from the user. Server side rendering often leads to content that is more easily cacheable by downstream appliances; delivering better SEO rankings and obfuscating application logic from savvy users.You get all the benefits of the old way things were done, with all the speed of the modern web.Peer With Cloudflare, a Dynamic Web AppWithout further ado, let’s dive into building a dynamic web page using the Cloudflare Workers platform! This example leverages Workers Sites, which allows you to serve static web pages from Cloudflare’s Key Value store. From there, Workers application logic (using HTMLRewriter) transforms that static response based on user input to deliver modified responses with the requested data embedded in the returned web page.The Peer With Cloudflare application, hosted on peering.rad.workers.devPeeringDB is a user-maintained public database of networks, exchanges, facilities, and interconnection on the Internet. The Peer With Cloudflare (PWC) application leverages the PeeringDB API to query live information on facilities and exchange points from multiple ASNs, compares the resulting networks, and lists to the user shared exchanges and facilities. In this example, we’ll also explore using templating languages in conjunction with Cloudflare’s HTMLRewriter.Generate a Workers SiteWe’ll start by generating a workers site using wrangler.> wrangler generate --site peering PWC will be entirely served from index.html, which will be generated in the /public directory. Next, ensure that we only serve index.html, regardless of the path supplied by the user. Modify index.js to serve a single page application, using the serveSinglePageApp method.import { getAssetFromKV, serveSinglePageApp } from '@cloudflare/kv-asset-handler' addEventListener('fetch', event => { try { event.respondWith(handleEvent(event)) } catch (e) { if (DEBUG) { return event.respondWith( new Response(e.message || e.toString(), { status: 500, }), ) } event.respondWith(new Response('Internal Error', { status: 500 })) } }) async function handleEvent(event) { /** * You can add custom logic to how we fetch your assets * by configuring the function `mapRequestToAsset`. * In this case, we serve a single page app from index.html. */ const response = await getAssetFromKV(event, { mapRequestToAsset: serveSinglePageApp }) return response } Workers Sites will now load up index.html (in the /public directory) regardless of the supplied URL path. This means we can apply the application to any route on the site, and have the same user experience. We define this in our wrangler.toml under the [site] section.[site] bucket="./public" entry-point="./" Use URL Parameters to Control Application StateThe application itself needs a way to store state between requests. There are multiple methods to do so, but in this case URL query parameters are used for two primary reasons:Users can use browser-based search functionality to quickly look up an ASN and compare it with Cloudflare’s networkState can be stored in a single search parameter for the purposes of this application, and the null state can be handled easilyModify index.js to read in the asn search parameter:async function handleEvent(event) { const response = await getAssetFromKV(event, { mapRequestToAsset: serveSinglePageApp }) const url = new URL(event.request.url) // create a URL object from the request url const asn = url.searchParams.get('asn') // get the 'asn' parameter } PWC will have three cases to cover with regards to application state:Null state (no ASN is provided). In this case we can simply return the vanilla index.html pageASN is provided and has an entry on PeeringDB’s APIASN is provided but is malformed or has no PeeringDB entrytry { if (asn) { // B) asn is provided } else { return response // A) no asn is provided; return index.html } } catch (e) { // C) error state } To provide the initial state and styling of the PWC application, index.html uses a third party framework called milligram, chosen due to its lightweight nature, which requires normalize.css and the Roboto font family. Also defined is a custom style for basic formatting. For state storage, a form is defined such that upon submission a GET request is sent to #, which is effectively a request to self with supplied parameters. The parameter in this case is named asn and must be a number:<!doctype html> <html> <head> <link rel="stylesheet" href="//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Roboto:300,300italic,700,700italic"> <link rel="stylesheet" href="//cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/normalize/5.0.0/normalize.css"> <link href="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/milligram/1.3.0/milligram.min.css" rel="stylesheet"/> <style> .centered { max-width: 80rem; } </style> </head> <body> <div id="formContainer" class="centered container"> <h2 class="title">Peer With Cloudflare</h1> <p class="description">Welcome to the peering calculator, built entirely on Cloudflare Workers. Input an ASN below to see where it peers with Cloudflare's network.