You might not realize it, but databases are everywhere. Whether or not you know very much about them, their effect on our daily lives is extensive. From weather applications to the movies you watch online, databases are responsible for many of the services we utilize daily.
We have collected a few of the more well-known examples of how databases enhance your day-to-day life below. The most popular database server in our industry, MySQL, is prevalent in virtually every example listed below.
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1. Online Television Streaming
Any online streaming service, such as Hulu or Netflix, uses databases to generate a list of TV shows and movies to watch. The database tracks an individual’s show preferences, and provide a list of recommended viewing.
The power required to analyze such an enormous amount of data is done through highly-specialized database management technology, such as Cassandra. In fact, Hulu has recently been relying heavily on Apache Cassandra.
2. Social Gaming
Gaming done across social networks is extremely data intensive. Gathering individual player information from around the globe and serving it to players on demand requires a high availability database software.
One example is the popular Game of Thrones Ascent, a free role-playing game launched by Disruptor Beam and based on the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones. Their Percona Server-based database solution helps eliminates data bottlenecks during high-usage periods.
3. Personal Cloud Storage
If you save photos or documents to your smartphone or tablet, it’s likely your data is stored in “the cloud,” a large, central storage environment with a small portion dedicated just to you.
Syncing this data across your devices requires powerful databases able to call up your data at a moment’s notice, wherever you are.
Fan participation in national sports doesn’t just utilize the power of the database, it depends upon it. From fantasy football leagues to March Madness brackets, they all depend on huge databases full of player statistics. This includes game performances, injury reports, and more, all calculating the odds of a win on a weekly basis.
From the stock market to your local bank, databases are abundant across the financial world. Tracking the vast amount of information behind the world’s daily transactions requires extremely powerful databases. This includes financial models that analyze that data to predict future activity.
6. Government Organizations
Government organizations around the world are constantly collecting data for research, defense, legislation, and humanitarianism purposes, to name a few. This data is collected, stored and analyzed using powerful and far-reaching database services.
7. Social Media
Every social media platform stores reams of user information in databases used to recommend friends, businesses, products, and topics to the end user. This cross-referencing of data is immensely complex and uses highly reliable and capable database software. For example, MySQL is used in Facebook data centers.
Any online organization that sells its products or services uses databases. This includes activities such as organizing their products, pricing information, and user purchase history. The eCommerce store owner can then recommend other potential products to customers using platforms such as WooCommerce.
This data is stored in highly secure databases, protected by the standards set through PCI Compliance.
Doctor’s offices and healthcare organizations, among others, store extensive amounts of patient data for easy accessibility. The databases behind this collection of information are large and complex and secure protected data. This is in compliance with HIPAA standards.
Healthcare.gov relies on a NoSQL database to manage their health insurance information. Cassandra is one such example of a NoSQL database software.
Predicting the weather across the globe is incredibly complex. The predictions depend on a myriad of factors, all gathered, stored and analyzed within databases. This allows the data to be ready to deliver today’s weather to your local TV station or smartphone app.
The Weather Company, for example, takes in over 20 terabytes of data per day. The company has used a number of databases to support this data, including MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Cassandra, and more.
We have Databases too!
Our Cloud VPS (Virtual Private Servers) and Traditional Dedicated Server solutions are two perfect examples of products that also run on databases. They are designed specifically for entrepreneurial businesses, developers, freelancers, and digital agencies.
The post Ten Ways Databases Run Your Life appeared first on Liquid Web.
Two years ago, Google announced that more than 50 million websites worldwide are infected with malicious code. Last year, there was a 212% increase in that number. What does that mean? It means your website has to protect itself. Did you know that another site can infect yours and make it vulnerable to attack?
Website security is essential for your business and we have five very good reasons why. Website security denotes trust and competency, is essential for search engine optimization (SEO), helps avoid spoofing, prevents customer data exploitation, and offers protection from hacking.
Continue reading Why Website Security is Important for Your Business at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
Partners have long been a staple in the Nexcess ecosystem, and a crucial player in our mission to bring the promise of hosting technology to online businesses. But until recently, something was missing. Today, we’re introducing a new partner level designed to bridge the space between our existing levels of Agency and Affiliate. We’re calling… Continue reading →
LOS ANGELES, CA – LayerHost, an IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) company, and a premier server hosting and IP transit provider with an emphasis on DDoS mitigation, is celebrating the rebranding from its former name and shift of focus, Global Frag Networks and gaming servers, respectively. A launch party is planned at Mrs. Fish, 448 S Hill St. Los Angeles, CA 90013 on Thursday, January 10th from 6PM to 10PM. The mood will be set by an in-house DJ, and the dance floor will subsequently be open for business. Delicious hors d-oeuvres will be provided by Mrs. Fish from their signature menu, and the open bar will feature cocktails concocted by the mixologists of the establishment. There will be a raffle with prizes, including an Apple watch, an iPad, as well as a special prize which will be announced at the event. All guests will receive a custom LayerHost branded swag bag full of awesome goodies. Entry to the event will require a ticket, so please RSVP at http://launch.layerhost.com.
The roots of the company can be traced back to 2008, back when it was called Global Frag Networks. The operations of Global Frag Networks were rooted deeply in the game hosting industry of the time, serving as the web hosting provider for such games as: Counter Strike 1.6, Day of Defeat and Team Fortress Classic. With such a direct connection to video games, the name “Global Frag Networks” was strangely appropriate. But as the gaming industry privatized the hosting of their games, that is, game developers began to host their own servers for its multiplayer matches, a necessary pivot was desperately needed (and desired). In 2012, still under the name Global Frag Networks, the services provided by the company began to expand to include colocation, IP transit, as well as DDoS mitigation. As the company outgrew its previous operations, the same operations which its foundation was built upon, it became evident that a new name had to be created. Welcome into the arena, LayerHost, as the complete rebranding of Global Frag Networks. The growth of LayerHost saw many challenges and accomplishments, and the lessons learned throughout ultimately led to the optimization of how the company does business today. LayerHost has learned from its journey, and ultimately, has the same priorities in mind which made operations under Global Frag Networks successful: the focus on the clients, as well as their complete satisfaction.
Given this in mind, this launch party is a toast from LayerHost to all of the guests in attendance, and to those who unfortunately will not be able not make it. It is a big “thank you” to all of the clients who made Global Frag Networks successful and allowed it to transition to LayerHost, those customers who still are with the company today, and to all of the amazing new faces which LayerHost would be humbled and excited if given the opportunity to partner in mutual growth. Also, it highlights the efforts of the founder and CEO, Mohamad Kazah, who started the company as the aforementioned Global Frag Networks and now, has a small team of hard-working individuals with LayerHost. And because of the company growing to a state where there are several dedicated employees, it is also a celebration of the team’s hard work. But most of all, to the old friends and the new friends LayerHost will meet at the event, it serves as a way to say a big thank you, as well as a session to relax, enjoy good food, treats, and company.
