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.

  1. Voice and Mobile Search Functionality

The ability to search using your voice is nothing new, but with the release of virtual assistants like Cortana, Google Now, and Siri, people are using the feature more than ever. They want to ask a question and receive their answer immediately. In the past, people would search on their computer, find an article, and retrieve the information themselves.

Not anymore. Now they want the answer immediately. Here’s how to adapt:

  • Utilize structured data and “rich snippets” to answer important questions immediately
  • Focus less on keywords, and more on how your audience converses
  • Look for the questions they ask and answer them in a way that the search engine can’t (more in-depth for example)
  1. Direct Answers in Search Results

Google has applied the knowledge graph and the carousel into search results for some time now. These provide people with answers to their questions immediately and are often pulled from a specific website. To appear in one of these, you will need to have an authority on the subject. And provide a clear, concise answer to the question at hand in your content.

Since Wikipedia likes to dominate these, how do you compete?

  1. The Mobile-Focus Continues

There has been a growing focus on mobile-responsive web design, and 2016 will continue to increase this focus. More people access the internet on mobile devices these days, than ever before. If your site doesn’t respond and adapt to these different screen sizes, you will be penalized by Google because of a poor user experience.

It’s time to adapt:

  1. Local SEO Becomes a Major Focus

The best way to stand out from the crowd is to appeal to people in your local area. This provides a focus for your SEO strategies and narrows the pool of competition. Mobile and voice search will pair with this to help people find local solutions to their problems, so let’s make sure you’re on top of that list:

  • Utilize keywords focused on your location and area
  • Provide up-to-date Google Maps information
  • Offer app integration with Google as well (this will show up in search results)
  1. SEO and Digital Marketing Become One and the Same

Over the past few years, SEO and “content marketing” have slowly become synonymous with one another. Google has been focusing on the user experience high quality content more and more with each update. A successful SEO campaign now includes social media campaigns, and other elements of digital marketing. The two will continue to blend.

Here’s how you stay ahead:

  • SEO and Digital Marketing are no longer separate, they work together
  • High quality content, social media promotion, and marketing all connect with SEO
  • The goal is to build organic links, increase engagement, and build brand awareness
  1. Bing Offers More Competition Than Ever

Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, has always been a competitor to Google, but in 2016 it will become more important than ever. The integration of Cortana with Bing brings voice search and direct answers to this platform. With Google making some questionable choices, we’ll see SEO professionals start looking to Bing more than ever before.

How do you get comfy with Bing?

  • Many of Bing’s SEO is identical to Google (use what you’ve been using)
  • Take a look at Bing’s Webmaster Tools
  • Bing Looks at physical location more than Google (so local SEO is important here)
  1. Building a Varied and Natural Link Profile Becomes more Important

The backlinks you have pointing to your site have always been important, but now it’s also important for them to be natural, relevant, and diverse. In 2016, you’ll want to avoid any link building services that promise quality links for cheap. These will raise red flags on Google’s end every time.

As you continue to bring in backlinks in 2016, keep these tips in mind:

  • Pursue links from other sites in your niche that are valuable and relevant to those readers.
  • Use influencer outreach and guest posting to ensure your backlinks are coming from the proper anchor text and from high-quality sites.
  • Vary up your anchor text constantly and keep the flow of new links steady.
  1. User Engagement Becomes a Focus

In 2016, a high bounce rate and low user engagement will be killers for your SEO ranking. Your site needs to captivate and capture readers, or they won’t stick around to visit other pages. If people are leaving immediately, that shows Google they didn’t find what they were looking for.

Understanding what your audience wants and needs is the first step in creating a high user engagement. Take these steps next:

  • Run A/B Testing to see which design elements are working
  • Take steps to engage your readers in the comments and on social media
  • Learn what they want and need from your site and provide that from the get-go
  1. Google’s Focus Turns to the User Experience

There are numerous factors that point towards the overall user experience of your website. Everything Google is doing in 2016 and beyond points towards them finding new ways to measure the quality of the experience on your site. Things like bounce rate, the number of ads, the mobile responsiveness, and other factors all affect this overall metric.

