Industry Buzz

Preparing for California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): What Marketers Need to Know Now

Social Media Examiner -

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore the California Consumer Privacy Act and what processes and technology all businesses need to have in place […] The post Preparing for California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): What Marketers Need to Know Now appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

6 Best WordPress Website Tips for 2020

InMotion Hosting Blog -

The world of WordPress is changing faster and faster each day. WordPress is no longer a one-time install set-it-and-forget-it operation. As more websites all over the world adopt WordPress a whole suite of external tools have emerged to support the WordPress ecosystem. This year, your work will be to navigate this sea of tools and options and features without getting lost and frustrated. Read on to find out how you can keep your operation on course this year: Attend a WordPress meetup Drop your plugins where you can Learn version control Consider using an offline editor Get your local version up and running Use your host as a resource These tips are tailor made for WordPress users of every variety. Continue reading 6 Best WordPress Website Tips for 2020 at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Tackling the Headache of Tedious Plugin Maintenance

WP Engine -

Plugins are arguably one of the best parts of WordPress. These uploadable bits of software allow users to easily add features and functionality to their websites, and with nearly 55,000 free plugins available for download in the WordPress Plugin Repository, the options for customizing WordPress sites have become almost limitless. But just like any piece… The post Tackling the Headache of Tedious Plugin Maintenance appeared first on WP Engine.

SEO for Real Estate Websites [12 Pro Tips]

HostGator Blog -

The post SEO for Real Estate Websites [12 Pro Tips] appeared first on HostGator Blog. The real estate industry is competitive. To have any chance of being chosen by the people looking to buy or sell a home in your town, you have to find a way to stand out and get noticed. The most successful real estate agents aren’t constantly on the prowl trying to find new clients—they’re the ones who make it exceedingly easy for those clients to find them. In the age of the internet, the best method for doing that is search engine optimization (SEO). Research from the National Association of Realtors found that 57% of people turned to the internet as a first step in the home-buying process, either to start looking at listings or to research information on how to buy a home. The real estate websites that snag the top rankings in those searches have a good chance of winning that business. SEO requires a lot of work, but the good news for real estate agents is that you don’t have to compete with all the other agents out there. You only need to attract local business, so your SEO competition is restricted to the other agents working in your immediate area.  If you’re in a high-competition city like San Francisco or New York City, that may be cold comfort. But in smaller cities and towns across the country, getting a page one spot in the search engines is an attainable goal. You just need the right SEO strategy for your real estate website. Your 12-Step Real Estate SEO Strategy To make your real estate website more competitive on the search engine results page (SERP), these are the most important steps to take.  1. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. If you built your website a few years ago, mobile may not have been top of mind for you yet. But with every year, mobile use claims a greater share of all internet use (even surpassing desktop usage). And Google has been very clear about considering how well websites work on mobile when calculating rankings.  When was the last time you pulled up your website on a smartphone to see what the experience of using it on a small screen is like? Do it now. Does it load fast? Is it easy to use? If not, it’s past time for an update.  This doesn’t have to be a huge overwhelming project. Now that mobile use is ubiquitous, there are lots of easy options for building a responsive website that works as well on mobile as on desktop. With a website builder, you can get a mobile-friendly website up quickly and affordably.  2. Make sure your website loads fast. This is another key ranking factor Google’s been upfront about. People like websites that load fast, and Google likes to deliver results that people like. If your website takes more than a split second to load, you risk visitors clicking away and Google’s algorithm docking you for it.  A big part of having a fast website is choosing a web hosting provider that delivers reliable service. Beyond that, tips like using image compression, reducing the number of plugins you use, and enabling browser caching can help as well.  3. Do keyword research. A lot of your real estate SEO strategy will hinge on keywords. Keyword research is how you learn what the home buyers in your city are thinking about and searching for, so you know what search terms you want your website to show up for.  Make sure your keyword research prioritizes local terms. And not just obvious ones like “cincinnati real estate agent.” Get even more specific with neighborhood names and local landmarks. A good keyword strategy includes two types of keywords: Broad keywords – these will be the ones you optimize the main pages of your website for (your homepage and About page, for example). They’ll be straight to the point of what people are looking for, e.g. santa fe home selling, tampa home search, atlanta real estate agentLong-tail keywords – these are what you build a content strategy around. They usually include more words and answer questions related to buying and selling a home, e.g. best neighborhoods in charlotte, common home improvements san jose 4. Perform on-site optimization on your real estate website. For each page on your real estate website, choose a relevant primary keyword to optimize it for, and a couple of related secondary keywords. You want a unique primary keyword for every page, so you’re not competing with yourself.  Look for opportunities to naturally incorporate your keywords into, such as: The page’s title tagThe page’s headings and subheadings (h1, h2, h3, etc.)The copy on the webpageImage names and alt tagsThe meta description Also consider other pages on the site where it makes natural sense to link back to the page using your primary keyword as the anchor text.  Be careful in this step not to overdo it. Keyword stuffing—overusing a particular keyword to the point where your page doesn’t make sense for humans anymore—is actually bad for SEO. The algorithm penalizes websites that it registers keyword stuffing on. Don’t force it. But as long as you’ve chosen a keyword that’s actually relevant to the page, weaving it in naturally shouldn’t be too difficult.  5. Create and optimize a Google My Business listing. Google recognizes when a search has local intent. When location matters, it usually puts map results at the very top of the search engine results page (SERP). And a search term like “real estate” is definitely one where location matters. The results that show up under the map are all Google My Business listings. If you want a chance at winning one of those spots, you need to make sure you both have a Google My Business listing, and that you’ve optimized it.  Setting up your listing is pretty straightforward. Go here, and follow the steps the website walks you through. Fill out your profile as completely as possible, with contact information, hours, and an accurate category. Add any high-quality photographs you have to help your listing stand out for people who click through to learn more.  6. Add your real estate company to relevant directories and review sites. Make sure you have a profile on popular review sites like Yelp, Trust Pilot, and Angie’s List. Create profiles on the main real estate websites including Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin as well, and check and see if your city has any local sites with listings for real estate agents.  Research additional local organizations that have directories you can add your information to. That may include real estate professional organizations, local chambers of commerce, or other professional groups in your city.  These sites are both an opportunity to gain a link back to your website, and a way to make yourself easy for clients to find by showing up in one more place. Make sure you provide your information with the same spelling and formatting in each place you add a listing, so the algorithms can easily recognize them as representing the same business. For instance, if your office is located on Pretty Bird Lane, make sure you’re consistent in how you spell out Lane—don’t use Lane in some places and Ln in others.  7. Encourage reviews. Reviews are widely regarded by SEO professionals as an important ranking factor in local search. Obviously reviews on your Google My Business listing are important in this regard, but so are reviews on other sites across the web as well. If Google can see that you have a lot of 5-star ratings from clients around the web, you’re that much more likely to claim a top spot on the SERP. So don’t be afraid to ask your clients to leave you a review if they’re happy with their experience. You can include a link to your main review profiles in your email signature, add them to your website, and send a followup email to clients after each house sale asking them to take a few minutes to leave a review.  8. Create local content relevant to real estate. Any good SEO strategy will involve creating relevant content that provides value to your target audience. For real estate agents, that can include any topic that relates to living in your city, which should give you plenty to work with. Think about everything someone moving to your town would want to know, and create a list of ideas for content pieces to create that answer all their questions. As a starter list, this could include: Information about the local schoolsThe differences between local neighborhoodsThe best restaurants in townUpdates on big construction projects in townDetails about local electionsBest events and conferences in the cityCommon types of repairs or issues homeowners in the area deal withTrends in local real estate prices As a local, you know what people in your city care about. Package that knowledge into helpful blog posts, videos, or podcast episodes to help boost your SEO. 9. Use rich photos and videos. Buying a home is a visual experience. Sure, seeing written details like the number of rooms and square footage included in a home is an important part of it. But people will make more of their decisions based on an emotional response to the images they see.  Your real estate website will gain more traction if you include high-quality photos of the homes you represent. Even better if you also add video tours of them. To make sure these visual elements play an SEO role as well, optimize them by including the proper alt tags and adding detailed descriptions and/or transcripts of the video.   10. Promote your content. In a lot of cities, creating great content and making sure it’s optimized for search will already put you ahead of a lot of your competition. But if your city is more competitive, or if you want to go the extra mile to stake out a top spot on the SERPs, put some extra effort into getting your content in front of people. That could include sharing it on social media and sending it to your email list. It may even be worth promoting it with paid advertising on Google and the main social media platforms to give it an extra boost.  11. Partner with other local businesses and bloggers. All the steps you take on your real estate website are an important part of SEO, but they’re usually not enough on their own. You also have to work on the harder part of it: getting other websites to link back to yours. A good local link building strategy is to identify local businesses, bloggers, and publications that you can partner with in some way.  Can you guest post on a local website providing expertise on the current local market trends? Maybe you can join with a couple of other local businesses to sponsor a charity drive or put on an event together. Partnerships like this show you’re active in the community, raise your local profile, and therefore usually also lead to more links back to your website.  12. Sponsor local events. Event organizers are always looking for sponsors to help cover the costs of putting their events on. Start paying attention to the events that happen in your city: conferences, networking meetups, awards ceremonies, film festivals, music festivals, theater and dance performances, marathons. All of them likely need sponsors. Sponsoring an event often comes with a link to your site on the organizer’s website, along with other forms of promotion such as your name in the program. Sponsorship can be a good way to raise the profile of your real estate business, while building goodwill in the community at the same time.  Get Your Real Estate SEO Right Your life as a real estate agent will be much easier if you can count on people to find you, rather than having to go out of your way to find them. By building a strong website and making sure it’s optimized for the search engines, you’ll build a more successful real estate business that makes more with less work.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Facebook Ad Trends: What Marketers Need to Know