Please RSVP at: http://launch.layerhost.com
The venue chosen for the event is the exquisite sushi restaurant, Mrs. Fish located in the heart of Downtown, Los Angeles. When you walk inside, the magnificent plethora of artwork on display by artists from Japan makes it difficult to establish the line between restaurant and museum. However, when you see the presentation of the food mimicking the real-life art on display at Mrs. Fish, only then does it become evident that there needs no distinguishing; it’s both. LayerHost chose this venue not only because they believe the guests will have an amazing experience there during the launch party, but because the ambience and je ne sais quoi mirrors that how the company interacts with its clients and operates. At LayerHost, even though the provided services such as: dedicated server hosting, IP transit, DDoS mitigation and VPS hosting are equivalent, if not better than the other providers, they pride themselves on giving the customers an experience that is hard to beat. This is possible because at LayerHost, the satisfaction rating of client is the quantifiable measure which comes before revenue and quotas. When you partner with LayerHost and and benefit from their products and unmatched reliability, you not only get an amazing product, but an unforgettable experience as well.
While the food of Mrs. Fish seeks to titillate your taste buds and the artwork, the senses, LayerHost operates to ensure that the care that their clients receive after the transaction is nothing short of a tender, familiar interaction. In this sense, the launch party for the rebranding of LayerHost is nothing more than a welcoming family gathering, complete with great food, elegant drinks, great music, great company and thoughtful gifts put together by the team. LayerHost hopes to see all of you in attendance and cannot wait to spend time with all of you!
WordPress powers over a quarter of the world’s websites, including many ranked in the web’s top 100. Although this free,...
The post Is WordPress Only for Blogs? appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.
AUSTIN, TX – – Bluehost, an Endurance International Group (NASDAQ: EIGI) company and top-rated web host by WordPress.org, continues to evolve its platform with the launch of WordPress Pro, an all-inclusive web hosting package optimized for WordPress websites. In addition to improved performance, WordPress Pro bundles popular add-ons like JetPack analytics, domain privacy, CodeGuard, and Sitelock into a new, easy-to-use customer Marketing Center.
“Bluehost is committed to continually evaluating and improving the hosting experience for our WordPress customers through innovation, new technologies, and customer feedback,” said Suhaib Zaheer, general manager, Bluehost. “WordPress Pro is a compilation of Bluehost’s popular services and tools packaged into an intuitive and easy to use website management experience. In addition to existing tools, WordPress Pro features the new Marketing Center dashboard, which will help customers save time by bringing important website analytics into a single view.”
The new Marketing Center, a dashboard included in all WordPress Pro packages, streamlines the management of multiple channels into a single view. From the Marketing Center, customers are easily able to monitor and manage SEO, social media, site analytics, and business reviews from Google and Bing. Website owners no longer need to log into a variety of third-party dashboards to manage their WordPress websites.
WordPress Pro is available in three packages: Build, Grow, and Scale, allowing small businesses to pick the plan that best fits their needs and growth plans. Build is the perfect entry point for professionals who have simple website needs but want improved performance over traditional website hosting. Grow is ideal for users with more complex needs and want control over their traffic dynamics and ad revenue. Scale fits the needs of small businesses with a large catalogue of content looking for advanced website features and hands-on support.
“We are extremely proud of this new web hosting experience And cannot wait to share it with the WordPress community at WordCamp US in Nashville this weekend. Attendees can stop by our booth for a demo of WordPress Pro and learn more,” stated Brady Nord, vice president of product development. “Whether through our engagement with the community or our WordPress focused solutions, Bluehost is committed to supporting the growing number of WordPress users around the world.”
Since 2013, Bluehost has been a global sponsor of WordCamps, community organized conferences that take place in cities around the world where WordPress enthusiasts meet to share knowledge about the online platform. Bluehost has renewed its sponsorship for 2019 and will continue to attend, speak, and support the WordPress community.
Bluehost, an Endurance International Group company, is a trusted partner for WordPress users. Founded in 2003, Bluehost enables novices and experts alike to create and maintain a web presence with reliable web hosting, eCommerce tools, marketing applications, automated security, and WordPress tools. Its one-stop dashboard makes it easy for users to manage many aspects of their website from metrics to site security. Built on open source technology, Bluehost continues to support and participate in a wide range of open source projects to help push the internet to its full potential. For more information, visit www.bluehost.com.
About Endurance International Group
Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: EIGI) helps millions of small businesses worldwide with products and technology to enhance their online web presence, email marketing, business solutions, and more. The Endurance family of brands includes: Constant Contact, Bluehost, HostGator, Domain.com and SiteBuilder, among others. Headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, Endurance employs over 3,700 people across the United States, Brazil, India and the Netherlands. For more information, visit: www.endurance.com.
JACKSONVILLE, FL – Web.com Group, Inc. on Monday announced it has acquired from Tucows, Inc. all remaining interest in the domain name aftermarket platform, NameJet, LLC. With this transaction, Web.com now owns two of the top platforms in the domain name aftermarket. The company also owns SnapNames Web.com, LLC, a pioneer in the domain name aftermarket space.
NameJet launched in 2007 as a joint venture between eNom, Inc., a subsidiary of Tucows, and Web.com subsidiary, Network Solutions, LLC. Like SnapNames, NameJet has exclusive partnerships with top domain name registrars across the globe and helps domain professionals, businesses and individuals acquire valuable domain names, including those that have recently expired.
“This move to complete ownership aligns with our goal of nurturing our core domain business, supporting and anticipating the diverse needs of our customers, and driving new opportunities for innovation and growth,” said David L. Brown, Web.com’s chief executive officer and president.
“We welcome the NameJet team to the Web.com family and are excited to leverage their thought leadership and expertise as we continue to invest in the aftermarket industry,” added Michael White, aftermarket vice president for Web.com.
“Web.com has been a great partner and we look forward to working with and leveraging their aftermarket expertise in the future,” said David Woroch, domains executive vice president for Tucows.
Since 1997 Web.com has been the marketing partner for businesses wanting to connect with more customers and grow. We listen, then apply our expertise to deliver solutions that owners need to market and manage their businesses, from building brands online to reaching more customers or growing relationships with existing customers. For some, this means a fast, reliable, attractive website; for others, it means customized marketing plans that deliver local leads; and for others, it means customer-scheduling or customer-relationship marketing (CRM) tools that help businesses run more efficiently. Owners from big to small can focus on running the companies they know while we handle the marketing they need.
ORLANDO, FL – Atlantic.Net, a leading cloud services provider, today announced a partnership with Veeam® Software, the leader in Intelligent Data Management for the Hyper-Available Enterprise. As a registered partner in the Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) program, Atlantic.Net customers can access data protection and availability solutions powered by Veeam to bolster their disaster recovery and business strategies that protect their critical data.
Veeam Availability Suite delivers hyper-availability for all workloads — virtual, physical, and cloud— from a single management console. Veeam Availability solutions provide fast and reliable recovery of applications and data, bringing backup and replication into a single software solution. Atlantic.Net customers’ access to Veeam-powered solutions comes at a critical time in the cloud industry, as disaster recovery and replication is more significant for a business than ever before.
“Atlantic.Net’s partnership with Veeam enhances the overall security of our clients’ information in the event of data loss or disaster recovery. In addition to our current backup and recovery offerings, we are now able to leverage Veeam’s intelligent data management capabilities,” said Marty Puranik, CEO of Atlantic.Net. “It’s important that we ensure the continued availability of our clients’ most valuable assets. Working alongside Veeam will further solidify our position as a secure hosting leader.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome Atlantic.Net to our VCSP partner program,” said Matt Kalmenson, Vice President, Service & Cloud Provider Sales at Veeam. “We’re confident in their ability to deliver Veeam–powered solutions to enable their customers to meet the challenging data protection and availability demands of today’s digital transformation era.”