Keep these things in mind:

  • Always look at your site and its content through a reader’s eyes.
  • Simplify and streamline the elements of your site to ensure ease of use.
  • Maintain a focus on reader intentions and desires in your content.
  1. Interstitial Ads Must Go

Google recently announced that it would begin penalizing sites with Interstitial Ads. These are ads on mobile sites that appear right as you arrive and block you from seeing the content within. They usually prompt you to download the app and won’t go away until you find their small close button.

These types of ads are downright annoying. You may not have any ads like these on your site, but consider other ads you have:

  • Are any ads blocking users from reading your content?
  • Do ads appear quickly, interrupting a reader just as they arrive?
  1. Reconsideration Requests Become More Difficult

Our final trend refers to the process by which websites can have penalties lifted from them by Google. If you’ve been penalized, you can apply for a reconsideration request once you’ve fixed the issue. In the case of certain sites, they will fix the problem, obtain approval, and then turn around and do it again.

You won’t do this, but since others have, Google may become stricter with how they reconsider penalties. Prepare accordingly:

  • Stay up-to-date on new updates and try to avoid penalties.
  • If you need to submit for a reconsideration request, ensure you’ve removed the problem entirely beforehand.
  • Once approved, take steps to ensure it won’t happen again to avoid another penalty.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the user experience is at the forefront of Google’s mind. Everything you do with SEO should somehow connect back to that one concept. How do you see SEO changing in the future, and what steps are you taking to prepare?

Share your thoughts and theories in the comments below!    

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.

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 webdesign options here.

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!

 

6 Ways to Be Productive This Summer

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The inevitable slow-down that is often associated with the summer months is upon us. School is out, the heat is in full swing, and summer vacations are on everyone’s mind. The high temperatures of the summer months may leave you with low energy levels at the office as you fantasize about relaxing at the beach, kicking back and sipping on a mai tai, and wanting to be anywhere but the work place. Don’t let the summer daze bog you down! Use this time to be productive both in and out of the office.

Here are some things you can do to stay focused and productive, even when the summer heat has you daydreaming.

1)      Keep Cool: It’s summer time and the heat is sweltering, but it doesn’t mean you have to be! Make sure you are comfortable in your workspace, even if it means cranking up the AC, installing a desk fan, or finding a different location to get your work done. Don’t let the heat cause your productivity to melt with it. Keep hydrated throughout the day, or take a quick break to catch some fresh air and pick up some iced coffee. Have some fun with it too, try out a new juice or refreshing smoothie.

2)      Start with the Hardest Tasks: If the morning is the time of the day you feel the most energy, start it by tackling your hardest tasks. It only gets hotter into the afternoon, but if you’ve got your momentum rolling at the start, it’ll be hard to put a stop to your productivity. Prioritizing the big tasks when you’re the most productive can increase the chances of you finishing your responsibilities for the day. Close any distraction that might get in your way, like Netflix, your cell phone, or your favorite social platform. The ability to multitask is a great skill, but it should contribute to your work productivity and not subtract from it.

3)      Target your Goals: Finding yourself with a lot of free time this summer? Focus on your goals, whether it is life goals or career goals. Figure out what you need to get done in order to reach them. Don’t wait until the busiest time of the year to get cracking. This is a great time to reassess your goals, especially if you feel like they are out of reach. Remake and adjust your goals if you feel that priorities have changed and tailor them to your current needs. Break down your goals if they seem too large for you and make reaching them more feasible.

4)      Summer Campaign: Summertime means summer sales! If you have your own business, consider creating a summer campaign to boost your sales for the summer. Advertise ‘Hot’ deals for a nice sizzling summer theme and plan out a marketing strategy that will help you target and reach out to your audience. Summer campaigning can effectively increase your business revenue so use this time wisely!

