Industry Buzz

Unblocking MySQL 5.5 on cPanel & WHM version 78

cPanel Blog -

Good news for MySQL 5.5 users! We have been able to remove the blocker from cPanel & WHM version 78 which prevented you from upgrading to our LTS version 86.  Now you can upgrade to the supported version 86 even if you are still using MySQL 5.5. Keep in mind that cPanel and WHM version 86 contains rudimentary functionality only for existing installations of MySQL 5.5, and you should upgrade to MySQL 5.7 as soon ...

How to Announce That Your Business Has Reopened After COVID-19

The Domain.com Blog -

It’s been an interesting year for business.  Despite whatever careful planning you may have done, we’re betting COVID-19 has thrown a bit of a wrench in things.  Since early this year, many businesses have had to close their physical locations in accordance with local regulations. However, many places are now starting to open up and relax restrictions — hooray!  In this post, we’re going to discuss ways you can communicate and instill faith in your customer base. Many people are still hesitant about venturing outside and resuming their normal activities, so we’ll discuss what you can do to assuage their fears and increase foot traffic to your business.  Reopening your business after COVID-19. Tips to communicate your business reopening.  Communication is key — that old adage holds true for both relationships and business. (And for building business relationships with customers.) As you reopen, you’ll face people who are ready to go back out and resume their normal lives, and some who, despite wanting to shop with you, are scared of being in an enclosed area with strangers.  Fear is a big motivator, and it might just keep them at home, unless you… Provide clear and descriptive safety protocols.  The big concern about gathering in public spaces or stores is COVID-19. No one wants to catch it and get sick or risk communicating a potentially lethal virus to others. However, there are ways to mitigate the risk of catching the virus, and these strategies are what you need to know and communicate to your customers.  Will you be capping the number of people who can be in your store at any given time? Is everyone in the store required to wear a mask and/or gloves? Are you taking your employees’ temperature before they enter the building? Will you provide contactless payment options? Announcing your handling of these issues in a clear, concise manner will help address your customers’ fears and build their confidence in your business. Customers are looking for a perception of safety, so do what you can to give it to them.  Be honest about the state of your business.  Supporting small businesses and shopping locally are important to many. It’s a shock to scroll through social media or turn on the news and see the numbers of businesses who’ve closed their doors for good. Use the story of your business, including the challenges you’ve faced during COVID-19, to power your communication and marketing. You don’t have to be ashamed if you’re struggling — now is the time to ask for help. If you aren’t flexible enough to ask, people might think you’re doing better than you are, which could keep them from venturing out and patronizing your store.  Ways to communicate your reopening.  Reopening won’t help your business if people don’t know about it. With so many folks staying indoors, sticking a sign out front isn’t going to cut it. Here’s what you can do to announce your reopening.  Update your online business profiles.  Where do people turn to get information? The Internet.  So when you reopen your business, make sure that information is reflected online. This includes on your Google My Business Profile, website, Yelp, or any other listings site where your business has a presence. You can also update your business hours on your social media profiles, like on Facebook. Leverage the power of social media.  Does your business use social media? It’s a great tool to communicate with your customers.  Make sure your new business hours and any changes to how you operate are mentioned on your social profiles. What kind of information should be shared? If you require masks, have created special check-out or pick-up processes, and anything else that may have changed since the last time your customers were in your store. You can pin or stick these posts to the top of your profile on both Twitter and Facebook so they’re easily accessible.  You can use social media to create excitement about your reopening, too. Consider running a countdown to the big day and offering discounts to those who visit. It doesn’t have to be anything huge — perhaps just an offer of 5 to 10% off for the first 20 customers.  Once you have reopened your business, use live video to showcase your store and your efforts to keep it safe. Show off your social distancing prowess, and include your safe, masked employees. Once people (literally) see how you’re mindful of safety, they may feel more comfortable visiting your store.  Use email marketing.  Do you know where your customers are every day? Their inboxes.  Email is a great tool to communicate with your customers, so don’t ignore it. According to research done by the Direct Marketing Association, “Email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent.” Before you reopen, create an email campaign to drum up excitement with your customers. Your email should include the same type of information you’re conveying via social media — detail any changes to your business and explain your safety protocols.  Email is a great way to share offers, too. If you plan on enticing your customers back to your store with a coupon, include it in your email! And make sure that your email address matches your domain name. Your customers have had months to familiarize themselves with your website domain name and they know your business, so when they see an email with a matching name, they’ll immediately recognize it. That kind of recognition and trust will save you from landing in their Spam folder.  Are you ready to reopen your business? We wish you the best of luck and we hope you find the tips we’ve covered above to be useful! With proper planning and communication, we’re confident that you can reopen safely and attract foot traffic to your business.  Ultimately, protecting the safety of your employees and customers during reopening is your main goal, so stay on top of your local rules and regulations to know what’s required in your area.  The post How to Announce That Your Business Has Reopened After COVID-19 appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

6 Best WordPress Plugins for Freelance Consultants

HostGator Blog -

The post 6 Best WordPress Plugins for Freelance Consultants appeared first on HostGator Blog. Freelancing is more than just independently doing client work on a sunny beach as you listen to the waves crash. Freelance consultants actually own and operate small businesses that require project management skills, financial acumen, and marketing knowledge. However, it’s impossible (and unreasonable) for freelancers to have expertise in every aspect of their business. That’s where WordPress plugins can step in to help freelancers with their invoicing, social media, and websites. Ready to improve your business? Check out these six WordPress plugins for freelance consultants.  1. WP Project Manager Research shows that the majority of freelancers work on multiple projects at a time. As a freelance consultant, you’re juggling multiple tasks at once. You’re helping various clients design logos, write articles, and solve complex issues. So, it makes sense to organize your responsibilities with a project management tool.  WP Project Manager helps you self-manage your clients and tasks without the hassle. It comes with a built-in time tracker for you to keep a log of when you start and stop projects. You can even calculate the hourly fee to invoice your clients. The interactive task calendar provides daily, weekly, and monthly views of your task timelines with a drag-and-drop feature. With this plugin, you’ll work and deliver projects in a timely manner. No more missing deadlines because you forgot to add it to your to-do list. Instead, you can use WP Project Manager to create and assign tasks faster. 2. Yoast SEO An online presence is essential for freelancers to attract new clients. So, you’ll want to build a website to educate potential clients about your small business. However, for your site to appear in Google or Bing results, you need to implement search engine optimization best practices. Yoast SEO helps freelancers rank on the top pages of search engines. This plugin offers title tag and meta description templating, a content readability analysis, and complete control of your website’s breadcrumbs. You’ll know how to improve your site before you hit publish.  3. Constant Contact Forms A study found that over one-third of freelancers use an online portfolio to market themselves. Online portfolios are an effective tool for helping freelancers showcase their work. You can maximize your marketing efforts by adding a signup form to your site.   Constant Contact Forms makes it simple to capture your potential clients’ contact information. You can customize the forms to collect details relevant to your industry. For instance, if you’re a freelance graphic designer, you may include form fields for the type of color, size, or design of an image. This plugin optimizes forms to fit the mobile screens of your visitors. Plus, you can add all the new email addresses to your Constant Contact lists. 4. WordPress to Buffer Social media still reigns as a powerful channel to market products and services. Major well-known brands like Wendy’s and Nike use their social media accounts to spread product messages and listen to customers. In a similar way, freelancers can get on Facebook to discuss their new services and learn from potential clients.  “Having an authentic voice on social media is important, but not as easy as it sounds. It’s important because it humanizes your brand – whether that’s a company big or small, or a personal brand – and encourages people to respond and talk about you positively,” writes Mike Eckstein, a product marketer at Buffer. With the WordPress to Buffer plugin, you can save a few hours in your work schedule. This tool automatically posts your social media content to your Buffer account for scheduled publishing to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you upgrade, you also get full image control and bulk publishing of old posts.  5. Testimonials Slider Word-of-mouth marketing is a key part of bringing new clients to your business. Nearly a third of freelancers find work through referrals. Once a referral lands on your site, the next step is to showcase your satisfied previous clients.  Testimonials offer an honest perspective of how your work has made an impact on your clients. Your testimonials should provide a quote from the client and the person’s name and title. A pro tip is to use quotes that explicitly state how your product or service improved your client’s business or life.  You can display your testimonials on your site using the Testimonials Slider plugin. Choose from multiple layouts, like columns, sliders, and grids, to arrange your testimonials. You also can select one of the six ready-to-use templates if you’re short on time.  6. Sprout Invoices Freelancers don’t have a regular payday, like salaried employees. They must invoice their clients for work to get paid.  Sprout Invoices allows you to create invoices for your clients in minutes, rather than hours. In the plugin’s dashboard, you can customize the invoice template to match your brand by changing the logo and header background. You also can set pre-defined line items for each client.  “There is no exact format that you should use for your invoice, but certain items are expected. By law, you must include your name, address and VAT number (if registered) plus the name and postal address of the client in question. It’s also helpful to add other items, such as your bank details and terms of payment,” states Katy Cowan, the editor of Creative Boom. For some freelance consultants, it’s a frustrating process that takes up a lot of time in their day. This WordPress plugin is available to streamline your accounting approach.  Essential WordPress Plugins for Freelancers Not only do freelance consultants manage their client work, but they also must run every part of their small business. WordPress plugins make the process easier for freelancers by keeping track of their projects, adding testimonials to their websites, and posting social media content. For more help building out your freelance website on WordPress, check out our review of the Best WordPress Themes for Freelancers. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Cloudflare's first year in Lisbon