For more information on Atlantic.Net’s partnership with Veeam, please visit https://www.atlantic.net/veeam-services/.
Atlantic.Net is a global cloud services provider with over 24 years of experience, specializing in Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD server hosting. Atlantic.Net provides business-class dedicated and cloud hosting solutions with a focus on security, compliance, and simplifying the experience for users. Additionally, Atlantic.Net offers fully-managed environments, security, and compliance-focused solutions across all its hosting facilities in San Francisco, New York, London, Toronto, Dallas, Ashburn, and Orlando. With a range of certifications, along with SSAE 18, SOC 2, SOC 3, HIPAA, and HITECH-audited data center infrastructure, Atlantic.Net is a security-first provider. For more information, please visit www.atlantic.net.
ANN ARBOR, MI – A2 Hosting, a committed provider of high-performance shared hosting, WordPress Hosting, and more, today announced that its A2 Optimized Plugin will be compatible with WordPress 5.
WordPress 5 first entered beta in October, and is slated for a full release in the very near future, WordPress 5 features a complete redesign and reimagining of the WordPress Editor. The update also includes improvements to the WordPress Rest API, enhancements to the custom theme and page building experience, and an overall more intuitive experience.
With an eye on simplicity, A2 Hosting provides a hosting environment that meets WordPress requirements by default. In other words, there’s no tinkering required on your end to get your site up and running smoothly (and with greater security).
The A2 Optimized plugin is designed to help users easily optimize their WordPress sites for speed, security, and performance. To that end, it’s designed to automatically configure W3 Total Cache, optimizing your website with minimal effort on your part. These tools and utilities will assist A2’s clients in building the best website possible, allowing them to focus on content and branding rather than optimization.
The plugin is offered free of charge, with additional features available to A2 Hosting customers.
“At A2 Hosting, we always strive to offer the best experience imaginable for our clients,” explains Brad Litwin, Marketing Manager at A2 Hosting. “To that end, our shared environment meets WordPress’s recommended hosting environment by default, and we offer a comprehensive set of Managed WordPress hosting solutions. Our experts are also constantly testing the ideal WordPress configuration, tweaking it to offer the fastest page loads, best performance, and highest security possible.”
“Providing webmasters with a seamless upgrade to the most game-changing version of WordPress yet is one more aspect of our commitment to excellence, and one more way our plugin can enhance our clients’ WordPress experience,” he continues. “Clients are free to enjoy all the versatility WordPress has to offer, without the technical challenges it can present – to focus on building their site, writing content, and promoting their brand while we manage the rest.”
A2 Hosting, Inc. is a high-performance hosting company located in Ann Arbor, MI. A2 Hosting provides their customers with ultra-reliable solutions and 24/7/365 US-based support from their Guru Crew team. Since 2003, A2 Hosting has offered innovative, affordable and developer friendly website hosting for personal homepages up to full-service solutions for businesses of all sizes, based in all locations. Each A2 Hosting service is hosted on their fine-tuned SwiftServer Hosting platform. Customers seeking an additional speed boost can host on A2 Hosting’s Turbo Servers featuring page load speeds up to 20X faster compared to competing hosts.
To learn more about A2 Hosting, visit https://www.a2hosting.com
WordPress started in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes. Since then it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day. WordPress started as just a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as a full content management system and so much more through the use of thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes. WordPress is limited only by your imagination.
OVERLAND PARK, KS – Codero Holdings, Inc. (Codero), a leader in managed hosting and technology enablement, has been chosen by Microsoft as one of a select group of Datacenter Optimization Partners to pro-actively support and manage Azure SQL Database Managed Instance as part of a pilot program. Managed Instance is a new resource type in SQL Database that streamlines the migration of SQL Server workloads and combines the best of SQL Server with all the benefits of a fully managed database service. This pilot is designed to accelerate SQL Server migrations to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, the optimal destination in the cloud for businesses that have performance and latency IO requirements.
Customers who migrate to a managed instance will receive back-end management from Microsoft — including OS patches, redundancy, and high availability guarantees — while Codero provides pro-active, premium management to ensure each company’s database keeps up with organizational growth and ever-changing demands.
As a participant in the Microsoft Azure Cloud Solution Provider Program, Codero’s team is certified to manage Azure-based services, having already migrated 1,000-plus servers to Azure in 2018.
“We are well versed and experienced in architecting, optimizing, and managing Azure environments, and we’re ready to help customers achieve such an improvement in their database performance, reliability, and ROI that they notice a big difference in their day-to-day operations,” Codero Chief Revenue Officer Ric Riddle said. “It’s an honor that Microsoft has selected us as a trusted pilot participant, and we look forward to making lifetime believers out of many new SQL Managed Instance customers in the months ahead.”
As IT management becomes more challenging for time- and resource-strapped in-house IT teams, companies are migrating to managed solutions for systems they have traditionally hosted on-premise, including SQL Server. Azure SQL Database Managed Instance is highly compatible with on-premise SQL Server so that migration and onboarding are easier and less time consuming.
Once migrated, customers experience up to 30 times improved throughput and latency and up to 100 times faster queries and reports with in-memory technologies, according to Microsoft. The cloud-based model also brings dynamic scalability and up to 406 percent ROI versus on-premise or hosted databases.
To get started with migration or learn more about Azure SQL Database Managed Instance managed by Codero, chat with a representative at http://www.codero.com.
Codero helps customers and partners thrive in the cloud. A technology enabler that facilitates the adoption and use of advanced and custom cloud solutions, Codero provides managed, dedicated, and hybrid multi-cloud services, backed by exceptional customer service. The company offers a diverse portfolio of fully managed offerings from bare metal servers within its own data centers to custom cloud and technology solutions. Codero serves over 3,500 customers worldwide.
One common hosting type for WordPress websites is Managed WordPress Hosting. What exactly is that? If you are trying to get a personal blog or an online business off the ground, your focus may not be specifically on the technical details of the server. You are probably more focused on adding content to your blogs or growing your business with quality services and products.
Managed WordPress Hosting allows you to do exactly that.
Continue reading What Is Managed WordPress Hosting? at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.
The holiday season is upon us once more, and that means many things for your business. On the one hand, you’re about to enter the most lucrative period of the year. However, you’ll also be considerably busier than usual, and will likely need to deal with a much higher number of customer support queries.
To make sure your support can cope with the holiday rush, you’ll want to plan ahead. Strengthening and preparing your support team is key to helping them provide assistance for a huge influx of stressed customers. If you do that, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of the season more effectively.
In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s particularly important to provide quality customer service throughout the holidays. We’ll also offer some tips for how you can prepare your business and support team in advance. Let’s get started!
Why Customer Service Matters Most During the Holidays
If you’re anything like us, you’re getting busier by the day preparing for the holiday season. However, this isn’t just a time for buying gifts and eating good food. It’s also the most critical period for businesses, as many companies make the bulk of their yearly sales during the last few weeks of the year.
However, to make sure your business takes full advantage of this period, you’ll need to plan ahead carefully. There are plenty of ways to ensure that you’re ready for the holiday rush, and one of the most crucial is making sure your customer service will function flawlessly.