Social Media Examiner -

Are you keeping up with changing Facebook ad trends? Wondering which Facebook ad placements you should focus on? To explore what marketers need to know about the latest Facebook ads trends, I interview Rick Mulready on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Rick, a Facebook ads expert, is the host of The Art of Online Business […] The post Facebook Ad Trends: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

10 Productivity Tips to Get Yourself Organized

The Domain.com Blog -

Did this year get away from you a bit? It’s ok, we’ve all been there. Now that we’re staring the new year in the face, it’s time to sit down and think about how you can be more productive in accomplishing your goals. There are only so many hours in a day, and as a small business owner or entrepreneur, we’re sure you can use every single one of them if not a few more. Let’s look at some popular productivity tips, tricks, and hacks so you can make the most of the upcoming year. Productivity tips for the New Year  Productivity is all about increasing your efficiency in getting things done. How many times have you hastily-scribbled a To-Do List on the back of an old receipt only to find that most of those tasks never get done? There could be a few issues at hand. Are you trying to tackle too much stuff in a day? A week? A month? Before reviewing popular productivity tips and tricks, make sure that you consider the time and resources you have available and how those could affect your plans. Even the most well-laid plans go awry when there isn’t the time or resources to see them through to fruition. Keep in mind that the productivity hack that works best for someone else might not be the best one for you. Maintain an open mind and understand that you may need to try a few tactics before you find what works for you. 10 productivity tips, tricks, and hacks you need to try. 1- Write it down. You’ve heard this before, we know. But if it hasn’t worked for you yet, consider this: You’re probably doing it wrong. The concept of the To-Do List is simple. Think of the tasks you need to accomplish, write them down, and cross them off when done. But that didn’t help when you scrawled your list across the back of scraps of paper, did it? When creating your To-Do List make sure you’re defining the tasks that need to get done with S.M.A.R.T. goals. These goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. By giving yourself S.M.A.R.T. goals and writing out exactly what you hope to accomplish and by when, you’re setting yourself up for success. They also help relieve some of the stress and anxiety you might feel when faced with a large task by breaking it into manageable chunks. The act of handwriting your list instead of typing it out will help you remember what needs to be done. The reason you can more easily remember something you’ve written is because of something called the “Generation Effect.” Thinking through what needs to be done and then generating a list based on those things helps to encode the information in your brain. “Encoding is the biological process by which the things we perceive travel to our brain’s hippocampus where they’re analyzed.” And that helps us humans remember our responsibilities. So write down what needs to get done, or risk forgetting your important tasks and brightest ideas. 2- Eat Your Frogs. Start the list (and your day) with your largest, most cumbersome tasks. If you put off the large tasks until the end of the day, odds are good you won’t get around to accomplishing them. Humans have a tendency to procrastinate, so get to the big tasks first instead of putting them off. Brian Tracy, an accomplished professional speaker, touches on this in his book, “Eat That Frog!” The title stems from a Mark Twain quote, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” What he’s really telling us is that if you get your biggest, most uncomfortable tasks done first then you can have the satisfaction of knowing they’re done the rest of the day. 3- Batch and break. Working non-stop for hours on end day in and day out is a great recipe for burnout. “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” So what can you do to avoid burnout and maintain your productivity levels? Batch and break. Group your routine tasks together and knock them off your To-Do List one after another. These could be tasks like checking and responding to emails or returning customer phone calls. Don’t waste time you don’t have by spreading these tasks throughout the day. Lump them together and get them done at once so you can move on to your other responsibilities that require more focus and thought. After you’ve finished a batch of tasks, take a break. By giving your brain and body a brief respite, you’re mentally preparing yourself to tackle the next thing on your list and you’re reducing your chances of getting burnt out. 4- There’s an app for that. Need to increase your productivity but can’t stay away from your cell phone? It’s ok, we understand the pull of technology. If you must keep your phone by you as you tackle your To-Do List, try putting it to work in your favor. Many apps exist for the sole purpose of helping to increase your productivity levels. They range from digital list makers to project management tools to social media publishing tools. Need some help staying focused while working on your tasks? Try an app based on the Pomodoro Technique. “The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method … [that] uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.” Some of these apps are complex and offer additional features, or you can use something like the Bear Focus Timer, a simple app to help you concentrate and stay focused. 5- Join the cloud. Is it distracting when you have to bounce from one program or software to another? Check your email here, write documents and blog posts there, and track inventory somewhere else entirely. While they’re not technically apps, G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 offer cloud-based solutions to help you stay on track. From a professional email address that matches your domain name to online meeting solutions, you can find what you need to take your productivity to the next level. 6- Turn off notifications. You might think that a minute here and a minute there don’t amount to much, but they really do add up. If you must have your phone accessible while you work then turn off all non-essential notifications. By turning off the notifications, you’ll remove the temptation to check them every time you see one. 7- The Eisenhower Method How do you decide what tasks are more important or urgent than others? If you’re struggling to determine what needs to be prioritized, try using the Eisenhower Method, designed by former U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower. “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower An example of how to identify your important and urgent tasks based on the Eisenhower method. 8- Learn to say “No.” “No” is a powerful word. You may not be comfortable saying no to tasks and requests, but you’ll never get it all done if you say yes to everything. Say no to distractions. Say no to non-urgent and unimportant requests. Say no to unnecessary meetings. Say no to preserve your sanity and leave time for your most important tasks and responsibilities. 9- Stop multitasking. Do you think you’re good at multitasking? Research says probably not. When you think you’re “multitasking” you’re likely just switching between tasks quickly, like checking your email and attending to a webinar. Odds are good that when you’re focused on one you aren’t truly attending to the other. David Strayer, PhD, is a professor of Cognition and Neural Science at the University of Utah; his research indicates that only 2% of the world’s population can truly multitask. These folks are called “supertaskers” and “the supertaskers are true outliers.“ 10- Fuel up appropriately. Everyone knows that sugar will give you a rush. That rush feels good as it happens, but everyone also knows that what follows is a crash. Instead of relying on sugary food and drink to give you quick but ineffective bursts of energy, try eating a balanced, healthy diet. Instead of energy drinks and candy, try a healthy meal. The Harvard Business Review writes that “Not all foods are processed by our bodies at the same rate. Some foods, like pasta, bread, cereal and soda, release their glucose quickly, leading to a burst of energy followed by a slump. Others, like high fat meals (think cheeseburgers and BLTs) provide more sustained energy, but require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making us groggy.” Get productive and stay productive in the new year.  We have faith that you’re going to accomplish what it is you set out to accomplish this year. Whether you’re starting your online presence by getting a domain name and website, to taking your business to the next level, all your goals will be easier to achieve when you’re productive. Remember, write down what you need to get done and don’t be vague about it. Batch similar tasks and take breaks after they’re complete or at regular intervals. And instead of letting technology distract you from your tasks, use it to your advantage. What other productivity tips and tricks do you rely on? Share them with us in the comments! The post 10 Productivity Tips to Get Yourself Organized appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Check out The Amazon Builders’ Library – This is How We Do It!

