Are you looking for one of the most feature-rich and user-friendly solutions on the web that combines email, cloud storage, productivity software, calendars, and more? Do you hear people talking about how great they think Google’s products are and find yourself wondering what G Suite (formerly known as “Google Apps”) is? Continue reading “What is G Suite and Why Should I Consider Using It?”→
There are some advantages with providing web hosting to 100,000+ customers over the past 15 years. As small business owners ourselves once, we sought out to create a web hosting company that speak TRULY to those looking to create a solid website that represents the the digital home to their brand.
We’ve seen websites created that have grown from our lowest plan on a shared server, to reaching the need to use a dedicated server. We are proud of this growth – and our customers are happy that we haven’t given up on them throughout their journey.
The bad news is that getting your website live was the easy part. InMotion Hosting makes sure of that! The hard part is still to come…now you need to develop content for your site that will attract, engage and convert visitors into prospects and ultimately customers.
The good news is that there is a tried and true framework for developing a content plan to ensure that your site can attract qualified visitors and will engage those most likely to become customers.
In this post I’ll share this framework to help you evaluate your business and customers, and develop a strategic content plan to help you meet the needs of your target market, and in turn your own business objectives.
4 Steps to Building a Successful Content Plan
The following steps walk you through a research oriented planning process designed to build a content plan based on the needs of your target market. Rather than the usual brochureware and marketing speak we are aiming here to develop content that answers questions and helps potential customers reach a decision to buy from you. By the time you’re through with this process, you will have created a content plan designed to attract and convert the most qualified visitors to your website.
Step 1: Define the Buying Cycle in Your Business
Your business’ buying cycle in the simplest sense is the journey your customers follow in order to buy a product or service. The customer journey will be different for different industries, longer or shorter depending on the nature of the product. Generally speaking however, a buying cycle follows this basic process…
The breakdown itself is simple enough to understand, the question here is what does the buying cycle in your business mean for content? Let’s take a look at the buying cycle from both a customer’s and content strategist’s perspective to tackle each stage head on.
Internet security has always been a major concern for businesses and website owners. In today’s online world, these threats are becoming more and more widespread and diverse in nature. With so many attack vectors and vulnerabilities being discovered daily, it’s more important than ever that you keep a close eye on potential security risks. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best practices you can employ to keep yourself and your website protected.
On the local level, individuals should ensure they are running all of the latest up-to-date software versions and actively updating your virus protection definitions. It’s always a good idea to change your passwords regularly, use stronger passwords, and never store them anywhere in plain-text. There are several password management applications out there that use encryption methods against your master password database which will make it very difficult to decrypt should the database fall into the wrong hands. An example is KeePass, a free open-source password manager that uses the best, and most secure encryption algorithms.
Staying productive is one of the most challenging things we face in our daily lives. Whether working or taking care of things at home, we are busier than ever. And while it may seem that every day a new tool is developed to help make our lives easier, sometimes these tools serve as more of a distraction than an aid. So let’s cast all distractions aside and make 2015 the year we commit to being more productive. Here is a list of 9 things to help you do just that.
1. Synchronize – In an age of digitalization, we have calendars on our computers, phones, daily planners, social profiles, and more. It can be difficult trying to maintain updating tasks across that many platforms, which can lead to unnecessary confusion and miscommunications. So let’s start by ditching the numerous calendars we have and stick with just one if possible. If that’s not possible, at least make sure they are synced and accurate. One suggestion is Google Calendar; an easy way to keep track of all tasks and events in one place.
2. Keep Track of Time – Over the course of a week, keep a log to see how much time you are spending on tasks that are unimportant or that can become automated. This way you will be able to see where the majority of your distractions are coming from, what time of day they occur, if more happened on a specific day, etc. Once you have this data, you will have an easier time eliminating tasks, distractions, and interruptions that are wasting valuable time.
