Effective networking strategies to build your small business’s customer base

The key to developing a profitable company is a growing customer base interested in purchasing your goods or services. In order to build this demand, it is critical to create a process for scouting and developing new clientele. Building your customer base will take time and effort but the important part is to focus on finding out who your target audience is, where to find them, and how to captivate them.

Defining your target audience should be top-of-mind when expanding your customer base. You want to qualify potential customers and not waste your time or money pursuing unqualified leads and contacts. Analyze your company and product and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who would be interested in buying my products?
  • How and where will I sell my products/service?
  • How did my competitors get started?
  • Who has already bought my products?

After you have defined your customer and their purchase cycle, start networking! Below are a few ways to actively seek your target audience and find qualified purchasers.

1) Events: A big part of growing your customer base is networking. People use the term “networking” all the time, but essentially networking is any way in which you cultivate productive relationships for your business. Attending events and conventions that are relevant to your industry is a perfect place to immerse yourself in the right crowd of potential customers. Take time to socialize with other business owners, exchange business cards, and gather information. Ask pointed questions to help understand your customer and make sure to LISTEN to what they have to say. Often times their pain points differ drastically from what you initially perceived.

To stand out and really be ahead of the game, give a talk or presentation about your business. Public speaking builds credibility with your audience and prospective clients. It puts a face on your company: a person that your customers can talk to, relate to, and ask questions.

Social Media

Relevant: How Much to Spend Online Marketing

2) Use Social Media: Almost everyone in this day and age uses one of the following social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest. Use this to your advantage. Create a brand profile and use social media to stay connected to your customers. Entice them to add and follow your company by providing special deals and updates. Make your brand known and gain visibility. Keep in mind when your customers follow, like, and share your content, they share it with the rest of their network. Incorporate an interactive aspect to your posts by including a poll or shareable picture. Remember, keep it simple and keep it interesting. You don’t want to spam your customers with useless content.

3) Create Email Campaigns: Use email service providers like Constant Contact or MailChimp to send and create emails for your customers. Take advantage of memorable dates, such as holidays, to plan for campaigns that are attractive to your customers and easy to remember. Find out what kind of emails resonate with your particular recipients by interpreting the email analytics. Develop an email marketing strategy to retain your customers and keep them coming back!

Below is a snapshot from MailChimp to show you how easy it can be to decipher how well your email campaigns are doing. See how many people open your email and click your provided links.

MailChimp

Sometimes finding new customers is as easy as pleasing your current ones.  Have a good solid product; listen to your clients’ complaints and address them. Reward them for being your customer; show them you care by listening and working out their problems. A company that is customer oriented will retain and develop a much larger customer base. Once you know your current customers are satisfied with the quality of product or service you sell, they won’t hesitate to refer you to their friends and family looking for a similar product or service.

Top VPS Hosting provider chosen by WebHostingSecretRevealed.net

Being Ranked the Best VPS Hosting Service


Every business starts out with the philosophy that their operation is going to be different. They are going to do what the “big boys” aren’t doing and that’s engaging with their customers and listening to their comments, suggestions and even complaints (if it comes to that). And, for the most part, when a business is small enough it can handle this level of rapid and personalized service. But as most businesses do, you grow – which is great for you and your bottom line, but what usually takes the first hit? Yeah, customer service.

Sometimes you’re so busy growing your company that you let customer service dwindle to a “just enough” attitude. It happens, but it shouldn’t!

InMotion Hosting prides itself as being a top web hosting provider with the industry’s highest rated customer service. As we’ve grown our products, we’ve made it an absolute necessity to grow the capabilities of our customer service team in order to continue to thrill our customers.

Take our Virtual Private Servers / VPS Hosting package. It has become an industry leading product, being one of the first to offer free SSDs with 20x faster hosting as well as the best resources for the lowest prices.

WebHostingSecretRevealed.net, an authority in ranking web hosting companies has picked us as their top pick for VPS Hosting, for the last three years in a row. We have gained this authority within the select and discerning web hosting community not only because of our product features like Free SSDs, Free backups, Unlimited websites, Full cPanel license, and our competitive pricing but also significantly because of our continued focus on always keeping the customer first.