5)      Learn Something New: Keep your brain in tip top shape by challenging yourself to learn something new. Some fun tech ideas include learning how to code, putting together your own robot with a raspberry pi, building your own customized computer desktop, or attending a tech conference to learn about new technology that you are interested in. Keeping your brain busy for the summer will help you be more productive. Use what you learn and see how you can become more efficient, save money by doing something yourself, or start something new.

6)      Plan a Vacation: Do you find yourself day dreaming about that boat cruise you didn’t take, or that travel abroad you didn’t have the chance to schedule. PLAN IT! Instead of fantasizing about what ifs and maybes, grab a calendar and plan your next vacation. Having something to look forward to can alleviate the stress of the work environment. If anything, your next vacation should be something you work towards by finishing up all your work before your adventure. Planning ahead of time can also save you a good deal of money with cheaper airfare and hotel deals. Plus, putting in your vacation request now will guarantee you’ll be able to take it versus waiting till the last minute when everyone’s trying to take a vacation at the same time.

 

The 8 Minute Promotion

The 8 Minute Promotion

8 minutes is the amount of time it takes for the sunlight from the sun to reach the Earth. On the flip side, 8 minutes is also an important number to us, as that is the amount of time it takes to sign up your domain, and hosting to get your website online.

Soon (and by soon we mean June 21st) the official day of Summer will be upon us. Pagans used to call this day “Midsummer,” and even Shakespeare took the celestial event as a name for one of his plays with “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” It’s a special time of the year, and we want to celebrate it with you!

We want to know what YOU are doing on your website, your blog, or your online store to promote Summer.summer-special-icon

If you are an InMotion Hosting customer email us with your website, and a short description of how you’re using digital marketing to get more traffic, or get more sales. Pictures or screen shots are a plus!




The winner of the most creative promotion, creative/graphic, or engaging social post will be featured on InMotion Hosting’s July newsletter. It’s a great way to promote your business, and it’s our way of saying thank you to you!

 

How to Get the Most out of Social Media Week 2015

Social Media Week is launching this June 8th to the 12th, and the shores of Santa Monica will be buzzing with hype as the whole week calls on the tech hub of Southern California to present its best and brightest in the field.

InMotion Hosting is only happy when you are. When your website grows, the happier you become and the harder we work to keep you growing and managing that growth. Just over the past 5 years, we’ve been proponents of social media. You should already know the importance of social media and how useful these platforms can be for you! Check out these resources to get familiar if you need a refresher:

We created ‘QuickTagger

How to use Twitter to Drive Traffic to your Website

Social Media Plugins for your Website

Using Social Media to Bring Traffic to your Site

Adding Social Media Buttons to your Website

And now it’s time to get back into the rink and find out the tech, trends and fresh ideas of social media. InMotion Hosting will be at Social Media Week 2015 because that’s where new innovations will be talked about – and where the trends of the industry by the industry leaders will be dictated.

We will be gathering data and intelligence and we’re not looking to keep it for ourselves.

If you want to get the most out of the week, follow us  sign up here and we’ll send you a comprehensive list of our notes from the event as well as any offers we hear of, and new tech that’s coming to market

Send me Social Media Week notes:

About Social Media Week
Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.
Human connectivity is being reimagined and SMW seeks to understand how humanity and technology will come together to change the ways we live, work and create.

4 Things We Learned During Small Business Week 2015

4 Things We Learned at the 5th Annual Small Business Week Event sponsored by Constant Contact

InMotion Hosting attended the 5th Annual Small Business Week put on by Constant Contact at Pasadena City College on May 13th, 2015. The event was organized by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as a primary sponsor.

The event brought together over 1,000 business owners, social media professionals, marketers and web designers and hosted them in small business workshops and keynote lectures orated by business leaders. InMotion Hosting had the opportunity to attend a variety of these workshops and lectures. A lot of them had some major similarities in the concepts that they shared in order to establish a successful business. Here are some business solutions that will help you promote your business and build a stronger customer following.

 

1) Email is Not dead!

