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What Prospective Clients Need Before Making The Decision To Hire An Agency

What Prospective Clients Need Before Making The Decision To Hire An Agency

Imagine what business would be like if you didn’t have to pitch and sell, or seek out and convince new clients to hire you. Imagine how different your business would be if your pipeline was consistently full and potential clients said “yes” with excitement after only a conversation or two.

It’s possible. Providing clients with the information they need to know quickly and effectively will turn your agency into one that persuades them to work with you almost instantly. By identifying clear data points for conversion, you’re able to build a client acquisition strategy that resonates and converts. 

Key to this is understanding what your leads and prospective clients need to feel, know, and learn to make a confident buying decision. While every client may present a unique situation, budget, timeline, and set of project requirements, the way they decide whether or not to hire you is ultimately the same.

How Buying Decisions Are Made

Buying decisions are made with the heart and justified with the head.

How many times have you purchased something you wanted even though it wasn’t in the budget? Each time you’ve done so, it was probably because that thing triggered emotions so strong that you threw logic out the window and made the purchase. You saw it and felt happy, excited, relieved, or even nostalgic.

Like you, your potential clients make buying decisions based on feelings and emotions. They want to do business with other people — people who they know, like, and trust. Ultimately, they make decisions about who they hire based on how they feel and how strong their connection with the service provider is.

Once a lead feels in their heart that hiring you would be a good decision, it’s up to you to make sure the head or brain is satisfied with the fine details and logic — their brain is looking to justify the emotional buying decision. Whether they realize it or not, there is a mental checklist of information they need to get so they can feel good about taking action. This is where you must follow up on promises of solutions and results with facts, figures, data, and social proof.

A lead who is on the fence about hiring you is one who is dealing with a battle of heart (emotion) and head (logic).

  • SITUATION 1: Their heart is saying yes while their head is saying no. This happens when it feels right, they like you, and they want to say yes, but there are logical details that are missing or have not yet been addressed and the lead needs clarification and reassurance.
  • SITUATION 2: Their head is saying yes, but their heart is saying no. This happens when the contract, the fee, and everything you discussed is right, but for one reason or another, emotionally they’re just not feeling the partnership.

Your job as a business owner and service provider, is to help your audience connect with you and your brand emotionally. To do this, you need to build a relationship with your leads and provide prospective clients with the critical information they need to sign a contract. Some of this will be done in conversation and on sales calls, but most can be done on your website with the right approach.

Once you’ve built up a sales pipeline, it’s vital you keep your agency sustainable. Learn how

A Foundation For Lead Generation

To stay in business and grow your business, you need to generate a consistent pipeline of new leads, which means you’re expending time, effort, energy, and resources on brand awareness tactics, marketing campaigns, and lead generation strategies. With so much effort dedicated to developing leads, the worst thing that could happen is that a prospective client reaches your website, fails to make an emotional connection, and leaves without taking action.

To avoid this, it is imperative that when a new visitor reaches your website, they can quickly discover what it is about, confirm they’re in the right place, and find more valuable information.

When potential leads find your website:

  1. You want them to feel like it’s their lucky day because they found exactly what they needed
  2. You want them to feel like you “get them” and that your services were designed just for them.
  3. You need the right information to help them self-identify as a perfect fit or near perfect fit for your services and/or packages

But how do you get a visitor to self-identify as a prospective client and become a hot lead? And, how do you turn your website into your best salesperson that generates leads for you around the clock?

Your website can become a solid foundation for lead generation that works when you’re not working by implementing the four-step Know, Like, Trust, Convert approach.

Know

  • Help people learn more about you and your background, what you do and how you do it, who you serve and why, and what results you get. 
  • The basic web pages that typically help leads get to know you are the Home page, About page, Services page, Contact page, Thank You page.

Like

  • Help people get to know your personality, form a connection with you, and decide if they like you, like your perspective, and like your approach. 
  • This content offers glimpses into your personal life, showcases your personality, and shares your opinions and is typically found on the About page, Media page, and Portfolio page, as well as in case studies and blog posts.

Trust

  • Establish credibility, reliability, and trust by positioning yourself as an expert, providing value and quality content, and showing a history of proven results. 
  • This content typically includes the About page, Testimonials page, Portfolio page, Media Page, and Privacy Policy and Disclaimer pages, as well as blog posts, case studies, as seen on logos, and links to interviews and features.

Convert

  • Help people take action—contact, click, register, enroll, sign up, buy, subscribe, download, opt-in, call, email, join, or purchase. 
  • This content includes the Get Started page, Contact page, Sales pages, and Landing pages, as well as opt-in offers, pop-ups, and registration pages.

By applying the Know, Like, Trust, Convert approach to your website, visitors who are a great fit for your services will naturally self-identify as an ideal client and receive the exact information they need to move forward in the buying process. As a result, the quality of inbound leads your WordPress agency receives will improve and more leads with convert to paying clients.