CloudFlare Blog -

A year ago I wrote about the opening of Cloudflare’s office in Lisbon, it’s hard to believe that a year has flown by. At the time I wrote:Lisbon’s combination of a large and growing existing tech ecosystem, attractive immigration policy, political stability, high standard of living, as well as logistical factors like time zone (the same as the UK) and direct flights to San Francisco made it the clear winner.We landed in Lisbon with a small team of transplants from other Cloudflare offices. Twelve of us moved from the UK, US and Singapore to bootstrap here. Today we are 35 people with another 10 having accepted offers; we’ve almost quadrupled in a year and we intend to keep growing to around 80 by the end of 2020.If you read back to my description of why we chose Lisbon only one item hasn’t turned out quite as we expected. Sure enough TAP Portugal does have direct flights to San Francisco but the pandemic put an end to all business flying worldwide for Cloudflare. We all look forward to getting back to being able to visit our colleagues in other locations.The pandemic also put us in the odd position of needing to move from one empty office to another. Back in January the Cloudflare Lisbon office was in the Chiado and only had capacity for about 14 people. With our rapid growth we moved, in February, to a larger, temporary location on Avenida da Liberdade which had room for about 25 people.Leaving the Chiado‌‌And in early April, we moved to our longer term office on Praça Marquês de Pombal. Of course, by that time the State of Emergency had been declared in Portugal and the office move took place in our absence. But it sits waiting for our return sometime in early 2021.The team that landed in Lisbon covered Customer Support, Security, IT, Technology, and  Emerging Technology and Incubation, but, as we suspected, we’ve grown in many other departments and the rest of Cloudflare is realizing how much Lisbon and Portugal have to offer. In addition to the original team we now have people in SRE, Payroll, Accounting, Trust and Safety, People and Places, Product Management and Infrastructure.View from the Cloudflare Lisbon office‌‌Despite the pandemic we’re continuing to invest in Lisbon with 24 open roles in Customer Support, Infrastructure, People and Places, Engineering, Accounting and Finance, Security, Business Intelligence, Product Management and Emerging Technology and Incubation.As I said in an interview with AICEP earlier this year “É nosso objetivo construir em Lisboa um dos maiores escritórios da Cloudflare” (“It’s our objective to build in Lisbon one of the major Cloudflare offices”). You can read the full Portuguese-language interview here. We continue to believe that Lisbon is a vital part of Cloudflare’s growth.I’ve spent a huge amount of my career on aircraft and the last few months have felt very odd, but I couldn’t have been happier to find myself temporarily stuck in Lisbon. No doubt we’ll all be traveling again but this last year has confirmed my impression that Lisbon is a great place to live.I asked our team what they’d found they love about living in Lisbon and Portugal. They came back with pasteis de nata, sunshine every day, the jacaranda trees, feijoada, empada de galinha, Joker, Super Bock, chocolate mousse being an everyday staple, Maria biscuits, quality fresh produce, dolphins, lizards in the gardens, MB Way, ovos moles de Aveiro, so great that only ~30/40min from here you get such nice beaches like the ones in Setubal, Sintra, Cascais, Sesimbra, bica, sardines, the Alentejo coastline, the chicken from Bonjardim, family friendliness and how nice it is to raise children here, fast, reliable and cheap Internet access, and so much more.If you’d like to join us please visit our careers page for Lisbon.

Amazon Interactive Video Service – Add Live Video to Your Apps and Websites

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Today, I am so excited to tell you about the new Amazon Interactive Video Service, which allows you to add live video directly into your own apps and websites. If you are anything like me, you are going to be blown away by how simple the team have made it to integrate interactive, low latency, live video into an application. The service enables you to create a channel using either the Amazon Interactive Video Service (IVS) Console or the API. You can then use any standard streaming software to stream video to this channel, and the service does everything required to make the live video available to any viewer around the world. The service includes a player SDK that make it straightforward to get the live video integrated into your web, iOS, or Android project. I think I would be impressed by this service if its capabilities stopped there, but the team have really gone the extra mile and added two key features that I think make this service unique. Firstly, the video is low latency, which means that the time between you broadcasting and the time the video shows up on your viewer’s screens can be as low as 2-3 seconds. Low latency is vital because this service aims to help you build interactive realtime applications, and this is only possible if there is a minimal delay. Secondly, the team have added the ability to send timed metadata along with the video so that you can fire events in your application at crucial points in the live stream. So for example, you could send an event to say that a live poll is open, and your app could respond and allow viewers to vote in the poll alongside the live video. The combination of these two features means that you can build experiences that create a more valuable relationship with your viewers on your own websites and applications. For example, if you were live-streaming a product launch, you could synchronize additional product information to be displayed as new products appear in the video. You could even show a buy now button that allows viewers to purchase the exact product they are watching at that moment on the live-stream. Over the last few months, I have been running live quizzes on Twitch.tv, and this new service got me thinking that I could build a more personalized and integrated version directly on my website. Let me show you how you would create something like this by heading over to the Amazon IVS Console and creating a channel. On the first screen of the Amazon IVS console I see a button called Create channel, I click on this to start creating my channel. I give my channel a name and choose the default configuration, which means I want to deliver video in Full HD, and I want low latency. I then click the Create Channel button at the bottom. A few seconds later, I receive a message saying Channel successfully created. On the screen, there is a Get started section which explains how to configure the computer or device that I am using to stream my video. On the same screen, you can see some Stream configuration information. The Ingest server and the Stream key are the two pieces of information I will need to start sending video to the service. I use a software package called XSplit Broadcaster for all my online streaming, but the next few steps would be similar in whatever broadcast software you use. I set up a new output and choose Custom RTMPS. In the properties screen for the new RTMPS output, I add a name and a description. I add the RTMPS URL that I copied from the Stream configuration section of the console. I also add the Stream Key into the Stream Name text box (this is called different things in different software so you should check with the documentation of your broadcast software to find out where you should add the Stream Key) Now that I have configured the output, I can now broadcast to the new Custom RTMPS output. Behind the scenes, the software begins streaming the video and audio to the Amazon Interactive Video Service. Back over at the console, in the Live stream section, you should now see your live video appear in the console. In my experience, it took a few seconds fo the video to start streaming. To add this live video into a website, I will need to use the Player SDK. In the Player configuration section on the console, I can see a Playback URL, and I will need this to configure a player to play my video. The team that built this service created a fantastic example project on Codepen, which I will modify to test out my video and create my quiz. This example uses the JavaScript Player SDK, and all I need to do to play my video is to set the playbackUrl variable to point to my newly created Playback URL. Once I have done this, my video stream appears on the webpage. This example project has some code which handles the timed metadata feature that I talked about earlier. Basically when I send metadata to the service it will relay this to the player SDK as an event. I can then handle this event and do exciting things with it. In this example, I add an event listener to listen for a PlayerEventType.TEXT_METADATA_CUE event and then use the cue object that is passed to my function to show some on-screen HTML buttons which allows a user to vote in my poll. player.addEventListener(PlayerEventType.TEXT_METADATA_CUE, function (cue) { const metadataText = cue.text; triggerQuiz(metadataText); }); At any time during my broadcast I can send Metadata to my channel using the PutMetadata API. As an example, If i send the following command using the the AWS CLI then the data will be sent to the service and then a few seconds later the PlayerEventType.TEXT_METADATA_CUE event will be raised in my JavaScript code. payload='{"question": "In which year did Jeff Barr Start a blog at Amazon?","answers": [ "1992", "2004", "2008", "2015"],"correctIndex": 1}' aws ivs put-metadata --channel-arn arn:aws:ivs:us-west-2:365489315573:channel/XBoZcusef81m --metadata "$payload" --region us-west-2 As you can see below the poll HTML elements are shown as an overlay on top of the live video and users can interact with it and vote in my poll. Amazon Interactive Video Service (Amazon IVS) has pay-as-you-go pricing based upon the total duration of video input to Amazon IVS and the total duration of video output delivered to your viewers. You can dig deeper into the typical costs over on the pricing section of the product page. The Amazon IVS Console and APIs are available today in the Europe (Ireland), US East (N. Virginia), and US West (Oregon) regions. You will need to use one of those regions to create and modify your channels, however, video ingestion and delivery is available around the globe over a managed network of infrastructure that is optimized for live video. Check out the FAQ’s to get more details on the services global coverage. I hope you enjoy this service as much as I do. I can’t wait to see what you are going to build with it. Happy Streaming — Martin  

