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    Business owners have a lot on their plate. You have to run your business, engage with your customer, take care of your employees and establish your brand on social media to have a successful marketing strategy. Luckily, we have the tips you need to establish your brand on social media. We’ll help you check that essential component of your marketing strategy off your list to attract new customers and engage your biggest fans. 

    Establish your brand on social media

    In order to create your unique brand presence on social media, you’ll need to follow these steps.

    • Find your voice
    • Lock in your logo and brand colors
    • Optimize your social media profiles
    • Collect photography inspiration
    • Craft social media content examples
    • Create on-brand captions
    • Start posting!
    • Monitor engagement
    coffee-phone
    Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

    Find your voice

    To begin to establish your brand on social media, you need to start with establishing your brand’s personality and voice. 

    When it comes to your brand’s unique voice and personality, being consistent with who you are is how you will gain and retain followers. But, before you can be consistently you, you’ll need to establish you who are as a brand.

    Start with 4 or 5 adjectives that represent your business. You’ll be using these descriptors to inform your social media content. When coming up with your list, make sure the words you choose are in line with how you want to present yourself and how you want to interact with your audience. 

    Ask yourself these questions: 

    • How would you describe your business to a friend, in a few words? 
    • How would others describe your business?
    • What is the vibe like at your business? 
    • How do you want your customers to see and describe you?

    Let’s say you run a coffee shop outside the city that specializes in serving delicious coffee and is passionate about selling beans from around the world in a comfortable, laidback environment. You choose the following adjectives to describe your business: 

    • Cozy
    • Warm-hearted
    • Inviting
    • Knowledgeable
    • Neighborhood-centric 
    • Passionate

    Next, use these adjectives to come up with a voice brief. This is what you can use to fill out all of the bios and “about” sections across social media platforms. Using the adjectives for this fictional coffee shop, a voice brief might look something like this:

    “We know you’ll find yourself right at home here at Coffee Shop. With many varieties of coffees, including many that are locally-grown and delicious, homemade treats, we’ll be the ones that get your day started right. We want to welcome all of our neighbors to our warm and inviting space built for everyone in the community to come together and enjoy.”

    If you’re not sure if the voice you’ve established jives well with what your business is all about, get your colleagues, neighbors, kids and friends involved! Ask them what they think. They’re members of the community you serve, and they’ll know better than anyone if the brand voice you want to establish makes sense for your business. 

    Lock in your logo and brand colors

    When you’re thinking about your brand, you should also be thinking about how you want it to look when customers visit your social media pages. 

    What are the colors that most represent your business? Sticking with the coffee shop example, their cozy, warm, neighborly brand might choose more muted tones like light blues, beiges and light greens. If you run a Mexican cantina, your colors might be more bright and vibrant. 

    Now, think about your logo — are the adjectives and colors you see as *you* represented in your current logo? If not, it might be time for a change.

    If you don’t currently have a logo, you can make your own with our DIY guide.

    Editor’s note: GoDaddy Social offers specialized branding and social media services. Talk to one of our experts here.

    Optimize your social media profiles

    Use that logo you’ve created or updated as your profile photo on your social media pages. And, update your descriptions to reflect your voice brief. 

    Your social media profiles are your digital storefront. Show off who you are and what you do for your local community! 

    You should make sure all of your pages are consistent (down to the names and handles of each page) to establish your brand on social media. That way, your customers can recognize you and know they’re in the right place if they want to reach out with questions or comments. 

    Related: 6 steps to update social media profiles

    Here’s Cuvee Coffee of Austin, Texas with consistently-branded pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

    Facebook:

    cuvee-coffee-facebook

    Instagram:

    cuvee-coffee-instagram

    Twitter:

    cuvee-coffee-twitter

    Note: Being consistent doesn’t necessarily mean that every description or cover photo across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has to be exactly the same. Keep in mind who your audience is to be sure that your page will resonate with them and provide them with a call to action. When they come across your profile, what should they do next?

    In addition to updating and optimizing all of your social media profiles, make sure you also claim any unofficial pages on sites like Yelp and Google.

    Even though you might not have created a listing on Yelp or Google, someone in the online community may have in order to write up a review of your business. Claiming and updating these pages allows you to start owning your presence there to be the voice of your brand. 

    Collect photography inspiration

    The next step you can take to establish your brand on social media is to come up with an inspiration board of how you want your posts to look. 

    If you’re the coffee shop from the examples above, you might find other coffee shops in your local area as well as national chains on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and take screenshots of the posts you like. Maybe you go on Pinterest and find photos of coffee that feel like your business. 

    Use this inspiration/mood board to get creative in-house. You can use your smartphone to take photos in your business and create a stockpile of photos you love. You can use those photos to schedule out posts across your pages.

    For example, Houndstooth Coffee in Austin, Texas has a lot of inspiration to offer. And, variety is key for them. They’re always incorporating shots of their shop, product, employees, customers and community. Here’s a snapshot of their Instagram grid:

    houndstooth-coffee-photos
    Here, you have interior and exterior shots, product shots and shots of customers and employees. All of these types of photos are serving to give their account lots of variety that’s aesthetically pleasing. You can emulate accounts like this to apply to your business and product. 

    Craft social media content examples

    Use the photos you’ve taken or gathered and think about how you can make these into captivating social media posts. Here’s how you can start. 

    Organize the content you want to post into types or categories. Here are some ideas for content categories that will resonate with your audience. 

    Highlight an aspect of your neighborhood, city or town

    The relationship between your business and your community is important to consumers. Use social media to celebrate the things that make your city or neighborhood special.

    Shine a light on a unique characteristic of your business

    The story behind your business is important to your consumers. Provide a deeper understanding of who you are and what you’re all about in order to increase brand loyalty.

    Connect consumers emotionally to your business

    Feel-good posts are all about putting a smile on your customers’ faces. By adding humorous, sentimental or inspirational posts, you can hook consumers and build brand loyalty.

    Highlight a product or service that your business offers

    You want to keep the products and services that your business offers top-of-mind for your customers. Showcase your products and services to encourage consumers to give you a visit.

    Start with those categories and any other categories that feel relevant to your brand. Putting your content into categories that you can rotate can help you establish your brand on social media.

    Create on-brand captions

    Creating a voice and tone takes skill and time. It make take some trial-and-error to come up with the right kinds of captions for your branded social media content. Here are some tips for how you can come up with consistent captions that will help you establish your brand on social media. 

    Represent your business

    You want to ensure that each one of your captions can stand alone as a reflection of who you are as a business. Your brand and your audience should inform every photo that you post and caption that you write. Think about how you want each caption to make your followers feel. 

    Add relevant hashtags

    Using relevant hashtags in your caption will get new eyes on your business’s content and help you boost your engagement. 

    Related: How to hashtag on Instagram and Twitter

    Here’s a simple, yet impactful caption from Austin’s Radio Coffee and Beer. They also used emojis to amplify their message and added relevant hashtags to help get more eyes on their post.

    Think outside the box with your hashtags! Are there local hashtags that are popular in your community? Are there existing hashtags that are relevant to the specific photo you’re posting? Go ahead and work them into your caption to capture users searching for content like yours.

    Start posting!

    Get that content live on social media! By putting out a variety of content throughout the week, you’ll keep your brand and business at the forefront of your followers’ minds. Staying top-of-mind can help drive customers to your doorstep.

    Related: How to create a content calendar, then post great content

    Monitor engagement

    You’ll never know what’s working and what’s not — and if all this effort is worth your time — if you don’t monitor your metrics. Keep an eye on your content to make sure your followers are engaging with it (i.e. liking, clicking and commenting.) If your posts aren’t getting very much interaction at first, don’t stress — re-strategize! 

    Related: Social media metrics and ROI

    That’s how you can start to establish your brand on social media! Keep your eye on our blog for more tips on how to build up that brand presence online to get new customers and keep your fans coming back. 

    Engage your customers like never before with GoDaddy Social. We help businesses elevate their online presence on the platforms that matter most. Get started with us here.

    The post How to establish your brand on social media appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    When diving into the world of paid search advertising, you’ll notice that there are many different synonyms — like PPC advertising or search engine advertising. However you label it, this strategy encompasses setting up ads on a search engine like Google or Bing, where you pay each time the ad is clicked on.

    Paid search helps you attract new customers with timely marketing, as well as improve your overall SEO efforts and, most importantly, conversions.

    At first glance, PPC can seem like a complicated, pay-to-play system. Instead of shying away, get informed on how paid search works and try the following paid search tactics to get the most bang for your buck.

    Related: 30 online search and SEO stats to blow your mind

    Glossary of paid search terms and acronyms

    As we dive into the seemingly complex world of search engine advertising, let’s define a few key terms and acronyms to ensure we’re all on the same page.

    • PPC: Pay-per-click, a form of search engine advertising, where a business creates an ad based on a keyword or phrase and only pays when a user clicks on their ad or call-to-action (CTA).
    • CPC: Cost-per-click, the actual price you pay when someone clicks on your ad.
    • SERP: Search engine results page; the resulting websites that a search engine (like Google or Bing) provide from a user query.
    • SEO: Search engine optimization, an umbrella term that covers internet marketing tactics that help you get your website higher in the SERPs.
    • DA: Domain authority, a search engine ranking score on a scale from 1 to 100. The higher your score, the higher your rank on the SERPs.
    • CTA: Call-to-action, a button or phrase with a targeted link, intended to get an immediate response.
    • CTR: Click-through-rate, a metric that measures the number of clicks per impression that your ad receives.

    Related: Beginner’s guide to search engine optimization

    What is PPC?

    Search engine advertising is a strategy built around the PPC model, which lets you bid for the top search engine ranking for a given keyword or key phrase. As an advertiser, you only pay when a user clicks on your ad.

    PPC is incredibly effective when done correctly.

     

    It quickly gets you to the top of the SERPs to drive phone calls, driving directions, product sales, reservations, website visits or other desired user actions.

    Moreover, PPC advertising allows you to take advantage of web users entering queries on search engines, without being as interruptive and intrusive as banner ads or pop-ups.

    According to a recent PPC survey by Clutch, 75% of people say paid search ads make it easier to find the information they’re looking for on a search engine.

    Related: What is domain authority?

    How PPC differs from other SEO tactics

    The main difference between PPC and other SEO strategies is that PPC allows for a very targeted approach with more immediate effects. A common industry comparison is to think of your overall SEO efforts as a marathon, while paid search is a sprint.

    SEO, in general, is a long-game.

     

    You need to work on building valuable content for your site — striving to earn backlinks, building trust, and several other factors — before you can hope to rank well organically. Especially for new businesses and websites, it can take years to increase your DA to be able to organically rank for desired searches and target keywords.

    Related: How to get backlinks to a small business website

    8 tips for strong returns on PPC ad spend

    Every business owner wants to see the ROI for marketing efforts, and PPC ad spend is no different. Particularly because paid search can represent a significant upfront monetary investment, you want to ensure success.

    Here’s what we’ll cover:

    1. Optimize your site before investing in paid search.
    2. Choose the best PPC provider.
    3. Determine an effective (and realistic) PPC budget.
    4. Refine your PPC strategy based on data.
    5. Use paid search to increase seasonal traffic and sales.
    6. Include ad extensions in your PPC advertising.
    7. Try local search ads to increase local business.
    8. Use PPC to complement other (non-paid) SEO strategies.

    Use these eight tips to see stronger results for your PPC advertising campaigns.

    1. Optimize your site before investing in paid search

    If you’re paying to get users to go to your site, you want to make sure you actually have an effective site to begin with.

    For example, if your PPC ad leads to a landing page that is confusing or has little to no valuable information, you just wasted money paying for that click.

    Follow some of these basic guidelines to ensure you have quality content to drive traffic to.

    • Make sure your site and pages are clean and user-friendly. Nothing makes a potential customer bounce faster than a poorly designed or cluttered site.
    • Include a prominent and persuasive CTA. While this may seem simple on a landing page, you still need to focus on a conversion point (i.e., “book now,” “call us,” “reserve here,” or “add to cart”). Even if your ad leads to an informative blog post, there should be a CTA at the end to direct the customer into your sales funnel.
    • Your site content should be helpful, informative and relevant to the search terms or phrases in your ad.
    • For PPC ads leading to customer service-related CTAs (phone calls or emails), fine-tune your workflow. Make sure that you have functioning systems in place from the first inquiry to conversion.

    Having high-quality content on your site will also help your overall SEO value.

    And while your site doesn’t need to rank well to have success with paid search, it certainly helps. Google takes into account the caliber of your landing pages in the quality score. This ranking determines the placement of your ads on the SERPs.

    Related: How landing pages bridge the gap between marketing and sales

    2. Choose the best PPC provider

    There are two primary providers when it comes to paid search advertising:

    • Google: The Google Search Network encompasses Google SERP, Google Shopping, Maps, and other search partners.
    • Bing Network Audience: Also known as Microsoft Advertising, this provider reaches AOL, Bing and Yahoo users.

    While you might naturally assume Google is the best option as the world’s most-used search engine, don’t forgo lower-volume search engines like Bing.

    According to recent data, the Bing Network Audience sees 5.5 billion monthly searches in the U.S. alone. What’s more, the average click-through rate is 2.83% on Bing, which is 50% higher than what they see on Google. This means you can face less competition than with Google, and potentially see better results and lower CPC.

    Note: Social media platforms and other websites also provide paid advertising options, but to keep this article sharply focused, we’ll only cover search engine advertising. For additional resources, refer to this guide for Amazon PPC Ads or check out this article on Facebook advertising.

    3. Determine an effective (and realistic) PPC budget

    Keyword cost depends on your industry and popularity.

    Some terms or phrases like “mesothelioma attorney” or “car insurance” can have a CPC as high as $200. However, don’t fret — other keywords or phrases that are more niche or locally based can cost as low as 40 cents.

    The good news is that you can easily cap your total spend on PPC. Set a budget that makes sense for your business, then research keywords with costs that fit within that.

    If you have a lower ad spend, you obviously don’t want to target high CPC keywords.

    Instead, consider long-tail key phrases that will be cheaper and also show a higher degree of search and user intent.

    A long-tail phrase has a higher probability of conversion, and a lower cost and risk, than a single, more general keyword.

    Long Tail SEO Curve QuickSprout Graphic
    Image: QuickSprout

    Additionally, it’s more likely that someone who searches a phrase like “organic protein bars free shipping” is later in the buying stage than someone who searches “protein bars.” Therefore you have a higher chance of conversion.

    Related: Using long-tail keywords — Advanced marketing tips for restaurants

    4. Refine your PPC strategy based on data

    Remember that PPC campaigns without specific goals will inevitably waste money.

    As you set up paid search ads, and align them with your overall business objectives, and keep track of your data to refine your campaigns.

    To measure success, make sure you enable conversion tracking on your campaigns.

    This allows you to track which conversions you monitor, like website visits, phone calls, etc. Refer to these instructions for Google and Bing for help setting this up.

    You’ll also want to use your search term report, which allows you to see what the people who clicked on your ad typed into the search engine.

    With this report, you can also find negative keywords and filter out users who don’t have the right intent and shouldn’t be shown ads. Using data from these two sources, adjust future campaigns for better results for your ad spend.

    Related: How to make data-driven decisions using Google marketing tools

    5. Use paid search to increase seasonal traffic and sales

    Paid search is a powerful tool around the holidays when you want to get more eyes on your products, services or store.

    To create seasonal-specific PPC advertising, think of key phrases that your target audience would search for during the holidays. These might include “best Christmas gift for in-laws,” “back-to-school sales near me,” or “Unique Valentine’s Day gifts for my girlfriend.”

    Even if you don’t have products or services traditionally associated with holidays, you can still use paid search campaigns to take advantage of the season.

    Advertise package deals, gift cards or seasonal events. Just make sure to have relevant content for these seasonal ads.

    Your paid search ads will reel in visitors, but your content will convert.

     

    Use idea engines like Google Trends and Ubersuggest to find new seasonal search phrases or terms and see their popularity in a given month.

    Seasonal Keyword Overview Ubersuggest
    Image: Ubersuggest

    Related: How Google Trends can help you find your next customer 

    6. Include ad extensions in your PPC advertising

    Ad extensions are additional information that appears as snippets below your ad copy. They allow you to give even more information about your business or website to users that will further convince them to click on your ad.

    Popular options include:

    • Location extension: Shows an address or map marker and will take the user directly to the maps page of your location, which can help drive potential customers to your physical business.
    • Call extension: When clicked on desktop this shows your phone number or automatically calls on mobile.
    • Message extension: People who see your ad can immediately message you for general inquiries.
    • Callout extension: This lets you highlight unique selling points for your business, like “25 years in business” or “certified electricians.”

    Hop over to Google’s guide for more extension options. Not only do extensions let you capitalize on your ad real estate by including even more information, but they aide in your quality score as well.

    Remember that ad position is determined by the quality score; extensions are one of the factors that can increase your score in the eyes of Google.

    In a recent survey, WordStream found that the top-spending and high performing ad buyers use 4,631% more extensions, compared to low-spend accounts.

    7. Try local search ads to increase local business

    Local Search Ads, (LSAs), which look different than traditional paid search ads, use information from a Google My Business page and location extensions to create a unique ad.

    See the below example on how a Walgreen’s LSA appears.

    Walgreens PPC Ad in Maps
    Photo: Search Engine Journal

    According to Google, more than one-third of mobile searches have local intent, which is why they rolled out this feature for paid search advertisements.

    For physical businesses with a GMB page, consider trying this tactic to garner local traffic. Not only will your ad be highlighted differently, but you can include a unique promotion, like the “$3 off contact lens solution” example above.

    Editor’s note: GoDaddy customers can use Website Builder to create and manage their Google My Business listings at no extra cost.

    8. Use PPC to complement other (non-paid) SEO strategies

    Keywords and phrases will not only aide your paid search efforts but your overall SEO and content marketing. A PPC campaign that runs for even 30 days will help you realize which terms and phrases your target audience searches for.

    Use your search term report and CTR data to understand the keyword and ad combinations that both users and search engines perceive as most relevant.

    From here use the data to inform other SEO decisions.

    For example, level up your content marketing efforts by integrating these high-value keywords into your blog schedule, which in turn can help your organic ranking. Alternatively, you can build pages based on the keywords.

    Bolster PPC campaigns to get the most out of ad spend

    Search engine advertising can seem overwhelming when you first start, but with a strong plan in place and strategic thinking, you can see significant returns on your ad spend.

    Start by optimizing your website to ensure it’s ready to receive increased traffic and convert.

    Then choose your PPC provider, set your budget, and get to work crafting an effective paid search campaign, using the above tips.

    As with any digital marketing, use your data and refine as you go.

    PPC campaigns can give you short bursts of traffic that you consistently evolve to be even more successful.

    Don’t forget, once you get your PPC campaigns rolling, repurpose the valuable data to help with your other non-paid SEO efforts!

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Ashley Grant, Genevieve Tuenge and Matt Hessler.

    The post Paid search smarts — 8 tips to get strong returns on PPC advertising spend appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This article was originally published on Oct. 20, 2014. It was updated on April 25, 2017, Dec. 7, 2018, and Aug. 28, 2019.

    You racked your brain to come up with just the right name for your business online. Your domain name — a name that perfectly represents who you are and what you’ve got to offer. Maybe you nabbed a .com or went with a descriptive domain extension — like .app, .photography or .nyc— to name your online presence. So, what’s next?

    Want to register another domain name? Here’s your chance.

    If you have registered a domain name, you probably have some idea of what you want to achieve, but you might not know where to start. Follow along as I break down a few options that might make sense for you and your business. (I’ll bet more than one will fit the bill.)

    Related: 10 tips for choosing the perfect domain name

    You’ve registered a domain name. Here are 4 ways to use it.

    There’s more to domain names than websites — you can do so much more (though the website is pretty important).

    1. Use your domain for a custom email address.
    2. Create a website that’s attached to your domain.
    3. Get an online store that’s attached to your domain.
    4. Sell your domain name.

    Let’s look more closely at each option.

    1. Use your domain for a custom email address

    Woman Checking Computer Showing Professional Email

    You’re a professional, so why are you still using that personal Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN (you get the picture) email address you created 10 or even 20 years ago?

    If the email you’re using to communicate with customers isn’t branding your business, then it’s time you kick that free email to the curb and set up a custom email using the domain you just purchased.

    If you register a domain, you can set up a personalized email address such as YourName@yourdomain.com. That’s so much better than YourFirstandLastName_1975@gmail.com, right?

    You can put that custom email address on your business cards, the side of your car, everywhere you promote your business.

    With Professional Business Email from GoDaddy, not only will get 24/7 customer support, but you’ll also get as many email aliases as you’d like (so you can have sales@yourdomain.com, support@yourdomain.com and anything else you can think of).

    You’ll look more professional, credible, and with so many email address options, you can guarantee that emails are going to the right people.

    Related: How to use a custom domain name for email

    2. Create a website that’s attached to your domain

    Chances are, you had a website in mind when you set out to secure a domain name. Your domain name is the heart of your website address. And everyone keeps telling you that you need a website for your business.

    Your website is the center of gravity for your online presence.

     

    A website gives you a branded, dedicated space to share your contact information, a rundown of your services, a snapshot of what your business is all about, a portfolio of your amazing work, kick-ass customer reviews and links to your social media accounts.

    And did I mention it’s perfect for businesses that want to expand their reach and attract NEW customers?

    But understanding the benefits of having a website for your business and actually creating one are two very different things. I know, it’s scary.

    Related: How to design a website when you’re not a website designer

    You basically have three options:

    Hire a professional website designer

    Web Designer Creating Site To Illustrate Using Registered Domain Name

    This option will cost you more but require less of your time. In most cases, you’ll need to supply the content for your website — including text and images — but a designer can put it all together to give you a beautiful, highly functional website.

    Editor’s note: The experts at GoDaddy’s Website Design Service can create a mobile-friendly, beautiful site that reflects your industry while following your lead and input.

    Do it yourself with a content management system (CMS)

    If you’ve got some skill, you can build a site using a popular CMS like WordPress.

    WordPress is an awesome choice for many website owners because the platform allows for a great deal of customization and flexibility.

    Want to build a WordPress site but don’t feel like handling all the technical stuff on your own? You might want to check out our easier way to get started with WordPress. GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting features a Quick Start Wizard to get your new WordPress website up and running in a snap.

    You’ll also get 24/7 support, core software updates and patches, free daily backups and one-click restore, a free domain with an annual plan and more.

    Related: New user’s guide to the WordPress dashboard

    WordPress Themes From GoDaddy
    Managed WordPress offers themes for every kind of business. Featuring eight pre-built customizable pages, easy drag-and-drop page building, and quick access to thousands of WordPress plugins, there’s virtually no limit to what you can create.

    Do it yourself with a template-based site builder

    You don’t need any design experience to build a lovely site via the affordable DIY solutions available, including GoDaddy Website Builder. Choose your industry, customize it, and hit “publish.” Just like that, your website is live.

    GoDaddy’s Website Builder also has templates for a variety of industries. You can even give the templates a test run before you decide if GoDaddy’s Website Builder meets your needs.

     GoDaddy Website Builder Restaurant Template
    From breweries to bakeries and everything in between, GoDaddy’s Website Builder has templates customized to fit your business.

    Related: How to plan a website

    3. Get an online store that’s attached to your domain

    With a custom eCommerce site, you can sell your products, track your orders, collect payments, and manage your inventory all in one place.