Of course, providing high-quality customer support is always necessary. During the holiday rush, however, you will most likely be inundated with even more support queries, questions, and confused customers than at any other time of the year. And because of high stress levels, you’re also more likely to end up dealing with some frustrated and potentially antagonistic customers.
This might sound intimidating. By preparing in advance and making a solid plan, however, you can ensure that your customer service will remain top-notch even under less-than-ideal circumstances. Not only will this help your customers, but it will be a huge benefit to you and your customer service agents as well.
10 Ways to Prepare Your Customer Service for the Holiday Rush
If you’re wondering: “When should I start to prepare for the holidays?”, our answer is right now! It’s never too early to start planning for the year’s final month, but having a plan in place at least before the beginning of December is highly recommended.
With that in mind, we’re going to guide you through some of the most important steps you’ll want to take. Here are 10 things you can do prepare your customer service before Santa arrives!
1. Analyze Last Year’s Data
A perfect place to start your planning is to look back at the previous year. This will involve examining the volume of calls and messages you received, finding out what the most common pain points were, and trying to understand where your service may have been lacking.
Having this data at hand will be a huge help when formulating a plan for the upcoming rush. You’ll be able to improve in areas where you’ve struggled previously, and you can also preemptively provide information for the most common customer questions. In turn, this will cut down on the number of queries your team has to field.
How you go about doing this analysis will naturally depend on your toolset. If you’re using software like Zendesk or Awesome Support, you can just view the statistics and queries from previous years. You should also liaise with your support and marketing teams, as they’ll be best equipped to tell you where you need to focus your attention.
Here are some vital questions you’ll want to be able to answer:
How much larger is the volume of support queries you receive during the holiday shopping period, compared with the rest of the year?
What are the most common questions customers have?
How are most people choosing to contact you — via email, phone, chat, or some other medium?
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list. However, these answers will help you immensely throughout the rest of your preparations.
2. Decide Which Support Channels to Focus On
It’s essential that you know where to focus your attention during the holiday season. At first glance, it might seem like the best route to use every conceivable method of contact, but this can lead to spreading yourself too thin.
Imagine that you have to simultaneously juggle phone lines, live chat, emails, and social media, in addition to updating your content and dealing with orders and shipping. In this scenario, you’ll likely see most — if not all — of those channels suffer in quality. This is especially true if you only have a small support team.
To avoid this problem, you’ll need to consider which channels of communication to focus on. The best way to start is by looking at which channels are most commonly used by your customers. As we mentioned in the previous section, looking at earlier years’ support queries will give you a good baseline to work from. However, you’ll also want to consider which channels are most popular during the rest of the year.
For example, if you find that your customers are primarily calling in or using your contact form throughout the year, it’s fair to assume that these will be the busiest channels during the holidays as well. Knowing this will let you assign more people to handle those channels, and avoid keeping customers waiting.
3. Prepare for Quick Scaling
The truth is that no matter how well you plan, the holidays are never completely predictable. This means you’ll need to have a contingency plan, in case you need to scale up or down with little notice.
For example, what if you face twice as many support requests as you anticipated? You’ll need to be able to assign more time and manpower to deal with them, while also keeping the rest of your operations afloat. In this scenario, you might consider hiring remote seasonal workers to help out.
This is something many companies do to handle the increased volume of work during the holidays. Hiring temporary workers gives you the freedom to change the size of your team at almost a moment’s notice. For example, you could use a service like PartnerHero to outsource some or all of your customer support work during this period.
Naturally, you’ll need to ensure that these seasonal workers have all the assets and information they need, which is something we’ll discuss later on. With the right preparations in place, they should be able to slot into your normal operations with little friction and help you deal with almost any unexpected situation.
4. Keep Your Customers Informed
Arguably the most significant way to avoid customer frustration is to manage their expectations. If your support is changing during the holidays, you need to make that clear as early as possible. They’ll need to be aware of when and how they will be able to contact you.
It’s also smart to let customers know how your other operations are likely to alter. For example, will returns take longer to process, and will they need to wait a bit for responses to their emails? By letting them know what to expect, you can keep them informed and minimize the risk of frustration or hostility.
One strategy you can use to your advantage is sometimes referred to as “underpromise and overdeliver.” The idea is that you prepare customers for potential issues that may arise, but then work to avoid those problems anyway. This lets you exceed their expectations.
Overall, our recommendation is to be honest about what customers can expect and to make any changes clear through as many channels as possible. That includes on your website, social media, and even your email list. This will ensure that the bulk of your customers know what to expect.
5. Use Automation to Your Advantage
When the season gets going and you find yourself swamped in tasks, every second will count. To make sure you can use your available time most efficiently, you’ll want to consider automating tasks whenever it’s possible to do so.
For instance, you can create an automated workflow using software like Help Scout. This can be set up to redirect customer queries to the person or team best suited to deal with them. Not only will this save time on your end, but it will also keep waiting times down for your stressed customers.
Workflows also let you handle plenty of other tasks automatically, such as tracking products to let you know right away when stocks are low. You can then deal with the potential issue before it becomes a full-blown problem.
There are plenty of other ways you can use automation during the holidays. One of the best strategies is to set up an AI-driven chatbot that can help you deal with the most common questions. This can dramatically cut down on the amount of time the human members of your team need to spend on customer support requests.
6. Implement a Triage System for Support Queries
In addition to automating parts of your support system, you can also optimize it by introducing a triage process. This involves sorting tasks and support queries into categories depending on their urgency. You can then prioritize more urgent matters first, while non-emergency tasks can be dealt with later.
Implementing triage into your customer service will let you focus your attention on what matters most at any given time. The most pressing and time-sensitive tasks can be dealt with right away, minimizing the risk of making your customers feel frustrated and hostile.
An easy way to do this is to simply categorize each customer query according to priority. If an issue needs to be dealt with immediately, you might label it as “critical,” while if it needs to be looked at within 1-2 hours it could be labeled “urgent.” Issues that can wait a day or two, on the other hand, can be noted as “low priority.”
However, you need to remember that you’ll still have to actually deal with all requests. If you find that you’re never getting around to handling low-priority tasks, you may need to consider scaling your team up temporarily by assigning additional personnel.
7. Update Your Content and Knowledge Base
Earlier, we discussed the importance of keeping your customers informed. However, this extends beyond just letting them know about changes to your schedule. By making sure that all of your content and assets are up-to-date, you can save both customers and yourself a lot of time and hassle.
For example, if you provide a knowledge base with information about your products and services, you can use it to answer most of the most commonly asked questions during the holiday period. In many cases, your support team can simply refer customers to relevant knowledge base articles, answering their queries quickly.
For this to work, you’ll obviously need to ensure that you provide as much documentation and information as possible. It also needs to be thoroughly updated, to ensure that you don’t cause additional confusion among your customers.
If you need to set up a knowledge base, you can use a plugin such as Heroic Knowledge Base. If you already have one, on the other hand, you should perform a content audit well before the holiday rush kicks in. This can also involve reviewing similar resources, such as your FAQ page.
8. Learn How to Help Stressed Customers
The holidays are intended to offer relaxation and fun, but we all know that it can also be a thoroughly stressful period. As such, you’re likely to deal with a few customers who are particularly difficult, frustrated, or even outright antagonistic.