3. Prioritize – Set benchmarks for yourself and prioritize tasks based on value. Start with the most important task for the day, then the next important, etc. That way you will always know what the most important task for the day is, and when your most important tasks are completed it is much easier to find time for less important tasks. Also, if anything interrupts or changes your day, you will be able to rest easy knowing you have already accomplished your most important tasks of the day.
4. Minimize Distractions – Schedule a daily period of time where you prevent yourself from being distracted unless absolutely necessary. Concentrate on one activity by turning off your cell phone (if possible), Twitter alerts, Facebook alerts, and other distractors. Utilize tools like IFTTT (think “gift” without the “g”) which is an abbreviation of “If This Then That.” It’s a service where you create recipes that trigger when another service has an update. For example, you might create a recipe that consists of downloading any photo you are tagged in on Facebook to Dropbox.
5. Take A Break – After about 45 minutes our ability to focus tends to fade. So have 45 minute sessions where you apply complete focus to your task, then take a 15 minute break and regroup. Take those 15 minutes and do anything not related to the current task at hand. When your 15 minute break is up, return to the task at hand.
6. Get Organized – A disorganized work space can make it hard to focus. Keep your area clutter-free, organize your digital assets and clear your mind and office free from unnecessary distractions.
7. Set Deadlines – Give yourself a deadline to complete a task (breaks included). One of the reasons deadlines work so well is because they can make large projects more manageable. It also serves as motivation when you successfully meet a deadline. When you can see the finish line, it’s easier to stay focused. Using a Smartsheet is a great tool for setting deadlines and prioritizing tasks. You can also share your sheet with others for easy coordination.
8. Don’t Overschedule – Having too much on your schedule is an easy way to begin to feel overwhelmed. Feeling rushed and inundated can actually detract from work productivity. Try to be aspirational yet realistic when scheduling your day/week/month.
9. Be In the Now – Remember that if you get off track, tomorrow is a new day. Don’t get stuck on the little things that happened yesterday. Focus on the positive things you have accomplished up until this point and apply that attitude toward your tasks going forward.
With a myriad of distractions available at our fingertips, productivity blockers are always just a click or a swipe of the finger away. The information age is going nowhere, so rather than blaming these distractions, take measures that help you stay productive. Learning what steps help you personally prosper is key to success in the workplace. Try some of these ideas and see what works for you!
‘Tis the season to get your online store ready for the busiest time of the year. InMotion Hosting is giving you some important things to check off your holiday list to help your online store gear up for the season.
1. Participate in all the shopping days
The first important date to target is Black Friday, which lands on November 28th this year, with a lot of stores pre-releasing their deals to the public before the day even hits to help people avoid lines and traffic. Another one for local shops that have an online presence is Small Business Saturday, which takes place on November 29th this year and is the perfect time to include in-store and online promos. To top it off, before the big day of Christmas, you have Cyber Monday, which lands on December 1st.
Summary of major dates to target:
Black Friday – November 28th
Small Business (Saturday) – November 29th
Cyber Monday – December 1st
2. Get to the wallet first with a good first impression
You will want to start by figuring out which offers to push and when to push them. Typically, you will want the highest discounted offer to hit first before everyone runs dry on funds by the later targets like Cyber Monday. Adobe has shown in recent data that the deepest discounts will be given the Monday before Thanksgiving this year, and holiday shoppers are some of the savviest around, so keep that in mind when positioning your offers. The idea is to get to the wallet before others do or before it gets tapped out, so why not hit them with your best offer first before everyone of your competitors.
Check out the marketing data compiled by Adobe in their Holiday Predictions Report for 2014…
3. Use channels that you know are proven and brace for cart abandonment
Focus your efforts on outreach to the channels you know are revenue workhorses. For many online retailers, one of the largest engagement opportunities is email. For some, email may not be the primary workhorse and you may have a stronger audience in terms of revenue per visitor on Instagram or Facebook. But in either case, work your channels with both warm-up messaging and messaging on the day of the offer release. Another idea is to use multiple channels at once to get the synergy and hype going.
