Magento Ecommerce: Market Segments & Best Practice Websites

Magento usage trends can be categorised in numerous market segments.

From these it is most commonly found in shopping, business and vehicle ecommerce websites. To properly migrate and integrate Magento as an ecommerce platform of choice, businesses in these sectors are typically employing a web hosting provider to deliver an entire online experience. Doing so provides consistent hardware, software and networking capabilities for ecommerce to run smoothly, with minimal downtime and optimum performance.

Magento Homepage

An online business lives or dies by the quality of its digital presence through brand reputation, product and service delivery. Without a reputable ecommerce platform and hosting provision there is little chance of achieving sustainable growth and online revenues.

Let’s take a look at some of the best examples of Magento in action…

Dynamic Usability

Many thousands of hosted sites (Breville, Nike, and Pental to name but three) use Magento ecommerce to power rich multimedia engagement. Magento has a complex yet powerful database structure that essentially delivers optimum performance levels for websites to run high quality graphical user interfaces without losing speed and efficiency.

This helps establish and maintain brand reputation at every phase of website navigation and transaction processing. Usability and speed of service are further enhanced through superior site design and customisation.

Powerful Database Structure

Other Magento platforms, (Paul Smith, Stussy, Toms and more) harness the powerful database architecture to store and query high volume/high quality collections of products. Seamlessly integrating the shopping experience with real-time response times is critical, enabling you to establish user confidence, support staff and generate leads.

Delivering an ecommerce experience that customers expect from such reputable names is a minimum requirement, but it should never be taken for granted. With Magento, the powerful mix of faster querying and transaction processing maximises ROI from an online shopfront.

Localised Service Delivery

Physical stores today are struggling to keep the lights on, as such more and more are turning to ecommerce as a way to reach customers. It is those that have simple and clean ecommerce options for localised services and stockists that create the most value for both global and local customer bases.

Take for example Goodyear, Interflora and TimeOut.

All three, offer vastly different products, yet are savvy to localised online demands. Providing prompt service, effective marketing and sign-up services that keep customers engaged with their brand within the community.

Creating a pleasurable, no fuss, no frills online experience for customers is the first step towards ecommerce nirvana. Whether visiting the Goodyear site to enquire about new tyres, using Interflora to order a bouquet of flowers, or looking at an online subscription to TimeOut magazine, having the capability to target global, regional AND local clientele with vastly different requirements gives a huge edge to your site as a scalable online service.

Summary

These are the types of companies and market segments where Magento ecommerce provides power, speed and agility for the perfect online store. Hitting your niche with local service delivery is crucial to elevating customer awareness and brand loyalty. As is delivering an end user experience that is intuitive and aesthetically pleasing for a potentially global audience.

Ecommerce platforms built with Magento are resilient and compliant, but above all are the perfect platform upon which any size and scale of business, SMB to global enterprise, can create the perfect online shopfront.

Latest Trends in the Cloud

1. Improve Security in the Cloud

From Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader to Apple’s integrated cloud allowing extensive Mac device communication, even the most casual user is aware of the power of the cloud. Small and medium sized businesses are slowly adopting cloud hosting in even the most staid markets. Major enterprise cloud solutions have been in development for years and are being deployed at a high rate.

But the security aspects of the cloud are still being worked on.

Many suggest that hackers are focused on big potential breaches in cloud security. Therefore, it’s increasingly important for hosting companies offering cloud products to anticipate weaknesses in cloud security and address those aggressively.

Customers are also becoming savvier with respect to potential security issues connected with the cloud. As a result, hosting companies are developing stronger communications around this issue in the form of copy, collateral, and training for their sales teams. The need to fight malware and abuse is a major theme affecting all kinds of hosting companies, not just the cloud hosts. Continuing investments and upgrades in this area remains a major theme for hosting companies.

2. Increased Differentiation Among Cloud Providers

The last few years have seen hosts focused in on providing infrastructure needed to support cloud hosting* and rolling out basic services.

In the coming year, prices are likely to increase as providers layer differentiation and additional services on top of existing hosting plans. An important trend is the degree to which individual providers are able to do so in an automated way that minimizes the need for human intervention. The more automated this process is, the higher margins will be on individual accounts. As a consumer, it’s helpful to understand how efficient your potential host’s processes are in this respect – it will save you tremendous amounts of aggravation when an issue does occur.

In addition, cloud providers seeking differentiation will need to find other avenues for communicating their advantages to customers.  Quality customer service is important, but it’s not enough. Instead, cloud hosting providers need to find real points of differentiation and market those effectively. 2012 so far has proved a big year for marketing spending in the hosting industry, and this is likely to continue as hosting companies work to educate the public. Differentiation is especially key as cloud hosting companies compete against Amazon, which has to a certain degree commoditized cloud services.

3. Increased Reseller Activity And Partnerships

As more big players like Amazon and others move in to the hosting field, it’s growing increasingly important for smaller players to have strong partnerships. Affiliate and reseller relationships are becoming a mainstay of how these businesses profit, as a number of small to medium sized hosting companies become bundlers for the specific services packages needed by small business users and online companies.