Naturally, you’ll need to prepare in order to help them out and avoid angering them further. Dealing with difficult customers is a delicate task. The most valuable advice we can offer is to train your support team to stay calm and professional at all times, no matter what a customer might say.
In addition, here are some ways you can approach particularly challenging customers:
Listen. If the customer feels like they’re being deflected or ignored, they’re only going to get angrier and less responsive.
Be quick. Naturally, your goal is to be as a fast as possible with all support queries. However, it can be worth prioritizing more stressed customers, to avoid further incident.
Treat them like people. We discussed the value of automation earlier, but in tough cases, it’s better to take a personal approach. Make it clear to the customer that you’re handling their issue and care about their frustration, so they don’t feel like they’re being treated as a nuisance.
In short, by listening to the customer and being prepared to meet them halfway, you can usually solve even the most heated of issues.
9. Prepare to Provide Compensation to Customers
In some situations, you may need to compensate customers. Especially in the most volatile or challenging cases, a simple gift can help to smooth things over immensely. Some customers might even demand this kind of treatment.
Providing compensation can help to soften even the most upset customers. It can also win back some goodwill. Your goal is to ensure that the customer considers using your business again in the future, despite their current grievances.
Naturally, you’ll want to be very careful about how and when you compensate customers. In some cases, such as when they’ve received a faulty product, you may be legally obligated to provide a new item or a refund.
However, you can also provide compensation if a customer has had a particularly difficult experience, either with your business or your customer service. This could be in the form of a small gift, a coupon, a discount, or anything else that’s convenient but useful to the customer.
10. Take Care of Your Support Team
Finally, while it’s obviously necessary to take care of your customers, you shouldn’t ignore the people on your own front lines. Beginning on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the holiday rush is a stressful experience for everyone, especially those who have to field questions and requests from wound-up customers.
Depending on the size of your business, you can take care of your support team in several ways. Naturally, you should make sure they have everything they’ll need to do their jobs without incident.
However, it’s also nice to reward your support team further, to show your appreciation for all their hard work. Even something as simple as the occasional gift, like seasonally appropriate sweets and drinks, can do a lot to raise morale during this hectic season.
Holiday Shopping Made Easy
The holidays are meant to be a time of joy, but it can be hard to feel merry if your customer service is strained. By preparing well in advance, you can put a plan into place, train your team, and inform your customers — providing effective and efficient support as a result.
Do you have any questions about how to handle customer support during the holiday rush? Find us on social and let’s start the conversation!
The post How Your Online Business Can Nail Customer Service During the Holiday Rush appeared first on DreamHost.
Back in April, we gave you Ten Questions You Need to Answer to Survive a Data Disaster. Recall that, “Good business relies on good planning. Anticipating scenarios, detailing responses and understanding consequences is an essential part of your business survival kit.”
This notion remains true, and I’d like to take a more in-depth exploration of Data Backup and Disaster Recovery.
Data disasters can be the result of human or hardware error. In any case, safeguarding against data loss is imperative in today’s Information Technology climate.
Let’s look at the risks you need to start assessing.
Assessment of Risks – Plan Ahead
The first thing you will want to do is assess the risks related to securing the data for your business and clients. Depending on the services you provide, annual risk assessments may be required. There can also be compliance requirements, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This is as important as the environment you host. It involves securing your data both now and in the future.
Let’s look deeper at data classification, data ownership, and data storage and security.
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How is Data Classified
You will need to know and understand how your site or application gathers data. It is also vital to know the classification of it as well. This will determine the storage and security of data as you assess risk. Some common data classifications are Public, Private, and Restricted data.
Information that is available to and from the public may not need retention. If it does, the risk of compromise to that information would be low since it is public. In contrast, if private or restricted information were compromised, it would be catastrophic.
Who Owns the Data
Once you have determined the classification of the data, you will want to establish ownership. Does this data belong to your business, your client, or an outside individual or entity? This is critical to determining what processes are necessary for accessing, storing, and securing the data. It is also good to have security access measures, such as 2 Factor Authentication, in place. After accomplishing this vital step, you can move on to access measures, storage, and security.
How is Data Stored and Secured
Data storage and security is a factor in the assessment process to watch on a continual basis. This will include storage capacity as well as where in the set up specific data will be. For instance, do you want the operating system and site content on the same drive array or not?
This can also dictate the type of drives (SATA or SSD) as well as the array implementation of them. Disk encryption is another thing to consider in the security piece of the assessment. As mentioned above, determine the access method for those that need it.
If you are looking to dive a bit deeper on risk assessment, Digital Guardian has an excellent guide for putting together a business risk assessment.
Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
The final part of a Risk Assessment, which the rest of this article will deal with, has to do with Data Backup and Disaster Recovery. Critical to any Risk Assessment plan is having a data backup or recovery plan. Businesses large or small see the impact with data loss due to a catastrophic event. Having a plan in place to get back up and running should something happen is vital to survival.
During this part of the Risk Assessment, a Business Impact Analysis can prove valuable. The BIA will outline the consequences of a disruption of business function and processes resulting from data loss. This analysis will also put into place a proper backup and disaster recovery plan.
Mission-Critical Systems and Infrastructure – Know What You Need
This is where a proper Assessment comes in handy. You will be putting all of the gained knowledge of your systems to use. Because you know the classification of data, ownership, storage, and security, implementing a backup solution should not be difficult. The other part to the equation would be the actual infrastructure itself. You will need to consider the configuration of your servers and how this setup will factor into your backup solution.
There are those that may have a single server setup. Your options are whether to back up the data on the server or to a remote location. For others, a multi-server setup will need evaluation for the best way to put backups in place. You will need to decide between backing each server up to its own server, drive, or to a single server or cluster.
On-server backup storage simply means the backup and live data exist on the same server. This can either be on the same drive or another physical drive in the server. A configuration with on-server backups would have direct access to data, usually contained in the file system. This gives you some recourse should there be a need to restore a file or entire sets of data. But this would not provide the ability to recover data in the event of a full server failure.
By contrast, remote server backups provide a more sound disaster recovery option. The idea is that you are not only able to restore files and data sets, but the entirety of the data contained on the server if necessary. Depending on the implementation, direct access to the backups may or may not be an option. Still, this can be one of the best tools to consider when backing up your data.
Why Planning for Data Backup and Recovery is Important
In creating the recovery plan, it is essential to consider the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and the Recovery Point Objective (RPO). As we discussed in our initial article on data disasters, the RTO is the measure of how long your business can be offline before the damages are catastrophic. What that timeframe looks like business to business may vary.
Businesses that count on obtaining data and storing it to databases would suffer if that flow of data stopped for even one hour. Busy WooCommerce stores can lose money if potential customers are not able to reach their store to buy products. A capable backup and recovery plan should account for the time it would take to get systems restored.
The RPO is the measure of how much data you can lose during a catastrophic event before your ability to do business or remain in business is in question. There is nothing worse than restoring your systems and finding there were not enough restore points to ensure the most recent changes were intact.
Or, as in the case example of the Orleans Parish Civil District Court, data loss can occur due to having a backup solution that was not tested after a system update. Your backup and recovery plan needs to include proper testing to ensure functioning backups are happening for your business.
Have a Team – Be Ready to Go
Whether your infrastructure is in-house or with a managed provider, it is essential to have a team willing to act at a moment’s notice. If you’re in-house, ensuring your Backup and Recovery plan solves for your team’s availability in crisis will prove valuable.