</p> <form action="#" method="GET"> <fieldset> <label for="asnField" class="">ASN</label> <input type="number" placeholder="13335" id="asnField" name="asn"> </fieldset> </form> </div> </body> </html> Modelling Data from a Third Party APIThe PeeringDB API defines networks primarily with metadata outlining key information about the network and owners, as well as two lists of public peering exchange points and private peering facilities. The PWC application will list any peering points (exchanges and facilities) shared between the user-provided network and Cloudflare’s network in a single table. PWC uses a model-view paradigm to retrieve, store, and display these data from the PeeringDB API. Defined below are the three data models representing a Network, Facility, and Exchange.To define a network, first inspect a sample response from the PeeringDB API (use https://peeringdb.com/api/net?asn__in=13335&depth=2 for a sample from Cloudflare’s network). Some key pieces of information displayed in PWC are the network name, website, notes, exchanges, and facilities.Network begins with a constructor to initialize itself with an Autonomous System Number. This is used for lookup of the network from the PeeringDB API:export class Network { constructor(asn) { this.asn = asn } A populate() function is then implemented to fetch information from a third party API and fill in required data. The populate() method additionally creates instances of NetworkFacility and NetworkExchange objects to be stored as attributes of the Network model.async populate(){ const net = await findAsn(this.asn) this.id = net['id'] this.name = net['name'] this.website = net['website'] this.notes = net['notes'] this.exchanges = {} for (let i in net['netixlan_set']) { const netEx = new NetworkExchange(net['netixlan_set'][i]) this.exchanges[netEx.id] = netEx } this.facilities = {} for (let i in net['netfac_set']) { const netFac = new NetworkFacility(net['netfac_set'][i]) this.facilities[netFac.id] = netFac } return this } Any Network defined in the PWC application can compare itself to another Network object. This generic approach allows PWC to be extended to arbitrary network comparison in the future. To accomplish this, implement a compare() and compareItems() function to compare both NetworkExchanges and NetworkFacilities.compareItems(listA, listB, sharedItems) { for (let key in listA) { if(listB[key]) { sharedItems[key] = listA[key] } } return sharedItems } async compare(network) { const sharedFacilities = this.compareItems(this.facilities, network.facilities, {}) const sharedExchanges = this.compareItems(this.exchanges, network.exchanges, {}) return await fetchAdditionalDetails(sharedFacilities, sharedExchanges) } Both the NetworkFacility and NetworkExchange models implement a constructor to initialize with supplied data, as well as a populate method to add in extra information. These models also take care of converting PeeringDB API information into more human-readable formats.export class NetworkFacility { constructor(netfac){ this.name = netfac['name'] this.id = netfac['fac_id'] this.type = 'Facility' this.url = `https://peeringdb.com/fac/${this.id}` this.location = netfac['city'] + ", " + netfac['country'] } populate(details) { this.networks = details['net_count'] this.website = details['website'] } } export class NetworkExchange { constructor(netixlan){ this.id = netixlan['ix_id'] this.name = netixlan['name'] this.type = 'Exchange' this.url = `https://peeringdb.com/fac/${this.id}` } populate(details) { this.website = details['website'] this.networks = details['net_count'] this.location = details['city'] + ", " + details['country'] } } Notice that the compare() and populate() functions call out to fetchAdditionalDetails and findAsn methods; these are implemented to gather additional information for each model. Both methods are implemented in an ‘interface’ under src/utils/.import {peeringDb} from './constants' async function fetchPdbData(path) { const response = await fetch(new Request(peeringDb['baseUrl'] + path)) const body = await response.json() return body['data'] } async function fetchAdditionalDetails(facilities, exchanges) { const sharedItems = [] if (Object.keys(facilities).length > 0) { const facilityDetails = await fetchPdbData(peeringDb['facEndpoint'] + "?id__in=" + Object.keys( facilities ).join(",")) for (const facility of facilityDetails) { facilities[facility.id].populate(facility) sharedItems.push(facilities[facility.id]) } } if (Object.keys(exchanges).length > 0) { const exchangeDetails = await fetchPdbData(peeringDb['ixEndpoint'] + "?id__in=" + Object.keys( exchanges ).join(",")) for (const exchange of exchangeDetails) { exchanges[exchange.id].populate(exchange) sharedItems.push(exchanges[exchange.id]) } } return sharedItems } async function findAsn(asn) { const data = await fetchPdbData(peeringDb['netEndpoint'] + "?" + `asn__in=${asn}&depth=2`) return data[0] } export {findAsn, fetchAdditionalDetails} Presenting Results using HTMLRewriterIn building a single page application with workers, the PWC application needs the ability to modify HTML responses returned to the user. To accomplish this, PWC uses Cloudflare’s