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Does Your Website Need Drupal?

Does Your Website Need Drupal?

At Hostdedi, we host several content management systems, including WordPress, ExpressionEngine, Craft CMS, and Drupal. You can build just about any site with any of these content management system, but each has strengths that make it a better choice for some projects than others. In this article, we will focus on Drupal and the projects to which Drupal is most suited.

Your Website Needs Flexible Content Management

Drupal is often thought of as a content management framework. It provides a set of tools and features that hosting clients can use to manage content, but Drupal doesn’t impose its opinion about how content should be organized. That’s ideal for large organizations with complex and heterogeneous content. Rather than fighting against a built-in content model, they can use Drupal to build a custom content model shaped by the requirements of their project.

Drupal’s fundamental content primitive is the node. All content is in a node (unless it’s a comment, in which case it’s attached to a node). A node can be an article, a page, a forum topic, or a custom content type. Content in nodes can be displayed on pages with endless flexibility.

Lots Of People Will Work On Your Site

Just as Drupal’s content model is supremely flexible, so are Drupal’s user management capabilities. Drupal user management is based on user roles, each of which can have different permissions. A user can be given multiple user roles that determine what they can do on the site. Drupal administrators can create as many user roles as they need.

Drupal’s user role and permissions model is ideal for sites with many writers, editors, and users.

You Need A Decoupled Content Management System

Drupal is architected to make building decoupled or “headless” content management platforms as easy as possible. Decoupling isn’t an afterthought in Drupal; it’s a core design principle. Drupal is an API-first content management system and that makes it much less challenging to build front-end applications and services that take advantage of Drupal as a back-end.

You Need Your Website To Scale

Drupal was built to support the largest and busiest websites. Its target users are enterprise organizations that receive millions of visitors a month, so it’s engineered to scale. Some of the largest publishing and promotional sites on the web are built on Drupal, including the Economist, OpenSource.com, Johnson & Johnson, Lady Gaga’s site, Al Jazeera, and many government sites.

Although Drupal is built to scale, web hosting plays a vital role in the performance, availability, and scalability of a Drupal site. To get the most out of Drupal’s scalability, choose a Drupal hosting platform that can grow with your business.

You Want To Build A Custom User Experience

Although Drupal includes a basic theme and it’s possible to install an off-the-peg theme, organizations that choose Drupal typically build a custom theme that reflects their branding and publication constraints. If your organization would prefer to use a premade theme, then WordPress may be a better choice. But if you value the ability to create a custom content model and complete control over the user experience, Drupal offers many advantages.

In summary, your website needs Drupal if it requires flexible content modeling and management, has many users with a multitude of roles, and you need a comprehensive array of tools to build a custom user experience.

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Four Of The Best WordPress and WooCommerce Backup Plugins

Four Of The Best WordPress and WooCommerce Backup Plugins

WordPress sites and WooCommerce stores should be backed up. Every byte of data should exist in more than one location, including the files in the site’s WordPress directory and the data in its database. Sites that aren’t backed up are vulnerable to user error and security issues. Sites with an off-site backup are robust. If something does go wrong, a backed up site can be restored in minutes, while a site without a backup may be gone for good.

WordPress and WooCommerce can be backed up manually by copying the files and dumping the database, but it is easy to forget to do a manual backup. A backup that runs at the push of a button is better, and automatic backups that need no manual intervention are best of all.

If you have more discipline than average, you might choose to back up your site and its database manually, copying all of the database’s SQL and the site’s PHP files, images, plugins, and themes to a secure offsite location every day or two. For everyone else, a backup plugin is a good idea.

VaultPress is a backup service owned and operated by Automattic. Part of the Jetpack suite of services, VaultPress is the easiest option for low-maintenance backups. It provides automated daily backups with unlimited storage and a 30-day backup archive at the Personal and Professional tiers. If you need longer-term backups, Jetpack Professional includes an unlimited backup archive.