 

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As WebHostingSecretRevealed.net mentions:

“No matter how efficient and feature rich your VPS hosting provider is, some problems arise from nowhere at times. In such situations, you need a handy support team to sort things out. If they are unable to provide 24/7 customer support, they simply are not worth the money you spend. If you face some serious issue with your website and it goes unfixed for too long, you may lose your potential visitors and that could mean you a lot depending on the type of website you have. It is better to test the customer support team of a hosting provider before determining whether to go with them.”

We implore you. Give InMotion Hosting a call. Ask about our VPS hosting VPS Hosting. Sign up for a monthly plan to test us out. We’ll check in right after registration to make sure you can set-up your VPS the way you want. We offer 24/7 U.S. based technical support and our well- structured and detailed online support center has all the answers you need. We’re not here to just sell products, we’re here to see you succeed.

Your success is our success – and it all starts with a conversation.

So what are you waiting for? Explore your options for success!
Call us at 888.321.HOST(4678)

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Girl Develop It – Steering the Future of Women in Tech

Anytime the topic of technology arises in the news or media, it’s about what new ‘thing’ has been invented to make our lives easier. We are always talking about a new app that helps find the cheapest gas, or an app that edits photos with a seemingly endless amount of filters and features. But one thing we sometimes fail to focus on are the people behind these technologies. The minds that work and code meticulously through endless hours, and sleepless nights to bring us these advancements in technology. We appreciate the faces behind each line of code written, and we want to share the story of one such group that is making it possible for women to prominently step into these roles.

InMotion Hosting has always believed that the work place runs at its peak efficiency and creativity when there is a diverse group of backgrounds collaborating to build better products. That’s why for the past few years, IMH has been making the push to be a pillar of support in the tech industry by supporting groups and niche organizations that want to grow in the tech field. Most recently, in the last year, we’ve partnered up with Girl Develop It, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable programs for adult women interested in learning web and software development in a judgment-free environment.

Natalie

 

Inmotion Hosting recently hosted a Girl Develop It event at our Los Angeles office. Afterwards, we had a chance to sit down with Natalie Macleas, the co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Girl Develop It and talk about the organization’s goals as well as the reasons on why there is a need for groups such as Girl Develop It, especially in our times.

 

 

InMotion Hosting (IMH): What are some of the barriers to entry in the tech industry for women?

Natalie Macleas (NM): The biggest barrier is intimidation. Being the only woman in the room when all your coworkers on a development team are male builds up pressure. There is an almost, ‘imposter syndrome’ that females might feel. But GDI isn’t like that! Our name says “girl” but we have had men comes to our meetings and even teach some of our classes!

IMH: If we could be so bold – what is the need for an organization like yours?

NM: There is a daunting truth that doesn’t sit well with me. Half of the American work force is made up of women but less than a quarter of that half pursue careers in the tech industry. There has even been a 7% decrease in women pursuing computer science degrees this last year. Our organization works to empower women and get them to understand that there is not only a place for them in tech, but that we are available to help and guide them into the field.

IMH: What is the advantage for encouraging more women to build their careers in the tech industry?

NM: So many! Let me start with the personal, and then the industry advantage. Personally, for women, tech careers are the best because of the ability to work from home. Many of our members are active moms, and they find that they can pursue a solid career and manage their family much more efficiently. There is a great option for flexibility in terms of a work life balance. For the tech industry itself, I would say diversity! Studies have shown how a workplace that is inclusive of both genders are more productive and creative. Do you know of a company that wouldn’t want to be more productive and creative?

IMH: Nope!
NM: Exactly.

IMH: Let me throw a scenario at you. I’m a female just out of high school that sees you on MeetUp. I read your event, your pitch and a little bit about the organization. How will I benefit from joining GDI as opposed to taking a class at my Community College?

NM: First let me say that those two things should not be exclusive. We think that GDI is a great compliment to a community college course. So girls should still take classes if they can. Having said that, I also think that the faculty members are not immersed in the industry and there is a gap between what they teach and what the industry needs. GDI fills in that gap because our teachers and members are actively part of the tech worldbecause of their careers or network. The networking and mentoring that members receive from GDI is superb because you get to talk to women that are in the roles you are training for.

IMH: What do you hope GDI will achieve for women in the next 5 years?

