Industry Buzz

11 Last-Minute Website Changes You Can Make Now to Boost Holiday Sales

HostGator Blog -

The post 11 Last-Minute Website Changes You Can Make Now to Boost Holiday Sales appeared first on HostGator Blog. Is there ever enough time to plan for the holidays? Not really, especially when you run an eCommerce store. If you feel like you’re falling behind before the season even begins, don’t stress. Here are eleven things you can do over the next few days to get your site up to speed for more holiday sales.  1. Upgrade your hosting plan. Start the season by heading off eCommerce disaster. Traffic spikes on peak sales days can crash your site, cost you sales and damage your brand. Case in point: J. Crew’s 2018 Black Friday site crash cost the clothing retailer an estimated $700,000 in lost sales. It also generated negative press and lots of customer complaints on social media.  An online retailer’s worst-case Black Friday scenario That’s no way to ring in the holidays. Check now to make sure your plan can accommodate your estimated peak traffic, and upgrade for more capacity if you need to. 2. Reuse what worked last holiday season. Look over your sales and site traffic data. What were your most popular products and promotions? Feature them again. Which days were your busiest? Tease your best deals for those days. What search keywords led to the most conversions? Make sure they’re part of your holiday section. 3. Set up your holiday section now. Build your Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing, category and product pages now. Test them for load time, display and function on desktop and mobile. Use the keywords that your holiday shoppers searched for most last year, plus any that are trending now. Make sure navigation between your store’s holiday section and the rest of your shop is seamless. Once you know it all works, put it up for your early bird shoppers. Game, a UK-based retailer, consistently gets kudos for its well-designed Black Friday landing pages. Here’s its Black Friday preview page from 2017: Deals sorted by console, a newsletter opt-in and holiday keywords (Christmas gift ideas, Xbox deals, PS4deals). Nice! Here’s what Game already has up for 2019, more than two months ahead of the big day: Game is serious about Black Friday 4. Put your holiday gift cards front and center. Gift cards were the most sought-after kind of present during the 2018 holiday season, and shoppers love them, too. Make sure visitors to your store can find them fast—especially once the shipping deadline passes for Dec. 25 delivery. National Retail Federation 2018 survey results 5. Don’t skimp on deals. “Getting a great deal” was the top priority for 74% of 2018 holiday shoppers surveyed by Deloitte. Discounts are by far the most popular deal, but free shipping, bonus gifts and rewards points are popular, too.  Deloitte 2018 Holiday Survey of Consumers Promote your upcoming deals early. Forty percent of shoppers have already started buying gifts by Nov. 1. 6. Show off your shipping options. Yes, you should offer free shipping deals, because online shoppers love them—see the chart above. Also, make sure customers know about your free shipping deals, plus your other shipping options and the deadlines to ship for holiday arrival. A crystal-clear holiday shipping deadline notice Don’t be subtle. Make a big, easy to see statement and include it on your homepage, product pages and checkout. Remember, shoppers are busy, most are on their phones, and they don’t want to dig through your site to find shipping deadlines. 7. Step up your customer service game. More than half of online holiday purchases in 2017 were made on smartphones, Google found, as busy shoppers worked through their lists whenever they had a few spare minutes. Be ready to quickly answer customer questions about products, deliver times and deals. You may need to scale up or outsource your human or chatbot customer service capacity during the holidays to meet demand. Facebook Messenger for Business is an easy and inexpensive always-on customer service option, too. 8. Check your social sharing capabilities. Make it easy for customers people to share your products, deals, holiday content and promo codes on social media this holiday season. If your social share plugin doesn’t integrate with Google Analytics, you’re losing data that could help you create more effective promos and posts. AddToAny includes lots of social platforms, lets you customize more and delivers the analytics you need. 9. Serve up fun holiday content. Now’s the time to update holiday content that did well for you last year or create something new. Stuck for ideas? Consider a gift guide that features your bestsellersa “customer picks” list that features the products with the best customer reviewsholiday recipesfavorite charities and nonprofits for holiday givingholiday tips—for travel, entertaining or decoratingtrend pieces that focus on what’s going to be hot in the year ahead Uncommon Goods has more than two dozen niche gift guides Include your social share buttons on this content and include links to your holiday products and landing pages. 10. Protect your holiday revenue from fraudsters. Read up on common holiday eCommerce scams that target stores’ shipping practices to steal merch for resale. If you typically have a huge surge in orders that slows down your approval process during the holidays, talk now to third-party fraud prevention services about outsourcing your overflow during the holidays. And consider upgrading your SSL certificate for stronger protection against man-in-the-middle attacks that can steal your customers’ payment data.  11. Buckle down on backups. Black Friday site traffic surges, hacker antics and unexpected problems can knock stores offline right when they should be doing peak sales. If that happens, having a recent uncorrupted version of your site backed up and ready to install can make the difference between a banner day and a big loss. Check now. Does your web hosting service offer automated daily backups, like HostGator’s Managed WordPress hosting plans do? If not, it’s time to add that capability through a service like CodeGuard. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Improve Your Facebook Ads During a Holiday Season

Social Media Examiner -

Do you run seasonal Facebook ads during Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holiday season? Wondering how to run more successful holiday ad campaigns? In this article, you’ll discover how to warm up an audience and deliver holiday-themed Facebook advertising campaigns. Why Seasonal and Holiday Ad Campaigns Matter For many businesses, seasonal campaign performance can be […] The post How to Improve Your Facebook Ads During a Holiday Season appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Improve Your App Testing With Amplify Console’s Pull Request Previews and Cypress Testing