If you are hosting your systems via a managed provider, it is good to know what their Data Backup and Recovery plans are. This is usually outlined in a Service and Organization Controls Report (SOC). This can be the difference between data loss, downtime for longer than desired, or quick recovery and loss avoidance. Liquid Web’s SOC 3 report and all other certifications are available on our site.
How Liquid Web Handles Backup and Disaster Recovery
With Liquid Web, on-server backups can be with or without the use of a control panel. This holds true for our Cloud VPS, Cloud Dedicated, and Traditional Dedicated servers. Our Fully Managed servers use cPanel or Plesk for Linux, and Plesk only for Windows environments.
Using a control panel and setting up on-server backups provides flexibility in the days and times they run, giving you many restore points. You will want to ensure that you have enough server storage to house both your data and backups.
Our remote backups have a different implementation for Cloud servers than for Traditional Dedicated servers. Liquid Web’s Cloud backups are apart of our Cloud Platform. Each backup is for the full server and runs daily. These backups store on nodes within our data centers managed by us. There are two options for Cloud Backups: Pay Per Gig and Quota Pricing. I discuss those options in a previous post, “What is Cloud VPS?“.
For Traditional Dedicated servers, our Guardian Backups is the solution for remote backups. You can choose to run daily or continuous backups of your server, only backing up changes to your files. The latter gives you a secluded, incremental backup solution for dedicated servers. In this case, Guardian takes incremental backups of your entire server to ensure that you can restore or reimage your server in case of a disaster. The initial image taken is of the whole server with more images only updating changes that made to files. All backups store in our data centers.
Check With Your Host for Backup Services to Match Business Needs
If your setup is being done in-house, it can be a daunting task, but having the right staff can ease the pressure. Likewise, having a managed hosting provider can make data backup and recovery easy for you. Most providers have professionals that are able to walk you through the options they provide. Liquid Web has Sales, Support, and a dedicated System Monitoring and Recovery team available 24/7/365 to assist you with your data backup and disaster recovery needs.
Need Backup or Security Solutions?
Liquid Web has Cloud and Remote backup solutions, Hardware Firewalls, DDoS Protection and more to keep your business running, secure and profitable under any circumstance.
The post Data Backup and Disaster Recovery appeared first on Liquid Web.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. The American Red Cross provides around 40 percent of the nation’s blood and blood components — entirely from volunteer donors. While one donation can save up to three lives, less than 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood or platelets. That means […]
The post How The American Red Cross’ IT Infrastructure Helps Save Lives appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.
After a long period of increased hiring, 2018 has shown a leveling off of hiring, particularly in the second half of the year. Gross hiring in the U.S. was 0.1% lower than in November 2017. Seasonally-adjusted national hiring (hiring that excludes seasonal hiring variations) was 0.8% lower in November from October 2018. The industries with the biggest year-over-year hiring increases in November were Wellness & Fitness (8.6% higher), Software & IT Services (7.8% higher), and Corporate Services...
Ready to put your company on Instagram? Wondering how to publish B2B Instagram content that supports business goals? In this article, you’ll find tools to help you deliver Instagram content that will raise brand awareness, strengthen customer loyalty, and grow an engaged community. Why Should Your B2B Company Build a Presence on Instagram? Contrary to […]
The post B2B Instagram Content: Tips and Tools for Marketers appeared first on Social Media Examiner.
Are you producing long-form video on Facebook? Then watch The Journey, Social Media Examiner’s episodic video documentary that shows you what really happens inside a growing business. Watch the Journey Episode 12, explores what went down “behind the scenes” when the team at Social Media Examiner canceled three Facebook shows. What do they discover? How do […]
The post Goodbye Facebook Video: The Journey, Season 2, Episode 12 appeared first on Social Media Examiner.
We don’t talk too much about Amazon selling on this site, but it’s definitely a topic worth covering. We’ve covered how to view the sales for individual products, and we’ve talked about improving product rankings, and a handful of other topics that revolve around selling more on Amazon.
There’s just one problem: the more you sell, the more you lose to those pesky Amazon fees! The most convenient way to sell products via Amazon is with the Fulfillment By Amazon program, or FBA, but they have a bunch of fees associated with the program that you may want to minimize.
How FBA Works
Fulfillment by Amazon is a program any seller can opt into if they want to add a lot of convenience to selling through Amazon. Essentially, you ship off all your products pre-packaged and ready to go to Amazon, and when someone buys one of those products, they handle shipping from there. It’s sort of like a cross between running your own storefront and dropshipping.
You still have to handle inventory supply, but you don’t have to handle the mechanics of addressing and shipping individual products.
Set up FBA on your account.
Create your product listings for the products you plan to sell.
Prepare your products to be shipped quickly and easily.
Ship your products to Amazon to be held in their warehouses until such time as they are purchased.
Rake in the profits when users buy your products, without needing to worry about shipping.
FBA has a handful of great benefits. The biggest and best of those benefits is the fact that Amazon handles shipping to customers. As long as the products are in stock in their warehouses, your customers can receive them in a matter of days, rather than the weeks it might take if you ship normally.
Other benefits include Amazon handling your customer service for returns and refunds, the space you save by sending inventory to Amazon instead of keeping it in a spare room, and a consistent means of shipping, tracking, and managing inventory.
The primary drawback, of course, are the fees.
Amazon FBA’s Fee Structure
Amazon FBA is much like their affiliate program and many other programs they offer: it’s flexible, which means it changes based on a bunch of different factors. You can view their full fee structure here.
Basically, they have two fees you have to pay. The first is a fulfillment fee, which is a per-unit fee and covers Amazon’s picking and packing of your products from their inventory, their shipping and handling, and their customer service and return handling. For standard size products that are under 1 pound, it’s $2.41 per unit. Larger units scale up, as do oversize units. They also charge an additional 40 cents per unit for clothing. The worst case scenario for a fee would be a special large oversize clothing unit, which could have a fee as high as $150 or more.
The second fee you have to pay is for inventory space. This fee depends on the cubic feet of space required to store your inventory and is not a per-unit price. It also varies depending on the time of year, with one fee for January through September, and another, higher fee for October through December. Standard sized products at the low time of year are 69 cents per cubic foot per month, while the highest possible fees end up being $2.40 per cubit foot per month.
The fee structure page I linked above will show you a few estimated products and their associated costs, as well as providing you with a calculator if you’re interested in estimating what your costs could be.
FBA has a few additional fulfillment options that can have different fees associated with them. They have a specific option for multi-channel fulfillment, one for specifically small and lightweight inventory items, and a subscription service that offers discounts for eligible customers.
All in all, it’s very complicated, and it’s easy to see how you can eat up some or all of your profits on some items if they’re not packaged properly, if they’re too heavy, or if they take up too much space.
What I’ve done, then, is come up with as many tips as possible to help you reduce the FBA fees that Amazon will charge you. Some might only carve off a few cents, while others could be much more significant. Use as many as you can!
Use Tight Packaging
As you can see from the fee structure, one of the primary costs associated with FBA is storage, based on the amount of space an item takes up. This works exactly counter to how the US Post Office operates, with standard-sized packages being usually the cheapest shipping options.
One mistake I see newbies make quite often is using standard sized boxes for everything. If you use a large box for a small item, there’s a lot of wasted space inside the box, but Amazon is charging you for all of that space.
