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In a Remote Working World, Fundamentals Are More Important Than Ever

In a Remote Working World, Fundamentals Are More Important Than Ever

Executive Vice President and General Manager of Hostdedi and Liquid Web on adapting and maintaining personal connections while managing teams remotely.

A remote work situation requires the same fundamentals of managing people and maintaining the community of an office environment — it just magnifies the importance of diligently sticking to the fundamentals.

Now more than ever, the fundamentals of team management matter. In the face of current global realities, remote work is a gift, offering us the unique opportunity to innovate while, first and foremost, protecting the health and safety of employees and their families. 

As companies around the world are navigating how to best operate online, many managers brand new to remote team management are faced with the challenge of learning how to lead in an unfamiliar environment under stressful circumstances. 

I’ve been managing remote teams for nearly three decades. For most of my career, I worked for companies that operated on a global level. Early on, I had to learn how to manage teams around the world, often through the challenge of employees across many different time zones. In some roles, 100% of employees telecommuted. In others, only 15% worked from outside the office. In many ways, because I’ve built a career in technology, I’ve had broad exposure to the ins and outs of the trials many managers are now tasked with navigating. 

Here are some strategies for managing remote teams. 

  • Re-review individual objectives. If you are a manager or leader, take the time to re-review each individual’s objectives and recognize where specifics may have shifted. Perhaps more time may be needed on some projects, or adjustments need to be made for projects requiring physical presence.  As an individual contributor, seek clarity about moving forward under new circumstances. Clarity is critical in times of uncertainty – seek it out at all levels.
  • Set ground rules. When embarking on a new way of working—especially with teams who are newly working together remotely—it is vitally important to have frank discussions about how the team wants to work and what your expectations are from each other. What time of day can you depend on them to be online? Under what conditions will they be unavailable, and how will they let you know? By level setting ground rules, you provide helpful structures for what will become the new norm of interaction. 
  • Check-in often and individually with your team members. The power of maintaining personal connections is vital for all remote teams, but its importance cannot be understated in times of uncertainty. It can be tempting to just drop a note on Slack to check on your team. Resist this. Setup individual check-ins with each member. Do it often. Allow time for chit chat and asking about family.  Check in daily with brief video chats. Connect virtually over a cup of coffee. Technology is incredible, but it is imperative that, as often as possible, we maintain the personal connections that make us human. 
  • Decide which office rituals you’ll maintain online as a team. Take some time to determine which regular meetings are essential and should continue taking place with your remote team. But just as important as deciding which structures to maintain is understanding what you can let go of. Do you need to force everyone to sit through a four hour video call? Probably not. Determine what things are important, what you’re going to gather for, and what you’re going to decide to let go of for a while. 
  • Commit to fully engaging when the team is together. When working remotely, probably the greatest challenge is managing distractions—both your teams’ and your own. When you’re not face-to-face with someone, it can be difficult to make sure that everyone is giving their full attention, but it’s essential for both morale and productivity.  

A remote work situation requires all of the same fundamentals of managing people and maintaining the community of an office environment—it just magnifies their importance.  

When you’re physically separated from your team, it can be tempting to do things like sort through emails while you’re on conference calls. You have to resist these urges and offer your full attention. Set up dedicated times in the morning and afternoon to tend to your email so that your team knows you’re fully present and expect them to be, as well. There’s so much you can get away with if you’re all in one room. While working remotely, it’s important to pay attention to basics around how to run a good meeting. 

  • Encourage trust. For people new to remote work, one of the most crucial parts of building a healthy and productive work environment is wrapping your mind around the fact that you’re going to have to trust people. Trust that your team members will get the job done. This confidence will allow them to trust you, too. 
  • Determine your responsibility. You have a responsibility as much as your teammates to be online and communicative and trustworthy. The best way to do this is to put a schedule in place and stick to it. A lot of people think working from home is rolling out of bed and going about your day in pajamas, but getting up and showering and getting dressed can really help to put you in a ready-to-work, focused mindset. Find the place in your home in which you can be most productive. Face your day the same as you would face it if you were going out. 