Unroll Your Twitter Threads Into WordPress

WordPress.com News -

Have you ever written a Twitter thread, and then wished you could turn it into a blog post? You can now do it in seconds. Writing Twitter threads, also known as tweetstorms, can be a great way to clarify your thoughts: keeping each paragraph under 280 characters forces you to focus on your message. Threads are great for engagement and sudden bursts of inspiration. But when the thread is done, wouldn’t it be nice to have a quick way to capture the full conversation in one place — one page to read, one link to share, all your thoughts captured on a website you own? Now, when you embed a tweet that’s part of a larger thread, you’ll see a new “Unroll” button on the block toolbar. Click or tap it to import the entire thread into your post. Publish the whole thread as one easy-to-read post — and since WordPress has no character limit, add any extra thoughts that have popped up in the meantime! Originally tweeted by WordPress.com (@wordpressdotcom) on July 17, 2020. We hope you enjoy this new way to make your WordPress site the canonical place for everything you publish — leave a comment if you have any questions, suggestions for how we can make it easier for you to share content between your site and other platforms, or if you’d like to share a link to a post that started as a Twitter thread!

Unroll Your Twitter Threads Into WordPress

WordPress.com News -

Have you ever written a Twitter thread, and then wished you could turn it into a blog post? You can now do it in seconds. Writing Twitter threads, also known as tweetstorms, can be a great way to clarify your thoughts: keeping each paragraph under 280 characters forces you to focus on your message. Threads are great for engagement and sudden bursts of inspiration. But when the thread is done, wouldn’t it be nice to have a quick way to capture the full conversation in one place — one page to read, one link to share, all your thoughts captured on a website you own? Now, when you embed a tweet that’s part of a larger thread, you’ll see a new “Unroll” button on the block toolbar. Click or tap it to import the entire thread into your post. Publish the whole thread as one easy-to-read post — and since WordPress has no character limit, add any extra thoughts that have popped up in the meantime! Originally tweeted by WordPress.com (@wordpressdotcom) on July 17, 2020. We hope you enjoy this new way to make your WordPress site the canonical place for everything you publish — leave a comment if you have any questions, suggestions for how we can make it easier for you to share content between your site and other platforms, or if you’d like to share a link to a post that started as a Twitter thread!

Cloudflare Network expands to more than 100 Countries

CloudFlare Blog -

2020 has been a historic year that will forever be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past six months, we have seen societies, businesses, and entire industries unsettled. The situation at Cloudflare has been no different. And while this pandemic has affected each and every one of us, we here at Cloudflare have not forgotten what our mission is: to help build a better Internet.We have expanded our global network to 206 cities across more than 100 countries. This is in addition to completing 40+ datacenter expansion projects and adding over 1Tbps in dedicated “backbone” (transport) capacity connecting our major data centers so far this year.Pandemic times means new processesThere was zero chance that 2020 would mean business as usual within the Infrastructure department. We were thrown a curve-ball as the pandemic began affecting our supply chains and operations. By April, the vast majority of the world’s passenger flights were grounded. The majority of bulk air freight ships within the lower deck (“belly”) of these flights, which saw an imbalance between supply and demand with the sudden 74% decrease in passenger belly cargo capacity relative to the same period last year.We were fortunate to have existing logistics partners who were involved in medical equipment distribution, subsequently offering to help us maintain our important global infrastructure cargo flows. In one example, our logistics partner Expeditors , already operating with limited staff to limit the risk of exposure, went above and beyond securing us space on  “freight only” converted passenger aircraft flights from  Taipei.Six new citiesNew cities represent more than a new dot on the map for Cloudflare. These cities represent unique partnerships with ISPs all over the world which allow Cloudflare to bring the Internet closer to an ISP’s end-users and increase our edge compute capabilities in the region.When we enter into a partnership with an ISP it is also a commitment to that ISP, and to our customers, to increase the security, performance, and reliability of the more than 27 million Internet properties on our network. These accomplishments would not be possible if not for our partners and the individuals who make up Cloudflare’s Infrastructure and Network Operations teams. Of the six new cities we’ve turned up this year five represent new countries for Cloudflare, including one very close to my heart.Vientiane, Laos*. Our first data center in Laos, a country where accessible high-speed Internet has only been available for a few decades. In the last two decades, there has been an exponential growth of Laos Internet users increasing from just under 6,000 residents in 2000 to over 1,000,000 residents when 4G LTE service launched in 2015. Tegucigalpa, Honduras*. The nation's capital, Tegucigalpa is the most populated city in Honduras. This also marks our first data center in-country. Today 41% of the population are active Internet users which is the lowest of all countries in Central America and we are excited to help bring faster and more reliable Internet to the people of Honduras.Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Our second data center in Malaysia is located in the second-largest city in the country. Johor Bahru serves as a gateway between Singapore and Malaysia and we are proud to be a participant on the Johor Bahru Internet Exchange (JBIX), the second IX to launch in Malaysia. Turning up this site was a challenge for our deployment partners, who went above and beyond to install and provision during the beginning stages of nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns.Monrovia, Liberia*. Our 15th data center on the continent of Africa shares a history with the United States. Liberia as we know it today first began as a settlement for freed slaves from the United States almost 200 years ago. Monrovia, the nation’s capital, was the largest settlement and today makes up roughly one-third of the population of Liberia.Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei*. Although Brunei is the second smallest country in Southeast Asia by land area (only behind Singapore), and the smallest country by population, Brunei is currently ranked 4th in the world for the highest share of social media users coming in at 94% of the population. Paramaribo, Suriname*. While Suriname is one of the smallest countries in South America it is one of the most diverse countries in all of the Americas. 80% of the country is covered by tropical rainforest and 70% of the nation's population resides in just two urban districts which only account for 0.5% of the country's total land. This also happens to be my home country where my entire family is from, and where I was born.* = New Country for Cloudflare’s global networkCloudflare network expansion hits home for our team50th-percentile performance improvement versus other leading CDNs when Surinamese traffic started being served in-country. // Source: CedexisWhen I shared the news with my Surinamese family that Cloudflare had turned up a data center in Suriname they were extremely proud. More importantly, they are excited at the opportunity to see increased performance and reliability on the Internet. When my family immigrated to the United States more than 30 years ago, one of the hardships of establishing this new life was communicating with loved ones back home.Even in the advent of global communication via social media, challenges still persist. Having access to reliable and secure Internet is still a luxury in many parts of the world. Suriname is no different. For many years my family relied on wireless carriers for reliable Internet connectivity. That has changed significantly in the last decade with improvements to the Internet’s infrastructure in Suriname. One big challenge is the physical distance between the Internet users in Suriname and where the content (servers) are located.When we partner with a local ISP in-country it allows us to shorten that distance and bring the Internet closer. I am proud to work for a company that is helping deliver better access to  Internet users like my family in Suriname and millions of others around the world.Cloudflare is still growing, even when everyone is working from homeDuring these times communicating over the Internet has become essential for everyone. As more businesses and people are shifting to Internet-based operations our work is more critical than ever. We’re only halfway through the year and have a lot more work to do. This means we are continuing to grow our company by hiring and offering fully remote onboarding. Check out our careers page for more information on full-time positions and internship roles across the globe.