Whoever started the rumor that “email is dead” must have had a marketing campaign go awry, because email is most definitely alive! Email addresses are the greatest asset that you can get at a conference – especially one that is tailored to small businesses or your specific industry. People opt in on their own volition because they’ve liked you (or what you’ve said) enough to offer you a way to keep in touch with them(i.e. they want to hear from you). Email addresses are free and nearly effortless to collect, and once you have enough people opt in to your email list – you’ll have yourself leads to contact in the event of a promotion. Email marketing can only be dead if you’re doing nothing with those email addresses.

Check out: E-mail marketing 101 

2) Be Useful to Your Customers

If you either have a business with a list of products or you’re looking to start your first business, always remember to ask yourself: What does this product solve? Products are popular to consumers because they are useful to consumers. Part of creating a successful business is bringing people onboard and then helping them become successful. Tesla Motors can’t sell a $100,000 car run by a battery if consumers didn’t want to save on gas. The same thing applies to SaaS platforms or web design. Sell useful products, but more than that, offer your customers information on how they can improve their business, their website, their product, and even themselves.

Check out319+ Site Hosting Tools You Can Have 

3) Say Thank You

When you have a consumer become your client, they essentially are the people who are proving that your business model works. Does this not invoke a feeling of gratitude in you? Sure, sure, they should be thankful for your product or service, but remember, they took the chance on your new service, so – be thankful. This has to do with the model of good customer service (and social responsibility too), but more than that it’s just a nice thing to do. Some might say “nice doesn’t sell!” – on the contrary though! “Nice” doesn’t need to sell. Consumer loyalty is your goal with this gesture, and in order to have the loyalty of your customers, if nothing else, say “thanks.” This can be done through text, phone, social media, whatever you want.

We suggest not up-selling in a ‘thank you email’ if you’re really just starting out. A promotional offer that you can afford (like a discount on service) would should be considered if you’re large enough of a business to handle the promotion.

4.)  When Going to Trade Shows: Be There!

A lot of times, especially these last 10 years, everyone who is seen on a smart phone is assumed to be ‘busy.’ There is no doubt that if you are a business owner, you’re busy with ideas, content, emails, promotion, etc, etc, etc.  BUT. When you go to trade shows, workshops, and conferences, it’s tempting to check your email because you don’t know anyone around there and you want to look “successful” by being “busy.” And hey, maybe you really are busy.

But you’ve taken the day off to attend an event to network and learn – so we suggest you: network and learn. Some of the best business partnerships start at events and conferences, and we’ll guarantee you that shaking a hand and getting a cell phone number from a potential business partner can do more than a blast email to people who have never met you.

Be there – Be aware 

In all – customers and business owners are people. Sounds like an obvious fact but it’s something we sometimes forget when we are blasting off as entrepreneurs or in an enterprising role. Sure there are those who just want something and go to a place to process the transaction – you can offer that too. But when you’re looking to grow your business, you have to communicate, and actively reach out to your customers. If you don’t, then your competition will most definitely have that advantage over you. 

 

Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’: What You Need to Know for April 2015

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Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’: What You Need to Know for April 2015 

Google’s primary purpose is to help you find what you’re looking for. It’s a simple enough business model, and they’ve done a great job sticking to their bread and butter throughout their ascent to the goliath of the internet as well as the highest-trafficked website in the world. And now, with the proliferation of mobile devices as an everyday necessity for the average consumer comes the truth that most of the internet and all its applications are being accessed increasingly by mobile devices and tablets.

 Smart phones are quickly becoming the most used devices in the world to access the web. Multitasking activities like listening to your favorite podcast or radio station on the go while reading emails and downloading a recipe for dinner simultaneously are capabilities that are afforded to us by our mobile devices. In North America alone, “mobile data traffic by 2019 will be equivalent to 210x the volume of North American mobile traffic ten years earlier (in 2009),” according to Cisco Communications. That’s why Google has announced that it will be unleashing its “mobile-friendly” update on April 21st, 2015, a.k.a – Mobilegeddon.

The name of the game here is mobile efficiency – and Google wants to reward the websites and apps that make the life of a mobile user easier by rewarding more mobile-friendly sites in search results. With this update, Google is tackling two inefficiencies they see with the current mobile user model. we’ll be covering there here so you can better prepare for Mobilegeddon.

