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What is a commerce platform? (And why is it important?)

Online shopping isn’t just a trend.

It’s here to stay.

More than 55% of consumers prefer to shop online. That’s why store owners should create a digital storefront.

And that’s where ecommerce platforms come in.

But what is a commerce platform?

What are the different types of commerce platforms available? And what are the best ways to choose an ideal solution for your online store and business needs?

In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about commerce platforms and their value to your online business.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is a commerce platform?

A commerce platform is a type of software that enables users to run an entire online store. Commerce platforms run all kinds of ecommerce operations, from displaying products to payment processing.

Having an ecommerce platform means establishing a digital storefront where potential customers can browse your products, make a purchase, and even interact with live chat agents.

For example, let’s take a look at the world-famous ecommerce website Alibaba.

While that’s only a homepage, Alibaba’s storefront is capable of:

  • Showcasing limitless product categories.
  • Displaying content, such as blogs, images, and FAQs.
  • Receiving online payments.
  • Offering customer support through live chat or phone.

One commerce solution powers all those capabilities, making it simple for store owners to manage their day-to-day operations. But not all commerce platforms are the same.

That brings us to the next question.

What are the different types of commerce platforms?

There are three main types of ecommerce platforms:

  1. Software-as-a-service (SaaS).
  2. Platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
  3. On-premise platforms.

SaaS ecommerce platforms deliver solutions solely online. That means you have all the tools you need to run an ecommerce store through online software.

StoreBuilder by Hostdedi is a great example of a SaaS commerce platform.

PaaS commerce platforms are a bit different. While both SaaS and PaaS platforms offer ecommerce solutions online, PaaS platforms are often open-source.

That means the user doesn’t just have access to the software. They’re able to customize the entire online retail platform as they see fit.

PaaS platforms also include both software and hardware, enabling users to customize an entire app for their purpose.

Adobe Commerce (Magento) is a great example of a PaaS platform. With Magento, you can receive access to unique themes, custom integrations, and extensions to create a platform tailored to your ecommerce business.

Finally, we have on-premise commerce platforms. They get their hosting online but the retailer manages everything in-house. They’re generally used by larger online stores.

Why you need a commerce platform for your business

There’s no getting around the fact that you need a commerce platform to run an online store. However, it’s not just that you need one to create a digital storefront.

You need one to interact with today’s shoppers.

After all, more people expect to shop online after the pandemic, according to McKinsey.

With that said, there are three main reasons why you need a commerce platform for your business:

  1. Ecommerce platforms are always open for business.
  2. It’s often affordable to set up and use one.
  3. Commerce platforms are ideal for both startups and global businesses.

Let’s dig deep into each of these reasons.

An online store is always open for business, whether you’re shopping at work or 3 a.m. That broadens your store’s reach to accommodate different customer behaviors and time zones.

Next, you have to consider that it’s usually much cheaper to invest in a commerce platform than to open a retail store, which can cost anywhere between $2,000–$100,000. That includes rent, business insurance, and permits.

But with commerce platforms, you only have to pay a fraction of those costs, usually through a monthly fee.

Finally, commerce platforms are great for both fledging stores and global businesses.

Enterprises like JCPenney and Barnes & Noble use commerce platforms to offer a digital storefront along with their brick-and-mortar stores.

Whatever your online store’s state, a commerce platform can help you sell products and increase profits and conversions.

What features should you look for in a commerce platform?

Knowing the importance of a commerce platform is the first step in unlocking your online store’s full potential.

But before you can make the right decision, you should know what people are looking for in an ecommerce store.

Generally, online shoppers want three things:

  1. An eye-pleasing, user-friendly website design.
  2. An easy shopping experience.
  3. A personalized experience.

Basically, when a potential customer lands on a webpage, they’re going to make a quick judgment about your brand by what they see.

It’s up to you to provide a welcoming and awesome experience that keeps them coming back.

Accomplishing that goal means choosing the right ecommerce platform that will convince customers to visit and stay on your website.

When choosing a commerce platform, you should look for:

  • An inventory management tool to track and update inventory levels.
  • Email marketing tools that let you send alerts and stay in touch with customers.
  • A customer rewards program tool that helps identify and reward loyal customers.
  • Multiple ecommerce store design templates to choose from.
  • Shopping cart plugins, APIs, and add-ons to personalize the customer experience.
  • Multiple payment options and currencies.
  • A dynamic page builder for store content and forms.

Choosing a commerce platform with all those features will help you deliver the type of checkout experience most customers are looking for.

6 popular ecommerce platforms

The commerce platform you choose will ultimately guide your online business’s growth.

Sound intimidating?

Here’s the good news:

We’ve created a list of the six best ecommerce platforms to help you make your decision.

1. Shopify

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms available. With nearly four million users, it’s an all-in-one ecommerce solution geared towards small businesses.

Shopify users also can take advantage of ecommerce features like:

As a SaaS solution, Shopify isn’t as customizable as other options. It can also be expensive for small businesses without much starting capital.

Pricing: Starts at $14.44/month when billed annually.

2. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an ecommerce plugin for the famous content management system (CMS) WordPress. It’s free to download and set up.

Like WordPress, WooCommerce is open-source and completely customizable. It offers other great features like:

  • Flexible and secure payments.
  • An automated order management dashboard.
  • Free and premium extensions, from PayPal to Mailchimp.

WooCommerce is only for WordPress users, so it can be challenging for existing ecommerce sites to make the switch.

Pricing: Free, except for hosting and credit card transaction fees.

3. BigCommerce

With at least 60,000 customers, BigCommerce isn’t as popular as WooCommerce and Shopify. Still, the platform offers built-in search engine optimization (SEO) features and top-of-the-line functionality.

If you opt to use BigCommerce, you can enjoy features like:

  • Built-in point-of-sale (POS) integrations with leading providers.
  • An easy-to-use page builder.
  • Segmented customer groups.

Note that BigCommerce doesn’t provide much scalability for growing businesses. Once you exceed your plan’s annual sales threshold, you’ll need to pay for the upgraded plan.

Pricing: Starts at $29.95/month.

4. Wix

Wix began in 2006 as a drag-and-drop website builder. Recently, the brand ventured into ecommerce, enabling users to develop online stores.

Wix users will appreciate features such as:

  • Free SSL certificates.
  • Omnichannel inventory management.
  • More than 50+ payment gateways.

Wix isn’t as intuitive as other ecommerce platforms. Its stores usually have slow page loading times, which limits their SEO potential.

Pricing: Starts at $27/month.

5. Magento

Magento 1 started in 2007 and has been replaced with Magento 2, a more robust ecommerce platform.

Magento 2 users can rely on awesome features like:

  • Open-source flexibility.
  • An extensive catalog management platform with unlimited product attributes and dynamic pricing.
  • SEO features.
  • Mobile-friendly ecommerce options.

Magento has a steep learning curve and is expensive to use, which can be unappealing to small and growing online stores.

Pricing: Custom

6. Hostdedi StoreBuilder

StoreBuilder by Hostdedi provides the best of both worlds in ecommerce functionality. Users can rely on a drag-and-drop page builder that maximizes their store’s SEO value.

Hostdedi also offers hosting and integration with other leading ecommerce platforms like:

  • WordPress.
  • Magento.
  • WooCommerce.

Hostdedi users can build a website without any coding or design knowledge. They can also rely on 24/7/365 customer support.

On top of that, StoreBuilder by Hostdedi is also one of the most affordable ecommerce options available — starting at just $19/month.

Final thoughts: what is a commerce platform? (And why is it important?)

A commerce platform helps business owners build and manage an online store using an all-in-one solution. Setting up your online store for success relies on the platform you choose.

If you’re still weighing your options, why not consider Hostdedi StoreBuilder?

Try StoreBuilder by Hostdedi today for only $5 to see how well our platform works for you.

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November’s Top WordPress Tweets: A Cornucopia

November is a lot of things to a lot of people. There’s No-Shave November, big family gatherings, Black Friday sales – and all of it is ramping up to the biggest holiday month of the year.

WordPress users have had a month to poke around version 6.1, so we put down our second helping of turkey and stuffing to sort through the best tweets from November.

Check out our favorite tweets from this past month.

Drawing inspiration

Phil Sola proved that the squeaky dev gets the oil, as his box shadow controls suggestion may be on the way.