    You’re looking at basically the same options for creating an online store — hire a pro or do it yourself with an easy-to-use online store builder (like GoDaddy Online Store) or an eCommerce plugin for WordPress and the like. We like WooCommerce.

    Since GoDaddy Online Store is built into the Website Builder structure, you can build your store quickly and start receiving payments immediately. You’ll have easy access to appointment setting, inventory management and more, all while staying mobile-friendly.

    GoDaddy Online Store ExampleBut, what if you’ve registered a domain name that’s perfect and invested the effort into launching an online store — and no one ever finds you? An eCommerce solution like GoDaddy Online Store can help. How? It includes a built-in SEO wizard, smooth integration with Google My Business, and marketplace selling features  that enable you to easily sell products on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Etsy and manage your orders and inventory all from one place. Nice!

    Related: How to start an online store in 3 steps

    4. Sell your domain name

    Stuff happens. Maybe inspiration struck at 3 a.m., when an amazing new domain name woke you from a dead sleep. And that other domain you already registered? It can still help you out.

    Someone, somewhere, might be willing to pay for that domain name.

     

    You can get it in front of interested buyers via domain aftermarket sites that only take a small percentage of the sale. One such aftermarket option is GoDaddy Auctions. For an annual fee and a percentage of the sale, you can list your domain name for auction or set a “buy now” price and GoDaddy will handle all the details.

    Related: How to buy and sell domain names in domain auctions

    Put that domain name to work!

    Your domain name is no use just sitting in your account collecting dust — so take it out for a spin and see what wonders it can do! You’ll be amazed. Ready? Go forth and put your domain name to work for your business!

    The post You’ve registered a domain name. Now what? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Thousands of professional conferences and events take place every year around the world, and people hold them in all sorts of industries from the more serious fields like medicine and technology to recreational fields such as music, film, and art.

    Because large physical meetups are difficult to organize and involve a tremendous amount of planning, management, and marketing, the Internet has become an event organizer’s greatest tool, without which it would be nearly impossible to host a successful event.

    An event website can be used to handle everything to do with an event or conference, including selling tickets, managing registrations, creating hype, and providing general info such as dates, location, and an event itinerary.

    High-quality event websites that offer a good user experience can hugely increase the attendance of a conference. However, bad event websites can quickly lead to a poor image prior to the event itself, leading to a dismal turnout and even loss of money.

    That’s why you should gather inspiration from the best event websites, which we’ve curated and listed below. Check them out.

    Here’s A List of The Best Event Websites

    Brand New Conference

    The Brand New Conference is a marketing-based event that lasts two days. It is organized by Under Consideration and it focuses on teaching people more about brand identity in corporate environments.

    The conference supports the popular blog called Brand New, which covers similar topics. During the conference, people can attend eight different sessions on each day of the event. Every detail about the conference is presented on their event website, which is neatly organized.

    Oslo Innovation Week

    Oslo Innovation Week, as the name suggests, is a multi-day conference on societal innovation that takes place in several venues located in Oslo. The conference takes place each year, and in 2019 they will focus on topics such as sustainable cities, the future of work, and entrepreneurship.

    This is one of those event websites that stands out for its creative layout and visually interesting page transitions that keep you engaged as you navigate around.

    Crafted

    Crafted is a project launched by BASIC. The project promotes collaboration by bringing together local creators from all sorts of industries.

    The main purpose is to explore culture through conversation, art, or even food, by bringing in outspoken aficionados and taste makers. The event website is created in a friendly manner and makes great use of self-scrolling background images.

    Demo Festival

    This festival gathers together the best people in the industry of design. Dozens of artists, designers, and more all around the world come to the Demo Festival and showcase their work on the digital screens available at the venue in Amsterdam, which is the central train station.

    In terms of event websites, the site for Demo Festival is just as creative as their event itself.

    Solar Weekend Festival

    Stepping aside from conferences and fancy events, let’s move on to something a bit different —an electronic music festival. Solar Weekend is a festival in the Netherlands that celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

    With the use of bright, bold colors and looping animated GIFs of previous events, this website succeeds in creating the right amount of hype to get people excited about it. The event page lists the artists clearly to help people put together their own curated lineup for the fest.

    Greater Than Avatars

    If you’re interested in the design community and the people behind the biggest projects you admire, Greater Than Avatars is a series of short films that emphasize the secrets of those designers.

    Each film has around 10 minutes and premiers during a live event that triumphs with a special Q&A with the guests, who are also the main subjects in the films. The event also includes dinner, snacks, and drinks.

    Out of all event websites in the short film industry, this might be the best and most innovative of its type.

    ContraryCon IV

    Have you ever heard about anti-conferences? If not, you’ll definitely enjoy reading more about ContraryCon IV. It’s an anti-conference by ISL that supports the creative community in DC. It lasts one day, but it is definitely one of those events where your perspectives are broadened.

    Because so many people are interested in it, the event website had to be well-organized and packed with information. This is a great example of a site that does it right.

    Web Summit

    Among all event websites, the one for Web Summit makes itself stand out because it presents events in three vastly different locations —Lisbon, Toronto, and Hong Kong — and it is a good example of a website that caters to all types of visitors.

    This summit brings together CEOs of major tech companies and promising startups, as well as heads of state.

    Bruegel

    Monograph exhibitions are usually small, and they don’t reach the popularity they should. Luckily, Pieter Bruegel came up with this concept and Bruegel became the first big monograph exhibition in the world, and it’s now held in Vienna.

    The event website for the event hosted in 2018 is exactly as you would picture it —artistic and classy.

    Uenoland

    This can’t be called a conventional conference, per se, but it is close enough. Speakers at Uenoland talk about creativity and inspiration. The performers are people with all sorts of backgrounds and experiences, who want to share it with the rest of the world.

    They talk about what they do and how they do it. Like all the other event websites, their site includes info about the event and the speakers, presented clearly and creatively.

    Green Man Festival

    Talking about festivals, Green Man brings together music and art. The event takes place in Wales each August and it has grown tremendously over the years. Today, it can host up to 20,000 people and it lasts 4 full days.

    Green Man is mostly about live music, but it’s an event for art lovers as well. Visiting the event page will offer you all the information you need to attend Green Man.

    Prior Holdings

    Prior Holdings begins its story as far back as 1957, and it evolved so much that it is now one of the leading wedding organizers in Omura. The company’s lengthy history of 47 years always impresses everyone.

    Compared to other event websites, this one has a multilingual version that activates on scroll. And interestingly, the scrolling isn’t up-down, but left-right, which is a refreshing change, indeed.

    Epicurrence

    Epicurrence is another anti-conference for creatives that focuses on sharing experiences from speakers’ lives. The event lasts 2 days and it includes both interactive workshops and open discussions. Hundreds of creatives attend Epicurrence, and the event website truly speaks for itself.

    Future Now

    HubHub and CIVITTA Slovakia worked together to create Future Now, an innovation ecosystem that brings together techies from all around the world, as well as innovators, academia, CEOs, or even students who are eager to learn.

    If you’re hosting a technology-related conference, take note of this — it’s easily one of the best event websites for technology out there.

    Aspen Ideas Festival

    AIF was founded in 2005. The festival is held in Colorado and lasts an entire week. The program is very complex, as it includes open discussions, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and more.

    The attendance is mostly formed by journalists, designers, innovators, but also presidents, diplomats, and politicians. As you can tell, the event is quite big, and it deserves an event page that is just as impressive.

    District

    In love with house music? Then you need to attend District. Malta is known for the modern club culture it started to develop in the past years and this is a result of it. People can sync their own track on the website and hook it up to the animations.

    This event website deserves an in-depth look, considering how creative it is.

    100 years of Bauhaus

    Germany celebrates the founding of the Bauhaus and a lot of international partners will be attending. Bauhaus is a renowned design school that has existed for a total of 14 years. Compared to other event websites, this one is more serious and information-centered.

    California Calling

    Event websites are not all about having fun and socializing. California Calling is an initiative in San Francisco and its main purpose is to raise funds for the victims of the 2018 California wildfires, a tragic event that left behind a lot of disadvantaged people who are in need of a helping hand.

    FAT FAT FAT

    FAT FAT FAT is a festival that was launched in 2016. It’s more of an uncommon festival, as it is based on proposals of new sounds and contemporary art. FAT FAT FAT is a festival of research and experimentation where funk, soul, jazz, techno, hip-hop, and more are brought together in one single event.

    Buster

    Buster is a large film festival in Denmark that is targeted at children and young individuals. Each year, the event lasts 14 days and hosts workshops, open discussions, and other interesting experiences.

    In terms of event websites, Buster has an attractive look and offers tons of information about the event for the benefit of attendees.

    Ending thoughts on these event websites

    All the examples listed above can teach you something. The elements that you find interesting or appropriate for your event can easily be replicated and implemented on your own site.

    Take what’s best from these event websites and create one of your own, customized based on your needs and requirements. Besides acting as a source of inspiration, these websites should also help you understand how event websites work and how to make the most effective.

    If you enjoyed reading this article about event websites, you should read these as well:

    The post Conference and Event Websites: Awesome Designs to Check Out  appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.


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    SEO keyword research affects everyone who uses the internet to search for anything. Yet the vast majority of internet users have little to no idea what SEO (search engine optimization) or keyword research actually entails.

    If you run a business that has an online presence and are a bit foggy on these concepts, it’s time to change that.

    An artform born out of the hyper-competitive online marketplace, SEO can do much more than simply help your website appear more often in search results (although that’s a major goal). Specifically, it can boost your traffic, solidify your brand, help you make more sales and generate more leads, and improve the overall outlook of your business heading into the future.

    SEO keyword research is at the heart of this process. In this piece, we will examine keyword research strategies to:

    1. Clearly define keywords and keyword research.
    2. Give you eight examples of free and paid tools you can use to do this research.
    3. Provide five keyword research tips and strategies.

    Note that while SEO does technically apply to all search engines, most businesses choose to focus on Google, which makes up about 90% of the search engine market share. Finding ways to appease Google’s algorithm is a full-time job for thousands of people, and we’re going to explore ways you can do so via targeted keyword research.

    Ready to drive more traffic to your website and make more money via SEO? Let’s get to it.

    Related: Beginner’s guide to SEO for small business websites

    What is SEO keyword research?

    Have you ever wondered how many times per month people type keywords into Google that are directly related to your product or service? There are many ways to find out (we’ll get to those methods later).

    Discovering these user queries (“keywords”) and sorting through their variations is what SEO keyword research is all about.

    But what are keywords exactly?

    It’s important to remember that keywords are not necessarily a single word. They are sometimes one word, sometimes two, and sometimes 10 or more. Whatever a user types into an internet search bar can be considered in your keyword research strategies.

    Short-tail keywords

    Converse Shoe Illustrates SEO Long Tail Keywords

    Shorter keywords are called “short-tail keywords,” and while they may be more frequently searched online than longer variations, they are usually more vague. For instance, if someone types in the word “resume” into their search bar, what are they looking for exactly?

    Your website may offer a resume-writing service, but it’s hard to tell if someone typing the word “resume” actually wants that service.

    Plus, short-tail keywords are much more competitive.

    Imagine trying to rank your boutique shoe website for the keyword “shoes.” You’re suddenly competing with Nike, Adidas and other billion-dollar corporations — a totally different world than the one in which your business operates.

    Long-tail keywords

    Then you have longer search strings, coined by SEO-specialists as “long-tail keywords.” They generally have less volume than their short-tail counterparts, but can be more valuable for businesses since the user intent is more apparent.

    For example, “how to write a resume” is a keyword that has crystal-clear intent, whereas “resume” does not.

    Competition is also going to be less intense for these keywords, which is critical for businesses that lack the financial resources of large corporations.

    Although “waterproof hiking boots for toddlers” has significantly less volume than the previously mentioned “shoes,” it will be easier to rank for because it’s more specialized.

    Finding a niche and establishing a website in that niche is how anyone can make their voice heard online.

    SEO keyword research is the process in which you discover all of the various short-tail and long-tail keywords related to your business, and then determine which ones are most critical to target with the content you create and publish on your website.

    Related: 10 ways to improve Google keyword ranking 

    How can SEO keyword research impact my search rankings?

    Search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and more track every single website on the internet.

    When you search for something online, a bunch of websites pop up — with those most relevant to your search appearing at the top of the list.

    The websites that show up first are following SEO best practices, and you can definitely bet that many of them (if not all) are using SEO keyword research to optimize their content.

    This is because Google uses a complex algorithm that determines the relevance and trustworthiness of a website and its corresponding pages.

    While there are many ways to work on improving your trustworthiness (link building, and worrying about E-A-T to name a couple), relevance is largely established with keywords.

    If you are able to weave keywords effectively into the fabric of your website by answering the pressing queries of people typing out those keywords, you will vastly improve your chances of getting more traffic.

    For example, if you’re an orthopedic surgeon, your website needs to include in the content, titles and links multiple uses of the keyword “orthopedic surgeon” to build up relevance. However, “orthopedic surgeon” shouldn’t be your only keyword. In fact, you’ll need many, many more if you want to seriously draw in internet users.

    That’s why SEO keyword research is so important for businesses.

    If you figure out what people are searching for, and then make sure your content has plenty of those keywords peppered throughout, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

    Related: 11 SEO best practices for your small business website

    8 free and paid tools for conducting keyword research

    The greatest keyword research tip you should take from this article is this: Use any available tools at your disposal (especially the free ones).

    If you embrace the following five free tools and consider investing in these three paid ones, your SEO keyword research will be much more targeted and thus more effective.

    1. SEMrush (free)

    SEMrush Homepage Keyword Research

    The free version of SEMrush is a great way to get started on your SEO keyword research journey.

    With 10 searches a day on the free account, you can take a quick look for major keywords related to your business, see who is competing with you across major keyword groupings, and even find out the main keywords your site is currently ranking for that are driving the most traffic.

    2. Answer the Public (free)

    Answer the Public is a website that helps you brainstorm keywords and discover questions related to the keywords your business is targeting.

    While it doesn’t give you key details like monthly keyword volume, it’s a fun tool to come up with content ideas (and content marketing is a major part of SEO).

    3. Google Search Console (free)

    Although not all Google products have been home runs with consumers, you can bet that anything marketing related that Google provides for free is going to be worth your time. This is the case with Google Search Console (GSC), which helps you see what keywords are bringing in traffic to your site.

    You can use five different filters to evaluate keywords in Google Search Console, and each of them provides valuable information.

    Google Search Console Filter

    • Query — refers to the keyword being input by the user.
    • Clicks — the exact number of users who clicked on your page via that particular keyword over a given period of time (which you can select).
    • Impressions — describes the total number of people who saw your page in the search results after typing in a query (regardless of if they clicked it or not).
    • CTR — an acronym for “click-through rate”, which can be calculated by dividing the number of clicks from the number of impressions.
    • Position — where you rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for any given keyword.

    Use this information to process areas of strength, as well as areas of weakness on your website.

    Related: How to integrate Google Search Console with your WordPress site

    For instance, if you have a page that has a high position but a low CTR, you should consider modifying the page’s meta data because people see it and aren’t clicking on it.

    4. Google Keyword Planner (free)

    Google’s Keyword Planner lets you look at keywords for your website’s niche, and then note which variations get the most traffic via organic search.

    While it’s important to be aware of your industry’s highest-volume keywords, don’t forget our earlier discussion of long-tail vs. short-tail — the longer, less-searched-for keywords may be just the ticket to success for your business.

    Also, Google Keyword Planner is targeted toward paid marketing, so be aware of this while dialing in keyword research strategies on organic keywords.

    5. Yoast SEO WordPress plugin (free)

    Although this technically doesn’t count as a keyword research tool, the free Yoast SEO plugin is a great keyword-related addition to your WordPress-built website.

    Although there’s a paid premium version available, the free iteration can do plenty to help you make sure the content you write is targeted toward a primary keyword, which is a huge part of making pages that rank well.

    6. SEMrush (paid)

    Although SEMrush does offer a limited number of functions for non-paying users (as mentioned earlier), a pro account or higher will be necessary if you want to deep-dive into SEO keyword research.

    SEMrush has a wide variety of functions for people interested in SEO — if you’re serious about your researching capabilities, consider investing in a SEMrush account for your business.

    7. Ahrefs (paid)

    Ahrefs also has keyword-tracking tools and even provides a metric for how difficult it will be to rank any given keyword.

    You can also use Ahrefs to see many of the keywords your pages are ranking for already, and even explore what websites are linking to a particular page. Pages that have more links are likely more popular, so it’s a great tool to evaluate what content is resonating with your audience (and what isn’t).

    8. Accuranker (paid)

    Accuranker is a keyword-tracking tool, where you can input thousands of keywords related to your website and track their progression over time. Ideally, those keywords will continue to rise in rank, but sometimes they don’t. And sometimes they start to drop

    Regardless of their direction, Accuranker keeps an eye on them.

    Accuranker also estimates your relative “Share of Voice” for keywords in your niche, as well as the volume of every single keyword. They even provide line graphs that show the progression of each keyword from when you first entered it into Accuranker up until the present.

    There are multiple tools for tracking large batches of keywords (Ahrefs provides this service as well), but Accuranker is one of the best out there.

    Related: How Google Trends can help you find your next customer

    5 keyword research tips and strategies

    Now that we’ve explored some of the winning tools available online for you to improve your SEO keyword research, here are five keyword research tips that you keep in mind as you continue working toward total SEO domination:

    1. The best way to do keyword research is to spy

    Google your competitors, both in your chosen niche and your geographic region. Check out their websites, and identify the keywords and topics they’re ranking for (note that you can use SEMrush for this).

    Closely read the websites of your competitors, especially the successful ones, and learn more about them.

    Then check their source code and their meta name=”keywords” to see what they focus on if they happen to still be using this function.

    You can also use the inspect element on a competitor’s page to see what headers (H1, H2, etc.) they use. There’s a good chance that the primary keyword they’re targeting on any given page is in their H1 title tag.

    Resume Genius Page Inspector H1
    The top search result for the keyword “resume templates” has “resume templates” in its H1.

    Related: How to find inspiration from your competitors (without stealing their ideas)

    2. Think in topics, not keywords

    Google prefers topics, not keywords and exact keyword phrases.

    If you’re able to establish your business as an authority in any given topic, you’re more likely to rank for a wide range of related keywords.

    These “topic clusters” are how you should be conceptualizing keyword use across your website.

    If you’re a business that specializes in payment processing for high-risk companies, you should be writing content and targeting keywords related to things like chargebacks, starting a business, best business practices and other secondary areas.

    Although keywords specifically touching upon “high-risk businesses” may be your best bet to make money, you need to establish yourself in these tertiary topics if you want to ever truly dominate your niche.

    Related: What is domain authority?

    3. Exact match keywords are overrated

    While you definitely want to hit exact keywords on certain parts of your website (like your homepage and major landing pages), Google’s algorithm is much more sophisticated than it was in the past.

    Specifically, it comprehends variations, and there’s a good chance Google cares more about the user experience on your pages than the keywords you’re tactfully inserting throughout your content.

    For example, at this point, it’s unnecessary to tastefully switch between “business blogging professional” and “professional business blogger” when you’re writing a blog post about business blogging. Google comprehends that these are loosely synonymous, and will rank you similarly for both keywords if you put either variation on the page.

    This means that Google wants us to focus on topics and not individual keywords.

    If you write for tax attorneys, you can talk about attorneys and lawyers, and Google will figure it out. So if you want to know the best topics to look for, look at your Google Analytics for your most visited pages and start brainstorming.

    Related: How to use Google Analytics to increase website traffic

    4. Find out what the people want to know, and answer them

    Do a keyword search for your industry on Yahoo! Answers and Quora. If people are asking questions on those sites, again, it’s safe to assume that other people want the information too.

    Write up thorough answers and publish them as blog posts.

     

    You can even see how many people are interacting with those queries in the form of comments or their respective voting systems. Plus, you can answer queries yourself if you aren’t satisfied with the top answers — doing so can help you further establish authority in your niche.

    5. Think of consumers, not the algorithm

    User experience is more important than ever.

    While keywords, links and other factors help Google hone in on relevancy, if your users don’t interact well with your content then you’re going to fail.

    SEO keyword research strategies should never overshadow the fact that customers come first.

    Editor’s note: Need some help with search engine optimization? The experts at GoDaddy SEO Services can help your website get the attention it deserves!

    Keyword research is the tip of the iceberg

    Now that you have an idea of what tools are out there and you’re armed with several SEO keyword research strategies, the next step is yours to take.

    If you haven’t created a website, you must take keywords into consideration when organizing your site architecture.

    If your site is already live, make sure you’re targeting keywords on your major pages. Your home page should be aiming for your business’s core keywords, and every piece of content you publish on your website should have keywords associated with it.

    If you have content on your website that you can’t tie to a keyword, consider tweaking it so it aligns with relevant keywords.

    From this point forward, everything you publish on your website should be done with keywords in mind. Although the user experience is arguably more important than keyword usage, you still need keywords to appease Google’s algorithm and improve your rankings. Pay attention to both elements (user intent + keywords), and you’ll be moving up in the search rankings in no time.

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Andrea Rowland, Erik Deckers and Jessica Levco.

    The post How to do SEO keyword research to drive traffic to your website appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Social media is now more than ever a means of connecting businesses with their customers. Right now, your current and potential customers are online looking to connect with businesses and brands just like yours. They’re visiting Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to find great content and decide where they will spend their money next. Get your business started on social media, to connect with those customers, today! 

    Get your business started on social media

    When consumers are doing their research online, they’re looking for businesses with an authentic, engaging online presence. They want to see social media content on key platforms that’s interesting, varied and showcases what makes one business different from another.

    The more genuine and compelling a business’s content is on social media, the more likely consumers are to engage with that business, pay them a visit and spread word-of-mouth to their friends.

    We have the tips you need to get your business started on social media and see success. Think of this a beginner’s guide for using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

    We’ll show you how to get set up on social media, post content that will attract new customers and use these key channels to strengthen relationships with your loyal fans. 

    Create content that connects with consumers

    Let’s break down how to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter effectively, strategically and simultaneously. Scroll to see how you can get your business started on social media to start conversations with consumers, increase engagement and spread word-of-mouth.

    Facebook

    67% of marketers prefer Facebook as a marketing channel over other social media channels. 

    Why should you post on Facebook?

    Get your business started on social media with Facebook. That’s because “Facebook has a large user-base that is diverse in terms of a number of different demographics, including age, gender, and race. Facebook allows marketers to reach a wide group of consumers that may be interested in their product or service offering,” according to Lyfe Marketing.

    Set up your Page 

    • Get started on Facebook by setting up a Business Page, rather than a Personal Profile. This will help you run ads and track analytics. 
    • Upload a profile photo (this should typically be your logo) and cover photo that truly represent your business.
    • Add your phone number, email address, street address, website and operating hours so customers know when, how and where to find you. 
    • Add your story. Tell your fans and potential customers how you got started and why you’re so proud to be a part of your community.
    • Invite friends, family and customers to find you on Facebook. Your circle of friends and connections can be your first Facebook fans. It give the page some momentum and get new eyes on your brand.
    • Post frequently (about 2-3 times per week) to keep your followers engaged. 

    What should you post on Facebook?

    Posting relevant and interesting content consistently on Facebook pulls potential customers in and will make them want to come by for a visit. Here’s a rundown of the content your Facebook page should include.