Be Friendly, not Freaky

Google wants users who are accessing the web via their smart phones to be able to do so without worrying about load times or compatibility with their hand-held hardware. A lot of times, a website’s features, such as an embedded video, has to adjust to the phone’s smaller format. Or perhaps the website’s content requires Adobe Flash, but the phone isn’t equipped with it. This causes longer load time, and graphics to get ‘freaky’ via improperly loaded content.

With the new mobile-friendly search result update, Google is essentially telling websites that they need to make their websites less burdensome to the mobile user or else there will be a penalty in mobile-user access and search placement.  As most users know, the higher a website ranks on Google the better traffic they will get because users usually don’t click beyond the first page of search results. In terms of Mobilegeddon, the quality of your website and how compatible it is to mobile users will affect your placement on Google’s search results. The first page is obviously the best placement, and beyond the third you’re really looking at low traffic results. So help yourself out and be friendly to those who want access to your content.

Is your website a ‘mobile freak’ or a ‘mobile friend?’ Check with Google’s Mobile-Friendly meter here: 

Mobile Test

*NOTE* This ‘mobile friendly’ checker works on a page to page basis. So if your website has multiple pages, make sure they are all checked. it’s a lot of work, but it will be worth it. Mobilegeddon is upon us – so get preparations in order.

“WHERE IS THE DA-oh. There it is…”

An index works like a hyper table of contents. When you need to know something quickly, you look up one or two reference words, search the index, find the page number, and continue with your reading. Google understands this and has taken steps to apply this to websites and the mobile landscape.

According to the Google announcement:

        “We will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search. To find out how to implement App Indexing, which allows us to surface this information in search results, have a look at our step-by-step guide on the developer site.” – Google Web Master

In essence, the number of users who have your app installed and use it actively will be an influence in where you are ranked on the search engine. That’s just an influence though. If you website or service does not have an app, then make sure to make it mobile friendly!

The update takes place April 21st, 2015

Make sure you’ve checked your website’s mobile friendliness by then so that you don’t get flagged as “unfriendly” when the update takes place.

Don’t end up where you don’t belong because of an easy fix. Make sure you check your website HERE.

All won’t be lost if your webmaster or development team can’t make a page on your website mobile-friendly. There are just some pages that can’t “please all.” Google understands this, but in order to benefit the most from mobile search results, get your design teams working on optimizing your pages that aren’t converting to mobile very well. This time next year, you’ll see the value in starting now.

Whether you own a small to medium business or you desire a robust e-Commerce storefront, InMotion Hosting can get your business online in no time. We provide high-quality web design services in a wide range of customizable packages. Take a look at make sure to chat with us if you’d like us to design you a mobile friendly website. Check us out here.

 

Core Values: What does your business stand for?

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Core Values: What are they and why are they important for your business?

At the foundation of every business are the core values that develop the brand, culture, and vision of the company. These values serve as a framework for your company’s identity and a tool to set you apart from everyone else. To provide a consistent and focused work environment, it’s critical that the values you establish be strong, long-lasting, and integrated into every aspect of your company.

Core values in action

“It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.” – Roy E. Disney

The benefit of strong core values are best exemplified when a company experiences rapid growth and change. Constant decision making takes place as a company develops and expands. Here, your core values serve as a guide and a standard by which every choice can be evaluated. We ask ourselves, how aligned are we with our company philosophy, vision, and mission statement?

Another example of how core values can provide advantages for a company can be seen throughout the new hire process. Core values serve as a summary of the values, beliefs, culture, and identity of the company. If a potential new hire can align themselves with the core values of a company, it is a good sign they are a strong fit for the company’s culture. Hiring individuals whose values closely align with yours is a great way to boost employee retention.

Learning and growing process

A company’s core values don’t just form overnight. If you are just beginning your business and don’t have any core values in mind yet, don’t sweat it! Grow your company and gain a deeper understanding of what key values you would like it to have. You can’t predict where your company will be in 5 years, but you can take steps to focus on specific areas that will serve as your guidelines for the future. The best core values are the ones uncovered through discovery. Each company’s core values are unique and cater to the best practices for that company and its employees.

