Industry Buzz

Employee Spotlight: Caitlin McPhail

WP Engine -

In this ongoing blog series, we speak with WP Engine employees around the globe to learn more about their roles, what they love about the cities they work in, and what they like most about working at WP Engine.  In this interview, we speak with Sales Executive Caitlin McPhail, a two-year veteran at WP Engine’s… The post Employee Spotlight: Caitlin McPhail appeared first on WP Engine.

Working to Support Nonprofits During Coronavirus

LinkedIn Official Blog -

Today, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the world is coming together for a day of global giving and generosity. LinkedIn members are honoring #GivingTuesdayNow by supporting the causes and organizations they most care about with their time, their voice, and their financial resources.  We know the nonprofit sector has been especially impacted by this crisis, and over the past several weeks we, like many other organizations, have grappled with how we can best support our nonprofit... .

Setting up Cloudflare for Teams as a Start-Up Business

CloudFlare Blog -

Earlier this year, Cloudflare acquired S2 Systems. We were a start-up in Kirkland, Washington and now we are home to Cloudflare’s Seattle-area office.Our team developed a new approach to remote browser isolation (RBI), a technology that runs your web browser in a cloud data center, stopping threats on the Internet from executing any code on your machine. The closer we can bring that data center to the user, the faster we can make that experience. Since the acquisition, we have been focused on running our RBI platform in every one of Cloudflare’s data centers in 200 cities around the world.The RBI solution will join a product suite that we call Cloudflare for Teams, which consists of two products: Access and Gateway.Those two products solve a number of problems that companies have with securing users, devices, and data. As a start-up, we struggled with a few of these challenges in really painful ways:How do we let prospects securely trial our RBI platform?How do we keep our small office secure without an IT staff?How can we connect to the powerful, but physically clunky and heavy development machines, when we are not in that office?Dogfooding our own products has long been part of Cloudflare’s identity, and our team has had a chance to do the same from a new perspective.Managing access to our RBI service for early adopter customers and partnersAs we built the first version of our product, we worked closely with early adopters to test the product and gather feedback. However, we were not ready to share the product with the entire world yet, so we needed a way to lock down who could reach the prototype and beta versions.It took us the best part of six months to build, test and modify (multiple times) the system for managing access to the product.We chose a complicated solution that took almost as much time to build as did features within the product. We deployed a load balancer that also served as a reverse proxy in front of the RBI host and acted as a bouncer for unauthenticated requests. That sat behind an ASP.NET core server. Furthest to the right sat the most difficult component: identity.We had to manually add identity providers every time a new customer wanted to test out the service. Our CTO frequently burned hours each day adding customers manually, configuring groups, and trying to balance policies that kept different tenants secure.From six months to 30 minutesAs we learned more about Cloudflare during the due diligence period, we started to hear more about Cloudflare Access. Like the RBI solution, Access applied Cloudflare’s network to a new type of problem: how do teams keep their users and resources secure without also slowing them down?When members of the Cloudflare team visited our office in Kirkland, none of them needed a VPN to connect. Their self-managed applications just worked, like any other SaaS app.We then had a chance to try Access ourselves. After the deal closed, we collaborated with the Cloudflare team on an announcement. This started just hours after the acquisition completed, so we did not have a chance to onboard to Cloudflare’s corporate SSO yet. Instead, the team secured new marketing pages and forms behind Cloudflare Access which prompted us to login with our S2 emails. Again, it just worked.We immediately began rethinking every hour we had spent building our own authentication platform. The next day, we set up a Cloudflare Access account. We secured our trial platform by building a couple of rules in the Access UI to decide who should be able to reach it.We sent a note out to the team to try it out. They logged in with our SSO credentials and Cloudflare connected them to the application. No client needed on their side, no multi-level authentication platform on ours.We shut down all of our demo authentication servers. Now, when we have customers who want to trial the RBI technology, we can add their account to the rules in a couple of minutes. They visit a single hostname, login, and can start connecting to a faster, safer browser.Protecting our people and devices from Internet threatsWhen we signed a sublease for our first office location, we found the business card of the building’s Comcast representative taped to the door. We called them and after a week the Comcast Business technicians had a simple network running for us.We wanted to implement a real network security model for our small office. We tried deploying multiple firewalls, with access controls, and added some tools to secure outbound traffic.We spent way too much time on it. Every configuration change involved the staff trying to troubleshoot problems. The system wound up blocking things that should not be blocked, and missing things that should be blocked. It reached the point where we just turned off most of it.Another product in the Cloudflare for Teams platform, Cloudflare Gateway, solved this challenge for us. Rather than 30 minutes, this upgrade took about 10.Cloudflare Gateway secures users from threats on the Internet by stopping traffic from devices or office networks from reaching malicious destinations. The first feature in the product, DNS-based security, adds threat-blocking into the world’s fastest DNS resolver, Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 product.We created a policy to block security threats, changed our router’s DNS settings, and never had to worry about it again. As needed, we could log back into the UI and review reports that told us about the malicious traffic that Gateway caught.As I’m writing this post, none of us are working in that office. We’re staying home, but we still can use Gateway’s security model. Gateway now integrates with the 1.1.1.1 app for mobile devices; in a couple of clicks, we can protect iOS and Android phones and tablets with the same level of security. Soon, we’ll be releasing desktop versions to make that easy on every device.Connecting to dev machines while working from homeBack at the office, we still have a small fleet of high-powered Linux machines. These desktops run 16 cores, 32 threads, and 32GB of DDR memory. We use these to build and test Chromium, but dragging these boxes to each developer’s house would have been a huge hassle.We still had a physical VPN appliance that we had purchased during our start-up days. We had hired vendors to install it onsite and configure some elaborate syncing with our identity providers. The only thing more difficult than setting it up was using it. With everyone suddenly working from home, I don’t think we would have been able to make it work.So we returned to Cloudflare Access instead. Working with guidance from Cloudflare’s IT and Security teams, we added a new hostname in the Cloudflare account for the Seattle area office. We then installed the Cloudflare daemon, cloudflared, on the machines in the offices. Those daemons created outbound-only tunnels from the machines to the Cloudflare network, available at a dedicated subdomain for each developer.On the other side of that connection, each engineer on our team installed cloudflared on their machines at home. They need to make one change to their SSH config file, adding two lines that include a ProxyCommand. The setup requires no other modifications, no special SSH clients or commands. Even the developers who rely on tools like Visual Studio Code’s Remote SSH extension could keep their workflow exactly the same.The only difference is that, instead of a VPN, when developers start a new SSH session, Access prompts them to login with Cloudflare’s SSO. They do so and are connected to their machine through Cloudflare’s network and smart routing technology.What’s next?As a start-up, every hour we spent trying to cobble together tools was an hour we lost building our product but we needed to provide secure access to our product so we made the time investment. The only other option would have been to purchase products that were way outside of the price range for a small start-up where the only office perk was bulk Costco trail mix.Cloudflare for Teams immediately solved the challenges we had, in a fairly comprehensive way. We now can seamlessly grant prospects permissions to try the product, our office network is safer, and our developers can stay productive at home.It could be easy to think “I wish we had done this sooner,” and to some extent, I do. However, seeing the before-and-after of our systems has made us more excited about what we’re doing as we bring the remote browser technology into Cloudflare’s network.The RBI platform is going to benefit from the same advantages of that network that make features in Access and Gateway feel like magic. We’re going to apply everything that Cloudflare has learned securing and improving connections and use it to solve a new customer problem.Interested in skipping the hard parts about our story and getting started with Cloudflare for Teams? You can use all of the features covered in this blog post today, at no cost through September.