    Post photos of your team, products and services. Show off all the elements that your customers love about you!

    bike-shop-facebook

    Pose questions to your followers about your business or industry. Engage your audience with polls and trivia. And, start conversations by asking them what their favorite thing is about your business or your community.

    If you love Austin as much as we do, we want to hear from you! Besides the food, of course, what's your favorite thing about this city?

    Posted by Hoover's Cooking on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

     

    Find articles about your business, industry and community and share that with your fans! Any article about your business in particular serves as a testimonial. If local or national publications are putting you “best of” lists, interviewing you or your team or putting you in the spotlight, share it. This coverage only serves to build trust with your audience and build brand loyalty.

    Thank you Thrillist for adding us to an amazing list of BBQ Joints 😍

    Posted by la Barbecue on Tuesday, August 20, 2019

     

    Cross-promote customer testimonials. Share great feedback from review sites to show off how much your customers love you. Consumers trust reviews more than recommendations from friends and family. So, share those positive testimonials on Facebook to spread the word about why your customers love you.

    customer-testimonial-facebook

    Note: If you’re having a hard time seeing success for your Facebook posts try using boosted posts or putting some money towards a Facebook ad. 

    Since many businesses are on the platform trying to reach consumers just like you are, you can use Facebook ads to increase your reach and stand out among the crowd.

    Related: Boost Facebook content to reach more customers

    Integrating a paid strategy into your organic content strategy is a great way to get your business started on social media. 

    Twitter

    67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands they follow on Twitter. 

    Why should you post on Twitter?

    When you’re thinking of how you can get your business started on social media, Twitter might be a mystery. But, Twitter is where people go for their news and updates about everything in their lives, including the businesses and brands they love.

    “Ninety-three percent of people who follow small- and medium-sized businesses on Twitter plan to purchase from the brands they follow. Sixty-nine percent have already purchased from an SMB because of something they saw on the network,” according to Hootsuite.

    Set up your profile

    • Upload your logo as your profile photo on Twitter. Being consistent with your brand across platforms will make it easier for your customers to identify and recognize you. 
    • Add a compelling cover photo that shows off your business. 
    • Update your profile to include a brief, compelling description of your business, your city, phone number and link to your website. 
    • Tweet every day, 2-3 times a day, using relevant hashtags and integrating retweets and quote tweets into your posting strategy.

    What should you Tweet?

    Share photos of your team, products and services. When you show off your fabulous team and offerings, your audience will start to get familiar with your business, which helps build trust. 

    Give your hair the volume it deserves. pic.twitter.com/ifpJUyhQAS

    — Glam Salon & Spa (@ShreeBeautySalo) August 16, 2019

    Promote your sales, specials and events. You can tweet these out multiple times to make sure your followers are aware of the specials you’re running or events you’re holding at your business. Just be mindful and don’t spam your followers. Mix in other content as well. 

    Like, retweet and quote tweet local, community and industry news. It’s the best way to interact with other users on the platform and spread the local love. 

    Join in conversations already happening on Twitter by checking out what’s trending. And, start conversations by asking your audience engaging questions.

    S'mores are a summer fire go-to. Do you roast your marshmallows until they're burnt or only until they're warm? pic.twitter.com/Ly5gxdQFxv

    — Rose's Bay Resort (@RosesBayResort) May 22, 2018

    Use Advanced Search on Twitter to find users tweeting in your area. You can set up filters to find people in your area. See what your community is tweeting about, and if appropriate jump in and invite them in to give your business a try.

    Tweet links to your other pages on Facebook, Instagram, Yelp and Google. This can get your Twitter followers interacting with you across platforms. For example, you can use Twitter to bring your followers to your Facebook page to RSVP for an event. 

    Coming at you in less than 24 hours! Join us in the taproom on Thursday, 7/11 at 4 pm as we tap Cherry Lime Rickey Gose.https://t.co/7sAU0oepFV pic.twitter.com/4JI0WFlBID

    — DC Brau Brewing (@dcbrau) July 10, 2019

    Share user-generated content. Take the great content your fans and followers are posting about you on Twitter and share it on your feed! You can do that by retweeting or by posting the original photo and giving credit in the caption.

    Ah yes, the sweet Courtyard King Suite: one of our favorite rooms of all time. 📷: @nicksimonite #hotelsanjose #bunkhousehotels pic.twitter.com/vqOC7MDJG3

    — Hotel San Jose (@SanJoseHotel) April 25, 2019

    Instagram

    80% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the app. 

    Why should you post on Instagram?

    If you jump into Instagram when you get your business started on social media, you’ll be sure to capture a younger audience. Plus, according to Sprout Social, “general Instagram user demographics include 35% of all U.S. adults with 1 billion monthly active users and 500 million daily active users. Its Stories feature alone boasts 400 million daily active users.” 

    Set up your profile

    • Download the Instagram app on your smartphone. While you can access Instagram from your desktop, the platform is easiest to use on mobile. 
    • Set up a Business Account in order to be able to measure and track insights. 
    • Add a contact button so your followers can call or request directions to your business directly from Instagram.
    • Once again, use your logo as profile photo, write a compelling bio, (include hashtags and emojis!) and add a link to your website. 
    • Post 2-3 times a week. Quality, not quantity, is the key with Instagram. Make sure what you’re posting is highly visual and engaging.
    • Use Instagram’s editing and filter features to make your photos look amazing before you share!
    • Switch up your posting days and times to keep your feed varied and interesting.

    What should you post on Instagram?

    Instagram is all about great visuals. Keep in mind cropping, framing, lighting, and angles with each photo you share. And, above all, make sure the images you post on Instagram are high-quality. Then, pair them with a clever caption to amplify the messaging. 

    Post photos of your team, products and services. With any social media platform, you want to show off the people and products that make your business what it is. On Instagram, these images should be purposefully curated and well-edited. 

    Show off your space. Sometimes all your followers need to come visit your business is a reminder of what it’s like to be there. Show them your interior and exterior and welcome them back. 

    Keep your followers up-to-date about events, giveaways and specials. You can run contests on Instagram encouraging followers to tag their friends for your giveaways. You can also use Instagram Stories to document live content at one of your events. 

    Related: 3 ways to use Instagram Stories for digital storytelling

    Mix in video or Boomerang content. Take advantage of Instagram’s video features to switch up your posts. Videos and Boomerangs can help make something simple more engaging.

     

    Share user-generated content. Instagram users often tag and geotag brands and businesses. Monitor your engagement and share that content with your audience! Just remember to ask for permission to reshare, and when posting, thank and tag that user. You can also use reposting apps to make the process easier.

    And, that’s how you can get your business started on social media! Harness the power of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to spread word-of-mouth about your business, reach new audiences and build relationships online.

    Editor’s Note: Need some social media guidance for your business? GoDaddy Social can help.

    Engage your customers like never before with GoDaddy Social. We help businesses elevate their online presence on the platforms that matter most. Get started with us here.

    The post Get your business started on social media appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This article was originally published on Nov. 10, 2017. It was updated on August 28, 2019.

    There are lots of questions a small business owner needs to ask before they get a website online. Do you have a business plan? How much does hosting cost? Do you have a budget? It’s also important to consider what type of hosting platform is best for you and if you need a web developer to help you out.

    It’s easy to just jump into the deep end and then realize, much too late, that you don’t know how to swim.

    But fear not.

    I’m going to walk you through the necessary first steps to ensure you’re not wasting time and money and sabotaging your dream before you even get a chance.

    Here are the topics that we’ll cover in this guide:

    • Establish a business plan.
    • Determine your budget.
    • Picking a hosting company.
    • How much does hosting cost?
    • Special considerations.

    Let’s take a look.

    Establish a business plan

    You’ve come up with a great idea. You’re excited about what the future holds. Let’s get online right now, buy some cheap hosting, and get going, right?

    Wrong.

    It’s no use wondering how much does hosting cost until you have a plan. A good business plan will act as a roadmap for success. It’s vitally important to figure out where you want to go and how to get there. You wouldn’t plan a family vacation without a destination, would you?

    Your idea is worth investing both time and money to ensure you succeed.

     

    The best place to begin planning and getting some great tips is the Small Business Administration. In fact, if you have no idea how to begin a business plan, you can go to the SBA to get templates.

    Related: Best business plan templates

    Determine your budget

    Calculator And Budget Estimate

    The next step is possibly the most important. You need to figure out your budget. Let’s break down that idea:

    Determine income sources

    Figure out how much money you’re currently bringing in monthly and what you can route toward your new business idea.

    Determine fixed costs

    Some costs will not change much from month to month. This is going to be the easiest part of the budget to figure out. Collect previous bank statements and look at your expenses.

    Determine fluctuating expenses

    Business costs that don’t have a fixed price tag are called variable costs. You can scale your budgeting for this based on your monthly profit. That will be determined by your earnings after you’ve paid out all costs.

    Determine one-time expenses

    Once you figure out the numbers in the previous steps, this one will be easy. How much do you have leftover to cover costs, such as a computer replacement or the unexpected business from getting a new, high-profile customer?

    A lot more is involved, but some simple research will get you where you need to be. Remember that hosting can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands each year, and this will be determined by what you want to accomplish.

    Once you have your budget established, it’s time to turn your attention to hosting plans for your business.

    Related: How to begin budgeting for a new product or service

    Picking a hosting company

    There are a lot of hosting companies out there, each offering a different experience. A lot of them offer low introductory rates, and then spike the prices when it comes time for renewal. Some promise world-class support and then don’t deliver. Even more, still, have great hosting platforms, but don’t offer much in the way of supporting products.

    These are all huge considerations to make.

    But the No. 1 thing to determine is who’s really interested in your success. For example, GoDaddy’s intent is to empower everyday entrepreneurs to succeed.

    It’s important to look beyond the fluff of introductory pricing and really evaluate the intangibles when you’re looking for a hosting company.

    For the sake of this article, we’ll use GoDaddy as our provider. If you choose to go elsewhere, you’ll want to double-check the features and benefits, as they might not be the same.

    Let’s break down what hosting platforms GoDaddy has to offer. As far as getting online, this will be a major step. I’m going to break them down by average cost and capability so you can make a more informed choice of platform.

    Related: How to find the best hosting company

    How much does hosting cost?

    Pile Of Dollar Bills Represent How Much Does Hosting CostHow much does hosting cost? It’s probably one of the top factors you consider when choosing a plan, but the price really depends on the scope of your vision for your business. The old saying, “You get what you pay for,” is true in this instance.

    Going dirt cheap on your hosting solution is not recommended — regardless of where you purchase your product.

    Most likely, yearly costs for hosting are going to be in the low hundreds to mid-thousands in your budget. Prices vary from company to company but keep in mind that service does as well.

    Low-cost hosting solutions

    With GoDaddy, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot. If you’re worried about cost, these are good options. The following hosting solutions come at an easy-on-the-budget price, yet offer considerable functionality.

    GoDaddy’s Website Builder. For those of you with little technical know-how, GoDaddy’s Website Builder is a great option. Website hosting is included in all Website Builder plans.

    This website building solution lets you get a digital presence out there quickly, as it’s easy to use with the ability to get a basic website up in less than an hour.

    The templates are based on statistical research, ensuring that people coming to your site will return due to the professional look and feel.

    All the security is handled on the backend and an SSL is included by default — so your website visitors can feel confident that you’re keeping their information safe.

    GoDaddy’s Website Builder packages everything you need into the plan you choose. There are no additional products to buy.

    Shared Hosting. GoDaddy offers both cPanel Linux and Plesk Windows hosting for their shared hosting platforms.

    These are attractive options if you want something more versatile than Website Builder.

    You need a bit more knowledge about how hosting works, but you don’t need to be a professional web developer by any stretch of the imagination.

    With shared hosting, you have full control of hosting, but no control of the parent server. This takes away the stress of worrying about any updates or changes that you make taking the entire server offline. However, unlike Website Builder, you will need to consider the time that you will have to put in toward the maintenance of your hosting services.

    Related: How to install WordPress on cPanel

    WordPress Hosting. WordPress is huge. It’s the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) in the world and used by 60% of websites using a CMS solution.

    WordPress powers about 30%of the world’s websites, so it’s not going away anytime soon.

    It’s a good choice for business because GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting lets you design the site of your dreams, with less in the maintenance department. You can spend more time creating content and developing customer relationships instead of trudging through the upkeep of your hosting.

    Related: How to build a WordPress website for the first time

    Midrange hosting solutions

    At some point, you might stop fussing about cost. If you’re getting a lot of traffic, you might lose business due to slow load times because what you’re currently using can’t handle the volume. It’s time to step up your game.

    Business Hosting. If you love the cPanel environment but hate sharing your resources, GoDaddy’s Business Hosting is the right choice.

    You get server-level performance without the need for administration.

    This is the platform you should select early on if you want to run a CMS like Magento or have unexpected traffic spikes.

    Coupled with GoDaddy’s Website Security and an SSL certificate, Business Hosting is hard to beat.

    High-end hosting solutions

    When you need a solution for your now highly successful business that offers adaptability, speed and reliability — on a much larger scale — this is the route to go. Your company generates enough revenue at this point that you have an IT team, or at least a server admin/web developer on your payroll.

    At GoDaddy, high-end hosting solutions come in three tiers.

    Virtual Private Server (VPS). This is a cloud-based virtualization of a server. It’s a stable environment to place your empire while you grow, until it’s time to go dedicated. It packs power. You control everything, and no one controls what you can install.

    Related: How to enable HTTPS on your server

    Dedicated Server. This is your own box. GoDaddy takes care of it on the hardware side. You just make sure you take care of the website and all the other stuff.

    You should either be a server admin or have one in your employment if you want to use this product.

    For either a VPS or Dedicated Server, you can pick between three management styles:

    1. Self-Managed. The setup and management of the server, including installations of other applications, lies completely with you. It’s your call to make decisions and deal with the consequences. GoDaddy will make sure you can access the server, but that’s it unless you upgrade.
    2. Managed. GoDaddy will install a web hosting manager (WHM) to help make the management of the server easier. Automatic software updates will be applied occasionally. Everything else above still applies.
    3. Fully Managed. GoDaddy will install certain things on your server for you and make sure it’s running well. Some services will still come at a cost, however.

    Screenshot Showing GoDaddy Server Management Options

    Special considerations

    If you’re running an eCommerce site, make sure you have plenty of bandwidth. Even a small site can soon be overwhelmed with traffic if the store becomes popular. Make sure you pick a hosting plan with at least a dual core processor.

    Recommended hosting:

    It’s also important to lock down website security. Malware protection and an SSL are becoming mandatory today.

    Want your site to show up on Google? You should probably get an SSL just in case you dislike flagging as a possible non-secure site.

    GoDaddy offers Website Security as a fantastic way to keep your site free of malware without a lot of hidden costs that you’ll find elsewhere.

    Now you’re all set for a productive, secure site!

    The post How much does hosting cost for my small business? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    What is website analytics and why should you care?

    Simply put, website analytics are the numbers behind your website’s traffic and performance.

    Your web analytics metrics will provide you the data that lets you know what activity is happening on your website … or not happening. Yikes!

    Your web analytics metrics will tell you what articles are the most popular, where visitors enter your site, what content they gravitate to, how long they stay on your site, and even what type of device they are using.

    Good stuff, right?

    A site that works well means happier customers and more business for you.

    Related: Beginner’s SEO guide — Search engine optimization for small business websites

    Understanding website analytics: Key terms

    We’re going to go over how you can use your website’s analytical data to discover what you are doing right, if there are any pain points for site visitors, and what you can do better. We can find this out because every single visitor and click is tracked in your web analytics metrics.

    Google Analytics is the primary web analytics tool for most new and small website owners.

    The most popular metrics that site owners are interested in include:

    Pageviews: The number of pageviews by site visitors and which pages are viewed overall.

    Time on site: The time spent on your website viewing your content.

    Bounce rate: How many folks land on your site and leave without continuing on.

    Sessions: Sessions by site visitor indicate the amount of time visitors stay on your site by visit.

    Related: Can web analytics help you connect with your customers better?

    Free website analytics tools

    There are many subscription services out there for you to choose from as you grow your site. For the purpose of this article and getting you acquainted with website analytics overall, we’ll focus on the services that are free and easy to use.

    Here are a few tools you can use to drill down into your website analytics.

    Google Analytics

    Google Analytics gives you the free website analytics tools you need to analyze your website data for your business all in one place.

    Looking for a website builder with web analytics features built in? GoDaddy Website Builder has you covered.

    If you already have a site on GoDaddy’s Website Builder, you can easily add Google Analytics.

    SimilarWeb

    SimilarWeb’s free plan provides a first-hand feel for insights that give you global multi-device market intelligence to understand, track and grow your digital market share.

    HotJar

    HotJar provides a visual of your site analytics via heatmaps and recordings, plus a feedback feature. This one is fun!

    Google Analytics is the most popular free comprehensive platform and a great place to get your feet wet, so let’s cover that in more detail.

    The challenge most small business owners have is that Google Analytics is robust and feature-rich. At first, it can be overwhelming to know what should to pay attention to and where the data is located. Once you become familiar with the basics and what’s where, you’ll be able to navigate easily and put this wealth of information to work for your business.

    Related: How to use Google Analytics to increase website traffic 

    Setting up and installing Google Analytics

    Setting up Google Analytics is straightforward. Start by going to analytics.google.com and registering for a free account.
    Create Google Analytics Account
    On the next screen, click Sign up for your website.

    oogle Analytics Sign Up Website
    Next, we’re going to set up a new account for a website:

    Set Up New Google Analytics Account
    Choose your account name and website name, and add the URL of your website. You should also pick your industry category. If there isn’t an exact match select one that is as close as possible or “other.”

    Be sure to select your appropriate time zone, too. This will make sure the data is in line with your business hours of operation. Leave all the data-sharing boxes set to on (checked) unless you have specific regulatory reasons for not doing so.

    Google Analytics Data Sharing Settings

    Now that you have the basics set up, click Get Tracking ID and follow the prompts.

    In the next screenshot you’ll see where the tracking snippet of code is located in the Google Analytics dashboard. In my experience most folks have a hard time finding it again after the initial setup.

     Google Analytics Tracking ID
    You’ll need to place this tracking code on every page on your website.

    While that may sound daunting, most WordPress themes provide an area to copy and paste scripts into the Header area of your website. Check in Appearance > Customize > Theme Options (or your separate Theme Options panel if your theme has one) to see if that is offered by your theme.

    If your theme does not offer that option, there are plugins that can help you accomplish this.

    Under Data Collections, you’ll also want to make sure that you have demographic and remarketing turned on. While you may not need these features out of the gate, we want to have that data accumulating for us from the start for when you do.
    Google Analytics Data Collection For Advertising Features

    Once the required code snippet is in place you’ll even be able to see visitors on your site in real time in your Google Analytics dashboard!

    Setting goals and goal values

    The next step is to establish and understand your goals and goal values.

    These are activities that your prospective customers take that have value and meaning to your business.

    Google Analytics Goal Setup
    A simple example is tracking eBook sales, as shown above. When you get in and start playing around with goals, you’ll see all the various options available to you to track pretty much anything you want.

    Here are a few more examples:

    A brick-and-mortar retail store might value when prospective customers visit their store location/driving directions page. After all, someone seeking driving directions to your store is exhibiting intent. We then can interpret the value of someone looking for directions and correlate it with the number of people who actually show up at the store.

    An eCommerce company values when people complete the shopping process and make a purchase. How many visitors just browse compared to purchase?

    A consulting company might value when someone signs up for a demo, an appointment, or an email newsletter. These are important customer leads.

    What is the value of a newsletter subscriber to your business? What is the value of a demo request? We can ascertain that the value of those leads is a percentage of the economic value of a closed sale, divided by the closing rate of qualified leads. I know, that starts getting complicated but you get the idea of the potential!

    Any activity that visitors do on your website can be set up as goals and goal values.

     

    Here are details on setting goals and goal values in Google Analytics.

    Related: How to integrate Google Search Console with your WordPress site

    Top website traffic metrics to watch

    Now that we’ve established what goals and goal values are, let’s review the top website analytics metrics every small business owner should be paying attention to in Google Analytics.

    We will cover each briefly along with a screenshot of where to find those metrics in your Google Analytics dashboard. You’ll also see that you have the option to view data based on hourly, daily, weekly or monthly time frames.

    Audience

    Learn about visitors to your website via:

    • Behavior — Are they new or returning and frequency/recency
    • Demographics — Age, gender
    • Interests
    • Geo — Language, location
    • Technology — Browser & OS, network
    • Mobile — How many customers access your site using their mobile device and how they use your mobile site.Google Analytics Audience

    Acquisition

    This area shows you where your traffic is coming from, channels, sources and referrals (which websites, URLs, search engines, and keywords lead visitors to your site).

    You can also check in on your Google Ads, Search Console information and social media.

    Google Analytics Acquisition Overview

    Behavior

    Here you can discover site content visited by pages, content drill-down, landing pages and where visitors exited.

    You’ll also find site speed, page timings and speed suggestions.

    Included is Site Search, which reflects usage, search terms and search pages. Here you can gather information on specific pages so you can analyze the effectiveness or popularity of each page on your site.

    Google Analytics Behavior

    Conversions

    This is where you can set up the goals we talked about earlier and track your eCommerce performance.

    Learn about how and when your website’s visitors are completing specific actions, such as purchasing products or signing up for newsletters, after finding your site from web-based advertisements.

    Google Analytics eCommerce

    Nail down your website metrics

    Next, let’s improve the accuracy of your data and provide you with some additional reporting options that might surprise you! These website analytics tips will up your metrics game.

    Exclude your visits in Google Analytics

    Filters in Google Analytics allow you to exclude traffic. How many times a day or week do you or your employees visit your website? Did you know that you can exclude that traffic via your IP address? Doing so will give you more accurate data by only showing the activity of external visitors.Google Analytics Exclude Your Visits

    1. Sign into your Google Analytics account.
    2. Select the Admin tab and open the Account and Property you’d like to add the filter to.
    3. Click + New Filter, create a new filter, name it, and select the predefined option to exclude an IP address.
    4. Look up your public IP address using an external site like What’s My IP and put that IP address in the filter.
    5. Apply the filter to your property and click Save.

    Now Google Analytics will ignore that traffic for any future visitors.

    Enable internal searches in Google Analytics

    How cool would it be to actually see what keyword terms your site visitors are using when they use the search box on your site? Here’s how to set that up.
    Google Analytics Enable Internal Search

    1. Sign into your Google Analytics account.
    2. Select the Admin tab and open the Account, Property and View you’d like to enable site search on.
    3. Select View Settings and you’ll find Site Search Settings near the bottom of the pane.
    4. Enable the Site Search Tracking option.
    5. For WordPress sites, the query parameter is “s” (don’t put the quotes in the field).
    6. Click Save.

    Segment out “ghost referrals” from Google Analytics

    If you’ve ever looked at website stats, you’ve probably noted strange irrelevant sites listed in your referral reports.

    You may wonder why would those sites refer to your site.

    The answer is they don’t!

    These are sites that are passing data directly to Google Analytics specifically to add themselves to your reports. That is why they are referred to as ghost referrals.

    I bet your next question is, why would they do that? So you’ll look them up and do business with them (or they have infected or nefarious sites that they want you to visit).