How To Use WordPress as a Headless CMS

cPanel Blog -

Headless WordPress is a new and increasingly popular way to build web apps that combine WordPress’s peerless content management with the power and flexibility of JavaScript front-end interfaces. Many developers, including WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg, see headless as the future of web app development.  We’re going to take a closer look at what headless WordPress is, how to use a headless content management system, and why you’d want to. But first, let’s talk about how ...

The Most Popular Ubuntu Text Editors (Ranked and Analyzed)

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Having a favorite text editor can make one feel like a social misfit. But in the tech community, text editors are widely used and people hold highly opinionated views about which text editors are best. So arguments are welcome. A popular text editor is sure to generate lively debate. I went on a search to find out the most popular text editor among Ubuntu users. Skip to the results The best-kept secret is, no text editor is “the best” because it all depends on how you like to work. Continue reading The Most Popular Ubuntu Text Editors (Ranked and Analyzed) at InMotion Hosting Blog.

4 Best WordPress Page Builders for 2020

Nexcess Blog -

If you’re using WordPress, you already understand how important good page builders are. They allow you to take full control of page layouts, manage site elements as drag and drop modules, and even tweak the website’s header and footer.  Without a good builder, you can only edit the rows and columns in the page body of your WordPress website and make minimal adjustments to its header and footer.  With them, you can create great websites without any coding skills or design knowledge. Depending on your needs, this will either save you time or money. Let’s explain how.  Normally it takes website developers hundreds of hours to learn the basics of website development, but with page builders, you can build a complete website from scratch in just a couple of hours. Maybe you’re a small business owner and just want to hire someone to create a custom website for you? In that case, it’s good to know that great website builders can cost as low as $50. That’s quite a bargain since getting a custom small business website usually starts at $3,000, with many custom sites reaching $50k or more. Taking all of this into account, it’s safe to conclude that WordPress page builder plugins are essential for creating custom designs and filling them with wonderfully styled content. For this article, we made sure to test and research all the popular WordPress page builders. Keep in mind, once you choose a page builder, you may want to stick with that one, since switching could cause pages to bread or slower speeds. Read on to see our choices for the Top 4 page builders of 2020. Beaver Builder Features listed on the official website Live Front End Editing, Shortcode and Widget Support, Mobile Friendly / Responsive, Developer Friendly, Translation Ready, Supports Posts, Pages, and Custom Post Types, WooCommerce Support, Hand Off Sites to Clients with Editor Mode, Tuned & Optimized for SEO, Multisite Capable, Reusable Templates, Save and Reuse Rows & Modules, Import/Export, and much more. Pricing information Beaver Builder comes with 3 pricing plans and they are:  StandardProAgency The Standard plan costs $99 one-time. It can be used on unlimited websites, and it includes all premium modules and templates. The Pro plan costs $199 one-time and includes the same features as the Standard Plan, with the addition of the Beaver Builder Theme and multisite capability. The Agency plan costs $399 one-time and includes all of the features of the Standard and Pro Plans, plus advanced multisite management and white labeling. There is a free version available, and all three plans come with one year of support as well. Divi Builder Features listed on the official website Drag & Drop Building, True Visual Editing, Custom CSS Control, Responsive Editing, Design Options Galore, Inline Text Editing, Save & Manage Your Designs, Global Elements & Styles, Undo, Redo, & Revisions, Multi-Select & Bulk Editing, Find & Replace Styles, Built-In Split-Testing, WooCommerce Modules, Global Website Styles, and much more. Pricing information Divi Builder, made by Elegant Themes, comes with just two pricing plans:  Yearly AccessLifetime Access The Yearly Access plan costs $89/year and includes these features: Access to Divi, Extra, Bloom & Monarch, hundreds of website layouts, support, and it can be used on an unlimited number of websites.  The Lifetime Access plan is priced at $249 one-time and includes the addition of lifetime updates and lifetime support.  No free version is available, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. Elementor Features listed on the official website Drag & Drop Editor, 300+ Designer Made Templates, 90+ Widgets, Responsive Editing, Popup Builder, Theme Builder, WooCommerce Builder, In-line Editing, Full Site Editor, Global Widget, Motion Effects, Global Custom CSS, Popup Builder, TypeKit Integration, 100% Responsive, 24/7 Premium Support, and much more.  Pricing information Elementor Pro offers three pricing plans:  PersonalPlusExpert The Personal plan, which is priced at $49/year for one site, includes 50+ widgets, 300+ templates, Theme Builder, WooCommerce Builder, and one year of support.  The Plus plan costs $99/year, comes with the same features as the Personal Plan, and allows you to use Elementor on 3 different websites. The Expert plan costs $199/year, comes with the same features as the Personal Plan, and it can be used on 1,000 different websites. There is a free plugin version available as well, and all paid plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Thrive Architect Features listed on the official website Instant Drag & Drop Editing, Landing Page Templates, Pre-Built Conversion Elements, Ultra-Flexible Column Layouts, Total Font Customization, Style Every Detail, Perfect Mobile Experience, Mobile Responsive Editing, Dynamic Animations & Actions, Inline Text Editing, and much more. Pricing information Thrive Architect comes in three tiers: Single License5 License PackThrive Membership The Single License plan costs $67 one-time and it’s intended for one website only. The 5 License Pack plan costs $97 one-time and, as the name says, it can be used on five websites. The Thrive Membership plan costs $228/year for up to 25 websites and includes access to all plugins and themes from ThriveThemes. All plans include 334 landing page templates and come with unlimited free updates and one year of support. No free version is available, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. Feature Comparison It takes time and practice to learn which features you need. Some will be immediately obvious and fit your current need, but it’s good to plan for the future as well.  Using the table below, you can quickly see what may be a great fit for your needs. Beaver BuilderDivi BuilderElementorThrive ArchitectLive demoYESYESNONOFree versionYESNOYESNOPricing starts from$99 one-time$89/year$49/year$67 one-timeWebsite usage at this priceUnlimited websitesUnlimited websites1 website1 websiteUser friendlyYESYESYESYESIn-line editingYESYESYESYESNumber of templatesNot stated1198300+334Product support1 yearWhile subscribedWhile subscribed1 yearUpdatesNot statedWhile subscribedWhile subscribedUnlimited Understanding Important Features Having a cursory understanding of the lingo used across the page builders will go a long way to helping decide which you need, and which you can go without. Responsive Editing means that the website you are building will automatically adjust itself for different devices and screen sizes. It also means that the builder includes additional options for customizing each version of the website separately. Multisite is a feature that guarantees compatibility with WordPress Multisite and allows you to make changes to several websites from a single WordPress administration panel. Live demos and free versions are very important because they allow you to test the builder before making an investment. Especially important for tight budgets. Pricing per website should be considered if you think there is a reasonable chance you will need to use the builder to create several websites. Some of these builders come with a license that allows you to use them without any limits.  User friendly means that the page builder is easy and quick to learn, doesn’t require specialized knowledge, and allows for a pleasant and intuitive workflow. In-line Editing is a feature that allows you to add content like text to the live site in real time, without opening additional windows and moving away from the full-page preview. All of our recommendations include this feature, as we believe it is an essential part of a user-friendly workflow. Templates are pre-built page layouts made from existing page builder elements. The more the better, since this allows you to quickly access dozens of page designs and just fill them with site content or tweak them to your heart’s desire. Product support shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to page builders. As you get familiar with a page builder, you will want to set some advanced settings like custom CSS, which might require a developer to get involved. This is where good support comes in, and helps you avoid additional expenses whenever possible. Other Noteworthy Page Builder Mentions Here are some other great page builders for WordPress that didn’t make our Top Four list: BrizyThemify BuilderOxygenVisual ComposerWPBakery Page BuilderSiteOrigin Page Builder All of the above page builders are great candidates and we highly recommend checking them out as well. Save Time and Money Using the Right Page Builder for You Testing Page Builders and picking the one that works best for you can take some time, but there is an enormous return on investment. We hope that this article will serve its purpose and save you the energy and money required to test out dozens of them. We made sure to highlight the important features so that you don’t settle for the wrong one.  It is our firm belief that if you try out these four page builders in their paid form, you will get the best experience of features and overall satisfaction of use. This is the best way to find the one that fits you and to, finally, make an informed buying decision. The post 4 Best WordPress Page Builders for 2020 appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