How to Scale Valuable Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Social Media Examiner -

Want better results from your Facebook advertising? Wondering how to reach more people who look like your top customers? In this article, you’ll discover how to create and scale high-intent lookalike audiences with Facebook ads. Why Increasing the Lookalike Percentage Doesn’t Work for Scaling Facebook lookalike audiences let you reach a large number of people […] The post How to Scale Valuable Facebook Lookalike Audiences appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

WP Engine Establishes Software Development Office in Kraków, Poland

WP Engine -

AUSTIN, TEXAS and KRAKÓW, POLAND – May 5, 2020 – WP Engine, the WordPress technology company, today announced the opening of its newest office in Kraków, Poland, which will serve as a global innovation hub for a range of software engineering functions supporting WP Engine’s pan-EMEA and worldwide customer and technology business. The office is… The post WP Engine Establishes Software Development Office in Kraków, Poland appeared first on WP Engine.

New – AWS Elemental Link – Deliver Live Video to the Cloud for Events & Streams

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Video is central to so many online experiences. Regardless of the origin or creator, today’s viewers expect a high-resolution, broadcast-quality experience. In sophisticated environments, dedicated hardware and an associated A/V team can capture, encode, and stream or store video that meets these expectations. However, cost and operational complexity have prevented others from delivering a similar experience. Classrooms, local sporting events, enterprise events, and small performance spaces do not have the budget or the specialized expertise needed to install, configure, and run the hardware and software needed to reliably deliver video to the cloud for processing, storage, and on-demand delivery or live streaming. Introducing AWS Elemental Link Today I would like to tell you about AWS Elemental Link. This new device connects live video sources to AWS Elemental MediaLive. The device is small (about 32 cubic inches) and weighs less than a pound. It draws very little power, is absolutely silent, and is available for purchase today at $995. You can order these devices from the AWS Management Console and have them shipped to the intended point of use. They arrive preconfigured, and need only be connected to power, video, and the Internet. You can monitor and manage any number of Link devices from the console, without the need for specialized expertise at the point of use. When connected to a video source, the Link device sends all video, audio, and metadata streams that arrive on the built-in 3G-SDI or HDMI connectors to AWS Elemental MediaLive, with automatic, hands-free tuning that adapts to available bandwidth. Once your video is in the cloud, you can use the full lineup of AWS Elemental Media Services to process, store, distribute, and monetize it. Ordering an AWS Elemental Link To get started, I visit the AWS Elemental Link Console and click Start order: I indicate that I understands the Terms of Service, and click Continue to place order to proceed: I enter my order, starting with contact information and an optional order name: Then I enter individual order lines, and click Add new order line after each one. Each line represents one or more devices destined for one physical address. All of the devices in an order line are provisioned for the same AWS region: I can see my Order summary at the bottom. Once I have created all of the desired order lines I click Next to proceed: I choose a payment option, verify my billing address, and click Next: Then I review my order and click Submit to place it: After I pay my invoice, I wait for my devices to arrive. Connection & Setup When my device arrives, I connect it to my network and my camera, and plug in the power supply. I wait a minute or so while the device powers up and connects to the network, AWS, and to my camera. When it is all set, the front panel looks like this: Next, I open the AWS Elemental MediaLive Console and click Devices: Now that everything is connected, I can create a MediaLive input (Studio1), selecting Elemental Link as the source and choosing one of the listed input devices: And that’s the setup and connection process. From here I would create a channel that references the input and then set up an output group to stream, archive, broadcast, or package the video stream. We’re building a CloudFormation-powered solution that will take care of all of this for you; stay tuned for details. You can order your AWS Elemental Link today and start delivering video to the cloud in minutes! — Jeff;  