NM: GDI already has done so much for women. There are currently 35,000 members nationwide in over 46 cities. But I’d say for us in general and for the Los Angeles chapter specifically that we continue to enable the empowerment of women to advance their careers within the tech industry.  For example, we had an accountant who trained with us, then applied to and was hired at a startup. Then we had another member, a chef, who joined our ranks and is now building her own app. These are the stories that inspire us to keep moving forward.

IMH: What has been the hardest challenge GDI has faced?

NM: The toughest thing is really a collective of three. We need venues, teachers and students. Sometimes we have groups made up of a handful of members and other times we have full capacity meetings. As of now, the Los Angeles Chapter of GDI has reached a membership level of 900 members, and we’re hoping to grow to 1,000 by the end of April. Currently the class structure is usually one teacher and one to two teacher aides to give everyone an equal learning opportunity. It works out great and we always satisfy everyone’s needs that shows up – so it does work out.

IMH: Has there been a general atmosphere of support or push back from male counterparts in the industry?

NM: I can’t think of anything negative. They have really been supportive and as I mentioned before, we have males volunteer as teachers or guest speakers.

IMH: What are some challenges that you yourself have faced in your career as a female in the tech industry?

NM: My opinion wasn’t as valued as much. There are the classical biases that you might expect – information delivered through a male is more valuable than that of a female, even though I was the senior member of the group. I remember this one time I went to a DevDays conference and in a room of 250 people there were a total of 5 girls!

IMH: Why did you ultimately decide to start/join with a group such as GDI?

NM: I was reading the original blog of Vanessa Hurst and Sarah Chipps (the two founders of the Girl Develop It). Their message about “we’re tired of hearing that more girls need to be in tech,” and that no one was doing anything about it really resonated with me and my own experience. So when they announced their plans to start GDI, I jumped on the opportunity and emailed them asking if they were looking for anyone to open a Los Angeles brand.  When the time came, I applied and now we have our branch approaching 1,000 members!

 

GDI group picture

 

IMH: And, just for fun. Who was your favorite character as a child?

NM: Has to be Laura Ingalls Wilder.

IMH: How about your favorite 90’s tune?

NM: Summer Time by Jazzy Time – which I’ll probably listen to right now.

In all, Natalie Macleas and the Girl Develop It group is a new hope for change in the tech industry. Change not just for the sake of change, but change for the sake of progress. With a more diverse tech workforce, one made of talented women and men working side by side, we look forward to quicker advances in technology.

Girl Develop It will be hosting their next event at InMotion Hosting’s Los Angeles Office on May 6th, 2015. If you’d like more information you can RSVP to that event here.

 

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.

 

WordCamp St.Louis 2015

Now that I have caught up after missing my connector Sunday forcing travel into Monday, thank you American Airlines; I now have time to write about how my first WordCamp went in St. Louis. I chose St. Louis for two reasons; one is that it is where I grew up and I have friends and family in the area I was able to stay with, and two was that it is one of the bigger WordCamps with over 300 people in attendance this year. I was one of the more than 175 newbies or first-timers to a WordCamp. WordCamp St. Louis 2015 was hosted on the campus of Washington University. This was nice because it allowed me to relive my youth around UCity and for attendees to see more eclectic parts of St. Louis.

I have attended dozens if not hundreds of conferences over my professional career and WordCamp is one of the more unique experiences. I hold nearly 20 professional certifications, so the conferences I typically attend are very content specific. I have also worked with military, NGOs, and broadcasters over the years which have conferences associated with those particular industries. WordCamp was much more of an all inclusive conference with cliques, the secret of the cliques was that you utilize or support WordPress within your given clique. Instead of talking about how you utilize or support WordPress directly though, everyone wanted to know what you did. Questions were about work, organizations, or passions then we got onto how WordPress could be utilized in those efforts. The cliques formed around design, security, content, etc but everyone had the underlying common theme of WordPress.

Don’t get me wrong, there were very specific WordPress discussions but they happened in the individual rooms covering Users and Developers needs related to WordPress. These topics were further divided by intro/basic to experienced/advanced topics. My favorite discussions included Pippin Williamson’s @pippinsplugins on backwards compatibility and his impassioned speech on the topic.

Another topic was Cameron Barrett @camworld discussing a topic close to my heart; assisting K-12 districts by utilizing WordPress.

Lucas Lima @luwkaslima also gave a standing room only presentation on how to utilize project management principles when work with WordPress and clients.