Just as in team management, the fundamentals of how you care of yourself are also magnified and take on a greater importance when working from home—especially as we confront the possibility of long stretches in isolated environments. Eat nourishing foods. Drink lots of water. Set up a space that makes you feel good. Schedule short breaks that allow you to get up and walk around between meetings. Move your body and remember to check in with yourself. Make sure you’re caring for your physical and mental wellbeing. 

We are all making adjustments to the ways we live and work. There is so much right now that feels out of our control. What we can control is how we show up for our community and how we can encourage them to show up for one another. We do not have to lose our sense of togetherness—we can strengthen it. This experience will push us out of our comfort zones, but that is the space where growth can take place. 

You will get to know your co-workers in this period in ways you would not have before. You’ll get to know their pets and partners and kids. Frustrations will arise, of course, but do your best to embrace and enjoy the moments of joy and spontaneity that will accompany this new way of working. 

Let us also embrace this as an opportunity to innovate how we think, operate, and work together. We will all come through this changed. My hope is that we are changed for the better, forging community in new ways, and understanding what it truly means to be a team.

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6 Tips for Working from Home During Quarantine

6 Tips for Working from Home During Quarantine

As we all move online, many of us are finding out how hard it is to stay focused while working from home. Your office space can have a big impact on your productivity. The last thing you want is to be searching for your mouse under a pile of paperwork, right? So, how do you focus and keep productive? 

Develop a morning routine. 

Whether you keep your morning routine the same as you would if you were going into the office, or build a whole new one. A morning routine gets you into the right headspace and helps you separate your work day from your home life. 

Separate space if possible.

It’s probably a good idea not to work from a couch or your bed (places where you typically relax) because either you won’t be as productive, or you’ll start to associate your relaxation spots with work spots and be stressed out in your own bed. And don’t let partners/roommates interrupt you when you’re in that space. If you don’t have a separate space then wear headphones to signal you’re working.

Set a schedule. 

Make sure you set a start time and an end time. Setting a time to be done working for the day is important or you might just keep churning through things. Setting a “done” time also forces you to use your waking hours more efficiently. It is equally as important to set breaks. It’s really easy to stay glued to your desk and before you know it the day is over.  Take time for lunch or if it’s nice out, sit outside or walk the block. Make sure you get up from your desk every 30-45 minutes.

Declutter your space and mind

It’s not exciting, but setting up some proper storage and ensuring your workspace is neat and tidy is key to making sure you stay productive. Keep your office space tidy: shut away clutter, and try to keep cables and wires to a minimum. Keep your phone nearby if there’s a call but out of sight so that you are not constantly looking at it when you get notifications.

Burn a candle for ambience/create a relaxing environment. 

It might not be top of your list, but this tip appeals to our sense of smell for added motivation. Every room needs a scent to complete it. Fragrances can really influence our mood, so opt for something invigorating in your work space. 

Find the right sound

Like smell, sound can help you stay focused and motivated so have the right playlist ready to tackle your to-do list. If the noise of your full house or the silence of your apartment is driving you insane, tune in to a playlist that will help get you in the zone. 

Don’t Isolate yourself. 

The most important thing missing while working from home can be human contact. Connecting on social media might be causing anxiety and stress, but there are ways to keep in contact without seeing all the news. Create a Google Hangout or a Zoom meeting to meet with friends and family. Facebook Messenger and Facetime can help you connect easily with your community. You can use slack to play games, or the Google extension Netflix Party to watch Tiger King with friends.

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Magento 1 Migration: How to Save Your Budget and Stay Secure

Magento 1 Migration: How to Save Your Budget and Stay Secure

COVID-19 is actively changing our world, but before this global pandemic many online stores were already facing a massive change. Our Magento Product Expert, Miguel Balparda was recently a guest on MageCloud’s Webinar “Magento 1 Migration: How to Save Your Budget and Stay Secure” to show how Hostdedi Safe Harbor can extend your Magento 1 site’s life during this pandemic and beyond. Watch the video below. 