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Amazon customers often tell us that they want to know more about how we build and run our business. On the retail side, they tour Amazon Fulfillment Centers and see how we we organize our warehouses. Corporate customers often ask about our Leadership Principles, and sometimes adopt (and then adapt) them for their own use. I regularly speak with customers in our Executive Briefing Center (EBC), and talk to them about working backwards, PRFAQs, narratives, bar-raising, accepting failure as part of long-term success, and our culture of innovation. The same curiosity that surrounds our business surrounds our development culture. We are often asked how we design, build, measure, run, and scale the hardware and software systems that underlie Amazon.com, AWS, and our other businesses. New Builders’ Library Today I am happy to announce The Amazon Builders’ Library. We are launching with a collection of detailed articles that will tell you exactly how we build and run our systems, each one written by the senior technical leaders who have deep expertise in that part of our business. This library is designed to give you direct access to the theory and the practices that underlie our work. Students, developers, dev managers, architects, and CTOs will all find this content to be helpful. This is the content that is “not sold in stores” and not taught in school! The library is organized by category: Architecture – The design decisions that we make when designing a cloud service that help us to optimize for security, durability, high availability, and performance. Software Delivery & Operations – The process of releasing new software to the cloud and maintaining health & high availability thereafter. Inside the Library I took a quick look at two of the articles while writing this post, and learned a lot! Avoiding insurmountable queue backlogs – Principal Engineer David Yanacek explores the ins and outs of message queues, exploring the benefits and the risks, including many of the failure modes that can arise. He talks about how queues are used to power AWS Lambda and AWS IoT Core, and describes the sophisticated strategies that are used to maintain responsive and to implement (in his words) “magical resource isolation.” David shares multiple patterns that are used to create asynchronous multitenant systems that are resilient, including use of multiple queues, shuffle sharding, delay queues, back-pressure, and more. Challenges with distributed systems – Senior Principal Engineer Jacob Gabrielson discusses they many ways that distributed systems can fail. After defining three distinct types (offline, soft real-time, and hard real-time) of systems, he uses an analogy with Bizarro to explain why hard real-time systems are (again, in his words) “frankly, a bit on the evil side.” Building on an example based on Pac-Man, he adds some request/reply communication and enumerates all of the ways that it can succeed or fail. He discussed fate sharing and how it can be used to reduce the number of test cases, and also talks about many of the other difficulties that come with testing distributed systems. These are just two of the articles; be sure to check out the entire collection. More to Come We’ve got a lot more content in the pipeline, and we are also interested in your stories. Please feel free to leave feedback on this post, and we’ll be in touch. — Jeff;  