Expert Advice: Learn How to Podcast on WordPress.com

WordPress.com News -

Podcasting isn’t just for professional broadcasters or celebrities. If you have a passion for a topic — no matter how niche — and want to explore your options beyond blogging and tweeting, consider launching a podcast! All you need to get started is a decent microphone and headset, an internet connection — and our next free webinar to learn the basics. Date: Thursday, July 23, 2020Cost: FREETime: 8:00 am PDT | 9:00 am MDT | 10:00 am CDT | 11:00 am EDT | 15:00 UTCRegistration link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/5115944218471/WN_DEIBungPRlSs4hIKhN6ezAWho’s invited: Bloggers, business owners, and anyone else interested in starting a podcast. Your hosts, expert podcasters and Happiness Engineers Richard and Damianne, have years of experience in podcasting, radio journalism, and of course, helping our users get the most out of their WordPress.com sites. They’ll walk you through the basics of hosting your podcast on WordPress.com and adding it to the most popular podcast directories. They’ll also share some tips and best practices on crafting a successful podcast. Please note that to host audio files on a WordPress.com site, your site must be on one of our paid plans. The one-hour webinar will include a 45-minute presentation and 15 minutes of live Q&A. Dustin, one of our veteran Happiness Engineers and another longtime podcaster, will also be on hand to answer questions over Zoom chat during the webinar. Seats are limited, so register now to save your seat. We look forward to seeing you then!

Expert Advice: Learn How to Podcast on WordPress.com

WordPress.com News -

Podcasting isn’t just for professional broadcasters or celebrities. If you have a passion for a topic — no matter how niche — and want to explore your options beyond blogging and tweeting, consider launching a podcast! All you need to get started is a decent microphone and headset, an internet connection — and our next free webinar to learn the basics. Date: Thursday, July 23, 2020Cost: FREETime: 8:00 am PDT | 9:00 am MDT | 10:00 am CDT | 11:00 am EDT | 15:00 UTCRegistration link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/5115944218471/WN_DEIBungPRlSs4hIKhN6ezAWho’s invited: Bloggers, business owners, and anyone else interested in starting a podcast. Your hosts, expert podcasters and Happiness Engineers Richard and Damianne, have years of experience in podcasting, radio journalism, and of course, helping our users get the most out of their WordPress.com sites. They’ll walk you through the basics of hosting your podcast on WordPress.com and adding it to the most popular podcast directories. They’ll also share some tips and best practices on crafting a successful podcast. Please note that to host audio files on a WordPress.com site, your site must be on one of our paid plans. The one-hour webinar will include a 45-minute presentation and 15 minutes of live Q&A. Dustin, one of our veteran Happiness Engineers and another longtime podcaster, will also be on hand to answer questions over Zoom chat during the webinar. Seats are limited, so register now to save your seat. We look forward to seeing you then!