Make sure you also utilize remarketing via Google or Facebook for all lost prospects with discounted offers to return and finish the sale. With all that extra holiday traffic, you will surely want to build some solid audiences in your respective advertising networks that you can go back to. Unfortunately, an expected consequence of online store traffic is the dreaded cart abandonment.
Here are some of the key insights for cart abandonment gathered by the people at Virtual Website Optimizer from their recent 2014 eCommerce Survey:
“unexpected shipping cost is the biggest reason for cart abandonment among online shoppers.” (Simple fix: Addressed below with offering free shipping…)
“having to create a new user account is the second biggest reason for cart abandonment.” (Simple fix: Allow guest checkout or social login)
“shoppers say they will purchase products they left in their cart, if offered again at a discounted price.” (Simple fix: Offer cart abandonment emails with a dynamic discount coupon that expires certain days after their visit to prompt urgency)
“shoppers among 25-34 age group open to retargeting via discounts.” (Simple fix: addressed above with remarketing via Google or Facebook)
4. Develop your holiday editorial calendar
As aforementioned, you will want to have dates locked down on your calendar for when to start exposing people to your upcoming offer. Along with warming up before the offer goes live, you will want the hard dates that your offer will not only be marketed, but go live on your site.
For more help with the top holiday dates and scheduling your calendar, check out ExactTarget’s 2014 Email Marketing Holiday Calendar here.
5. Go the extra mile on your holiday offer Not only will you want to offer an exclusive, time-sensitive offer and in some cases flash sale on your site for the holiday, but you will also want to get creative and avoid the mundane percentage discount. You can offer free shipping at a certain purchase threshold with an added incentive such as free swag.
Regardless of the offer, you also want to make sure you make it easy to return items and possibly extend your return policy for items purchased within the holiday season like Best Buy.
6. Don’t forget about mobile!
Make sure everything looks good on mobile devices. We are now in the mobile-first era of online shopping. For this, you can test using your own device or devices, or utilize services like BrowserStack to test out your website on multiple devices (whether desktop or mobile) to make sure the experience is fluid and in unison across all modern-day platforms.
For those that want to check their email offers on multiple platforms we recommend the following sites for email testing:
Data provided by emarketer shows that sales volume is continuing to grow year over year thanks to mcommerce, the “always-on commerce” in your pocket. With that being understood, we can not emphasize enough that your online store and marketing messaging have to work well with desktop, tablets and mobile devices. The advent of cashless systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet will help streamline the mobile commerce experience, which will in turn make buying via mobile device more popular. So again, make sure you don’t miss the boat with your website and emails and disregard the user experience on mobile.
We hope these last minute tips will help you this holiday season on gearing up for more sales.
Best wishes on your holiday endeavors from us here at InMotion Hosting!
Ever wondered how much CPU you use in a month? 24 hours? We are excited to announce an awesome new feature for our Business Class customers (Launch, Power & Pro accounts) that allows you to learn exactly how resource intensive your website is.
This feature will be enabled in mid April. To learn about your CPU usage, simply click “Resource Usage” in the advanced settings section of your cPanel and the graphs will populate.
This tool can assist you in determining when you may need to upgrade your server to a VPS. As always, if you need help understanding your usage graph, our support representatives are standing by 24×7.
Moodle, an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, is an open source suite of software tools that is designed for those who wish to create educational courses or web pages that have a more natural and organic method of learning and teaching. Appropriate for use on Windows, Apple and Linux operating systems, Moodle software allows for complete customization and changing of base code to meet the exact needs of the programmer and educator.
Moodle can be easily installed via the cPanel with the program Softaculous.
First, sign into your cPanel and get Softaculous up and running.
Once you have the program running, locate the Educational tab in the left-hand sidebar and select Moodle.
A window that has the option to install Moodle
Once installation is selected a window with a series of question prompts will appear. Fill these boxes in, choosing the name you want for your main file directory.
The directory is relative to your domain and should not exist. e.g. To install at http://mydomain/dir/ just type dir. To install only in http://mydomain/ leave this empty.