We love collabs. Justin Tadlock recently tweeted that the WordPress dev blog is in beta, and we’re hoping to see a bunch of your contributions there.

Kasirye Arthur shares his excitement over hosting Africa’s first WordCamp event, and we’d be lying if we didn’t say we’re jazzed to hear it too.

We’re suckers for a good, heartwarming story. Coder and poet Leo Gopal shared a sweet memory of his first experiences with WordPress – we’re not crying, you’re crying!

Talking shop

WordPress dev and WPEngine Community Manager for Developer Relations Sam Munoz got people thinking introspectively about their work in WordPress.

Rod D asked a great question about using WordPress as a headless CMS. We’ve got some thoughts on what framework to use, too.

Remkus de Vries wanted to know which page builder WordPress users will be using going forward. Looks like the majority really dig Site Editor.

Keeping his eye on trends, Jack Arturo suggests frustrations with Gutenberg are actually creating opportunities for visual editors. We’re a fan of whatever works best for our clients.

Niche site builder Dan polled his audience to get some WordPress hosting suggestions. While we don’t appear among the suggestions, there are some great discussions in the thread that’ll help customers when comparing hosts.

Lighter fare

Nat Miletic returns with a spicy meme about WordPress newbies. We think there’s plenty of room for no-code and code at the dinner table.

Ricky may not be talking about WordPress specifically, but our Hostdedi devs feel this in their soul.

Rich shares a tidbit about WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg’s sleep patterns, and we’re tired just thinking about this. Also, BRB we’re adding “bad butt” to our iPhone’s text replacement vocabulary.

A work of art

Like the Great British Baking Show, we saved the showstopper for last. Check out Angela Bowman’s absolutely awesome WordPress stained glass.

Want to be featured? Post about WordPress and you just might see yourself here! Check back next month for the best WordPress tweets of December.

Hostdedi ❤️ WordPress

After you’re done figuring out if Mastodon or Post is the new Twitter, you’re probably working on your WordPress site.

Hostdedi managed WordPress provides highly performant hosting that’s optimized for WordPress.

Check out our plans and see why Hostdedi and WordPress are like iced tea and lemonade: better together.

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Internal Linking Guide for Your WordPress Site

One of the greatest benefits of WordPress is that the platform is SEO-friendly. Developers can use WordPress to create dynamic websites that can outrank competitors by relying on SEO best practices.

One of these fundamentals is using internal links. Internal links are used throughout the internet and search engines, like Google and Bing, count on websites to mix them throughout their content.

In this guide, you’ll learn all about WordPress internal links, why they’re important, and how to use them on a standard WordPress site.

What is an internal link?

An internal link is simply a link from one page on your website to another, thus earning the name “internal” link. Every website uses an internal link in one form or another.

For example, the popular website Wikipedia features dozens and even hundreds of blue internal links on each encyclopedia entry. The purpose of each internal link is to reference relevant information on a web page so readers can quickly find what they’re looking for.

By linking to the contact page from a website landing page, you can make it easier for viewers to quickly contact you instead of using the navigation bar.

As you will find out, link building isn’t just optional. Search engines require websites to use WordPress internal links appropriately or they risk compromising their online visibility.

Why are internal links important?

Internal links aren’t just important for readability. They’re also essential for promoting your website on popular search engines.

To understand why, let’s first explain how search engines crawl websites. In order for a website to rank online, a search engine uses a robot or spider to scan it.

These robots fetch and process all of the data on a website. Once the crawling process is finished, the search engine will index the website and make it visible on the internet.

Your visibility depends on how well your website is aligned with a search engine’s algorithmic standards. So, where does internal linking WordPress come into play?

Search engine robots are able to crawl a website more easily when there are internal links on a website page or blog. Having these links scattered throughout a website allows crawling spiders to quickly view each corresponding page.

Finally, the crawlers will index each page and rank them according to relevancy. While a sitemap provides data on your website’s infrastructure, internal links inform crawlers just how relevant your website pages are.

For this reason, it’s important to only use relevant internal links and avoid spamming links into your content.

WordPress internal links vs. backlinks

An internal link and a backlink are both important in helping a website rank better online. However, there are some clear differences between the two.

WordPress internal links only link to pages on your website. On the other hand, backlinks are links from another website back to your site.

While internal links are excellent for enhancing readability and improving crawlabilty, backlinks are a barometer for how popular your content is.

For example, if a blog you’ve written has 100 backlinks, this means that 100 different websites found it useful and gave you a reference. Search engines view backlinks as a vote of confidence.

This is why copywriters, bloggers, and content managers strive to create useful and engaging content, hoping other websites will notice and link back to their sites.

What is anchor text?

Anchor text is the block of text you’ll use to display a link, whether it’s internal or external. Anchor text is typically displayed as underlined copy that’s in a different, brighter color from the rest of the text. It’s designed to stand out so readers can easily click on it.

When you decide to create an internal link, you’ll need to choose relevant text that tells readers where they’re going once they click. For example, let’s say that you’re writing a blog about starting an online store.

You’re interested in linking to a previous article you wrote about choosing the best online store builder. While writing about building an online store, you can call out the previous article explicitly like this:

Starting a successful online store depends on the store builder you choose. Check out our article on choosing the best online store builder.

Or, you can make the anchor text more discreet:

Starting a successful online store depends on the store builder you choose. Before you can get started, it’s important to choose the best online store builder to fit your needs.

No matter the method you choose, it’s important to optimize your anchor text by making it relevant to the resource you’re linking to.

With that said, you should avoid using “click here” or “read more” as anchor text because search engine crawlers won’t have a clue about what the anchor text is supposed to mean.

What to avoid when internal linking

Internal linking may seem like a simple practice, but there are some critical mistakes you should avoid. Let’s go over some of these mistakes below.

Link stuffing

Link stuffing is a black-hat SEO practice that refers to using tons of irrelevant links on a website page.

The goal is to manipulate crawlers into believing that a website is resourceful. Link stuffing is highly discouraged by Google and Bing, and it can even hurt your website ranking. To avoid this penalty, make sure to only use relevant links when appropriate.

Choosing the wrong pages

Not only do you have to select the right anchor text, but you also have to choose relevant pages to link back to for successful WordPress internal linking.

For example, if you’re adding an internal link to a landing page for payroll software, it wouldn’t make sense to link back to another service page.

That could take the reader’s attention from the landing page product and cause them to leave your website entirely.

Using no-follow attributes

Links have two attributes: follow and no-follow. Basically, the follow attribute tells the crawler to follow the link to the other page. The no-follow attribute tells the crawler do the opposite.

If your internal links have the rel=nofollow attribute, you’re sabotaging them. You can find links containing this attribute by right clicking a page and selecting “view page source.”

Then, you can press Ctrl + F and type in “rel=nofollow” to find and fix broken links.

How to add internal links in WordPress

Adding links in WordPress is a simple process. There are only three steps you need to follow to get started.

Step 1: Highlight the anchor text

The first step in adding an internal link is highlighting the anchor text. Simply toggle your mouse over the anchor text and move on to the next step.

Step 2: Click the link icon

Once you’ve highlighted the anchor text, the next step is to click the link icon in the dashboard’s toolbar. The icon looks just like a chain link.

Step 3: Paste the internal link URL

Once you click the link icon, a box will open prompting you to insert the link into the text box. From there, you can submit the URL and finish the internal link. You’ll also have the option to request that the reader be directed to a new tab when clicking the link or not.

If you want to make this manual process much easier, you can use a WordPress internal linking plugin like Link Whisper and Interlinks Manager.

Try WordPress solutions from Hostdedi today

Using WordPress internal links is an effective way to optimize your website for SEO and make it easy for readers to find relevant information.

Nonetheless, using internal links is just one small piece of the puzzle when it comes to building a successful online store. Ultimately, the WordPress hosting solution you choose will have the greatest impact on your store’s success.

If you’re ready to deliver a lightning-fast online store experience and avoid time-consuming website maintenance, explore our pricing packages today to learn about our WordPress hosting services.

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11 Tips for creating repeat ecommerce customers

Ecommerce stores usually operate under thin profit margins, meaning these stores have to sell tons of goods quickly to turn a suitable profit. The best way to meet profit quotas is to drive repeat customers.

Convincing one-time customers to come back to your store doesn’t have to be a challenging process. As you will find out, post-purchase for customer retention comes down to your website’s overall function and appearance.