UpdraftPlus provides a complete backup solution to copy all of a WordPress site’s data to any of a wide variety of storage solutions, including Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon’s S3. The free version includes scheduled backups and the ability to restore from the WordPress control panel. The premium version of the plugin adds a few storage options and incremental backups, a useful feature that backs up only the changes since the last backup, rather than sending everything with every backup.

BackupBuddy is a premium-only backup plugin that offers scheduled backups to a variety of storage solutions, including BackupBuddy Stash, which is managed by the plugin’s developers. In addition to complete backups, BackupBuddy also allows you to choose partial backups, such as files-only or database-only backups.

Duplicator is aimed at WordPress users with some technical knowledge because it offers far more configuration options than the user-friendly plugins we’ve already looked at. That makes it more flexible than other backup plugins, but also more complex.

Duplicator is a general tool for migrating, cloning, and moving a WordPress site. For example, it can be used by WordPress professionals to create pre-bundled websites so that the same configuration can be installed for multiple clients.

The premium version of the plugin, Duplicator Pro, includes more backup-focused tools, including scheduled backups to cloud storage, email notifications, multi-threaded backup for large sites, and premium support.

All of the plugins we’ve discussed here will make your WordPress site or WooCommerce store safer and more resilient to attacks, malware, and user errors. If you’d rather not pay for a premium plugin, the free version of UpdraftPlus is an excellent backup solution.

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How To Test If Your Site’s DNS Is Working Properly

How To Test If Your Site’s DNS Is Working Properly

How To Test If Your Site's DNS Is Working ProperlyDomain Name System (DNS) is a critical component of every website or eCommerce store. If DNS doesn’t perform, a site can’t be fast. If a site is slow or unavailable, DNS is a likely candidate. In this article, we explain what DNS is, how it can affect your site, and how you can test DNS to make sure it’s working correctly.

DNS is responsible for transforming a domain name like nexcess.net into an IP address that computer networks understand. When a user clicks on a link or enters a URL in their browser, the browser asks a domain name server if it knows the associated IP address. The domain name server is usually hosted by the user’s ISP, although there are public domain name servers hosted by organizations like Google and Cloudflare.

If the domain name server knows the IP address, it tells the browser. If it doesn’t know, it asks another domain name server, which might ask another server, and so on until the answer is found. The order in which servers are asked is determined by a hierarchy. In the case of nexcess.net, the root domain server is asked which DNS server knows about the .net top-level domain, and that server is asked about the nexcess.net domain. All of this is complicated by geographic redundancy: duplicates of major DNS servers exist all over the world.

Is DNS Slowing Your Site Down?

DNS lookups should be a small proportion of your site’s total load time. The browser does nothing while it’s waiting for a response to a DNS request. If you’ve ever clicked on a link and wondered why your browser seems to be stuck, it’s because it is waiting for a response from a DNS server.

Ideally, DNS lookups should take less than 100 milliseconds from any part of the world from which a site gets substantial traffic. A web performance tool like Pingdom can tell you how long each lookup takes from locations around the world. There are several possible causes for slow DNS lookups. If the lookups are slow for you, but fast from elsewhere in the world, the issue is with your ISP’s DNS servers. If lookups are slow from everywhere, then the problem is most likely a slow DNS host. The solution is to host your domain records with a fast global DNS hosting provider.

Have Your DNS Records Propagated?

DNS is a hierarchical and geographically distributed system with many thousands of individual servers spread across the globe. When a site owner edits the DNS records of their site’s domain, the new records have to be synchronized with servers around the world — a process called DNS propagation.

Propagation isn’t instantaneous; it can take up to 24 hours for domain records to propagate. Until they do, some DNS servers will respond to requests with the old records. In some cases, a DNS server might not be able to find any records at all. In consequence, when the site owner or a user tries to visit the site, they may not get the expected results.

This can be confusing and frustrating for web hosting clients who want their domain to work immediately, but propagation takes time. Hostdedi developed a tool to help hosting clients figure out how far DNS propagation has progressed for their domain. Enter your domain, and the tool will tell you which DNS servers around the world have your DNS records.