Cain @michaelcain and Obenland @obenland Show was entertaining as well as informative on recent WordPress topics including the new release WordPress 4.2 Beta 1.

Finally, listening to how one of the respected members of the community, Mika Epstein @ipstenu, got her start with WordPress and how you can become part of the community by giving back.

If those sessions didn’t dive deeply enough to cover your topic of interest, they had the Happiness Bar open for assistance, or Give Back to Core and Hackathons the second day. They also had a Kids Camp for those kids interested in or who had already had a WordPress site set up.

Community Day - Kids WordCamp
Community Day Events

All in all this was a great first experience for me with the WordPress community. It reminds me in a lot of ways how NGOs and professional organizations run which was familiar and comfortable for me based on my background. It also gave me a few ideas. Plus motivated me to move from the WordPress.com site to a hosted WordPress. So in the near future instead of hvyw8.wordpress.com; I will have a hosted blog with a number of plugins covering diabetes.

Until next time @hvyw8

WordCamp Lancaster just got Real

This was my first WordCamp. I’ve been to plenty of business development conferences over the years and really expected this to be much of the same. Let me go on record… I was wrong! WordPress and WordCamp in particular is about community. Thats what makes WordPress so great! The vibe was informal and inviting. It was literally for everyone, whether you were a core contributor or a brand new user. I was lucky enough to spend my friday night hanging out at the Speaker Sponsor Dinner. Typically, its for, well, speakers and sponsors and I was neither, however my travel companion was a speaker.

This was informal and allowed me to chat it up with not only the organizers but speakers as well. It’s all industry people and everyone was incredibly approachable. Well, except for #NickfromAlbania but thats another story.

I arrived around 8am to check in at WordCamp Lancaster the following morning. The check in process was simple and after getting a badge I was invited to grab some Swag. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

After registering, everyone headed into a main room where conversations were abound. A cup of joe and a pastry rounded out a successful morning thus far. I spoke with a few people, probably in their mid twenties from a local marketing company. They seemed nice, and eager to learn. I suggested a few topics I thought they may enjoy off both speaker tracks. Most WordCamps seem to have multiple tracks for speakers. This is important since let’s face it designers and developers are vastly different people.

After the opening remarks from George Stephanis (@daljo628) (a nice fellow I met the night before and one of the organizers), I listened to Joe Casabona deliver a captivating lecture on responsive design. If I got anything from him speaking it was to follow best practices and take your time. Well, and he likes star wars. I may even grab his book.

I heard a great presentation on the nueroscience of conversions by Tom Shapiro (@TomShapiro). It made sense and it was great advice for anyone serious about improving their website conversion rates. Once it shows up on WordPress TV, I’d suggest watching it.
I took a break, decided to head back to the refreshments area where I struck up a conversation with Michael from LiteSpeed. Considering I work for a hosting company, any product that can reduce the resources needed to serve a website, is appealing. I look forward to learning more about their product.

Michael was speaking too, about hosting nonetheless. I wanted to see what others would present on the topic since, I’m sort of biased. He did an awesome job, really digging into what to look for in a host. He was spot on and it was refreshing to hear someone present on the topic so well.

After lunch and more chatting with other folks from Parallels and Lite Speed Technologies. Then off to hear Jeff Matson (@thejeffMatson) talk about documentation and the benefits of doing it right. This is something we know something about. Have you seen our Support Center ? Most people don’t realize how having great documentation can help drive revenue and Jeff did an awesome job explaining it. I’m sure plenty of attendees will be heading home to write how to guides on their plugins because of it.

The afternoon wrapped up and we caught some rest before heading to the after party. That’s right, if you’ve never been to a WordCamp there’s an after party where the organizers, sponsors, speakers, and attendees all get to mingle over some libations.

This after party was no different. Great conversations were had about all kinds of off-topic stuff as we all decompressed from a day filled with learning about WordPress. We talked about eCommerce, Amazon, Google, and Project Tango to name a few.

In the end, I’m excited to make some new friends, see the huge impact WordPress has had in people’s lives, and that there’s tons of people just like me who love WordPress and want to give back to the community.

2015: The Year of Productivity

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.

9 Ways to be More Productive

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!