Managed WordPress Hosting Is Better For Clients

When beginning a new website project, the last thing a client wants to do is figure out what website hosting company they should choose. Make it easy for your clients by recommending Hostdedi Managed WordPress Hosting. Managed WordPress Hosting takes care of image compression, automatic updates for plugins and the platform, automatic daily backups, automatic SSL, and staging environments, as well as access to developer tools and no pageview/traffic limits.

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How to Use Google Tag Manager for Your Ecommerce Business

How to Use Google Tag Manager for Your Ecommerce Business

Historically, consumer use of ecommerce stores has been a mystery to merchants. Traffic sources, bounce rates, and others were the metrics of educated guesses and opinions. Today, however, powerful tracking tools like Google Tag Manager for WordPress have brought data to that mystery, answering questions with a level of certainty never seen before. 

These tools now allow you to build a clearer picture of the customer experience. Instead of guessing a consumer’s journey, you’re able to understand their path to purchase. Not only does this help you discover crucial touchpoints, more importantly, it also helps you drive your store’s growth by identifying conversion bottlenecks and finding new opportunities. 

If you’re not sure you’re hitting the mark with Google Tag Manager, now is the right time to revisit your implementation and make sure everything is running smoothly. Here, we’ll walk through what Google Tag Manager is, how you can add it to your WordPress site, and how you can start measuring store performance where it matters

Running an ecommerce store and looking for the full rundown on SEO? Follow our complete guide to ecommerce SEO.

What Does Google Tag Manager Do?

Google Tag Manager is a free, widely-used tool that lets you create and manage the tags (more on this later) published on a website. Though it can be used on virtually any site, it’s commonly used by ecommerce business owners in conjunction with other marketing analytics platforms to manage their online stores. For example, Google Tag Manager is almost always used alongside Google Analytics for the purpose of tracking marketing campaigns, conversions, and site performance.

What Is a Tag?

When you inspect the source of a site, you see tags like <html>, <img>, <p>, <a href>, and many others. Functionally, the tags you manage with Google Tag Manager are similar to the HTML tags found in the raw code of a website. But where HTML, CSS, PHP, and other coding languages use tags as building materials for website construction, the tags in Google Tag Manager track conversions, traffic, user behavior, and a number of other important metrics.

Tags track and relay important user engagement data to another analytics platform. When a tag runs, or picks up an instance of the intended interaction, it’s called “firing” – i.e., “The tag has fired.”

Besides connecting to other platforms, tags can be created so you can track specific events — (like abandoned carts and video views) on your website. While Google Analytics can track many types of events, creating tags for certain events in Google Tag Manager can make tracking more specific, and situational events more effective.

Google Tag Manager vs. Google Analytics

Since Google Tag Manager and Analytics are used in tandem, it can be confusing as to what role each platform plays when it comes to marketing analytics.

Google Tag Manager can be used to manage many third-party tags, including the Facebook and Adobe Analytics tracking pixels. You can even customize and calibrate your tags, and decide when and why they fire. But Google Tag Manager just manages these tracking code snippets; there’s no actual analytics or in-depth reporting in Google Tag Manager. 

Google Analytics doesn’t have the granular tag controls of Google Tag Manager, but it plays the very crucial role of collecting data from those tags. In other words, it collects, analyzes, and reports data from your tags. Thus, the two platforms have a symbiotic relationship.

How to Add Google Tag Manager to WordPress

If you’re one of the many ecommerce business owners using a managed hosting platform to run your online store, you need to know how to add Google Tag Manager to your WordPress site. Let’s go over the steps for setting up Google Tag Manager with WordPress.

Step 1: Create a Google Tag Manager Account

The first thing you need is a Google Tag Manager account.

Create tag manager account

Head over to Google Tag Manager. If you already have an account, then select the account you want to use to connect to your WooCommerce store. Otherwise, click “Create Account” to begin setting up a new Google Tag Manager account. This is how you get Google Tag Manager code.

Set up tag manager container

After clicking “Create Account,” you’ll see some account setup options. 

Name the account, name the container — basically just a folder for your tags to be kept separate from other Tag Manager accounts you may have — and select “Web” as the target platform. Then click “Create” to immediately be taken into your new Google Tag Manager account.

Install the tag manager code

Once you’ve finished with the setup options, you’ll need to install the code snippets for Tag Manager to begin working with your ecommerce store on WordPress.

The first snippet needs to be added to the header of your WordPress site. This will ensure that the code appears on every single page of your site — which is important for Tag Manager to work with WordPress.

There are a couple of ways to add it to the appropriate file of your WordPress theme. However, the easiest way is to use a plugin like Yoast. Instead of editing the raw code of your site, just copy and paste the code into Yoast which will automatically add the code to every page of your site.

Then there’s the second snippet of code which must be added just after the opening <body> tag on your site. Again, Yoast and other plugins can help. 

If you need additional help, Google Tag Manager offers a useful Quick Start Guide that you can use as a reference. When these code snippets are installed, you’re ready to begin setting up Google Tag Manager with WordPress. 