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What Is Headless eCommerce and Why Should You Care?

What Is Headless eCommerce and Why Should You Care?

What Is Headless eCommerce and Why Should You Care?vA decade ago, shoppers who wanted to buy something from an online store had no choice but to browse to the retailer’s site on their desktop computer. Today, they are more likely to visit the store on their phone through a native application, a progressive web app, or a traditional server-rendered app. Or perhaps they prefer to buy from a store without ever leaving their social media network. Or they may shout to their smart speaker that they’ve run out of toothpaste and rely on it to relay the message to a retailer.

Today, it’s becoming obvious that shoppers expect to be able to shop using the interface that is most convenient to them.

Traditional eCommerce applications were designed to serve the needs of shoppers from the previous decade. The front-end interface was integrated with the back-end catalog management and shopping cart. Over the years, server-rendered front-ends have evolved to offer a better mobile experience, but eCommerce applications in which both the front and back-end are tightly integrated are difficult to adapt to the expectations of modern shoppers. Headless, or decoupled, eCommerce applications are the answer.

A headless ecommerce application unties the front-end interface from its back-end administration and management features. Decoupling allows retailers to take full advantage of the power of Magento, Drupal, or BigCommerce while freeing them to build independent interfaces that communicate with the server-side application via an API.

With headless ecommerce, developers can create multiple user experiences to meet the changing requirements of shoppers. They can take advantage of fast-evolving web technologies without having to delve into the legacy code of monolithic ecommerce application.

A further advantage of headless architecture is that the back-end and front-end can scale independently. The infrastructure supporting the user interface is not the same as the infrastructure supporting the back-end, a substantial advantage for ecommerce in particular given how resource-intensive large catalogs can be.

Consider BigCommerce for WordPress. BigCommerce is a commerce-as-a-service platform that provides catalog management, logistics support, payment processing, a shopping cart, and more. WordPress is a content management system that excels as the foundation of rich content-first websites. BigCommerce for WordPress allows WordPress to be used as the front-end for BigCommerce, combining the strengths of both platforms by allowing businesses familiar with WordPress to build stores based on a flexible and scalable back-end. The same BigCommerce store can be used as the back-end for multiple WordPress sites, mobile applications, in-store interfaces, and Internet of Things (IoT) retail experiences.

BigCommerce is not alone in anticipating the need for decoupled ecommerce. The same considerations influenced the introduction of both the WordPress and WooCommerce REST API. It is headless that motivated Magento’s API and its transformation into an innovative platform for progressive web applications. Drupal also provides a powerful API for decoupled interfaces.

The Hostdedi Cloud supports a wide variety of headless-ready eCommerce applications, including BigCommerce for WordPress hosting, Magento hosting, and Drupal hosting.

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June 2019’s Best WordPress, Magento, and CMS Content

June 2019’s Best WordPress, Magento, and CMS Content

It’s time for our monthly roundup! If you’re looking for the same great articles the rest of the year, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy and let us know if we missed anything important in the comment section. WordPress and WooCommerce  Harness the power of blocks with WooCommerce Bookings Availability – WooCommerce Bookings Availability…

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Will The CCPA Affect Your eCommerce Business?

Will The CCPA Affect Your eCommerce Business?

Will The CCPA Affect Your eCommerce Business?2018 was the year data privacy concerns went mainstream. The media focus on Cambridge Analytica and Facebook brought the importance of data privacy home to the general public. The steady drip of data leaks from prominent companies, including leaks from eCommerce stores targeted by Magecart, cemented the risks in everyone’s minds. Businesses across the world tightened up security and privacy as the GDPR came into effect. And California, the US’s most populous state, home to the largest online economy in the world, passed the California Consumer Protection Act, which has been called California’s GDPR.

When the CCPA comes into effect on January 1, 2020, it will affect eCommerce retailers in California, the US, and the rest of the world, much as the GDPR has affected businesses beyond the EU. Many US retailers, especially midsized retailers, were able to disregard the GDPR because they don’t sell to EU residents. They are, however, unlikely to be able to avoid complying with the CCPA because most sell to the vast and lucrative California market. The CCPA does not require a retailer to have a physical presence in California, only that they do business in California. It is the strictest US data privacy law in history and will require many retailers to overhaul the way they store, process, and monetize data.