Line and Grid: Building Brands and Breaking Boundaries

DreamHost Blog -

The solid, intersecting lines of a grid are foundational tools of graphic design. Designers use grids as a guide to create visual flow and rhythmic space. Grids keep their projects consistent, balanced, and harmonized. And the best designers know when it’s time to break out of that framework. That’s the concept behind Alex Banman’s Toronto-based business, Line and Grid, which represents the intersection of bold, classic design principles with making a strong impression in connecting to an audience. “The purpose of my business is to multiply the value of my clients’ marketing efforts through brand design,” Banman says. “I usually work with smaller-sized businesses, directly with the owner.” In launching his business just over two years ago, Banman broke out of his own personal grid by pivoting from a promising young career as a talented branding designer to making it as a business owner. “I’ve always felt that I wanted to run my own business,” Banman says. “The pressure was building for years; I had waited a long time for the right moment. I felt that I wasn’t going to start unless I just started at some point.” So he took the leap and created his own one-man branding agency, building up an impressive portfolio of clients in industries from real estate to duct cleaning, designing logos and branding websites, fliers, even trucks. In the process, he’s embarked on a crash course in marketing — both for his own business and his clients — and has found DreamHost, his trusty web host, to be a surprising key partner in his success along the way. Related: How to Tell Your Brand’s Story (And Why You Should) Breaking the Grid A native of British Columbia, Canada, Banman made his way to Toronto after studying design in college. As a large city center, Toronto was a great place to jumpstart a career in graphic design. “I was always interested in starting my own business,” Banman says. “But I spent about seven years working in the industry before [making the leap].” Trained in design for print, Banman taught himself some coding skills and worked several jobs in digital branding before being hired by a real estate agent. “I built his brand from the ground up; I did his print materials — promotional booklets, mailers, and business cards — and also published his websites and digital ads.” Working for others gave him some practical experience in moving beyond the principles of graphic design to seeing for himself how these principles actually help business owners connect with clients and reach their goals, providing context for his skills in creating a visually-stunning graphic. “It helped me see how my work fits into the bigger marketing machine,” Banman says. Even through this success, Banman felt the pressure building to act on his dream to break out on his own. Partway through 2017, he started making plans — wrapped up projects with his employer, rented a coworking space, and in February 2018 finally took the leap. “I was really excited to be doing what I wanted to do,” Banman says. “I was nervous in some ways, but I was also quite confident because I had done reasonably well as an employee. It was definitely a mix of emotions. I wasn’t sure what would happen. There were so many challenges — every single day during the first year and a half of my business. It felt like I was learning something new every day.” Want to Meet More Awesome Site Owners?Subscribe to the DreamHost Digest for inside scoops, expert tips, and exclusive deals.Sign Me Up Selling the Skillset By his own admission, Banman was idealistic, even cocky, when Line and Grid was newly minted. But as he got down to business, he soon enough got a taste of the real-world challenges of going solo in the marketing industry. Fortunately, Banman was able to keep his real estate employer as a client but found that garnering new ones didn’t come easily. He had hoped to get some leads through networking in his coworking office space, but that wasn’t working out. Part of that, he says, was because his business’s services are so intangible — and the other part was how much he had to learn about selling himself. Line and Grid founder, Alex Banman “I realized how niche my skillset is,” Banman says. His work for others had been part of a bigger marketing strategy, allowing him to focus on just one part of that strategy: branding design. As a business owner himself, Banman realized that while he could create an effective logo and crisp website design, he had a lot to learn if he wanted to actually get eyes on that branding. “If you aren’t getting your designs and your messaging in front of people, it doesn’t matter how good it is,” Banman says. “I had to broaden my understanding of marketing and the role my specific services play for a business. So that was a big lesson. And still, I’m still getting a handle on that and learning about the technical side of marketing every day.” Banman discovered that an essential piece to selling himself — and keeping clients — was crystal clear communication. “In the past, I’ve been a bit of a rock star designer — I was confident that I was bringing something super valuable to the table,” Banman says. “Since I’ve become the business owner, the way my clients feel on a day-to-day basis in communicating with me is hugely important.” The clients Banman works so hard to land could drop him at any time — a fact he’s all too aware of in every interaction. “I’m younger, I’m new at this, and what I sell is intangible,” he says. “People are very careful and wary. The quality of my communication with clients has been extremely important. I’m careful about being clear — so they understand exactly what’s happening each step of the way — and making the experience positive and enjoyable.” Related: RetroSupply Co. Creates Vintage Tools for Modern Designers The Power of Branding While Banman helps his clients with some aspects of marketing, his primary work and passion is branding. Branding is anything that defines a business’s ethos, connects with its customers, and makes it stand out among the clutter of competition. This includes logo design, along with any visual messaging across print and digital mediums. “Branding is so powerful because it multiplies the success of a businesses’ marketing efforts,” Banman says. “It helps people remember the business. It generates buzz in the marketplace. It solidifies the business as a market leader, when the message is communicated clearly. Clienteles trust branded businesses more than unbranded businesses.” Banman has seen again and again how effective branding can be at turning around a business. One client, in particular, stands out — a small duct cleaning company in Vancouver. “The project actually failed at first,” Banman says. “I did quality work and what we agreed upon. I made some website changes at a set price, and I did some design work. But I also promised more clients and web traffic. And a month later, we weren’t seeing the results.” So he headed back to the drawing board. “We did some research in the marketplace, and I made suggestions based on that and came up with some new strategies,” Banam says. “The short term, we had positive traction. And he was happy; he was selling more.” The long-term results were even more telling. At the end of the year, the client discovered he made 150% of what he had made the year before and attributed the success to Banman’s work. “He was able to pay off all his debts,” Banman says. “He’d been in debt for years, ever since he started the business himself. He was able to completely get out of debt and was super busy. That was definitely the project I’m most proud of since I started my business.” Banman’s work is all about the design. There’s nothing like pulling up an empty doc on Adobe Illustrator and getting lost in the flow of making art, watching a design take shape. It feels great, he says, to create something and send it out into the world. “My inspiration comes from my client’s goals and their company ethos,” he says. “It’s inspiring to see how passionate the business owners are about delivering a certain quality of service or product and how much they care, and what they do to deliver a quality product or service. And then also their goals and what they want to achieve and what they want to reach with their business for themselves and for their families and for their communities.” Related: How to Create a Brand Style Guide for Your Website Joining the DreamHost Fan Club Imagine you’re at a restaurant, and you’ve just asked the waiter for a glass of water. Four hours later, he shows up, exasperated, and says, “That will just be a few more minutes.” Banman felt like that waiter when he confidently told his client it would be no problem to migrate a domain — not through DreamHost — for him. Hours later, passed around from support person to support person, Banman came up short on his promise. “It was just making me feel like I look super incompetent,” Banman remembers. “I thought it would take me a few minutes to migrate the domain, and it ended up taking hours. I don’t price by the hour; I give a quote upfront so there’s no unexpected costs. Fortunately, this client understood and asked me to bill him extra. If he hadn’t, I would have lost out on revenue there.” The experience shocked him — a longtime DreamHost customer, he was accustomed to a simpler way of doing customer service. “So with DreamHost, it’s just completely painless, every single time,” he says. “The service is reliable. The user interface is intuitive. And it’s affordable. It just works really well for a business owner like me.” Banman doesn’t remember exactly why he chose DreamHost in the first place, though he does say that the name and design — the branding — spoke to him. It didn’t take long for his web host to grow on him. “I’m just absolutely a huge fan of DreamHost — maybe a little more than the average person for a hosting company,” he says. “Getting things done is easy. The packages are affordable and economical for small businesses like me and the ones that I serve. But the main thing that I think is just so important is the customer service is absolutely incredible. Hands down, I can’t think of any better customer service.” Banman always works with his clients using their system of choice, but when clients are looking for suggestions or building a website from the ground up, he recommends DreamHost. He’s proud of how his own website can act as a portfolio for him, showcasing his design skills and his own brand ethos. “As a graphic designer, you have to have a great website,” he says. “I like the bold, modern look of my site. It’s about communicating boldly with a clean-cut, cold, sharp aesthetic. The work is front and center. I want clients to be able to see exactly the level of quality of what we’ve done in the past and therefore, what we can do for them.” We Support Your DreamsWhatever your goals, we’ll be right there with you, making sure your site is fast, secure, and always up. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan Branding and Rebranding Like many small business owners, Banman is focused on growth, especially since Line and Grid is in its infancy. As part of that growth, he’s planning to rebrand a bit himself, improving his business to better meet his clients’ needs and attract new ones in the future. “My next biggest goal is to just market my agency a little more aggressively,” he says. “I’ve come to the point where clients have a positive experience with me; I’m streamlining the process more; I’m improving my skills all the time. And it’s time for me to get a better handle on the technical sides of marketing in order to reach more clients.” While some new business owners might look forward to hiring employees and delegating some of their work, Banman’s vision is slightly different. “Rather than maintaining a price point and servicing more clients over time with a larger team, I intend to improve the service more and more and serve higher-paying clients as time goes on.” For now, there are more design grid guidelines to follow (and still more to break) as Banman builds his business, outlining his own future. The post Line and Grid: Building Brands and Breaking Boundaries appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