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Link Building for eCommerce Businesses

Link Building for eCommerce Businesses

In my previous two posts here on Liquid Web, I talked about technical SEO and keyword research for eCommerce companies. Both of these form the base of a great SEO strategy. Without a crawlable website or pages on your site targeting keywords with search volume that are relevant to your business, you will never rank.

But once you have that in place, or are working towards it with a combination of your SEO company and internal resources, then you need to take your organic traffic to the next level.

To take your organic traffic to the next level, you need to build links. Links are the currency of SEO, and without them, you will not rank well for the terms that can drive that sweet “free” organic traffic to your website.

So how do you think about this, and even more importantly, how do you do it?

Let’s dig in.

All Links Are Not Created Equal

If you’ve been building businesses online for a while, you’ve probably heard about SEO and probably heard about link building.

Your reaction may range from “I heard we weren’t supposed to do that” to “Where can I buy some of these?” There’s so much misunderstanding out there around link building that either of these reactions and any in the middle, are entirely understandable.

In SEO we always walk a tightrope when it comes to link building. If you are too aggressive with building new links back to your website (especially with commercial anchor text), then you can land in trouble with the search engines either through a manual penalty or an algorithm shift that renders those links at best ineffective and at worst with them negatively affecting your site.

On the other side, if you don’t have links pointing to your site you will almost certainly not rank for your target commercial keywords. There are different ways to get organic traffic, such as with editorial content meant to target those more informational searches, but that traffic has less conversion intent and thus will not directly turn into revenue as easily as traffic to your category or product pages.

Now that we’ve established that you need links, let’s talk about the links that will help you rank and are safe from negatively affecting your site in the future.

These links are:

  • Naturally given (eg not purchased or required by you for a service);
  • From relevant websites (such as partners and news sites);
  • Meant for users to click and come to your site, not just for search engines.

Links are meaningful to SEO because they are hard to acquire. The more authoritative the linking website is, and thus the more significant it is for SEO, the harder it will be to obtain.

There are many ways to acquire links back to your eCommerce website, but keep all of the above in mind as you build and execute on your link building (or as I prefer to refer to it, link acquisition) plan.

Check Mark Hostdedi’ Managed WooCommerce Hosting helps optimize SEO with keyword indexing, so you can focus on building links to authoritative sources.

How Many Links Do I Need?

I get asked two questions quite frequently about link building:

  • How many links do I need to rank?
  • Where are my competitors getting their links?

Luckily both of these questions are answered by looking at the other ranking sites for the search terms you are targeting.

Let’s use the search term [iphone skins 7 plus], which according to Keywords Everywhere (a free Chrome extension) has 5,400 searches per month:

link building test on iphone 7 skins

I like to use Moz’s Mozbar, which is another Chrome extension you can use to get information from their link index of the web about the specific pages that are ranking.

In this example, you can see the metrics for the top 4 sites below:

link building test on iphone 7 skins site examples

If you read my technical SEO for eCommerce post then you will probably notice that they are all doing good on-page SEO which is undoubtedly helping them rank.

If we look deeper than their on-page SEO elements, then we see the following:

  • The ranking pages are category pages, not individual product pages or homepages;
  • Most have a domain authority above 50 (except for #4);
  • All four have at least a few, if not more, linking root domains and links pointing to the ranking page.

No rubric exists to know the tradeoff between Domain Authority and the number of links needed to rank, but from just the above we can understand that to rank for this term you will need:

  • A Domain Authority of at least 28, and likely much higher;
  • At least a few hundred if not a few thousand linking root domains pointing to your site overall;
  • A page dedicated to this term with perfect on-page SEO elements;
  • At minimum 2, but likely more than 15 linking root domains pointing to the page you want to rank for this term.

If you don’t have an authoritative site, then ranking for this term is a long-term goal that requires a long-term view of link acquisition.

How Are My Competitors Ranking?

The next question I get asked is “What is (competitor) doing to rank?”

