11 Ways SEO is Changing in 2015 and Beyond

seo-in-2016

As the year 2015 winds down to a close, it’s time to start looking forward to 2016 and beyond. Digital marketers and SEO professionals are always looking to the future so they can be ready for the changes that are no doubt coming. Google is constantly pursuing a better search experience. This results in changes to how they index and rank pages, resulting in changes to SEO tactics.

It’s a cycle that has been going on for years, and 2016 will be no different. New WordPress tips and SEO best practices will start emerging, but I’m here to give you the inside scoop now instead of later.

11 Emerging SEO Trends for 2016

 Google is a business like any other, they just happen to be one of the largest businesses in the world. Everyone that uses their service is a customer to them, so it’s only natural for them to constantly pursue a better experience for their users.

As you read these eleven upcoming SEO changes, keep the words user experience at the forefront of your mind. You’ll find that all of these changes make sense when viewed through that lens.

Continue reading “11 Ways SEO is Changing in 2015 and Beyond”

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What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur?

Article ImageEntrepreneurship, despite the recovering economy, is a booming industry. Small businesses are, and continue to be, the backbone of the economy. With that, we wanted to give a shout out to all of our customers, friends, and family that are either thriving or aspiring to become entrepreneurs.

If you are currently an entrepreneur and want to share your success story with us, we would love to feature your business on our website!

[Just Follow These 4 Steps:]

  • Tell us about why you chose to became an entrepreneur
  • How you overcame obstacles
  • How you drive your business’ success

For those of you who are thinking of becoming entrepreneurs, let us first establish what it means to be an entrepreneur.

An entrepreneur is someone who takes initiative, and makes a leap in organizing and operating a business. Anyone is capable of becoming an entrepreneur! When you come up with new ideas, think outside of the box, and act on these innovations ideas, you are taking the first steps to becoming an entrepreneur.

 However, there is a big difference between wanting to become an entrepreneur, and succeeding as one. Let’s take a look at what characteristics make a successful entrepreneur.

Continue reading “What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur?”

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Team Member Profile: Danny Sumerlin

Team Member SpotlightHometown: Virginia Beach, VA
Position: Senior Design Consultant
Been with InMotion Hosting since: December 2010

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
My Fine Arts/Graphic Design degree led me to have essential knowledge of the custom web design process, web hosting, and the benefits of investing into a professional, online presence.

What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
As the Senior Design Consultant, my design background and the ease of working in a relaxed environment has allowed me to consult with small and medium size business owners.  I’ve also had the good fortune in working with Non-Profit organizations. This position has allowed our in-house team to custom build their new sites from scratch.

Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about?
I am not really into gadgets for the most part, but I really love my Suunto Ambit3 watch. I can wear it surfing or to a wedding, and still look sharp. It’s lasted surfing, snowboarding and my 70 lb dog. My next gadget, on the horizon, hopefully sooner than later, will be a Toyota Tacoma Sport.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
Ever since I was able to hold a pencil, I have been doodling. My illustration, painting and graphic design outside of my experience with InMotion has allowed me to continue my creativity. I have participated in both the Boardwalk Art Show and Neptune Festival, and continue to manage my own WordPress site as a personal portfolio (our design team built it for me!).

Describe your personality in one word?
Adventurous.

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Cyber Security Awareness: Are you and your website protected?

cybersecurityarticleInternet 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.

Protect Yourself
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.

Continue reading “Cyber Security Awareness: Are you and your website protected?”

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Team Member Profile: Marco Ponce

marcoponceHometown: Los Angeles, CA
Position: Marketing Technologist 
Been with InMotion Hosting since: September 2014

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
Before working at InMotion Hosting I was a freelancer who procured hosting for web design and marketing clients, as well as for previous employers and for myself. Most products ranged from shared hosting, to dedicated hosting.

What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
I am a Marketing Technologist. Most of the daily tasks involve evaluating, maintaining and implementing technologies that we can put in to play at our company to make us more efficient while marketing. I also handle affairs with our SEO and paid advertising.

Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about?
iPhone wins hands down with gadget I own due to time spent on it! Want to own: BMW i8, but it’s not practical.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
I am happily married to my wife Paola Ponce. I like to cycle on the weekends, preferably in a group ride and I like to take photos of wildlife and landscapes with my DSLR camera. Chiefly, I love to read my King James Bible.