    Here’s how you can segment out that data:

    Google Analytics Ghost Referrals Segmentation

    1. Sign into your Google Analytics Account.
    2. On any Reporting page, you’ll see an option to + Add Segment. Select and click + New Segment.
    3. Name your segment and click Conditions.
    4. Set Filter > Sessions > Exclude and Source > matches regex.
    5. Add each of the domains you wish to exclude and separate them with a | symbol.

    You can now utilize this segment whenever analyzing any of your reports.

    Monitor engaged traffic in Google Analytics

    Imagine if you could reverse engineer the visitors who convert into customers. Here’s how you can set up a custom segment to monitor their performance over time.

    Google Analytics Monitor Engaged Traffic

    1. Sign into your Google Analytics account.
    2. On any Reporting page, you’ll see an option to + Add Segment. Select and click + New Segment.
    3. Name your segment and click Conditions.
    4. Set Filter > Sessions > Include and Session Duration > 60 OR Unique Screen Views > per session > 1.
    5. Adjust the time or number of screens based on the performance you’re seeing with your engaged visitors.

    Related: How to set up Google Analytics funnels

    Why website analytics is important

    Knowing, not guessing, how your website is performing and what your site visitors are doing when they land there is what I call mission critical data.

    This information will allow you to spot trends and see what visitors are interested in so that you can make plans to offer more of the same.

    To learn more about getting started with Google Analytics, visit Google’s Analytics Academy, which offers free online courses. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your website analytics metrics.

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Christopher S. Penn, Douglas Karr and Genevieve Tuenge.

    The post What is website analytics — and how can it help your business grow? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    So, you’re an entrepreneur who has finally decided to start investing in video content — more specifically, a YouTube channel. Congratulations! Video is only going to continue to grow in dominance for the foreseeable future. In fact, roughly 33% of all activity online right now is spent watching videos, and an estimated 85% of the U.S. internet audience watches online videos.

    But you probably already knew that if you’re reading this article. So, instead of selling you on the merits of video, let’s take a look at how to get YouTube subscribers for your new channel.

    How to get YouTube subscribers for your new channel

    This article will take a deep dive into how to get YouTube subscribers on and off YouTube. The topics we’ll discuss include:

    Ready to start building your YouTube subscribers list? Let’s dive in.

    How to get subscribers on YouTube

    YouTube has every reason to encourage users to stay and engage with content on its platform. The more time viewers spend watching videos on YouTube and interacting with its platform, the more money it makes.

    As a result, YouTube provides creators with a variety of tools and techniques to help them grow their subscribers within the YouTube interface.

    Related: Making money on YouTube

    Add a brand watermark to your YouTube videos

    YouTube allows creators to add a dynamic, linkable icon to all their videos in the bottom right corner of the video. This linkable watermark is a call-to-action (CTA) that when clicked on, allows the user to subscribe.

    By adding a watermark to your videos, you can increase the likelihood of converting viewers to subscribers — and best of all, YouTube shows analytics on your branding watermark to track its performance.

    If you’re adding a brand watermark to your YouTube videos, there are a few things to consider.

    Choose the right image

    Your watermark is displayed on every video — so, you need to pick one that represents your brand and generates clicks.

    YouTube suggests using a transparent image to not distract from the video, but the choice is entirely up to you.

    Instead of using a logo or transparent image, some YouTubers choose to go with something less subtle like a bright, subscription button.

    How To Get YouTube Subscribers Browsing Through Pictures

    Pick a good start time

    You can also determine when you want your brand watermark to first appear.

    There are pros and cons to the timing.

    For example, if you start it right away, it will run the entire duration of your video but might distract the viewers from your introduction. If you start it after your introduction, you risk losing the people who don’t stay beyond the first 15 to 30 seconds.

    Remember your watermark during video production

    Because your brand watermark is universal for every video, you cannot stipulate its visibility video by video. As a result, you should avoid having an important message, text or action appear in the bottom right corner, which is where the watermark will be placed.

    Back to top

    Create a killer YouTube channel

    Another technique to get more subscribers on YouTube is to create a killer channel.

    When you’re thinking about how to optimize your channel, focus on creating a unique and memorable experience for your viewers.

    If you emphasize creating a channel that adds value to the viewer, you’ll see more activity and subsequently, more subscribers.

    How To Get YouTube Subscribers Desktop Computer

    Below are some simple ways to create a killer YouTube channel.

    Pick an awesome channel icon

    Your YouTube channel icon is visible no matter where you are on the site. Whether someone is watching your video or reading one of your comments, your icon will be what that user sees.

    Pick a channel icon that is memorable, legible and relevant to your channel’s identity.

    Related: A beginner’s guide to branding your business

    Create a powerful channel trailer

    A channel trailer is an automatic video that plays when a viewer lands on your YouTube channel.

    This trailer is an excellent resource for communicating who you are and what your channel offers that viewer.

     

    Create a completely custom 30- to 60-second trailer that has a clear and direct call-to-action. Consider taking clips from some of your most popular videos and creating a high-impact highlight reel channel trailer to convert viewers to subscribers.

    Customize the page experience

    YouTube gives its creators a lot of flexibility with the layout and design of their channels.

    For example, you can upload a custom header image with your logo or channel name to improve brand recognition. You can also control the page structure and select videos or playlists that you think new users might enjoy.

    By taking a strategic approach to the layout and design of the page, you can increase the viewer engagement and likelihood of a user subscribing.

    Related: How to design your own logo 

    Write a compelling channel description

    The channel description is an often-overlooked feature you can use to grow your YouTubers subscribers list. The channel description is a way for you to tell the viewer what your channel is about while also convincing them to take action — either to subscribe or watch your videos.

    Back to top

    Optimize your individual videos

    With your channel ready to go, the next area to address is how you optimize the individual videos.

    Video optimization is one of the most important techniques for increasing your viewers and subscribers.

    YouTube is a search engine first and foremost, which means that it’s focused on delivering the most relevant and valuable videos to its users when they search for a topic or query.

    YouTube uses an algorithm to determine which videos are most relevant, timely and valuable. As a result, you can do a few things to increase the likelihood of your video showing up for a search term — aka search engine optimization (SEO).

    To start, create titles that are written with the searcher in mind and include relevant keywords and search phrases that your audience might use.

    Then, try to include transcripts on your videos. Transcripts provide value to your videos by giving YouTube’s algorithm more physical context about what your video covers.

    Also, write engaging, SEO-friendly video descriptions, use appropriate video tags, and include a clear CTA in your copy. Finally, choose a winning thumbnail that will help you increase click-throughs on your videos.

    While optimizing your video for YouTube’s search results won’t immediately lead to more subscribers, it can help you drive more views, which should help you grow your subscribers.

    Beyond SEO tips, there are other techniques you can use on your video page to grow your subscribers.

    Related: What is a meta description?

    Respond to your commenters

    If your audience is taking the time to watch your video and leave comments, you should prioritize responding to their comments. This will help your viewers feel more connected to your channel and will increase their loyalty — and your subscriber list.

    YouTube also has a Creator Hearts feature that allows you to designate comments you love with a heart.

    Related: How to respond to negative comments on social media

    Use your video real estate

    Similar to the brand watermark, the real estate on your video can be a useful place for you to entice viewers to subscribe.

    Creators have the options of tools like end screens and cards to drive viewer actions like subscriptions.

    An end screen is a pop-up over your video that you can activate to share similar videos or ask for a subscription.

    Cards are interactive elements that you can place throughout your video. The user has to click an “information” icon for the card to appear.

    Test different tools and techniques to see which activities lead to the best result.

    How To Get YouTube Subscribers Video On Tablet

    Ask for subscriptions in the video

    The time for subtly is gone on YouTube, and viewers are now accustomed to an obvious CTA within the video.

    Don’t be afraid to ask your viewers to subscribe — it’s one of the main reasons you made the video.

    Knowing that 20% of viewers stop watching a video within 10 seconds should indicate that your subscription CTA should appear early on.

    Back to top

    How to get YouTube subscribers away from YouTube

    Using YouTube to grow your subscribers is an obvious choice; after all, they are already on the platform, which decreases the obstacles. However, we must not forget that there is an entire world wide web outside YouTube with billions of possible subscribers just waiting to see your awesome videos.

    Many YouTubers take shortcuts when starting out and will resort to buying YouTube subscribers.

    This kind of strategy is dangerous to the integrity of your brand and completely defeats the purpose of growing a subscriber base.

    Instead of buying subscribers or using some other sketchy tactic, focus on using organic strategies to grow an engaged audience of your target market.

    Back to top

    Use social media to promote your videos correctly

    Unfortunately, YouTube and other social media platforms don’t play well together. Sites like Facebook and Twitter don’t like to send users to YouTube because it takes that person away from their site. You might notice that your social posts with just the YouTube link never seem to perform as well as your other posts. That’s because those social sites devalue your posts if it has external links like YouTube.

    While this might seem like a negative, it’s quite the opposite.

    Few YouTubers take the time to use social media appropriately, choosing to only share their YouTube video link with their social followers.

    This means you have a huge opportunity to dominate social and drive views to your YouTube.

     

    So how do you take advantage of social media to drive more YouTube views and subscribers?

    Simple: Take advantage of the posts that social sites like Facebook do value, which is native videos and images.

    While the YouTube link will get buried, Facebook and other social sites will weight posts with digital media elements more heavily.

    Cut a short clip from your larger YouTube video and upload that onto the social site. If your main video is 10 minutes long, your clip might only be 2-3 minutes. When you add the video, include a short introduction and CTA to visit the link for the full video.

    This simple strategy will increase the organic views on that social channel, which will help you drive more eyes to your YouTube video and hopefully, more subscribers.

    Related: A beginner’s guide to social media for small business

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    Send marketing emails to convert low-hanging fruit

    How To Get YouTube Subscribers Woman Picking Fruit

    Most entrepreneurs or small business owners are not growing their YouTube subscriber list to become full-time YouTube personalities. They want to grow their subscriber list so they can have a direct line of communication to a targeted audience that is relevant to their business objectives.

    If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is — this is essentially an email list.

    If your business already has an email list, it’s quite possible that there is an interest overlap in your email and YouTube subscribers. Because these people are already subscribed to your email marketing lists, there’s a high probability that they would be interested in your YouTube videos.

    Because it’s not easy to see when an email subscriber has also subscribed on YouTube, it’s not advised to send blatant emails about subscription or multiple drips for subscriptions as it could annoy someone who has subscribed to both already.

    Instead, get creative with how you approach emails to entice YouTube subscriptions.

    Try including your most popular video in your monthly newsletter, add your subscription CTA in your email signature, or run competitions that require staying updated with your channel.

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    Use digital marketing tools and resources to scale

    If you really want to grow your YouTube channel, you may not have a ton of time to devote to the external marketing efforts.

    Fortunately, there are many options available to help you streamline your digital marketing efforts. For example, GoDaddy’s suite of Online Marketing tools include easy DIY solutions like email marketing and managed services like SEO.

    Finding software and tools can help you quickly and easily scale your digital marketing efforts, and expand your YouTube subscribers list. Learning the subtle nuances of search engine optimization or inbound marketing can take many hours of research, but finding other vendors or software solutions can mitigate that commitment while generating similar results.

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    Bonus tips to grow your YouTube subscribers list

    By now you should have a good start on how you can grow your YouTube subscribers on and off the platform. These techniques should be the foundation on which you build an entire marketing strategy for your channel.

    Here are a few small tips to keep your YouTube subscribers growing.

    Always use your channel’s auto-subscribe link

    There is a nifty little code you can add to the end of your channel link to automatically trigger a subscription popup once clicked. By modifying your channel link to include this code “?sub_confirmation=1” the user is prompted to subscribe to your channel once they click your link.

    Post great content often

    All your efforts to grow subscribers will be in vain if you’re not posting high-quality content on a regular basis.

    Subscriber churn is natural, but it’s more prevalent when the subscriber is not getting value by following your channel.

    To keep your subscriber list growing, you will need to continue to produce content that can keep your followers engaged. Moreover, a channel with only a few videos is less likely to convert than one with several videos and subsequent playlists.

    Highlight your best performing videos

    Data analysis is a critical step in any effective marketing initiative, and there is much you can glean from the analytics within YouTube.

    One of the insights you can use to grow your subscribers is to find the video that generates the most subscribers and feature it early and often. You can find it by visiting the “YouTube Watch Page” inside the “Subscribers” section. Here you can view a breakdown of the videos that have generated the most subscribers over the last month. You can then take that video and feature it on your channel home page, make it the first video in its relevant playlists, or even use it in your offsite marketing efforts.

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    Start building your brand on YouTube

    YouTube is one of the world’s most powerful communication channels, with more than 30 million visitors every day. It’s no surprise then that entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even corporations, want to make their mark on the platform.

    Figuring out how to get YouTube subscribers and grow your channel takes commitment. But if you can keep the advice above in mind as you start building your YouTube brand, you will put yourself in a better position to get more YouTube subscribers for your new channel.

    The post How to get YouTube subscribers for your new channel appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Amazon offers numerous options for advertising campaigns, and you should work with all of them to achieve the very best results. Two popular options are automatic campaigns and manual campaigns in Sponsored ads.

    Related: Product targeting — How to optimize exposure on Amazon

    Amazon Targeting Campaigns Graphic

    Comparison of automatic and manual campaigns

    Amazon manages automatic campaigns, showing your ads using a variety of keywords and eventually selecting the most relevant queries. To run an automatic campaign, you assign only the daily budget and the maximum cost per click (CPC). You can also add negative words, and the system will automatically do the rest.

    In a manual campaign, you add keywords yourself, assign them maximum bids and match types, and add negative words.

    As you set up your Amazon targeting, remember each of these campaign options has advantages and disadvantages.

    Amazon Targeting Comparison Automatic Vs Manual Campaigns

    Pros and cons of automatic campaigns

    Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of automatic campaigns on Amazon:

    Pros

    • Automatic campaigns are quick and easy to start.
    • It’s easier to choose successful keywords.
    • Automatic campaigns provide an in-depth look at how Amazon users can search for your product.
    • You’re able to review user demand and highlight the most important keyword requests.

    Cons

    • Automatic campaigns give you less control than manual campaigns
    • You must use the same bid for all keywords.
    • The automatic campaign function might result in clicks for irrelevant search queries.

    Pros and cons of manual campaigns

    Compare those automatic campaign pros and cons with these advantages and disadvantages of setting up your Amazon campaigns manually:

    Pros

    • Manual campaigns help ensure more accurate keyword queries.
    • They allow for use of different types of matching keywords.
    • With manual campaigns you can run ads by category and brand.
    • It’s easier to lower rates or pause ineffective words.

    Cons

    • Manual campaigns require constant work to improve rate control.
    • You might miss queries on which your product is searched.
    • You’ll need to commit ongoing time and effort for success.

    An automatic campaign can be launched quickly and easily, but it will also require your attention and control — and search queries are not always relevant.

    On the other hand, Amazon’s automatic targeting option covers a multitude of queries that you might not have thought of if you were running a manual campaign, leading to additional conversions.

    Related: Where to promote your Amazon store with paid advertising

    More accurate targeting for Amazon automatic campaigns

    Recently, automatic campaigns added an additional function for setting bids for different types of ad impressions, making the setup of automatic campaigns more accurate. Now you can assign a separate bid for each Amazon targeting category.

    Amazon Targeting Bids

    Let’s dive a little deeper into what each of those means:

    • Close match: Shows your ad to shoppers who use search terms closely related to your products.
    • Complement: Shows your ad to shoppers who view the detail pages of products that complement your product.
    • Loose match: Shows your ad to shoppers who use search terms loosely related to your products.
    • Substitute: Shows your ad to shoppers who view the detail pages of products similar to yours.

    You can learn more about keyword matching types at sellercentral.amazon.com.

    Leverage keyword reports to improve manual campaign targeting

    By constantly browsing keyword reports in Amazon’s automatic targeting, you can understand which search queries lead to purchases and include them in your manual campaigns, and which queries are irrelevant and should be added to negative keywords.

    You can generate various types of reports to track which keywords lead to sales.

    Amazon Targeting Reports

    A manual Amazon targeting campaign lets you highlight the most important requests for product categories, and enables you to customize target categories or competitors’ brands and products.

    Another advantage of manual campaigns is that you can set the type of matching keywords, a feature similar to setting keywords in Google Ads.

    Related: How to retarget website visitors with Google Ads

    What type of Amazon targeting campaign to choose?

    You can see what Amazon recommends in choosing campaigns in this video:

    Using both automated and manual campaigns can be beneficial to your Amazon advertising strategy.

    It is rather challenging for newbies to understand how to best use these so different but yet interrelated strategies. Do not be afraid of the unknown. You just have to spend some time to research the issue. After this, you will feel more confident and make the most of Amazon targeting tools.

    If you are launching a manual campaign, you can launch an automatic campaign along with it to detect useful keywords that you did not manually compile.

    By using both types of Amazon targeting campaigns, you are more likely to find convertible keywords, and you can identify negative keywords that are ineffective or irrelevant to your product, costing you unnecessary pay-per-click fees.

    Each campaign type has its own advantages and bidding strategies, so it is important that you have a deep understanding of your entire directory, the types of campaigns that work and do not work, where you want to limit your individual keyword bids, and your ad spend.

    These variables can work together to ultimately result in clicks and conversions to product sales.

     

    Use both manual and automatic campaign types to advertise your products on Amazon. Use data collected in your automatic campaigns and add successful strategies to your manual campaigns to increase your sales.

    Finally, constantly monitor your advertising rates and experiment to see what works best.

    Editor’s note: New marketplace selling features in GoDaddy Online Store let small businesses easily sell products on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Etsy and manage their orders and inventory all from one place.

    The post Automatic vs. manual targeting in Amazon Sponsored ads — which is right for you? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    The vision for our GoDaddy Pro program is to empower web designers and developers with the tools, support, and resources they need to make their clients succeed.

    We also want to be a brand and community that they’re proud to be a part of.

    What’s changing?

    We have exciting updates coming to GoDaddy Pro this month, starting with a fresh look.

    You’ll see visual updates to the GoDaddy Pro brand on our site, and GoDaddy Pro members will see an updated GoDaddy Pro Dashboard when they log in.

    We’re also improving the in-product experience for members with updated features, functionality, and a new UI.

    GoDaddy Pro member newsletters and communications will have new branding, and we’ll update our GoDaddy Pro marketing over the coming months.

    How does the new GoDaddy Pro branding affect members?

    The updates to our member communications, marketing, and in-product experience create a unified experience.

    But when you join GoDaddy Pro, you’re not just signing up for free tools. You’re also joining a growing community of web designers & developers from around the world.

    Our goal, with the new GoDaddy Pro branding, is to help create a sense of pride and belonging within that community.

    What’s next?

    We’ll announce more GoDaddy Pro changes in the coming months. Stay tuned for updates.

    Not a GoDaddy Pro member yet? Join for free.

    The post A fresh start for GoDaddy Pro appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    When it comes to building your web presence, WordPress is the most popular choice. At the moment of writing this article, WordPress powers more than 30% of all websites, whether aided by managed WordPress hosting or not.

    There are several reasons why WordPress is a popular choice for websites:

    • It’s free and open source, which means you can download it, modify it, use it and even redistribute it for no extra charge.
    • It has tons of free and paid themes and plugins that make it easy to create any type of website you can think of.
    • It has a large and vibrant community as well as numerous blogs, forums and online resources that allow you to quickly find answers for anything related to building a website with WordPress.

    Related: Why WordPress? 7 benefits of WordPress websites.

    However, despite its many benefits, WordPress can be somewhat challenging for complete beginners.

    While WordPress is easy to use, you’ll still have to go through somewhat of a learning curve in order to confidently use this content management system (CMS).

    Another challenge associated with WordPress is that it requires regular updates and maintenance if you want your website to continue operating at peak performance. These tasks require time commitment and some technical knowledge, which makes many business owners feel a little intimidated.

    Let’s face it. When you’re running a business, you have plenty of tasks to focus on instead of learning how to manage all the technical aspects of your website. Not to mention you might not have the budget to hire a web professional.

    The good news is that you don’t have to give up on WordPress.

     

    In fact, you can have a highly effective WordPress site even if you don’t have much technical expertise, the time or desire to learn the skills necessary to install and manage your WordPress website, or the budget to hire a WordPress developer.

    The answer is managed WordPress hosting.

    Managed WordPress hosting allows you to focus on producing content that will put you in front of your target audience and promote your business while your hosting provider takes care of the core technical aspects of managing your site.

    Related: What is a content management system?

    Guide to managed WordPress hosting

    In this post, we’ll explain what managed WordPress hosting is and show you the benefits of using it. Here’s what we’ll cover:

    Let’s dive in.

    Related: Create It — Building your presence, brand and product

    What is managed WordPress hosting?

    Managed WordPress hosting is a special hosting plan for WordPress that offers a server optimized for WordPress to make WordPress websites run faster and remain secure.

    Along with the optimized server, the hosting company provides a set of services that take care of the administrative tasks associated with managing a WordPress website.

    These tasks include WordPress installation, automated daily backups, core WordPress software updates and server caching, as well as file access restriction for better security.

    In other words, managed WordPress hosting removes a lot of the unnecessary headaches from your plate when it comes to the administrative and technical aspects of running your site.

    This, in turn, allows you to focus on growing your business in the myriad other ways that entrepreneurs build their ventures.

    It’s worth mentioning that while managed WordPress hosting does take care of the more technical aspects of running and managing a website, you’re still responsible for keeping your themes and plugins up to date as they are not considered a part of the core updates.

    Accidental Icon Website Built On Managed WordPress Hosting
    Lyn Slater’s Accidental Icon website is built on GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting. “That’s how I represent myself in the world,” she says.

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    What’s the difference between managed WordPress and self-hosted WordPress?

    At this point, you might be wondering what the difference is between managed WordPress and self-hosted WordPress. Let’s go over the differences.

    Self-hosted WordPress

    With a self-hosted WordPress website, you are in charge of every aspect of running your website. This means you have to download and install WordPress onto your hosting server. This can be tricky for website owners without a lot of technical experience.

    Plus, if your hosting company doesn’t offer one-click WordPress installation, knowing how to create a database can seem quite daunting.

    With a self-hosted WordPress site, you also have to find a theme for your site. And you’ll need to find and install basic plugins that enable you to collect visitor contact information, optimize your WordPress site for search engines, share website content easily on social media sites and more.

    Knowing which plugins are the best and safest in their class as well as finding a perfect WordPress theme for your new website is a challenge in and of itself.

    There are thousands of themes and plugins available online and this can quickly turn into a time-consuming task that overwhelms new website owners.

    On top of that, you have to make sure your WordPress site is kept up-to-date and backed up on a regular basis.

    All of these tasks are not only time-consuming but also require some technical knowledge to complete correctly.

    Related: How to build a WordPress website for the first time

    Managed WordPress hosting

    With managed WordPress hosting, on the other hand, the heavy lifting is handled for you.

    There are no manual backups to perform, no databases to create, no caching plugins to configure to make your site load faster. In the end, even if you’re not tech-savvy, managed WordPress hosting makes having a WordPress website a lot easier.

    Let’s take a closer look at why a managed WordPress hosting solution might be the best path to starting and maintaining a WordPress site.

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    Why is managed WordPress hosting a solid solution for easier WordPress websites?

    As mentioned earlier, WordPress is the world’s most popular site-building tool to get a highly customized, professional looking website with just about any feature and site functionality you can imagine.