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Amplify Console allows developers to easly configure a Git-based workflow for continuous deployment and hosting of fullstack serverless web apps. Fullstack serverless apps comprise of backend resources such as GraphQL APIs, Data and File Storage, Authentication, or Analytics, integrated with a frontend framework such as React, Gatsby, or Angular. You can read more about the Amplify Console in a previous article I wrote. Today, we are announcing the ability to create preview URLs and to run end-to-end tests on pull requests before releasing code to production. Pull Request previews You can now configure Amplify Console to deploy your application to a unique URL every time a developer submits a pull request to your Git repository. The preview URL is completely different from the one used by the production site. You can see how changes look before merging the pull request into the main branch of your code repository, triggering a new release in the Amplify Console. For fullstack apps with backend environments provisioned via the Amplify CLI, every pull request spins up an ephemeral backend that is deleted when the pull request is closed. You can test changes in complete isolation from the production environment. Amplify Console creates backend infrastructures for pull requests on private git repositories only. This allows to avoid incurring extra costs in case of unsolicited pull requests. To learn how it works, let’s start a web application with a cloud-based authentication backend, and deploy it on Amplify Console. I first create a React application (check here to learn how to install React). npx create-react-app amplify-console-demo cd amplify-console-demo I initialize the Amplify environment (learn how to install the Amplify CLI first). I add a cloud based authentication backend powered by Amazon Cognito. I accept all the defaults answers proposed by Amplify CLI. npm install aws-amplify aws-amplify-react amplify init amplify add auth amplify push I then modify src/App.js to add the front end authentication user interface. The code is available in the AWS Amplify documentation. Once ready, I start the local development server to test the application locally. npm run start I point my browser to http://localhost:8080 to verify the scafolding (the below screenshot is taken from my AWS Cloud 9 development environment). I click Create account to create a user, verify the SignUp flow, and authenticate to the app. After signing up, I see the application page. There are two important details to note. First, I am using a private GitHub repository. Amplify Console only creates backend infrastructure on pull requests for private repositories, to avoid creating unnecessary infrastructure for unsollicited pull requests. Second, the Amplify Console build process looks for dependencies in package-lock.json only. This is why I added the amplify packages with npm and not with yarn. When I am happy with my app, I push the code to a GitHub repo (let’s assume I already did git remote add origin ...). git add amplify git commit -am "initial commit" git push origin master The next step consists of configuring Amplify Console to build and deploy my app on every git commit. I login to the Amplify Console, click Connect App, choose GitHub as repository and click Continue (the first time I do this, I need to authenticate on GitHub, using my GitHub username and password) I select my repository and the branch I want to use as source: Amplify Console detects the type of project and proposes a build file. I select the name of my environment (dev). The first time I use Amplify Console, I follow the instructions to create a new service role. This role authorises Amplify Console to access AWS backend services on my behalf. I click Next. I review the settings and click Save and Deploy. After a few seconds or minutes, my application is ready. I can point my browser to the deployment URL and verify the app is working correctly. Now, let’s enable previews for pull requests. Click Preview on the left menu and Enable Previews. To enable the previews, Amplify Console requires an app to be installed in my GitHub account. I follow the instructions provided by the console to configure my GitHub account. Once set up, I select a branch, click Manage to enable / disable the pull request previews. (At anytime, I can uninstall the Amplify app from my GitHub account by visiting the Applications section of my GitHub account’s settings.) Now that the mechanism is in place, let’s create a pull request. I edit App.js directly on GitHub. I customize the withAuthenticator component to change the color of the Sign In button from orange to green. I save the changes and I create a pull request. On the Pull Request detail page, I click Show all checks to get the status of the Amplify Console test. I see AWS Amplify Console Web Preview in progress. Amplify Console creates a full backend environment to test the pull request, to build and to deploy the frontend. Eventually, I see All checks have passed and a green mark. I click Details to get the preview url. In case of an error, you can see the detailled log file of the build phase in the Amplify Console. I can also check the status of the preview in the Amplify Console. I point my browser to the preview URL to test my change. I can see the green Sign In button instead of the orange one. When I try to authenticate using the username and password I created previously, I receive an User does not exist error message because this preview URL points to a different backend than the main application. I can see two Cognito user pools in the Cognito console, one for each environment. I can control who can access the preview URL using similar access control settings that I use for the main URL. When I am happy with the proposed changes, I merge the pull request on GitHub to trigger a new build and to deploy the change to the production environment. Amplify Console deletes the preview environment upon merging. The ephemeral backend environment created for the pull request also gets deleted. Cypress testing In addition to previewing changes before merging them to the main branch, we also added the capability to run end to end tests during your build process. You can use your favorite test framework to add unit or end-to-end tests to your application and automatically run the tests during the build phase. When you use Cypress test framework, Amplify Console detects the tests in your source tree and automatically adds the testing phase in your application build process. Only projects that are passing all tests are pushed down your pipeline to the deployment phase. You can learn more about this and follow step by step instructions we posted a few weeks ago. These two additions to Amplify Console allow you to gain higher confidence in the robustness of your pipeline and the quality of the code delivered to your production environment. Availability Web previews are available in all Regions where AWS Amplify Console is available today, at no additional cost on top of the regular Amplify Console pricing. With the AWS Free Usage Tier, you can get started for free. Upon sign up, new AWS customers receive 1,000 build minutes per month for the build and deploy feature, and 15 GB served per month and 5 GB data storage per month for the hosting. -- seb

Finding News on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Official Blog -

Keeping tabs on industry news and trending stories can be essential to your day-to-day work. Knowing what is going on in the world, and hearing expert opinions on that news, can make you work smarter and help you have more engaging conversations with your colleagues.  But time is limited in a busy work schedule. When looking for news, we not only want to know what’s being discussed quickly, but also want to get smarter by discovering diverse perspectives and joining the conversation. That’s why... .

Let’s Encrypt Update Blog!

cPanel Blog -

End of life for Let’s Encrypt Legacy, time to update! In August, we shared in a blog post that the Let’s Encrypt original API, ACMEv1, would be reaching EOL (end of life) on October 31. Beginning in November, all new accounts will need to use the new API, ACMEv2. According to the Let’s Encrypt announcement, they will no longer allow new accounts to register using the Legacy Let’s Encrypt API after October 31. cPanel has developed a …

7 WordPress Appointment Booking Plugins

HostGator Blog -

The post 7 WordPress Appointment Booking Plugins appeared first on HostGator Blog. Booking more customers is essential to growing your small business revenue. However, the process can be a hassle with the constant back and forth to schedule the perfect date and time with a customer. WordPress scheduling plugins offer a solution to manage all of your meetings, bookings, and reservations. WordPress plugins are especially helpful for the small business owner who can’t afford a full-time assistant. Find the right WordPress booking plugin to boost your business. Here are seven plugin solutions to help you maintain a competitive edge. 1. Appointment Booking Calendar A recent survey found that 42% of patients would rather book appointments online. This scheduling convenience holds true for customers booking appointments in other industries, too. Give your customers this added benefit with Appointment Booking Calendar. This plugin allows you to create a booking module on your website. It includes several built-in features, like booking time slots, PayPal payment processing, and confirmation emails to your customers. The sync feature lets you export appointments to iCal, Google Calendar, and Outlook. This plugin also protects you from unwanted spam. It includes captcha validation within the appointment calendar form. You also can print your entire list of bookings.  Appointment Booking Calendar is customizable to fit your needs, from changing the form interface to editing the notification emails.  2. Bookly Bookly is your choice for a responsive scheduling tool. You can use it for several types of businesses, including beauty salons, fitness centers, and professional services. The plugin allows customers to quickly schedule with your business. Your customers also receive email and SMS notifications to confirm their appointments. Miron Yumanau, a Bookly user, gave this plugin five stars for customer support and wrote the following review:  “Very good product. It has a lot of functions and possibilities. Great booking system for growing business. Sometimes I had some issues, but the support team always helped. Especially, thank you to Julia for the great support.” Bookly offers a premium version with more features, including a mobile-friendly booking form, an unlimited number of booking forms, and payment integrations. 3. Booking Calendar Your customers are online 24/7. Even after closing your small business for the day, you need a tool to help you book appointments in your absence. Booking Calendar is what your business needs. Do you manage an apartment complex? Your tenants can check the availability of a property. Do you provide a service? Your customers can book a time slot on your schedule. So, say goodbye to double bookings and gain confidence with an accurate calendar.  Booking Calendar offers an easy-to-use admin panel to handle booking management. You can search and sort your bookings with the filter feature, and you can approve or decline specific bookings. The plugin also sends email notifications to your customers for confirmation. More calendar control means more opportunities to create a better customer experience. 4. Amelia Lite Amelia Lite is an automated booking system on your WordPress website. Its single-page-app approach works efficiently without page reloading. Plus, it takes less than five minutes for you to set up. The premium version boasts a full feature list, from custom fields for booking forms to service photo galleries. You can even offer discount coupons for bookings. Give Amelia Lite a test run and experience its intuitive design. It’s a powerful automated booking specialist that fuses well with your current small business processes. 5. Booking Calendar Did you know that more than 40% of bookings are completed online? The days of calling your service provider by phone to book an appointment are steadily declining. Customers like the convenience of scheduling their appointments online. Let’s not frustrate your customers. Instead, install the Booking Calendar on your website. This appointment booking system makes it easy for you to create any type of scheduling calendar.  Customize it to your preferences with unlimited themes, unavailable weekday selections, and date format choices. The plugin is also configured to provide instant approval and send email alerts to customers about their appointment or booking status. If you upgrade to the Pro version, you gain additional features, like redirecting customers to a new page after a booking submission and upgrading your user permissions. These benefits give your customers a better brand experience. 6. Modern Events Calendar Lite Modern Events Calendar Lite is a practical tool to get more customers signed up for your events. This plugin offers a well-designed user experience with different views, including a carousel, countdown, and timetable. No more stressing over event management. Need help getting started? The plugin creators provide elite customer service to answer all your questions. You can scroll through their knowledge base articles or submit a ticket to get one-on-one assistance. 7. Ultimate Appointment Scheduling Last but not least, there’s the Ultimate Appointment Booking & Scheduling plugin. This tool gives you the flexibility to create appointment locations with different opening hours. You also can accept PayPal payments during the booking process. This plugin is a good match for businesses with one-on-one or one-to-many services, such as medical professionals, event venues, and corporate training sessions. You can set up an unlimited number of unique appointment services for your customers.  If you purchase the paid version, you can prevent spam by requiring customers to log in before creating an appointment. You’ll also get the ability to customize the look of your form to fit your brand’s colors and style. Book More Customers with WordPress Booking Plugins WordPress scheduling plugins add more functionality to your website. Try these booking tools to improve your productivity and streamline the way you do business. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