This is also where you will set the parameters for your site. Here you choose the type of encryption and security you want. This is also where you will set up an administrative log in that provides access to all elements of the program. You will need to select a user name and a very strong password.
You can choose to have a copy of successful installation confirmation emailed to you, if you wish to have additional copies of this information, at this point in the process.
Once this information has been filled in, select Install at the bottom of the window.
Hopefully the installation should run smoothly. But Moodle is a dynamic platform that requires some up-to-date features of the latest PHP server software. If you get a message like this:
The following errors were found :
The PHP Version is less than the required 5.3.2
Simply check with your host provider that your server is running the required version of PHP to get Moodle up and running. You can check this in cPanel yourself by looking at the left-hand sidebar. If you have a VPS or dedicated server, this is something you can upgrade quite easily for yourself to fix the problem.
When the installation is complete, you should receive a confirmation message. If you chose to have one emailed, you should also receive that shortly after the completion of your installation.
With Softaculous, installing Moodle is as easy as a few simple clicks and providing a few pieces of basic information. That is all it takes to install a powerful suite of software tools that allows programmers, developers and educators to work together to create new types of learning and educational modules that use a revolutionary way of teaching.
Moodle provides a powerful suite of tools that allows for complete customization to meet the exact needs of the developers and educators. Free, open source software tools such as Moodle allow for easy access to powerful technologies that can be tailored to meet individual needs. Moodle works across the main operating systems and is free to use and manipulate to the needs of one’s site or educational program.
In a previous post on “Online Research Methods” I demonstrated some of the research techniques available to SEOs, writers, marketing experts and big data analysts. During my own research on web trends I have made some interesting discoveries that can help you learn about upcoming web search behavior related to your own niche.
I’d initially like to expand on use of the research methods I use from the original research method infographic. I have a personal interest in finding out what our own audience would love for me to write about, either through feedback, or understanding our audience demographic better. Taking a refreshing new look at where your audience comes from once in a while is a great exercise once in a while from a marketing standpoint.
First off I’d like to show you the “Google Trends” tool. There is a similar tool in Adwords that shows you a volume of search against certain keywords. The Adwords Keywords tool is insufficient for projecting trends for as there is no historical data. To ascertain what trends are breaking out, what is current, and relevancy to other behaviors that are following the same rate of change and seasonal behaviors, you’ll need the Google Trends tool.
Adwords Keywords tool is a great tool for scraping together a bucket list and finding which keywords present current opportunity for optimizing your site or advertising campaign. If you want to get down to the real nitty-gritty and find out why the opportunity exists, you need to find which opportunities are growing, plateauing, or falling.
Below is a graph I screenshot from the Google Trends tool. It has it’s own forecasting tool in it, and a bunch of related terms suggested for you to plug in and test out. I simply used search terms relevant to our audience taken from our popular posts and after a few permutations of related keywords. I found something that stood out as a rising trend that warranted further investigation. I’ve overlaid the trend graph with a the rough projection so you can see what caught my attention:
Out of all the interest in online web applications and and developer tools, the term “web apps” seems to show a distinct seasonal activity on top of a steadily increasing trend.
Clicking on the “web apps” tab gives us further segmented information on this activity. Google shows us not only is the term rapidly increasing in frequency of search but alongside it are many new breakout terms related to mobile devices. Note the mention of “android web apps”, and “web apps iphone“.
Where Is This Online Trend Behavior Coming From
Head on over to Google Correlate, which finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends. Here we can see what consumer driving forces are behind online trends by matching search volume patterns. Search terms may not be related, but by comparing seasonal behaviors you can tie-in the effect of the real world events.
In the case of the search term of “web apps”, Google suggests that the behavior for “iphone web” closely matches all the smaller seasonal peaks and possibly sale periods. Google has in it’s algorithms a correlation coefficient called “r”. The closer the correlation coefficient is to 1, the less variance there is between two trending behaviors.
I will certainly be paying closer attention to iPhone developments and releases now, with a view to how they impact our mobile app behavior.