    Managed WordPress hosting makes the power of WordPress more accessible for more entrepreneurs.

     

    Let’s take a look at how managed WordPress hosting is a solid solution if you want a WordPress website that’s easier to launch and maintain.

    No complicated installation process

    The most obvious benefit of signing up for a managed WordPress hosting plan through a trusted provider like GoDaddy is you don’t have to go through a manual installation process for WordPress.

    Installing WordPress manually is not as simple as installing a new program onto your computer.

    Not only do you have to upload WordPress to the correct folder on your server, you also have to go through the process of creating a database and a database user as well as making sure the user has the correct privileges.

    Managed WordPress hosting plans usually come with WordPress pre-installed so there are no complicated steps to follow.

    You don’t have to worry about page speed or configuring caching plugins

    Your page speed matters. If your website loads slowly, chances are your customers will go to your competitor. Unfortunately, many shared hosting plans aren’t using servers that were optimized for WordPress — which means you’re in charge of making sure your website loads fast.

    Speeding up WordPress can get quite technical, especially if you want to use a caching plugin.

    Managed hosting plans employ server-side caching and load-balanced servers, which means you don’t have to do any technical tinkering to make your website load faster.

    WordPress core software updates are handled for you

    WordPress is a content management system that’s constantly evolving. As such, new updates are regularly introduced to bring about new features.

    However, updates also include various bug and security fixes that ensure your website remains safe from online threats.

    That’s why you need to update your WordPress installation as new updates are released. However, applying updates can often fall through the cracks, given the number of tasks you have on your plate as a small business owner.

    A great managed WordPress hosting solution ensures you’re always using the latest version of WordPress with all security updates applied.

    Improved security

    Chainlink Fence Illustrates WordPress Security

    With a 60% market share of all open-sourced content management systems, WordPress’s popularity makes it a target for security threats.

    In fact, 90% of the infected websites that the Sucuri team cleaned in 2018 were built on the WordPress platform, according to Sucuri’s Website Hack Trend Report 2018 .

    “The most notorious threats to CMS’ stem from vulnerabilities introduced by add-on modules, plugins, themes, and extensions,” the report’s authors note.

    While it’s the responsibility of site owners to keep WordPress plugins, themes and other add-ons updated and patched, a strong managed WordPress hosting solution will include security features such as malware scanning.

    Related: How to run a WordPress security scan

    You can rely on expert support

    Customer service plays a major role in deciding which hosting provider you should choose. The problem with hosting plans that don’t offer managed WordPress hosting is that their support staff are not experts in WordPress.

    Most of them have a general idea of what could be causing the problem but they will not be able to tell you exactly what caused the issue and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    Companies that offer managed WordPress hosting have WordPress experts as part of their support team. This means they can offer solutions and advice that will help you prevent the problem from happening again.

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    Features to look for in a Managed WordPress hosting plan

    Managed WordPress Hosting Dashboard On Laptop

    By now, you probably understand that a managed WordPress hosting plan can save you a lot of trouble and headaches down the road. However, not all managed WordPress hosting plans are created equal.

    As such, knowing what features to look for in a managed WordPress hosting plan is crucial before you decide on the plan.

    Let’s take a look at the key features you’ll want your managed WordPress hosting provider to have.

    Easy installation and migration

    If you already have an existing website, you’ll want to make sure that your newly chosen host offers easy migration and installation of your website to their managed hosting plan. After all, the last thing you want is to have to start your site from scratch.

    If you’re getting ready to launch your website, look for a managed hosting provider with a simple installation process. This will make it not only easy but also fast to get your site up and running without any headaches.

    Uptime guarantee

    Another important feature to seek out in a WordPress hosting provider is an uptime guarantee.

    In a nutshell, an uptime guarantee ensures your website will be accessible online.

     

    The industry standard for uptime guarantee is 99.9%. If the hosting company you’re considering doesn’t offer the same, think twice about signing up for their plan.

    A website that goes down frequently or remains down for long periods of time results in loss of revenue and lost customers, and reflects poorly on your brand image.

    Optimized for speed

    Nowadays, consumers expect your website to load in three seconds or less. As such, having an optimized website that loads fast is crucial.

    Make sure your chosen managed WordPress host uses server caching to ensure your website loads as quickly as possible.

    This will ensure that your site continues loading fast even when you’re experiencing traffic spikes.

    Reliable support

    Having a support team that can answer any questions you might have regarding your website is priceless. Without reliable support, you’ll be left to your own devices and googling skills to find a solution to your problem and hope that it works without making things even worse.

    A support team that’s available 24/7/365 can answer all your technical questions as well as help you solve problems and get things back the way they are supposed to be.

    Regular website backups

    Having a website backup gives you peace of mind that in the event something goes wrong, you can easily restore your site with a single click of the mouse. With a regular backup solution in place, you don’t have to worry about being offline while you rebuild your site or losing months’ or even years’ worth of content.

    Look for a managed host that offers daily backups as well as the ability to easily restore your site from the backup.

    Access to themes and plugins

    Finding the right theme and a trusted set of plugins is time-consuming. On top of that, some managed WordPress hosting providers restrict the themes and plugins that you can install on their servers.

    Make sure your chosen provider makes it easy for you to find a great looking theme that’s easy to customize and work with. The same applies to plugins.

    With access to themes and plugins, you will be able to truly make your website a reflection of your brand and have all the necessary features needed to run a successful business.

    Malware scan and removal

    Lastly, make sure your chosen managed WordPress host includes regular malware scans and malware removal as part of their service. This feature will ensure your site remains safe from hackers and, more importantly, that the malware will be removed in the event your site gets hacked due to a plugin or theme vulnerability.

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    What makes GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting stand apart from the competition?

    If you’re looking for a managed hosting provider for WordPress that has all of the above features, look no further than GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting.

    GoDaddy Managed WordPress was created after hearing how small business customers were struggling to build a WordPress site.

    GoDaddy’s WordPress websites solution makes it easy for entrepreneurs to quickly create a beautiful site that represents their brand.

    Quick Start Wizard

    GoDaddy WordPress Quick Start Wizard

    GoDaddy Managed WordPress uses an exclusive Quick Start Wizard to collect information about your business. It helps you fill in general details and create a basic layout that makes the WordPress web design and development process easier.

    You won’t be starting at a blank page the first time you see your WordPress website.

    Easy migration

    If you already have a WordPress site that you want to move to a GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting plan, a one-click auto-migration feature makes moving your site a breeze.

    Fast page load times

    Leading the industry with a 0.215 second page load time, load-balanced servers and a clustered server environment, GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting can scale for big traffic spikes while maintaining high performance.

    GoDaddy WordPress Hosting Page Load Time Chart

    Automatic core software and security updates

    You’ll also always be on the newest version of WordPress, with all security updates applied.

    Daily website backups

    GoDaddy Managed WordPress sites are automatically backed up each night. That means you can rest assured that you can restore your site’s files and databases with one click in the event of an emergency.

    Access to thousands of free themes and plugins

    GoDaddy WordPress Sample Theme

    Just choose your industry and GoDaddy Managed WordPress will serve up pre-built themes that are easy to customize with a drag-and-drop editor. The theme selection includes the features and layouts you’d expect from a top-notch premium WordPress theme, including being responsive, so they look and work great on mobile devices.

    Some of the most popular plugins — including plugins for contact forms, social media, SEO and analytics — are built into GoDaddy’s premium WordPress themes.

    You also can choose from myriad third-party WordPress themes and plugins.

    Search engine optimization

    The SEO tool baked into GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting handles your website’s basic SEO needs to help Google and other search engines find you.

    Malware scanning and removal

    All GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting plans include automatic daily malware scans. Malware removal is included with the Ultimate plan — finding and removing malware before it does damage.

    High-quality images

    You get free access to thousands of high-quality, royalty-free images for virtually any industry.

    Award-winning customer support

    GoDaddy’s customer support team includes WordPress experts that regularly contribute to the WordPress core. They know WordPress — and support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

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    How does GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting work?

    As mentioned above, GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting was designed with beginners in mind.

    This WordPress hosting solution makes it easy for anyone to build a WordPress site from scratch.

    You will go through the Quick Start Wizard the first time you log into your WordPress admin dashboard.

    1. Begin by entering information about your website, including the type of website you want to create (e.g. website + blog or online store), your industry, the name of your site, your tagline, contact information and social profiles.
    2. Choose from a selection of themes that populate based on the information you’ve entered. You can change later if you want to.
    3. Voila! Your new WordPress site is set up with the details you entered, plus demo pages of content that you can begin to customize.

    Here’s how to set up WordPress for the first time using GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting.

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    Conclusion and next steps

    WordPress allows anyone to create a website and it powers more than 30% of all websites online. Despite being one of the most popular solutions for creating a website, there is no denying that WordPress can be overwhelming for complete beginners.

    Luckily, there are solutions out there that make managing your WordPress website a lot easier. One such solution is managed WordPress hosting.

    Managed WordPress hosting has several key benefits over self-hosted WordPress. For starters, it removes the initial overwhelm involved with WordPress installation and setup.

    Secondly, it makes running your website easier as all the administrative tasks such as updates, backups and caching are taken care of by your hosting company.

    In addition, managed WordPress hosting such as that offered by GoDaddy will even install the most popular and necessary plugins for you as well as make it easy to choose a beautiful theme from a reputable source.

    You will also benefit by not having to worry about your site disappearing overnight, as daily backups make it easy to restore your site in the event something goes wrong.

    All things considered, GoDaddy Managed WordPress allows you to focus on running your business and growing it, instead of wasting time on tasks associated with managing your WordPress website.

    Want to learn more about getting started with a WordPress website? Check out these resources:

    Happy WordPress-ing!

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Andy McIlwain and Stephanie Dorame.

    The post What is managed WordPress hosting? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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  • 09/05/19--07:00: For the love of food
  • “Success is never owned. You just rent it and the rent is due every day. It’s not happening in one day and you have to embrace that challenge.”

    Visiting a Temecula farmer’s market with chef Anthony Bar is an education and an adventure. He gabs with local produce merchants and discuss their importance in cooking philosophy. He tries raspberries and rhapsodizes on the subtleties of flavor. He regales us with tales of growing up in the north of France and learning the power of food to bring people together

    My father was a chef, and my parents made me try everything. It’s very important at a young age to learn what is good for you and what makes quality produce.” With that knowledge bred in the bone,Anthony followed in the family footsteps, studying culinary arts and hospitality at the Lycée Michel Servet de Lille 

    After a five-year stint in the French military, Anthony traveled extensively before landing in Los Angeles, working in the kitchen of a number of French restaurants and quickly realizing that he wanted to make his own way: “I was like, I cannot keep working for a boss. They don’t have the same vision of me. So the best thing for me, I would like to open my own business. 

    Taking the advice of friends and starting up private cooking classes to demystify the process. It’s not like molecular gastronomy or anything,” he laughs. “It’s just simple, nice quality produce prepped in certain way and cooked in properly.” Like that, Anthony Bar Cooking was born.  

    Offering a variety of classes, from making jams to creating scrumptious dishes with squash and beets, Anthony’s friendly expertise got around and brought in those hungry to learn. He knew that to grow this burgeoning business he needed to amplify his profile in the So Cal cooking community and tapped GoDaddy tools to create a website.

    GoDaddy Website Builder has templates ready,” he says. I’m not a computer guy, so to be able to create the website in a few hours without calling someone to help me was amazing.”  

    When he teamed up with a business partner to start Barong, his Indonesian-French fusion joint in Temecula, Website Builder’s simple functionality made it a snap to quickly revise menus — plus, the drag-and-drop picture galleries helped show off specials and Barong’s unique décor.

    We really try to bring this atmosphere of Balinese vacation to the restaurant. I want people to have an amazing experience and try something new. Being able to show that experience off on the website is great.” He also uses Website Builder’s marketing tools to keep customers up on the latest on classes and at Barong. “It helps a lot for me just to go online, make a template, choose pictures and text, and quickly send to everyone. 

    For his next move, Anthony plans to combine his relationship with local producers and the desire to embrace the bold with a farm-to-table restaurant. “We can help a lot of farmers working next to us, and for me it’s a pleasure because I have no doubts about the quantity.” This proactive attitude is what keeps him excitedand he offers advice for entrepreneurs that echoes this excitement.

    “Success is never owned. You just rent it and the rent is due every day. It’s not happening in one day and you have to embrace that challenge.” 

    The post For the love of food appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Businesses innovate rapidly in the online field nowadays, and the Web becomes ever new with each passing day. Websites that don’t keep up and stay creative become shunned for more impressive digital experiences, leading eventually to the equivalent of a ghost town.

    This article created by our team at Amelia won’t focus on the websites that are technically correct, have perfect design that respects all principles, and use classic typefaces. Instead, it will focus on those websites that are built creatively, stepping aside from the basic layouts and designs that people have already gotten used to.

    All the examples of creative websites you’ll see below have pushed the boundaries of web design in one way or another and ensured their continued success in the race for attention.

    How to Come Up with Creative Websites

    If a brilliant idea pops in your head, stick to it, even if it’s not a conventional one. You don’t always have to play it by the book when putting your website together because,in the case of the Web, the “textbook” keeps changing along with new trends and technologies.

    Instead, you should trust your innovative ideas and, hey, maybe even reinvent the wheel a little bit. Exploring your creativity and having fun with your own take on design is a great way to come up with an interesting website that people will remember and share.

    Before we show you the list of creative websites we’ve gathered, here are a few tips on what to keep in mind when planning your website for maximum novelty.

    Step away from pre-designed layouts

    Pre-designed layouts are always tempting because they look neat and very professional. The truth is that everyone uses them to get away with designing a website faster. It’s the shortest way out and the most convenient approach, but that doesn’t make it the best.

    In order to be unique, you’ll have to come up with a brand new idea and develop it yourself. A flexible grid system with rows and columns can help you, but there’s no fixed rule on how layouts should look, so give yourself some freedom when creating it.

    If what you happen to come up with fits your website’s vibe and content and you get good feedback on it, that’s mission accomplished.

    Try to think outside the box

    Creative websites never fully follow the design rules and principles you’ve been learning about up until now. These principles lead to visually pleasing results and you generally can’t fail with them, but this is not what you are looking for when trying to individualize your website from the rest.

    Instead, dare to try new things and forge something entirely unique. Keep in mind that your avant-garde design might end up rubbing some users the wrong way, but this is the risk that comes with innovation and exploring virgin grounds.

    Organize your website in a different manner

    If you can’t seem to step away from those design principles you learned and cherish, try using them in a different way. One way would be experimenting with organization.

    People have already formed expectations in terms of how a website is organized, which means they are easily impressed when something is far from what they expected.

    For example, almost all websites place the navigation menu at the top of the page; have you ever considered placing it at the bottom? It might look really weird and it might not work very well depending on how the rest of your content is organized, but it’s an idea!

    Website layouts for all industries come in a wide range of variations and that should give you some space to shake down the norms. Just make sure that you’re not doing something simply for the sake of being contrary: there should be a good reason for how everything is organized.

    Get creative with menu icons

    Creative websites impress through other elements besides layout design. Menu icons are placed in this category. Working on your website’s icon set can entirely change the user experience so don’t overlook this aspect.

    Customized icons that differ from one menu link to another will always be a nice touch that makes the navigation process more pleasurable for visitors.

    Creative Websites That Will Inspire You to Try New Things

    Gusto

    Gusto is targeted at small businesses that need help with managing their teams. Besides services like payroll, Gusto helps companies with health insurance, expert HR services, team management tools, and more.

    Gusto has managed to help no less than 100,000 companies up until now and they are planning to expand even more.

    So what’s the secret behind their website’s success?Besides the playful illustrations scattered throughout the site (in stark contrast with the business-talk jargon), this is one of those creative websites that break industry norms with a headline typeface that is both professional and fun.

    Gyor Moore

    Gyor Moore is a design company that helps businesses build their identity in the online environment. The studio focuses on positive change, which also reflects in the way they built their creative website.

    They express values such as diversity and equality, while also pointing out the relationship between a company’s past experiences and the design that is going to represent it.

    OAK’S LAB

    Who would have thought that a software architecting company would be listed among the most creative websites out there?

    What’s so interesting about a software program? Well, Oak’s Lab managed to make it interesting through the approach they’ve taken to present themselves. The team behind Oak’s Lab did its best to express their openness to outlandish ideas with the help of their website.

    Check out the Culture section on the homepage in particular — those photos are all different sizes and placed on no grid whatsoever. While some would cry, “fire the designer!” we think it’s just great.

    MétaMusique

    The team from MétaMusique had to find a creative way to present the metadata that users are familiar with. Music content normally comes in a very standardized form, and there’s not much you can do to innovate how you bring it in front of the public.

    Even so, MétaMusique figured out a website layout that doesn’t make visitors feel like they’ve seen it all before. Their interesting practices for indexing content are creatively reflected in the design of the website, earning the site an easy spot in this list of creative websites.

    Carbon8

    Some people say that there are certain industries that simply don’t need an online presence. Here’s something groundbreaking: Carbon8 is a business that supports farmers to shift to regenerative agriculture.

    The website promotes techniques such as multi-species cropping, holistic grazing, and water-cycle restoration. If you manage a website that’s related to agriculture and you don’t know how to come up with a creative website layout for it, Carbon8 is the place to get your inspiration from.

    Relate

    Design companies need to try exceptionally hard to differentiate themselves from the rest, considering how tough the competition is and how many design styles exist out there.

    Relate has managed to do so with one of the most creative websites we’ve seen to date, with the most in-your-face headlines and subheadings that get the message across in a matter of seconds.

    Relate tries to remove the handoff gap that exists between designers and developers, which forces them to work separately and makes communication difficult to handle.

    The initiative is creative in itself, so there’s no wonder why the website adopts this innovative approach as well.

    Caleb Barclay

    Finally, a creative website that isn’t owned by a business. Caleb Barclay is a product designer that offers consultancy services for those in need. He is mostly focused on interaction design and product design.

    His work involves helping teams find the best fit in terms of design for their products. Caleb tries to find a balance between developers and designers, by making them focus on both UX and building systems.

    After each scroll down, you encounter some form of animation which makes the user experience engaging and lively. Note how the animations are not over-done — they are subtle yet highly effective.

    Olmo

    Creative websites are not all about visuals. Olmo lets visitors find out more about professional growth through human connections. This is a network that has one purpose only —connecting people to other people who are the right fit for them.

    Such an approach to building connections is uncommon, yet extremely effective. People can join Olmo whenever they want and the platform introduces them to other individuals who have the expertise to help them.

    Veley/ Ross —Wedding

    There is only one wedding site on our creative websites list, but it deserves its place. The couple decided to invite their wedding guests through a nicely-designed website instead of by traditional mail, offering all the needed information online.

    Wedding websites have become quite popular lately and there are many ways to get creative with them. This one takes the cake for its reckless disregard for common design practices, including vertical menu links and off-grid overlapping images.

    Feed

    Feed is a creative concept that was turned into a very innovative website. This is a creative blend of animation and video. Surprisingly, the site is also extremely responsive, considering how many multimedia elements it contains.

    Feed is easily placed among the creative websites that are nothing like anything you’ve seen. The navigation also acts as a progress bar.

    Klim Type Foundry

    What would one expect from a typeface design studio? Not much, indeed. Klim Type Foundry broke all expectations and came up with an ingenious way to showcase fonts.

    The website is very entertaining to navigate and it is designed in a minimal style to direct focus on how the typeface looks and what services they offer.

    Britomart

    Britomart is a waterfront of heritage buildings and open public spaces. The area hosts some important headquarters, including Westpac and EY. Britomart encourages co-working spaces, which represent a trend that’s rapidly growing at the moment.

    The layout of this site is packed with well-coordinated images and makes for an amazing experience to scroll through.

    Mikiya Kobayashi

    Creative websites like Mikiya Kobayashi’s impress through their simplicity and minimalism. The website relies on photography and animations, focusing on visuals rather than written content.

    The site was initially launched in a Japanese version and was later translated into English. In modern web design, the possibility to create scalable, multi-language websites is often overlooked, but not with this site.

    Carine Roitfeld

    Have you ever seen a website that only presents fragrances? If you’re not sure how to present only one type of product well, you should take a look at Carine Roitfeld’s site.

    It features a creative website layout that includes an expressive description of each of her fragrances which are correlated with seven iconic cities.

    Luke Willetts

    Luke Willetts is a designer that focuses on brand and motion design. He collaborates with Code Computerlove and he gained his experience while working with BBC, Channel 4, and MAG. His website speaks for itself and gives visitors a good idea of how creative he can get.

    Lane

    Workplaces are usually boring and lack any sort of excitement or appeal. Lane has one purpose —to turn any workplace in one that encourages productivity, interaction, and, ultimately, creativity.

    The team behind Lane wants to make use of technology to transform workplaces into convenient locations where everything is intuitive and easy to use, thus helping employees do more with less.

    Panda

    Panda is an app for helping designers gain recognition by putting together platforms like Dribbble, Behance, Designer News, and more. Having all these networks in one place gives designers a chance to network easier.

    Panda is essentially a newsreader, but it is built so masterfully that it deserves to be listed among the best creative websites of all kinds.

    Alfa Charlie

    Alfa Charlie is a creative agency, so it’s pretty obvious that they brainstorm for all sorts of clever ideas to showcase their products.

    They are specialized in branding and web design, and their website effectively conveys their values which include loyalty and individualization.

    Welly

    Another website that makes the impossible possible, Welly presents a trailblazing idea —stackable first-aid tins that contain bandages and ointments for different purposes. The products are made from premium materials and they promote it in a revolutionary manner.

    Ugmonk

    When you think creative websites, you can’t skip Ugmonk. The company was founded by Jeff Sheldon and its mission is to create high-quality product design. They have a very clear mindset around their creations and that’s an element that shines through on their website.

    Revealbot

    Revealbot is an automation tool for Facebook ads, another innovative idea that is worth promoting in a creative way. The tool lets marketers create more ads at scale, manage them automatically, obtain cross-platform reports, and more.

    Shades of Paradise

    Making creative websites in the field of photography is a challenge, but Shades of Paradise managed it without question. You can upload your photo and apply a filter to it, share it on the platform and you automatically enter a contest to win a trip for two.

    It’s a creative website idea that hasn’t been seen before, and we love it.

    Wisembly Jam

    This is a tool that makes meetings easier to manage and organize. By using it, you can manage the meetings’ date and time, each participant’s tasks, decisions and everything related to the meeting within the platform, without having to move back and forth from your agenda and your PC.

    Moreover, each participant can collaborate on keeping the meetings organized. It is one of the most creative websites and tools on the market in terms of meeting management.

    Tim Roussilhe

    There’s not much to say about Tim Roussilhe’s website, besides the fact that it is gorgeous and incredibly unique. Tim is a creative developer and he built his website following his own principles.

    Thus, the site is a mad delight that brings together impressing visuals and interesting interactions.

    Haus

    Haus is an alcohol brand that steps away from what we know as normal. The brand built an impressive image for itself and is now one of the easiest to recognize. It has less alcohol than your usual hard liquor and the team behind the brand definitely knows how to sell that.

    Lauren Wickware

    Lauren obtained plenty of partnerships with people in the design industry, working closely with individual artists, corporations, and cultural institutions. Her focus falls on publication design and she fancies abstract combinations that have not been tried before, thus giving birth to work that is both creative and enduring.