Although strict by US standards, the CCPA is not as stringent as the GDPR. It does not require that consumers opt-in to data processing, but does require businesses to provide an opt-out and mechanisms to allow California residents to find out which personal data a business stores and how it is used.

The CCPA also applies to a narrower set of businesses than the GDPR. To be affected, a retailer must conduct business in California and conform to at least one of the following criteria:

  • Have a gross revenue of more than $25 million.
  • Derive 50% of annual profits from selling personal data.
  • Buy, sell, or share for commercial purposes the personal data of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices.

These criteria are likely to capture a huge number of midsized retailers and apply to a much larger number of US businesses than the GDPR. Additionally, stricter rules apply to the data of minors. Consent for minors under the age of 13 must be given by their parents. Older children can opt-in themselves, but businesses must provide an age-verification system and track consent for all minors.

The CCPA has harsh penalties, with fines of up to $2,500 for each violation, rising to $7,500 if the violation is deemed to be deliberate. That might not seem like a lot, but fines can accumulate for each violation of an individual’s rights under the CCPA.

What do retailers need to do to prepare? Most importantly, they need to be able to identify and track the personal data they store and who they sell that data to or share it with. For many retailers, this will not be an easy change to make, and with less than a year before the CCPA comes into effect, they should begin preparations immediately.

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How a Server’s Timezone Can Go Wrong

How a Server’s Timezone Can Go Wrong

How a Server’s Timezone Can Go Wrong

For the average American living in Chicago, being able to tell the time in New York is easy. Simply take the time in Chicago and add one hour: 10am becomes 11am.

Yet timezones becomes more complicated when geopolitics are involved, and for any tasks that involve time processing, knowledge of the correct timezone is vital.

Keep reading to find out three of our top ways a server’s timezone can go wrong and how you can fix it.

How Do Timezones go Wrong?

So you know what time zones are and you’ve configured each and every one of your servers to reflect them correctly. For one client in the UK you’ve set the server to GMT +0, for another in Russia you’ve set it to UTC +4, and for another in California you’ve set it to GMT -8 (you think).

Congratulations, you’ve managed to set up time zones that reflect where your clients are based. But you’ve made a mistake… a few, in fact. You’re clients are quickly back on the phone asking why you selected that timezone and telling you that it needs to change ASAP.

So, where did you go wrong?

You Forgot Daylight Savings

Imagine you’re setting up a server and you get to a point where you need to set a timezone. “Well Michigan is (almost completely) in the eastern timezone”, you think to yourself, “and it’s March 27th, so I’ll set the timezone to EDT.” If you set the timezone to ‘EDT’, this would work fine… Until November 4th.

That’s because this is when Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends. At this point, your server would be off by 1 hour until DST starts again. If you had instead set your timezone to ‘America/Detroit’, it would have switched for DST at the right time and would switch back again too. This is why operating system installers often have you choose a location instead of a timezone directly.

Some Timezones Aren’t What They Appear

Remember daylight savings when you set a timezone on a serverA client requests the timezone be set to ‘GMT-8’, which means 8 hours behind UTC/GMT. (Roughly corresponds to British Columbia, California, most of Nevada, some of Mexico.) You happily go off and set the time zone to the IANA time zone database special administrative zone  (wow, what a mouthful) of ‘Etc/GMT-8’. You then happily go about your day.

That is until the client frantically rushes to tell you you’ve completely goofed up and set the timezone to GMT+8, the opposite of what they wanted. (This roughly corresponds to east Asia, and Fun fact: this is the most populous timezone in the world).

You double check and see to which file /etc/localtime is a symbolic link. You see /usr/share/zoneinfo/Etc/GMT-8, which appears correct. You scratch your head for a while.