Competitive pricing, niche specific approaches, and stellar service will all play a key role in how this growing class of middlemen continues to evolve. Some speculate about whether hosting companies will actually phase out their own infrastructure altogether in favor of acting as straight resellers with lower infrastructure costs and therefore higher margins for Amazon and other larger players.

 

On InMotion Hosting – Reviews & Notable Features

InMotion is a web hosting company that was founded back in 2001.

InMotion Hosting Business (Shared) Hosting in a glance (source).
InMotion Managed VPS Hosting in a glance (source).

InMotion Hosting – A Leading Industry Player

Over the years, InMotion has emerged as one of the top players in the web hosting industry.

PC Mag rated InMotion Hosting as Excellent

The feature-packed InMotion Hosting offers many free tools for building a website, and it’s PCMag’s top choice for managed WordPress hosting.

WHSR hosts their site at InMotion Hosting and gave a 5-star rating –

InMotion Hosting is highly recommended due to two reasons: 1) strong server performance data (>99.95% uptime, TTFB <450ms) and 2) solid customer service. I personally pay them hundreds of dollars every year to host this site you are reading.

User reviews at Web Hosting Geeks rated them 4.5 stars on average

I moved from shared hosting at another provider to a VPS at InMotion about a year ago, and it was a fantastic decision. I’ve had so few problems, but when I’ve had to contact tech support, they’ve been super helpful. I just had my VPS upgraded from CentOS 6.9 to 7.4 and both Tech Support Chat and Tier 2 Sys Admins have been great help getting all my hosted sites settled onto the new server. I do peek around from time to time at other hosts to make sure I’m still getting the best deal, and I’m convinced I’m still getting the best deal.

In hosting industry, the most important thing to deliver is customer satisfaction because if a company fails to do that, customers can easily find another provider. With the high level of competition in the web hosting industry, there is no room for mistakes.

We will take a closer look on these features and advantages with InMotion Hosting in this short article.

East or West Coast of United States

InMotion operates in two data centers to provide convenience to their clients. One in downtown L.A and another one at the outskirts of Washington. Users get the luxury to pick either one of these locations to host their websites.

WordPress Website Builder – Perfect For Beginners

Many people are reluctant to start a website because they are afraid of the technical aspects related to it. It is not easy to learn the complicated programming language like the HTML or PHP.

Luckily we don’t have to do this in 2018.

Nowadays, many web hosting companies will include a free website builder tool. With InMotion, you will get a free WP site builder known as BoldGrid.

With BoldGrid, users will be able to build a professional looking website even if they do not have any knowledge about web designing. They just have to follow easy and simple instructions to build their website. They can choose from hundreds of template in order to customize their website as well. The simple to use interface will allow the user to build their website in a matter of minutes.

More than 200 ready made themes in BoldGrid.

Free Domain – Great Savings

InMotion customers will get a free domain when they sign up with a hosting package. The free domain will be available with any hosting package as long as it is a one year contract. Users will get to choose from different extensions such as .com, .net, .biz, .org, .us, and .info.

No matter what website you are intending to build, you will be able to choose an extension that suits you. What if you terminate your hosting account with InMotion? No worries, they have this sorted out for you. All you need to do is pay $12.95 and you will be able to keep the domain.

In addition, InMotion Hosting also provide domain transfer services. This is great for those who are looking to switch to InMotion. They will be able to continue using the domain that they are using with their previous hosting company. So they don’t have to get a new one. This is also another good reason why many webmasters are switching to InMotion.

In-House Support

One unique feature about this company is that they never outsource their customer support service to any third party. So, their support staffs are all based in Virginia Beach.

Backup Your Data

During system failures, a good backup and restore feature will be the key to protect users from losing their valuable data.

Backup feature is included in all hosting plans at InMotion Hosting.

Users will be able to set the interval for the backups to be performed on their system. Once the backup is done, they will be provided with a link. Using this link, they will be able to download the data and store it in their local computer. This way, they will have a copy at hand. They can schedule the backups to be done according to their preferences. Some people do it weekly while others do it on a daily basis. This will depend on the amount of data you have on your website as well as the amount of activity you are expecting as well. With data protection, you will be glad to know that all of your precious data will be safe to ensure nothing goes wrong with your business operations.

Verdict: Should You Choose InMotion Hosting?

InMotion is definitely one of the leading web hosting companies that you will come across these days. They will provide their clients with a plethora of features that will ensure a great hosting experience.

With unlimited resources at their disposal, users will be able to do whatever they want with their account in order to achieve success on the internet.

If you search online for reviews (see here, here, and here), you will be able to find a lot of positive remarks about this hosting provider. Therefore, there is no reason why you should not go for InMotion Hosting.

For students and teachers – InMotion Hosting provide free hosting services as well as career advancement (for certain universities in United States). Visit official site for more info.

If InMotion is not for you…

Alternatives: InterServer, SiteGround, A2 Hosting, Hostgator, and NetMoly (where this site is hosted).

More Little-Known WordPress Features

Following up on previous article, here are more little known WordPress features.