Describe your personality in one word?
Peculiar.

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Introduction to WordPress

If you are new to the online world of websites and blogging, you may have heard of WordPress or even recognize the prominent ‘W’ logo. If you are one of these people and don’t know what WordPress is, this is your opportunity to learn about one of the most prevalent and accessible website platforms.

WordPress is an innovative tool that is used to build websites. You will often hear it referred to as a Content Management System (CMS). That means WordPress is an application designed to support the creation, management, publishing, editing, organizing, and deletion of website content –  all from one central dashboard.

WordPress.COM vs WordPress.ORG

Signing up with WordPress is completely free. It’s an exceptionally cost-effective way to get started on any website. However, the option many users must face is to either use the hosted platform, WordPress.com, or go with your own web hosting space using WordPress.org.

For beginners, starting with the hosted platform on WordPress.com is a good way to learn the ropes and get started. This will get you a sub-domain that is located on wordpress.com. You will have access to built-in plugins, features, and themes that are readily available on the WordPress platform. However, you are limited in that you will not be able to access or download the larger repository of free and premium plugins and themes. You will also have limited support for free themes and are restricted from modifying them. This route is suggested if you are just interested in trying out WordPress as as starter package or have a very simple 1-2 page website.

If you choose the route of downloading the WordPress software through WordPress.org you will need hosting from a web hosting company. Here at InMotion Hosting, we give you the option to have pre-installed WordPress software to go with your hosting. You will have your choice of a unique domain name, full support and access for all themes and plugins that exist on the WordPress platform. Another perk of owning your own WordPress site is that you will be able to monetize by adding advertisements to your page. The WordPress.org route is recommended for those who are past the planning stages of their website and require full customization, plugins, and business features such as ecommerce.

Why is this the best platform for any user?

1) Flexibility and ease of use

WordPress is often associated with the creation of blogging websites. However, since its founding in 2003, it has evolved to provide a comprehensive solution for any type of website. Whether it’s a business, informational, non-profit, job listing, or even corporate website, the CMS excels in providing a comprehensive list of website templates. WordPress is also able to handle all sorts of media content, from text, images, music, and video.

Examples of ways to use a WordPress Website:

  •         Merchandise / Shopping Store
  •         Photo or Image Gallery
  •         Video Collection
  •         Blog
  •         Review Site
  •         Personal Website
  •         Informative Website

WordPress caters to the needs of both novice web users as well as those who are more advanced and familiar with web development and coding (such as CSS and HTML). WordPress provides beginners with the tools they need to get a website started with minimal difficulty. Free and premium themes are available as a starting point from which you can quickly build and shape a website to match your vision.

WordPress is also completely open source, which means the code behind the WordPress system is available to the general public to use and modify- making WordPress extremely customizable. Many big name brands also use WordPress for their website. The New York Times, CNN, and People Magazine, just to name a few, are all powered by WordPress.

2) Large knowledge base

WordPress’ long standing success and continuing popularity comes with an enthusiastic user base that has created a massive repository of informational tutorials and videos that can help one use WordPress for all their website needs. With the robust, global WordPress community, the answer to any question you might have should be easy to find with a simple Google search. And if it isn’t, the active community on WordPress support forums is quick to respond and provide input.

3) Plugins!

There are 40,000 plugins and counting for WordPress!  Anything from needing something to make sure your website isn’t being flooded by spam content to making sure your website is secure from potential hackers. WordPress has plugins for optimizing your website. What about help with your website’s SEO? You know, Search Engine Optimization – the way that Google learns how to rank your website? There’s a plugin for all of that! When you use WordPress, you have thousands of plugins available at your fingertips to help you design, protect, and optimize your website for any of your needs.

4) Keeping up to date

Staying on top of updates has never been easier with WordPress. The growing popularity of WordPress has led to continuous modernization to make sure the system is always advancing. New improvements are being added all the time. Updates are hassle free and inform you what new features and functionality are being added or fixed. 

Overview

Overall, WordPress is a strong platform to get started on your website venture. WordPress has grown exponentially and has diversified to fit almost any website niche. With a vast library of themes and plugins to choose from and a very simple learning curve, WordPress continues to be the top solution for a website CMS.