Five Tips To Build A Sustainable WordPress Agency

Nexcess Blog -

Success and income posturing are a constant throughout social media. Across the Internet, freelancers and agency owners tout their high-dollar contracts and big money months. The hustle, grind, and slay lifestyle is glorified through staged luxury lifestyle photos. But eventually, these same people making a big splash, and even bigger claims, slowly fade away or disappear. Their tactics, while initially impressive, aren’t sustainable. To build a sustainable WordPress agency, you need to dispense with the gimmicks and posturing and take aim at developing a strategy that maintains your agency’s momentum. Success isn’t built overnight, but it’s also not an impossible climb when you know what to pay attention to.  By realigning your agency processes, you’ll be able to build on your core objectives to turn your WordPress agency into a business that is both sustainable, profitable, and that drives growth. Constant And Consistent Marketing When you become a business owner, you also become a marketer whether you like it or not.  For a services business to thrive, it needs a pipeline full of qualified clients. That means you need to be investing in lead generation and marketing efforts — and it can’t be sporadic. Marketing efforts can – and should – begin as soon as your business and its brand have been established. The right marketing techniques place you front-of-mind and help to bring you long term business. Consider this: The best time to market your WordPress services is when you’re booked solid because those efforts create leads that will become future clients. This is the key to ending the feast or famine roller coaster. Clients decide to hire you when they are ready, not when you’re ready. You need constant and consistent marketing to stay top of mind. Dependable Baseline Income Earning a dependable base income every month eliminates the tremendous stress that comes from living project to project.  A stable base income also provides more flexibility and opportunity in future projects, growth planning, and hiring. It is critical for your budding agency to not only offer single website builds and one-off projects, but services that provide reliable recurring revenue.  Consider offering monthly website support, ongoing retainers, and other long-term services. WordPress is used by 35% of global websites. These site owners know the value of upkeep and you’re in the perfect position to deliver on that.  Consider this: To get started, set a goal to earn enough recurring revenue to cover 50% of all business expenses. When achieved, extend your goal to cover 100% of all business expenses. If you’re building an agency, aim to secure enough recurring revenue to cover all of your team salaries. Documented Systems And Processes Systems and processes are the keys to sustainable business growth.  When you’re freelancing and working solo, it’s okay to have all of your business systems and processes in your head. If you want to grow an agency, however, you need to document each and every system and process step-by-step.  Process documentation can start with just a simple spreadsheet. As your agency grows and your client base expands, you can start to build this out, covering each area of your business in more detail.  As you build out your processes, keep future goals top of mind. What are your plans for 6 months from now? What does your forecast look like in 12 months? Having insight into how your processes may have to change in the future is key to being able to provide clients with the right expectations. Consider this: Process documentation creates clear instructions that enable delegation and set new employees up for success. Without it, you become a bottleneck that prevents forward progress. Documenting systems allows you to leverage software automation for repetitive tasks to save time, reduce resources, and increase profits. Crystal Clear Communication Ambiguity leads to confusion and uncertainty, which in turn, leads to doubt and procrastination, which in turn leads to inaction and delays.  When it comes to communication, there can’t be too much and you can never be too clear. Whether you’re guiding your internal team, working with paying clients, or engaged in sales conversations with prospects, clear communication is critical to your success. Consider this: No matter what you’re doing, all stakeholders need to be on the same page, understand the goals, and know the expectations—and they must be aware of their role, what needs to be done, and when it must be done by. When providing instructions of any kind, provide them in writing, review them verbally, and ask them to be repeated back to you so there is zero confusion. Strong Administrative Practices You’re great at what you do—you wouldn’t have started a business if you weren’t—but as a business owner, you now also have to be great at managing your business. Without a foundational understanding of critical business concepts and the tactical ability to execute on them, your business will suffer and you will struggle to stay afloat. As the owner, you need to learn about bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes, estimating and invoicing, project management, client management, marketing, and sales.  Consider this: Business owners must create responsible, consistent administrative habits. Without them, it becomes easy to ignore the “paperwork” side of the business when swamped with client work. The problem with this, however, is that the unsexy administrative side of the business is what makes sure you get paid. Grow Your Agency With Managed WordPress Focusing on the development of your agency is a time-intensive task. Besides the everyday hustle and bustle of client requests, you’re also dealing with the continued management of existing projects. Very quickly, this can cause growth goals to fall to the wayside as maintenance tasks take over.  By following the five tips above, you’ll be able to better align your business practices with those growth goals and strategies. Instead of finding yourself on the receiving end of an impossible workflow or uncertain project, you’ll be able to proceed quickly and efficiently; optimizing both you and your client’s time.  At Nexcess, we’ve created a solution designed to help you build a sustainable WordPress agency without worrying about the basics. Managed WordPress solutions from Nexcess take care of the infrastructure, plugin updates, image compression, and more, leaving you with the time you need to develop a winning business strategy and focus on finding new clients. Get started with Managed WordPress today.  The post Five Tips To Build A Sustainable WordPress Agency appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

Personalisation in a WordPress World

WP Engine -

Personalisation has jumped out as a major buzzword in recent years. One of the biggest reasons for this rise in popularity is the sheer demand consumers now have for personalised digital experiences.  According to Epsilon Marketing, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalised experiences. Furthermore, in a… The post Personalisation in a WordPress World appeared first on WP Engine.

What Is My Domain Worth?