Step 2: Install Google Analytics

Once you’ve created and set up a Google Tag Manager account, you’ll need to do the same for Google Analytics. After all, you won’t get much benefit from using Tag Manager unless Analytics is receiving data from your tags. If you’ve already installed Google Analytics, you can skip this step.

These steps might seem a bit odd as you’re completing them, but don’t worry. You can, in fact, install Google Analytics from within Tag Manager.

how to create new tag manager tags

From your new Google Tag Manager account, click “Tags” from the left-hand sidebar, then click “New” in the upper right-hand corner of the window.

Install analytics with tag manager

Name the tag “Google Analytics” and click “Tag Configuration” and select “Google Analytics: Universal Analytic” for tag type.

Configure using your unique Google analytics code

Set the track type to “Page View” then click “New Variable” under the Google Analytics Settings. Finally, name this new variable and install your Google Analytics tracking code on your WordPress site as prompted.

What Can I Do With Google Tag Manager?

Now that you have completed the installation and setup process, you need to know how to use Google Tag Manager. And, perhaps most importantly, how is Google Tag Manager used?

Google Tag Manager helps you gain insight into how people are using your ecommerce store. By setting up tags and events, you can gain valuable insights on key areas. That includes tracking form submissions, file downloads, and the effectiveness of interactions in your conversion funnel.

While there are many things you can do with Google Tag Manager, let’s go over a few of the most important (and most useful) for ecommerce businesses.

Track Goals and Events in Google Analytics

Although pageviews and referrals are important metrics, tracking how your customers and leads are using your ecommerce store provides the most accurate picture of your store’s performance. Without Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, you’d have very little insight into how customers and leads are interacting with your store. In turn, you wouldn’t be able to identify and address variables that might, for instance, contribute to high cart abandonment.

Although we’re not going to spend too much time covering it in this Google Tag Manager overview, we’re going to give you examples of a goal and an event you can track with Tag Manager.

Goal: Added-to-Cart

With Google Tag Manager, you can set up a tracking goal for each and every time a product gets added to the shopping cart. Once you’ve completed the steps to set up an added-to-cart tracking goal, these interactions will be reported in Google Analytics. It’s important to note that this isn’t a goal that you’d be able to track in Google Analytics without using Tag Manager to create the event.

Event: Video Views

Video content is the most popular form of digital content today. So it follows that ecommerce sites that feature product reviews, launch videos, instructional videos, and other video content should be tracking how customers and leads are engaging with those videos, and most importantly, how those engagement rates affect conversion. Using Google Tag Manager, you can set up tracking events for videos and compare those events to cart abandonment, checkout abandonment, or any number of other metrics.

Install Tracking Pixels for Google Pay-per-Click Ads

One of the key uses for Google Tag Managers is to install and manage the Google Ads Remarketing and Google Ads Conversion Tracking pixels. The steps to install these tracking pixels are largely the same for both.

Google Ads Remarketing Pixel

Set up a remarketing pixel

From your Google Tag Manager account, create a new tag. Name it “Google Remarketing” and select “Google Ads Remarketing” as the tag type.

remarketing pixel needs a useridea and settings

In the tag configuration settings, locate your Google Ads Conversion ID. Create a label if you’d like, then set “All Pages” for triggering.

Google Ads Conversion Tracking Pixel

For the Google Ads Conversion Tracking pixel, the steps are much the same. From your Google Tag Manager account, create a new tag. Name it “Google Ads Conversion” and select “Google Ads Conversion” as the tag type.

Set the value of conversions

The main difference with the Google Ads Conversion Tracking pixel is the option to set a value for the tag. In the screenshot above, the value is set at 100 USD, meaning that each conversion the tag tracks is worth $100 to the business. Use an amount makes the most sense for your business. Many ecommerce business owners set the value of a conversion as the average transaction value.

Install Third-Party Tracking Pixels

Similar to the Google Ads tracking pixels, Tag Manager is often used to install tracking codes for third-party platforms. In particular, the Facebook Pixel is often installed on a WordPress site using this method.

The important thing to note is that when Google Tag Manager doesn’t provide a template for the tracking code you want to install, you’ll need to use the custom HTML option. To illustrate this process, here are the steps for installing the Facebook Pixel in Google Tag Manager.

Facebook pixel with tag manager

From your Google Tag Manager account, create a new pixel. Name it “Facebook Pixel” and select “Custom HTML” as the tag type.

Custom facebook code pixel

After selecting “Custom HTML” as the tag type, you’ll be given a place where you can paste the Facebook Pixel tracking code. 

As you can see in the screenshot above, the trigger is set to “All Pages” — but there are other options available, and Facebook provides some tips to help you choose the right option for your case.

Do You Need Google Tag Manager?

We’ve gone over the ins and outs of Google Tag Manager. As we bring this overview to a close, let’s tackle one last question: Should you be using it?