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Team Member Profile: Tim Sisson

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
Position: Customer Community Manager
Been with InMotion Hosting since: 2011

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
Actually, I got my start in the business / marketing side of the industry doing SEO / SEM work for an engineering company. This is where I learned the basics about web hosting. My first introduction into hosting not as a consumer was as a tier 1 Support representative for InMotion Hosting about 5 years ago.

What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
I’m the Customer Community Manager here. My team manages the Support Center and all of the documents that help our customers. We also act as evangelists with different products like WordPress. I like getting out into the public and getting to know our customers! It’s a really cool feeling when I’m at a WordCamp and a customer comes over to tell me stories of how we helped them succeed. I really enjoy empowering our customers and watching their successes because of it!

Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about?
I’m slowly working on a “magic mirror” for my daughters. It’s powered by a Raspberry PI behind some two way glass. It displays basic information like the time, date, weather, and any calendar items. I’m working on some speech recognition software as well, so they will be able to ask basic commands and get a response (you know, like in the fairy tale).

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
I’m a pretty simple guy. When I’m not at work I’m usually outside with my girls. We love the outdoors and nature so weekends are almost always spent exploring some park or trail. I think having a good balance between working in technology and enjoying  mother nature is important.

Describe your personality in one word?
Silly.

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InMotion Hosting Labor Day Campaign

Vector Smart Object

Finding the right host for your website is time consuming at best, and frustrating at worst. Kick back and relax this Labor Day. InMotion Hosting is having its annual Labor Day Promotion starting September 4th – 14th. All products will be offered at an even more affordable price! You’ve done a lot of hard work, we’re here to support you and make it as easy as possible to get online.

Step 1) Choose your domain

Step 2) Select the hosting plan that’s right for you

  • Don’t know where to start? Our award winning, 100% U.S. based customer service is here for you. Call or chat with us to figure out what the best options are for anything you need to host online.

Step 3) Let us build your website

  • Don’t know how to code? Trouble with web design? Our team is ready to custom design and code your website on the WordPress platform. We’ll make sure our designs capture your business vision.

We are proud to support the American Labor force. All of our products are backed with our award winning, 100% U.S. based Tech Support.

Don’t miss out on this limited time, Labor Day promotion. Check out our Press Release Here. 

 

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15 Steps to Grow Your Business Online

featuredarticleimage2You started your very own business; congratulations! Now that you’re a business owner, have you ever wondered about the possibilities for advancing your business online? This article will walk you through the essentials necessary to growing your business online.

3 Major Components of a Website

First thing’s first: Does your business have an online presence? Having a website allows your customers to easily find you by putting information about your business online. If you have merchandise, creating an online store will allow you to sell to them online as well!

  • Secure a domain name: Your domain name is a reflection of your business. Branding is important so create one as relevant to your business as possible.
  • Find a hosting company: A good hosting company is integral to operating your business online. Find a host that can meet your business’ needs and is capable of scaling with the growth of your online presence.
  • Build your website: The look and feel of your website is also important. There are several options available if you are inexperienced with creating a website from scratch. WordPress is a good starter platform to use and also includes free templates that you can customize yourself. If you don’t want to build it yourself, there are numerous options available to you online.
    • One is to have a web-design professional custom craft a website exactly as you want it. Feel free to check out our web design options here.
    • Another would be learning how to create a blog from scratch using the easy step-by-step tutorial from one of our partners How To Start A Blog 101.

5 Important Considerations:

You will need to increase visibility in order to use your new website as an asset to drive traffic to your business.

  • Responsive: Is your website optimized to be viewed on any screen? With the rise of mobile search traffic, Google has included mobile-friendliness as a criteria for ranking websites viewed on mobile browsers, making it very important to have a version of your website be responsive on a mobile device.
  • SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO)  is making the content on your website refined so that search engines like Google can find you easily to show a potential customer’s search query. SEO is important to ensure that when people use keywords relevant to the services you offer, that you become one of the top search results.
    • Check out this article for more information about boosting your SEO here.
  • Updates: Once you have your website up, you need to maintain it by providing fresh content for your customers. Keeping things new will have them coming back for more. Find a comfortable cadence that you can maintain and update it to showcase new products, deals, or incentives.
  • User Experience: Have your friends and family go through your website and try to purchase or request services. Are there any hiccups or roadblocks in the process? Have them QA the content for flow and if any questions are going unanswered.Analyzing and making changes to this can help reduce bounce rates and shopping cart abandonments.
  • Competition:  Look to your competitors and check out what their process is like. Pay attention to where their services lack so that you can make improvements onto your page accordingly.