Eventually you venture far enough down the rabbit hole that you find out that the ‘Etc/GMT’ time zones in the IANA timezone database have their sign switched due to legacy POSIX reasons, just like every weird thing in the wonderful world of Linux. You switch the timezone to ‘Etc/GMT+8’ and update. All is good with the world.

Timezones Reflect Geopolitics

Geopolitics can affect timeszones making them uncertainThe year is 2013. In between frequent bouts of the harlem shake, you field a client request to update the server to the same timezone as Moscow. Being very geopolitically savvy, you knew right off the bat that Russia switched to “permanent daylight saving time” in 2011 and the timezone of Moscow would be UTC+4. Permanent sure does sound like forever to you, so you pat yourself on the back and call it good.

BUT YOU’RE WRONG.

Russia switched to, ahem, permanent non-daylight saving time (?) in October 2014, making the correct timezone for Moscow UTC+3 “permanently” from that point on. Since you used UTC+4, the servers time became off in 2014 and the client had to put in a new ticket to adjust it.

If you had used ‘Europe/Moscow’ instead, the timezone would have been correctly adjusted in 2014 due to updates to the ‘tzdata’ package. This package contains the IANA timezone database and is updated for administrative and geopolitical changes as time goes on.

Changing Timezone to Location

Instead of changing the servers to a specific named time zone, we recommend setting time to a specific location. This helps to avoid the pitfalls and issues outlined above.

One of the most popular timezone databases is called the tz database. Within the database, different locations have different names depending on Area/Location. For instance, America/Detroit, Europe/London, etc.

Instead of going to a UTC/GMT offset such as GMT+8, databases like the tz database account for geopolitical and other changes around the world which allows you to set the timezone to a location. This means that as long as you’ve set your location correctly, then your timezone will never go wrong… probably.

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May 2019’s Best WordPress, Magento, and CMS Content

May 2019’s Best WordPress, Magento, and CMS Content

It’s time for our monthly roundup! If you’re looking for the same great articles the rest of the year, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy and let us know if we missed anything important in the comment section. WordPress and WooCommerce Prospress Joins Automattic to Jointly Develop WooCommerce Subscriptions – Prospress is joining Automattic…

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What You Need to Know And 8 Sessions You Can’t Miss

What You Need to Know And 8 Sessions You Can’t Miss

IRCE 2019- What You Need to Know And 8 Sessions You Can’t MissIt’s less than a month until one of the biggest marketing and retail conferences kicks off in Chicago. This year, the conference will take on a new form as it combines with GlobalShop and RFID Journal LIVE! Retail to form the colocation event Retail X.

Once again, we’ll be back to deliver the facts on eCommerce hosting and performance, with two booths in the exhibit hall and one of the most exclusive after parties to take place during IRCE 2019.

Whether it’s your first time or you’ve attended IRCE for years, we’ve put together this article to help you know what to expect. Keep reading to see what IRCE is, when it takes place, what you can expect, and eight sessions we think you should attend.


What and When Is IRCE?

IRCE is short for the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition. This year, the event will take place on June 25th – 28th at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Whereas in past years IRCE was a standalone event, this year it will be colocating with GlobalShop and RFID Journal LIVE! Retail under the combined banner of RetailX.

This will open the conference up to more than just eCommerce and marketing talks. Expect conversations this year to revolve around omnichannel business, integrating eCommerce and marketing technologies, and understanding the finer points of ROI reporting in an age where attribution continues to elude many.

With over 1,200 exhibitors and countless sessions dedicated to commerce, the over 20,000 attendees predicted to show are going to need to make some tough choices when it comes to deciding what they do at the conference. Keep reading for a handful of suggestions.


Why Attend IRCE?

IRCE is an annual meeting of the biggest and best in eCommerce. This year, the conference expects to see over 20,000 attendees from all around the world walk through the McCormick convention center during the four day event.

Besides the great networking opportunities available, the four days also provide a chance to learn. A huge number of sessions have been scheduled, with a full list available here.