    Signes du quotidien

    This website presents a graphic design studio in Strasbourg. You can tell what the studio’s principles are from the way the website looks like. They mostly focus on negative space and typography, as well as combining form and content.

    Sztafeta Pokolen

    This website brings together twelve different organizations that take part in “The Generation Relay”, an event that refers to the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Rising.

    This website sends a positive message to the public at large, directed to the young generation, and promotes qualities such as freedom, patriotism, integrity, and tolerance.

    SPARKK

    This is one of the creative websites that will always remain in your memory. First of all, what they cover is a hot topic at the moment —innovative digital solutions — which is reflected in their website design.

    Secondly, this website looks and feels great. It is dynamic, yet neat and minimal.

    The WOW Factor in Creative Websites

    There are a lot of creative websites that can inspire you to bring your idea into the world. Each of the websites listed above has that WOW effect that you’ve never seen anywhere else; the effect that makes you return after a while and enjoy the amazing experience again.

    This is the effect you should strive for when building your very own website. Creative websites are only there to inspire you and give you the courage to make your dreams reality. The rest is up to you.

    If you enjoyed reading this article about creative websites, you should read these as well:

    The post Creative Websites That You Must See Before Starting a New Project appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.


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    This article was originally published on Aug. 17, 2015, and was updated on May 30, 2018, and Sept. 6, 2019.

    What would you do without Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn? Social media has become so integral in our daily lives that our answer is a resounding: We have no idea. It’s changed the way we communicate with our friends, how we share photos of our kids, and how we market our businesses, which is why social media for small business is such an important undertaking.

    Social media is comprised of websites and mobile applications that allow individuals and companies to share information with large numbers of people at once.

    User-generated content is at the heart of social media.

     

    That’s in contrast to, say, a single organization’s website, where content is created by that organization and pushed to the masses.

    According to Statista, “79 percent of the population in the United States had a social networking profile, representing a two percent growth compared to the previous year.”

    Popular social networks include Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Each has its own unique appeal. For example, Twitter limits posts — called tweets — to 280 characters. LinkedIn is aimed at networking for professionals. YouTube is for videos and Instagram for photos, while Pinterest is a digital bulletin board of sorts. And, of course, Facebook is a social powerhouse — helping users aggregate content of all types from brands, news sources, friends and family.

    But social media isn’t just for cat videos and family pictures ­— it’s a powerful marketing tool.
    Social Media For Small Business Cat
    Photo: Erica Leong on Unsplash

    And social media for small businesses can be a cost-effective way to generate leads and drive traffic. Not sure how to accomplish that?

    Related: Get your business started on social media

    Beginner’s guide to social media for small business

    Never fear, we’ll be covering the following topics in this guide:

    Let’s get started.

    What’s possible with social media?

    Consider this: You share a piece of interesting content on your business Facebook Page. Maybe 75 of your 100 fans see it. Some click and read more, and maybe one or two share it with their friends.

    This, my friends, is the start of what we call “going viral.”

    And it’s how particularly clickable and engaging content gets seen on social media.

    But a social media strategy is about much more than racking up Likes and Shares.

    At the core of social media for small business is the opportunity to connect with customers and build your venture through those connections.

    

    Whatever your business, your customers and prospects should be able to find value in what you have to say on social media. Here’s what social media for small businesses can do and why it matters.

    Connect with customers and prospects

    By developing a following on sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, you can connect with your customers and prospects and share content with large numbers of people.

    • A microbrewery can announce the production of its newest ale.
    • A cosmetic company can share information on how certain chemicals are bad for your skin.
    • An IT security company might offer information on the latest data breach and how to protect yourself.

    Related: Ultimate Instagram guide for your small business

    Build your brand

    You undertake a wide variety of brand-building tactics every day. From posting on your blog to attending a networking event to manning a booth at a conference exhibit hall, these activities are how you share your knowledge and help others learn about your business.

    Social media is another way.

    You have the opportunity to share information by posting links. It’s also a way to use your unique voice to build your brand.

    Related: How to establish your brand on social media

    Drive traffic to your website

    While not all of the content you share on social media sites will link back to your website, some of it will. Sharing an interesting blog post or new product announcement can excite your target audience and generate clicks to drive traffic to your website.

    Establish expertise

    Who in your field is talking about the big, current topics in the industry? Are you?

    When you share your knowledge and expertise, you can build a following — an audience that comes to see you as a thought leader.

    As you build your audience, your influence grows.

    Make sales

    Ultimately, these activities — connections, brand building, driving traffic, establishing expertise — all lead to the same place: sales. The bottom line is that social media has the potential to affect your bottom line, and that’s a big deal.

    Holding Mobile Phone with Instagram on Screen in City
    Photo: Jakob Owens on Unsplash.

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    How to get started with social media for small business

    OK, so you’re sold on social media. It’s a powerful tool — and one you want to incorporate into your marketing efforts for sure. But let’s be real. You have finite resources to invest in it.

    So, how can you make sure that you get the most return on your time and money? Follow these five steps:

    1. Do your homework.
    2. Define your strategy.
    3. Create shareable content.
    4. Engage with your fans.
    5. Measure success.

    Let’s take a deep dive into each step of getting started with social media for your business.

    1. Do your homework

    For starters, do some research.

    On which social networks does your target audience hang out? Where are your competitors? What does each network offer you?

    For example, if you run a furniture and décor store, you might see lots of reasons to use Pinterest — after all, the users are primarily female, you can do a lot visually and there are plenty of similar companies posting there. On the other hand, you might see little appeal as a B2C organization in having a company profile on LinkedIn.

    Start by listening

    One of the best applications for social media isn’t the sharing/talking/broadcasting part — it’s the listening part.

    You’ll find, for example, that many smart companies do a great deal of customer service — and image repair — via social media. Even if customers aren’t tweeting to an airline, social media representatives would be wise to listen to and follow any conversations related to airports (#delays) or airline travel (#airlinefoodsucks).

    You can learn a lot about what’s being said about your company and industry when you simply listen.

     

    Moreover, you can gain a sense of what your target audience is talking about and interested in.

    So, before you go all-in with your social media efforts, listen in. See what kinds of accounts are popular in your industry. Who’s being followed? What content is resonating? What topics are popular?

    Canary with Jay Baer Social Media Quote

    A quick lesson: How to listen on Twitter

    There are more than 330 million monthly active users on Twitter. Obviously, you don’t have time to read what all of them have to say. You need to be efficient and selective in your listening. Here’s how.

    Decide what keywords to follow. What keywords are important in your business? Try to be as specific as possible. “Marketing,” for example,” will return far more results than “content marketing.” Unless you want to wade through millions of users and tweets, go narrow.

    Look for key hashtags. The hashtag (#word) is a great tool for listening on Twitter, but be sure you’re following hashtags that are useful. A lot of users use hashtags as a way to show their wit. And that’s all well and good — but less useful to you than popular hashtags being used by a large number of users.

    Related: How to hashtag on Instagram and Twitter

    Build lists. By creating lists of users on Twitter, you can monitor specific users’ conversations.

    Use Twitter’s search function. You can search for keywords or hashtags that apply to your business and then refine the search based on specific users, geographic location, date and sentiment.hypertrophic osteopathy.

    Download TweetDeck. This application adds a layer to your search, allowing you to narrow it to include only posts from verified users or posts with a certain number of favorites, retweets or replies.

    Find the right network

    Again, you only have so much time and money to devote to social media. Besides, it might not make sense for you to be on every social network.

    Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you consider which social networks are right for your business:

    • Am I marketing to other businesses or to consumers?
    • Who is my target customer, and what are the key demographics of each network?
    • Will I routinely share pictures? What about videos?
    • Do I want to advertise or pay for “sponsored” content?
    • How much time (or money) do I have available for creating and posting content?

    Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to make some decisions.

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    2. Define your strategy

    You run a business, so you know the importance of strategy. You don’t just jump into manufacturing and marketing a new product without having a strategy in place. Likewise, it’s important to be deliberate in your social media marketing and develop a social media strategy that’s a subset of your overall marketing goals.

    Establish your goals

    As you know, goals help give us direction. They’re also how we’ll know if we’ve succeeded. So, what is it that you want to accomplish with social media?

    Maybe you want to generate a certain number of leads. Or drive a number (or percentage) of website views. Perhaps you have an expectation that inbound calls will increase or that your total sales will reach a certain number. Maybe you want to see awareness of your brand increase or sentiment toward your brand move in a positive direction.

    Just remember: Facebook shares and likes and retweets on Twitter are not the end-all-be-all.

     

    This engagement is part of being on social media — and yes, the more followers you have and the more they engage with your content, the better. However, your goals shouldn’t stop at followers and likes.

    Define your target market

    Diverse People Illustrates Social Demographics
    Before you can create content that speaks to your audience, you have to know who your audience is. So, define it. Consider both demographics and psychographics, including:

    Gender. The tone of your language and images might differ based on your audience’s gender. If you’re speaking to a mixed audience, you’ll want to remember to speak to shared experiences and avoid examples that are clearly gender-specific.

    Age. Is your target audience older than 50? Then make sure your images reflect mature, happy, active adults. If you’re speaking to millennials, you might want to focus on Instagram and visual content. Consider the age of your audience, too, when you’re selecting pop culture references.

    Education level. Will your audience understand your content? Be sure you use language that is appropriate to your audience’s education level. (A sixth-grade reading level is often a good target if you’re unsure.)

    Interests. If you sell artisanal cheeses, you might consider the possible wider interests of your audience, such as fine wines. This gives you a broader range of material to pull from when you craft your content.

    In other words, targeting the right users with the right content is key to seeing an increase in sales.

    Related: Why a target audience matters and how to find yours

    Identify network-specific content

    When you think about your brand, are you a company that can offer a lot of visual content? Photographs, for example, are perfect for Instagram and are great for Facebook and Pinterest as well. Infographics are ideal for these platforms as well.

    If you shoot a lot of videos, you can take advantage of Facebook, Instagram (if it’s short enough) and, of course, you might also want to consider a YouTube channel.

    If you blog frequently or post a lot of white papers or reports, you might link to them from Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Do you have tips that are easily shareable in a tweet?

    Pro tip: When you consider the various social media platforms, be sure to look at the demographic data of those networks as well as the types of content you realistically have to offer.

    Related: How do you make money on YouTube? Try these tactics.

    Gauge your commitment level

    Social media can be a 24/7 exercise. You could spend hours upon hours creating content and sharing it around the clock.

    Before you get in over your head, pause to consider what kind of commitment you really want to make to social media.

     

    What can you afford? How much are you willing to spend (or to allow your marketing team to spend)?

    Once you have a budget established, you can figure out what you realistically can expect in terms of a social media editorial calendar. That is, how many posts a week do you want to strive for?

    With social media, you can always start small and take on more once you see the gains.

    Related: How a small business social media manager can save you time and make you money

    Consider how to add value

    Anyone can post on a social media platform. But not everyone has something original to say.

    A lot of companies are failing to add value when they post. That’s where you can shine — and attract followers.

    And don’t forget: Value doesn’t have to just be educational. It can also be entertaining or inspirational.

    As you brainstorm your social media content, ask yourself:

    • What does my company do or make that no one else does?
    • What knowledge or expertise do I have that few others do?
    • What can I offer to my followers that will educate, entertain or inspire them?

    If you haven’t nailed down your business’s unique selling proposition, now’s a good time to do it.

    Related: Find your unique selling proposition

    Research paid advertising

    Part of the allure of social media has long been the fact that it’s free (except for your time and the resources you need to develop content). Yet, according to Invesp, “U.S. social media advertising revenue is estimated to increase by more than 194 percent, to reach $15 billion in 2018.”

    That’s because the value of social networks goes beyond simply having an account (the free part).

    On Facebook, paid ads and “boosting” your posts ensures greater exposure, and you can purchase ads or “sponsor” content on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can also pay to run video ads on YouTube.

    Should you start buying up social ad space? Maybe. But start with the free stuff for a few months and then re-examine your budget. You can scale your efforts (and your spending) as you’re ready.

    Related: Boost Facebook content to reach more customers

    Man Holding Dollar Bill Represents Paid Social AdvertisingBack to top

    3. Create shareable content

    When you’ve defined your goals and understand your audience, you can reach them with content that engages them. So, how do you create or choose the right content? Here’s how.

    How to pick the right kind of content

    Ask yourself these questions to determine the best kind of content for you social media channels.

    Will my content add value for my audience?

    Whether it’s entertaining, inspiring or educational, good content adds value. It makes a person’s job or life easier. It helps them accomplish something. It makes them smile. And all of that value inspires them to share your content with their own networks.

    Does this piece of content encourage conversation?

    We know that that social media is about engagement (more on that soon) and conversation.

    Content that encourages people to have a conversation with you will drive engagement.

     

    So, ask questions and don’t shy away from thought-provoking content.

    Basic content formats

    Content comes in a few basic formats:

    • Text. Simple blog posts or text-only posts.
    • Images. A picture says a million words on social media.
    • Video. Long-form video works on YouTube. Meanwhile, short videos are great for Facebook, Twitter (15 seconds) or Vine (6 seconds).
    • Combination content. You can also combine text and images. For example, you might layer a quote on top of a photograph. (This is what we often think about when we think of a “meme.”)
    YouTube screenshot]
    Photo: Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

    Social media campaigns

    Rather than raising brand awareness or driving overall sales, a social media campaign has a narrow focus.

    Just like any marketing or advertising campaign, a social media campaign requires strategic thinking around the following:

    • Your goal. Make sure you establish a goal and related metrics upfront. What is your call-to-action — that is, what do you want your followers to do as a result of this campaign?
    • Type of content. Depending on your goal, you might rely only on images, for example. To make it easy to track, assign a unique hashtag and use it with all content related to this campaign.
    • Budget. Are you creating (and paying writers or editors or designers or video production consultants) specialized content?
    • Schedule. Establish start and stop dates for your campaign. Look at your social media calendar and make sure your campaign gets adequate play on your various platforms.

    Consider this simple sample campaign.

    Let’s say you run a microbrewery, and you’re brewing your fall ale. You want to open the tap at a party in October, but you don’t have a name for the beer yet. You might do a social media campaign around inviting your customers to name your ale.

    Your #TheAleontheHead campaign might seek to generate 100 name options for your product managers to choose from. You could post pictures and descriptions of the beer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and with an October launch, you’d probably end the campaign by Sept. 30 and announce your winning name shortly thereafter.

    Brewery Pouring Draught Beer From Tap

    5 types of content

    Trying to come up with social media content? Don’t forget these five types.

    How-to. Whether it’s a video demo, a series of photos or simple text, how-to content is incredibly valuable to users. A company that manufactures and sells blenders might offer content on how to make your own baby food. A cleaning products company could create loads of content on how to get certain stains out of your clothes.

    Inspirational. Make someone’s day (and motivate them to action) with inspirational content. A local fitness center might post a picture of someone on the treadmill or lifting weights with the caption: No one ever got fit by staying home.

    Emotional. Tug at the heartstrings with emotional content. A greeting card company, for instance, could show a child opening a birthday card from his grandparents — and remind consumers that email isn’t everything.

    Review. A testimonial or review from a customer is powerful content. Even though it’s about you, it’s not from you. It can be done as text or video — or a quote layered on a photo of the customer.

    Insightful. Don’t miss an opportunity to share insights, and don’t be afraid to get a little personal. For example, the owner of a restaurant might share an insight on the way mealtimes change when people put away their mobile phones.

    Related: 9 types of video content

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    4. Engage with your fans

    It’s not enough for people to simply see your social media content ­— you want them to listen to and engage with it. So, it helps to ensure it’s not all about you.

    No one follows you to hear to blab about yourself. They follow you because you’re sharing interesting information and you’re creating opportunities to engage and relate.

    That’s right. Social media is just that: social. It’s about building relationships with your audience

    You know how you hate that guy at the cocktail party who blathers on about himself? Well, adding a social media account and computer screen to the equation doesn’t make him more interesting. The people you want to talk to are engaging and interesting. They can talk about something other than themselves. They add value to the night (and to your life). You want to be those people on social media.

    5 ways to engage with followers

    Still not sure the best way to engage with social media for small business? We’ve got you covered. Check out these five tips:

    Promote your content. If you’ve written an engaging blog post or produced an interesting report or white paper, you can promote this content on your social channels.

    Share others’ content. That’s right. It doesn’t have to be all your own original content that you share. Now you might not want to share your competitor’s content, but national associations, trade groups and the like often produce great content.

    Dole out mentions. If you’re sharing someone else’s content or perhaps you’ve just met with them, you can engage through a mention (on Twitter) or tag (on Facebook).

    Offer replies and favorites. When an individual or organization mentions you on a social media channel, you can keep the conversation going with a reply. You might also simply “favorite” a tweet.

    Leverage private messaging. Just because you’re on social media doesn’t mean everything has to be public. You can take advantage of the private messaging features within the platforms to engage 1:1.

    GoDaddy Facebook Post

    Best practices

    How often do you really need to post? This question was bound to come up. And here’s the deal: You’ll probably need to experiment a little bit to find the sweet spot for your business. You want to get seen. But you don’t want to be annoying.

    Here’s a good place to start:

    • Facebook: Once or twice a day
    • LinkedIn: Once a day (in the morning; never on weekends)
    • Twitter: Three or more times a day

    Is it OK to ignore someone on social media?

    If it’s a troll spamming you, yes ignore (and report) them. Otherwise, ignoring someone puts you at risk of alienating a potential customer. And if they’re pinging you on social media, they might not hesitate to broadcast their irritation with you to their networks.

    Should I pay someone to do my social media?

    Maybe. The big advantage? You can hire an expert who understands the platforms so you can focus on your business. But you have to be willing to relinquish a little control, and you need to make sure your social media consultant is well-versed in your business, brand and voice.

    Do I still need a website if I have a Facebook page?

    Yes! No social media account can replace your website, which is your digital home. Social media is a tool for engagement — and a way to drive traffic to your website.

    Editor’s note: If you still need a website, try out GoDaddy Websites + Marketing. You can create a beautiful site in under an hour and automatically create a matching Facebook business page to keep your brand consistent.

    What if someone says something bad about my business?

    It might happen. That is a risk with social media. However, many business owners are happy to have this information. Maybe there’s a flaw in your product or service you weren’t aware of. Now, you can fix it.

    You can also embark on some pretty radical customer service initiatives as a result. For example, reading a series of tweets from a ticked-off guest at your hotel? Send a bottle of champagne or offer room service on the house.

    Related: The rulebook for crafting a response to negative comments on social media

    How can I get my content to go viral?

    There’s no secret recipe we can impart, unfortunately. And sometimes, it’s surprising what goes viral. Just focus on creating good content that your target audience craves, share it on all of your networks, and get your fans to do the same. The rest will follow.

    Social tools

    Pile Of Tools Illustrates Social Media Tool OptionsTo help you manage and schedule your posts, you might want to look into starting out with these social media tools:

    Hootsuite. Hootsuite lets you listen in on a wide variety of social tools, schedule posts and measure your return on investment. And with the ability to have up to 100 social profiles on the Pro version and unlimited accounts on the Enterprise version, it’s great for agencies, too.

    Buffer. Queue up posts for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more. And for businesses, Buffer offers scalability — from a five-user, 25-profile small business option to one with 25 users and 150 connected accounts.

    SocialOomph.If you’re starting with just Twitter, you can try the free account option. (Layering on Facebook, LinkedIn and some other cool features requires upgrading to the Professional version.) Schedule posts, track clicks and more.

    TweetDeck. For Twitter only, this tool helps with real-time tracking, organization and engagement.

    Back to top

    5. Measure success

    So, how do you know if your work has paid off? What does success look like? Are you getting a return on your investment? Consider these key metrics.

    • Followers, fans and views. On their own, these numbers don’t mean much. But they certainly give you a sense of your reach.
    • Engagement. Are people responding to and commenting on your content?
    • Shares. What content is motivating your followers to share it?
    • Clicks. How many people are following the links in your posts and ending up on your website?
    • Action. And once they’re there, are they signing up for a newsletter, submitting a contact form or buying anything?

    Now that you’ve decided what you want to measure, how do you accomplish that feat? Here are a few tools that can help:

    • Platform analytics. As an account administrator, you have access to tons of data from within Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
    • Google Analytics. Get a handle on where people go once they land on your site and how much time they spend there.
    • bit.ly. When you create a unique URL with this URL shortener, you have the ability to easily track clicks. (Plus, a bit.ly link is great for Twitter’s limited character count.)
    • Schedulers. Applications like Hootsuite and Buffer not only schedule your posts but track key data as well.

    Related: Social media metrics and ROI

    Back to top

    Conclusion and next steps

    When you look at the landscape of social media for small business, there’s no question it’s vast. Like, really vast. And that can be overwhelming — especially for small businesses with limited resources.

    Tree In Middle Of Vast Field
    But if you take the time to do it right — by being authentic, offering content your audience craves, responding to and building relationships with your customers and prospects — social media can generate big returns.

    Remember: Not every channel works for every business. And none of us is perfect. So, give yourself permission to experiment. Test your content. Try different platforms. Play with the timing of your posts. Start small, and build on what you learn.

    And most important: Have fun, and enjoy the ride!

    Need a little help? The experts at GoDaddy Social can manage your presence on your social networks and help you turn an online interaction into a lifelong customer.

    The post A beginner’s guide to social media for small business appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This article was originally published on Oct. 19, 2016, and was updated on Aug. 30, 2018, and Sept. 9, 2019. 

    Getting online as a small business owner has never been easier. However, there are still a number of online security issues that tend to cause alarm for site owners taking their first steps into a wider digital world. Today, let’s take a look at WordPress security issues.

    We’ll help you steer clear of unnecessary panic, and put the concept of WordPress security vulnerabilities firmly in context.

    By the time you’re finished reading, you should have a clear picture of the current state of play, and a solid list of links to help you stay on top of WordPress security issues going forward. However, before we dive into the detail, let’s put the good news front and center.

    WordPress has never been more secure as a software solution.

     

    Though there’s no denying that we’ve seen our fair share of WordPress security problems in the past, the platform as a whole is in better shape security-wise than it’s ever been.

    Hard lessons have been learned by the community, and despite its ongoing attractiveness as a target for bad guys, the number of show-stopping WordPress security risks have plummeted over the last few years.

    A panel of industry experts watch over the platform’s core; release cycles are stable and regular, and security best practices are firmly established for developers across both themes and plugins. In addition, the hosting community has also radically upped its game in terms of security over the years.

    Large about of locks on wall
    WordPress is an increasingly well locked down platform.

    Standard procedures for keeping safe as a WordPress site owner are also now widely understood.

    All that said, it remains worth your while to regularly keep up to speed with security issues and developments in both the platform’s core and the wider ecosystem of themes and plugins. Let’s move on to look at the best places to stay ahead of WordPress security problems.

    Recent security developments in WordPress Core

    As we noted above, these days the core of the WordPress platform is in remarkably good shape security-wise. Security and maintenance releases are regularly rolled out to seal off newly identified WordPress security risks, and you’ll be notified in your admin of their arrival automatically.

    Needless to say, it’s highly recommended that you upgrade as soon as possible when these roll around.

    As a site owner, you don’t necessarily need to investigate all the details of these security releases, but it’s no harm to keep abreast of things by regularly checking in on the security category of the main WordPress blog. Here you’ll find handy listings of security-related releases going all the way back to 2005, along with breakdowns of the WordPress security vulnerabilities addressed.