1. Comment Notifications

Ultimately, websites and blogs are tools that help you connect with a larger audience. Other than regularly providing them with content, you must also listen and be responsive to their feedback. While you’re at it, you must also respond to them as quickly as possible for maximum engagement.

For this, you need to enable email notifications whenever someone leaves a comment in your posts. Simply go to Settings > Discussion and look at the options for Email me whenever. You can also set to receive notifications when a comment is withheld for moderation.

2. Dashboard Screen Options

In the Home section of your dashboard, you are presented with a set of sections such as Activity, At a Glance, Quick Draft, and so on. For personalization, these sections can be rearranged by dragging and dropping.

You can also specify which sections to show by clicking Screen Options at the top-right corner. Just select the items you wish to display and the dashboard will be updated automatically.

3. Dragging and Dropping Photos into the Editor

Traditionally, users can add photos to a post by clicking the Add Media button in the editor. Now, you simply need to drag the image file from your desktop or folder straight into the content. You still have to wait for the upload to finish before you can press Insert into post, but this process cuts the time it takes to add visual content to your blog posts.

4. Multiple Pages for a Single Post

If, for some reason, you want to split a single post into multiple pages, all you need to do is use the <!–nextpage–> tag.

Simply insert it in-between the sections of the post you’d like to split as individual pages.

Just remember that this must be done using the plain text editor, not the default visual editor.

When used, each page of the post can be accessed by clicking the appropriate page number at the bottom. This feature is useful if you have a long-form post or if you want to intentionally split items in a list or compilation.

5. Widget Accessibility Mode

WordPress allows you to easily edit what appears in widget areas using a drag-and-drop interface. This is accessible by going to Appearance > Widgets. However, you can also enable the accessibility mode, which displays an Add button next to the available widgets.

To do this, click Screen Options > Enable accessibility mode.

By clicking the Add button, Of course, dragging and dropping widgets is a lot faster than going through this entire process. But it is useful if you’re using a device where it’s difficult or hard to perform the drag-and-drop action – like an old laptop, for example.

6. Faster Contextual Links

Linking out to useful resources is a great way to improve the reading and learning experience of your audience. The usual process of inserting links is to highlight the desired anchor text, use the Insert/edit link feature (Ctrl + K), paste the URL in the right field, and click OK.

However, a much faster process is to replace the last three steps with Ctrl + V.

In other words, simply highlight the desired anchor text and use the keyboard shortcut for paste. If successful, WordPress will show you a small window indicating the full URL of the inserted link.

7. Interacting with a Theme’s Live Preview

Browsing for a theme is one of the more enjoyable things about WordPress. To check out how a theme looks on your site, simply click on them from the library or click the Preview button.

However, some WordPress users fail to realize that the preview is actually interactive and simulates a full website. To determine whether a theme is for you, don’t forget to navigate through the preview and check how each page would look.

8. Image Editor

Most users prefer editing images first before uploading them to WordPress. As a result, they often miss the built-in image editor that allows you to perform basic edits. Simply look for the image from the media library and click Edit, which will appear when you hover your mouse. You can also select the Edit Image option whenever uploading something new.

With the built-in image editor, you can crop, resize, flip, and rotate the image using the simple interface. You can also edit the caption, alt text attribute, description, and the image’s thumbnail.

9. Advanced Shortcodes

You may have come across plugins that can be added on a post via shortcode. However, did you know that there are also built-in WordPress shortcodes you can use? With shortcodes, you can create anything from galleries to media playlists.

All you need to do is type these words below inside the open (“[“) and closed (“]”) brackets to access the shortcodes:

  • audio
  • embed
  • gallery
  • playlist
  • video

For example, if we use the gallery shortcut, it will show the images available from your media folder in grid format like the one below:

So here you go – another 9 little known WordPress features that I think are useful. If you found this useful, you might also want to check out how an WordPress-optimized web host can make things differently.

Stop! You Are Hurting Your Chances of Blog Monetization

Bloggers tend to believe that more exposure will help monetize their blog however, it’s also true that some exposure can actually drain your income.

What are those situations and how can you respond?

Here are 5 ways that you are hurting your chances of blog monetization:

Income Drain #1: A Big Company Wants You to Share Their Product for Free

A big company discovers that you match their demographic and reaches out, asking you to share news about their product.

When small, new companies approach bloggers this way, both sides may be able to build a profitable venture.

However, when a major brand does this, they may be looking for free publicity. These companies most likely have budget for social media marketing; they are just not willing to spend it on you.

Best Response: Pitch Back

Most companies will ask you to share a product, event or link without mentioning costs.

You should respond with your pricing and media kit. Even new bloggers should learn what to charge for a sponsored post and how to pitch.

Be warned that they still might say “no,” so don’t pitch your best ideas until you know they are interested.

Instead, show enthusiasm for their product and let them know you’d like to discuss some your ideas for spreading the word about their product.

If It Fails:

If they say no, just let it go and make a note of it for when you come across this brand in the future.