In addition, some big names in eCommerce will be delivering insights into their retail experiences, and advice on how you can improve yours. Some of the major keynote speakers this year include retail prophet Doug Stephens, Chip Conley of AirBNB, and Susan Tynan of Framebridge.

IRCE 2018 Recap

Our #IRCE18 recap, including #NexcessLive at the Park, the exhibit hall, and our three biggest takeaways from the sessions regarding eCommerce and Magento.Don’t forget to grab a copy of our Magento 2 Optimization guide from nexc.es/2Knocc2

Posted by Hostdedi on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Our recap video from IRCE 2018 provides a good summary of what you can expect.

IRCE 2019 Rooftop After Party

We’ll be running one of the most exclusive after parties during IRCE: The NexcessLive Rooftop Party.

Midwest culinary legend chef Nolan Narut will join world-renowned DJ Madrid to help IRCE attendees party through the night in style. All while 22 stories up and overlooking Chicago’s famous skyline.

 

 

 

 

Join other eCommerce professionals for free drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and some of the best networking opportunities of the week.

Get your tickets now before they all run out! Visit nexc.es/irce19 to register.


What to Know Before You Go

As with any conference, there is always a list of best practices for getting the most out of the four day event.

The Sessions

The first of these is that it’s vital to plan what sessions you want to prioritize.

Take a look at the agenda before you go to see if there are any speakers or talks that really stand out. Try to identify any areas you want to improve in and place those at the top of your list. IRCE is one of the best events for learning about changes in the online retail space. By prioritizing, you’ll guarantee walking away with a list of actionable points to integrate into your store.

The Exhibit Hall

The second area you need to pay attention to is the exhibit hall. With over 700 vendors this year, there will be no shortage of interesting proposals. Try to break up your time in the exhibit hall as much as possible. While it’s a great chance to talk to vendors and understand new technologies, it’s important to balance vendor discussions with the other opportunities at IRCE.

Don’t forget, Hostdedi will be on the show floor at two booth locations. If you’re interested in understanding how the right eCommerce technology foundation can lead to net growth in performance, scalability, and more, speak to a member of our team at either booth #534 or #173.

Networking Events

Finally, the party doesn’t stop once the exhibition hall is closed down. Many of the sponsors will run parties and events during the evening. Take the chance to go and have some fun in Chicago, while also meeting and networking with other professionals from your industry.

Keep an eye on social media or your inbox for invites from multiple vendors. We’ve already issued our first email invite and will continue to offer invites through our social media channels.


8 Sessions You Should Definitely Attend at IRCE 2019

The choice of sessions is incredible this year. To help you out, we’ve chosen 8 sessions we think you should try to attend.

Usability: Keeping Shoppers on the Road to Checkout, Step by Step

Tuesday 10:00am, Room S102A-D

Conversations surrounding eCommerce for the past several years have often touched on the customer journey and keeping it going. In this session, Salesforce UX researcher, Scott Kincaid, will team up with Jason McClintlock, the President of Desert Steel, to talk about how to find and fix roadblocks in that journey.

Before attending, read up on how important the customer journey currently is, and see how much you’re already doing to maximize the distance your customers will travel.

The Marketing Stack: Demystify the Array of Solutions to Build and Optimize

Tuesday 10:00am Room S100BC

What marketing technology do you use? Are you sure that you’ve picked the right solutions? That’s what Marta Dalton, the Global Director of eCommerce at Unilever, will ask in this session.

Not only will she ask these questions, she’ll also be providing marketers with the tools and metrics they need to evaluate the marketing stack they’re already running. With over 7,000 marketing solutions available, this session should help everyone in attendance to optimize their stack at least a little.

Before attending, we recommend you review you own marketing solutions. What do you use for email, landing pages, form building, content management, etc? Come with a good idea of why you’ve chosen those solutions and see if Marta can’t change your mind.

Selling B2B or B2C: What B2B and Brands Must Get Right on Technology

Tuesday 11:50am Room S100BC

In this session, Mike Earl, the senior director of Timbuk2, and Lucas Robinson, the CEO of Weblife Stores, will come together to present the pros and cons of technology considerations. With a special focus on B2B and B2C, this talk should provide a number of actionable insights for merchants and developers alike.