    WordPress Security Category Archive

    Take a quick browse through individual releases to get an idea of the amount of behind the scenes heavy lifting that’s regularly going on to keep site owners safe.

    Related: Top website security posts by Sucuri 

    Stay up to speed with security news from the wider WordPress world

    At this stage in the platform’s development, themes and plugins represent substantially wider WordPress security issues than anything to do with WordPress core.

    As a site owner, you’ll need to do your due diligence when choosing both and regularly update them when prompted.

    Related: How to update WordPress like a pro

    It’s also well worth being proactive and keeping an eye on wider security news to stay in the loop.

    The gold standard here in terms of expert information is set by the good folks over at Sucuri. In addition to providing best-in-class WordPress security plugins and detailed quarterly online security reports, they also provide bang up-to-date security news on theme and plugin vulnerabilities via their excellent blog.

    A combination of keeping your ear to the ground via authoritative sources such as Sucuri and WordPress Tavern, and diligently updating themes and plugins, should help you largely steer clear of WordPress security problems.

    Stay current with WordPress security issues

    Security is always going to be a concern for responsible WordPress site owners, but it needn’t be a cause for terror. The reality is that the platform as a whole has made enormous strides in terms of security over the years, and is now firmly positioned as one of the safest platforms out there.

    Stick to the following basics, and you should be sleeping soundly as a site owner well into the future:

    1. Select a hosting provider that’s proven to go above and beyond with security.
    2. Pay attention to standard WordPress security best practices.
    3. Always keep WordPress core updated, and check in on related security news.
    4. Keep your themes and plugins current, and review ongoing expert information from sources such as Sucuri.

    Editor’s note: Are WordPress security issues a particularly pressing concern for you as a site owner? Want an additional method for minimizing WordPress security risks? Consider adding GoDaddy Website Security to your arsenal. Keep your site malware-free with no-hassle protection and monitoring.

    The post How to stay on top of WordPress security issues appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This post was originally published on Oct. 8, 2018, and was updated on Sept. 9, 2019. 

    The web can be a virtual minefield of security risks. Your online presence is vulnerable to attack from hackers, bots and spam, among other nuisances. I’m sure you’ve seen the headlines in recent years of major corporations having their networks and websites hacked. It’s big news whenever this happens to large corporations, but you’d be surprised at just how often something like this happens to small businesses owners.

    The threat of having your business data compromised is genuine.

     

    Not only will this affect your ability to serve your customers, but you could also wind up with a lot of headaches. That’s why it’s important to stay safe online and start treating your business like a real business.

    Related: GoDaddy Small Business Website Security Report 

    Protect your entire digital presence

    If you own a small business, these threats can cross over from your business to your personal information, especially if you’re using applications that extend to your personal devices such as your smartphone.

    Like maybe you’re using an app or your mobile browser to look at live sales metrics or monitor promotions. And maybe you’re using the same login for your business apps that you use for your personal apps. With social media being just as much of a business tool as a personal one, there is a substantial risk that if your device was ever lost or stolen, your entire digital presence could be compromised.

    However, hope is on the horizon.

    There are myriad methods to make sure that your business, your data and your identity are safely protected online.

    It will take some work to tighten up your security, but the effort is well worth it, and you will appreciate the peace of mind that comes with knowing these measures are in place.

    3 proven strategies to stay safe online

    To that end, here are three proven strategies that can help you lock up your digital presence and stay safe online:

    1. Use HTTPS encryption.
    2. Embrace password management.
    3. Back up your data. 

    Related: Internet security resources

    1. Use HTTPS encryption

    Stay Safe Online HTTPS

    Imagine yourself in a cafe sipping coffee while you’re going through last month’s sales figures on your laptop. You have logged into your favorite websites — your own site, your blog, Facebook, even your bookkeeping app that is conveniently cloud-based.

    Now, hand your laptop over to a total stranger and walk away for about 20 minutes or so. Does this sound absurd to you? Well, this is basically what happens every time you visit a website that does not encrypt the traffic to your browser.

    In other words, that’s the difference between using sites under HTTP as opposed to HTTPS.

    If you haven’t guessed already, the “S” in HTTPS stands for “Secure.” The encryption in HTTPS provides benefits such as confidentiality, integrity and secured identity. All of your data will remain confidential and protected from the eyes of questionable characters.

    Only your web server and your browser can decrypt the stored data for use after authorization is verified. As for integrity, having this protocol in place also means that no unauthorized persons can modify your information.

    Related: Google Chrome 68 introduces HTTPS as the new security must-have

    How to get HTTPS

    To achieve this level of security for your business website, your web host is the first place to look. In many cases, you can acquire what’s called an SSL certificate needed to secure your website.

    Once this is done you might need to make some changes to your existing files and pages and make sure your update things like your Google My Business Page, Google Search Console and Google Analytics with the new HTTPS version of your site.

    Now you’re just one step closer to staying safe online and protecting your business website from data breaches.

    Related: How to add HTTPS to your website

    2. Embrace password management

    Stay Safe Online Password
    Photo: NeONBRAND on Unsplash

    We all do it. There is nothing to be ashamed of. We use the same password for all of our accounts because it’s just easier if you only need to remember one password, right?

    Well, you might want to rethink that strategy if you want to stay safe online and protect your business and yourself.

    See, one of the most significant issues with security breaches today is called cross-application password access. This process is how potential hackers gain access to nearly every one of a person’s accounts because of similar passwords or inter-locking accounts by using their Facebook login.

    The obvious solution here is to reset all of your passwords in favor of using unique and complex ones.

     

    The complexity comes from using both letters and numbers as well as non-alphanumeric symbols. Many websites now give you feedback as you type in your new password on how complicated it is as an indication of how difficult it would be to crack. Some applications even require the use of capital letters and the inclusion of a symbol of some kind, such as an exclamation point.

    Related: 10 best practices for creating and securing stronger passwords

    Use a password manager

    If changing all your login credentials doesn’t seem like something you would want to do, there is another option. You can purchase apps that are known as password managers. The concept is simple.

    It would be more straightforward to keep one password secret and safe than to maintain dozens, right? That is precisely what password managers do.

    They help you create or store multiple passwords securely in a heavily encrypted database.

    The software then uses the correct password automatically when logging into an account after asking for a master password that you would have created previously. You are still responsible for creating and keeping your master password, but all of your real account credentials are hidden, and you never have to type them into a keyboard again manually.

    This way you get all the convenience of having just one password without worrying about the risk.

    Seek out a free tool like LastPass or 1Password Manager and start getting serious about creating unhackable passwords.

    3. Back up your data

    Stay Safe Online Computer
    Photo: Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

    Imagine one day you head into your place of business and out of the blue, your office computer fails. After taking it to a technician, you get some terrible news. Your hard drive has given up and will never work again. All of the data — including important documents, customer files and bookmarks for websites you use every day — have disappeared. All gone forever and there is nothing to do but start over.

    There is a valuable lesson to be learned here: You must back up your data.

     

    These days, cloud computing has much of our files and data backed up already. Microsoft, Google and Apple all have cloud file services built into their operating systems. A local folder generally mirrors these on your desktop that is synced automatically if the contents of that folder changes in any way.

    However, this might not cover all the files on your computer that you would deem important.

    What people would do before cloud-based backups would be to store their data on discs or more likely, a portable large-capacity hard drive. Today, most people have backup software to automate the backing up of data for them, which operates on a predefined schedule when they aren’t sitting at their computer.

    Whatever method you choose to use, backing up your data is critical, without exception.

    This goes for your business files as well as your website files. That’s why it’s just as important to back up your website data.

    Related: Introducing GoDaddy’s automatic, set-and-forget Website Backup

    Invest the time for peace of mind

    There is a lot to cover when it comes to staying safe online and keeping your online presence secure. However, once you have taken the appropriate amount of time to use precautions, set passwords, and make sure HTTPS protects your website, you will find that maintaining an acceptable level of security is a relatively hands-free affair. The key is to get it done so you can enjoy that peace of mind.

    The post Proven strategies to help you stay safe online appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This article was originally published on Oct. 20, 2017, and was updated on Sept. 9, 2019. 

    As a web designer or developer, why should you care about running a WordPress security scan?

    With the growing availability of dedicated solutions, WordPress now makes up 34% percent of the internet. As the most used open-source content management system (CMS), WordPress is also a target for security attacks.

    Based on the GoDaddy Security and Sucuri teams’ analysis of more than 25,000 infected websites and 4.4 million cleaned files, Sucuri’s Website Hack Trend Report 2018 shows that WordPress infections rose from 83% in 2017 to 90% in 2018. The report’s authors note, however, that the prevalence of breaches on open-source platforms including WordPress don’t imply that “these platforms are more or less secure than others. … This data represents the most common platforms seen in our environment and reflects the overall popularity” of these content management systems.

    Thankfully, regularly investing in a WordPress security scan can save your clients from disaster and provide extra business in addition to your own service offerings.

    Web Designer Writing at Desk

    Why is a WordPress security scan so important?

    Because WordPress is an open-source CMS, each line of code making up its elegant design is open to scrutiny and exploitation. If you were to look back at all of the updates WordPress has published, nearly every one included a security patch. What this should tell administrators, developers and business owners is these sites need regular maintenance in order to keep them secure — and most importantly online.

    If a WordPress site is neglected, a compromised business becomes inevitable.

     

    That being said, a regular WordPress security scan is far less work than trying to repair a site after the damage has already been done.

    In fact, if you’ve noticed that your site has been compromised, oftentimes it’s easier to recreate the site from scratch than auditing the entire server to determine which backup (if any) is clean of malware.

    Fortunately, there are tools and procedures that can make this process easier and faster, and can even be included in your service offerings.

    Related: Wondering how to sell website security? Try pitching care plans.

    How can a WordPress security scan fit into your service offerings?

    In my professional experience, most developers building sites for clients don’t offer to maintain or secure the website.

    Business owners tend to be in the dark about the health of their sites, indefinitely, because they were never made aware that they should regularly check on WordPress site security. The website becomes neglected, and eventually, that $3,000 investment gets demolished.

    Offering maintenance services provides a steady flow of income to your own business by increasing the longevity and value of your clients’ businesses.

    This creates predictable work as well as a recurring revenue stream, which translates simply to more money for less work.

    Additionally, this tactic will help strengthen business relationships with clients by keeping your brand fresh in their minds and reminding them of your value.

    In a freelance business, new work is often generated through existing customers or referrals stemming from a fantastic experience. Showing your clients that you are invested in their success will encourage them to invest in yours.

    Related: Making website maintenance plans a requirement for all clients

    How to run a WordPress security scan: The checklist

    OK, so we’ve talked about why it’s important to keep your client’s safe in the wild. We also discussed how to turn a disaster scenario into a win-win for everyone. But by now you should be wondering how to implement these new services into your product line. Hold onto your hats because you’re about to receive a checklist on how to generate revenue with an hour of your time!

    1. Update core files, plugins and themes.
    2. Remove unused plugins and themes.
    3. Install an SSL certificate.
    4. Enforce strong passwords.
    5. Install a security plugin.
    6. Use captcha on forms.
    7. Limit login attempts.
    8. Turn off file editing.
    9. Change security keys.
    10. Secure core files with an .htaccess.
    11. Disable XML-RPC.
    12. Audit file permissions.
    13. Disable PHP error reporting.
    14. Have a backup plan.

    Ready? Let’s dive in!

    1. Update core files, plugins and themes

    Earlier I mentioned WordPress updates almost always involve security patches. This should always be the first step in securing your clients’ sites — and the steps couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is log in to the wp-admin dashboard, hover over the dashboard button on the sidebar, and then in the dropdown menu click Updates. Select the items you want to update — which should be every one listed. You can make this process even easier by automatically updating core files, plugins and themes by adding this line of code to the wp-config.php file:

    // Enable automatic updates for all
    define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );
    add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_true' );
    add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_true' );
    

    Automatic updates can drastically change how a theme or plugin works. It actually might break some occasionally, but this might be favorable compared to leaving vulnerabilities in the site.

    2. Remove unused plugins and themes

    One of the greatest features of WordPress is its ability to download and run plugins, potentially improving the functionality of your website. That being said, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

    The quality of code across plugins and themes can vary, as some are created by businesses and others by hobbyists — and neither are perfect.

     

    With each plugin installed on your WordPress site, the more likely the site is to be hacked, as new vectors are opened with each installation. It is not enough to simply deactivate plugins that you aren’t using. You actually have to delete them in order to remove the vulnerable code from the server.

    Removing unused items is equally important for performance, and should be part of any WordPress security scan. The fewer active plugins, the safer and faster the site will run.

    3. Install an SSL certificate

    It should be painfully obvious by now that every website should have an SSL certificate. 

    Put simply, adding SSL installations to your service offerings empowers your client, secures their traffic, protects users against phishing, and can boost Google rankings.

    Installing these certificates is incredibly quick and easy. The steps are slightly different depending on the platform, but you can find most use cases in the GoDaddy Help Center.

    With the certificate installed, you can change the WordPress Address and Site Address in WordPress by going to General Settings and changing the protocol from HTTP to HTTPS. Click Save Changes and the installation is complete.

    Related: How to enable HTTPS on your server 

    4. Enforce strong passwords

    Username Password Screen Represents WordPress Security

    The most commonly use passwords in 2019 ranged from 123456 to password — which are painfully obvious, insecure and pretty much guarantee that the account will be accessed by an unauthorized user. According to Symantec, a strong password contains a mixture of at least eight digits, punctuation, and upper- and lowercase characters.

    Your WordPress security scan should cover a few obvious things. You should never use the same password twice. It is also important your password doesn’t include words that can be found in a dictionary or a proper noun, as they are especially prone to the appropriately named dictionary attack.

    Related: 10 best practices for creating and securing stronger passwords

    5. Install a security plugin

    Security plugins fall into a gray area and can just as easily lead you down a path to destruction as they can help secure your site. It’s important to know which security plugins work best.

    These also offer firewall features in case you don’t already have a firewall implemented, which will keep your site protected from repeat offenders. The opposite side of this coin reveals sometimes these security plugins come at the cost of website performance.

    As the developer, it’s important to determine whether to use a security plugin by comparing plugin features against systems already running on the server, as well as being mindful of available hardware resources such as memory or processing power.

    6. Use captcha on forms

    A hacker doesn’t need to compromise login access to deface sites and spread malware.

    If your WordPress site has a contact form without a captcha, you can bet that eventually it will be used to send as many spam and malicious emails as your server can handle. Additionally, Captcha tools also prevent the brute force attack of your admin accounts.

    I prefer Google’s ReCAPTCHA, so I decided to use Google Captcha by BestWebSoft, but as you perform your own WordPress security scan you can decide on a plugin.

    Related: What is a brute force attack?

    7. Limit login attempts

    While we are on the topic of brute force attack, let me offer more protection from bots and hackers. The plugin Limit Login Attempts will keep your admin page protected with a customizable limit to the amount of failed logins that are allowed before a user is blocked from submitting a login form. You can also add a whitelist in case a user tends to forget their password.

    Some hosting providers already offer this as a built-in feature — like with GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting — so it’s a good idea to do your research before attempting the install.

    8. Turn off file editing

    As you handle your WordPress security scan, you’ll notice WordPress allows you to edit your theme and plugin files directly from the admin panel. This exposes a vital vulnerability that can have unintended consequences.

    It’s best to disable it to prevent hackers or other users from defacing the site intentionally or otherwise.

     

    Thankfully, the remedy involves another change to your wp-config.php file. Just add this to the file on its own line:

    // Disable file editting
    define('DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true);
    

    9. Change security keys

    The security key stored in your wp-config.php file encrypts login session stored in your cookies. Changing these keys will invalidate all sessions, logging all users out of the dashboard, but also preventing hackers from hijacking open sessions.

    Changing these keys is as simple as copying and pasting.

    First, use the WordPress security key generator API to get your new secret keys, and then copy them. You’ll find a block of code that looks similar, which you can replace with the new block that you have copied. It will look like this:

    define('AUTH_KEY',         'HeW#zltmGurr@u{B97hDiOr;3@<1>-^bbtua-:bC&K4`]*r 6V<-s-GtTq?lLL|h');
    define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY', 'B >t.QYHTKXRv/)ewR 5$iswZrLM}kAE#15?:2lu]zPd!KuB78?4fopw3QsHtx#4');
    define('LOGGED_IN_KEY',    'gI:T2,v7|E[.Q&[yGK|$a+s1;&$8-[?|6dE+FX|9|Ex|N[EPiQ0YzoXas=.7`4;&');
    define('NONCE_KEY',        'Z_-$xVrv0+VqtoVl#8|s/zeOlm^h# zHh(3me1X/S(l[(h;-+KI&cyDuLbm<!DR.');
    define('AUTH_SALT',        '-~i[ahut&xhfTLlnk+u^[GC2?:324X/Lo*<i{|K75j)6HI<y1<Vc$|(,-xZ+{ O]');
    define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 'B|M9s9a*iwp44|ldOHJlG9.#-Hb$t?kY|st;D9 )]FALOWt[/fYrtanxrjoxfD(z');
    define('LOGGED_IN_SALT',   'z_ Drd6Rip3upj:P*|2UsToIkVtaG|Nk3JKO yNq=xQZpVy7u!d@.TO8P:b5#s*H');
    define('NONCE_SALT',       '5/af{*Wq82Gzq56&$b)<]X=-3#NW3x++~ D|PD-oCs=(#_y-~Z=w[]W9#jBfgJ *');
    

    10. Secure core files with an .htaccess

    Utilizing the .htaccess file is probably one of the most powerful tools in a WordPress security scan.

    We’ll start with securing the core files from being accessed from the browser, as these do nothing for a legitimate viewer and are usually only accessed from the browser to find and exploit vulnerabilities. If you’re interested in understanding how the Apache Web Server and .htaccess file work, I highly recommend checking out htaccess-guide.com.

    But as a quick fix, you can add this block of code from the WordPress team before or after the BEGIN/END wordpress tags:

    # Block the include-only files.
    
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteRule ^wp-admin/includes/ - [F,L]
    RewriteRule !^wp-includes/ - [S=3]
    RewriteRule ^wp-includes/[^/]+\.php$ - [F,L]
    RewriteRule ^wp-includes/js/tinymce/langs/.+\.php - [F,L]
    RewriteRule ^wp-includes/theme-compat/ - [F,L]
    

    Related: .htacess tutorial and cheat sheet

    11. Disable XML-RPC

    Most users don’t utilize the functionality behind XML-RPC, which lets you make blog posts and interact with some plugins. This type of functionality is good if you have an automated feed that posts new content to the site, but it’s highly sophisticated and rarely taken advantage of.

    In most cases, just disable it to deny hackers a way to bruteforce user passwords. In order to disable it, you’ll just need to add another block of code to your .htaccess file:

    #disable xmlrpc
    
    order allow,deny
    deny from all
    

    12. Audit file permissions

    According to WordPress, developers and admins should avoid 777 file permissions at all costs. Holding files with this type of permission allows anyone on the machine to read, write and execute any file with 777 permissions.

    Instead, WordPress suggests that you use 755 permissions for folders and 644 permissions for files.

    Because WordPress files constantly update, change and make new additions, regularly audit the website files as part of your WordPress security scan, looking for bad permissions in order to maintain a secure environment.

    If you want to quickly run an audit, you can run this command from SSH to view all files in the current working directory that do not follow the WordPress guidelines for file permissions:

    find . -type f ! -perm 0644; find . -type d ! -perm 0755
    

    13. Disable PHP error reporting

    Disabling PHP error reporting prevents hackers from gaining vital information about your website and the environment it’s on.

    A common technique in hacking is to view a file displays an error in order to identify the operating system, website path on the server, and even what applications are running.

    As an example, suppose you access a file on the website that returns this error:

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/jchilcher/public_html/wp-content/plugins/twitter-profile-field/twitter-profile-field.php:28) in /home/jchilcher/public_html/wp-includes/option.php on line 571.

    This error already tells me the server is using Linux with cPanel, and it’s the main domain for this cPanel account and the website is using the twitter-profile-field plugin. I now know where to start looking for vulnerabilities and where to exploit them.

    The fix to this problem is as easy as the rest. Create or modify the php.ini for the site and ensure that the directive display_errors is off. You can do this by adding the line:

    display_errors = Off
    

    Once your settings have gone into effect, any error that would normally display on a page will be gone.

    14. Have a backup plan

    Lastly, we have what I feel is the most important yet neglected task involved with a WordPress security scan. When I say backup plan, I mean it. If the worst case scenario becomes a reality and your website becomes a host to malware, you should already have a plan on how you will get the website back.

    In most cases, the clients that I have who refuse to regularly back up their sites end up regretting it. Without a clean backup, your hacked site might never be clean again without having to start all over.

    Related: Introducing GoDaddy’s set-it-and-forget-it Website Backup 

    GoDaddy Website Security

    If you aren’t already familiar with malware blockers, you should learn more about them.

    Essentially, GoDaddy’s Website Security will scan the website for malware and uptime every 12 or 24 hours, your choice. Website Security also includes a Web Application Firewall (WAF) in order to prevent malware from being injected before the request can even reach the server.

    It couldn’t be easier to set up, and will do the most of the heavy lifting for you — making this a no-brainer add-on for your clients.

    Closing thoughts on your WordPress security scan

    The instructions I provided are by no means a comprehensive list of security tools and methods and will not make your website bulletproof.

    Security in technology is an ever-growing field. New methods of protection are being developed constantly.

    By reducing avenues of attack and auditing files through a regular WordPress security scan, you can at least stay on top of the game and ensure that if someone is going to attack you, it won’t be easy.

    The post How to run a WordPress security scan appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Have you visited websites where you notice either the author or those who have left comments have their photo displayed next to their comments? That’s where Gravatars coming into play. But, what is a Gravatar? If you’ve ever wondered how you, too, can have your photo included when you participate on other websites, enter Gravatar and WordPress.

    Gravatar is an abbreviation for a Globally Recognized Avatar.

     

    Automattic, the company behind WordPress, acquired Gravatars in 2007, and then integrated the ability to provide globally-unique avatars within WordPress. As noted by Gravatar.com, millions of avatar images are being served over 8.6 billion times per day. Here’s how they describe it:

    “Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?”

    Once you have created and set up your Gravatar, that image will display next to your comments or contributions on blogs that have Gravatars enabled. Not just WordPress uses Gravatars but many websites and applications across the Web use them to display user photos and images.

    What’s the difference between an avatar vs. Gravatar?

    Not much really.

    Gravatars are your avatar that is displayed on any website using the Gravatar service.

    As an example, let’s say you upload an avatar to a hobby discussion board that you participate on that does not use Gravatars. That avatar will only display on that particular discussion board. However, when you upload that very same avatar to the Gravatar service, that image will display automatically on any websites that integrate Gravatars.

    Your email address is the key to how Gravatars display.

    On websites that integrate Gravatars, the image displayed will be that which you have tied to your email address at Gravatars.com.

    I can hear the wheels turning — yes, that means you can have different Gravatars based on which email address you use.

    I have several Gravatar accounts, one for each of my websites. I use different Gravatars based on the activities that particular email address might participate in. My email address has a photo of me, while support or social email addresses have my website’s logo. Think of the marketing possibilities!