For the owner of an ecommerce business, there’s arguably nothing more important than learning about customer behavior. Because if you don’t know how your customers are interacting with your online store, you have no way to optimize to increase conversion. In other words, any effort made to improve the customer experience and the buying journey is just a shot in the dark.

Google Tag Manager gives you a window into your customer experience. By using Tag Manager to publish and manage tags for your ecommerce store, you can boost conversion and generate more revenue for your business.

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Hostdedi WooCommerce hosting plans were designed with three principles in mind: reliability, scalability, and speed. Every ecommerce store running on a Managed WooCommerce Hosting plan benefits from everything Hostdedi plans have to offer from cart abandonment technology to minimize lost sales to the nearly limitless ways in which you can customize the look and feel of your online store. Best of all, Hostdedi hosting plans are competitively priced and come with outstanding round-the-clock support.

Learn more about how you can benefit from Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting and get started today.

The post How to Use Google Tag Manager for Your Ecommerce Business appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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Goals and Events eCommerce Businesses Should be Tracking with Google Analytics

Goals and Events eCommerce Businesses Should be Tracking with Google Analytics

Tracking interactions between customers and your ecommerce store is essential if you want to gauge the performance of your business. However, it’s not always obvious which interactions you should be tracking. If you track too little, you’re not getting the most representative picture, and if you track too much, the important data gets buried. 

In order to drive revenue effectively, it’s vital you understand the performance of each of your site’s touchpoints. By identifying key goals and events through Google Analytics, and standardizing their reporting structure, you’ll be able to leverage that data to create campaigns that promote engagement and growth. 

To help, we’ve created the ecommerce business owner’s guide to Google Analytics event tracking. With this guide, you’ll know which tracking events are most important and how to create tracking goals for your ecommerce store.

Google Analytics Event Tracking vs. Goal Tracking

Google Analytics event tracking can illuminate patterns in user behaviour that you can use to make more informed decisions. 

Finding out how customers and leads are interacting with your online store is crucial for optimizing your customer experience. As it happens, you can learn a lot about how customers are engaging with your store by tracking goals and events in Google Analytics.

Events

As Google defines them, events are “interactions with content that can be measured independently from a webpage or screen load.” This includes things like:

  • Clicks
  • Video views
  • File downloads
  • Code loads
  • Page scrolls
  • Account logins
  • Media shares
  • Products added to the shopping cart

In a more technical sense, events are interactions between users and your ecommerce store. This includes:

  • Mouse interactions
  • Keyboard interactions
  • Frame interactions 
  • Form interactions

In Google Analytics, event tracking can illuminate patterns in user behavior that you can use to make more informed decisions and further refine your customer experience. While certain events — like abandoned carts, for instance — are often tracked by default, you can track many different customer interactions with Google Analytics custom events.

Do you run an ecommerce store that isn’t seeing the organic traffic you expect? Learn more about how to optimize your Ecommerce SEO.

Event Conditions

Google Analytics has four conditions for events: category, action, label, value, and non-interaction. Each type of event condition has its own application, whether it’s for organization in Google Analytics or for assigning monetary value to a trackable event.

An event category is a name assigned to a group of events. They’re used primarily for organizational purposes. For example, you might assign events like pageviews and clicks to an event category called “engagement.” Or you create an event category called “downloads” for events related to the downloading of files from your website.

An event action is a certain type of event that you want to track for a specific page element. For example, when users click play, pause, or rewind, or scrub through a video to a particular location, you can track those interactions as event actions.

An event label is an optional name assigned to a certain element on a webpage. Similar to event categories, event labels are largely for organizational purposes. For example, if there are multiple PDF files that can be downloaded from your website, you could use event labels to distinguish downloads of one PDF file from others.

An event value is an optional numerical value assigned to a trackable event. Although value is often a monetary value, meaning how much (in dollars) an event brings to your business, there are cases where value could be a length of time or raw quantity. For instance, you could make the value for a confirmation page event equal to your average transaction value since you know (on average) how much your business makes from each conversion.

The non-interaction condition is applied when an event is non-interactive. When the value for this condition is “true,” the event is considered non-interactive. Typically, you only classify an event as non-interactive when you don’t want it to affect your bounce rate or other metrics in Google Analytics.

Goals

Google Analytics goals are essentially events that have value and that you want to boost in order to generate more revenue. When you set a tracking goal, Google Analytics begins counting instances of that goal as a conversion. For instance, if you set a duration goal of five minutes, and then a visitor spends 5 minutes or more on your site, Google Analytics will consider that a successful conversion.

In Google Analytics, there are duration goals, destination goals, pages/views goals, and event goals. As you’d expect, a duration goal is a minimum amount of time that you want users to spend engaging with your website. Destination goals refer to when users visit a specific page on your site like a thank-you page or an order confirmation page. With pages/views goals, you want users to click onto a minimum number of pages on your site. Finally, event goals are more specific interactions including form fills, click-to-call link clicks, and file downloads.