Income Drain #2: Blogging on Spec

Recently, I was offered to enter a contest in exchange for writing a piece. I was surprised at what seemed a frivolous offer, until a friend reminded me that this was merely writing “on spec.”

Working on spec means you do all the work and the client pays you after they see the work – if they want to.

When I made the transition from web designer to blogger, I was familiar this term. It is the kiss of death for any serious professional. In the blogging world, the requested “result” may be social shares, page views, or other stats that come under the title of “key performance indicators” (KPIs). – Gina Badalaty

Best Response: Politely Refuse

In my eyes there is only one good response to working on spec: “no.”

This type of offer means that your potential client sees no value in the work you are doing – and make no mistake, blogging is work, no matter how many people see it. Even revenue share is a better practice, because in many cases you are actually getting at least paid a low flat rate as well.

A professional blogger needs to understand the value of his work, be it writing, photography or influence, as well as the value of his blog’s ad space. None of those things should be granted for free. Keep in mind, that a post will remain for the life of your blog – quite a lot of advertising for no pay.

If You Are in a Spec Project Now:

If you are currently involved on this type of project, I recommend attempting to negotiate some type of fee for work done already or in the future. If not, carefully consider whether you should proceed with the project and the risk to your reputation if you do not complete it.

Income Drain #3: Bartering

Bartering is one of those ideas that sound wonderful in theory but often falls apart in practice.

Even with a contract in hand and a trusted client, things don’t always turn out as planned.

Best Response: Avoid Barter Altogether

I advise you not to get involved in this type of exchange. The last one I entered came fell apart when the client postponed her project for a year – meaning I had the debt of her services hanging over my head while my own rates had increased.

Even without such a delay, you can find difficulty over valuation, services provided, or unforeseen problems that expand the project requirements. If you are set on doing barter, make sure to have a deadline for both parties to submit services or products and revisit after a short time, no more than 3 months.

If You Are in a Barter Exchange Now:

If you are already in a barter exchange and feel it is not working out, determine how much you owe in terms of work, not money, then complete and submit the work, if possible. If for some reason, you cannot (for example, social shares for a project that is on hold), offer to work on another project right now instead.

Income Drain #4: Helping Small Companies Too Much

While helping a new company grow can build your reputation, after they grow, they should provide you compensation.

However, the owner may have gotten used to your services as a matter of fact and won’t pay you.

Best Response: Educate Them

Educate your client on the work involved and quote what others pay you for sponsored posts as well as market rates. If they cannot afford your full rate and you enjoy working with them, you can negotiate different terms, such as reducing your blog post word count.

If It Fails:

If, however, they offer too low a fee or something besides compensation, you might be wise to quit this project.

Tell the client that you cannot afford to work for them at this point in your career.

Make sure to leave on good terms so that you can ask them for a testimonial and use them as a reference.

Income Drain #5: Guest Posts That Don’t Help

In the early days of the blogosphere, guest posts were great for traffic building.

I used to accept guest bloggers, as they would sometimes have a larger following than mine. However, as my blog evolved, guest pieces no longer fit but because I no longer had contact with the author, I did not feel right altering their writing. Eventually most guest post requests came from people wanting to put their work out there, regardless of whether it fit my blog.

While the pro’s and cons of guest blogging for someone else are hotly debated, many people still use this technique to build authority.

It can help but it’s also true that blogging for someone else rarely brings traffic. That’s because no one clicks your links or bio, which may be shuffled down the very bottom of the post, after advertising

Best Response: Create a Policy

If you’re still interested in either hosting or writing guest posts, create policies that reflect your brand.

On Your Blog

Act like a professional editor when considering guest posts. Use a form email to reject unsolicited requests, and set up a page on your blog where people can apply to guest post. (Make it clear this is unpaid work.)

Create a framework of topics that guests can blog about, and recruit top tier guests that are in line with your brand and values, and that you know. They can be big name celebrities in your niche, or a regular crew of bloggers who align with you.

On Other Blogs

Begin pitching blogs that have proven track records growing blogger traffic and will take already published content, like the Huffington Post, Life Hack, or Build This. Additionally, try to work link backs to relevant content into your post, rather than just your bio at the end.

Learn how to run a better guest blogging campaign.

If It Fails:

If you still get lots of requests from strangers, simply send them to spam. If you’re struggling to find quality guest posting gigs, keep at it. The best blogs for guest posting have a lot of competition, so getting chosen for a pitch may take some time.

These 5 issues are some of the many ways you might be killing your chances of blog monetization. These solutions will go a long way to help.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Managed Hosting Provider

Are you interested in outsourcing your web hosting services? Do you require a dedicated server?

If the answer is “YES” to both of these questions, you may want to consider a managed hosting provider.

What is a managed hosting?

In a managed hosting environment, the hosting provider owns and is responsible for the data center, network, devices, operating system and application infrastructure components. The customer generally manages the applications infrastructure and maintains full control over the business process.

Whether you are looking for your first managed hosting provider or switching from an existing provider, making the selection can be an overwhelming task.

Each organization has unique requirements and the best provider for one may not be good for another.