Before listening to Mike and Lucas talk, read up on Timbuk2’s history and how they overcame some of the struggles of eCommerce success. This goes into more than just technology considerations and answers questions on building brand loyalty and virality. A good pre-IRCE listen.

Making Sense of Email Marketing Today

Tuesday 3:00pm Room S102A-D

If there is one thing that marketers still struggle with, it’s email marketing. We were recently at a show in which a speaker told the audience that he had sent email blasts with click through rates upward of 90%. They gasped.

In this session, Cindy white, the Senior E-Commerce Marketing Manager at Plow & Hearth, will talk about how to close gaps and cut through the noise to find the right tools and strategies to improve your email marketing.

Before attending, check out this article for some background insight into the Plow & Hearth email marketing strategy.

What You Need to Know About Behavioral Metrics

Tuesday 3:30pm Room S102A-D

Behavioral metrics refer to data that allow for merchants and businesses to track the user experience of their customers. This data indicates where customers visit, how the interact, and the best ways to improve conversion rate, traffic, and ROI.

In this session, Ashlee Colliver from Classy Llama, and Brittany Graham from Tombow will discuss how you can leverage this data for your own store, to match the latest in Google and Facebook algorithm shifts. The actionable strategies and information you’ll find here should be enough to help you identify and improve on almost all areas of your marketing that involve engagement.

Before attending, we recommend you read up on some of the main metrics you could (or should) be following. Semrush offer a good summary.

The Future of Retail is More Than Retail

Wednesday 10:30am Room S103A-D

Yes, another future talk, predicting where eCommerce is going. A pretty ingenious way to kick off the second day is to have a good understanding of some of the key research and results that have been published already this year.

And that’s exactly what this session from Erin Jordan, VP & Partner at Walker Sands Communications, is all about. Get yourself ready for the day ahead with a look at Walker Sands Future of Retail report and see what direction they are recommending eCommerce retailers go in.

Before this session, play catch up by seeing what Walker Sands predicted last year, and see how much you think your experience has lined up.

Rules of the Road for Working with Influencers

Wednesday 1:00pm Room S100A

Influencers have become a mainstay of retail marketing. They offer brands the chance to connect and build trust with their customers through multiple channels. However, over the last few years, regulations have been tightening, with the list of things influencers can and can’t do shrinking quickly.

In this session, Joe Gagliese of Viral Nation and Taylor Offer of Feat Socks will walk through best practices for finding, negotiating with, and managing influencers for your brand. Also learn how to measure ROI from influencer efforts, and see if it’s something that’s really helping your brand to grow.

The Supply Chain Tactics That Push Retailers to the Top

Wednesday 4:15pm Room S102A-D

It’s not all about marketing. It’s important to also focus on the user experience with regards to logistics.

In this session, George Lawrie from Forrester Research will explore some of the top retailers and how they have used unrivalled supply chain tactics to push their business to the top. Whether you’re a brand selling in B2C or B2B, this session should give you some valuable insights into how to get the most out of your supply chain.

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Miguel Balparda’s Magento Imagine 2019 Recap

Miguel Balparda’s Magento Imagine 2019 Recap

Magento Master Miguel Balparda shares his insights into the Magento ecosystem from 2019’s Magento Imagine event. See where this year took him and what he sees Imagine looking like next year.


After a week of rest, it’s time for our Magento Imagine recap. This was my fifth Imagine — and probably the last one as we currently know it…


Pre-game at the Git

This year the event started at 9 a.m. on Saturday with a 2-day contribution event organized by the Community Engineering team. Now in their second year, these contribution days have become an Imagine centerpiece, featuring community-created code for Magento 2 and a steady growth of +100% YoY.