4 Marketing Techniques to Start Today

Now that you have a fully functioning website that has online visibility to your customers, the next step is marketing your business.

  • Target Customers: Make sure that you don’t wait for visitors to just come to you. Actively look for an audience that may be interested in your products and services. Develop an audience and demographic you want to target.  All social media platforms have statistics, as well as Google keyword planner. Do some research on what your customers are looking for using their tools.
  • Network: Make connections with people relevant to your business and industry. A large network can help you expand both your business and your potential customer reach. This will also bolster your company’s brand identity. LinkedIN is a good resource to meet industry professionals.
  • Email Campaigns: Capturing an email is just as important as capturing a sale. Emails can build a refined and targeted list of people that are genuinely interested in your product or service. Emails can be used to send your customers updates on new items they might be interested in, upcoming sales, or even just a thank you coupon code for their next visit. Give your customers an incentive to keep coming back! Use tools like Constant Contact or MailChimp integrations.
  • Advertise: Want more people to know who your business is and what it offers? Find advertising opportunities where people with relevant interest can learn more about your business. Google AdWords is a great place to start.

3 Crucial Customer Support Responsibilities

Finally, you want to ensure your company upholds a high-quality of service to keep your customers satisfied and coming back. This may seem “obvious” but don’t let the obvious fool you. Countless businesses lose sight of customer service as their business grows. Here are the best ways to stay engaged with your customers:

  • “Oh, the Humanity!”: Let your customers know that your business is run by real people that care about them. When your customers love your business, not only will they be returning customers, but they will also recommend you to people they know, enhancing both your brand and customer base.
  • Customer Feedback: Give your customers an opportunity to review your business. Ask for and welcome consumer feedback. This information can be very valuable in figuring out pain points of your customers as well as ways to improve your business and stay competitive. When you make changes to improve their experience, your customers will love you for it!
  • Customer Support: When your business doesn’t offer customer support, your consumers are left in the dark to figure out everything themselves. If they can’t figure it out they may never want to return to your business. Support is essential to the post-consumer journey and can give your customers the confidence to buy your product, knowing that help  is available.

Following this guide will have you well on your way towards a healthy and successful online business!

 

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Team Member Profile: Tony Klepper

team_member_profile3Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK
Position: Manager: Training & Quality Assurance
Been with InMotion Hosting since: May 2010

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
Surprisingly,  I didn’t go to school to learn about computers or technology. I actually went to school to be a pastor. I had created a few websites and played around with Linux at home, but nothing  on a professional level. InMotion allowed me my first opportunity in the web hosting field. I started out in Tier 1 Technical Support, and quickly moved to Tier 2-C. There I became the Team Lead, and soon moved to the Training Department. Since being hired at InMotion from 2010, I have learned something new every single day; and I love it! 

What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
I am the Manager of both the Training, and Quality Assurance teams. Basically, I get to help people improve and become better  at their jobs each and every day. My job is the perfect fit for me because it has a  great blend of several things, all of which, I enjoy doing. I get to teach and inspire young minds. I have the opportunity to continually learn new software and techniques in order to teach them to others. Even with all the training activities, I haven’t lost the ability  do some coding. You can find me still jumping  onto the command-line on a server to do some troubleshooting. All that, coupled with being able to lead an awesome team of extremely talented individuals is something that  I couldn’t ask for more.

Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about?
Well, until every gadget I was promised from “Back to the Future” is available, I guess I would have to settle for something like Oculus Rift or some kind of augmented reality glasses. Ones that actually work without any bugs!

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
Even though my team loves to remind me how much older I am than them, I still feel like a kid. I have been married for 16 years to an awesome wife, and I have two great boys. I have really had a pretty adventurous life so far. My wife and I have lived in China. We have been to Tanzania, Africa, and Thailand. I have been to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and probably some others that I have forgotten. I also have a collection of knives and swords from every country I have ever visited. I love to have fun, and every day is a new adventure.

Describe your personality in one word?
According to my 10 year old: FUNNY

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