For bloggers or individual websites – a cheap host with basic features is usually good enough. In contrast, you definitely need better reliability and technical support from a business web host.

Once you have taken the plunge and selected a provider, it can be very difficult to back out or make yet another change. This is why it is so important to make the selection carefully. Of course, it never hurts to ask friends and colleagues for recommendations, but this should only be a starting point.

Below are some things to consider when making your decision.

1. Scope of Services

To start, you should determine exactly which services you need and whether each managed hosting provider can support them.

Some providers may offer a variety of plans ranging from partial managed hosting to full managed hosting. It just depends on how much support you require and how much you are willing to pay.

Here are some standard services to consider:

  • Management of Windows or Linux environment
  • Application of security patches and upgrades
  • Management of the platform: hardware, networks, operating System, storage, database, domain name system, firewall, etc.
  • Clusters, redundancy and load balancers

Here are some additional services you might need:

  • Backups
  • Application support
  • Website security
  • Migration from the existing site (if applicable)

2. Service Levels

Response time and problem resolution are critical to any hosting service. You will want to review the capabilities of your prospective managed hosting provider to identify whether their service level is adequate to meet your needs. This is one area where you get what you pay for.

Small, less expensive providers may not have the resources to provide expert assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Below are few questions to ask:

  • Are they available by phone, e-mail, chat, etc.?
  • Do they provide 24 hour support?
  • What is the average response time during the day, at night and on weekends?
  • How long does it typically take to resolve problems? Are expert resources available in the off hours to resolve difficult problems quickly?

You may even want to call the provider in the middle of the night to see how long it takes to get a response.

3. Uptime

You should determine the level of uptime that your business requires. Of course, everyone wants 100% uptime, but higher service levels may cost more. In particular, consider the cost of downtime to your organization.

Are you a retailer who will lose thousands of dollars per hour if your site is down during the holiday season?

No managed hosting provider can provide 100% uptime and you should be skeptical of any that claim that they do. Ask the hosting provider what their average uptime is and if they guarantee an uptime service level. If they cannot meet the guaranteed service level, how will you be compensated?

Fortunately, most managed hosting providers maintain well over 99% uptime. Netcraft tracks the performance of many providers and you may find the information at their site helpful: Netcraft.

4. Scalability and Traffic Spikes

The ability of your site to handle spikes in activity is dependent not only on the managed host provider, but also on how well your website is programmed.

Clearly, you should provide prospective managed hosting providers not only your average traffic levels, but also your peak levels. Ask them if they can accommodate the peak levels. If traffic spikes can be anticipated, how much lead time do they require in order to prepare?

Ask the provider how many visitors per month they currently handle.

  • How many websites are they hosting?
  • How many visitors does the average site have?

This should give you a good idea if they can handle the size of your business.

5. Applications & Languages

Make sure that the provider can support the applications and languages you intend to use.

These might include:

  • WordPress, Drupal, Joomla
  • Windows Server, Linux
  • PHP, .NET, Python, Ruby

It’s important to not only make sure they can accommodate the applications and languages that you use, but also the particular versions you are using.

Ask if their other customers are already using these same versions.

6. Server Control

If your developers will need full server control, be sure that the managed host provider offers it.

For example, some developers need Secure Shell Support (SSH) access to customize their environments. These are all details that you want to specify upfront to avoid nasty surprises late in the process.

7. Cost

In the end, the provider and plan that you select will represent a compromise between the service levels that you desire and the money you are willing to spend on a website.

Be sure that you understand exactly how much each plan costs. Which costs are part of the standard plan and which are a la carte? How much bandwidth is included? How much storage is included? How many domains can you host without additional charges?

Most hosting problems can be avoided by conducting a thorough review BEFORE selecting the provider.

If you do your homework and are clear about your requirements, you should have no problem finding a good managed host provider that meets your needs.

Good Luck!

5 Little-Known WordPress Features

WordPress has gone a long way from a simple blogging system. Today, it’s evolved to the most popular, powerful, and flexible content management system (CMS) in the world. Its official repository offers thousands of themes and plugins – enabling virtually limitless combinations for your own website.

To maintain its dominance in the CMS world, WordPress never really stops growing and changing for the better. More and more features were added and sadly, many of them remained little-known to bloggers.

Here are 5 of them that you might overlooked in the past:

1. Sticky Post

In most WordPress themes, the recent posts section displays articles chronologically. But what if you want to somehow pin a specific post at the top of your website – be it a very important announcement or bit of information you’d like all your readers to know about?

Sure, you can create a custom-built homepage that pulls in a particular post for your homepage. But an easier solution would be to use the built-in sticky post feature.

To use this feature: Simply open the post editor then select Visibility > Stick this post to the front page.

2. Additional Keyboard Shortcuts

Everyone knows that the WordPress post editor supports universal shortcuts such as Ctrl + C for copy and Ctrl + V for paste.

What you probably didn’t know is that there is a number of additional shortcuts that make content development a lot easier.

For example, typing in “>” to start a paragraph enables the blockquote feature.

Shift + Alt + C is the shortcut for the align center formatting option.