A single dashboard for Cloudflare for Teams

CloudFlare Blog -

Starting today, Cloudflare Access can now be used in the Cloudflare for Teams dashboard. You can manage security policies for your people and devices in the same place that you build zero-trust rules to protect your applications and resources. Everything is now in one place in a single dashboard.We are excited to launch a new UI that can be used across the entire Teams platform, but we didn’t build this dashboard just for the sake of a new look-and-feel. While migrating the Access dashboard, we focused on solving one of the largest sources of user confusion in the product.This post breaks down why the original  UI caused some headaches, how we think about objects in Cloudflare for Teams, and how we set out to fix the way we display that to our users.Cloudflare AccessCloudflare Access is one-half of Cloudflare for Teams, a security platform that runs on Cloudflare’s network. Teams protects users, devices and data  without compromising experience or performance. We built Cloudflare Access to solve our own headaches with private networks as we grew from a team concentrated in a single office to a globally distributed organization.Cloudflare Access replaces corporate VPNs with Cloudflare’s network in a zero-trust model. Instead of placing internal tools on a private network, teams deploy them in any environment, including hybrid or multi-cloud models, and secure them consistently with Cloudflare’s network.When users connect to those tools, they are prompted to login with their team’s identity provider. Cloudflare Access checks their login against the list of allowed users and, if permitted, allows the request to proceed.Deploying Access does not require exposing new holes in corporate firewalls. Teams connect their resources through a secure outbound connection, Argo Tunnel, which runs in your infrastructure to connect the applications and machines to Cloudflare. That tunnel makes outbound-only calls to the Cloudflare network and organizations can replace complex firewall rules with just one: disable all inbound connections.Sites vs. AccountsWhen you use Cloudflare, you use the platform at two levels: account and site. You have one Cloudflare account, though you can be a member of multiple accounts. That one account captures details like your billing profile and notification settings.Your account contains sites, the hostnames or zones that you add to Cloudflare. You configure features that apply to a site, like web application firewall (WAF) and caching rules.When we launched Access nearly two years ago, you could use the product to add an identity check to a site you added to Cloudflare, either at the hostname, subdomain, or path. To do that, users select the site in their Cloudflare dashboard, toggle to the Access tab, and build a rule specific to that site.To add rules to a different site, a user steps back up a level. They need to select the new site from the dropdown and load the Access tab for that site. However, two components in the UI remained the same and shared configuration:SSO integrationLogsThe SSO integration is where Access pulls information about identity. Users integrate their Okta, AzureAD, GSuite accounts, or other identity providers, in this card. We made a decision that the integration should apply across your entire account; you should not need to reconfigure your SSO connection on every site where you want to add an Access rule.However, we displayed that information in the site-specific page. Cloudflare has account-level concepts, like billing or account users, but we wanted to keep everything related to Access in a single page so we made this compromise. Logs followed a similar pattern.This decision caused confusion. For example, we add a log table to the bottom of the tab when users view “site{.}com”. However, that table actually presented logs from both “site{.}com” and any other hostname in the account.As more features were added, this exception grew out of control. At this point, the majority of features you see when you open the Access tab for one of your sites are account-level features stuffed into the site view. The page below is the Access tab for a site in my account, widgetcorp{.}tech. Highlighted in green are the boxes that apply to the site I have selected. Highlighted in red are the boxes that apply to my Access account.This user experience is unnecessarily complex . Even worse, though, is that confusion in security products can lead to real incidents. Any time that a user asks “am I building something for my account or this site?” We needed to fix both.Starting with a new designA few months ago, Cloudflare launched Cloudflare for Teams, which consists of two complementary products: Access and a new solution, Cloudflare Gateway. If Access is a bouncer standing in front of the door, checking identity, Gateway is a bodyguard, keeping your team safe as you navigate the Internet.Gateway has no concept of sites, at least not sites that you host yourself. Rather than securing your Internet properties, like Cloudflare’s infrastructure products that rely on the reverse proxy, Gateway secures your team from the Internet, and the threats on it. For the first time, you could use a Cloudflare product without a site on Cloudflare.Gateway introduced other new concepts which have no relation to a domain name in the traditional Cloudflare sense. You can add your office network and your home WiFi to your Gateway account. You can build rules to block any sites on the Internet. You can now use Gateway on mobile devices and soon desktops as well.To capture that model, we started on a new UI from scratch, and earlier this year we launched a new dashboard for Gateway, dash.teams.cloudflare.com.Account settings now have a home of their ownThe products in Cloudflare for Teams should live in one place; you shouldn’t need to hop back and forth between different dashboards to manage them. Bringing Access into the Teams dashboard puts everything under one roof.That also gave us an opportunity to solve the confusion in the current Access UI. Since the Teams dashboard is not constrained by the site-specific model, we could break out the dashboard into components that made sense for how people use the Access product.The new dashboard untangles the tools in Access that apply to your entire account (the methods that you use to secure your resources) from the features that apply to a single site (the rules you build to protect a resource).One dashboard for your teamMerging Access into the Cloudflare for Teams dashboard, and solving the problems of the original UI, is just the beginning. We’ll be using that foundation to release new features in both Access and Gateway, including more that apply across both products.You will also be able to continue to extend some of the configuration made in Access to Gateway. For example, an integration with a provider like Okta to build zero-trust policies in Access can eventually be reused for adding group-based policies into Gateway. You’ll see the beginning of that in the new UI, as well, with categories like “My Teams” and “Logs” that apply or will apply to both products. As we continue, we’re going to try to avoid making the same mistake of conflating account, site, and now product objects.What’s next?The new Access UI is available to all customers today in the Cloudflare for Teams dashboard. You can get started by visiting this link and signing in with your Cloudflare account.To use the Access UI, you will first need to enable Cloudflare Access and add a site to Cloudflare in the existing dashboard. Instructions are available here. You can also watch a guided tour of the new site.No new features have been added, though we’re busy working on them. This release focused entirely on improving how users approach the product based on the feedback we have received over 22 months. We’re still listening to new feedback. Run into an issue or notice an area of improvement? Please tell us.