This year, it was organized as a side event in the Country Club at the Wynn, where developers from around the globe gathered to code and contribute to Magento 2, DevDocs, graphQL, Multi-Source Inventory (MSI), among many other GitHub projects. As a maintainer, I love Contribution days because I meet people I had previously only known online and work with them to make Magento even better.

Work began with a new Adobe Stock + Magento 2
integration, a small project to kickstart the collaboration between Magento and
Adobe. See GitHub for details.

Contributing wrapped at 5 p.m. Sunday, and I headed to #preimagine at the Encore. Once again, WebShopApps and ShippersHQ organized an awesome community event with beverages and fun with friends, both old and new. See all the action at #preimagine.

Day 1: Yoga, Secrets, and Clubs

Monday marked the official start of the
conference and I attended MageYoga with Wagento, Hostdedi-supplied mats, and our
fearless instructor Vijay. After practicing the basics, Vijay led us into some
Laughing Therapy to kickstart the conference experience.

After Yoga, I headed to the super-secret
Magento Masters Breakfast, where we had the chance to talk with Adobe and
Magento executives and managers over omelettes and coffee. This is one of the
side events I enjoy most: a quiet place to talk with industry leaders about
topics affecting the future of our community. The ever-present progressive web
app (PWA) discussion made an appearance. However, most of the talk revolved
around Adobe’s interest in feedback from the open source community and the
possibilities of integrating Magento with Adobe products.

Afterward, the Sponsor marketplace opened to a
flurry of presentations. While these are often worthwhile, I stayed on the
“hallway track” to meet colleagues and talk about the present and future of
Magento 2 development. This was by far the biggest Imagine (in attendees), and
I didn’t want to miss my chance to exchange knowledge with both new and
familiar faces.

This year saw the adoption of Labs track from
other Adobe events, where people can get their hands dirty with some of the new
products. Magento and Adobe employees together played host. 

As the sun began to set on Monday, I headed to Topgolf for #NexcessLive. There are no words to describe this incredible event, so here’s a video!

Day 2: Masters of the Universe

Tuesday morning, I headed to the Keynote to
hear Philip Jackson again as well as attend the 
Magento Masters award ceremony. I had the honor of standing on stage with
19 other Masters, and in lieu of a theme this year, we rolled with capes.

I spent the rest of Tuesday afternoon meeting
with our clients and partners in our suite, and again PWA was a hot topic.
Since the release of PWA studio, plus some community initiatives like Deity
Falcon and VueStorefront, the Magento community has continued to see a rise in
early adopters. As we heard during one of the keynotes, multiple developers and
agencies (Inchoo, JH, and others) have been working on PWAs. Our own system
operations team has been creating an PWA-optimized hosting environment while working
in close collaboration with other Hostdedi teams.

Tuesday night, I attended the annual Legendary
Party at The Encore, giving us another chance to interact with developers from
everywhere over drinks and music. Once again, I was grateful for the chance to
attach faces and voices to the pixels on Twitter and GitHub. If you have ever
have the chance to attend, don’t pass it up!

Day 3: Imagine Reborn

Wednesday started slowly, but the event wasn’t
over just yet. Marketplace was open again with the final swag giveaways and
people buzzing the corridors. After a healing breakfast, we headed to the last
keynote, where they announced Magento Imagine will continue as part of Adobe
Summit, just like Marketing Nation from Marketo was included in this year’s
Summit.

We also got a look at Sneaks, where Magento
shares short demos of future technology. This year’s lot included AR, VR, and
customer-engagement tools, among many other cool glimpses of tomorrow’s
commerce.

After the announcements. only DevExchange
remained before lunch and the goodbyes. Now in its fourth year, DevExchange is
a space to exchange opinions on various topics around the Magento community.
This year’s all-around attendance was record-breaking — beer and nachos
probably didn’t hurt — and I was fortunate enough to lead a discussion about
working remote.

DevExchange soon wrapped. Like every Imagine,
I left Vegas exhausted and slightly dehydrated, but cozy after meeting again
with our extended Magento (and now Adobe) family.

Hope to see you all again next year at Adobe
Summit, and may you never miss a step in 2019! 

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