6 Magento Alternatives You Should Be Considering After Magento 1

Nexcess Blog -

Magento 1 (M1) will be sunsetting June 2020. While the eCommerce platform will still be accessible and usable by both merchants and devs, it will no longer receive official support from either Magento or Adobe. That means that for the 180,000 merchants running M1, the hunt for Magento alternatives is on.  Are you unsure where to go once M1’s life draws to a close? Here, we’ll cover some of your options, along with the pros and cons of each. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer idea of where your next step on your ecommerce journey will take you.  Don’t have time to read this now? Download the After M1 eBook for a complete list of your best options – for when you do have time. WooCommerce You may be surprised by the first alternative on this list. You’re probably thinking that WooCommerce just doesn’t have the capabilities you’re looking for in a Magento alternative. This is especially true if you have any experience in WooCommerce and the WordPress space. And you may be right; WooCommerce isn’t as functional as Magento. However, it does have its advantages.  WooCommerce sits perfectly between being a SaaS product like Shopify, and being a self-hosted ecommerce CMS you have full control of like Magento. It plays a fine line between ease of use and feature sets, and it does so brilliantly. You may be surprised by the types of stores that are on WooCommerce. It’s not all small businesses.  In 2018, WooCommerce looked into its user base in more detail. They analyzed stores to see where they are coming from and their size. What they found was surprising.  WooCommerce is not the ecommerce platform of small merchants some developers think it is. There are a number of larger stores using it as well.  A large number of WooCommerce stores actually fall between the $100,000 to $500,000 range, with some extending as far as $1 million in annual revenue. Brands that have made WooCommerce their ecommerce platform of choice include Blue Star Coffee, Weber, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and Singer. WooCommerce is not the best choice for large stores that involve a lot of moving parts. But it is a great Magento alternative for smaller and medium-sized stores looking to take control. Why use WooCommerce instead of Magento? It’s very easy to use, while still offering impressive flexibility for developers It offers a large number of plugins to increase functionality It has a large selection of themes and templates It’s lightweight, so can load content faster Why use Magento instead of WooCommerce WooCommerce, while flexible, doesn’t have the ecommerce functionality of Magento Magento is better for growing merchants Magento has a great community that supports ecommerce specifically   Stay on Magento 1 Your second alternative isn’t an alternative, and comes with a question. Why make the move at all? Have you thought you need to make the move because of the warnings you’re seeing from the community and in your installation?  Sentiment regarding the Magento 1 End Of Life is split in the community. Fears regarding security vulnerabilities, loss of PCI compliance, and more are on one side. While devs offering continued support and security updates are on the other.  As a hosting provider, we will continue to support merchants that wish to stay on Magento 1, by making sure to keep our web application firewall up to date to help with security. We’ll also continue to maintain server-side performance optimizations for the first version of Magento.  Staying on Magento 1 means doing everything you can to secure your site. From hosting to development, don’t cut corners when the future of your store is at stake.  If you decide that staying on Magento 1 – even if just for the time being – is the right move for your store, then there are a few things you’re going to want to do. Firstly, upgrade your store to Magento 1.9. Unlike replatforming, this does not require much work or expense and is a simple patching process. You’re also going to want to upgrade any other software you’re running as part of your application stack. This includes your PHP, MySQL, and Apache versions, along with any other applications you’re running as a part of your stack. The Nexcess support team can help with this. Get in touch and we’ll make sure your hosting environment is as secure as possible.  Finally, don’t forget to communicate with your developer (if you have one) about what they think staying on Magento 1 means for your store. Some developers will try their best to accommodate you and put in place safeguards so your store isn’t exposed to vulnerabilities.  Why Stay on Magento 1 instead of moving to Magento 2? Download and read After M1 to find out more detailed reasons for why staying on M1 may be the right option for your store.    BigCommerce (For WordPress) Perhaps WooCommerce isn’t the right fit for your store. Maybe Staying on Magento 1 is out of the question. Where do you go next?  BigCommerce started out as a SaaS application but has since expanded into the headless (decoupled) market. We offer this as an option in the form of BigCommerce for WordPress. The Advantages? Merchants can use both the backend of BigCommerce for ecommerce management and the frontend of WordPress for displaying it.  This means is more flexibility, better potential user experiences, and the ability to ramp up your content marketing strategy. Remember, content and product SEO are different, so don’t charge in head-first if your not as experienced with content SEO.  BigCommerce is the Magento alternative for merchants looking for both great content and product management capabilities. BigCommerce for WordPress also comes with premium support from both Nexcess and BigCommerce. In the event something goes wrong on either the application or the hosting side, you’ll immediately be able to reach out to a relevant member of the support staff to resolve your problem. The faster it’s resolved, the quicker you’re going to be able to start selling again.  Why choose BigCommerce instead of Magento? It offers both great ecommerce and content functionality Both BigCommerce and your hosting provider are able to offer support Why choose Magento instead of BigCommerce? Magento still offers more in terms of functionality BigCommerce charges transaction fees BigCommerce is a closed source application without the development community of Magento   Sylius Perhaps you’re a developer or merchant that loves to live on the bleeding edge. Maybe you’ve always prided yourself on staying up to date with the latest and greatest. Or perhaps you’re all about taking the reins when it comes to functionality.  If that sounds like you, then Sylius is probably your platform of choice.  Sylius is an open source ecommerce platform that runs on Symfony. That means more customization, more functionality, and stronger alignment with dev best practices. Plus, with it being open source, the community for support only continues to grow.  Currently available in standard and enterprise forms, Sylius is a good option if you’re looking to stay ahead of trends in web development. However, if your store needs to remain reliable, then it may be better to look elsewhere.  Why choose Sylius over Magento Sylius is cutting edge in ecommerce web development It allows merchants to create a heavily customized ecommerce experience Why choose Magento over Sylius Magento has a longer history and is a more secure foundation There is a larger selection of extensions for Magento You may be limited by your programming expertise   Shopify On the other end of the functionality spectrum is Shopify; a SaaS application built to make ecommerce easy.  Shopify is one of the more popular options around, and it’s easy to see why when you take a look at its ease of use. For small merchants, the process of going from store idea to selling is quick and easy. However, this ease of use isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – especially when a store starts to grow.  Shopify is a good option for merchants getting started in ecommerce, but as they grow its limitations become increasingly apparent.  Shopify comes with a number of limitations that can ultimately hurt a merchant’s bottom line.  One of the most significant of these limitations is transaction fees. While alternatives like WooCommerce and Magento let merchants use a number of different payment processors without needing to pay transaction fees, Shopify only allows you to avoid them if you use Shopify’s payment service. This can cause problems with lock-in once you start needing an alternative.  Other limitations also start to appear when considering Shopify SEO. These include: A rigid URL structure Limitations to meta titles and descriptions A locked robots.txt files An inability to edit tag pages No good way to handle duplicate content For merchants that want their store to rank for important search terms, these SEO limitations can quickly outway the advantages that come with Shopify’s ease of use – especially if you’re a merchant with a lot of products.  Why choose Shopify over Magento? It’s easier to use and get started with It comes with a large selection of templates and themes Why choose Magento over Shopify? Magento offers more in terms of flexibility and functionality Magento doesn’t have transaction costs Shopify has some serious SEO limitations   Prestashop Prestashop is another option that works well for merchants looking to leverage a platform that offers ease of use.  Originally released in 2008, Prestashop comes in both self-hosted and SasS forms. While the user base for both has diminished over the last few years, it’s still a strong competitor for small stores. Moreover, perhaps because of its self-hosted background, when compared with other SaaS platforms, it manages to hold its own in terms of functionality. Some of the main reasons you may decide to use Prestashop include:  Easy to use and intuitive interface A good selection of themes and templates Over 3,900 extensions for expanding functionality A lightweight platform that is usually fast Despite these advantages, Prestashop, like Shopify, just can’t compete with some of the bigger players in terms of functionality and flexibility. For medium stores or those that expect to grow, it quickly becomes a bottleneck that prevents continued growth.  Prestashop is a good option if you’re looking for a platform that offers ease of use. But it trails behind some of the more powerful options in terms of functionality.  Magento, for example, offers a number of complex options and tools for managing omnichannel customer journeys and multi-site stores with localization requirements. This is an advantage that can particularly help stores with international customers. Localization with Prestashop doesn’t offer the same level of detail or a truly “local” experience.  Prestashop – just like Shopify-  also falls down in terms of SEO. In fact, stock Prestashop doesn’t even have some SEO features you would expect to see, like meta titles and descriptions. To gain access to that functionality you have to download an extension.  Overall, Prestashop isn’t the best option on this list. It does, however, offer a suitable alternative to Magento for merchants looking to simplify their commerce experience.  Why choose Prestashop over Magento? Prestashop is easier to use and develop with.  Prestashop offers a large number of themes and add-ons Why choose Magento over Prestashop? Prestashop has terrible SEO features Magento offers more in terms of features and functionality   The post 6 Magento Alternatives You Should Be Considering After Magento 1 appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