9 Uncommon Ways eCommerce Sites Can Drive More Traffic

HostGator Blog -

The post 9 Uncommon Ways eCommerce Sites Can Drive More Traffic appeared first on HostGator Blog. The best thing about an eCommerce website is reaching a global audience. When your business exists online, you aren’t limited to only the 90-mile radius of customers that may potentially visit your store. You have the potential to reach the same amount of people in India as you do, say, Alaska. But, building a website and an online store isn’t the end of the story and the only key to success. To truly capture the attention of your target audience, engage your followers, and boost your sales, you need to drive traffic to your website strategically. The quickest way to generate meaningful eCommerce traffic is to buy a targeted paid ad on an online platform your customers like to visit (e.g., Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Paid advertising is an excellent tactic considering nearly 65% of people click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy an item online. But, it’s not the only strategy. This article will review the top nine uncommon ways eCommerce sites can drive more traffic to their website. 1. Grow Your Email List Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your target audience continually. When someone subscribes to your email list, they aren’t just clicking on a paid advertisement one time. They are opting in to hear from you regularly. Not only is email a great way to foster customer retention, but it also has a significant return on investment. An email marketing survey of 73 companies found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $50. You can grow your email list by placing a subscribe button on the home page of your website, including a pop-up subscription notice, and even putting a subscribe button at the end of your blog content. 2. Guest Blog on Other People’s Websites Content marketing is all the rage these days, and it makes sense why. Year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders compared to followers. Blogging pays off, but it’s challenging and expensive to produce content. In fact, B2B marketers report the top three content marketing challenges as follows: 69% cite lack of time,55% say producing enough content, and 47% mention it’s difficult to create the kind of content that engages. This is why owners of high performing websites welcome guest blogging. You may be wondering why you would spend your time and energy creating content for someone else’s website. Here’s why. The deal for a guest blog is usually a link back to your website, which means two important things for your eCommerce business. First, the link directs consumers back to your website where you can make sales. Second, it provides a backlink to your website, which is fantastic for SEO purposes. 3. Tap Into the Influencer Network on Social Media When is the last time you purchased something because your favorite social media star or celebrity said you should? For me, it was this month when Reese Witherspoon told me to read Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed,” and I bought the book. I do what Reese says, and I bet you do too. While you might not be able to get Reese Witherspoon to endorse your product, you can look into courting other top influencers in your industry that would love your brand.  When you build a relationship with these influencers, you can count on them leveraging their social media following to show off your product and, in turn, drive traffic back to your website. 4. Start a Blog of Your Own Your content creation skills aren’t just meant for other high domain authority websites. Save some of your brilliance for yourself and add a blog to your eCommerce website. Writing high-quality blog posts that are optimized for the search engine results pages (SERPs) is an awesome customer acquisition strategy. For example, let’s say you sell digital content about how to work from home (very relevant right now). If you create high-quality blog posts around that topic, Google may reward your content with a top spot on its SERP for relevant keywords. 5. Start a Referral Program Referrals from friends and family members are the number one trusted source of advertising.  Think about it. Let’s say you were looking for HVAC services from Company A and Company B, and trying to make a decision. If a friend called and told you how great their experience with Company A was, what would your choice be? That’s right! You would go with Company A, no questions asked. Do yourself a favor and launch a referral program. With the help of a referral program, you can leverage the loyalty of your best customers. All you have to do is create a rewards-based referral promotion. If one of your customers sends a friend and family member to your website and they sign up for your services or buy your products, you send a gift or discount to your loyal customer.  Here is an example of what a referral program looks like on the popular travel website, Airbnb. 6. Link to Your eCommerce Sites on Your Social Media Profiles Billions of people use various social media networks each day. If you have a decent following, it pays to link your eCommerce websites to all of your social media profiles. You can include a link to your website on your personal profiles as well as your business profiles. For example, here is what it might look like on Twitter. Rand Fishkin, the co-founder of SparkToro, has 435K followers on Twitter. To fully leverage his influence for the good of his company, he includes a link to his business website in his social profile. Take the time to include a link to your eCommerce website on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social network you use. 7. Check Your Site Speed The longer it takes your website to load, the more traffic you will lose. Data from a selection of eCommerce websites shows how long customers will wait for a site to load before leaving. The results indicate that bounce rates were just below 10% for websites that took less than 3 seconds to load, 24% for four-second load times, and 38% for five-second load time. If your eCommerce website loads slowly, you’re in trouble. Not only will you lose customers initially, but stats show that close to  80% of visitors who get frustrated with a site’s loading time will never visit that site again. 8. Advertise on a Podcast Over half of all Americans have listened to a podcast, and 32% listen to podcasts every month. Within the last ten years, the number of Americans that listen to podcasts has more than doubled, and the rates are growing every day. Podcasting draws a broad audience, and businesses are already spending millions on podcasts ads with projections of ad spend to reach over $500 million. The cool thing about placing an ad on a podcast is you can leverage podcast audience data to advertise on a podcast that matches your audience. You can promote your website to audiences based on demographic data, location, or even interests. For example, Crime Junkie is a popular podcast that captures the attention of, well, crime junkies. Guess who sponsors this podcast? Companies like Hunt A Killer and SimpliSafe, which is the perfect audience match for the Crime Junkie Audience.  I’m not saying that all podcast advertising will work, but I am saying that I personally just visited the Hunt A Killer website yesterday and subscribed all because of a Crime Junkie ad. 9. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Commerce You may be tempted just quickly to throw up any website. However, keep in mind the functionality and responsiveness of your website matters. Your site needs to be optimized for desktop and mobile searches and purchases. Recent stats show that 80% of shoppers used a mobile phone inside a physical store, and 79% of smartphone users have recently made a purchase online using their mobile device.  More than three-fourths of mobile device owners use their phones to make purchases. This means to capture the most amount of sales possible, you need to make it easy for customers to check out on your website via a desktop and a mobile device. Are Your Ready to Drive More Traffic to Your eCommerce Site? Setting up your eCommerce website is exciting. It’s one of the first steps to getting your business up and running. It’s critical to remember that you need to set up your eCommerce website with a trusted platform like HostGator.  HostGator comes with an eCommerce plan that makes it easy for you to optimize your website for search and mobile purchases, manage your store, and keep your blog updated regularly.  For more information on how to get started, check out our website today. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Set Up Instagram Gift Cards Stickers