HTMLRewriter interface. HTMLRewriter streams any supplied response through a transformer, applying any supplied transformations to the raw response object. This returns a modified response object that can then be returned to the user.In the case of PWC, three cases need to be handled, and two of them require some form of transformation before returning index.html to the user. Define a generic AsnHandler to provide to the user their supplied ASN. The element() method in this handler will simply set a value attribute on the target element.class AsnHandler { constructor(asn) { this.asn = asn } element(element) { element.setAttribute("value", this.asn) } } The ASNHandler fills the form field with the user-supplied ASN.For error cases, PWC needs to provide feedback to the user that the supplied ASN was not found on PeeringDB. In this case a simple header tag is appended to the target element.class ErrorConditionHandler { constructor(asn) { this.asn = asn } element(element) { element.append(`<h4>ASN ${this.asn} Not Found on PeeringDB</h4>`, {html: true}) } } The ErrorConditionHandler provides feedback on invalid user-supplied input.For cases where a result needs to be returned, a NetworkComparisonHandler is implemented. Instead of defining raw HTML in a string format, NetworkComparisonHandler uses a templating language (Handlebars) to provide a dynamic transformation based on data returned from PeeringDB. First, install both handlebars and handlebars loader with npm:> npm install handlebars handlebars-loader Now define the NetworkComparisonHandler, including an import of the networkTable template.import networkTable from '../templates/networktable.hbs' class NetworkComparisonHandler { constructor({cfNetwork, otherNetwork, sharedItems}) { this.sharedItems = sharedItems this.otherNetwork = otherNetwork this.cfNetwork = cfNetwork } element(element) { element.append(networkTable(this), { html: true }) } } The Handlebars template itself uses conditional logic to handle cases where there is no direct overlap between the two supplied networks, and a custom helper to provide references to each piece of returned data. Handlebars provides an easy-to-read interface for conditional logic, iteration, and custom views.{{#if this.sharedItems.length}} <h4>Shared facilities and exchanges between {{this.cfNetwork.name}} and {{this.otherNetwork.name}}</h4> <table> <thead> <tr> <th>Name</th> <th>Location</th> <th>Networks</th> <th>Type</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> {{#each this.sharedItems}} <tr> <td>{{link this.name this.url}}</td> <td>{{this.location}}</td> <td>{{this.networks}}</td> <td>{{this.type}}</td> </tr> {{/each}} </tbody> </table> {{else}} <h4>No shared exchanges or facilities between {{this.cfNetwork.name}} and {{this.otherNetwork.name}}</h4> {{/if}} A custom link helper is used to display an <a> tag with a reference to each datum.import handlebars from 'handlebars' export default function(text, url) { return new handlebars.SafeString("<a href='" + handlebars.escapeExpression(url) + "'>" + handlebars.escapeExpression(text) + "</a>"); } Great! Handlebars and other templating languages are extremely useful for building complex view logic into Cloudflare’s HTMLRewriter. To tie Handlebars into our build process, and have wrangler understand the currently foreign code, modify wrangler.toml to use a custom webpack configuration:type = "webpack" webpack_config = "webpack.config.js" In webpack.config.js, configure any .hbs files to be compiled using the handlebars-loader module. Custom webpack configurations can be used in conjunction with Wrangler to create more complex build schemes, including environment-specific schemes.module.exports = { target: 'webworker', entry: './index.js', module: { rules: [{ test: /\.hbs$/, loader: 'handlebars-loader' }], } } Time to tie it all together in index.js! Handle each case by returning to the user either a raw HTML response or a modified response using HTMLRewriter. The #asnField will be updated, and the #formContainer will be used to present either an error message or a table of results.async function handleEvent(event) { const response = await getAssetFromKV(event, { mapRequestToAsset: serveSinglePageApp }) const url = new URL(event.request.url) const asn = url.searchParams.get('asn') try { if (asn) { const cfNetwork = await new Network(cloudflare['asn']).populate() const otherNetwork = await new Network(asn).populate() const sharedItems = await cfNetwork.compare(otherNetwork) return await new HTMLRewriter() .on('#asnField', new AsnHandler(asn)) .on('#formContainer', new NetworkComparisonHandler({cfNetwork, otherNetwork, sharedItems})) .transform(response) } else { return response } } catch (e) { return await new HTMLRewriter() .on('#asnField', new AsnHandler(asn)) .on('#formContainer', new ErrorConditionHandler(asn)) .transform(response) } } The NetworkComparisonHandler and associated Handlebars template allows PWC to present PeeringDB information in a user-friendly format.Publish to CloudflareYou can view the final code on Github, or navigate to peering.rad.workers.dev to see a working example. The final wrangler.toml includes instructions to publish the code up to a workers.dev site, allowing you to easily build, deploy, and test without a domain - simply by setting workers_dev to “true”.name = "peering" type = "webpack" webpack_config = "webpack.config.js" account_id = "<REDACTED>" workers_dev = true route = "<REDACTED>" zone_id = "<REDACTED>" [site] bucket="./public" entry-point="./" Finally, publish your code using wrangler.