In this guide, we’ll explain some helpful tips for creating repeat ecommerce customers the right way.

Why are returning customers so valuable

There are a few reasons why returning customers are more valuable than one-time buyers.

  • To begin, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Next, returning customers spend 67% more than new ones.
  • Loyal customers are much less likely to shop around for better deals. They’re also more forgiving if you make a mistake with their order because they know that you’re usually reliable.
  • Finally, happy customers will often leave reviews and refer their friends, which can lead to even more business.

How to create repeat customers

As you can see, driving repeating customers back to your online store is not just beneficial, it’s important for your bottom line. With that said, here are some effective ways to improve your customer return rate.

1. Quality user experience

One of the most important things you can do to drive repeat customers is to provide a quality ecommerce user experience (UX). This means your website should be easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing, and fast.

Your website’s design should also be mobile-friendly as more and more people are shopping on their smartphones. According to Oberlo, mobile ecommerce sales accounted for 72.9% of the market share in 2021.

Your site should have a strong call-to-action (CTA) that encourages visitors to buy your products or services. Your CTA could be something as simple as “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now.”

Make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for by using clear and concise product descriptions. You should also use high-quality images to give potential customers a good idea of what they’re going to get.

It’s important to create a seamless checkout process that doesn’t require too much information from the customer. The fewer steps there are, the more likely people are to complete their purchase.

Another way to create return customers is by providing excellent customer service. This means being responsive to customer inquiries and complaints. It’s also important to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.

You can further improve your customer service by offering free shipping or returns, especially during the holiday season. You should also send out thank-you notes or coupons to show your appreciation for their business and generate repeat sales.

2. Building trust and loyalty through expertise

If you want to create repeat customers, you need to build trust and loyalty. You can do this by becoming an expert in your industry and demonstrating that you’re the best at what you do.

One way to build trust is by sharing your knowledge through blog posts, infographics, or video content. You can also show your expertise by being active on social media and answering any questions people may have. 

It’s also important to be transparent with your customers. This means being upfront about the prices of your products or services as well as any potential shipping delays. 

Finally, always follow through on your promises. If you say you’re going to offer a discount or promotion, make sure you deliver.

3. Unique offers and promos for purchasing again

Another great way to create repeat customers is by offering unique deals and promotions. This could be something like a discount for their next purchase or free shipping on orders over a certain amount.

Additionally, you can offer loyalty programs that reward buyers points when making a purchase. These points can then be redeemed for samples, freebies, or discounts on future purchases. 

You could send out coupons in exchange for users who subscribe to your email list or run a contest where they can register to win products from your store. 

By offering these types of deals, you’re showing your customers that you appreciate their business and want them to come back again and again.

4. Utilize customer profiles for customized messaging

Driving return customers starts with utilizing customer profiles. This means collecting data about your customers so you can send them more customized messages through your store’s content management system (CMS).

You should collect information like their name, email address, and purchase history. You can then use this information to send targeted emails with personalized content. 

For example, if someone buys a dress from your store, you could send them an email a week later with a coupon for 20% off shoes. This is much more effective than sending out generic coupons that everyone on your email list receives. 

Customer profile creation will also allow you to segment your audience so you can better target your marketing efforts.

5. Collect and highlight positive user testimonials

Finally, one of the best ways to create repeat customers is by collecting and highlighting positive user testimonials. These could be in the form of written reviews, video testimonials, or even social media posts.

Make sure you’re highlighting these testimonials in a prominent place on your website or social media pages. You could also feature them in your email marketing campaigns. 

By showing potential customers that other people have had a positive experience with your product or service, you’re more likely to convert them into repeat customers.

6. Make important information easy to find

It’s important to make sure important information like your contact information, shipping details, and return policy are easy to find. You can do this by including links in your header and footer, as well as on your checkout page.

7. Make it easy to create an account

Another way to encourage repeat customers is to make it easy for them to create an account on your site.

This way, they can save their shipping information and have a faster checkout process the next time they visit. You can include a link to your registration page in your header, footer, or on your checkout page.

8. Promote a mobile responsive store

Today, it’s important to have a mobile responsive store. More and more people are shopping on their mobile devices, so it’s crucial that your site looks great and functions well on all screen sizes. If you don’t have a mobile responsive store, you’re likely losing out on potential repeat customers.

9. Make Sure Your Site is Secure

When customers are entering their personal and financial information on your site, they need to know that their data is safe.

Include security seals from trusted organizations like VeriSign and GeoTrust, and make sure your site has an SSL certificate. You can also include links to your privacy policy and terms of use to give customers peace of mind.

10. Ask for feedback

Next, don’t be afraid to ask your customers for feedback. This can be done through surveys, polls, or customer reviews.

Not only will this help you improve your business, but it will also show your customers that you care about their opinion and want to provide them with the best possible experience.

11. Don’t lump all repeat customers together

Finally, it’s important to remember that not all repeat customers are the same. Segment your customers so you can tailor your marketing and sales efforts to each group. This way, you can provide the best possible experience for every customer, which will encourage them to keep coming back.

Create repeat customers with Hostdedi

Building repeat customers starts with having a dynamic online store. If you feel that your current online store creator isn’t up to par, then it may be time for a change. StoreBuilder by Hostdedi allows anyone to build an intuitive online store.

Are you ready to get started? Try StoreBuilder to start selling today.

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How to Fix an Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress

One error many WordPress users dread is the white screen of death with the message “error establishing a database connection.” This error occurs when there’s a disconnection between your WordPress website and its database. It’s also one of the easiest WordPress errors to fix if you know what to do.

This article helps you identify the causes of this error and how to restore your WordPress database connection.

Keep reading to learn the following:

WordPress database connection and how it works

Whenever you build a new WordPress website, it usually creates and connects to a database automatically. WordPress abstracts the process to the background because you don’t need to know how it works for your website to function.

However, basic database knowledge can go a long way, especially if you need to create a custom database for your new website. It also helps to learn if you need to connect that website to a pre-existing database if, for example, you’re migrating to a new host.

So how does a database work?

Your WordPress database usually stores all the data on your WordPress except your media content, like videos, audio, and images. It does not store theme and plugin files, including core WordPress files (like wp-login.php).

But it stores page data, post data, meta information, and login information.

WordPress uses MySQL, an open-source software, as its database management system. MySQL is responsible for how your database stores information and gives you access. It helps you store, change, and delete data from your database using MySQL queries.

It’s pretty easy to access your database directly and run different MySQL queries, or you can use a database management software like phpMyAdmin to simplify the process. That way, you can perform some specialized tasks faster or take actions you can’t get from your dashboard.

So what happens when the connection between a WordPress website and its database breaks? Your website will display an “error establishing a database connection” message.

What happens when you experience an error establishing a database connection in WordPress?

The first thing you’ll see when you experience this error message is what many WordPress users call a “White Screen of Death.” Besides the error message, all you’ll see is a blank white or gray page.

That’s because your website cannot retrieve data from your database and display your webpages.

Moreover, because there’s a broken connection with your database, you won’t just have a white screen. You’ll experience problems trying to access your WordPress dashboard. You won’t be able to make any changes to your WordPress themes or plugins or upload any content or media.

How about your website visitors? If you’ve cached your website, they may not see this error immediately. Instead, they’ll still have access to your cached pages for a short period until it expires. Afterward, they’ll see a 500 HTTP error code or the message “internal server error.”

Although relatively easy to fix, a database connection error may cost your business plenty of money. So what causes this error?

Reasons you may experience an error establishing a database connection in WordPress

Any error establishing a database connection is usually a result of several issues:

  • The most common issue is incorrect database login details. Your WordPress website installation uses separate login information to connect to its MySQL database. If this information changes or is inaccurate, your website cannot link to its database. Then, it throws this error.
  • Your database may be corrupted, leading to a WordPress database connection error. Installing and deleting many themes and plugins can clutter your database and corrupt some database tables. Sometimes, some tables may be deleted by accident.
  • If you interrupt the WordPress installation process, you might inadvertently corrupt some core WordPress files. Also, malicious actors and web attacks by hackers can corrupt your database connection, leading to an error.
  • Sometimes, your database server may be experiencing downtime.
  • A sudden spike in web traffic on a shared WordPress hosting plan can cause your website to throw a database connection error.