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In order to get an idea of how simple yet effective core values can be, we’d like to share the core values that InMotion Hosting stands by. Hopefully, this will give you a few ideas and help inspire you to find the right core values for your own business.

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We cultivate lifelong customers through outstanding service. Everything we do impacts our customers, and their loyalty and trust is extremely important to us. Our customers are our family; it is through them that we have been successful and able to grow.

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We care about the success of our customers. We care about each other. We care about the environment. We care about our community. We care about the company.

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We are ever improving our technology, our tools, our Customers’ Experience, and ourselves.

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We thrill our customers all day, every day with… Eagerness to Help, Kindness and Empathy, Eagerness to Resolve Issues, Timely and Accurate Solutions, and Taking Ownership of The Customers’ Needs.

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We believe a fun and relaxed environment allows us to meet any challenge as a team.

Success and Core Values

It’s not enough to focus on just the numbers or growth of a company. Taking special care to craft a strong set of values and integrate them into every aspect of your business is what really sets a company apart. Behind the product and the brand, the company’s core values are what truly make a company successful. Here are a few other questions to consider when trying to identify your core values:

  • Are these values important to the company’s long-term success? Will they still be valid decades into the future?
  • Would these values retain their importance, even if they became a competitive disadvantage?
  • Do these values apply to all employees and all areas of the workplace?
  • Will these values act as a guide for future decision making?

If you need a little more inspiration for coming up with your own set of core values, check out this inspirational TED talk about how great leaders inspire action and the important role of core values.

 

How To Assess Your Hosting Needs

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So you want to get a website up and running? There are a few things you may want to consider before doing so given the current landscape of the web hosting world .

Initially, you will want to complete the basic checklist below:

  1. Search your domain(s) of choice to make sure they are available.
  2. Purchase the domain if available.
  3. Assess which website hosting product and plan you will need.

After you search for and acquire your domain name, take note of what type of website you want to launch.

Website hosting branches typically break down into the following main product categories:

  • Shared Hosting
  • Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
  • Dedicated Server Hosting

Here’s a easy-to-understand video we made on the distinction between the various types of web hosting.

As a startup with no traffic, you can start with a Shared Hosting plan and move up as your traffic scales up. The beautiful thing about website hosting these days is that it is scalable and inexpensive to start building your web presence. But as your traffic and software requirements grow, so will your overhead and need to upgrade.

Most companies offer a free domain in conjunction with your first year of hosting. Some companies bill on an annual basis and some will bill monthly, so find out which payment structure best suits your needs as you forecast your financial budget.

If you are looking to scale as your traffic ramps up, you can look into upper echelon products like VPS Hosting or a Dedicated Server, which will give you more power and resources to run your website more efficiently.

Below are a couple common scenarios potential web hosting customers face when starting their first site:

Blogging:
If you simply want to start a new blog or transfer over from a free blogging solution like Blogger or WordPress.com, we would recommend an entry level Shared Hosting plan, with an ability to scale with growing traffic. With only one database required for WordPress and Drupal installations and caching enabled on our SSD hard drives for all entry level Shared Hosting plans, it will be more than sufficient for starters.

E-commerce selling:
For those of you focused on a website that requires a blog app like WordPress and an accompanying eCommerce plugin such as WooCommerce, we might recommend starting on an entry-level VPS account due to the resource requirements. This setup would use 2 databases as opposed to just one. These are only hypothetical scenarios, and for every case there are a variety of things to consider including system requirements and your website’s current traffic.

If you fall outside of these two common scenarios, we encourage you to reach out to our 24/7 U.S. based support team to see which product and plan best suits your hosting needs before you take the plunge. Rest assured that with InMotion Hosting, even after taking the plunge you will have 90 days to test the waters to see if you need something more, less or nothing at all with our industry leading money back guarantee. Contact us by phone, chat or email.