How to Do Keyword Research for Your WordPress Blog

DreamHost Blog -

“iPhone repair near me.” “Easy dinner ideas.” “How to create a website?” A key way to get traffic to your website? Understand how people search for things on the internet. By tapping into search behavior, you can help optimize your website for high rankings in search engines. With a well-positioned search engine spot, you have a better chance of getting found by internet audiences. Keywords are vital for search engine optimization (SEO). Doing some research into the things people are searching for will not only help you better understand your target audience but also to plan and utilize high-value keyword phrases in your blog posts to earn better rankings in search engines. In this guide, we’ll show you how to conduct smart keyword research, then how to use those target keywords on your site to boost your organic traffic and earn prime search engine rankings. Let’s get started! Optimize Your Site with DreamPressDreamPress' automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can focus on keywords and not kernels.Check Out Plans What is Keyword Research? First, let’s talk about what a keyword is. When people are searching Google for something, they use certain words to find what they’re looking for. Those words or phrases are keywords. Doing research into the keywords people use when searching online can help you optimize your website for those keywords — helping improve your blog posts and increase your traffic. The great thing is, you don’t need to take a stab in the dark at guessing the keywords people are using to search the internet. There are actually smart keyword research tools available to help you make data-driven, effective decisions when it comes to accomplishing essential tasks, such as: Identifying the keywords people are actually using Creating relevant content that ranks well Understanding your audiences (and adjusting your offerings to meet their needs) Scoping out your competitors’ SEO strategies Earning more web traffic Building a loyal audience Long story short: Making keyword research a part of your content strategy will help you build visibility and, ultimately, grow your site. Of course, optimized keywords aren’t the only way to earn your content prime search engine real estate, but it’s an essential building block for SEO, increased conversions, and rush-hour e-traffic. Plus, if one of your overall goals is to monetize your site, you need to embrace SEO as the foundation of your site’s content. The numbers prove it: 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making purchases. How to Get Started with Keyword Research Now that you know how vital the keyword research process is, let’s get into the real nitty-gritty: how to do keyword research for your WordPress blog. The obvious place to start is Google. Today, Google handles more than 100 billion searches every month — around 60,000 every second. But even with billions of searches and the abundance of available info on the web, 60% of all organic clicks go to the top three organic search results, so the ranking of your site in search engine results matters. Most SEO-focused keyword research for WordPress focuses on Google — the powerhouse search engine fuels more than 76% of all global desktop search traffic, and over 94% of the mobile/tablet searches. Plus, Google’s free Keyword Planner is one of the most popular keyword research tools, allowing you to identify the most searched keywords, and use that essential insight to better your blog’s visibility. Before really diving deep into keyword research, it’s important to understand a few terms: Search Volume: The number of times or volume of searches that are conducted for a particular keyword during a specific time-frame. Search Traffic: The number of visits to a website measured by search results clicks. Search Intent: The reason why a consumer is conducting a specific search. It indicates what they’re looking for — whether that’s information, a particular brand’s webpage, an answer to a question, or a product they intend to purchase. Understanding these terms is critical, as they indicate different data that you can use to do better keyword research and content development. Some keywords might get a high search volume — meaning, they get searched a lot — but don’t receive a lot of search traffic, meaning the number of clicks. The search volume for this query is likely higher than the search traffic — because it displays an answer box, the results might not receive as many clicks because the searcher has to take no further action to find what they’re looking for. In that regard, search volume can be misleading. In addition to volume and traffic, it’s essential to understand not only what keywords people type in a search engine, but also what their search intent is — meaning, what they’re actually looking for. Don’t worry — search intent doesn’t require any mind-reading, as most search queries can be separated into a few main, easy-to-identify categories: Informational: How-to or what-is searches, (i.e., “how to make tea”) Navigational: Branded searches, (i.e., “Facebook login” or “Capital One”) Commercial: Specific attributes queries (i.e., versus or best queries, “women’s plus size dresses”) Transactional: Searches directed toward a purchase (i.e., buy, download, etc.) There are generally certain types of content that are displayed in the results for each search intent category; for example, informational search intents might include guides, and commercial investigations will likely include comparison articles. When planning and creating content for your site, you’ll want to gear it towards what the searcher is looking for — their search intent — so that you can meet a need and create value. Additionally, when competing for keywords (more on this later), you’ll want to investigate the content types of the top-ranking pages so you know how to build your own content. Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up How to Do Keyword Research for Your Blog — in 3 Steps If you’re just starting out and looking for a free or very low-cost keyword research tool to get you going, we’ve got you covered: Soolve: a simple but great tool for building a keyword list from multiple search sites. Moz’s Keyword Explorer: a comprehensive keyword research tool that analyzes keywords by search volume, sorts by predictive keyword metrics, performs competitive keyword analysis, and allows you to review SERP details by keyword. In addition, you can find keywords in question format and access Moz’s proprietary Keyword Difficulty score that shows how easy (or hard) it is to rank on each SERP. Requires an account setup and allows 10 free queries a month. Keywords Everywhere: a paid browser extension that’s easily installed on Firefox or Chrome that offers valuable data on monthly search volume, cost per click and competition data of keywords on multiple websites. This tool works by credits; 1 credit = 1 keyword, $10 for 100,000 credits. Ubersuggest: This tool goes beyond simply offering keyword suggestions, extending its capabilities to competitor insight, top SEO pages reports, valuable backlink data, and deep dives into well-performing content pieces. If you’re looking to up your SEO game, check out a few above-and-beyond paid keyword research tools, like MarketMuse, BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, or SEMrush. As we mentioned, Google has a great (free!) tool — called Keyword Planner — that helps conduct keyword research for your WordPress blog. While its features are geared primarily toward PPC advertisers, the Keyword Planner is still an excellent platform for identifying keywords that will help you build a strong SEO strategy. Because we think Keyword Planner is the best place to start, we’ll focus on how to use this particular tool in our guide. 