Social Media Examiner -

Want to offer gift cards on Instagram? Wondering how to set up and use Instagram Stories gift card stickers? In this article, you’ll discover how to sell gift cards on Instagram. About Selling Gift Cards via Instagram To support businesses in selling online, Instagram has made it easier to sell directly to their audience (and […] The post How to Set Up Instagram Gift Cards Stickers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

7 Tips to Generate More Sales in Your Small Business

Pickaweb Blog -

The only way that a business can continue to run and be alive, whether small or big business, is if they generate sales. Even small businesses become big businesses by just increasing their sales. But the issue for small businesses is whether the sales process is well organized and able to generate more sales in The post 7 Tips to Generate More Sales in Your Small Business appeared first on Pickaweb.

The Month in WordPress: April 2020

WordPress.org News -

April continued to be a challenging time for the WordPress community, with many under stay-at-home recommendations. However, it was also an exciting month in which we created new ways to connect with and inspire each other! This month, amazing contributors moved more WordCamps online and shipped new releases for WordPress and Gutenberg. For the latest, read on.  WordPress 5.4.1 released On April 24th,  WordPress 5.4.1 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) was released for testing, quickly followed by the official release of WordPress 5.4.1 on April 29th. This security release features 17 bug fixes and seven security fixes, so we recommend updating your sites immediately. To download WordPress 5.4.1, visit your Dashboard, click on Updates, then Update Now, or download the latest version directly from WordPress.org. For more information, visit this post, review the full list of changes on Trac, or check out the version 5.4.1 HelpHub documentation page. Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. Gutenberg 7.9 and 8.0 released It was another exciting month for Gutenberg, with the release of 7.9 and 8.0! Version 7.9 brought new block design tools, three new patterns, and improved block markup. Gutenberg 8.0 continued to refine the new block patterns feature, with additional options for inline formatting, and extending the functionality of the Code Editor. In addition to these new features, both releases included new enhancements and APIs, along with a number of bug fixes, performance improvements, some experiments, and more! You can read all the details about the latest Gutenberg releases in the announcement posts for 7.9 and 8.0.  Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. BuddyPress 6.0.0 BuddyPress 6.0.0-beta2 was released for testing in mid-April, leading to the BuddyPress 6.0.0 Release Candidate, announced on April 29. This is an important step before  the final release of BuddyPress 6.0.0, which is slated for Thursday, May 14. Changes and new features in this release include moving the profile photo and user cover image under the BP Members component, and a new BP Rest API. Additionally, this release will introduce the first round of BuddyPress Blocks! Last, but not least, BuddyPress 6.0.0 will require at least PHP 5.6 and WordPress 4.8.  Want to get involved? Test the 6.0.0-RC here! You can also help by translating BuddyPress into another language, or let the team know of any issues you find, either in the support forums and/or in their development tracker.  WordCamp US goes online, apply to speak! WordCamp US will take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event still runs from October 27-29, 2020, and will be free to anyone who wishes to attend. The team plans to offer  what WCUS has historically brought to the community in person: sessions and workshops, Contributor Day, a hallway track, and of course, State of the Word.  Interested in speaking at WCUS? The Call for Speakers is still open! You can apply to speak on the speaker application site until May 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm CDT (UTC-5).  Additionally, the Call for Cities is also open. If your community is interested in hosting WordCamp US in 2021 & 2022, please fill out this application.  For the latest information about WordCamp US, sign up for updates on the website, or follow Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  WordCamp Europe 2020 goes virtual  Last month, WordCamp Europe decided to postpone its Porto event to 2021. This April, the WCEU organizing team announced that the 2020 WordCamp will be online! WordCamp Europe 2020 Online will take place from June 4-6, 2020, and tickets will be free. There will be a virtual Contributor Day on June 4, and then two half days of live-streamed talks and workshops. To participate, get your free ticket here.  To get the latest news for WordCamp Europe 2020 Online, follow on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or on Instagram.  Further Reading The WordPress 5.5 release cycle has officially been kicked off with a Call for Tickets.Read the proposal for a new GitHub Theme review process..Did you miss WPBlockTalk, or want to watch that really interesting session again? All talks are available on WordPress.tv!The Core team has introduced a proposal for a new Consent API as a feature plugin.All WordPress contribution teams have reported on their recent work in the first quarterly update of 2020. Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