So how do you identify and fix the problem causing the error establishing a database connection?

How to fix the error establishing a database connection in WordPress

Fixing a database connection error is pretty straightforward if you know where to look. Here are some common solutions you can try out.

1. Ensure your database login credentials are correct

Since this is the most common reason for a broken WordPress database connection, always start by confirming that your database login credentials are correct. Most times, migrating your WordPress website to a new hosting service may be the culprit.

To check these details, you must first access the wp-config.php file. You can do this using a secure FTP client or browse the root files of your website using cPanel.

Once you identify the wp-config.php file, right-click to edit it:

// ** MySQL settings – You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define( ‘DB_NAME’, ‘wptest’ );

/** MySQL database username */
define( ‘DB_USER’, ‘wpadmin’ );

/** MySQL database password */
define( ‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘**************’ );

/** MySQL hostname */
define( ‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’ );

You’re looking for three unique values:

  • Database name.
  • Username.
  • Password.

Once you identify them on the wp-config.php file, double-check with the values on the server to ensure they match. If they don’t, edit the values on the server side to match what you have in the wp-config.php file. Save these changes, and that resolves the connection problem.

2. Repair your database if it’s corrupted

Although less common, you may attempt to access your website’s backend and instead receive this database error in WordPress:

“One or more database tables are unavailable. The database may need to be repaired.”

Although you’ll see the standard database connection error on your front end, this message will appear on your WordPress backend. It may be because of adding and removing different themes and plugins over extended periods.

To resolve it, you can initiate a unique inbuilt WordPress feature: database repair mode. Here’s how:

  • Open your wp-config.php file

Add define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true); to your wp-config.php file and save.

Once done, go back to your wp-config.php file and delete the define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true); query. That prevents anyone from accessing the database repair page after you’re done.

3. Check if your database server is down

If that fails, check with your hosting provider and determine if your database server is down. There are several reasons this could happen:

  • If too much traffic comes into the website and your hosting provider cannot handle it, that may cause a database connection break.
  • Your hosting provider is upgrading its servers and systems.
  • Using shared resources, your database may have too many concurrent connections. Since many hosts put connection limits on their servers, simultaneous connections to your database may cause a break.
  • If you’re on shared hosting and someone else is using a considerable portion of your resources, that may cause your website to break.

If your website consumes too many resources, your hosting provider will probably contact you first or throttle your usage. A quick call or email to their customer service will get them to lift your restrictions or increase your resource allocation.

If your hosting provider is upgrading their systems, please be patient. The error should clear automatically once the upgrades are done.

4. Contact your hosting provider

If you don’t know what action to take, you can contact your service provider and ask them to address it. Most hosting providers have 24/7 customer support; you can call, email, text, or live chat with a customer agent about your issue.

They’ll usually clear any database error in WordPress for you or assign a technical expert to address it.

Bottom line

Fixing an error establishing a database connection in WordPress is not as difficult as you think. The most common reason for this error is incorrect database login details. Once you set the correct credentials in place, this problem goes away.

If you host your website with Hostdedi, you won’t have to worry about broken database connections. Contact our customer support services, and an agent will help you resolve any issue you may have.

Consider hosting with Hostdedi

Want to take your business to the next level? Sign up for the Hostdedi fully managed WordPress hosting plan. We focus on building and maintaining your WordPress website and let you focus on growing and expanding your business.

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Guide to Starting an Online Clothing Store With No Money

According to Statista, ecommerce revenue from apparel and related accessories was $180.5 billion in 2021. And Statista forecasts the industry to grow even further, with expected revenue of $205 billion in 2022.

It’s the ideal time for new entrepreneurs to start an ecommerce clothing line.

And while there’s some risk and hard work involved, you can start an online clothing store with little to no money. We’ll explore the strategies and steps to do exactly that.

Here’s what we’ll cover.

How much does it cost to start an online clothing store?

How to start an online clothing store with no money

Best ecommerce platforms for starting a clothing store online

Final thoughts: A guide to starting an online clothing store with no money

How much does it cost to start an online clothing store?

The cost of starting an online clothing store depends on various factors. If you want to be frugal, you can save on many expenses and start with less than $50.

Otherwise, depending on what you’re looking for, it can also cost from $2,000 to $5,000.

The exact cost structure depends on:

  • Business model — dropshipping or manufacturing.
  • Number of products you aim to sell.
  • Marketing expenses.
  • Website costs — shared hosting or dedicated hosting.

How to start an online clothing store with no money

Here’s what you need to do:

Decide what type of product you want to sell

The secret to starting an online clothing store with no money is selling clothes the market wants.

Is there a trending clothing item in the current market? Is there something specific people want to wear? Your answers to these questions will influence your online boutique’s product line.

Or you can go technical to identify current product trends in the ecommerce market.

  • Use Google Trends to see the latest market information.
  • Check marketplaces like Amazon and eBay for best-selling clothing items.
  • Read through online business reports from reputable sources. For instance, a recent Modern Retail report identifies casual wear as the best-selling fashion niche on Amazon.

Typically, inexpensive products are the best route to start a clothing business online with no money. The low price point gives most target audiences a reason to buy from your online business.

Decide on a business model

The business model is a huge part of starting a clothing store online because it determines your starting costs.

Your options include:


This is the quickest way to start an online boutique with a limited budget. Your only to-do is printing designs on a plain version of clothing items with digital printers.

For inspiration, you can check out the DISTRICT of CLOTHING. This online business delivers clothing items like sweaters with printed inspirational messages.


  • Low set-up costs.
  • Good for a small number of orders.
  • Suitable for all types of clothing items.


  • Limited finishing options for your clothing products.
  • Low profit margin.
  • Inefficient scalability

Custom cut-and-sew clothing boutique

Starting an online clothing store with this business model is signing on to do everything. This includes designing sketches, creating patterns, sourcing product fabrics, and paying for a production run.

This might be too much for a typical entrepreneur. However, this is just the right business model if you’re a hobby tailor looking to open an online storefront.


  • Complete branding control.
  • Potential for higher profit margins.
  • High product value.


  • High startup budget.
  • Long setup time before launch.
  • Complex model with different moving parts.


Dropshipping is ideal for starting an online clothing store with no money because it’s budget-saving. You buy clothing items directly from the wholesalers and deliver them to your customers without seeing the product.

Your small business doesn’t have to buy inventory upfront or deal with shipping concerns. That responsibility rests with your supplier.


  • Best for limited budgets.
  • No inventory losses or management requirements.
  • Highly flexible model.


  • Lack of branding.
  • Competitive business model.
  • No control over supply chain activities.

Choose a niche market

A niche is the market segment your clothing line caters to. Having a niche market means you’ll have a unique target audience.

A 2022 Adobe study says most participants plan to spend at least $500 yearly shopping with their trusted brands. By focusing on a unique target audience, it becomes easier for your new business to develop that customer trust and loyalty.

Consider these two questions before deciding on a niche:

  • What are your passions?
  • What’s your unique offer that other online clothing stores lack?

Say you’re passionate about classic fashion themes with an eye for spotting pieces that align with today’s fashion trends. Then, you can start an online vintage clothing store.

Other niche ideas worth exploring include:

  • Custom jerseys.
  • Graphic T-shirts.
  • Ethnic clothing items.
  • Activewear for plus-size people.
  • Business attire for millennials.

Pick a catchy business name

A business name is the customers’ first impression of your online clothing store. And to improve brand recognition, your business, brand, and domain should have the same name.

Here’s how to pick a memorable and catchy brand name:

  • Incorporate target keywords for your niche.
  • Make it easy to pronounce and spell.
  • Keep it short.
  • Check social media for variations of the domain name.

For example, the business name “VintageFinds” is short and suggests a clothing line for rare, vintage clothing pieces. This is in stark contrast to another vintage clothing store named “VeentageApparels.”

Build a great-looking and functional website

You can start an online clothing store with no money. But you can’t move forward on any business plans without a website. After all, how will potential customers find your online clothing business?

However, that doesn’t mean you need a team of developers to build an online store. Instead, you can do so yourself with the help of powerful, no-code website builders.

Here are the best practices for building a great ecommerce website:

All of this comes down to the ecommerce platform you use — the ecommerce platform influences the website’s speed, customization features, and mobile optimization.

Let’s get into that.