> wrangler publish Cache At The EdgeTaking advantage of our server-rendered content is as simple as matching the request against any previously cached assets. To accomplish this, add a few simple lines to the top of our handleEvent function using Cloudflare’s Cache API. If an asset is found, return the response without going into the application logic.async function handleEvent(event) { let cache = caches.default let response = await cache.match(event.request) if (response) { return response } response = await getAssetFromKV(event, { mapRequestToAsset: serveSinglePageApp }) What’s Next?Using the Workers platform to deploy applications allow users to load lightweight and static html, with all application logic residing on the network edge. While there are certainly a host of improvements which can be made to the Peer With Cloudflare application (use of Workers KV, more input validation, or mixing in other APIs to present more interesting information); it should present a compelling introduction to the possibilities of Workers!Check out Built With Workers for more examples of applications built on the Workers platform, or build your own projects at workers.cloudflare.com! For more information on peering with Cloudflare, please visit our Peering Portal.

Organic Facebook Content for Local Businesses: Building a Loyal Following

Social Media Examiner -

Want to build a loyal, local audience on Facebook? Wonder what types of content to post? To explore how to create organic Facebook content that builds a loyal following that turns into customers, I interview Allie Bloyd on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Allie is the founder of Allie Bloyd Media, a company that specializes […] The post Organic Facebook Content for Local Businesses: Building a Loyal Following appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

What is WHOIS and How Is It Used?

The Domain.com Blog -

Every domain name that’s been registered belongs to someone, and by default, that registration information is public.  WHOIS is a way of storing that information and making it available for the public to search.  In this post, we’ll dive into the WHOIS public database to understand what kind of information is stored there, why it’s available, and how you can use it. We’ll also discuss options at your disposal for keeping your personal information private in the WHOIS database.  What is WHOIS? WHOIS is a public database that houses the information collected when someone registers a domain name or updates their DNS settings. ICANN, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, regulates the WHOIS database. They’ve done so since 1982, back in the wild and wooly days of the early Internet. They describe the WHOIS service as a “ …free, publicly available directory containing the contact and technical information of registered domain name registrants.” The registration data that’s stored in the WHOIS database is actually held in different locations, all managed by different registries and registrars. A registry owns and manages domain extensions, like Verisign who owns .com and .net, but they don’t sell them. Instead, their domains are sold and registered through different registrars, like Domain.com.  Why was the WHOIS database created? Initially, the database was created as a directory. It listed “the contact information … of anyone transmitting data across the ARPANET,” a building block of the Internet as we know it today.  Think about it: The Internet we’re familiar with today is absolutely massive. Odds are, you can find just about anything on the Internet. But how often have you stopped to think about where the information is coming from and who’s behind it? With the rise and prominence of fake news, it’s more important now than ever before to know the source of your information.  WHOIS helps to democratize the Internet. Anyone, from businesses and corporations to law enforcement and individual users, can access and use the WHOIS database to find out who is behind a domain name and any associated website.  Beyond that, many people find the WHOIS database a great tool for business opportunities. If you’re looking to take your business online or start a website you’re going to need a domain name. However, as you get started, you might find that the domain name you want is already registered by someone else. You can use the WHOIS database to get their contact information and reach out to try and broker and deal for the domain name you want.  