Facebook Live Video Updates: What Marketers Need to Know

Social Media Examiner -

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore improvements to Live video on Facebook and Instagram, paid live streams in Facebook Events, and Messenger Rooms […] The post Facebook Live Video Updates: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

InMotion Hosting Pet Project: Grooming the Purrrfect Employee for Remote Work

InMotion Hosting Blog -

For a lot of us, work looks a bit different these days. While several of us are doing the same jobs we’ve been doing, our new “offices” and working conditions can take some getting used to.  Working remote comes with its own set of challenges, but the biggest adjustment to remote life? The influx of new “coworkers.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s always great to see an eager look in the eyes of our newest recruits, but we also know they’ll take some training to make them obedient coworkers. Continue reading InMotion Hosting Pet Project: Grooming the Purrrfect Employee for Remote Work at InMotion Hosting Blog.

The May 2020 promo code is the king of the home garden

Name.com Blog -

Welcome to May, folks. We hope that all of you are staying safe and sane right now, and taking care of yourself as best as you can. We’ve made it through another month so it’s time for a delivery of fresh, organic, home-grown promo code for your .com and .net renewals. Use the promo code […] The post The May 2020 promo code is the king of the home garden appeared first on Name.com Blog.

What Is a Blog?

InMotion Hosting Blog -

A blog is technically an index of web pages (usually referred as “posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (newest first). Originally, blogs were a way for people around the world to share a digital log of activities, interests, and various media (like image galleries). In many ways, smaller blogs have remained a form of digital diary. However, most high-profile blogs in recent years have been incorporated into larger marketing strategies. Blogs are not a form of social media, though popular social media sites integrate blog-like features, and blogs can be social in nature. Continue reading What Is a Blog? at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Expert Advice: 11 Ways Small Businesses Can Pivot to Survive a Crisis