Best Practices for Conversion Rate Optimization

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The post Best Practices for Conversion Rate Optimization appeared first on HostGator Blog. How much have you spent on getting people to your website? Not just money on digital marketing—also think about how much work and time you’ve invested in earning website traffic. It’s a lot, right?  All those dollars, all those hours—what are they worth to you if your visitors click away soon after their first visit and never come back? The answer’s simple: nothing. For your traffic to have any value, your website visitors have to do something beyond landing on your website. In marketing terms, they have to convert.  Conversion rate optimization is how you make website traffic valuable.  To turn website visitors into followers and, even better, customers, you need to make sure your website is designed to optimize conversions. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the practice of doing so.  Developing a CRO strategy isn’t as straightforward as you might think. . Predicting how people will behave and what they’ll respond to is difficult. But by employing the right digital marketing tactics to get a higher conversion rate  on your website, you can ensure that the money you spend on marketing actually pays off not only in sales, but also in building long-term relationships with each and every website visitor. .  13 Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices The CRO process is made up of a number of different tactics and strategies you can use to gain an understanding of what your audience responds to and improve your website based on data. Here are a few of the top tips to try for your website optimization.  1. Focus on calls to action (CTAs). CTAs are one of the basic building blocks of conversion optimization. . The concept behind them is simple: when someone lands on a page on your website, what do you want them to do next? Instead of hoping they’ll do it on their own, encourage them to take that desired action.  Including a CTA on every page of your website is a good practice, but you’ll want to use different ones based on the specific goal you have for that page. For example, the CTAs on a product page will be focused on urging people to buy now or add the item to their cart. A blog post will be more likely to have CTAs pushing visitors to sign up for the email list or download an ebook. Figuring out the right CTA for each page is important. But a big part of the CRO process is also figuring out how to word and present the CTA in the most effective way possible. A slight tweak in wording, or changing out the color of a CTA button can produce surprising results.  One of the best ways to have a higher conversion rate  is to make sure you know the next step you want your visitors to take, and work on paying careful attention to how you ask each site visitor to do so.  2. Simplify UX  UX stands for user experience and it’s another big part of CRO. It’s also important on its own—it’s the practice of making sure your website visitors find your website intuitive and can easily do what they need to on it. When it comes to CRO, a big part of improving UX is considering how to reduce barriers. People are impatient online. That’s not a criticism, just a natural part of how browsing the web works. Think about it, have you ever considered consuming a piece of content, downloading something, or making a purchase and then stopped when you realized it required a slightly higher time commitment than you expected? Or just a little bit more effort? This is how online user behavior works. In practice, that may mean reducing the number of fields you require someone to fill in on a form. More people will complete a field asking for a name and email address, than one asking for those things plus age, gender, business title, and company size.  It also extends to the checkout process. It may be surprising, but someone who wants an item enough to pay for it, may not want it enough to spend time filling in more information to complete the process. Making it as easy as possible for people to provide their shipping and payment information by, say, letting them create an account that auto-fills it in next time, or accepting a payment method their browser remembers, is a simple way to increase conversions.  3. Use heatmaps and session recordings. You can imagine how you think visitors will interact with your website as you’re building it. But at that stage it’s simple guesswork based more on your own behavior than that of your audience. Heatmaps and session recordings are CRO tools you can use to better understand how visitors to your website actually interact with it. Heatmaps highlight where a visitor’s attention is drawn when on the page, how far they scroll, and where they click based on aggregate visitor data. They can help you understand whether an important CTA is getting overlooked, or if a less important part of the page is serving as a distraction.  Session recordings allow website owners to view what specific user interactions on the website looked like—what actions they took, in what order, and after how long. They can supplement the data you get from heatmaps. Both tools can be powerful for understanding how well your website is doing its job in general, and which specific parts of it are working or not.  4. Consider and use micro conversions. The word conversion can describe a wide range of actions. The most obvious and important for businesses are those that directly relate to profits—making a sale, choosing an upgrade, becoming a repeat customer. But few consumers make a purchase the first time they visit a website. More often, that first visit is a chance to win them over and give them a reason to stick around for a while and come back again later. Micro conversions are all the smaller wins that help you achieve those goals in advance of a purchase. These include things like clicking on an internal link, following your brand on social media,signing up for your email list, and downloading an ebook. While these actions aren’t as important to your bottom line as a purchase, they matter. And a good CRO strategy will include them as well.  5. Understand the conversion funnel. Effective CRO is more complicated than just tracking and testing as many different conversions as you can. You also want to understand how they all connect.  If a certain blog post regularly drives conversions to your email list, but most of those later unsubscribe without ever taking another action, that blog post isn’t as valuable as the conversion numbers make it look. If another post drives fewer email sign ups, but more of them take further actions with your brand, that one’s more valuable.  Understanding your conversion funnel both enables you to assign more accurate value to different conversions, and allows you to see larger trends in what’s working. Knowing the relationship between different actions helps you learn what series of choices is most likely to lead to a purchase. That helps you structure your marketing strategy more effectively. 6. Use color to your advantage. Stop signs and stoplights are red for a reason. Many humans respond strongly to visual triggers. Using bright, attention-grabbing colors for your most important CTAs can make them more noticeable to visitors. Or, choosing colors that contrast and stand out from the rest of your site (without clashing) can do the trick.  Try out different ways to use color to draw attention to the right places on a page to see what works best.  7. Perform A/B testing. A/B testing is publishing two different versions of something, to see which one performs better. You can use it to test out a variety of hypotheses.  For example, which of two headlines will get the most clicks? Which color of CTA button leads to the most conversions? And how do conversion rates change if you add more required fields to a form? A/B testing is a key CRO best practice for turning conjecture into data. Experts recommend only changing one part of a page at a time, so you get clear data about which element influences behavior. As you run an array of A/B tests over time, you’ll gain a number of takeaways about what your audience responds to that you can put into practice on your website.  8. Try (ethical) price testing. People make purchasing decisions for a lot of different reasons, but we all know a big one is price. Pricing is complicated. Too low and you’ll miss out on money you could be making, too high and you’ll get fewer sales. Finding the sweet spot where people are willing to pay in large numbers and you get as big a slice of profits as possible is key to running a successful business. eCommerce price testing is trying out different tactics to see how they influence sales conversions. Does switching to a price that ends in 99 (e.g. $5.99 versus $6) make a difference in conversions? Does providing a discount for spending more lead to higher per order amounts? Sometimes small pricing changes lead to big results. But you have to be careful with price testing. If you offer different prices for the same items to different audiences, or to the same audience at different times (without framing it as a discount or special offer), it can look dishonest or unethical. Make sure you keep your price testing above the board, so you don’t alienate customers.  9. Promote coupons.  Coupons are a tried-and-true tactic for increasing conversions. If someone’s on the fence about whether to make a purchase, a few dollars off can tip them over the edge.  Pay close attention to the results each time you promote a coupon. How many new sales does it lead to? Do some channels lead to more coupon conversions than others (e.g. email versus social media)? Do some audiences take advantage of coupon offers more than others, such as those in your loyalty program versus those who have only made one purchase before? These types of questions lead to a better understanding of who your customers are. 10. Set up a sitewide sale. If you want to bring in a lot of new sales at once, a sitewide sale is a good way to drive new purchases. Many eCommerce businesses use this tactic a few times a year to get all the discount hunters in their audience to cross the finish line.  While this tactic comes with the tradeoff of lower profits per sale for a set period, the influx in new purchases can make it worthwhile. And if you promote it to new audiences, it can potentially bring in new customers that turn into long-term ones, making their purchases worth far more than the initial dollar amount. 11. Do user testing. While you can gain a lot of information about what your visitors respond to with tools like heatmaps and A/B tests, nothing replaces talking to them directly. User testing involves recruiting a few people who fall into your target audience, and having them go through the process of taking different steps on your website.  By monitoring what they do—what steps they take and any difficulties they have—and then asking them for feedback on their experience, you gain insights about the reasons behind the CRO data you’ve collected.  12. Send user surveys.  User testing will provide valuable information, but the scale of it is usually relatively small. The people you’ll hear from will make up a tiny portion of your overall audience. To fill in more of the gaps in your knowledge, send out user surveys. Any questions you have based on the data you’ve collected, send them to your customers and people on your email list. Surveys that employ multiple choice answers can be turned into data points that help in your analysis. And by including spaces where people can provide comments, you also gain more detailed feedback on why your visitors behave the way they do.  13. Analyze the data you have.  So much of CRO is about collecting data. In order to turn that data into increased conversions, you need to devote time to analyzing it. Look for trends within the data. What can it tell you about the topics and products your audience cares about? Does it reveal insights into what drives their decisions?  Learning which CTA color or headline works best on one page can help you improve conversion rates on that one page. But analyzing why is how you extrapolate that knowledge to how you design the rest of your website and run your marketing campaigns. CRO Best Practices Drive Business Success Having the best product and providing great customer service are crucial to running a successful business. And maybe that used to be enough.  But in the competitive online space, applying savvy practices to encourage visitors to take specific actions when they visit your website can be the difference between a first-time website visitor never returning, or becoming a long-term customer of your brand. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Recommending the Right Hosting Provider to your Clients