What kind of information is stored in the WHOIS database? When a domain name is registered the registrant has to supply their information and it needs to be accurate. If you supply false information when registering your domain name you run the risk of losing your domain. ICANN writes, “If the domain name registrant knowingly provides inaccurate information, fails to update information within seven days of any change, or does not respond within 15 days to an inquiry about accuracy, the domain name may be suspended or cancelled.” The information collected during the domain registration process includes your: Name. Address. Phone Number. Email Address.  That’s pretty sensitive information to have at anyone’s fingertips, especially the Internet-at-large. If you’d rather not have all of your personal information easily searchable by anyone with an internet connection, you do have options.  Most every domain name registrar offers some form of domain privacy, which is just as it sounds. Domain privacy allows you to supplant the registrar’s information for your own, so instead of having your contact information displayed in WHOIS Lookup results, your registrar’s will show. If someone needs to contact you about your domain name your registrar acts as the “middle man” — they’ll direct any inquiries to you for you to view and act upon.  At Domain.com, we’ve taken domain privacy to the next level. We offer Domain Privacy + Protection, a tool that keeps your information out of the WHOIS database and provides malware scans and blacklist prevention, the latter powered by SiteLock.  In addition to your information (or your registrar’s if you’re using domain privacy), WHOIS Lookup results display information about your registrar, administrative contacts, and technical contacts. This information is incredibly useful to have on hand if you run into any technical issues with your domain or site.  WHOIS Lookup limitations While the WHOIS database stores a massive amount of information about registered domain names, it doesn’t display all of the registration information for every domain name. Certain TLDs, like .com and .net, will always have their registration information in the WHOIS database. Other TLDs, like .me or .gov, display less information. And then there are some domain extensions, like .asia or .coop, that don’t allow for domain privacy, so the registrant information will always be searchable and viewable.  ICANN is always working to improve the WHOIS system and has acknowledged that “The evolution of the Internet ecosystem has created challenges for WHOIS in every area.”  Rest assured that as improvements are made, Domain.com will continue to strive in providing the most accurate information while ensuring you have the tools you need to maintain your domain privacy and protection.  Ready to perform a WHOIS Lookup? Get started researching domain names today at Domain.com If you have any questions about understanding your WHOIS Lookup results, or any other questions about WHOIS in general, let us know in the comments below. Happy searching! The post What is WHOIS and How Is It Used? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Now Open – Fourth Availability Zone in the AWS Asia Pacific (Seoul) Region

Amazon Web Services Blog -

South Korea is considered the most wired country in the world with an internet penetration rate of 96%, according to Pew Research Center. To meet high customer demand, AWS launched our Asia Pacific (Seoul) Region in 2016 and expanded the region with a third Availability Zone (AZ) in May 2019. Now AWS has thousands of active customers from startups to enterprises in Korea. Today, I am very happy to announce that we added a fourth AZ to the Asia Pacific (Seoul) Region to support the high demand of our growing Korean customer base. This fourth AZ provides customers with additional flexibility to architect scalable, fault-tolerant, and highly available applications in the Asia Pacific (Seoul) Region. Now Seoul becomes the forth Region with over four AZs following US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo). AZs located in AWS Regions consist of one or more discrete data centers, each with redundant power, networking, and connectivity, and each housed in separate facilities. Now, you can select the 4th AZ in Seoul region via AWS Management Console, command-line interface (CLI), and SDKs. We’re excited to bring a new AZ to serve our incredible customers in unprecedented times. Here are some examples from different industries, courtesy of my colleagues in Korea. First, I would like to introduce how startups utilize AWS Cloud for their fast growing businesses: Market Kurly is a fast growing startup and is one of Korea’s first grocery delivery platforms to satisfy a typically picky domestic customer base. It has seen exponential growth from $2.9 million in its first year of business in 2015 to $157 million in revenue in 2018. AWS helped to solve a variety of technical challenges managing that scale along with the continual cycle of orders and deliveries. Sangseok Lim, CTO told us “The COVID-19 has increased the number of customers visiting MarketKurly. Since already moving the infrastructure to AWS Cloud, the flexible and easy expansion enabled us to