    Depending on which group you are communicating with, you could use an email address that has a less formal Gravatar image. If you are participating at a professional venue, you could use the email address that has your business logo.

    When you participate on websites as a contributor or via comments, your Gravatar will automatically appear. If you do not have a Gravatar set up, a generic image might appear instead. We’ll cover those options later in this article.

    Since there is nothing generic about you or your business, why wouldn’t you take advantage of a free opportunity to build your personal brand? Let’s get to what you need to do and consider.

    Related: How to build a personal brand with a personal website 

    How to use a Gravatar

    Understanding how to use a Gravatar starts with connecting a specified image to your email address through Gravatar.com. Then, comment using that particular email address. If the website is connected to the Gravatar service, that image will display.

    First, you want to take the time to carefully choose what graphic or photo you want to use for your gravatar and connect it to your email address.

    While using your photo is more personal and makes your comments appear to be from a real human being, for businesses your Gravatar could be a logo graphic.

    If you decide to use your logo, using an image that looks good as a square will work best.

    Making sure that you can discern what the image portrays is important. I’ve seen many Gravatars where you cannot tell what the logo is or read the text within. So test to make sure that if you do use an image, it is legible at a glance.

    Pro tip: When you use a photo of yourself, selecting a complimentary professional image will allow you to appear more authentic and approachable.

    Regardless of what size the photograph you upload, use the best quality size that you have available. The Gravatar system will resize for you.

    Don’t worry, after you upload your graphic you’ll also have an opportunity to crop and reposition your image to your liking.

    Gravatars most often display at 80 pixels by 80 pixels.

    Make sure the image or photo you choose will look good at this precise size.

     

    As mentioned previously, details of some images will get lost when this small — and might not be the best choice.

    When you go to Gravatar.com you will be asked to log in using your WordPress.com credentials. If you do not yet have an account on WordPress.com, set one up. You do not need to sign up for any additional services, nor will you be setting up a website there. You just need a WordPress.com account to set up Gravatar WordPress.

    Related: Setting up WordPress for the first time — Configuring general settings, changing admin username and more 

    What Is A Gravatar WebsiteGo to the Gravatar website and follow the prompts. The Gravatar site is pretty easy to use and only takes a couple steps to set up your Gravatar.
    What Is A Gravatar LoginOnce you log in:

    1. Pick your email address or add one.
    2. Click Add a New Image to apply to that specific email address.
    3. Confirm.
    4. Choose a rating for your image.

    Your Gravatar image can be rated G, PG, R or X. These ratings are based on American movie standards where “G” is rated for all audiences and “X” is restricted for adult-only content.
    What Is A Gravatar ExampleSet up as many Gravatars as you like. Then all you have to do when commenting on websites and blogs is to make sure to use the email address for the image you want to display on that particular site.

    Complete your Gravatar profile

    You’ll want to take the time to go through each section in your profile area and fill in all the blanks. This will help those who are interested get to know you better and provide the opportunity for new collaborations and relationships.

    What Is A Gravatar Profile]By completing your profile, sites with the WordPress JetPack plugin will display a hovercard like the one below reflecting all your profile information. When creating your profile, keep in mind if it is for business or personal use — you never know who might look at your hovercard, photos and links.
    What Is A Gravatar Description

    Getting the most from your Gravatar

    Once created, your Gravatar will display automatically on any website that has Gravatar support, which includes all WordPress sites and WordPress.com. You’ll know if a website or service uses Gravatars because once you enter your email address, your Gravatar will also display.

    Managing Gravatar settings in WordPress

    Gravatars are supported by default in WordPress. There is really nothing you have to do but check the settings in your WordPress dashboard to make sure they are to your liking.

    You can view your website’s Gravatar settings under Settings > Discussion.

    What Is A Gravatar DiscussionFrom my point of view, four of the default options are not really meant to be used on a business website and are more for personal, fun or hobby websites.

    Remember, being your Gravatar is based on your email address, the address you use in your profile (Users > Your Profile) is the Gravatar that will display on your own WordPress website.

    Pro tip: Managed WordPress Hosting from GoDaddy  gives you not only an amazing WordPress website, but also a free domain, daily website backups, access to award-winning customer service and more.

    How to set up the default Avatar in WordPress

    You have a bunch of default choices as to the Gravatar personality you want to display for those site visitors that have not yet setup their own Gravatar. The option you select in Settings > Discussion is what will display for users on the front-end of your website.

    • Mystery Person: A gender-neutral silhouette of a person. This is a good choice for most sites without a custom Gravatar in place.
    • Blank: No avatar or image at all.
    • Gravatar Logo: This selection displays the Gravatar blue logo. If your website is all about WordPress, this Gravatar probably would make sense.
    • Identicon: This reminds my of a quilting pattern and will be automatically generated by WordPress, not the user.
    • Wavatar: Goofy cartoonish faces that will be automatically generated by WordPress, not the user.
    • MonsterID: Wacky little drawn images of a monster that will be automatically generated by WordPress, not the user.
    • Retro: This Gravatar reminds me of the original video games back in the day. Also automatically generated by WordPress, not the user.

    For business websites, using either no Gravatar at all, Blank, or Mystery Person is recommended. I’m sure you’ll agree that Identicons, Wavatars, MonsterID and Retro are more geared towards hobby or personal websites.

    Branding is an important aspect of running any business — online or offline.

     

    You’ve most likely heard the term “branding” thrown around quite a bit. Branding is basically making sure that everything you do online aligns with your business culture, consistently professional and reflects positively on your business.

    Primarily this means using the same visuals, slogans and color schemes throughout all online activities that relate to your website, in your marketing and on social media. By using this approach people will correlate, at a glance, that look, feel and personality of your business.

    Related: Resources for branding a business

    Gravatars can help you to take your branding efforts one step further by setting up your own custom default Gravatar for use only on your website.

    When creating your custom Gravatar, make sure to use a clear and concise logo or representation — simple, without any small text, works best. You want to use a graphic that is obviously representative of your brand and website.

    Adding a custom Gravatar for your WordPress website

    Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to add your own custom default Gravatar for your website:

    1. Create your Gravatar graphic to be 80 pixels width by 80 pixels in height.
    2. Save it as a .jpg. Using a larger image or format such as .png could unnecessarily use server resources.
    3. Name your graphic my-avatar.jpg, and then upload your Gravatar to your Media Library.
    4. Make note of the Media Library URL to that graphic.
    5. Download and install the Code Snippets WordPress plugin. This plugin will allow you to add a snippet of code to your functions.php file.
    6. Go to Snippets > Add New, and then paste the following:
      /* Add custom avatar
      add_filter( 'avatar_defaults', 'custom_avatar' );
      function custom_avatar($avatar_defaults){
      $custom_avatar = 'https://yourdomain.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/my-avatar.jpg';
      $avatar_defaults[$custom_avatar] = "My Default Avatar";
      return $avatar_defaults;}

    Modify yourdomain.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/my-avatar.jpg in the snippet above to reflect the URL provided in your Media Library for your my-gravatar.jpg file. Be very careful with this step, as one dash, dot or semicolon where it should not be and your site could break.

    Once you get the above in place, you can then go into your WordPress dashboard to Settings > Discussion and you will see your custom Gravatar displayed for you to select! Be sure to click Save.

    Why use a Gravatar?

    Once you have your Gravatar account set up, it just works. When you comment on websites and blogs that integrate the Gravatar service, your photo or image will display. This will help you gain exposure and build credibility over time.

    Online, people will see your image in various places and begin to recognize you and your expertise.

    Imagine that, as we all do, folks go from site to site seeking information and like minds. And they keep seeing your Gravatar. This might encourage them to visit your website.

    Website owners can also better recognize loyal visitors and commenters. This can lead to them reaching out to form ongoing partnerships and collaboration. Now you know what is involved in setting up your Gravatars and how to use them to your advantage.

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Emma Wilhelm and Shawn Pfunder.

    The post What is a Gravatar? Everything you need to know about Globally Recognized Avatars. appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    If you’re planning to design a new site, or perhaps redesign an existing one with a fresh new look, it always helps to get inspired first. Regardless of what your site is about, what better source of inspiration can you find other than the website of a top digital agency?

    Digital agencies and design studios are great places to gather ideas from because they’re often ahead of the curve when it comes to web design. Not only that, but they also know how to put a new spin on an old trend, as well as creatively forging their own according to best practices.

    In this article, our team at Amelia has gathered a list of the most stunning digital agency websites for you to admire and get inspired by. Enjoy!

    Why Should You Focus on the Website of a Digital Agency?

    Even if the website you’re planning has nothing to do with the design industry, digital agencies include some of the best creative talent in the world. Their job is to put products and services in a good light, and they’re a great source to discover new ideas.

    Besides the fact that digital agency websites have an overall aesthetic appearance, you can also learn a thing or two about the latest trends doing the rounds in the professional design scene.

    The Most Important Elements of a Digital Agency Website

    Most digital agencies focus on the same things when it comes to website design. They follow strict principles where it matters while keeping their layouts innovative and unique. For clarity, we’ve broken down the elements that digital agencies consider important:

    • The homepage

    The first impression always matters and the homepage is the critical factor that will help visitors decide whether they will continue to browse or not. Agencies know this well, and their homepages can range from extremely minimalist to extravagant.

    • The portfolio

    For digital agency websites, there’s no better way of showcasing work other than putting together a portfolio. The main purpose of a portfolio is to show the capabilities of the team behind the digital agency by putting their best work on a virtual pedestal.

    • The services

    Besides showcasing your work, you’ll have to list the services you can offer. Some digital agencies only focus on certain parts of website design, while others have a wider range of services that they would like to share. This is just as important as the portfolio and it needs to be highly persuasive.

    • Social media

    Without social media, your website won’t get the attention it deserves. Diverting traffic to your site will become much easier if you use social media platforms as a means of communication and marketing.

    • Branding

    A simple color scheme can make all the difference if chosen carefully and with purpose. This is where branding steps in. The way you build your website will act as a business card for what you are doing. The more unique and consistent it is, the easier it will be to recognize.

    • Thoughtful design

    Every element that you include on the website needs to have a purpose. Don’t clutter your site without thinking about what purpose it serves or how it will help you achieve your goals.

    Digital Agency Websites That Will Wow You

    Below you will find 30 digital agency websites that are worth taking a look at before building your own. Have a good browse around and try to understand how each site works and why it works so well.

    Check them out:

    Wonderland

    Wonderland is a small graphic design consultancy agency that offers a wide range of services for all types of clients that need ideas and design. The company works with both small and big companies, finding creative solutions for their branding strategy.

    The disciplines they cover are various, ranging from corporate literature to identities and exhibitions. This is a standard digital agency website that incorporates all the right elements effectively and with class.

    Kanarys

    Kanarys is more data-centric, as the company is focused on providing survey data on certain issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at work. All employees can provide their feedback anonymously and the social enterprise will provide employers with data.

    As homepages go, this one’s absolutely mesmerizing.

    Vlnc Studio

    At Vlnc Studio, you can explore a digital agency that is nothing like the others. The team behind this project is based in Paris and the members are talented art directors.

    The company’s focus is to innovate in the advertising world through one-of-a-kind campaigns and projects. Their website is just as creative as their work, impressing visitors through the visual-laden yet seamless experience.

    Ransom

    Ransom is a digital agency that deals with anything visuals. Whether it is producing photos, shooting films, or developing a brand’s website, Ransom can have it done.

    Besides the wide range of services they offer, they are backed by many partners and collaborators, and their portfolio is nothing short of spectacular.

    Zajno

    Zajno is a digital agency that specializes in UX/UI design. They create experiences that users don’t encounter on a daily basis, on both web and mobile platforms.

    This is one of the few digital agencies that adopt a problem-solving approach instead of a visual-based one, and you can tell that from the way the website looks.

    Stuuudio

    Digital agencies don’t necessarily have to be focused on standard design services. Stuuudio is not your basic digital agency, and you can tell that from the moment you visit their website.

    The team behind Stuuudio is formed by creatives and thinkers who brainstorm to find the best design solutions for their clients. Stuuudio has an extensive background in working with film and photography.

    CLM

    CLM is a digital agency founded by Camilla Lowther more than 20 years ago. The company gained massive recognition over the years, becoming one of the most influential agencies in the creative industry.

    At the moment, CLM represents more than 70 artists world-wide, in all sorts of industries, from styling to design and make-up. The website speaks for itself in terms of experience and famous collaborations.

    Simform

    Simform is primarily a tech company, but it deserves a mention among all these digital agencies because they help small companies in their journey of becoming huge.

    There are not a few cases when Simform worked with a start-up company and it took off like wildfire, so their work is worthy of respect. Check out the immersive case studies that let you explore their best projects in-depth.

    Wolf & Whale

    Wolf & Whale is a digital agency that can entirely change the way you perceive time. The team behind this company focuses on delivering mobile products that encourage people to use their time in a meaningful manner.

    Their high-converting products are constantly selected by Fortune 500 brands and clients worldwide.

    Coulee Creative

    How long has it passed since you’ve visited a website that really made you feel something? The answers usually range from “never” to “a while back”. Well, Coulee Creative does exactly that —creating websites that are specifically designed to stir emotions and have their own personality.

    In a world where every website seems the same and nothing impresses users any longer, the work of those behind Coulee Creative is more precious than gold.

    Animal

    Animal is a small digital agency that works with product and communication design. The company can offer services in all industries, which means that they are quite flexible in terms of collaborations.

    This website is the most simplistic —and yet impressive —we’ve seen. Animal doesn’t put filler content on their pages —they keep everything short, concise, and clear for those who know exactly what they want from a company like this.

    SameSame

    SameSame represents those photographers that are, ironically, not the same as those everyone knows about. The digital agency promotes those photographers that comeup with their own style; their original visual language.

    The industries they focus most are fashion and advertising, but they collaborate with emerging talents in all art-related industries. They worked with Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and more big names.

    JON WAY STUDIO

    We list the best digital agency websites here, but Jon Way Studio deserves a special place in this top because it is a one-man studio that works with both photography and design. Isn’t that impressive?

    Jon’s work expands into multiple fields and his collaborations include both photography and design work in different industries.

    Firstborn

    Talking about the big names in the digital world, Firstborn is an award-winning company that was founded in 1997 and still rocks the market in terms of creating brands, experiences, and content that change the way you know advertising.

    Firstborn has collaborated with PepsiCo, Mountain Dew or Adidas, and the list doesn’t stop there.

    Onix Design

    Onix Design’s main focus is on experience design. It is an international agency working with clients all over the world.

    This project gathers together a team of talented designers that create unique brand identities, as well as the visuals involved in their stories, from logos to illustrations and even personalized animations.

    makespace

    The Makespace group boasts a website that deserves your attention. This is a digital agency that brings together the best in brand, culture, and physical space.

    They are currently trying to put together a retail campus for those who have innovative ideas and want to explore them in modern workplaces.

    Whispers & Giants

    Whispers & Giants is a digital agency that specializes in ethnographic research and design while bringing innovation into the scheme of things. The transformative journeys they promote are meant to bring a change in the industry, combining both the new and the traditional while doing so.

    Their website is unique and complex, while also giving visitors that sense of clarity and immersiveness.

    This Works

    This Works is a digital agency that deals with branding and consultancy in various fields. Their main focus is positivity and adopting proactive approaches —two topics that are of very high interest at the moment.

    The digital experiences and environments they create within the company are worthy of admiration, and their website is so complete that you will enjoy spending a few good minutes on it.

    Cub Animation Studio

    Cub Animation Studio was founded with the aim of creating cheerful animations for all sorts of brands, institutions, social networks, and individuals.  Their site is nothing short of adorable.

    Chaptr

    Chaptr is an independent digital agency in England that has won several awards. Their forte is bespoke web design, but they also handle projects in the fields of web animation, motion graphics, or simple illustration.

    Chaptr is known for delivering second to none designs, a reason why many companies —big or small —choose their services over others.

    Grow with Studio

    For more than ten years now, Grow with Studio tries its best to help eCommerce merchants grow their businesses through marketing and branding.

    The agency started small and it evolved into something beautiful, much appreciated by clients worldwide today. They operate under the Volusion brand and work with eCommerce stores only.

    Bakken&Baeck

    This is a design studio that is now international, with headquarters in Oslo, Bonn, and Amsterdam. The company strives to create never-before-seen digital products and ventures, helping small startups differentiate themselves on the market.

    They also create ventures themselves, innovating the industry with entirely new concept work, product design, and branding services.

    Significa

    Significa is a digital agency that creates responsive user interfaces that also impress through visuals, besides good functionality. The company takes care of the business model and the entire process to get the product in people’s pockets.

    SPACE10

    SPACE10 is more than a digital agency —they are a design lab that directs their resources towards research and creating sustainable ways of living.

    Though this is not your basic digital agency, they work tirelessly to deliver something new, investing resources into prototyping, concept development, digital strategies, and more.

    Made by Many

    Made by Many is a digital agency that offers consultancy services and has as its starting point a focus on strategy and execution, instead of the final product.

    They’ve created state-of-the-art products before, and they’re not planning to stop any time soon. At Made by Many, they want to bring together technology, business culture, and people.

    Stink Studios

    Stink is a global creative network that directs its innovative ideas and impressive resources to advertising, tech, and entertainment. They offer services such as content production, web design, and creative technology concepts.

    Sagmeister & Walsh

    Sagmeister & Walsh is a digital agency with exquisite taste in art. They create unique identities, innovative commercials, impressive websites, responsive apps, and expressive films for all their clients, regardless of the industry they work in.

    This is a self-initiated project that has built its own tangible personality over the years.

    Inviqa

    You absolutely need to check out Inviqa’s website. The team behind this project is just huge — more than 200 strategists, creative designers, and tech specialists were brought together to give birth to the most awe-inspiring projects.

    They’ve earned multiple awards thanks to their creativity, so take a few moments to read more about their story.

    Adchitects

    Adchitects makes the best out of functional design and secure development, combining all this with storytelling and ethical business.

    The way they handle business gives clients a million reasons to stay and support their brand by using their services. Clutch named them the best company of this kind in Poland.

    Akins Parker

    Finally, the last one on the list, Akins Parker has impressed audiences since 2004 when it was launched. This is an ad agency that has all the tools a design studio needs in order to function.

    The evolution of this company coincided with the revolution of technology in the last decade, and they have changed as much as the industry did, continually making use of new ideas, technologies, and opportunities.

    Fantasy

    Human-centered UI & UX, located in San Francisco & NYC. Their mission is to significantly impact the user experience in everyday products through bold design.

    Concept Studio

    Concept Studio is a design agency creating brands & websites that brings together creativity & design to help businesses rise in a developing environment.

    Toi Shop

    SF and LA based digital design and innovation agency that helps companies create better websites and products faster using Design Sprints.

    The Great Agency

    The Great Agency cover a large range of creative digital projects, platforms, and campaigns with one purpose. They transform brands, grow businesses, and tell brand and product stories in a most creative and fascinating way.

    Superhero Cheesecake

    An award-winning digital production studio from Amsterdam, in the business of creating unforgettable interactive experiences with people.

    Immersive Garden

    Immersive Garden has been recognized as Studio of the year 2017 by both AWWWARDS and CSS Design Awards. Their vision is focused on crafting in-house meaningful concepts and stories thanks to digital experiences. This translates in websites but also installations, apps or any media that is relevant.

    Dogstudio

    Dogstudio is a multidisciplinary creative studio at the intersection of art, design and technology. They are on a mission to explore, create meaning and provoke emotions through design and storytelling.

    Adoratorio

    Award-winning multidisciplinary digital agency based in Italy. They are brains with a lot of open tabs, without bonds to creativity and imagination.

    AQuest

    AQuest combines creativity and technology to create digital experiences that connect brands to people’s hearts. They believe in continuous evolution, in the constant search for new means with which to overcome increasingly interesting challenges that amaze their customers and achieve increasingly difficult goals.

    Locomotive

    Locomotive stands out among web agencies, and offers a wide range of creative and strategic services for brands, companies, foundations and other remarkable organizations.

    Hello Monday

    Hello Monday builds better businesses by creating joyful digital ideas, products and experiences that connect the hearts of brands to the hearts of their consumers.

    Red Collar

    Red Collar, announced as Agency of the Year by international web design and development award platform CSS Design Awards. They create impressive digital things that help brands to reach both minds and hearts of people.

    FCINQ

    10 years of creative hacking. A team of thirty people whose roles range from strategy developers to brand content and UX Design.

    AREA 17

    AREA 17 is a digital product agency with studios in Paris and New York. Founded in 2003, they are independently owned and creatively motivated. AREA 17 also refers to the visual cortex of the brain where sensory data is received, patterns recognized, and images formulated. They plan, create and grow digital products for clients of all sizes.

    Merci-Michel

    Merci-Michel is a digital production house based in Paris. They specialize in creating cutting edge interactive solutions, UIs & immersive campaigns.

    IN FOCUS

    In Focus, a digital creative studio, based in Tokyo and New York. In Focus, propose new perspectives by crossing digitized creations.

    BONHOMME

    Bonhomme, digital branding studio. Defending a minimalist approach, focused on users and their behavior and believes sophistication of simplicity

    Boldare

    Boldare is a brand that emerged from combining the power and best qualities of two companies: XSolve, a software development company and Chilid, a high-end web design agency.

    Vergani&Gasco

    Vergani&Gasco is a digital communication agency established in the year 2000 and located near Como and Milan.

    EPIC Agency

    EPIC is a Belgian digital agency made of passion and sorcery that proudly delivers bewitching projects since 2009.

    Oui Will

    Oui Will is a holistic digital agency that builds influential brands and digital products.

    Isadora Digital Agency

    Driven by innovation and human behavior, Isadora Digital Agency is changing the way brands connect with audiences in a digital world.

    Huemor

    Huemor is an interactive agency that brings together strategy, design and technology to help businesses thrive in a rapidly evolving digital environment.

    eDesign Interactive

    eDesign is an award-winning digital agency. Creates world-class websites, interactive landing pages and immersive social campaigns.

    Kubikfoto³

    Kubikfoto³ is a multi awarded digital production studio. They work in the fields of VR, 360°, Film, Photography, 3D and Web.

    Rezo Zero

    Rezo Zero is a graphic and digital studio that designs and develops unique brand identities and tailor-made digital solutions.

    Socialrise

    Socialrise is a creative digital agency at the cutting edge of trends, technology and contemporary aesthetics. Socialrise provide innovative, eye-catching solutions that help brands to stand out from the crowd.

    Avex

    Avex is a NYC digital agency that focuses on creating beautiful, conversion based websites, to tell your brand’s story & engage with your customers.

    Baunfire

    A digital agency focused on web. Building great things in the heart of Silicon Valley. Building great websites for industry-leading brands.

    Big Drop Inc

    Big Drop Inc pride themselves on delivering innovative, digital experiences that make an impact. Since 2013, they’ve proudly partnered with start-ups, SMB’s, Fortune 500 companies and everyone in between to unlock value through creativity, technology, and business-minded thinking.

    Which Was the Best Digital Agency Website for You?

    Hopefully, the websites we’ve listed here will be of great inspiration for you. There are plenty more to explore, but this list should give you some starting point.

    It’s important to note that each digital agency has its own way of viewing things and showcasing products and that should be your purpose too —finding your unique style of delivering what you have to offer.

    If you enjoyed reading this article about digital agency websites, you should read these as well:

    The post World-Class Digital Agency Websites to Get Inspired By appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.


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