To show you how you can find this data, let’s use the second example which is Dbrand. I have zero affiliation with this site and no connection to the industry at all, so it’s a great candidate for dissecting their link acquisition strategy.

To do this, I am going to use Moz’s Link Explorer as it is a standard tool used by SMBs and other companies to do link analysis. Other tools out there do a great job as well, such as SEMrush and Ahrefs, so if you have a subscription to one of those tools, then you should take the process outlined here and apply it to the tool of your choice.

We’re going to do two things:

  1. Look at the specific ranking page to see how they are acquiring links;
  2. Look at the domain overall to see if we can determine how they are acquiring links as a business.

To find the page’s specific links, input the full URL into Link Explorer and hit Enter, then navigate to the Inbound Links section in the left sidebar:

link building mozpro link explorer

When we scroll down, we see these links:

links in mozpro link building

According to this, they have acquired followed links (links that will help you rank) from a few authoritative sites and lists of gifts ideas. Technology sites have listed them as great gifts to buy, which are resulting in direct followed links back to their page. This is a big win!

Dbrand has also mostly stayed away from sites that have a high spam score. They’re doing it well and being rewarded with high rankings (though have some other opportunities they could leverage to improve to #1).

Overall Site Link Acquisition

After looking at the individual page, it is helpful to understand how the site became so authoritative in the first place. How did they get 3,500+ individual sites to link to them?

We go back to Link Explorer and look at their linking domains:

link building link explorer linking domains

There’s nothing crazy here, and they have a lot of authoritative sites linking to them, though we know that links from specific sites like Youtube and Wikipedia are nofollowed (and officially don’t count towards rankings directly as a result).

They’re acquiring links at scale through:

  1. Being listed in “cool gadget roundups,” which I must assume is either being produced by them, or Dbrand is doing outreach to be listed;
  2. Reviews on gadget sites;
  3. When new phones launch, having skins ready to go to ride the wave of the press;
  4. Doing press effectively around new product launches.

If we review their link acquisition over the last few months, they are still acquiring links more quickly than they are losing them:

link building link acquisition over a few months

They’ve ridden the wave of a few big pieces of content (Galaxy 8 launch, Nintendo Switch controversy) and supplement that with more manual link building. Overall, they’re doing an excellent job.

Taking Action

Turn your research into actionable items. The next step is to create your link acquisition strategy based off of what you know works for your competitors as well as what they are not doing.

A caveat. Sometimes you will come across competitors doing things that are outside of search engine guidelines. At this point, you need to decide how much risk you are willing to take on. While doing things outside of search engine guidelines is not illegal, they do have their terms of service that they can use to remove or severely diminish the traffic coming to your site through their platform. If you have a company building links for you, then you should know what they are doing and what the risks are.

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Coronavirus Preparedness – Hostdedi Blog

Coronavirus Preparedness – Hostdedi Blog

Hostdedi has been closely monitoring the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and guidance as issued by government and health authorities. As of yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic with regards to the coronavirus.  While our infrastructure and planning is always ready for these types of scenarios we wanted to let you know that we have activated a Virtual Command Center to take additional precautionary measures for our employees so that they can continue to provide the high level of support you’ve come to expect.

Operations are our lifeblood and we are committed to our customers to keep your business online while also keeping our employees safe.

While our offices and data center locations are secure, we’ve implemented several precautionary measures to focus on the health and safety of our customers and employees:

  • We have increased the timing of our cleaning protocols for all facilities and are disinfecting high traffic areas daily.
  • Hand sanitizer stations have been placed along with high traffic areas for use by both customers and employees.
  • Employees have been briefed on the importance of maintaining a clean and safe environment and on our communication and action plans regarding COVID-19.
  • We have restricted employee travel.
  • In addition we have engaged with our suppliers to understand their Pandemic Response plans.

In addition to the above, we’re closely monitoring the health of our employees on a daily basis. If an employee shows any signs of illness, we are encouraging them to seek a medical diagnosis and work from home until cleared by a medical professional or until the symptoms pass. Access to any Hostdedi facility will be closely monitored, and anyone showing symptoms or anyone who has traveled to an area with known high-transmission of COVID-19 may have restricted access.