To see the full list of keyboard shortcuts, click the question mark button from the main editor.

3. Distraction-Free Writing Mode

One of best things about WordPress is also one of its downsides. Since it utilizes a unified and somewhat cluttered interface, writing or editing content right on WordPress is not ideal – unless your browser isn’t maximized or you’re using a mobile device.

Thankfully, you can activate the distraction-free writing mode to hide the dashboard along with the Publish, Categories, Tags, and other sections in the editor as you type.

It’s not a significant change, but the distraction-free writing mode works in promoting better focus and productivity. To temporarily disable this mode, simply hover your mouse outside the editing area.

4. Custom Permalink Structures

Let’s get some things straight – the default permalink structure in WordPress isn’t good for SEO. It’s also not very readable or optimized for users who’d rather type in a specific page’s URL in the browser. To fix this, you can pick a different format in Settings > Permalinks.

You can also create a custom permalink structure by picking Custom Structure. Below is a list of the tags you can use:

  • %year%
  • %monthnum%
  • %day%
  • %hour%
  • %minute%
  • %second%
  • %postname%
  • %post_Id%
  • %category
  • %author%

Take note that each tag can be separated using the “/” symbol.

For example, if you want to use a permalink structure that displays the author and the post’s title, you can use:

http://yourwebsite.com/%author%/%postname%/

5. Post Scheduling

When blogging, it’s crucial to publish your posts when your target audience is most active. That’s why WordPress includes a feature that allows you to schedule a post to be published at a later time. All you need to do is look at the Publish section and click Edit next to Publish immediately.

After specifying a target date and time, click OK to save your specifications. Notice that the Publish button now changed to Schedule.

Things to Know Before Buying A Web Host

Shopping for web hosting? Here’re the main 5 consideration points when you’re looking for the right web hosting: Hosting uptime, server load time, hosting features, pricing, and free domain offers.

Be sure to read on in case you’re about to start your website online, as I’ll be revealing each consideration points in detail.

1- Hosting Uptime

When choosing a host for your new (or old) website there are many things to consider. Your host is the one who is responsible for your website being online and being able to be accessed by users, and potential customers.

Seeing such, you will want to look at the uptime that the hosting company guarantees first. You really can’t take their word for it, however, but anything under 99% should be a red flag to you. In order to better check out the hosting company’s “real” uptime, try to visit a few of the sites that you know they host. They normally have links to them somewhere on their site.

Also, if the hosting company’s site is ever down for an extended period, say an hour or so, this should also be a red flag. Basically, you’ll want your site up and online as much as possible, so in order to make sure this happens, you’ll want to make sure that other websites that a hosting company is hosting are up. Try checking at different times during the day, too. If there is a routine time that sites are down, this will not be good for you, and it should be a sure sign that you shouldn’t be using that hosting company.

2- Server Load Time

Another thing you’ll want to check is load time.

This is just what it says, how fast your site will load. You can time how fast the hosting company’s site loads and how fast other sites it hosts load, and compare them with other hosting companies.

If you want a pretty accurate reading, you can try using the Fasterfox extension for Firefox . It gives you a time that the page took to load up to the thousandths place in seconds. This should be sufficient enough of a timer for your purposes.

TTFB = Good measurement of server response speed? Source: WHSR Kinsta Review.

3- Hosting Features

Features are always important as well. Some hosting companies offer loads and loads of features; more features than you’ll ever even think of using. Do you really need those FrontPage extensions? How about unlimited databases? No, all you’ll probably ever need is the latest PHP, and about 2-3 Email accounts, FTP accounts, and 2-3 databases.

Keep in mind that this is based on one website, so if you are looking to host, say ten, on one account, then obviously, you’ll want to multiply those numbers by 10. Another important feature to look for is regular backups.

This will save your site if something goes extremely wrong, which is rare, but it does happen, so it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.

4- Pricing

After you’ve examined everything you need, it’s time to look around for the best deal.

If you’re reviewing web hosting according to this article, you should have established a minimum amount for each of the features you want, including by now.

What’s next is to weed out the best deal. While the cheapest deal always is the most appealing, be very sure that you look beyond the first year of pricing, because some hosts like to trick you with cheap hosting for the first year, and then change the fee to the most expensive ever without you even noticing.

Sometimes (but not a must) the hosting companies with fees right in the middle work out for the best.

5- Free Domain?

Lastly but not least, if you’re hosting your website for the first time (meaning you do not own an existing domain), you should look for web hosting that offer free domain registration. Take BlueHost for example, they are offering lifetime free domain for customers.

What’s Your Horrible Story in Hosting?

Honestly, I think there’re way too many lousy web hosting around the market – most are overselling their bandwidth, over promised and underdelivered in hosting uptime, over-priced hosting plans, and dishonest merchants who disallow cancellation.

Almost everyone has their own version of horrible hosting story.

So remember – next time, before you click buy, ask your web host the questions stated above.

A2 Hosting Review

A2 is yet another website hosting company that offers unlimited everything for a fairly inexpensive price. But is there anything that sets A2 apart from the competition? Yes! And I’ve got the information you need to decide if this company is the best choice for hosting your website (if you are a developer, you will definitely want to check this out).