process massive customer orders without any problems using AWS Auto Scaling and Amazon RDS. So,we were able to respond to massive customer’s demands. In the future, we plan to add features that can satisfy our customers by utilizing various AWS services.” beNX, a subsidiary company of Big Hit Entertainment managing the Global Superstar, BTS is specializing in digital platforms and fan services. In June 2019, it launched Weverse, a global fan community platform, and Weverse Shop, a commercial platform for artist’s fans. Weverse has grown to a platform supporting a total of 7 million subscribers with an average of 1.5 million visitors per day within 9 months. Weverse Shop is also rapidly growing as a large-scale commerce platform with 250,000 transactions per month. Wooseok Seo, CEO of beNX told us “A large number of global fans simultaneously visit patterns within a very short time according to the time when the artist’s contents and official products (MD) are released, and stably handles traffic that is 100 times more than usual. Using AWS, we have built a stable service infrastructure, and are successfully implementing automation and improving resource management. beNX is providing innovative experiences to global fans based on solid technology and deep insight into fandom.” Large enterprise customers in Korea are leveraging AWS’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) services to transform their online businesses: Korean Air is the South Korea’s largest airline and the country’s flag carrier even while Korean Air celebrates its 50-year anniversary— the company is building on AWS with an eye towards the next 50 years of excellence. For example, Korean Air is starting on its journey by launching innovative projects with Amazon SageMaker to help predict and preempt maintenance for its fleet of aircraft. Kenny Chang, EVP and CMO of Korean Air told us “The reason why we thought Amazon SageMaker was good was not because it matched our own engine wear and tear result, but SageMaker was able to give us future prediction of what potential patterns of further wear and tear could be, based on machine learning. This helps with improving aircraft safety.” SK Telecom is the leading mobile telecommunications company in Korea, one of AWS Wavelength partners delivering ultra-low latency applications for 5G devices. SK Telecom developed a Korean-based natural language processor called KoGPT-2  using AWS services to process the massive amounts of data needed to develop the sophisticated, open-source artificial language model. Eric Davis, Vice President of Global AI Development Group at SK Telecom told us “We expect that KoGPT-2 will contribute to enhancing the technological capabilities of small and medium-sized enterprises and startups looking to create innovative applications that interpret the Korean language, such as chatbots for the elderly, and search engines for screening out fake news about COVID-19.” Finally, here are customer cases from the public sector to manage usage spikes from large scale events: Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) is the national public broadcaster of South Korea. As one of the largest national television networks, it operates lots of radio, television, and online services. In 2017, KBS migrated its on-premises data center to AWS. Youngjin Sun, Director of Digital Media Bureau told us “In the on-premise environment, it was hard to scale online traffics such as a short period of time for big events like 2018 Asian Games. But in AWS, we could do all of this with a few clicks. Because it only charges for the amount of time spent on resources, it has been possible to save about 50% or more on the large scale event.” Sookmyung Women’s University, founded in 1906, has tens of thousands of female students and is dedicated to advancing women’s education. This university ses AWS to scale on-demand to meet its spikes in usages during online trainings. Hee-Jung Yoon, a professor and the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning told us “We had operated on-premise servers of Learning Management System(LMS) earlier, but by introducing AWS, we realized that the greatest advantage of the cloud was flexibility. Its capacity can be expanded depending on the number of users, and it can flexibly respond to massive connections in the first day of online classes during the COVID-19 situation. This is one of the reasons we chose AWS.” The launch of this new AZ brings AWS to 77 AZs within 24 geographic regions around the world with plans for nine more AZs and three more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Japan, and Spain. We are continuously looking at expanding our infrastructure footprint globally, driven largely by customer demand. For more information on our global infrastructure, please check out this interactive map. Please contact AWS Customer Support or your account manager for questions on service availability in this new Availability Zone. — Channy; This article was translated into Korean(한국어) in AWS Korea Blog.

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