In the event an outbreak occurs in the area of one of our facilities, we’re prepared to activate our Pandemic Response Plan and do the following:

  • Ensure regular digital communication with our customers and employees, including the possibility of increased access restrictions to our facilities.
  • Activate minimum on-site staffing levels to provide continuity of our services at a 24/7/365 level and allow non-essential employees to work from home.
  • Ensure sufficient resources are available for our on-site employees to continue to safely operate.
  • Continue to review guidance from local, state and federal government agencies and implement updated action plans as needed.

At Hostdedi our high level of support and ensuring your business is supported at all times is of the utmost importance to us. The health and safety of our employees is a priority as well, and these plans will help us ensure we’re doing our best to keep both in mind.

As you monitor the situation and consider your own continuity plans, Hostdedi is prepared to help in any capacity needed.

More information on the coronavirus is available here:

World Health Organization:

Center for Disease Control:

If you have any questions, please contact us at 1-866-639-2377 or submit a ticket via the portal.

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cPanel Pricing Changes: A Powerful Alternative

cPanel Pricing Changes: A Powerful Alternative

2020 has seen a big change for hosting clients. cPanel, a hosting admin panel that allows site owners to make changes to their hosting plans, has changed its pricing structure. As a result, the cost of hosting will likely increase for most hosting clients. 

But it doesn’t need to. There are a number of cPanel alternatives available to site owners that are just as powerful (if not more powerful). Here, we’ll talk through one of those alternatives.

What Is cPanel?

When you host a site with any hosting provider, you’re able to make a number of changes to your hosting infrastructure. cPanel is a graphical interface that allows you to do this without having to work through the command line. 

cPanel is a powerful tool for site administrators. It not only allows you to make changes to your hosting plan, it also allows you to:

  • Add and change SSL certificates
  • Create backups
  • View access logs
  • Access database administration
  • Configure FTP settings
  • Manage files

Unfortunately, cPanel is not owned by your hosting provider. As a result, cPanel manages its own pricing structure. As of January 1, 2020, they have adopted an account-based pricing structure. 

What Does the cPanel Pricing Change Mean for You?

The new cost for users depends on the server and plan types they use. However, on average the cost for end-users (you) will increase by 25%-50%. Since the cost is calculated on a per-account basis, in some cases you may see costs rise by more than 100%. 

This price change has come as a shock to much of the hosting community, with many users unsure of how to now keep costs low. 

Luckily, we offer an alternative to cPanel, one which is just as powerful and that comes bundled with all of our hosting plans: The Hostdedi Client Portal. 

The Hostdedi Client Portal is a custom hosting admin panel created for use by Hostdedi customers. As it stands, The Hostdedi Client Portal has thousands of licenses in production and as we continue to grow with our clients, we expect to increase that number by thousands more in the coming months. 

cPanel Alternatives

The Hostdedi Client Portal is similar to cPanel. It offers all the same features your find with cPanel in a slightly different interface. In addition, you’ll be able to access and configure the technology options you find with Hostdedi that you won’t find anywhere else. This includes Hostdedi Auto Scaling, Elasticsearch, and the Cloud Accelerator. 

The Nexess Control Panel

The Hostdedi Client Portal makes site management easy. 

You’ll immediately be given access to the Hostdedi Client Portal as soon as you sign up for an account. The screenshot above provides a basic overview of the Client Portal for Managed WooCommerce plans. 

Depending on the application you choose for your hosting service, you’ll have access to different features. Each of these is tailored to your specific setup and is designed to make developing your site as simple as possible. 

A number of tutorials for how to use the Hostdedi Client Portal can be found in the Knowledge Base

Moving to the Hostdedi Client Portal

If you’re not a Hostdedi client yet and are interested in making the move to Hostdedi services, you can get started by visiting our cloud hosting page and selecting the right plan for your requirements. 

Alternatively, get in touch with a Hostdedi support team member to discuss your options and how the Hostdedi Client Portal can help you. 