DreamHost Blog -

Every entrepreneur knows that starting a small business is never easy. There are a few challenges that are to be expected — from building the perfect team to discovering exactly who your customer is, to creating a social media presence, just to name a few. One thing we never expected? Dealing with the economic blowout from a global pandemic. No matter what type of small business you have, everyone has experienced consequences from the coronavirus outbreak. That’s precisely why small businesses must be able to pivot in order to survive a crisis. “It is important to always listen to customer needs and to respond, but at a time when customer needs and demand is changing, it is critical for small businesses to pay attention to what customers are saying, how they are responding and what their needs are,” says Deborah S. Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com. “For small businesses to continue to remain relevant, they have to listen and respond. It is an opportunity to learn and grow as a business owner and to leverage entrepreneurial skills when they are most needed.” So, how can you be nimble these days? While every type of business has to act according to their market, there are a few universal rules that apply. Here are 11 ways small businesses can adapt to pull through the coronavirus crisis — and practically any crisis. 11 Ways Your Small Biz Can Pivot to Survive a Crisis 1. Adjust your offerings based on new customer demands and needs. It might seem obvious that entrepreneurs will need to switch up their business model to stay afloat during this crisis. The tricky part is figuring out how to change. “These shifts should be made in changing customer choices and industry trends and not simply in response to changes in economics,” says Bob Minhas, Founder and Lead Trainer for eSchool for Entrepreneurs. “Of course, shifting in economics will always lead to shifting customer choices, so they are generally aligned. However, a shift in economics is reactive, whereas a shift from purposeful research is proactive.” To figure out how to begin, Minhas suggests starting with market research. First, study what the economic experts are saying and learn what has changed in the national, regional, and local economies. Think about your industry and what the experts in your field are saying about its shift. Finally, talk to your existing and potential ideal customer base to determine what they need and if your skillset can support that. “Compiling all the information here will allow you to put something together and then just offer, offer, offer,” Minhas says. “Get people in to test your offer so you can continue to refine until it’s working and bringing in the revenue you need. Keep in mind that in this specific economic situation, it’s not a good idea to make a hard pivot you cannot come back from. You only want to pivot enough so that you are still within the realm of your expertise as that credibility of what you do is needed for customers to still trust you.” Plus, once the economy bounces back, you’ll want to be able to return to your initial business, or at least a modified version.  Potentially, this pivot can also stay as a new revenue source. Web Hosting Shouldn’t Be Your Biggest ChallengeWe’ll make sure your website is fast, secure, and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan 2. Always be prepared to work remotely. As a small business owner, you’ve most likely learned that planning ahead is key to success. “I always advise companies to plan for certain risks and make contingency plans, one of which is typically being forced to work from home,” says Jaryd P. Kase, Principal at Kase Consulting, LLC. “Of course, you don’t always have the benefit of being able to plan in advance. I would take advantage of cloud-based storage options such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft One Drive, etc. so that employees can access files from home computers. Take security precautions into consideration and don’t allow sensitive material to flow freely, but you should allow people enough access that they can do their jobs.” If your team is struggling with how to stay focused while working from home, these 16 strategies can help. Video conferencing enables people to work on team projects and keep the office on the same page. There are plenty of options from companies like Microsoft, Google, and Zoom, among others. “Some are free, some cost a little money,” Kase says. “Compare the features and pick what is best for you.” Related: The Best Web Management Tools for Small Businesses 3. Keep up daily team meetings. With everything in flux, it’s even more important to keep your employees up to speed. “Normally, team members can sync outside of their regular meetings with a quick desk visit or a water cooler visit,” says Chris Sica, Chief Revenue Officer of The Ronin Society. “Because these no longer exist in a work-from-home situation, you need to supplement them with increased meetings to make sure people get unstuck or remove blockers in their projects.” Plus, meetings can actually be a morale booster when the going gets tough. If your team is feeling isolated while working from home, you can even create watercooler moments while working remotely. Plus, chatting on Facebook Live, for example, can be a much-need way of staying social while social distancing. “Virtual team meetings let people see that they are still part of a team and not just stuck in solitude,” Kase says. “I usually allow a bit more leniency for going off-topic and joking around just because people have that need for human interaction that they are not getting from working in the office. When it comes to discussing work, though, this is where everyone can give updates on where they are on their tasks, ask for help, and congratulate a team member on a job well done.” 4. Boost your communication with customers. “Communication is an important factor during this time to help maintain your customers’ feeling of confidence,” Minhas says. “However, I find that a number of businesses focus on outbound communication, meaning they’re talking more than they are listening. Communication with customers needs to be a balancing act. Listen to what the most common questions coming in are and create outbound communication related to that.” Keep communication lines open during this time. For example, create a space such as a FAQ page and quickly respond to any outreach from clients. “Be sure to invest in a ticket system to track communication effectively among your team,” Minhas advises. 5. Stick to a daily schedule. With the world feeling upside down right now, it’s hard to remember what day it is. But that’s even more reason you should create a schedule — and be strict about following it. “It’s difficult to stay on track with so much going on (and not going on),” Sweeney says. “Hence, it’s critically important to plan and strategize and have an organized structure for your day. Have a schedule — wake up, exercise, eat healthfully, stay organized, get work done, communicate with team members and customers, and save time for strategy and organization of yourself for the upcoming day.” 6. Work on what can be done in the present. One of the many challenges of the coronavirus crisis is not knowing when things will return to normal. Since we can’t predict the future — even when we’re not in a global pandemic — focus on the now. “Small business owners need to prioritize the survival of their company,” Kase says. “That means making sure that proper financing, communication, staff retention, customer outreach, etc., are occurring. Beyond that, business leaders cannot forget about their longer-term goals. Goals for 2020 might be shot at this point; you likely will not hit your revenue numbers. Your 5- to 10-year goals, however, should be able to absorb a bump in the road, and you need to make adjustments to your strategy and tactics to ensure that you are still on course for reaching those goals.” 7. Improve your skill set. Just like people are using their newfound time to learn a language or start meditating, that self-improvement can trickle over to your business too. There are many areas where small businesses could use a boost. “It’s time to learn how to write great articles and emails,” Sica says. “It’s important to learn how to get good pictures and videos of yourself, your team, and your product or service. It’s time to learn digital marketing, how to use social media, and how to build an audience organically. It’s time to learn how to vet digital marketing agencies. It’s time to learn how to manage your finances more seriously so you can be more competitive with your pricing and sales offerings.” Related: The Best Online Resources to Learn How to Code) 8. Continue to network. It might seem counterintuitive to prioritize networking while social distancing, but it’s a great way to keep your business going strong. “Right now everyone is in a similar situation: The economy is struggling, unemployment is high, customers have been told not to leave their houses and businesses have been told to close,” Kase says. “Networking in a time like this can be both therapeutic and educational. It’s therapeutic in the sense that you can commiserate with other small business owners who are dealing with similar problems and educational in the sense that you may be able to learn what has worked well for someone else and try it for your own business. Meeting for coffee may now be talking on LinkedIn or Zoom, but the concept is still the same. There are plenty of places online where small business owners congregate, and a large portion of them would love to network.” 9. Get feedback. It’s always important to know what your colleagues and clients think, but now you might have more time to implement changes based on their suggestions. “Feedback right now is the best market research tool,” Minhas says. “Consumers are going through a shift in their buying behavior, so to understand the gap of what they need and what we are delivering is an important way to maintain relevance to them and, in turn, having them continue to spend money with us.” It’s not just your clients that you should be touching base with — hearing from your staff is equally important. “Feedback from team members ensures you’re able to maintain productivity as a team and that team members are invested in the success of what your company is trying to achieve,” Minhas says. “They buy into your common goal and mission when they feel heard.” Finally, you can also reach out to leaders and mentors within your field for suggestions on how to improve your own personal skill sets. Related: 12 Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Local Business 10. Stay positive. Looking on the bright side is especially challenging during tough times, so remind yourself that there is always a silver lining. “Silver-lining observations are often a hallmark of entrepreneurs,” Sweeney says. “Learning to take the opportunities from challenges is a critical aspect to adapting to change and growth. Business owners need to find order out of chaos … and be the voice of reason, observation, and opportunity when others cannot or do not see it.” To help your staff feel more optimistic too, empower them during this difficult time. For example, encourage team members to develop their skills during their downtime. “If you have an employee who is looking to grow in the company, this might be a great time to suggest reading up or training on some specific skills,” Kase suggests. “They can come back to the office when the economy is back open and use those skills in their work, showing you not only their dedication but also that they might be ready for that promotion.” Another critical way to empower employees is by listening to them. “Your employees might have some great ideas on how to weather this storm, so don’t feel like you as the owner need to have all of the answers,” Kase suggests. “Set up a virtual brainstorming meeting. Even if nothing comes of it, just being invited to sit at the table is an empowering gesture.” Looking for More Remote Work Tips?Whether you want to stay focused at home or increase team engagement, we can help! Subscribe to the DreamHost Digest so you never miss an article.Sign Me Up 11. Ask for help. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the economic landscape and created a financial crisis, so there are new government resources available to small business owners. Consider taking advantage of them to stay afloat. “Additionally, there are a few other programs that are potential options,” Sica says. “The Main Street Lending Program is a four-year loan with interest and principal payments deferred for one year. There are a number of large corporations offering special grants, and federal taxes have been delayed until July 15th for both personal and business. Each individual city seems to have a list of solutions applicable to their citizen businesses; search ‘[your city + COVID resources + small business].’” Ready for a Successful Pivot? No doubt about it — this is an uncertain time for small businesses. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from hosting websites for the last two decades, it’s that entrepreneurs are a scrappy (and smart!) bunch. You’ve got this, and we’re here to help. We’ve compiled our best small-business resources for you, with helpful guides on everything from building a great website to marketing your products. Please hit us up on Twitter or Facebook if there are other small-biz topics that you’d like us to cover. For those of you looking to build a business website for the first time, check out this helpful guide to getting an online store up and running in less than an hour. If you’re having trouble with your current web host and want to move your site during this time, we’ve got great news! We now offer free WordPress migrations. Have questions about your site? Our support team is always available to answer your website queries — big or small. The post Expert Advice: 11 Ways Small Businesses Can Pivot to Survive a Crisis appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