Best ecommerce platforms for starting a clothing store online

Starting a clothing business online with no money requires you to choose an ecommerce platform with low to no costs. Your options include:


WooCommerce is an open-source plugin for WordPress that lets you add an ecommerce store to an already-existing WordPress installation.

WooCommerce’s wide variety of customizable templates makes it simple to design everything from blogs to product categories and pages. Besides that, It supports multiple payment gateways, e.g., credit cards and PayPal.

For a cost-efficient WooCommerce hosting option, consider Hostdedi WooCommerce hosting. It comes with free SSL, free email hosting, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Best for: Tech-savvy entrepreneurs looking to start their online clothing line.


Magento is an ecommerce platform with excellent flexibility and functionality. That’s why top clothing brands like Fred Perry trust it.

Magento’s feature-rich platform lets you start your online clothing store, scale, and customize it with changes in business needs.

For an affordable ecommerce hosting option, you can consider Hostdedi Magento hosting. This hosting service covers management, optimization, and assistance with server or software responsibilities.

Best for: Brick-and-mortar clothing stores looking to sell online.


WordPress powers 43% of all existing websites. And its functionality is not limited to just basic websites. You can also use WordPress to design a highly functional online store.

In fact, with Hostdedi StoreBuilder — which requires no technical design skills — you can quickly create your online store and start selling in no time.

Hostdedi StoreBuilder is a website builder solution. It comes with custom templates, bundled selling tools, and advanced analytics — everything you need to make your online store a success.

Best for: Beginners looking for a no-code solution to open an online store.

Final thoughts: A guide to starting an online clothing store with no money

You can start an online clothing store with no money. The first step is choosing a business model which will influence your clothing company’s ecommerce platform and hosting requirements.

Hostdedi offers hosting solutions for Magento and WooCommerce. There’s also a StoreBuilder — a website builder solution — to help you build an online store for your clothing line on WordPress.

Browse our plans to get started today.

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The Complete Ecommerce GDPR Checklist for Your Website

The threat of data breaches keeps rising as the world becomes increasingly digitized, and more information gets transmitted across the internet. Some of the most serious issues related to data theft are identity theft, financial or payment data theft, and email and internet fraud.

According to a 2022 AAG report, cyberattacks increased by 125% in 2021, and this upward trend will likely continue in 2022.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that countries are strengthening their data protection laws. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the strongest laws in this area.

The GDPR came into effect in May 2018. This set of guidelines regulates how ecommerce companies can store, process, and track data for users in the EU region. The GDPR applies to all online and offline businesses serving customers who are EU residents.

So, how do you adhere to the ecommerce GDPR checklist?

To start, you could go through the GDPR requirements document, which is over 50,000 words long. However, if reading this lengthy document isn’t your jam, then fear not — we can help.

Here, we’ll share the principles that guide the GDPR and a comprehensive ecommerce GDPR checklist. We’ll also cover what to do in case of a data breach and what happens if your ecommerce website violates the GDPR guidelines.

Principles guiding the GDPR

The following principles guide the spirit and intention behind the GDPR:

  • Purpose limitation: Limit data processing to the specified purpose.
  • Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency: Use the data you collect legally and explicitly for the reasons you collected it.
  • Data minimization: Your ecommerce business should ask for the bare minimum and strictly necessary user information.
  • Storage limitation: Once you have used the data for the specified purpose, data erasure should immediately follow. You can’t use the data for any other reason except for those clearly specified by your ecommerce website.
  • Accuracy: An updated privacy policy must clearly inform users of the purpose behind the data collection and their user rights.
  • Accountability: You should be able to clearly show the steps you’ve taken to remain GDPR compliant.
  • Integrity and confidentiality: Your ecommerce website should be safe and secure with robust security measures to avoid data breaches and theft.

Keeping these principles in mind, let’s dive into the ecommerce GDPR checklist to better understand how you can abide by these guidelines.

Ecommerce GDPR checklist

  • Handle personal data with care.
  • Seek user consent for cookies.
  • Have a transparent privacy policy.
  • Allow users to manage their personal data on your ecommerce website.
  • Secure your ecommerce website.
  • Vet third parties.
  • Take these measures if there’s a violation.

Let’s dive into each one of them. 

Handle personal data with care

To comply with GDPR requirements, you must document all the personal data you collect.

Personal information includes:

  • Basic identifiers (such as name, address, and date of birth).
  • Online information (such as IP address and cookies).
  • Other sensitive data (such as health, sexual orientation, political opinions, race, ethnicity, and biometric data).

Certain details should accompany each piece of your users’ personal information, including:

  • Category of data.
  • Source of the personal data.
  • Third parties with whom you’re sharing the data.
  • Reasons for data collection.
  • Whether you received consent before collecting the information.
  • Date by which you’ll stop needing it.

Seek user consent for cookies

If your ecommerce website uses non-necessary cookies, then you need a cookie banner to get GDPR-compliant cookie consent from users.

The cookie banner should tell visitors how you use cookies, what data you store, and the users’ rights to refuse the storage of cookies.

The language used in these banners needs to be clear and concise — avoid confusing language and jargon. Explain the kind of cookies you’re using, why you need to set cookies, and how visitors can manage their cookie preferences. Add an option to selectively allow some cookies.

If a user closes a banner without selecting any option, that doesn’t automatically mean they consented to the cookie. You need clear consent from the user.

You also must remember users’ cookie preferences for subsequent visits to your ecommerce website.

Have a transparent privacy policy

The next step in the ecommerce GDPR checklist is to ensure that your ecommerce business has a transparent and publicly accessible data privacy policy. It should discuss all the processes involved with handling personal data.

The privacy policy must include information about how you collect, store, use, and disclose personal data.

It should also explain the user’s rights to access, modify, or delete their personal data from your ecommerce website and your obligations toward them.

Craft your data privacy policy in plain English, not legalese, so users have no difficulty understanding it. In addition, make the privacy policy readily accessible via a common link in the footer.

Allow users to manage their personal data on your ecommerce website

Along with transparency, you must let users have complete control over their personal data.

Users should have the option to request and view the personal information you collect. They also should be able to ask for the change or removal of their data from your website.

One way to empower users is to add a footer with a link on all your website pages with details on how they can manage data on your ecommerce website. You also could give them the option to submit their requests via email.

Secure your ecommerce website

Transparency and control aren’t enough. Cyberattacks could compromise users’ sensitive information and lead to crimes like fraud or identity theft. So, the next step in your ecommerce GDPR checklist is to ensure your website has the latest security measures. Also, check that hackers can’t access or leak the customer data you store. To secure your website, take the following steps:

  • Install an SSL certificate that encrypts the data shared between the website and the server.
  • Add more layers of protection to your website if it lets users share payment-related information.
  • Increase password security for admin accounts.
  • Use antivirus software to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Ensure that you collect only the amount of personal data needed for your ecommerce business. Remove customer data once you’re done with it.
  • Avoid sending personal or sensitive data to third-party services.
  • Anonymize or pseudonymize personal data before storing it.
  • Use multiple locations for data backup.

Vet third parties

Within the GDPR framework, the company that decides to collect data (the data controller) has separate obligations and duties from the one that processes it (the data processor or third party).

The data processor or third party processes the data per the rules the data controller sets. However, any third party that works with your ecommerce business has to be GDPR compliant.

You also need to be aware of the third party’s privacy policy. Ensure it doesn’t access or process personal data for reasons other than those stated in your contract.

If you need to transfer data from the EU to a third party in a non-EU country, make sure you do the necessary risk assessments before the data transfer. Also, double-check that the recipient business and the country it operates in have robust data protection systems.

Take these measures if there’s a violation

Despite all the precautions you take, data breaches might still happen. In that case, the GDPR requirement is to notify the supervisory authority with all the information you have within 72 hours of the data breach.

Some things to include in your report are:

  • The approximate number of users affected.
  • The categories of data and the approximate amount of compromised personal data.
  • Any action your ecommerce business takes or plans to mitigate such breaches in the future.

You must keep a record of all your data processing activities and inform the authorities. Alongside that, you need to comprehensively examine the following:

  • Where, when, and how the breach happened.
  • What data was involved.
  • Whom the breach affected, and to what degree.

Don’t keep your users in the dark about the data breach. Notify them about the risks to their rights and freedoms. Also, tell them how they can protect their data.

In addition, block access to your ecommerce website until you fix the breach.