HostGator Blog -

The post What Is My Domain Worth? appeared first on HostGator Blog. A lot of us wish we could travel back in time and buy up domain names like apple.com, hotels.com, google.com, bank.com, and more.  But, even without access to a time machine, there are still ways to make money by selling domain names. Even though 99% of short and valuable domains are already taken, there are still a ton of valuable domain names out there.  Maybe years ago you decided to purchase a random domain name on a whim, only to find out years later that your domain, was worth thousands of dollars. This scenario is more common than you might think.  It’s easy to purchase all kinds of domain names, hoping that one day, a brand new startup wants to buy your domain. But, spending hundreds of dollars on random domains and sitting with your fingers crossed isn’t the best or most lucrative approach, but rather find out what goes into a domain appraisal and how to actually make domain flipping profitable.  A better approach is to learn about the factors that make a domain valuable and purchase domain names that have a decent chance of turning a profit down the line. In this post, you’ll learn the ins and outs of what makes a domain valuable and how to properly appraise a domain so you can answer the question, “What is my domain worth?” with a high level of confidence. Understanding Domain Name Valuation Domain valuation is the process of determining the value of a given domain. It’s a similar process to when companies are valued, but much less intensive.  Before we jump into how to do a domain appraisal, let’s have a quick overview of how domain names work. If you already have the basics down, such as how to register a domain, feel free to skip to the next section. If you’re just getting started building websites online, this section is for you. Domain names are synonymous with URLs (although they aren’t exactly the same thing), but essentially it’s what a user types into their browser address bar on their search engine to access your site — things like HostGator.com, Facebook.com, Google.com, etc. There are two primary parts that make up a domain, the second level domain and the top level domain. These two factors will also contribute to a domain valuation,, but more on this below. Here’s how top-level and second-level domains work together: Top-level domain. Even though it’s called top-level, this portion of the domain name is what comes at the end. It can also be referred to as a domain name extension. This is the .com, .org, .net portion of a domain name. Second-level domain. This portion of the domain name is the central portion of a domain and often refers to the name of the website, in “hostgator.com,” “hostgator” is the second-level domain and also the name of the company.  If you want to actually sell a domain you’ll need to own one first. To do this you’ll need to head over to a domain name registrar and buy a domain. Usually, you’ll have to renew your ownership of a domain on a yearly basis, but you can also buy a domain for multiple years as well. Whether you’re purchasing a domain name for a new project, or simply to hold onto and sell one day, the process remains the same.  Here’s how you do it: 1. Go to a Domain Name Registrar There are dozens of different domain name registrars out there, including one right here at HostGator, which we will be using for our example. First, head over to HostGator.com, and input the domain name you’d like to register.  2. Search for Your Domain Name The domain registration tool will then search through every single registered domain name to see if it’s available. Unless you spent some serious time researching your domain name, there’s a good chance it’ll already be taken. However, you can input different combinations of words and try different top-level domains until you find an available domain.  3. Choose Your Terms and Register Once you’ve found a domain name that you like and that’s available, all you have to do is choose your purchase terms and register the domain. If you’re planning on holding onto the domain for a while it can be helpful to register the domain for multiple years at once, so you don’t accidentally let the domain lapse.  Once you’ve registered a domain, you can either: Leave it alone, if you’re planning on selling it one day, or reserving it for a future website project of your ownForward it to your host by changing the nameservers. (If you registered your domain name at the same time you purchased your hosting, you won’t need to take any additional steps here.) What Factors Make a Domain Name Valuable? Knowing whether you have a valuable domain on your hands doesn’t require a ton of work, but it does require that you understand the factors that lead to a domain being valuable.  Often, the value that a domain holds will be determined by how desirable the domain name is. The list of factors below can help to illuminate whether or not your domain is valuable, but it’s not a science or always right. There’s always the chance that your strange and unique domain could align with a phrase from another country, or be the ideal name for a new startup.  Overall, the conditions below will be a good indicator of how valuable a domain actually is.  1. The Associated Top-Level Domain Having a domain name with a trustworthy top-level domain (TLD) will go a long way towards making a domain name desirable. For example, the domain “getmail.com” will have much more value than the domain “getmail.xyz.” Typically, more standard and popular TLDs will always be a better bet. Some of the most popular TLDs include .com, .org, .net, and .co. However, other combinations could hold value, providing they make sense. For instance, the domain “get.mail” could be valuable to some businesses. 2. Any Keywords Present If your domain name has a popular keyword in it, this could also help to improve its value. For example, “bookflights.com” would be a valuable domain for the travel industry. Exact match domain names don’t hold as much value as they used to, but having the right keywords in a domain can increase how desirable your domain name is.   3. The Length of the Domain Generally, the shorter a domain name, the more valuable it will be. Now, this won’t always be true. For example, the domain “r4dxf3.com” won’t be very valuable. But, taken as a whole, domains with few words or short phrases will hold more value. Shorter domains are much easier to remember and more straightforward to market overall. You can easily build a business around a shorter domain, while it may be more difficult with a longer domain.  4. The Overall Brandability of the Domain The brandability of a domain can be hard to define. But, it’s still a significant factor when people are choosing a domain name. Essentially, good brand names are memorable, unique, and catchy. Think of brands and domains like instagram.com, twitter.com, grammarly.com. 5. Existing Site and Traffic If you’re selling a domain name and the site is already getting traffic, or has an existing backlink profile, then you can typically get much more for the domain. An interested buyer could be purchasing the domain for the name and the SEO power alone. They could be interested in taking over your website. Or, they could be using it for the sheer SEO power alone and forwarding your domain to their existing site.  Older domains also tend to be more valuable than a brand new domain. So, if you have an old domain, even if you haven’t done anything with the domain, it can still be more valuable than a domain you registered a few months ago.  How to Determine What Your Domain is Worth If your domain currently satisfies a bunch of the requirements in the above section, then you might have a valuable domain on your hands.  Below we’ll walk you through some practical steps on how you can determine the value of your domain name. 1. Get a Valuation of Similar Domains A good place to start with domain name valuation is getting an idea of the current landscape of domain name sales.  There are a few different sites you can look through which will give you a general idea of what kind of domains have currently sold, and for how much. Some popular sites include ShortNames, Domain Name Wire, and Sedo. Here’s a quick look at some of the recent domains that have sold from the Domain Name Wire archives: This will give you a general understanding of the types of domains that are sold, the domains that bring in the most money, and more valuable information that you can compare to your current domain to see how you stack up.  2. Use a Domain Estimation Tool  There are a variety of estimation tools out there that’ll give you an accurate idea of what your domain is worth. These tools do a lot of the difficult estimation work for you. In general, what they do is compare your domain to similar domains and estimate the value based upon what other domains have sold for.  The most widely used domain name estimator is EstiBot. Just enter your domain name into the tool and you’ll get an accurate report of how much your domain name is worth.  Beyond the general valuation, these reports will give you all kinds of valuable data like the value of other related domains that just sold, along with search volume, keywords, and more.  3. Consider Selling Your Domain You can get a lot of useful information from the tools above. But, if you want some practical information on how much your domain is worth, then consider listing your domain for sale. Even if you aren’t ready to sell your domain, you can create a high enough reserve price, where if someone does buy it you’ll be happy.  For example, you can create a domain listing on Flippa. Enter all the relevant details about your domain, and set a high reserve price. The higher the reserve price, the less likely people will buy your domain.  Your goal here is to get actual bids from real people to see what they’ll pay for it. Who knows, someone might even purchase your domain for the super high reserve price! How Much Is Your Domain Worth? Hopefully, you have a better idea of the different factors that make a domain name valuable, along with how you can determine the value of your own domain. By using the tips and tools highlighted in this post, you should be able to pretty accurately determine how much you can sell your domain for.  You can also use the guidelines above to help you when you’re considering purchasing new domains. As a business buying and selling domains can be tough, but buying domains for your personal projects that check the boxes above can help to improve the sale price down the road. Here’s a quick recap of the biggest factors that influence domain name price: The popularity of the top-level domain you useThe keywords present in the domain nameThe brandability of the domain name (i.e. does it make sense as a company name?)The length of the domain name (shorter is better, commonly-used phrases or words are even better)If there’s any existing traffic or backlinks to the domain name Knowing what your domain name is worth can help you decide whether it’s time to sell your domain for a quick influx of cash, or purchase a brand new domain you just came across. Remember, if you want to quickly and easily register a new domain name, you can do so right here at HostGator.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