Employee Spotlight: Alex Schimpf

WP Engine -

In this ongoing blog series, we speak with WP Engine employees around the globe to learn more about their roles, what they love about the cities they work in, and what they like most about working at WP Engine.  In this interview, we speak with Sales Operations Analyst Alex Schimpf, who’s worked at our London… The post Employee Spotlight: Alex Schimpf appeared first on WP Engine.

When people pause the Internet goes quiet

CloudFlare Blog -

Recent news about the Internet has mostly been about the great increase in usage as those workers who can have been told to work from home. I've written about this twice recently, first in early March and then last week look at how Internet use has risen to a new normal.As human behaviour has changed in response to the pandemic, it's left a mark on the charts that network operators look at day in, day out to ensure that their networks are running correctly.Most Internet traffic has a fairly simple rhythm to it. Here, for example, is daily traffic seen on the Amsterdam Internet Exchange. It's a pattern that's familiar to most network operators. People sleep at night, and there's a peak of usage in the early evening when people get home and perhaps stream a movie, or listen to music or use the web for things they couldn't do during the workday.But sometimes that rhythm get broken. Recently we've seen the evening peak by joined by morning peaks as well. Here's a graph from the Milan Internet Exchange. There are three peaks: morning, afternoon and evening.  These peaks seem to be caused by people working from home and children being schooled and playing at home.But there are ways human behaviour shows up on graphs like these.  When humans pause the Internet goes quiet. Here are two examples that I've seen recently.The UK and #ClapForNHSHere's a chart of Internet traffic last week in the UK. The triple peak is clearly visible (see circle A). But circle B shows a significant drop in traffic on Thursday, April 23. That's when people in the UK clapped for NHS workers to show their appreciation for those on the front line dealing with people sick with COVID-19.RamadanRamadan started last Friday, April 24 and it shows up in Internet traffic in countries with large Muslim populations. Here, for example, is a graph of traffic in Tunisia over the weekend. A similar pattern is seen across the Muslim world.Two important parts of the day during Ramadan show up on the chart. These are the iftar and sahoor. Circle A shows the iftar, the evening meal at which Muslims break the fast. Circle B shows the sahoor, the early morning meal before the day's fasting.Looking at the previous weekend (in green) you can see that the Ramadan-related changes are not present and that Internet use is generally higher (by 10% to 15%).ConclusionWe built the Internet for ourselves and despite all the machine to machine traffic that takes place (think IoT devices chatting to their APIs, or computers updating software in the night), human directed traffic dominates.I'd love to hear from readers about other ways human activity might show up in these Internet trends.

FindMyHost Releases May 2020 Editors’ Choice Awards

My Host News -

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Web Hosting Directory and Review site www.FindMyHost.com released the May Editor’s Choice Awards for 2020 today. Web Hosting companies strive to provide their customers with the very best service and support. We want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the hosts per category who have excelled in their field. The FindMyHost Editors’ Choice Awards are chosen based on Editor and Consumer Reviews. Customers who wish to submit positive reviews for the current or past Web Host are free to do so by visiting the customer review section of FindMyHost.com.  By doing so, you nominate your web host for next months Editor’s Choice awards. We would like to congratulate all the web hosts who participated and in particular the following who received top honors in their field: Dedicated Servers BudgetVM.com   Visit BudgetVM.com  View Report Card Business Hosting KVCHosting.net   Visit KVCHosting.net  View Report Card SSD Hosting ZipServers.com   Visit ZipServers.com  View Report Card VPS MightWeb.net   Visit MightWeb.net  View Report Card Secure Hosting GlowHost.com   Visit GlowHost.com  View Report Card Shared Hosting KnownSRV.com   Visit KnownSRV.com  View Report Card Virtual Servers VPSFX.com   Visit VPSFX.com  View Report Card Website Monitoring UptimeSpy.com   Visit UptimeSpy.com  View Report Card About FindMyHost FindMyHost, Inc. is an online magazine that provides editor reviews, consumer hosting news, interviews discussion forums and more. FindMyHost.com was established in January 2001 to protect web host consumers and web developers from making the wrong choice when choosing a web host. FindMyHost.com showcases a selection of web hosting companies who have undergone their approved host program testing and provides reviews from customers. FindMyHost’s extensive website can be found at www.FindMyHost.com.

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