1. How to Use Keyword Planner First, you need to get set up with a Google Ad account — if you don’t already have one. Click on the “Tools and Settings” button, then under the Planning Tab, click “Keyword Planner.” Then, click “Discover new keywords.” In the search box, you’ll enter words and phrases related to your business and/or enter your site URL and click “Get Results.” You can adjust or add keywords, or add filters to refine your search. Let’s say you enter a few keywords related to your niche — for example, “custom smartphone cases.” The resulting data displays additional keyword suggestions, along with a broad, average monthly search range, competition level (how many people have bid for that particular keyword in Google AdWords), and bid price ranges for specific keywords (this can help you judge the commercial intent of a searcher). You can analyze and utilize the data by filtering results, downloading keyword ideas, adding keywords to your plan to get detailed forecasts, accessing visualizations broken down by categories, and searching volume data. When conducting keyword research, start by searching broader keywords, then gradually narrow results down to identify keywords with low competition and more search volume. Focus on selecting keywords that answer your customers’ questions and aid them in making smart buying decisions. With the tool’s results, you can see your own keyword performance and then compare it with your competitors. With the displayed results, you can build a list of potential keywords for use on your site. You’ll likely want to target those keywords that earn high search volumes in order to bring crowds to your blog. But don’t forget about long-tail topics — a way to smartly utilize keyword research. Long-tail keywords are search queries with a low individual search volume, but as a group, they usually have a large total search demand. Targeting long-tail keywords can help you rank well and drive traffic to your blog. The easiest way to identify long-tail topics? Scout out your competition’s traffic-generating pages. Related: 10 SEO Tools to Optimize Your Website for Success in 2019 2. Incorporating Target Keywords on Your Website Next, incorporate your list of keywords into your WordPress site. Essentially, you need to include those keywords on your site — on landing pages, documentation, in content like articles and blog posts, as well as in titles, descriptions, and categories for products you sell. Keywords are vital for helping you create better content that meets your audiences’ needs and get found by your target consumers. Now, you’ll want to take your keywords and incorporate them into your site to start optimizing your site for search engine rankings. Start by adding your strongest keywords to your site’s title and tagline. To do this, go to the Settings tab on your WordPress dashboard, then click General. An important caveat: this is more appropriate if you’re just launching your website. In fact, it’s the ideal time to make SEO decisions about your domain, title, and tagline. If you’ve got an established site, proceed carefully with rebranding. You’ve likely already built a following and should avoid whiplashing your visitors with sudden changes. If you’re still looking to boost your SEO — and every website should be — focus on adding your keywords in other places. Outfit your header, slider, and individual page headings with customized keywords. Make sure your site’s images have descriptive alternative text and don’t skimp on writing a solid meta description for each blog post — take advantage of every opportunity to include relevant keywords on your site. Then, add optimized keywords to your individual posts and pages. Try to add targeted keywords at the beginning of each blog post in a natural way. Meaning, they should fit the content and not confuse, annoy, or distract your audience. An SEO-specific WordPress plugin — like our fav, the Yoast plugin — can help. Related: The Top 11 SEO Best Practices for Domains 3. Analyze Your Efforts Now, it’s a good idea to get analytical. Meaning: review the success of your keyword research efforts. How do you know if your keywords are earning you prime search engine real estate and successfully driving traffic? Tap into the Google Search Console and Google Analytics by using a tool like MonsterInsights on your WordPress blog to track analytics and user engagement from your keyword implementation. The results can help you adjust your strategy as necessary. Google Search Console helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site. The tool gives you an overview on search and site performance, helping you check indexing status and optimize the visibility of your website. The Coverage section is particularly important, giving you insight on which of your site pages Google can and can’t index, as well as intel into keyword queries. It alerts you to technical issues that need to be resolved in order to earn better site SEO. While Google Search Console is used to improve and optimize your site, Google Analytics is another valuable resource that gives you data about the performance of your site, including information on the number of visitors to your site, where visitors are coming from, how much time they spend on your site, what devices they’re using, and other useful insights. Under the Acquisition tab, you can identify which channels bring visitors to your site. The “site search” section under the Behavior tab can show you what users are searching for on your site —  this can also help you develop valuable content ideas and improve the usability of your navigation. Bounce rate is another important metric that can clue you in to the UX of your website, as well as the success of your keywords. Understanding analytics can take some time. But utilizing Google’s free tools to improve upon even the smallest aspects of your site can boost your website’s visibility in search engines. Keep working! Searching High, Not Low Strong SEO begins with smart keyword research. Targeting smart keywords and optimizing them on your site helps you to not only attract more traffic to your WordPress website but also to build authority and trust with your audience. The ultimate goal for your site? Get more traffic by providing what people are looking for. Keyword research helps you target the correct keywords and gives you insight into how to utilize those keywords on your site and in your content, in foundational ways that will improve your SEO and bring searchers to your site. When they find you, your site should wow them. With our award-winning services, DreamHost can help bring your WordPress site to the next level. Check out our web hosting solutions today. The post How to Do Keyword Research for Your WordPress Blog appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