AWS Launches & Previews at re:Invent 2019 – Wednesday, December 4th

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Here’s what we announced today: Amplify DataStore – This is a persistent, on-device storage repository that will help you to synchronize data across devices and to handle offline operations. It can be used as a standalone local datastore for web and mobile applications that have no connection to the cloud or an AWS account. When used with a cloud backend, it transparently synchronizes data with AWS AppSync. Amplify iOS and Amplify Android – These open source libraries enable you can build scalable and secure mobile applications. You can easily add analytics, AI/ML, API (GraphQL and REST), datastore, and storage functionality to your mobile and web applications. The use case-centric libraries provide a declarative interface that enables you to programmatically apply best practices with abstractions. The libraries, along with the Amplify CLI, a toolchain to create, integrate, and manage the cloud services used by your applications, are part of the Amplify Framework. Amazon Neptune Workbench – You can now query your graphs from within the Neptune Console using either Gremlin or SPARQL queries. You get a fully managed, interactive development environment that supports live code and narrative text within Jupyter notebooks. In addition to queries, the notebooks support bulk loading, query planning, and query profiling. To get started, visit the Neptune Console. Amazon Chime Meetings App for Slack – This new app allows Slack users to start and join Amazon Chime online meetings from their Slack workspace channels and conversations. Slack users that are new to Amazon Chime will be auto-registered with Chime when they use the app for the first time, and can get access to all of the benefits of Amazon Chime meetings from their Slack workspace. Administrators of Slack workspaces can install the Amazon Chime Meetings App for Slack from the Slack App Directory. To learn more, visit this blog post. HTTP APIs for Amazon API Gateway in Preview – This is a new API Gateway feature that will let you build cost-effective, high-performance RESTful APIs for serverless workloads using Lambda functions and other services with an HTTP endpoint. HTTP APIs are optimized for performance—they offer the core functionality of API Gateway at a cost savings of up to 70% compared to REST APIs in API Gateway. You will be able to create routes that map to multiple disparate backends, define & apply authentication and authorization to routes, set up rate limiting, and use custom domains to route requests to the APIs. Visit this blog post to get started. Windows gMSA Support in ECS – Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) now supports Windows group Managed Service Account (gMSA), a new capability that allows you to authenticate and authorize your ECS-powered Windows containers with network resources using an Active Directory (AD). You can now easily use Integrated Windows Authentication with your Windows containers on ECS to secure services. — Jeff;  

Amplify DataStore – Simplify Development of Offline Apps with GraphQL

Amazon Web Services Blog -

The open source Amplify Framework is a command line tool and a library allowing web & mobile developers to easily provision and access cloud based services. For example, if I want to create a GraphQL API for my mobile application, I use amplify add api on my development machine to configure the backend API. After answering a few questions, I type amplify push to create an AWS AppSync API backend in the cloud. Amplify generates code allowing my app to easily access the newly created API. Amplify supports popular web frameworks, such as Angular, React, and Vue. It also supports mobile applications developed with React Native, Swift for iOS, or Java for Android. If you want to learn more about how to use Amplify for your mobile applications, feel free to attend one the workshops (iOS or React Native) we prepared for the re:Invent 2019 conference. AWS customers told us the most difficult tasks when developing web & mobile applications is to synchronize data across devices and to handle offline operations. Ideally, when a device is offline, your customers should be able to continue to use your application, not only to access data but also to create and modify them. When the device comes back online, the application must reconnect to the backend, synchronize the data and resolve conflicts, if any. It requires a lot of undifferentiated code to correctly handle all edge cases, even when using AWS AppSync SDK’s on-device cache with offline mutations and delta sync. Today, we are introducing Amplify DataStore, a persistent on-device storage repository for developers to write, read, and observe changes to data. Amplify DataStore allows developers to write apps leveraging distributed data without writing additional code for offline or online scenario. Amplify DataStore can be used as a stand-alone local datastore in web and mobile applications, with no connection to the cloud, or the need to have an AWS Account. However, when used with a cloud backend, Amplify DataStore transparently synchronizes data with an AWS AppSync API when network connectivity is available. Amplify DataStore automatically versions data, implements conflict detection and resolution in the cloud using AppSync. The toolchain also generates object definitions for my programming language based on the GraphQL schema developers provide. Let’s see how it works. I first install the Amplify CLI and create a React App. This is standard React, you can find the script on my git repo. I add Amplify DataStore to the app with npx amplify-app. npx is specific for NodeJS, Amplify DataStore also integrates with native mobile toolchains, such as the Gradle plugin for Android Studio and CocoaPods that creates custom XCode build phases for iOS. Now that the scaffolding of my app is done, I add a GraphQL schema representing two entities: Posts and Comments on these posts. I install the dependencies and use AWS Amplify CLI to generate the source code for the objects defined in the GraphQL schema. # add a graphql schema to amplify/backend/api/amplifyDatasource/schema.graphql echo "enum PostStatus { ACTIVE INACTIVE } type Post @model { id: ID! title: String! comments: [Comment] @connection(name: "PostComments") rating: Int! status: PostStatus! } type Comment @model { id: ID! content: String post: Post @connection(name: "PostComments") }" > amplify/backend/api/amplifyDatasource/schema.graphql # install dependencies npm i @aws-amplify/core @aws-amplify/DataStore @aws-amplify/pubsub # generate the source code representing the model npm run amplify-modelgen # create the API in the cloud npm run amplify-push @model and @connection are directives that the Amplify GraphQL Transformer uses to generate code. Objects annotated with @model are top level objects in your API, they are stored in DynamoDB, you can make them searchable, version them or restrict their access to authorised users only. @connection allows to express 1-n relationships between objects, similarly to what you would define when using a relational database (you can use the @key directive to model n-n relationships). The last step is to create the React app itself. I propose to download a very simple sample app to get started quickly: # download a simple react app curl -o src/App.js