It will generally be well worth your time to find precisely-sized packaging for every product you want to ship and store in Amazon’s warehouses. Now, it’s not worth your time to optimize this by millimeters. Amazon uses size tiers to determine storage costs, since it mostly determines what size racks they need to put the packages on in their warehouses. If you’ve ever seen the inside of an Amazon warehouse, you know that they’re often insanely dense and picked through by robots as much as by humans.
You can use the fee calculator again, or browse the tables on this page, to help you figure out the appropriately sized boxes for your products.
Use Precise Packaging
One item of note that Amazon calls out on their packaging and fulfillment page is that they use very precise scanners to measure any package they’re storing in their warehouses. This measurement scans each dimension of the package and feeds the data into their algorithms to figure out the most efficient way to store it. This includes all three spatial dimensions as well as weight of the package.
Amazon’s scanners don’t differentiate between something substantial and something insubstantial. The example they use is a piece of your packaging tape curling up. A ribbon or bow around the top of a package, like a traditional Christmas present, would be another example. Something insubstantial sticking out of the package, you know?
When the scanners scan the package, they will record the additional length of that insubstantial bit of tape as additional height/width/length. This, even though it can be fixed by pressing the tape down or trimming it, can bump your product into another larger size tier. This can dramatically increase your fees!
It’s may sound a bit silly, but just make sure that you’re being precise with the boxes and tape you’re using to ship your products. Try to avoid anything sticking out, no matter how insubstantial, because if it blocks a laser, it counts.
Use Consistent Packaging
When you’re selling numerous copies of the same product on Amazon, they don’t precisely measure and scan every single item. They take a representative sample of your packages and scan those, and use the average to calculate the storage space for your products. This means inconsistent packaging could reduce your fees, or it could drive up your fees, depending on which ones Amazon chooses to sample. I would generally assume that inconsistency is going to raise your fees, so make sure you’re packaging everything as consistently as possible.
Your IPI is your Inventory Performance Index. It’s a measurement of several metrics Amazon records about your inventory, and they grade you based on it. Each metric can give you a hint on how to reduce your fees by optimizing your inventory.
The general advice here is never just ship everything you have to Amazon. The longer it takes to sell an item, the longer you’re paying for storage fees. If you have an item you only sell 2-3 per month, it does you no good to have more than, say, 4 of them on hand in Amazon’s warehouse at any given time. Conversely, if you sell 20 copies of an item per month, only having 15 on hand can delay shipping and give you penalties. Here’s what goes into IPI:
Excess Inventory Percentage. This is the percent of your inventory that is considered in excess of what is necessary. Liquidating excess inventory through sales or deals can help you reduce storage costs, rather than letting those items collect dust in the fast-paced warehouse.
Sell-Through Rate. This is similar, and is a metric measuring how accurately you keep your inventory close to how much you sell. Too little inventory is bad, too much inventory is bad. Keep to the sweet spot in the middle.
Stranded Inventory. This is items in your inventory that no longer have product pages, or a number of other errors that might trigger this error as a catch-all. Avoid these whenever possible.
This post in the FBA Forums is a pretty great overview of the IPI metric and how it works and influences your fees. Primarily, a low IPI might mean Amazon will restrict your storage space or bump up fees to account for it.
Unfortunately, as a small or new seller, you might not have the data necessary to really optimize this. You’re likely going to end up having some products go out of stock or others under-sell from month to month. The sad reality is, Amazon is going to charge you fees for not having the foresight or the data to extrapolate from to keep right in that sweet spot. Luckily, the sweet spot is relatively large, all things considered, so you won’t eat TOO many extra fees if you stray outside of it. Still, it’s worthwhile to try to predict as accurately as possible what you need to have on hand from month to month.
Don’t Store Inappropriate Products
By inappropriate, in this case, I mean products that don’t really benefit from Amazon managing the storage for you. Big and heavy items that benefit from Amazon’s fulfillment are great candidates, though they’re expensive, especially if you don’t sell them quickly. Small, cheap items, on the other hand, often incur almost as much in fees as they give you in profit. You’ll break even or even lose out in the fees, particularly if it’s a slow-selling item, like an older replacement piece of tech.
Make heavy use of the calculator, and assume the calculator is under-estimating fees, as it usually does. Anything that ends up in the Oversize category might not be worth storing, and anything that’s unusually heavy likewise might be difficult to store appropriately.
Use Combo Packs
Combining two items into one will reduce fees, since fees are both per-item and per-space. For example:
Set of Tongs: $10
Fees: $1 for pick, $1 for shipping, $1.50 for referrals
Baking Sheet: $10
Fees: $1 for pick, $1 for shipping, $1.50 for referrals
Total fees: $7
Combination pack of tongs + sheet: $20
Fees: $1 for pick, $1 for shipping, $3 for referrals
Total fees: $5
Now, this is a great option in certain circumstances. It doesn’t work if your products aren’t likely to be bought together, for example. Don’t, say, package a light bulb and a pair of tongs. They aren’t related, and finding people who need both is going to be rare compared to finding people who just want one or the other. You may need to dig into your product metrics to monitor what products are frequently bought together, and offer those as combo packs.
Do you have any tips you’ve tried and tested for reducing your FBA fees? I’d love to hear them. Just don’t tell me to fill my packages with helium; it doesn’t really work.
The post How to Successfully Lower Your Amazon FBA Seller Fees appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.
Whether you’re an individual or a small business, blogging is the ideal way to spread your ideas, share information, and build a community around your brand. By dedicating time and resources to building a website and a blog, you create a platform where billions of Internet users can directly interact with your content.
When blogs develop a dedicated audience, they transform into immensely useful tools. Websites that generate traffic have an easier time attracting new customers, establishing themselves as authorities in their respective space, and creating business opportunities that would have been otherwise inaccessible. Popular blogs can also be monetized and serve as an additional source of income.
Learn more about different hosting plans at Domain.com today.
Personal blogs are incredibly dynamic. They can serve as resumes, a place to compile your ideas, or a training ground to develop your communication skills. With a personal blog, you create a workspace with complete control over what people see and what you share.
For small businesses, having a blog is nearly essential. If a company wants to grow, running a blog helps develop name recognition and can drastically boost visibility of your consumers. A blog can help drive sales, improve customer retention, and is an inexpensive way for a company to establish their image.
What is web hosting?
It’s best to think about web hosting as a storage and management service. When you start a blog or a website, the digital information doesn’t simply exist on your computer. It’s stored by a web hosting service, like Domain.com, which keeps your information safe and secure, while ensuring that your blog or website remains operational. Without web hosting, websites, and the Internet as we know it, would not exist.
Data centers and servers
Data centers are the physical location where your blog’s digital information is stored. Domain.com owns and operates a state-of-the-art data center, which was built by network certified engineers. These same engineers manage the data center and ensure that Domain.com’s servers–powerful computers that contain all of your blog’s information–remain safe from threats like humidity or fire. They also make sure the servers continue performing at the highest possible level.
Why is web hosting important for your blog?
When most people start a blog, they’re only thinking about content; they want to start posting and building a community as quickly as possible. In doing so, they skip the vital steps of ensuring that their blog is secure, owned by them, and will remain in their control for the long haul.