RDAP is Replacing WHOIS: What That Means For Your Website

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The post RDAP is Replacing WHOIS: What That Means For Your Website appeared first on HostGator Blog. Let’s say you finally landed on your dream domain name. You went to purchase the domain but found that someone else already owns the domain.  Instead of throwing up your hands and giving up in frustration, you could look up the domain registration information via WHOIS. This year, however, WHOIS was replaced by the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP). Don’t worry. This won’t change the way your website functions, just how to access information related to your domain.  Below we’ll dive into why this change happened, and give you insight into what it means for your website and domain name.  The End of the WHOIS Era WHOIS has been the primary way to lookup domain name registration information or IP address details for the past 35 years. It’s been pretty much the only game in town.  Whether you wanted to know who owned a specific domain, or what the associated IP address was you would do a WHOIS lookup. You could do this through a website, or even via the command line. It was a simple and straightforward process. The data wasn’t always perfect, but the process worked.  However, the internet, its purpose, and how it’s used is continually changing. What worked twenty, thirty, or even ten years ago, probably doesn’t function as well today. Just think of how different websites were just five years ago. Recent changes and awareness of data privacy, brought to light via the GDPR legislation, have helped to propel the development of RDAP.  Although WHOIS suited the needs of the internet population 35 years ago, it’s starting to show its age. Below we get into the limitations of WHOIS that RDAP seeks to address.  Limitations of WHOIS Like most technologies that were started decades ago, they’re going to be a little dated. This was especially true regarding the domain name system. Currently, there are over 350 million domain names that are registered. That’s a lot of domain name data that needs to be managed. The original WHOIS protocol definitely wasn’t engineered with this future in mind. Below we look at the biggest drawbacks of the existing WHOIS protocol that are fixed with the RDAP protocol.  No standardized format. The output data is text-based and will have a different result depending on each registry. This makes data parsing very difficult. Lack of data authentication. There is no authentication for who is accessing the data, so privacy issues might arise. RDAP seeks to address this.No international support. As it currently stands there’s no way to make sense of different country/language data. Lack of security protocols. Security standards across the web are rising. Data obtained from WHOIS isn’t very secure, as there were no verification, encryption, or authentication protocols in place.  What is RDAP? RDAP stands for Registration Data Access Protocol. It will eventually fully replace the existing WHOIS protocol. The change won’t happen instantly, but the rollout is taking place as we write this article. Over time, RDAP will be the only way to access domain registration and IP address information, and WHOIS will fully be a thing of the past. RDAP will deliver domain registration information just like WHOIS has done in the past, but it will do so in a different format (which we highlight below) that’s also more standardized across the board.  Right out of the gate RDAP has certain advantages over WHOIS, such as providing a secure way to access and request data, support for international data formats, and the ability to provide differentiated access to registration data. On the surface, not much changes with the implementation of RDAP. Since RDAP will just return data, and it’s up to the registrar how that information will be displayed, so it could look exactly the same as the WHOIS source you’re used to.   Core Features of RDAP RDAP was designed to help solve the existing problems of WHOIS. As it stands now here are some of the core features provided by RDAP: Built-in security. Connections will be forced over HTTPS, so it’s automatically more secure. Authentication is also built-in to the protocol.  Standardized query, response, and error messages. All data that’s delivered will be in a standard format, the display of the information will be done on the end of the registrar. Authoritative server access. The protocol will quickly find the correct and most authoritative server, so the resulting data should be higher quality.   Why is RDAP Being Implemented? The existing WHOIS system worked for a while, but due to the vast changes in how the internet functions, along with increased security and privacy being a must today, it no longer serves the purpose it once did. The issues with WHOIS have been known for over a decade, but replacing such a widespread system takes time. Deficiencies like no international support, lack of secure data access, lack of differentiated access, and no support for a standardized query, response, or error responses have been known for some time. In 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names (ICANN) was advised to evaluate and adopt a replacement protocol. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) was the organization that began to create the replacement protocol.  Recently, ICANN has been working with registrars to implement RDAP. Since there are so many different registrars across the globe, adopting this new protocol will take a while, but it is currently underway. If all the above acronyms and organization names were confusing, here’s a quick rundown: WHOIS has been around for so long it’s not as effective, and there are glaring drawbacks.ICANN has known about these issues since 2011 and was working towards the alternative.The alternative RDAP is now being implemented with registrars across the globe. What This Change Means for Website Owners For most website owners, this change won’t mean a lot. Your website and domain name will function the exact same way as they used to. Think of this as a behind the scenes change that doesn’t directly affect your website in its present form. This is a much different situation than the recent GDPR rollout, which did impact websites and how they dealt with and stored data. The only thing the move to RDAP will change is the type of data that you’re able to access. In the past, you would use WHOIS to lookup registration data associated with a given domain. Now, the process is the same, but you’ll have access to higher quality data that’s more secure. You’ll still access domain registration and IP address information the same way. The only type of websites that this does affect are existing registrars. If you’re running a domain registrar, you would have known about this change a long, long time ago. But since it’s a protocol, it won’t change any data that’s currently being stored. It’s just a new way to access the data. The only thing that might change is how the resulting data might display, but this format will be more user-friendly anyways. As you can see, the changes that RDAP brings into effect don’t really change much on the surface. Think of it as an upgrade to how domain registration and user data is accessed, making it much more secure and standardized moving into the future.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

6 Social Media Marketing Attribution Models and Tools to Help Marketers

Social Media Examiner -

Do you want a better way to track your social media marketing conversions? Looking for tools that can help you better measure attribution? In this article, you’ll discover six attribution models and tools that can help you. Why Attribution Matters to Marketers One common challenge for marketers is performing in-depth analytics. You’re most likely marketing […] The post 6 Social Media Marketing Attribution Models and Tools to Help Marketers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Flywheel and WP Engine Come Together for All Hands Omaha

WP Engine -

Last week, members of the WP Engine team traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to join their counterparts at Flywheel for the first-ever All Hands Omaha. All-Hands is a bi-annual event where WP Engine employees meet to engage, collaborate, and establish a shared company strategy. This year’s All Hands themes is “Challenge-Accepted,” which is a nod to… The post Flywheel and WP Engine Come Together for All Hands Omaha appeared first on WP Engine.

WP Engine at WordCamp Dublin 2019

WP Engine -

WP Engine was a proud sponsor of the most recent WordCamp Dublin, which took place from October 18th – 20th. The event showcased speakers from throughout Ireland and Europe, and attendees had the opportunity to take part in a full-day workshop on WordPress, followed by two days of presentations and breakout sessions.  A group of… The post WP Engine at WordCamp Dublin 2019 appeared first on WP Engine.