https://raw.githubusercontent.com/sebsto/amplify-datastore-js-e2e/master/src/App.js # start the app npm run start I connect my browser to the app http://localhost:8080and start to test the app. The demo app provides a basic UI (as you can guess, I am not a graphic designer !) to create, query, and to delete items. Amplify DataStore provides developers with an easy to use API to store, query and delete data. Read and write are propagated in the background to your AppSync endpoint in the cloud. Amplify DataStore uses a local data store via a storage adapter, we ship IndexedDB for web and SQLite for mobile. Amplify DataStore is open source, you can add support for other database, if needed. From a code perspective, interacting with data is as easy as invoking the save(), delete(), or query() operations on the DataStore object (this is a Javascript example, you would write similar code for Swift or Java). Notice that the query() operation accepts filters based on Predicates expressions, such as item.rating("gt", 4) or Predicates.All. function onCreate() { DataStore.save( new Post({ title: `New title ${Date.now()}`, rating: 1, status: PostStatus.ACTIVE }) ); } function onDeleteAll() { DataStore.delete(Post, Predicates.ALL); } async function onQuery(setPosts) { const posts = await DataStore.query(Post, c => c.rating("gt", 4)); setPosts(posts) } async function listPosts(setPosts) { const posts = await DataStore.query(Post, Predicates.ALL); setPosts(posts); } I connect to Amazon DynamoDB console and observe the items are stored in my backend: There is nothing to change in my code to support offline mode. To simulate offline mode, I turn off my wifi. I add two items in the app and turn on the wifi again. The app continues to operate as usual while offline. The only noticeable change is the _version field is not updated while offline, as it is populated by the backend. When the network is back, Amplify DataStore transparently synchronizes with the backend. I verify there are 5 items now in DynamoDB (the table name is different for each deployment, be sure to adjust the name for your table below): aws dynamodb scan --table-name Post-raherug3frfibkwsuzphkexewa-amplify \ --filter-expression "#deleted <> :value" \ --expression-attribute-names '{"#deleted" : "_deleted"}' \ --expression-attribute-values '{":value" : { "BOOL": true} }' \ --query "Count" 5 // <= there are now 5 non deleted items in the table ! Amplify DataStore leverages GraphQL subscriptions to keep track of changes that happen on the backend. Your customers can modify the data from another device and Amplify DataStore takes care of synchronizing the local data store transparently. No GraphQL knowledge is required, Amplify DataStore takes care of the low level GraphQL API calls for you automatically. Real-time data, connections, scalability, fan-out and broadcasting are all handled by the Amplify client and AppSync, using WebSocket protocol under the cover. We are effectively using GraphQL as a network protocol to dynamically transform model instances to GraphQL documents over HTTPS. To refresh the UI when a change happens on the backend, I add the following code in the useEffect() React hook. It uses the DataStore.observe() method to register a callback function ( msg => { ... } ). Amplify DataStore calls this function when an instance of Post changes on the backend. const subscription = DataStore.observe(Post).subscribe(msg => { console.log(msg.model, msg.opType, msg.element); listPosts(setPosts); }); Now, I open the AppSync console. I query existing Posts to retrieve a Post ID. query ListPost { listPosts(limit: 10) { items { id title status rating _version } } } I choose the first post in my app, the one starting with 7d8… and I send the following GraphQL mutation: mutation UpdatePost { updatePost(input: { id: "7d80688f-898d-4fb6-a632-8cbe060b9691" title: "updated title 13:56" status: ACTIVE rating: 7 _version: 1 }) { id title status rating _lastChangedAt _version _deleted } } Immediately, I see the app receiving the notification and refreshing its user interface. Finally, I test with multiple devices. I first create a hosting environment for my app using amplify add hosting and amplify publish. Once the app is published, I open the iOS Simulator and Chrome side by side. Both apps initially display the same list of items. I create new items in both apps and observe the apps refreshing their UI in near real time. At the end of my test, I delete all items. I verify there are no more items in DynamoDB (the table name is different for each deployment, be sure to adjust the name for your table below): aws dynamodb scan --table-name Post-raherug3frfibkwsuzphkexewa-amplify \ --filter-expression "#deleted <> :value" \ --expression-attribute-names '{"#deleted" : "_deleted"}' \ --expression-attribute-values '{":value" : { "BOOL": true} }' \ --query "Count" 0 // <= all the items have been deleted ! When syncing local data with the backend, AWS AppSync keeps track of version numbers to detect conflicts. When there is a conflict, the default resolution strategy is to automerge the changes on the backend. Automerge is an easy strategy to resolve conflit without writing client-side code. For example, let’s pretend I have an initial Post, and Bob & Alice update the post at the same time: The original item: { "_version": 1, "id": "25", "rating": 6, "status": "ACTIVE", "title": "DataStore is Available" } Alice updates the rating: { "_version": 2, "id": "25", "rating": 10, "status": "ACTIVE", "title": "DataStore is Available" } At the same time, Bob updates the title: { "_version": 2, "id": "25", "rating": 6, "status": "ACTIVE", "title": "DataStore is great !" } The final item after auto-merge is: { "_version": 3, "id": "25", "rating": 10, "status": "ACTIVE", "title": "DataStore is great !" } Automerge strictly defines merging rules at field level, based on type information defined in the GraphQL schema. For example List and Map are merged, and conflicting updates on scalars (such as numbers and strings) preserve the value existing on the server. Developers can chose other conflict resolution strategies: optimistic concurrency (conflicting updates are rejected) or custom (an AWS Lambda function is called to decide what version is the correct one). You can choose the conflit resolution strategy with amplify update api. You can read more about these different strategies in the AppSync documentation. The full source code for this demo is available on my git repository. The app has less than 100 lines of code, 20% being just UI related. Notice that I did not write a single line of GraphQL code, everything happens in the Amplify DataStore. Your Amplify DataStore cloud backend is available in all AWS Regions where AppSync is available, which, at the time I write this post are: US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Seoul), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (Ireland), and Europe (London). There is no additional charges to use Amplify DataStore in your application, you only pay for the backend resources you use, such as AppSync and DynamoDB (see here and here for the pricing detail). Both services have a free tier allowing you to discover and to experiment for free. Amplify DataStore allows you to focus on the business value of your apps, instead of writing undifferentiated code. I can’t wait to discover the great applications you’re going to build with it. -- seb