Read on…

Is A2 an “A1 Company”?

According to the Better Business Bureau, they are, indeed! The BBB gives A2 Hosting Inc. an A rating. One of the reasons for this excellent rating is a total of four customer complaints in the past three years. That’s right: four complaints. From what I’ve seen, many other hosting companies receive that many complaints from customers in a single month – or even week!

So…A2 must be doing something right. Although they haven’t been in business all that long, being founded in 2001 as Iniquinet before switching to A2 in 2003, this Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company has built their good reputation on superior speed, uptime and customer service.

Owned by a group of developers, A2 is eager to incorporate new technologies as soon as they are available. Along with providing a lot of developer tools to their customers, their adoption of cutting-edge technology makes A2 an excellent choice for someone who wants full control over their website functionality and design using the latest tools.

What’s Different About A2?

There are a couple things about web hosting service from A2 that really stand out: their SwiftServer platform and SSD hosting.

One thing A2 is known for is its fast speeds. One of the reasons they can claim your website will load faster on their servers is due to the SwiftServer platform, which includes high performance servers designed by the company’s developers.

SSD stands for Solid State Drive. That’s an option you can add to your account if you want your website’s pages to load up to 300 percent faster than files on a standard server hard drive.

Between SwiftServer and SSD, A2 provides some of the fastest speeds available in a shared hosting plan – or from a dedicated server.

All-Inclusive Shared Hosting Accounts

A2 provides just three shared hosting plans: Lite, Swift, and Turbo.

Swift and Turbo come with unlimited everything: storage, transfer, emails, domains, subdomains, parked domains and databases. They also include free backups and a anytime money back guarantee.

All accounts have access to all the popular applications, such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, along with a shopping cart for basic e-commerce (additional software and applications, such as a private SSL certificate and merchant account, available at an extra charge).

Also – their shared hosting accounts are easily managed via the popular cPanel control panel.

For developers, A2 Hosting includes the following:

  • PHP (5 & 7 versions)
  • Unlimited MySQL 5.5 databases
  • PostgreSQL 9.1
  • phpMyAdmin & phhpPgAdmin
  • SSH access
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • PERL
  • Git, CVS, Subversion & Mercurial

A few things of note with A2’s shared hosting plans:

  1. Railgun Optimizer, which loads your site’s pages up to 143 times faster, is available as an add-on for the Prime account and included free with a Prime+SSD account
  2. Prime account customers get a choice of hosting their files on a U.S. or European server.
  3. A dedicated IP address costs an additional $3 per month.

Other Types of Accounts

Although shared hosting always seems to be the website hosting company’s bread and butter, A2 also offers reseller accounts, VPS and dedicated hosting. They will manage hosting for VPS and dedicated packages, too, if you don’t want the hassle of doing so.

All reseller accounts can host as many client sites as they wish. The difference between the three tiers of service, ranging from $9.89 to $26.39 per month, is in the storage space and data transfer limits. You have the option to add SSD to any reseller account for $5 per month extra.

Now – VPS accounts. A2 is really unique in that they allow a custom-designed server configuration. You get to choose how much disk space, CPU, bandwidth and memory you want and then select an operating system from 13 options. The nice thing is that you only pay for what you need – it’s not necessary to purchase a package with a huge amount of disk space, for instance, if that doesn’t suit your needs.

All VPS plans allow a single IP address and come with perpetual security, choice of server location (Iceland is a 100 percent “green” choice), root and SSH access, full network control and a SolusVM control panel (cPanel is not an option here).

If you want A2 to manage your VPS hosting account, you can choose from three different preconfigured packages with limited RAM, storage, data transfer, virtual CPUs and two dedicated IP addresses. Prices for managed VPS accounts range from $32.99 to $65.99 per month.

How about dedicated hosting? While you have to contact the company for pricing, there are two options: Flex Dedicated Server and Managed Flex Dedicated Server. Of course, the former option is great if you are comfortable with administering and developing your server from the command line using root access and a Linux OS. You also get to configure your server’s hardware the way you want it. Managed dedicated hosting uses a preconfigured server with cPanel.

Does A2 Uphold Their Promise of Excellent Customer Service?

Customer service is at the backbone of A2’s mission statement so I wondered if they really live up to expectations in regard to their 24/7/365 customer support promise. As far as I can tell, they do!

Service is provided via phone, fax, email, live chat or online ticket system. They also provide a Knowledgebase resource online.

That’s all pretty standard stuff – but when you start researching customer ratings and reviews on external sites, you will find one of the highest levels of satisfaction ever encountered! Technical support is provided within 24 hours and the ‘Guru Crew’ (as A2 refers to them) is knowledgeable, honest and helpful.

Is A2 Hosting Reliable?

A2 offers a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee.

In WHSR’s A2 Hosting review – test site is constantly scoring above 99.9 percent uptime.

I could find no complaints about website downtime. Sure, they have issues every now and then just like any other company, but their customers seem happy with the resolutions provided by A2 support.