Choosing a Template: What to Look for and Why

Choosing a Template ImageIt’s not exactly news, but choice of template for your WordPress site is extremely important WordPress has an expansive collection of free and premium templates to choose from. But how can you decide which is the right one for you? Some websites, like TemplateMonster.com for example, have helpful filters that separate themes into categories and sort them by functions or features. But even if you do have specialized search capabilities to aid you in your endeavor, it still helps to have a comprehensive idea of your criteria.

Said criteria will be determined by the type of website you’re looking to launch. Will it be a business? A news blog? A station for content curation? Or are you just looking for a space to share your thoughts? Whichever happens to be your M.O. it will have a determining effect on the type of functionality your website will require. Today we’ll go over the basics of picking and choosing among the many potential templates subject to your scrutiny.

Universal Concerns

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While template choice is often a very subjective experience, in this day and age there are certain interdisciplinary “must haves” that every website owner needs to take under consideration.

How much do you want to $pend?

Budgetary concerns are invariably near the top of the list in regards to priorities. You can always go the basic route and download a free template, but don’t expect any bells and/or whistles. You get what you pay for, and if you’re getting a free downloadexpect the bare minimum.

Therefore it might be wise to loosen your purse strings a bit. Fortunately, most premium WP themes don’t hit the wallet too hard. You can usually procure just about any theme you like for between $50 and $80.  The only time you’ll really have to stretch your dollar is while shopping for a custom theme.

Custom themes are built from scratch by a developer, and since you’re paying for labor, it won’t be so easy on the bank account. Depending on what you want in terms of looks, function, and complexity a custom theme can be quite costly. You can save a little bit of dough by starting out with a premium theme and then having your hired help tweak it to a minor degree, rather than building from scratch.

Support

We all need a little help here and there, and purchasing a premium theme usually goes hand in hand with excellent support. Though you shouldn’t just assume that this is the case. Do your research: read reviews and see what the brand perception of a theme provider looks like before committing.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization is always an important consideration when establishing any sort of web presence. The way your website is organized, the keywords you use to attract attention, and a myriad set of other factors all combine to make your website scannable and easily indexible to search spiders.

The obvious goal is to make the front page, and that’s completely impossible if your template doesn’t have a framework that’s compliant with the latest Google SEO standards.

WordPress usually comes SEO friendly out of the box, but you need to be careful if you’re paying to build a custom theme. This is another reason why support is so important. With an active support community, you can be sure that your template will be updated to match the latest web standards.

Responsive

Responsively designed websites are those that display attractively across multiple devices, regardless of screen size, and without any mobile redirects. Web templates need to be built responsive these days because mobile use is so extremely prevalent.

Unless you’re positive that your visitors won’t be browsing your site on a smartphone or tablet, it’s best to take care of this concern from the get go by purchasing a responsive template.

Specifics

DESIGN DETAILSNow that we’ve covered some of the universal concerns, it’s time to speak with specificity. This choices described in this section will largely be determined by your personal preferences, as well as your unique needs.

Aesthetics

You know what’s useless? A WordPress template that you don’t find attractive. If it doesn’t look good, then what good is it? Your web presence needs to say something about your company, and your company should be a reflection of your personality. So make sure you actually like the look of your template.

That’s not to say that as long as you like it, it’ll be perfect. Certain things are expected from different types of websites. Corporate sites are generally reserved, minimalist, clean, and adhere to a color scheme that promotes trust, calm, and tranquility. Whereas templates dedicated to design are far more artistic, colorful, and fancy.

Read up on design basics if you’re not already familiar and make some informed decisions.

Needed functionality

Here we arrive at the really important stuff. What do you absolutelyneed your website to do? If you’re opening an online store, then you’ll need a usable system for product imports and exports, featured products on a slider, an opt-in form to gain new leads, and so much more. If you’re web presence is all about event promotion, then you’ll need a calendar function. Do you need to interact with your visitors? Then you’ll have to have sections for them to comment on your content, live chat boxes, etc.

All of your WP template’s needed functionality is completely determined by your personal needs, so carefully consider what you want and need from your theme.

Flexibility

Finally, you want your WP theme to be flexible. The World Wide Web is constantly in flux, and so are expectations regarding webpages. It shouldn’t have to be a problem to alter or edit according to your shifting priorities. For example, you should be able to change the color of a banner or background without much trouble. You don’t want to be buried underneath lines of complex code for the simplest of aesthetic choices.