The post cPanel Pricing Changes: A Powerful Alternative appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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Welcome Our Newest Expert, Patrick Rauland

Welcome Our Newest Expert, Patrick Rauland

Hostdedi is pleased to welcome Patrick Rauland as our new Product Marketing Manager for managed WooCommerce. Patrick is a known WooCommerce expert with experience in development, configuration, and client-based consulting. 

Before joining Hostdedi, Patrick was a Woo Product Manager at WooThemes and Automattic, as well as an industry trainer and author. Patrick has experience developing core functionality in WooCommerce itself, leading technology releases, and helping run ecommerce conferences.

In his new role, Patrick will focus on increasing Hostdedi’s WooCommerce presence in the market.

“I’m excited to join Hostdedi. They have the hands-down best plan for WooCommerce customers and I’m excited to articulate exactly why that is and what you can get out of it.”

Patrick will work out of Denver, and we can’t wait to see his impact on the WooCommerce market and our own Hostdedi team. 

The post Welcome Our Newest Expert, Patrick Rauland appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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Welcome our Newest Expert, Jessica Mott

Welcome our Newest Expert, Jessica Mott

We’re happy to welcome Jessica Mott to the Hostdedi team as our new Southeast Regional Channel Executive. Jessica will be based out of Atlanta and brings years of experience building and nurturing relationships with Magento development partners. 

Before Hostdedi, Jessica served as the Ecommerce Partner Manager for Total Server Solutions, where she was responsible for direct and channel sales, as well as marketing for ecommerce and enterprise clients.

Jessica’s focus at Hostdedi will be to grow Magento agencies and partnerships, for which she will leverage her sales leadership experience and Magento expertise. 

“I deeply value partnerships. When companies work well together, common goals are not only met, but in my experience, exceeded. I am proud and excited to join the Hostdedi team!”

We can’t wait to see all that Jessica accomplishes at Hostdedi.

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Hostdedi Welcomes David Eblen

Hostdedi Welcomes David Eblen

We are excited to welcome David Eblen to the Hostdedi team as our new Vice President of Strategy & Analytics. With nearly 20 years experience in technology services and solutions, David brings a proficiency in business development and strong technical expertise in creating vision and business-focused strategies. 

David is joining us from Rackspace where he served for nearly 9 years. As the Senior Product Director at Rackspace, he managed a team of 85 employees across four global focus areas, led their applications business unit, and drove double-digit growth. He also served as the Director of Products and Senior Manager of Cloud Operations while with Rackspace.

David’s main focus at Hostdedi will be driving performance through constant focus and analysis of our Key Performance Metrics. 

“I believe strongly in an intense focus on customer outcomes and solutions. As a leader in the ecommerce space with those same values, I believe Hostdedi is a great fit for me.  I’m excited to join the team!”

David will be based in our San Antonio office and we look forward to his outstanding contributions to the Hostdedi team.

The post Hostdedi Welcomes David Eblen appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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7 Ecommerce Blueprint Considerations You May Be Overlooking

7 Ecommerce Blueprint Considerations You May Be Overlooking

An ecommerce blueprint is your agency’s lifeline. As a vital foundational document, it helps you create a clear strategy for delivering results to a client; results that go beyond just KPIs and metrics. 

A well-executed blueprint should not just be a list of requirements and solutions. Instead, it should be seen as an evolving guide that ensures a client’s store will continue to be performant, secure, and scalable. 

Your agency is undoubtedly paying attention to every facet of a client’s business – from goals to structure, to deployment and beyond. No area should be left untouched if it will affect the technology and solution choices your client makes. Making individual recommendations for every client can be challenging, but it’s also vital. 

Our managed ecommerce solutions offer merchants and agencies a solid foundation to begin working from. Key infrastructure optimizations, security safeguards, and expandable features are inherent, enabling your agency to actively drive growth for each client. However, taking a single approach to multiple projects can only help so much. For a project to truly thrive, it’s important to nuance solutions.