5 Google Analytics Goals and Events You Should Track

Tracking goals and events is an effective way to gauge or boost the performance of your ecommerce business. So let’s go over some specific Google Analytics goals and events that you should be tracking. 

Goals for Google Analytics

Google Analytics makes it very easy to access and create goals. Once you’re logged into your Google Analytics account, go into the Admin menu and in the View column, then click Goals.

Goal: Confirmation Pages

A confirmation page can be used to confirm an order that’s been placed or to thank a lead for joining a mailing list. But in any context, a confirmation page is what someone sees after an interaction with your brand or company. In other words, it’s a conversion follow-up that makes confirmation pages an important goal to track.

How to Set up a Confirmation Page Goal

How to Set up a Confirmation Page Goal

 

From the Goals menu in Google Analytics, click the “+ New Goal” button to open the new goal template.

Set up the goal based on a template

At the top of the goal template, you’re given a list of template options. For this tutorial, we chose to set up a completed purchase confirmation page — the second option on the list.

Goal description and type

 

Next, create a name for your confirmation page goal. For the tracking goal type, choose “Destination” since a confirmation page is the URL destination that marks the completion of a conversion.

Verify your goal to begin

In the third section of the goal template, you’ll need to provide a destination and value, and then outline the conversion funnel for the tracking goal.

The destination is similar to a label and how the goal will be shown in Google Analytics. Think of it as a URL suffix and choose something simple that’s representative of the confirmation page you’re tracking.

The value is, quite simply, a monetary value assigned to the goal you’re tracking.

The funnel refers to your conversion or sales funnel. A confirmation page will likely take the final position in the funnel. The screenshot above shows how the funnel section will look when set up properly.

Finally, click “Verify This Goal” at the bottom. 

analyze data from the past 7 days

Verifying your goal will manually filter your Google Analytics data from the past seven days through your new tracking goal to tell you how many hits you would’ve gotten during that period. When you see numerical values for every step of the funnel, your confirmation page tracking goal is functional.

Goal: Form Submissions

There are a number of different uses for forms on an ecommerce site. For instance, many sites use forms for newsletter signups and as a convenient way for users to contact the company. You can also set up a form so leads can request a quote for made-to-order products and services.

Just as there are multiple uses for forms for your ecommerce site, there is more than one way to set up form submission goals in Google Analytics. First, if you use a confirmation page as a follow-up to a form submission, you would set up a form submission goal in much the same way as a confirmation page goal (outlined above). Alternatively, you can set up form submissions as Google Analytics events, and then use a form submission event as a tracking goal.

Before setting up a form submission goal, you need to set up form submission as a trackable event. For this step, we recommend using Google Tag Manager.

How to Set up a Form Submission Goal

Once you have completed that setup in Google Tag Manager, return to Google Analytics, open the Admin menu, click “Goals” in the View column, and click the “+ New Goal” button.

How to Set up a Form Submission Goal

In the screenshot above, you can see the options we chose while setting up a tracking goal for a contact form. In the first section, we chose the “Contact us” template. In the second section, we named the goal “Contact us” and selected “Event” as the goal type. Finally, we completed the details for the goal by filling in the category, action, and label. Since a form submission doesn’t equate to a sale, no value was assigned. However, you may choose to assign a value to an inquiry. It’s simply a matter of preference. 

Goal: Products Added to Cart

Adding products to the shopping cart is another important goal to track and is a prerequisite for a purchase. The idea is to see how many people are adding products to the shopping cart so you can compare that to how many of those added products end with transactions. Doing this gives you an idea of how often users are abandoning their shopping carts.

There are two ways to set up Added-to-Cart goal tracking in Google Analytics, depending on how your ecommerce site is setup. If there’s some sort of confirmation page when a product is added to the shopping cart, then you’d follow the same steps as you would for a confirmation page. But if adding a product to the shopping cart isn’t followed by a confirmation, you’ll need to set it up as a triggered event with Google Tag Manager. 

How to Set up an Added-to-Cart Goal

How to Set up an Added-to-Cart Goal

 

As you configure the trigger for the event in Google Tag Manager, you’ll want to select “Click – All Elements” as the trigger type. This ensures that mouse clicks will trigger the event. Next, select “Some Clicks” for what initiates the trigger and input the class and conditions for the event trigger. Use the + and – buttons to the right to add or remove triggers as needed.

add and remove triggers as needed

You can see how these settings are reflected in the underlying code on your site by right-clicking on your “Add to Cart” button and selecting “Inspect element.”

configure the event tracker to start tracking

After configuring the tracking event trigger, your Added-to-Cart goal is ready to start tracking.

Event: Abandoned Carts

When a cart is abandoned, it means the person who added the product to the shopping cart has changed his or her mind. On average, 69.57% of shopping carts are abandoned before purchases are made. With so many sales falling through the cracks, cart abandonment is a very important metric for ecommerce business owners to track.