Lastly, update your privacy policy and strengthen your security measures to prevent future breaches on your website.

What happens if you don’t comply with GDPR standards?

If you’re still wondering whether it is worth your time to be GDPR compliant, then consider the following consequences.

GDPR non-compliance could lead to serious ramifications, including significant monetary damage. Several factors determine the severity of GDPR violations, such as:

  • The nature, seriousness, and length of the violation.
  • Whether the violation was deliberate or an act of negligence.
  • The extent to which the company cooperates with the supervisory authority to address the violation and mitigate its consequences.
  • How much the company stands to gain or lose as a result of the violation.
  • Whether the company has any previous violations.

For a less severe violation, ecommerce companies might need to pay a fine of $9.8 million (€10 million) or 2% of the company’s annual global turnover, whichever is higher.

Some examples of minor violations include:

  • Collecting personal data from minors (below 16 years) without parental consent.
  • Not adhering to basic privacy policies through cookies.
  • Concealing the involvement of third parties in the privacy statement.
  • Not appointing a data protection officer (DPO) who guides the company toward GDPR compliance and ensures adherence to GDPR policies.
  • Not informing authorities of non-compliance within 72 hours.

More severe violations could result in fines of up to $19.5 million (€20 million) or 4% of annual global turnover (whichever is greater).

Some examples of severe GDPR non-compliance include:

  • Processing data obtained without user consent, illegitimately, or fraudulently.
  • Not providing users with a lucid and transparent data privacy policy.
  • Refusing to give users any control over their personal data.
  • Sending users’ data to a third party that isn’t GDPR compliant.

From January–October 2022, the total monetary penalty imposed on companies due to GDPR non-compliance amounted to over $552 million (€555 million).

The following companies received some of the heftiest fines for GDPR non-compliance in 2022:

In 2021, Luxembourg slapped Amazon with an $865 million fine (€746 million).

Final thoughts: The complete ecommerce GDPR checklist for your website

Now that you have a handy ecommerce GDPR checklist, you can safely do business with customers who are EU residents by adhering to these guidelines.

The next step is to get help from an expert to secure your website and prioritize data security.

Build your ecommerce platform in a GDPR-compliant hosting environment with Hostdedi and never worry about data security again.

Check out our hosting plans to get started today.

View hosting plans.

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Hostdedi report reveals top 10 cities rising as most innovative in U.S.

Cities with Fewer than 500,000 Population Evaluated Across Nine Categories

ATLANTA, GA.  November 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hostdedi, the premium provider of managed hosting and cloud solutions optimized for managed WordPress, WooCommerce, and Magento, today released a ranking on the top 10 most innovative cities across the U.S.

The ranking analyzes cities with fewer than 500,000 population and evaluates them on nine areas of innovation. Categories include universities, technology, emerging brands, non-profits, infrastructure, education, healthcare, sustainability, and livability.

In the past, major metropolitan areas have dominated headlines as leaders in innovation — but with global shifts occurring over the last several years, innovation is emerging in mid-size hubs in big ways.

The top rankings are as follows:

1. Atlanta, Georgia

2. Raleigh, North Carolina

3. Minneapolis, Minnesota

4. Cambridge, Massachusetts

5. Oakland, California

6. St. Louis, Missouri

7. Honolulu, Hawaii

8. Madison, Wisconsin

9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

10. Miami, Florida

With the recent acceleration of ecommerce due to the pandemic, and emerging technologies making it easier than ever to build a business online, the success of individuals is no longer limited to their geographic location.

“At Hostdedi, our goal is to help innovators and entrepreneurs who want to make money online,” says Terry Trout, SVP of Marketing. “For nearly 23 years, we’ve helped organizations of all sizes start, manage, and expand their online businesses.”

As digital commerce experts and the industry’s trusted leader in open source ecommerce, Hostdedi empowers individuals to open and build high-performing online stores. Known for their strong expertise and innovation in Magento, WordPress, and WooCommerce, Hostdedi also developed StoreBuilder, a no-code site building solution to make it even easier to get started.

Hostdedi delivers high-quality cloud hosting, premium software plugins, and site management tools. A fully managed hosting experience provides infrastructure management that keeps hosting secure and up to date and comes with built-in monitoring that alerts customers when there is a problem with performance. An important differentiation for Hostdedi is their support that goes beyond the server which is critical to SMBs and their creators. Customers can count on faster speeds, stronger security, inherent scalability, and help when they need it.

“It is intriguing to see innovation represented across the country in more areas than technology alone. We’re seeing nearly every sector of business innovate and hope that by giving them a spotlight we can inspire even more transformation to come. Our goal is to help them dream big and do more online,” says Trout.

For more information, visit or read the full report: Top 10 Rising Innovative Cities in the US.

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7 Ecommerce Branding Strategies To Make Your Brand Stand Out

Growing an ecommerce business is more than just sales. If you want your online store to succeed in a saturated ecommerce market, you need to compete for the hearts and minds of consumers.

However, with millions of ecommerce stores in the market, vying for your target audience’s attention and loyalty has become increasingly difficult.

The good news? With the right branding tactics, you can make your ecommerce brand stand out from the competition, build a reputation that keeps customers coming back, and generate referrals that exponentially grow your business.

In this guide, we explain branding and why it’s important for ecommerce businesses. We also discuss seven ecommerce branding strategies that will help you win in 2022.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is branding?

Branding is a set of strategies and tactics that help establish a unique identity — or brand — within your industry.

While this includes having your business logo and brand style guide, that’s not it. You can come across as a brand through your products, packaging, advertising, pricing, and even customer support.

Put another way, a brand is a feeling people get when interacting with your products or services. And branding is the way you create that feeling around your brand.

This branding is why rabid Apple fans are willing to line up overnight for the newest iPhone and why marketers instantly think of Mailchimp when they want to use an email marketing automation tool.

Why is branding important for ecommerce businesses?

The ecommerce world is a crowded place. As of 2022, there are over 9.1 million online retailers worldwide.

How do you cut through the noise and get more market share in your niche?

If your only game plan is to sell high-quality products and set competitive prices, you’ll fail. Why? Because that’s what every ecommerce store is trying to do.

According to the 2022 Yotpo survey about brand loyalty, today’s consumers not only want exceptional experiences and a sense of trust from brands but also need to feel valued every time they shop.

In other words, if you want to attract your target audience’s attention and improve your conversion rates, your ecommerce brand has to be more than a storefront.

You need to infuse branding into your digital marketing campaigns. That means telling your brand story to connect with customers, making them feel good about themselves and their purchases, and building a life-long relationship with every buyer.

Ecommerce branding strategies

  1. Know your target audience.
  2. State your brand mission.
  3. Establish your vision.
  4. Define your brand values.
  5. Use brand positioning as an ecommerce marketing strategy.
  6. Be authentic.
  7. Strengthen your brand with a solid website.

1. Know your target audience

If you want your target audience to form an emotional connection with your brand, get to know them and speak to them on a practical and emotional level.

This way, you can craft your branding strategies according to the audience — who they are, what they like, and what they want to achieve.

Ask yourself the following questions: Who is my ideal customer? Why would they buy from me? How can I reach them? What are their pain points?

For instance, Tesla has several things going for it. While some loyal customers turn to Tesla to look cool, many buyers go with Tesla to do their part in saving the environment.

And here’s a tweet from Elon Musk speaking to that target audience.

Here are effective ways to get to know your target audience:

2. State your brand mission

Customers don’t just buy products because they need them. They purchase them because of how they make them feel.

If you want to win your target audience’s loyalty, give them a clear brand purpose they can get behind.

Prepare a brand statement explaining what your company stands for, why it exists, and how it’ll make the world a better place. Make it brief but clear.

Here are some good examples of a brand mission statement:

  • Tesla — To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
  • Asana — To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.
  • Nordstrom — To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.

Once you’ve written your brand mission statement, share it with your target audience via your website, social media profiles, and email signature (for internal and external email communication).

3. Establish your vision

As your business grows, your relationship with the customers evolves as well. And you can use your vision to come across as a brand the buyers want to remain connected with.

To come up with a brand vision, your target audience can get behind, ask yourself the following:

  • What do you want your business to achieve besides generating revenue?
  • What change do you want to see in the world?