What Every Website Owner Needs to Know About ADA Compliance

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The post What Every Website Owner Needs to Know About ADA Compliance appeared first on HostGator Blog. No matter your industry vertical or the type of online business that you run, it is a universal truth that you want to provide the best user experience possible. Websites with loud music that plays automatically upon loading will anger many site visitors. Sites that load too slowly will frustrate many more, just as websites that render horribly on mobile devices will simply lead to a bad first impression. This all goes without saying, regardless of the type of website that you have. In the past, web accessibility was often overlooked. However, web accessibility has quickly risen to become one of the top priorities for online business owners, site builders, service providers and agencies alike. More specifically, web accessibility standards have not only become increasingly codified, but they have also served as the basis for significant legislation and legal action. Indeed, many companies have faced costly ADA lawsuits as a result of not offering adequately accessible websites. Website Building Is Easy. Website Accessibility Isn’t. If the internet has taught us anything, it’s that it’s changing all the time. Often for the better, but sometimes with complications as well. One simple and easy benefit that we can point out, is how easy it is to now create a website or blog in a matter of minutes. This is especially true with advancements in web hosting solutions, such as the WordPress platform. Not only does WordPress make the site and content creation process extremely fast and easy, it also allows for a much faster site, improved security, and complete customization based on the needs of your site, brand, or business. WordPress has completely changed the way websites, blogs, and content creation takes place on the internet today. In short, it’s also eliminated the need to learn how to program, design graphics, and code websites. For example, HostGator offers easy one-click solutions for adding WordPress to your hosting plan, which makes it easy for anyone to get started in a matter of seconds—versus spending hours trying to figure everything out. However, one of the finer points of the changing and progressing internet is the continuing regulations and standards that site owners and online businesses must comply with. Whether it be privacy settings, mobile optimization, or making sure your site is accessible to all audiences, website owners must stay current and comply with recent legislations and compliance regulations. It’s not only important for making a great first impression — sometimes there are legal issues and consequences associated with them as well. The Importance of Web Accessibility One such example of an audience engagement and legal issue that comes to mind is ADA website compliance. In short, ADA compliance requires site owners and businesses to have the necessary standards in place to make sure their website content is accessible by everyone. For a single online company running just a single website, this can be problematic enough. If the text on your website doesn’t offer a suitable level of contrast against the background, for instance, the text can be very difficult to read for individuals with impaired vision. If the website serves as your primary point of contact with customers, as is the case with many eCommerce businesses, this can lead to devastating lawsuits. For business owners, the problem is compounded exponentially, as every potential client is becoming increasingly concerned about offering a fully accessible website that complies completely with prevailing standards and legislation. If an agency cannot guarantee to its clients that it’s able to build fully accessible and ADA compliant websites, those clients are very apt to take their business elsewhere. Put simply, every website owner must catch up on web accessibility practices immediately, or risk losing clients. Even above and beyond potential legal action, there is an even bigger reason why you need to make your website accessible to people with possible disabilities: to provide the best possible user experience to the broadest range of potential users. The good news is that there are solutions out there that can make the process of ADA website compliance and user engagement implementation into your site a whole lot easier. Below you can see an example from accessiBe. This tool shows your website in normal form, with the option for adjusting your website to meet the needs of any users who might have visual, hearing, or any other limitations when trying to access your content online. A potential customer who cannot adequately navigate your website using keyboard commands alone, for instance, will just as quickly leave your online store for a competitor who more adequately addresses his or her needs. In turn, agencies who do not make accessibility a priority miss out on clients who do value accessibility for their websites. What Does Web Accessibility Even Look Like? To better understand the modern climate of web accessibility, we must first take a step back to look at accessibility a little more broadly. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA for short, became law in 1990. This civil rights law dictates that public and private spaces open to the public cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities. To most people, this law is perceived in a physical sense, such as Braille on elevator buttons. ADA has since been extended to the digital realm of the Internet. Individuals with disabilities must have equal opportunity to access, engage with, and use online resources, just as much as individuals without disabilities. The understanding of how companies and businesses should approach web accessibility has been standardized in the form of the WCAG 2.1. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 outline how a website should be designed such that it is reasonably accessible to all users. These standards outline such considerations as offering media alternatives, providing minimum contrast for navigational elements, giving enough time to interact with site elements, ensuring that the site experience is predictable, and so on. Related to the ADA and WCAG 2.1 are other legislation and documents, like Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the US and EN 301 549 in the EU. In the case of the latter, the standards outline “accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe.” Accessibility is an international concern. The Easiest Approach Is Hands-Off Needless to say, wrapping your head around all of these official laws, rules and guidelines can be incredibly overwhelming, even for the most experienced of web developers and designers. By trying to force their designs into fitting with these standards, you might feel like your site design choices are being limited. However, that doesn’t need to be the case at all. It can actually be much easier than that — as previously highlighted in the example above with accessiBe. Maintaining ADA and WCAG compliance can seem very daunting, especially in the case of websites with frequently updated content or dynamic interaction on the part of the user. That’s why it makes much more sense to leverage a technology solution that not only can be implemented right into your existing site, but also adapt to any new changes or content that is added along the way. Through the use of artificial intelligence, platforms can automatically scan and analyze websites to make sure they are fully compliant with ADA, WCAG 2.1, Section 508, and EN 301 549 standards. Trying to accomplish such a feat in a manual process would not only be timely and tedious, it would likely also lead to more mistakes and human error. In fact, while the average person might not be aware of the ADA compliance and limitations associated with the internet, it’s definitely something that is growing in size, reach, and funding all the time. Microsoft for example, even has their own project for AI for accessibility — which is focused on sharing information and technology to support independence and productivity. As always, the internet is changing all the time — and for website owners and businesses, these changes will often fluctuate between good and bad. The most important thing to stay aware of, are the ongoing changes in compliance and how they might be affecting your own sites or those in which you are designing for clients. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Creating Branded Content on Instagram: What Marketers Need to Know

Social Media Examiner -

Thinking of partnering with other businesses to create Branded Content on Instagram? Wondering how to get started? In this article, you’ll discover how to set up, create, and analyze branded content posts on Instagram. What Is Branded Content on Instagram? Branded content posts were first introduced on Facebook and have now moved over to Instagram […] The post Creating Branded Content on Instagram: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