Who Should Use A2 Hosting Services?

A2 web hosting – whether it’s shared, VPS, reseller or dedicated – is perfect for developers who want the ultimate level of control over their sites. I particularly like the fact that they allow you to configure your own servers (for VPS and dedicated hosting) and allow ample control.

But it’s also a good value for those who aren’t quite as comfortable with development and design of a website. Because their technical support and customer service departments are so highly rated, it’s easy to get the help you need.

A2 offers a “hassle-free money back guarantee” which you can request at any time. With a promise of getting all your money back (for monthly hosting fees less any add-ons, anyway), that should make anyone switching A2 confident they won’t be locked into a long-term contract if they become dissatisfied.

A2 Hosting Pros & Cons

As a recap, here is what I think are the best and worst features of A2:

Pros

  • Greater control over website design and configuration
  • Excellent BBB rating
  • Fast speed
  • Your choice of servers
  • Great customer service/support
  • Excellent reliability

Cons

  • Few affordable account options
  • Dedicated IP addresses cost extra

A2 offers mid-range priced hosting plans, excellent speed, great customer service and a good variety of customizable features, making them a great pick for any website owner, but especially developers and businesses.

Alternatives: SiteGround, InterServer, Altus Host, Name Cheap.

Facebook = Most Powerful Advertising Tool

Traditional marketers and sellers often see themselves going to a place where most people hang out, and that is a shopping mall.

They would set up attractive display booths and will try every strategy in the book to lure prospective buyers to listen to their demonstrations, try their products and eventually buy their products.

But with the popularity of  Facebook, I am not surprised that marketers and sellers will also exert their efforts in Facebook advertising. If the shopping mall is a place where people go, Facebook on the other hand is where close to 500 million people meet, socialize, buy and sell.

You read it right.

This popular social network site is not only the ‘in’ online place where you can update your social calendar, tag friends, post comments and click the Like or Unlike icon. But it is also a place where buyers and sellers congregate online simply because of the reason that it is where roughly 500 million people are registered. So, just like other online marketers and sellers, you also want to try your hand in Facebook advertising and attract even just a fraction of the staggering millions of Facebook users.

Also, with the continuous increasing popularity of Facebook, I am pretty sure that the number of registered users will further escalate in the coming years. So, if you will go for Facebook advertising, an increase in the number of Facebook users is a great reason for you to celebrate—it is an opportunity for you to enjoy higher sales and increased profit. But before you can reap Facebook advertising success, first you need to learn the ways on how to convert Facebook into your most powerful advertising tool like:

Facebook Advertising Increases Your Business Exposure

One way to attain satisfying marketing and advertising exposure to your targeted market is by utilizing Facebook’s advertising tool. Facebook advertising is a recent development in this popular social media site wherein you and other Facebook users will still enjoy the same real-time social updates but you are also presented with different advertisements that cater to your likes or interests.

So, if you will use Facebook to advertise your products or services, your ads will also find its place among other ads placed vertically in the right hand corner of your Facebook account. If you’ll notice in your account, you will see on the right side area a pixel box approximately 110 x 80 in size. It is in the small box where basic information like title of your ads, URL link, image and a brief description for about 135 characters of your advertisement will be located.

Another great thing about it is that the ads you see are not just placed there randomly. Just like I mentioned before, the ads cater to your likes or interests since Facebook take into consideration the pages you visited, the pages you ‘Like’, the groups you belong to, and your interests. So, the ads that you see might be different from the ads that other Facebook users see. Let’s say most of your likes are about pets or travel, then it is most likely that the ads you will see in your account are also connected to pets or travel.

So, as an online marketer, you will want to take advantage of this great advertising tool especially that Facebook advertising is an opportunity for you to advertise your products to your targeted market.

However, to effectively create compelling Facebook ads, it is crucial that you spend time to craft a unique and eye catching ad content and design.

Furthermore, the mobile features of Facebook enable your advertisement to be seen by Facebook mobile phone users. This is a powerful feature wherein your targeted market can be reminded about your ads wherever they are. Also, aside from being an efficient and powerful advertising tool, Facebook Advertising is more affordable to use than the usual pay per click advertisements. It is also way affordable that other traditional online marketing schemes.

Increase Advertising and Marketing Exposure through Fan Page

Aside from Facebook Advertising, there is also another way on how you can convert Facebook into your most powerful advertising tool. You can increase your exposure to your targeted market by creating a Fan Page in Facebook. The number of Facebook users who clicked the Like or Unlike icon will help you gauge the level of exposure of your products or services.

But as a rule of thumb, regardless of how many advertisements or fan pages you intend to create, catching the attention of your targeted market should be your first priority. To do this, write compelling and exciting information about your company. Aside from the basic information like business name or contact details, the brief description about what your company offers should be interesting enough to entice Facebook users to visit your site.

In short, don’t write boring ads.

While interesting images also attracts attention but lastly, once you started your advertising efforts, don’t juts be contented with it. Follow it through and look for other advertising opportunities and possibilities you can explore in Facebook.