Nor should it be an issue to add widgets/plugins as you see fit. Sometimes the addition of certain plugins can slow a website down or seriously hinder some vital parts of its functionality. If this is going to be the case for your chosen template, then you’ll want to know up front. The idea is to look for seamless backend editing.

These are just a few of the concerns you’ll want to look out for when choosing the perfect theme. If you’re ready to begin browsing, then take a look at some of the powerfully functional premium templates here.

SSL for SEO?

DOES A SECURITY CERTIFICATE EQUAL A RANKINGS BOOST?

Back in March 2014, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Webspam, said he personally wanted SSL to be a ranking factor. Well that time has come, and probably quicker than most people may have expected.  Well, somewhat.  As of now, adding an SSL 2048-bit key certificate will only provide a minor boost to your site.  In fact, Google says it affects “fewer than 1% of global queries” and does not carry as much weight as “other signals such as high-quality content” which only goes to show you, as always, content is king.

Google has said it wants all “website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web,” so there’s a good chance we could see that ranking signal strengthen over time.

According to Google, more information on this will be released in the future, but in the meantime, Google has provided the following tips:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Do not block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN TERMS OF SEO?

Installing an SSL is not going to miraculously boost your website to the top of the search results, but as Google continues its “HTTPS everywhere” push, it is definitely something you want to be aware of. Especially if it is something Google is encouraging all website owners to do.

HOW TO MAKE THE SWITCH

In order to make the switch to HTTPS your website will need a Secure Sockets Locket (SSL) Certificate.  SSLs are protocols that establish a secure link between a web server and a browser.  It is a way for social security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information to be securely transmitted without being intercepted by a third party.

PURCHASE AN SSL THROUGH INMOTION HOSTING

Purchasing an SSL Certificate through InMotion Hosting can be accomplished in just 5 simple steps:

Step 1. Login to AMP (Account Management Panel)

Step 2. Click the Purchase SSL Certificate button.

How to Purchase an SSL Certificate
How to Purchase an SSL Certificate

Step 3. Select the SSL Certificate’s subscription length (ie. 1 or 2 years) and the Desired Certificate Name.

Step 4. Enter the contact information for the owner of the SSL Certificate.

Step 5. Choose how you want the SSL billed, then click Submit. You will then see the following message, “Your order has been submitted for processing. Please look for a follow up from our staff shortly.” 

The typical turn-around time is up to 48 hours.  However, there are many reasons why an SSL may take longer to be issued.  Once your SSL certificate has been installed successfully, you will receive an email notification to your primary email address on file.  After you get the SSL installed, you can show the Secure Comodo Seal on your website.  Check out our guide on how to show the secure seal for your site.

We also have a guide with more in depth instructions on how to purchase an SSL through InMotion Hosting.

The New VPS S-Class Hosting: More RAM. More Storage. More Bandwidth. FREE SSDs.

September NewsletterWe are excited to announce the release of the next generation of Virtual Private Server hosting at InMotion Hosting: the VPS S-Class. The new VPS hosting product line brings a number of significant enhancements to the legacy VPS-1000, VPS-2000 and VPS-3000 packages, including free solid-state drives (SSDs) and drastically increased RAM, storage and bandwidth. The wholesale VPS upgrades are consistent with our mission to bring customers the most comprehensive web hosting experience possible with top-of-the-line service and support.

The development of the revamped VPS-1000S, VPS-2000S and VPS-3000S came as a result of in-depth product evaluation including intensive market research, security and scale concerns, fundamental feature analysis and customer surveys and feedback. In short, we wanted to make sure we are bringing you industry-leading Virtual Private Server hosting that meets all of your needs and addresses all of your website’s digital requirements.

Whether you have a blog with increasing traffic, a growing business, or a website running complex and dynamic applications, our new VPS hosting packages have the power, performance and reliability to ensure your site will run seamlessly. The upgraded S-Class maintains many of the features that made InMotion Hosting an industry-leader, including automated backups, unlimited websites, burstable RAM, free cPanel and WHM, SSH and root access and much more.

Not sure which hosting plan fits best fits your site and needs? Not a problem. Check out our comparison page to find out everything you need to know about shared, VPS and dedicated hosting and which product suits you best.