Here are some examples of brand vision statements for inspiration:

  • British Airways — One Destination: To be the world’s most responsible airline.
  • Nordstrom — To serve our customers better, to always be relevant in their lives, and to form lifelong relationships.
  • Amazon —  Amazon strives to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, Earth’s best employer, and Earth’s safest place to work.

4. Define your brand values

If you want to build a brand your target audience will love, define your core brand values, and embody them in everything you do as a company.

In fact, brand loyalty and shared values go hand in hand. Yotpo shares that 84% of customers are more inclined to buy from brands that share their values.

For your brand values to influence buyers, ensure they’re more than words on a website or bulletin board.

Starbucks didn’t become a $90 billion business by only talking about its culture of inclusivity and human-centered approach. They did so by integrating those values into their brand strategy. Customers kept coming back because they got more than just coffee.

You can reinforce your brand values by:

  • Incorporating them into company processes (including hiring, sales, and performance reviews)
  • Teaching those values through orientation and training
  • Articulating them in all communication (both internal and external)

5. Use brand positioning as an ecommerce marketing strategy

If you want your brand to stand out, see where your brand fits in the market. That way, you can think of a “hook” to attract potential customers — the one thing that gets them interested in buying from you over all others.

To determine what sets your brand apart from the competitors, you can use Beloved Brands’s author Graham Robertson’s brand positioning process diagram:

As seen from the image, you can find your winning zone by identifying:

  • What your audience wants.
  • What your brand does best.
  • What makes you unique from competitors.

Once you’ve secured your “winning space,” you can double down on what makes your brand different by crafting a unique selling proposition (USP). A USP is a feature or benefit that sets your business apart from the competition.

A compelling USP should communicate what your audience cares about, highlight what your brand stands out for, and showcase your brand personality.

Here are good examples of USPs to help spark some ideas:

  • Voodoo Doughnut — Donuts so wacky, the wait is part of the experience.
  • Nerd Fitness — We help nerds, misfits, and mutants lose weight, get strong, and get healthy permanently!
  • Death Wish Coffee — We live to rebel against blah beans — and a boring lackluster life.

For your USP to shape your brand, create marketing materials that support it. Ensure it’s communicated in every touchpoint, from social media platforms and content marketing channels to product pages and landing pages.

6. Be authentic

Customers are tired of manipulative marketing. If you want customer loyalty, you have to be real.

In fact, the 2022 Sitecore report on brand authenticity shows that customers want brands to be authentic when interacting with them. It also reports that 84% of consumers believe brands need to prove they’re acting fairly.

To become an authentic brand, back up your words with actions. If you care about the environment, show that by supporting and investing in green initiatives.

Does your brand value inclusivity? Then take specific steps to foster inclusive behaviors in the workplace.

For example, Patagonia walks its talk by carrying out environment-friendly activities like using green raw materials, investing in renewable energy, and publicly publishing its sustainable supply chain.

How do you become an authentic brand? Here are some tips:

  • Be human: Authenticity starts with being human. What do you believe in? What motivates you? If what you’re doing isn’t rooted in something real, consumers will see through the lie and go somewhere else.
  • Be transparent: Admit when you make mistakes or don’t know something. If a prospect or customer asks you a question, don’t make things up just because it sounds better than the truth.
  • Build a relationship with your audience: Relationship building is a cornerstone of any authentic brand. Engage your audience in ways that make your brand memorable and win their loyalty.

7. Strengthen your brand with a solid website

You can grow your brand awareness and attract more loyal customers by creating a unique business website that reflects your brand values.

Here are some tips for setting up a website that establishes your brand:

Creating an ecommerce website can be complex and overwhelming. Using a website builder like Hostdedi StoreBuilder, you can set up an ecommerce store quickly and easily — without knowing a single line of code.

Final thoughts: Ecommerce branding strategies to win brand loyalty

At the end of the day, creating an ecommerce brand that your customers will love and become obsessed with boils down to:

  • Getting clear with your brand purpose.
  • Understanding your target audience.
  • Figuring out how to best serve the buyers.

The concept of branding can be confusing. But if you implement the ecommerce branding strategies discussed in this guide, you’ll already be two steps ahead of the competition.

Sign up for Hostdedi managed hosting for WooCommerce, WordPress, or Magento today to create an ecommerce site that helps you grow your customer base and further supports your branding efforts.

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9 best cloud hosting services in 2022

If your ecommerce business is quickly outgrowing its current web hosting provider, consider moving to a cloud hosting platform.

Compared to single-server hosting options, cloud hosting offers improved flexibility and power by distributing server resources across an entire network — making it an excellent choice for fast-growing websites.

In this article, we’ll show you the best cloud hosting services. Specifically, we’ll cover the following:

What is cloud hosting?

Cloud hosting is a unique type of web hosting that makes websites and apps accessible through cloud resources.

Unlike regular hosting, which takes a centralized approach to data storage and retrieval, cloud hosting operates on virtualization, a process wherein storage is distributed across a network of physical and virtual servers. Because data doesn’t live on a single server, cloud hosting results in faster, more reliable, and more flexible performance than traditional web hosting.

High-traffic websites like ecommerce stores need increased processing power, bandwidth, and disk space, making cloud hosting solutions ideal for them.

Advantages and disadvantages of cloud hosting

Cloud technology has changed the future of the internet by offering businesses the following advantages:

  • Guaranteed uptime. It keeps your site safe from unexpected downtime.
  • Enhanced performance. Cloud hosting’s distributed servers assure good load balancing, letting you maintain good performance even with heavy traffic.
  • Scalable. Easily upgrade bandwidth and storage to fit your needs and pay only for what you use.

However, like everything else, it also has drawbacks:

  • Expensive. Cloud hosting can be pricier than regular hosting because of its advanced features.
  • Security vulnerabilities. Although generally secure, web-based services aren’t immune to hacks and data breaches.
  • Limited control. Web hosts often manage cloud hosting, giving users less control over their own hosting environment.

If you want full control over website hosting, try one of our dedicated hosting plans.

How to choose the best cloud hosting service

Not all cloud hosting services are created equal, so it’s critical to do your research before subscribing to a plan. Read hosting reviews, and don’t be afraid to ask cloud hosting providers questions.

Businesses have different needs and priorities. Still, here are general criteria to guide you when choosing the best cloud hosting service:

  • Security. Your website stores personal and sensitive data. For that reason, security should be a top priority when choosing a cloud hosting service. Look for features like firewalls, DDoS protection, security monitoring, and SSL certificates.
  • Uptime. The best cloud hosting services should be able to run without downtime or interruption. Uptime refers to the percentage of time your website is up and available to visitors — the closer to 100% uptime, the better. If your website does fail, your hosting provider should be able to get it back up and running quickly.
  • Backup. Look for hosting companies that offer automatic daily backups so you don’t lose any important files should data breaches or downtimes occur.
  • Speed. Business websites turn to cloud hosting because it promises faster site speed than traditional web hosting. Look for features like content delivery networks (CDNs) and caching, which decrease page load times and supplement site speed.
  • Storage. The cloud hosting plan you choose should offer enough storage for your needs and have the capacity for more in case you need it.
  • Cost. Before choosing a cloud platform, check whether its price point fits your budget. When comparing plans, check whether prices are all-inclusive — some plans may have hidden costs.
  • Customer support. No matter how user-friendly a web hosting service may be, you’ll likely run into a problem you can’t troubleshoot — that is where customer support comes in.

The best cloud hosting services should have 24/7 support available via phone, email, and live chat channels. They should also have a knowledgeable support team and offer customers access to an updated and comprehensive knowledge base.

Best cloud hosting services

  • Hostdedi
  • A2 Hosting
  • InMotion
  • Kamatera
  • SiteGround
  • DreamHost
  • Hostinger
  • Cloudways
  • HostGator

With the criteria out of the way, let’s go over the best cloud hosting services in the market.


If you’re looking for a hosting platform for your ecommerce shop, Hostdedi cloud hosting should be at the top of your list.

Hostdedi comes from the same family as cloud computing industry leader Liquid Web — meaning its managed cloud hosting plans provide the same security, speed, and performance as other brands in the Liquid Web portfolio.

Hostdedi supports serverless hosting for PHP-based applications such as WordPress, Magento, and WooCommerce. Its free SSL certificates, level 1 PCI compliance, regularly updated firewalls, and 24/7 server monitoring ensure a top-notch security experience. At the same time, worldwide data centers, CDNs, and the Hostdedi Cloud Accelerator guarantee faster load times.