Your website host is responsible for ensuring that your blog is running at a speed that accommodates traffic and is otherwise functioning as it should. When you sign up for a hosting plan, you’re essentially buying real estate for your blog in one of the data center servers, the place where your digital information will be stored and managed.
Web hosting is the only way to ensure that your blog will remain safe on the Internet. When your blog’s digital information is under the supervision of a web host, the information is encrypted, monitored, and cared for by a highly trained support team.
At Domain.com, that customer support team is available 24/7, via WebMail, Live Chat, or phone.
Domain.com blog web hosting
We’re incredibly proud of our affordable, world-class hosting services. We offer bloggers a range of options, all of which can be tailored to meet your website needs and expectations. Each hosting plan comes with a free SSL certificate–a safeguard which encrypts your website data, protecting it from unwelcome visitors–and only costs $3.75 per month to get started.
Web hosting options for your blog
For bloggers, Domain.com offers a variety of hosting options, each with unique benefits and capabilities. The web hosting plan you chose will largely determine the extent to which your blog is protected, the speed of your blog, and which platforms will be available to you.
When you sign up for a hosting plan with Domain.com, you may notice the term “Linux.” This is an operating systems, a platform which uses a unique programming language, used to build your blog or website.
Linux is the most popular web hosting operating system on the Internet. It’s less expensive than other options, and is known for pairing stability with security. Without getting too technical, it runs on programming languages like Perl, PHP, and MySQL. These are open source software languages favored by developers for the freedom they offer, and their low operational costs. For bloggers, Linux offers tools which make customization simple, and allow you to creatively engage with the design process.
If you’re just starting out in the blogosphere, a shared hosting plan might be best. They require minimum technical knowledge, are highly affordable, and come with a free SSL Certificate. When you buy a shared hosting plan, your blog is stored on a server with other blogs and websites. All blogs and websites on that server share the same pool of resources.
Shared hosting is like moving into a busy, safe, inexpensive neighborhood. The price is lowered because everyone in the neighborhood is contributing to the same set of resources. However, just like in a busy neighborhood, there are times when traffic picks up, and during those times everyone in the neighborhood might move a little slower until it clears. However, the difference in speed is typically negligible.
When you sign up for a shared hosting plan with Domain.com, you are guaranteed unlimited website disk space, scalable bandwidth, at least 100 email addresses, free applications like WordPress (ideal for bloggers), and many other features. You also have unlimited access to our 24/7 customer support team.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is a step above shared hosting plans. When you buy a VPS hosting plan, you are essentially securing a mini-server within the larger server.
If a shared server is a busy, safe, inexpensive neighborhood, a Virtual Private Server is like a gated community one district over. Bloggers with a VPS plan enjoy enhanced privacy, have greater control over their virtual space, and aren’t as affected by issues of traffic. The portion of the server you pay for is wholly dedicated to you and your blog.
VPS hosting is ideal for bloggers who have either outgrown or plan to outgrow, their shared server. If your blog starts attracting significant traffic (somewhere above 5,000 visitors per day) your website speed will suffer on a shared server. If your blog is affiliated with a business, running a slow website introduces the risk of dissuading customers from engaging with your content.
Domain.com offers world class VPS hosting at an affordable cost. If you’re having trouble deciding between shared hosting and VPS hosting options, know that upgrading later is a possibility.
If you’re only interested in blogging and don’t anticipate building out a full website, WordPress hosting is the ideal platform. It was tailor-made for bloggers (Domain.com even offers a free .blog domain name extension with a plan) and comes loaded with built-in features that allow you to easily customize your page.
If you do choose a WordPress hosting plan, you will be restricted from setting up a non-WordPress site. However, the capabilities embedded within the WordPress platform are comprehensive and can satisfy the needs of all bloggers, from beginners to veterans.
The package offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth, free domain registration, unlimited email accounts, free search engine marketing credits, and 24/7 support. If you aren’t satisfied with your WordPress hosting plan within 30 days, Domain.com will refund your hosting fees, no questions asked.
WordPress hosted blogs enjoy a selection of popular handpicked themes, designed to make your blog visually attractive. Pre-installed plugins allow you to customize your blog with extra features and functionality. A customized control panel was designed to easily access frequently used tools and streamline the blog building process.
WordPress starter plan
The introductory plan comes with all of the features described above. If you care about speed, security, and ease-of-use, the WP Starter plan is the perfect way to blog on a budget. WordPress essential plan
The WP Essential plan contains all of the options and functionality of the WP Starter plan, but comes with three distinguishing features.
Blogs hosted with WP Essential live on reconfigured servers, which means less neighborhood traffic and greater website speeds. They come with a built-in firewall and automatic malware removal, a deluxe security bundle designed by the experts at SiteLock. The plan also connects customers to a team of support agents capable of resolving all issues related to WP Essential.
Choosing a hosting plan for your blog
If you’ve looked over Domain.com’s web hosting options but still can’t decide which is the best for your blog, there are some questions you can ask yourself to narrow the field.
How much website traffic do I expect?
If you expect that your blog will generate significant traffic, VPS hosting and the WordPress Essential plan are both powerful options which can support heightened web traffic.
Do I want multiple blogs or websites?
Both the Deluxe and Ultra shared hosting plans permit unlimited domains to be created. Unlimited domains are also offered with the VPS hosting plan.
How concerned am I about safety?
While all of Domain.com’s hosting plans are safe and dependable, the VPS hosting plan and the WordPress Essential plan provide even more protection from potential web threats.
Do I feel comfortable working on the backend?
How comfortable are you with designing your own blog? WordPress Hosting offers handpicked themes and pre-installed plugins that make assembling a webpage both intuitive and simple.
A domain name for your blog
After you’ve picked a web hosting plan, the next step is to register a domain name. Since the year 2000, Domain.com has been a leading web registrar and has made it both easy and inexpensive for web users to secure domain names. Domain.com offers the lowest registration and renewal prices, as well as the highest registration discounts.
The best way to think about a domain name is by comparing it to a street address. If you want to find someone’s house, you ask for a combination of letters and numbers that represent a specific location. In much the same way, a domain name is the Internet’s version of a street address. When you type in a specific name, your Internet browser runs a search for that address, locates it, and then takes you there. When people ask how to find your blog, you can simply provide your domain name that leads them to your website.
Remember that when you sign up for WordPress Hosting, free domain registration is included, in addition to a free .blog domain extension.
Registering a TLD
TLD stands for Top Level Domain, also referred to as a domain extension. If you’ve spent any time on the Internet, you know what they look like. The most recognizable and popular TLD in the world is .com, which is affixed to the end of most web addresses.
While .com is the most common domain extension, there are hundreds of alternative options. Domain.com offers access to all major domain extensions, from the increasingly popular .me all the way to .blog and .healthcare. If you’re starting a blog for your business, it might be worth registering a TLD that fits the services you offer.
Start a blog to start talking to your customers
Whether you’re an individual, a small business, or a major corporation, starting a blog lets you connect with your customers in a new way and build a powerful relationship. Once you decided the right hosting plan for your blog, register a domain name and start producing connect that connects customers to your business.
Learn more about different hosting plans at Domain.com today.
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In spite of having some healthy competition, Facebook remains the premier place for brands to engage with people.
Even if you decide to create a presence elsewhere, it only makes sense to have an active and engaging Facebook page.