Let’s take a look at seven considerations you may be rushing through when putting together the technology aspect of your ecommerce blueprint. We’ll explore some key options available to you and provide actionable advice on how to get started.

Bare Metal Server

1. Hosting Size Matters (But That’s Not the Whole Story)

The first area to address is plan size.

We know, smaller plan sizes can be appealing. Not only do they provide impressive traffic resources and a lot of the same great integrations we pack into our larger plans, but they are also available at competitive price points.

However, the more popular a store, the more traffic it’s going to get. By choosing a plan that doesn’t meet a store’s requirements, you’re – at best – bottlenecking the checkout, and – at worst – causing site slowdowns and crashes.

Stores cannot afford this. A 1-second delay in load time means a 7% decrease in conversions. To truly drive growth, stores must build in enough capacity to allow for additional resources when needed. 

Choosing the right plan size allows you to create the best foundation for building on client expectations. 

But selecting the right hosting plan isn’t as simple as just understanding traffic and resource requirements. With our managed ecommerce plans, you’re able to take advantage of additional resources to help improve ecommerce website performance and scalability. 

The first of these is auto scaling. This feature allows for a site to increase capacity as and when it needs to. This means more concurrent users (up to the next plan size) and more customers being able to proceed through checkout at the same time.

Another option is the Cloud Accelerator. Available with all cloud plans, this allows ecommerce websites to manage more concurrent users with a single click in your client portal. 

We also offer several container-based services that are run outside of a store’s core account. If you’re looking to improve product search and are interested in using Elasticsearch to do so, you can without having to worry about how that will affect your store’s performance. 

2. Platform Choice Is More Complex Than You Think

The right ecommerce platform for each client isn’t always the most obvious. What appears to be a performant and scalable choice on day one, can become a nightmare as a client’s store grows and requires more flexibility.

Despite this, serious platform considerations often find themselves forgotten about in favor of standard workflow templates; ease of use often surpassing functionality and performance requirements.

As you begin to build out an ecommerce blueprint, consider more than just the here and now. Great ecommerce website design includes a consideration of a client’s growth goals.

This couldn’t be more important than it is right now. According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 93% of the most successful organizations in 2019 were extremely committed to content marketing. 

What that means is that successful ecommerce businesses need to start integrating content into their ecommerce blueprint. Beyond just delivering product descriptions, consumers are now looking for research sources where they can explore gift guides, read background information, and delve through reviews. 

In 2019, 93% of the most successful organizations were extremely committed to content marketing. (Content Marketing Institute)

Applications like WooCommerce, a plugin for WordPress, are perfect here as they provide excellent content management features. The platform has also become a leading standard for SEO, with over 3 million sites currently running on it along with 22% of the top 1 million sites worldwide. That means more traffic to the content you’re clients are looking to create and more conversions. 

3. Ecommerce Security Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

Security never seems like it’s going to be a problem… until it is.

Attacks can range from taking a store offline and preventing visitors from accessing it, to finding and stealing customer PII (personally identifiable information). In both cases, one security breach can have a serious and long-term impact on an ecommerce business.

According to Gartner, by 2020 100% of large enterprises will have to report on cybersecurity and technology risk to their board of directors. This isn’t because security is a template statistic, but because security breaches have increased by 67% since 2014, with damages estimated to total $6 trillion by 2021.

As we move into 2020, it’s vital – now more than ever – that merchants have a plan for handling vulnerabilities and protecting against attacks.

By 2020, 100% of large enterprises will have to report on cybersecurity and technology risk to their board of directors. (Gartner)

But security is a fickle thing. Like many of the items on this list, template solutions can do more harm than good. The right security measures should consider both a client’s consumers and their organization’s structure. 

The first line of defense is a well-maintained Web Application Firewall (WAF). This software-based firewall protects stores from known threats by blocking suspicious connection requests and preventing attackers from even getting a foot in the door. 

We block over 3.5 million attacks daily. However, To block attacks effectively with a WAF, we need to know where they are coming from. 

Understanding a client’s target geographies and known dangerous sources, and sharing these with our support team, can help us to build stronger rulesets that keep your client’s store protected. 