It’s worth noting, though, that a tool like Jilt that can act on cart abandonment data can be especially useful. In addition, Glew.io can actually show which products are being left abandoned in the shopping cart most frequently and makes it easier to identify potential roadblocks in the buyer’s journey. Both Jilt and Glew.io are tools that are included with Managed WooCommerce at Hostdedi. 

How to Set up an Abandoned Cart Event

Abandoned cart event tracking is most commonly done automatically when you have ecommerce enabled in Google Analytics.

How to Set up an Abandoned Cart Event

 

To access your abandoned cart events, navigate to ecommerce > Cart Behavior. Not only does this show instances of cart abandonment, but you get to see instances of no products being added to the cart and instances of check-out abandonment. The idea is to get a concise visual representation of how many sales are lost at different points in the buyer’s journey.

Event: Video Views

Videos are the most popular, high-converting form of digital content today which is why setting up tracking for video views is important for ecommerce businesses. With Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, you can set up video tracking for instructional/information videos, video reviews, and product launch videos that are available on your website.

Tracking video view events on your site is particularly useful when combined with an ecommerce analytics tool like Glew.io for more insightful customer analytics. When you track video views, you can compare that figure to metrics like your pageviews, unique visitors, and conversions for a clearer picture of how users are engaging with your online store.

How to Set up a Video View Event

The most effective (and easiest) way to set up video view events is to use Google Tag Manager. And if your videos are hosted on YouTube, then Google Tag Manager takes just moments to set up.


How to Set up a Video View Event

In the screenshot above, you can see a pretty standard trigger configuration for a video view event. For the trigger configuration, all four capture options are selected including progress percentages in 25-percent intervals, but you can set it to track as much or as little as is helpful for you. 

your final tag configuration layout

Once you have finished with trigger configuration, the tag configuration for your video view event should look similar to the screenshot above.

After you’ve finished setting up your video view event in Google Tag Manager, those events will be reported in Google Analytics. You can monitor instances of video view events in Behavior Event Reporting.

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Hostdedi is your premiere hosting provider, offering high-quality, performance-focused hosting plans for ecommerce businesses of any size. However, when you choose Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting, you’re not just getting the best in speed, performance, and reliability at a great price: You’re also getting tons of extras, like Jilt for cart abandonment and Glew.io, a comprehensive ecommerce analytics program. So when you want the best for your growing ecommerce business, choose Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting.

Learn more and get started today

The post Goals and Events eCommerce Businesses Should be Tracking with Google Analytics appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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Five Tips To Build A Sustainable WordPress Agency

Five Tips To Build A Sustainable WordPress Agency

Success and income posturing are a constant throughout social media. Across the Internet, freelancers and agency owners tout their high-dollar contracts and big money months. The hustle, grind, and slay lifestyle is glorified through staged luxury lifestyle photos. But eventually, these same people making a big splash, and even bigger claims, slowly fade away or disappear. Their tactics, while initially impressive, aren’t sustainable.

To build a sustainable WordPress agency, you need to dispense with the gimmicks and posturing and take aim at developing a strategy that maintains your agency’s momentum. Success isn’t built overnight, but it’s also not an impossible climb when you know what to pay attention to. 

By realigning your agency processes, you’ll be able to build on your core objectives to turn your WordPress agency into a business that is both sustainable, profitable, and that drives growth.

Constant And Consistent Marketing

When you become a business owner, you also become a marketer whether you like it or not. 

For a services business to thrive, it needs a pipeline full of qualified clients. That means you need to be investing in lead generation and marketing efforts — and it can’t be sporadic.

Marketing efforts can – and should – begin as soon as your business and its brand have been established. The right marketing techniques place you front-of-mind and help to bring you long term business.

Consider this:

  • The best time to market your WordPress services is when you’re booked solid because those efforts create leads that will become future clients. This is the key to ending the feast or famine roller coaster.
  • Clients decide to hire you when they are ready, not when you’re ready. You need constant and consistent marketing to stay top of mind.

Dependable Baseline Income

Earning a dependable base income every month eliminates the tremendous stress that comes from living project to project. 

A stable base income also provides more flexibility and opportunity in future projects, growth planning, and hiring. It is critical for your budding agency to not only offer single website builds and one-off projects, but services that provide reliable recurring revenue. 

Consider offering monthly website support, ongoing retainers, and other long-term services. WordPress is used by 35% of global websites. These site owners know the value of upkeep and you’re in the perfect position to deliver on that. 

Consider this:

  • To get started, set a goal to earn enough recurring revenue to cover 50% of all business expenses. When achieved, extend your goal to cover 100% of all business expenses.
  • If you’re building an agency, aim to secure enough recurring revenue to cover all of your team salaries.

Documented Systems And Processes

Systems and processes are the keys to sustainable business growth. 

When you’re freelancing and working solo, it’s okay to have all of your business systems and processes in your head. If you want to grow an agency, however, you need to document each and every system and process step-by-step. 

Process documentation can start with just a simple spreadsheet. As your agency grows and your client base expands, you can start to build this out, covering each area of your business in more detail. 