EasyApache 3 to EasyApache 4 Autoconversion

cPanel Blog -

As you may have noticed on the front page of our website, we’ve added a new section about the “Up Next” initiative, explaining upcoming changes to cPanel & WHM. A significant change coming in early 2020 is the EasyApache 3 to EasyApache 4 autoconversion. When we last made a change in the Up Next initiative, we upgraded users on out of date and unsupported cPanel & WHM version to Version 78. This upgrade did come …

The New Holiday Rules at Work

LinkedIn Official Blog -

The holiday season is in full swing, and the “most wonderful time of the year” is also known for being the busiest and most stressful. In fact, 88% of Americans* feel stressed during the holiday season due to balancing holiday commitments at both home and work.  So, here’s the good news: the world of work is changing, and the lines between our professional and personal lives are blurred as professionals today receive more work-life flexibility and balance than ever before. But how does this... .

How to Launch a Website for Your Etsy Shop

HostGator Blog -

The post How to Launch a Website for Your Etsy Shop appeared first on HostGator Blog. You’ve heard of Etsy. You know, it’s the place you go to when you need an adorable print of your favorite quote. It’s the hub for gorgeous, unique, hand-made jewelry of all sorts. It’s the perfect eCommerce website to find organic products, vintage items, and craft supplies. You may even already have an Etsy side hustle of your own, and know everything that is involved with selling your own hand-crafted items online. What you may not know about Etsy, however, are the exact numbers that prove just how successful Etsy is.  To fill you in, reports show that Etsy generated revenues worth 603.7 million U.S. dollars last year alone, according to Statista. Not to mention, in July 2019, the company had a market capitalization of 7.46 billion U.S. dollars, and Etsy is projected to grow its revenue at a 22 percent CAGR between 2019 and 2021. What this means in regular people speak is this: Etsy is the perfect place for crafty individuals to start a successful side hustle.  While using Etsy is an awesome way to list and sell your products online, it’s only half the battle of growing a successful online store side hustle. The other half lies in running, operating, and integrating your Etsy products into your own website. This article will cover why you need your own website along with your Etsy store, how to build your website, and how to integrate your Etsy store into your website. Why Every Etsy Shop Needs Its Own Website Etsy is an excellent eCommerce platform for listing and selling your products. However, that’s where Etsy starts and stops. If you are looking to grow your side hustle into a revenue making machine, then it’s necessary to have a website. Let’s look into some of the reasons how a website helps you grow your side hustle. 1. You can increase the sales of your products The first reason to start your own website is so you can take complete control of the sales of your products. To illustrate this point, let’s meet a successful side hustler, Rebekah Welch. Rebekah Welch is the owner and operator of Cherish Bath + Body. Welch describes what she does in her own words. She says, “I make bath products and skin care from scratch using natural, organic, plant based ingredients.”  While Welch started out selling products with only an Etsy store, she soon recognized that she lacked complete control of her sales. As a result, she used HostGator to build her own website, and boost her revenues. Welch says, “I just recently finished building my own website. Previously, I relied on Etsy for sales. Now, having my own site, I can sell my products on my own terms.” Now that Welch has complete control of her online sales, she has plans for future growth. About her future plans, she says, “I am going to grow my business into a full time income. I would like to set up a few wholesale accounts and see my products in boutiques as well as building a brick and mortar store.”  Key Takeaway: Building your own website will allow you to sell your products on your own terms. 2. You can gain complete control of your business Since Etsy is its own company with investors, pressures from stakeholders to grow rapidly, and a list of terms and conditions you agree to, Etsy often works on a different agenda as its sellers. For example, at any time Etsy can raise their transaction fees to boost profits, make design changes as desired, and change its search algorithm, which may result in dips in your Etsy store traffic. These potential changes can negatively impact the sales and overall success of your Etsy store, and there is nothing you can do about it. The best way to ensure your business isn’t subject to the “Big Wig Decision Makers” at Etsy is to create a website—a website you control fully. Key Takeaway: When your store only exists on Etsy, Etsy is the boss. When you build your own website and sell your products in your own online store, you’re the boss. 3. You can invest in robust online marketing Another benefit of having your own website is the ability to invest in online marketing, content marketing through your blog, and to grow at your own pace. When you have your own website, you have full control to optimize it for search, invest in paid advertising, and build a content marketing plan.  All of these endeavors will help you grow your fan base, boost your clientele, and make more sales. Key Takeaway: Operating your own website allows you to participate in online marketing to grow your traffic and boost sales. Grow Your Etsy Business by Building Your Own Website with HostGator One of the benefits of Etsy is how easy it is to get your store up and running. The good news is setting up your website with HostGator is also an intuitive process, especially if you’ve already set up an Etsy store. To set up your own website, you don’t need to know how to code, or be an expert on web design. You also don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to hire a professional to help you. All you need to do is follow six easy steps, and you can get your website up in less than a day. Here is a quick overview of each of the six steps. Step 1: Pick a hosting plan for your website. Every website needs hosting. Buying a hosting package essentially means you are renting space on a third-party company server to store your web files. HostGator is a web hosting company that offers three website builder plans you can choose from for your online store. You can pick your plan depending on your needs and how much functionality you need for your site. The Starter plan includes a free domain, 200+ templates that will work well for someone looking to promote a book, cloud hosting, a drag-and-drop editor, and website analytics.  The Premium plan includes everything the Start plan includes plus access to priority support when you need it. Since you are running an online store and will be selling products, the best package for you is the eCommerce plan. This package includes everything the Premium plan provides plus full eCommerce functionality. In other words, you can sell your products online with this plan. Once you’ve picked the eCommerce plan for your online store, click “buy now” and you can set up your account. Step 2: Pick a domain name for your website. Every Gator Website Builder package includes a free domain. This means you don’t have to purchase a domain from a separate domain hosting company. To pick your domain, simply type something in the “get domain” box.  Since you already have an Etsy shop, the best thing to do would be to choose the name of your Etsy store as your domain. For example, Rebekah Welch picked cherishbathandbody.com, the same name of her Etsy shop. If you are just getting started and don’t have an Etsy store yet or a domain name, here is a helpful article on how to choose the perfect domain name. If you already have a domain name you’ve been saving for when you launch your own website, then you can connect it to your HostGator account by clicking “connect it here.”  Step 3: Create your account. Once you have a domain name, it’s easy to connect your HostGator account. All you need is a Facebook account or an email address to connect. Then, enter your payment information for the package you selected, and you’ll be ready to pick a template for your website. Step 4: Pick a template for your eCommerce website. As mentioned above, you don’t have to build your website on your own. The Gator Website Builder comes with templates, and all you have to do is pick the one that matches the style of your Etsy store. Once you create your account, HostGator will direct you to the “choose a template” page.  You can scroll through more than 200 professionally-designed templates, and select the template that you love. The next step is to customize it as you please with the drag and drop builder. Step 5: Add content to your online store. After you have selected a template, it’s time to start customizing your website with content. Click “start editing.” This step will send you to your dashboard where you can add, edit, and delete pages like your homepage, about page, online store, product pages, blog, and any other page you want to include. With the drag and drop builder, you can make your website look how you want it to look by pointing, clicking, dragging, and dropping the elements you want to include. It’s an intuitive process, but if you have any questions, HostGator provides a free and easy step-by-step guide for reference that you can access at any time.  To access this helpful guide, click the “menu” icon next to the Gator by HostGator logo and select the “getting started tour.”   Additionally, since you signed up for the eCommerce plan, you have access to priority support whenever you have questions. Step 6: Review your content and launch your website. The last step is to review your website, make any desired changes, and publish your website. By clicking “preview,” you can see your website in full. If everything looks perfect, then click the “finish preview” button at the top and then “publish website” at the top of the dashboard. Gator Website Builder will present a series of quick steps to help you go live. How to Integrate Your Etsy Shop into Your Website Do you already have your own website? Then, you’ve already done the hard part! All that’s left is for you to integrate your Etsy shop into your website.  Etsy used to offer a service called Etsy Mini where you could copy and paste a unique code into your website, and the code would pull your products into your website. Unfortunately, Etsy no longer offers this service, and without some deep digging and intense work arounds, it’s difficult to integrate products with an Etsy code. However, even if Etsy Mini is no longer an option, you’re not out of luck. You can still add your Etsy store into your WordPress account. Here’s how. 1. Add the Etsy plugin The first step to getting integrating your Etsy store into WordPress is to install and activate the Etsy plugin Upon activation, remember to go to Settings and then the Etsy Shop page and enter your Etsy API key to connect your shop. 2. Copy your API key Once you have connected your shop, you will see your Etsy API key. Copy this key for the next step. 3. Paste your API key Next, return to your WordPress admin area and paste the Etsy API key, and save changes.  4. Create a page or edit an existing page Once you have saved your changes, you’re ready to sell products from your Etsy shop on your WordPress site. You’ll just need to create a new page in WordPress or edit an existing page, and add your shortcode.  And, that’s it! It’s worth mentioning that since Etsy is its own eCommerce platform, and won’t have the same functionality as WooCommerce. As your side hustle begins getting traction, and when you are ready to grow your side hustle into a full-fledged business, you may want to consider ditching your Etsy shop entirely and building out your own eCommerce platform on your website. Grow Your Etsy Shop with Your Own Website If you have an Etsy side hustle and are looking to gain more control, make more sales, and market your products online with more freedom, now is the time to set up your own website. For more information on how to get started with building your own website, visit HostGator and check out the Gator Website Builder. With the help of the Gator Website Builder, you can get your own website up and running in less than a day. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

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