Liquid Web Official Blog -

As we see more and more companies establish or grow their online presence, there has been a proliferation of hosting providers vying to capture this growing demand. With so many providers advertising themselves as the “best,” it is important to know how to choose and recommend the right hosting provider to your clients. While the temptation may be strong to recommend the same host in every scenario, the truth is that one size truly does not fit all when it comes to web infrastructure. A good hosting provider for one client may not be a fit for another.  Furthermore, hosting providers may improve or degrade over time, so regular evaluation of your hosting partners and how you decide which to recommend is essential. Establish Your Clients’ Needs A hosting provider can have a strong offering for one product but a weak offering for another. Find out what products your client will need, and evaluate the hosting providers on these specific products. Here are some popular or commonly used products that your clients may be looking for in a hosting provider: Basic Hosting Depending on your clients’ size, you can choose between Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, and Cloud Hosting. Make sure to select a cost-effective solution that performs well enough for your clients. Each of these offerings includes features and benefits that may fit your client’s needs.  For example, many shared hosting plans offer a reasonable price to go with features like email and the ability to host many websites. The downside is that the memory, storage allowances, and security inherent to shared hosting are not as strong as it is with VPS or dedicated hosting. On the other hand, VPS and dedicated hosting offer more horsepower for complex and high traffic sites at a higher cost to the client. Managed WordPress Hosting WordPress is a great turnkey solution if your clients want to build a corporate website or a blog. WordPress, the most popular CMS in the world, provides lots of powerful core functionality, can be extended via thousands of plugins, and supports full theming. WordPress is also very easy for beginners to learn and operate. In this case, the right hosting provider should likely cover all the administrative and maintenance tasks that WordPress requires to run well. You should never have to think about updating the platform or its plugins. Your WordPress hosting provider should have in-depth knowledge about WordPress and be ready to assist you with any issues (bugs, performance issues, and security events). Liquid Web offers all these features and more in our Managed WordPress offering. We automatically create daily backups, secure your clients’ websites with SSL, and optimize our data centers to improve WordPress speed and performance. Managed eCommerce Online Store Your clients may need to sell their own products or services. This means setting up an online store with secure payments, configurable shipping options, and a dashboard with key metrics.  Managed WooCommerce from Liquid Web provides many of the same features and benefits as Managed WordPress but with a greater focus on WooCommerce itself. Partnerships with complementary providers and infrastructure fine-tuned for WooCommerce itself mean that your clients are in good hands with Managed WooCommerce from Liquid Web. When selling online, every millisecond counts. Make sure that the hosting providers you are considering offer high-performance and scalable infrastructure to handle traffic spikes during flash sales or events like Black Friday. Your hosting provider should also guarantee high uptime; your clients would hate to lose sales because their website went down at the worst possible moment. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) In more advanced scenarios, you may need to build and deploy complex applications on your client’s infrastructure. IaaS is a computing infrastructure that is provisioned and managed automatically. This includes virtual machines, storage, and networking hardware. On top of this raw infrastructure, you may benefit from utilizing a PaaS that will provide ready-to-use, fully managed business intelligence (BI) services, database management systems, and more. Liquid Web also offers cloud dedicated servers and can provision a private cloud for your clients if their infrastructure needs require the resources most commonly found in cloud environments. Email, Storage, and More On top of the hosting solutions that we have already covered, your clients will likely need a business email solution. It can be a simple webmail account or a more complex Microsoft Exchange setup. They may also have a lot of files to store or backup. Or, they may need some security features like a VPN. Your clients may also be in specific industries that require regulatory compliance like HIPAA Compliant Hosting. As more and more businesses move to email options provided by companies like Microsoft and Google, it is important to remember that other options are available that might indeed be a better fit for their needs. Liquid Web offers two types of business-class email to help businesses the world over communicate reliably and securely. Additionally, Liquid Web offers VPNs and other specific services for even the most niche requirements. The Hosting Provider Should be Right for You as Well Whether you are a freelancer, a digital agency, or IT service provider, you want a hosting provider that will handle the infrastructure and let you focus on helping your clients grow. Many hosting providers offer a referral program that rewards you for each recommendation. It is as simple as putting affiliate links on your website or contacting their sales team when you have a client that needs web hosting. Additionally, many hosting providers offer a reseller program if you prefer to maintain the infrastructure billing relationship with your clients. This is an easy way to start and grow your own web hosting business without investing heavily in building your own datacenter. Non-Functional Requirements Once you have ensured that your potential hosting partners offer all the services that your client needs, you should evaluate the quality of these services. A hosting provider can promise a lot of features, but you need to make sure that they work well. Make sure to test these services according to your clients’ needs, including peak performance to load web pages as quickly as possible, scalability to handle traffic spikes, and reliability so that client websites are always online. You should also evaluate their customer support and online presence. Ideally, your hosting partner should be available 24/7 to handle any potential issues that may arise. Don’t hesitate to contact them with your questions and see how well and how quickly they answer. Note that there is only so much time that you can take to evaluate each hosting provider, so take advantage of online reviews written by professionals. You can also search social media platforms to read the comments from their past and current clients. This is a great way to get an idea of their online reputation and how they will ultimately serve and support your clients. Pro Tip: Make a list of questions you should ask before partnering with an infrastructure provider. Get Started on the Right Foot Choosing the right hosting provider for your clients is the first step towards a successful and fulfilling business relationship. You want to focus on adding value to your clients, not worry about infrastructure. Take the time to validate each client’s needs, then take into account how you would work with the hosting provider to serve this client. If you’re looking for a new hosting partner to serve your clients, Liquid Web would enjoy the chance to work with you. The Most Helpful Humans in Hosting have been serving web and IT professionals worldwide for almost 20 years. Contact us now to learn more about our available options for partnership and the services we offer. Shopping for hosting? Our Hosting Buyer’s Guide can help! The post Recommending the Right Hosting Provider to your Clients appeared first on Liquid Web.

How to Create a Facebook Organic Sales Funnel

Social Media Examiner -

Want to attract and convert more people without Facebook ads? Looking for tips to develop an organic Facebook funnel? In this article, you’ll learn how to model an effective sales funnel with organic Facebook content. #1: Leverage Existing Facebook Audience Engagement to Create Awareness With New Prospects Back in the good old days when organic […] The post How to Create a Facebook Organic Sales Funnel appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

WordPress 5.5 Beta 2

WordPress.org News -

WordPress 5.5 Beta 2 is now available! This software is still in development, so it’s not recommended to run this version on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version. You can test WordPress 5.5 beta 2 in two ways: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the beta here (zip). WordPress 5.5 is slated for release on August 11th, 2020, and we need your help to get there! Thank you to all of the contributors that tested the beta 1 development release and provided feedback. Testing for bugs is an important part of polishing each release and a great way to contribute to WordPress. Here are some of the changes since beta 1 to pay close attention to while testing. Some highlights Since beta 1, 48 bugs have been fixed. Here is a summary of a few changes included in beta 2: 19 additional bugs have been fixed in the block editor (see #23903 and #23905).The Dashicons icon font has been updated (see #49913).Broken widgets stemming from changes in Beta 1 have been fixed (see #50609).Query handling when counting revisions has been improved (see #34560).An alternate, expanded view was added for wp_list_table (see #49715).Some adjustments were made to the handling of default terms for custom taxonomies (see #43517) Several updates have been made to the block editor. For details, see #23903 and #23905. Developer notes WordPress 5.5 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developers’ notes for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products. How to Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

InMotion Hosting Announces Corporate Sponsorship of OpenStack Foundation

My Host News -

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA –  Long-time open source software advocate and premium web hosting and cloud solutions provider InMotion Hosting is increasing its commitment to open source, building upon an OpenStack Foundation corporate sponsorship, the company announced today. Serving small businesses for nearly 20 years, InMotion Hosting provides tools and services that enable smaller companies to compete on a level above their current size. The OpenStack Foundation corporate sponsorship is the first step in a renewed investment in open source software and business development. “InMotion Hosting believes in the open source community and wants to give back in various ways, such as our Corporate Sponsorship of the OpenStack Foundation,” Todd Robinson, InMotion Hosting co-founder and president said. “OpenStack is a critical part of open source alternatives to the mega public clouds. Our focus on making OpenStack easy to deploy and manage will give more options for small and medium businesses looking to join the OpenStack user base.” Currently in development, InMotion Hosting’s latest product Flex Metal Cloud is an on-demand private cloud solution powered by OpenStack. Flex Metal Cloud’s hyperconverged infrastructure simplifies cloud deployments, increases flexibility, and maximizes resources. With up-front pricing and usage-based billing, it’s a cost-effective choice over public clouds. Flex Metal Cloud users will be able to deploy safely and quickly in a production-ready environment with the assistance of InMotion Hosting’s industry-leading support team. Plus, all of InMotion Hosting’s supporting content will help guide those who want to test and explore on their own. Created with an open source mindset, our reference architecture will be publicly available to anyone. About InMotion Hosting Founded in 2001, InMotion Hosting is a privately held company providing custom web hosting and cloud based solutions and services to businesses across the world. With customers in six continents and more than 175 countries, and partners that include Intel, Cisco, Samsung, Dell, SuperMicro, and OpenStack Foundation, InMotion Hosting has established a long-standing track record of helping businesses of all sizes achieve online success and technological innovation, all backed by live 24/7/365 U.S.-based support.

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