As you build out your processes, keep future goals top of mind. What are your plans for 6 months from now? What does your forecast look like in 12 months? Having insight into how your processes may have to change in the future is key to being able to provide clients with the right expectations.

Consider this:

  • Process documentation creates clear instructions that enable delegation and set new employees up for success. Without it, you become a bottleneck that prevents forward progress.
  • Documenting systems allows you to leverage software automation for repetitive tasks to save time, reduce resources, and increase profits.

Crystal Clear Communication

Ambiguity leads to confusion and uncertainty, which in turn, leads to doubt and procrastination, which in turn leads to inaction and delays. 

When it comes to communication, there can’t be too much and you can never be too clear. Whether you’re guiding your internal team, working with paying clients, or engaged in sales conversations with prospects, clear communication is critical to your success.

Consider this:

  • No matter what you’re doing, all stakeholders need to be on the same page, understand the goals, and know the expectations—and they must be aware of their role, what needs to be done, and when it must be done by.
  • When providing instructions of any kind, provide them in writing, review them verbally, and ask them to be repeated back to you so there is zero confusion.

Strong Administrative Practices

You’re great at what you do—you wouldn’t have started a business if you weren’t—but as a business owner, you now also have to be great at managing your business.

Without a foundational understanding of critical business concepts and the tactical ability to execute on them, your business will suffer and you will struggle to stay afloat. As the owner, you need to learn about bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes, estimating and invoicing, project management, client management, marketing, and sales. 

Consider this:

  • Business owners must create responsible, consistent administrative habits. Without them, it becomes easy to ignore the “paperwork” side of the business when swamped with client work. The problem with this, however, is that the unsexy administrative side of the business is what makes sure you get paid.

Grow Your Agency With Managed WordPress

Focusing on the development of your agency is a time-intensive task. Besides the everyday hustle and bustle of client requests, you’re also dealing with the continued management of existing projects. Very quickly, this can cause growth goals to fall to the wayside as maintenance tasks take over. 

By following the five tips above, you’ll be able to better align your business practices with those growth goals and strategies. Instead of finding yourself on the receiving end of an impossible workflow or uncertain project, you’ll be able to proceed quickly and efficiently; optimizing both you and your client’s time. 

At Hostdedi, we’ve created a solution designed to help you build a sustainable WordPress agency without worrying about the basics. Managed WordPress solutions from Hostdedi take care of the infrastructure, plugin updates, image compression, and more, leaving you with the time you need to develop a winning business strategy and focus on finding new clients. Get started with Managed WordPress today. 

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What are PHP Workers and Why You Should Care

What are PHP Workers and Why You Should Care

Have you ever browsed through your favorite coffee shop’s website and as you check out with that new order of coffee, you end up getting a 504 error after a delay?

Or maybe you were browsing your favorite sports website and as you try to load the next page, it takes a while to load and comes back with a timeout error?

These situations are frustrating, and not what we expect when we look at a site. In both cases, the cause may be not having enough PHP workers allocated to a site. Without enough PHP workers, a site can’t process all site requests that come in if there are a higher number of them. It’s not a good situation, as site speed is incredibly important for converting visitors to sales leads and customers.

What is a PHP Worker?

A PHP worker is essentially a mechanism that handles requests for a website that require back-end processing. Generally, any non-static or cached files that require processing are handled by PHP workers.

This is usually active tasks like an inventory check on a specific item or it could be something as complex as viewing and listing all prior orders for a customer. When a PHP worker is started, it remains persistent until processes are completed or certain conditions are met.

Think of PHP workers as a check-out line at a grocery store where each item that is to be scanned is a PHP process.

If you only have one PHP worker (one checkout line) then everything must go through that single checkout lane, and the cashier can only work through one order at the time. PHP workers can limit the number of concurrent, or simultaneous, transactions on a site. As previously mentioned, if you have only four PHP workers (four checkout lines) the site can only process four transactions at once.

However, this does not mean that the fifth customer (PHP process) or beyond does not get processed. PHP processes are placed in a queue for the worker which means it processes the first request in line then moves onto the next PHP process in the queue. In other words, a long line forms and people start waiting.

Luckily, PHP workers process the information faster than grocery store cashiers. They work very quickly and can clear many and most processes within milliseconds. By having only a few additional PHP workers, you are able to have many more concurrent processes that can be run at one time, meaning more customer orders can be processed at once.

What Happens When You Have Too Few PHP Workers

Let’s say you have only two PHP workers on a site and you have several plugins and a heavy theme. Those two PHP workers will constantly be used only to process plugins and theme processes leaving a queue to build up immediately for new page requests from visitors to your site.

If you are running an ecommerce site on top of this, it will only increase the queue amount. Much like customers waiting in line, some PHP processes will abandon the line. Processes that are not written to abandon the line, or time out, and will sit and wait. Then, they will begin to put a much higher load on server resources. It’s like the checkout line is now wrapping around the block!