A Definitive Guide to App Marketing with Social Media

Reseller Club Blog -

Businesses today are fighting for not just customers but their attention as well. They need instant conversion just like how their customers need instant support and gratification. This is the age of on-demand products and services and any company in this economy needs an app to reach out to its customers. Through native or hybrid apps, companies are looking to get more users onboard through apps and using them as avenues to offer better services and interaction. But getting to that stage isn’t easy. App marketing requires a separate framework and you need to include a number of different approaches to take your app to the masses. With the market becoming increasingly cluttered as well, it is difficult to stay visible without a systematic approach.  So, how do you market your product? How do you make revenue out of your game-changing idea? Well, that’s where targeting comes in. Targeting is finding out who your potential buyers are, where they hang out, their demographics, income and expense levels, requirements, and more. With the market being cluttered, the more refined your targeting is, the better you would be able to take it to your potential customers. And if your product is an app, this becomes more daunting as there are over 5 million apps available for download. The Android market has a share of 2.46 million apps and the Apple market has a share of over 1.96 million apps. As we speak, more apps are being developed and uploaded. So, where will yours be? On the cloud or in your users’ devices? This article is all about pushing your app from app stores to your users’ devices. With definitive tips and proven strategies for using social media for app marketing, let’s get that cash register ring now. Pre-launch Promotion Okay, rule number one — you do not wait until you launch your app to market it. Start talking about it right from its development stages.  Make use of your website to keep talking about your app. Launch your website with more descriptive information about your app.  Start by making official accounts of your app on multiple social channels.  Make an announcement about its launch date and what it’s about, release a teaser,  Share interesting developments, talk about who dropped by your office for trial and create hype. The number one reason why Endgame managed to pull even the most hardcore fans of DC into cinema halls was because of the hype. Make as much noise about your app right from the early stages. It will only increase after you launch your app. Also, make use of your offline social circle. Reach out to your friends and family to promote your app and recommend it to their circles. Why? Because over 50% of users discover new apps through recommendations from their friends and family. Facebook Ads Paid ads are best if quick leads or downloads are your goals, especially on Facebook. Facebook is where users log in for leisure, as a retreat from their professional life, seeking personal growth or entertainment.  Regardless of their requirements, make sure you appear before your target audience with your app along with the download link. Facebook allows multiple types of ads like a carousel, a single image, and even videos.  Go for what is most appropriate and come up with a quirky copy to captivate readers. Give them a video explaining how it would solve the concern it addresses or how entertaining their free time would be. Treat it like a crowdsourcing campaign and pay attention to the smallest of details. NatureBox is one of the brands that has been nailing its Facebook ads.  Instagram Posts While running Facebook ads, you can automatically select Instagram for paid adverts as well. But, you can also run standalone posts on the platform that will help you connect with your target audience closely. From the official account you’ve created, talk about your app through images, videos, and even IGTV videos.  Run giveaways or exclusive competitions here and generate buzz. For inspiration, follow brands and study their approach. Remember that the intention with Instagram is to engage with audiences and lure them towards your app and not directly fishing for downloads. It’s leading to it. Also, we can’t skip the importance of hashtags when we’re using social media to promote our apps. Hashtags are modern-day phrases that have the power to connect instantly with users and go viral. Campaigns like #shareacoke or #letsdolunch are all prime examples of this. When you’re using hashtags, consider these best practices: Do not combine more than 2 or 3 words Look for trending ones Use some keywords Stay away from controversial hashtags like political. Don’t jump to all trending hashtags. Understand why it is trending. This will help you to find related hashtags as well.  Consider your target audience and demographics. For example, if you are running an eCommerce portal for woman clothes in New York, you should target women in New York.  Don’t give them a tongue twister Don’t forget Twitter Brands like Wendy’s, Slack, KFC and others have been directly interacting with their potential customers through Twitter.  To do this, you can use the advanced search feature of Twitter to hunt for keywords, locations, users and hashtags that are relevant to your app. For instance, if your app lets entrepreneurs connect with investors in their vicinity, you can search in terms of the words in their bio, accounts and their mentions, place and more to refine your search. With the results, you can then directly tweet or message them introducing your app and its purpose. Go Live Today, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube allow you to share content in real-time. Going live with your app on social channels yields multiple favourable results. With multiple approaches, you can make use of this chance to: Introduce your app and personally talk about it to viewers and push downloads Talk about features in your app that users might not have noticed Discuss additional applications of your app in elevating their lifestyle Share the benefits of in-app purchases if any Announce updates that are on their way Address feedback that users share immediately Turn your users into evangelists by giving referral codes One interesting statistic reveals that over 25% of the apps that get downloaded never get used more than once. So, as a developer, your focus shouldn’t just be on downloads but engagement and usage as well. Use the live option to push this. Social Sharing   Sometimes, we tend to get excited about some apps and immediately want to share it with our friends. Your app should be prepared for such times with fully-functional social sharing buttons. Despite the intention to spread the word about your app, they won’t care to copy the link of your app from app stores and share it with their friends. They’ll do it only if there’s a one-click solution to it. Give it to them. Also make social sharing of your app available on your website. YouTube Videos Content generated on YouTube can be used for diverse purposes and nail a presence on the streaming website. So, make sure you come up with as many interesting videos about your app as possible for social repurposing and recycling. Here’s a good example of how to go about this.  Some other interesting ideas could be: Teasers and promotions about your app Tutorials and how-to videos on installing your app and using it A rendezvous session with your developers or founders sharing what drove you and them to come up with the app Review with a social influencer (more on this next) Success stories from your customers YouTube ads and more With videos, the possibilities are abundant. You need to simply understand your market and generate content accordingly. Social Influencers Okay, two reasons to collaborate with social influencers. Over 70% of teenagers trust influencers over celebrities and 86% of women take to social media/influencers for purchase recommendations.  Influencers are inevitable today because they can spread good or bad things about your app. From hunting for next vacations to food suggestions, it’s the influencers’ voice that backs people’s opinions. So, look for influencers in your niche or industry and approach them for a shoutout. In most cases, you would have to give them exclusive or premier access to your app. What they would do is talk about it on their social profiles through posts, stories or even videos. With them, you get brand awareness, new downloads, and opinions from experts in your market. Apart from these approaches, you can also establish a presence on Snapchat. Numbers reveal that over 78% of its American users are millennials, under 25. This, again, boils down to what your app is about, its purpose and its target audience. If your app is relevant for Snapchat, having a presence would fetch you results. Now, all these can appear daunting but brainstorming for content, strategies, meeting new people are all exciting. The intention of social media promotion is to let the world know how much fun you had developing something that you felt the world needed. It’s about transferring the excitement that you have over to your users. If you can think of other ways, share them on your comments. Like we said, your approach to marketing your app should be a balance of two things — pushing downloads and reducing uninstalls. Good luck! .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post A Definitive Guide to App Marketing with Social Media appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

All the Fitbit activity badges

Matt Cutts Blog (Head of Google's Webspam Team) -

Fitbit has discontinued their Fitbit One step trackers, which seems like a good opportunity to step back and reflect on wearing one for the last decade or so. I’ve enjoyed using Fitbit trackers, but the One devices seemed like they broke down way too often. I’m pretty proud that I ended up earning all the activity-related Fitbit badges though: 100,000 steps and 800 floors in one day In 2013, I ran a 50 mile race and I took 110,472 steps that day. I think I did some extra steps late that night just in case Fitbit ever increased their top step badge from 100K to 105K or 110K steps. The lifetime miles badge took care of itself as long as I wore my Fitbit. The same applied for the lifetime floor badge: I’ve climbed 73,383 floors in the last few years, and that badge tops out at 35,000 floors. But the Rainbow badge was a little harder: 700 floors in one day. Climbing up Half Dome in Yosemite only got me 500 floors or so. At some point, I found myself in Washington, DC missing only a couple badges: Mountain (600 floors) and Rainbow (700 floors). DC isn’t known for its high buildings. I researched the Washington Monument (897 steps) and the National Cathedral (about 333 steps), but access was tricky and I’d need to climb either many times. Ultimately I decided on the New Executive Office Building, which I have access to because of my job at the US Digital Service. That’s how I found myself on a Sunday morning in July 2018. I started a podcast as I walked up the steps to the 10th floor of the NEOB (pronounced like “knee-ob”). Then I took the elevator down, and started walking up the steps again. And again. Every so often I took a bathroom break or ate a snack, but mostly I walked while listening to podcasts. I ended up climbing 818 floors, which is basically walking up to the 10th floor about 82 times. Fitbit claimed I burned 4000+ calories that day. Wait a second–the badge is only for 700 floors, so why did I climb 800+ floors? It took me about four hours and forty-five minutes to climb all those steps that day. Just in case Fitbit added a badge for 800 floors, I didn’t want the temptation to do re-do several hours of climbing. Overall, Fitbit’s badges have probably pushed me to walk more, along with a goal to get 10,000 steps a day. As my current Fitbit One gets more and more creaky and unreliable, I might explore a less quantified self though. I’m finding myself posting less on social media. Maybe not every single thing needs to be observed and tallied.

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