Need help and assistance? The cloud experts at Hostdedi are available 24/7 and can quickly resolve any technical issues.


  • Built for speed and security.
  • Developer-friendly environments.
  • Customer service is available 24/7 on multiple channels.


Bandwidth 1TB–10TB
Storage 50GB–800GB
Free backups? Yes
Free domain name? No
Free SSL? Yes
Money-back guarantee? Yes
Pricing Plans start at $49 when billed annually.

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting offers managed and unmanaged virtual private server (VPS) hosting solutions.

VPS hosting is similar to dedicated hosting in that you have your own environment and are not sharing resources with other websites. Dedicated servers are more secure, easier to scale, and allow faster deployments and backup management.

Besides the benefits of VPS hosting, all A2’s hosting plans come with free site migrations, strong uptime guarantees, and 24/7 customer support.


  • One of the few hosting plans that offer full money-back guarantees.
  • Customer service is available 24/7 on multiple channels.
  • Option for managed and unmanaged hosting.


Bandwidth 2TB–4TB
Storage 150GB–450GB
Free backups? Yes
Free domain name? No
Free SSL? Yes
Money-back guarantee? Yes
Pricing Plans for unmanaged VPS hosting start at $6.59/month when billed annually. Plans for managed VPS hosting start at $49.99/month when billed annually.


InMotion Cloud Hosting offers cloud hosting services for agencies, applications, small businesses, and enterprises. It provides around ten plans and pricing tiers — one of the most extensive on the list.

InMotion’s Small Business plan, its managed cloud VPS hosting option, is enough for ecommerce startups. Like the other InMotion hosting plans, the Small Business plan comes with many freebies, including automatic backups, an SSL certificate, a cPanel license, and domains.


  • Multiple plan options.
  • Excellent customer service availability.
  • Excellent security features, including hack and malware protection, SSH keys, and firewalls.


  • Bandwidth is limited to 2TB for the lowest-priced plan.
  • Data centers are only located in the U.S.
  • Windows servers are not available.
Bandwidth Unmetered
Storage 90GB–360GB
Free backups? Yes
Free domain name? Yes, for 6+ month-plans
Free SSL? Yes
Money-back guarantee? Yes, 90-day money-back guarantee.
Pricing Plans start at $24.99/month when billed annually.


Kamatera has been providing cloud services to businesses of all sizes since 1995.

Its VPS cloud hosting plans are extremely customizable and allow you to only pay for what you use. Users can choose from:

  • 13 data centers around the world.
  • 60+ operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Ubuntu, Gentoo, or custom.
  • Different RAM and SSD storage capacities.

If you’re on the fence about signing up for a year-long plan, Kamatera offers a generous 30-day trial to try out their services.


  • Gives you complete control: 60+ operating systems to choose from.
  • Flexibility when scaling up or down.
  • 30-day trial for all cloud-based products.


  • Kamatera has a 99.95% uptime, which is strong but still lower than other providers.
  • Not beginner-friendly.
  • No cPanel or domain registration services are included.
Bandwidth 1TB–10TB
Storage 20GB–4TB
Free backups? No
Free domain name? No
Free SSL? Yes
Money-back guarantee? No
Pricing Since Kamatera lets you customize your plan, pricing starts at $4/month.


SiteGround is a high-performance cloud host built on the Google cloud infrastructure, reinforcing its power and reliability.

Its fully managed cloud hosting plans handle everything for you so you can focus on other areas of your website. SiteGround’s cloud hosting plans come with:

  • Automatic updates and backups.
  • Auto-scaling tools, which prevent traffic loss and downtime.
  • Dedicated IP and free SSL.

SiteGround’s strong uptime guarantees your website won’t crash when needed most. And, with six data centers, optimized servers, and a complimentary CDN, you won’t need to worry about site speed either.


  • Customizable.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Strong uptime guarantee.


  • No free domain.
  • Pricier than other plans.
Bandwidth 5TB
Storage 40GB–160GB
Free backups? Yes
Free domain name? No
Free SSL? Yes
Money-back guarantee? Yes, 14-day money-back guarantee.
Pricing Plans start at $100/month when billed annually.


DreamHost makes cloud hosting accessible to everyone.

It has the cheapest and easiest cloud setup in the industry. For plans that start as low as $4.50/month, you can get your cloud servers live in less than 30 seconds.

However, it’s better suited to developers who find DreamHost’s all-SSD Cloud servers helpful when running applications on Linux or another OS of your choice.

DreamHost doesn’t bill you anything when you sign up. Instead of a fixed monthly rate, DreamHost’s plans bill you based on usage.


  • 99.99999% uptime, leaving little to no chance of data loss.
  • Most affordable plans.
  • Quick setup.


  • Limited customer support; only available 16 hrs.
  • No free domain, no live chat or phone support, and no money-back guarantee.
  • Storage is capped at 100GB.
Bandwidth Unmetered
Storage 100GB
Free backups? Yes
Free domain name? No
Money-back guarantee? No
Pricing Plans start at $4.50/month when billed annually.


Hostinger offers fully managed cloud web hosting plans with decent speeds, 24/7 customer support, and security.

A couple of things make Hostinger’s hosting packages different from its competitors. For one, it provides its own in-house control panel (as opposed to the popular cPanel software that most providers use), and includes its own dedicated IP address — which is a steal for each plan’s low monthly price.

However, monthly fees increase after a year. You have to sign a contract to take advantage of a reasonably priced offer.


  • All customers receive a dedicated IP.
  • 99.99% uptime guarantee.
  • Proprietary control panel.


  • No phone support. Only live chat.
Bandwidth Unmetered
Storage 200GB–300GB
Free backups? Yes
Free SSL? Yes
Free domain name? Yes
Money-back guarantee? Yes, 30-day money-back guarantee.
Pricing Plans start at $9.99/month when billed annually. Plan renewals start at $19.99/month after the first year.


Trusted by 75,000+ businesses, including top cloud providers like DigitalOcean, Linode, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google, Cloudways is one of the market’s most flexible cloud hosting providers.

Cloudways allows you to configure plans based on what you need. It supports a bevy of CMS options and maintains a network of 25 cloud servers from all over the globe. Pricing depends on your data center’s location and whether you choose monthly or hourly pricing packages.

Cloudways’ cloud hosting solutions include:

  • Free SSL and migration
  • 24/7 real-time monitoring
  • Automated backups, auto-healing, and more.


  • Flexible and customizable plans.
  • Secure hosting plans.
  • Exceptional customer support.


  • You have to pay for advanced customer support. The advanced support add-on includes site monitoring, site investigations, and customization for $100/month.
  • Lacks a cPanel.
  • Does not offer free domain registration.
Bandwidth 1TB–5TB
Storage 25GB–256GB
Free backups? No
Free domain name? No
Free SSL? Yes
Money-back guarantee? No
Pricing Plans start at $12/month when billed annually.


As a renowned web hosting provider in the market, it’s no surprise that HostGator cloud hosting would also make it on the list of the best cloud hosting services.

HostGator has some of the cheapest cloud hosting plans, yet they don’t sacrifice quality. For as low as $4.95/month, users get:

  • Unmetered storage and bandwidth with 99.99% uptime.
  • Free SSL certificate and domain registration.
  • Easy website monitoring via HostGator’s dashboard.


  • Unmetered storage and bandwidth.
  • Easy monitoring of website performance.


  • Dedicated IP is only available on more advanced plans.
  • Discount pricing applies when you sign up for a 36-month minimum contract.
  • RAM is capped at 6GB, which is lower than its competitors.
  • No automatic backups.
Bandwidth Unmetered
Storage Unmetered
Free backups? Yes
Free SSL? Yes
Free domain name? Yes
Money-back guarantee? Yes. A 30-day money-back guarantee.
Pricing Plans start at $4.95/month when billed annually.

Final thoughts: 9 best cloud hosting services in 2022

If your current hosting plan cannot accommodate your website’s current needs, it may be time to switch to cloud hosting.

The best cloud hosting services, including Hostdedi cloud hosting, are recommended for fast-growing websites like online stores, web apps, and interactive sites because they distribute resources over several servers, resulting in flexibility, scalability, and improved performance.

Sign up for a cloud hosting plan with Hostdedi today.

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