Beyond this, managed ecommerce helps to tighten security with automated processes that make your agency’s job easier. We provide automatic daily backups, nightly malware scans, PCI compliance assistance, and the popular iThemes security plugin on all WooCommerce and WordPress solutions.  

4. Containers Are Powerful Integrations That Don’t Draw From Core Resources

Robust functionality drives ecommerce growth and moves the needle. Consumers now expect certain functionality as standard and merchants expect your agency to be able to deliver on those by default. 

Yet as we mentioned above, feature integrations can take a sizable share of a server’s resources. Instead of providing an incredible user experience, they cause slowdowns and crashes. 

Containers are a pivotal solution, allowing you to avoid infrastructure and performance pitfalls without needing to increase your client’s plan size prematurely. 

This is because they run outside of your primary hosting account and so have their own set of dedicated resources. Currently, the container integrations available for all Hostdedi solutions include:

  • Elasticsearch
  • Varnish
  • RabbitMQ
  • SOLR

Hostdedi container solutions offer innovative capabilities to the key ecommerce business problems of product search and performance, and help take the guesswork out of the technology recommendations your agency needs to provide. 

5. Ecommerce Integrations Can Help in Areas You Don’t Expect

We offer over $2,000 in integrations for smaller WooCommerce stores and over $6,000 in integrations for larger ones. These integrations add vital functionality to stores of any size and take the complexity out of optimization.

Simply put, as stores get larger, so too do their requirements. The integrations we provide help stores to meet those requirements by offering a turnkey solution nuanced to client requirements. 

Take, for example, data analysis. Modern technology has seen data become a central part of the ecommerce industry. Now, product and content decisions are informed not by whim but by data. By 2020, Forrester predicts that businesses will double their data strategy budget. 

Businesses will double their data strategy budget in 2020. (Forrester)

To make the work of agencies and merchants easier, we’ve partnered with helps merchants to better understand both their business and their consumers by providing ecommerce analytics and business intelligence insights quickly and easily. 

We’ve also included other integrations, such as abandoned cart emails from Jilt, the Beaver Builder page builder, and more. Each of these integrations has been provided with your agency’s role in mind. 

Before reverting to the standard integrations you’ve always used, explore the options we’ve bundled with our solutions first. You may find something that allows you to deliver in areas you never thought you could.  

6. Development Is More Than Staging Sites

Development processes vary by agency. Being locked into one particular process can be both frustrating and time-consuming. 

At Hostdedi, we believe in supporting agency and merchant development practices, whatever they may be. Our managed ecommerce solutions have been engineered to provide development teams with maximum flexibility, while also incorporating optimized solutions to foundational development problems. They bring together a set of unified tools capable of bringing cohesion to an otherwise uneven development process.

Our development sites are a clear example of this. With Hostdedi, you can easily spin up a development site with optional 1:1 data duplication and PII (Personally Identifiable Information) scrubbing to ensure the security of customer data – all with only one click in your client portal.

But development processes are more than just environments to work in. A good development process considers how teams are managed, who approves changes and alterations, and how issues are reported on. As you work through the ecommerce blueprint with your client, assigning roles for different players can make development a lot easier and smoother down the road. 

7. Managed Hosting Makes Ecommerce Blueprint Decisions Easier

Managed ecommerce makes all the decisions above, and more, easier. 

Our solutions have been designed to provide agencies with a comprehensive toolset that lets you realize your client’s vision and actively accelerate growth. Beyond just hosting infrastructure, we consider platform requirements, integration opportunities, and potential. 

By hosting your clients’ stores with Hostdedi, you’ll have access to an experienced technology partner that knows how to manage the most critical of infrastructure and platform choices. We can help you translate your client’s requirements into the right technology. 

Just remember, the right option isn’t always the default. Sometimes it’s worth exploring alternatives and the benefits they can provide both short and long term. 

To see how managed ecommerce solutions can help your agency to create better ecommerce websites, talk to a Hostdedi team member and explore your options.

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