PHP processes on a WordPress website can be as simple as the submission of a contact form or a request to geolocate a visitor based upon their IP or zip code.

For eCommerce websites, this can look a little different. Items such as new orders being processed, carts, and customer logins would all utilize PHP workers. The products or descriptions will usually be cached so that generally would not require a PHP process for viewing. Having only three to five PHP workers means that you can only have that many simultaneous transactions on the website and that the PHP workers will process requests in the order they were triggered (just like a shopping line).

How To Lighten The Load For Your PHP Workers

A common problem area to start with for PHP workers is having too many plugins and heavy themes. You can generally help alleviate issues caused by a bloated website with these tips:

  1. Add site caching with a plugin
  2. Reduce external calls to remote sites
  3. General site optimization

Site optimization can get complicated, especially with sites that experience heavier traffic which requires more attention to detail. Generally, the larger the site, the more efficient the site must be in the way it requests its styles, products, orders, and customers. This way, you utilize the PHP workers for general site functionality less and PHP workers can process what matters – your traffic – effectively.

Hostdedi plans come with enough concurrent users for even the largest of sites to manage traffic.

With Hostdedi, you already have 20 concurrent users as part of an XS plan. This increases in increments of 20 as you move up to the XXL plan (which has 120).

Other managed application platforms offer anywhere from two to four PHP workers in introductory offerings. Hostdedi Managed WordPress and WooCommerce also have server-side caching built-in which helps minimize the use of PHP workers to process static content, allowing the PHP workers to process requests from the people who matter most: your customers.

Maintain a Faster Site with More PHP Workers

PHP workers can manage thousands of processes each, however; many factors come into play, including:

  • How many exterior calls are they making?
  • How many plugins are competing with inquiries to the database?

Additionally, adding PHP workers to a site will also increase the resource allocation being used from the server. The more PHP processes running, the more RAM and CPU allocations will be needed, thus creating heavier loads on the server and having as much optimization as possible can reduce that server load. PHP workers are key, but they are not magic, one-size-fits-all solution.

The more plugins (even inactive ones), the more PHP workers are utilized to process non-static requests. The same applies to heavily featured themes. For this reason, it is always a good idea to use caching and a CDN to help reduce the task load for PHP workers. This will optimize your site to process customer requests in the fastest manner possible.

  Start your WooCommerce store knowing that it’s ready to handle traffic requirements. Learn more.

The post What are PHP Workers and Why You Should Care appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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WordCamp US 2019 Roundup from Hostdedi & Liquid Web

WordCamp US 2019 Roundup from Hostdedi & Liquid Web

Liquid Web is a proud sponsor of the WordPress community. This year was our first year as a global sponsor, which means we sponsored every WordCamp in North and Central America. That also included WordCamp US 2019 in St. Louis at the platinum level. This is part of our ongoing commitment to support the WordPress open-source community that supports us.

WordCamp US 2019 is the largest WordCamp in North America each year. Not only did we sponsor the event, but also two of our colleagues, Chris Lema and Steve Grunwell, volunteered their time to prepare and give presentations to the conference attendees on their active areas of expertise. In total, about 20 of our Liquid Web teammates went to WordCamp US. Below is a roundup of how it went, what we thought and what we learned.

The Liquid Web Booth at WordCamp US

State of the Word

One of the highlights of WordCamp US every year is the keynote speech given by one of the co-creators of WordPress, and CEO of Automattic (makers of WordPress.com), Matt Mullenweg. During the State Of The Word, over 1500 conference attendees gather for an update on this year’s latest developments in WordPress. After this, Matt Mullenweg opens the floor for an open Q&A session with any attendee. It is a very unique event. 

Among some of the more interesting developments in WordPress during 2019 was the release of the Open film, a film about the WordPress open-source community, ongoing developments with the Gutenberg block editor, and other items. Additionally, Matt Mullenweg referenced the 9 goals set for WordPress at the State Of The Word last year in 2018 in this blog post. Most have been accomplished!

Alex Denning, owner of Ellipsis Marketing Agency, gathered a live Twitter thread of the rest of the updates delivered at the State Of The World.

The Talks

Of course, the main attraction during WordCamp US is the community-presented talks. WordCamp US consisted of two days of talks, and each day had three tracks. The last day was a Contributor Day event. At WordCamp, no speakers are paid–the whole conference, in fact, is volunteer-driven. Our teammates Steve Grunwell and Chris Lema presented. Steve spoke to us about testing in WordPress, and Chris spoke on business and strategy. 

In addition, Nathan Ingram from our sister company over at iThemes hosted a panel called “How The WordPress Community Can Embrace The Next Generation.” In this panel, we watched younger WordCamp speakers present on what they’re excited about and what gets them interested in the community. It was an excellent reading and inspiring session.

How The WordPress Community Can Embrace The Next Generation

We also attended the highly anticipated workshop by Rebecca Gill. Rebecca walked attendees through a holistic understanding of what it means to have a solid SEO strategy. As we know for both ourselves and the merchants that we serve, having a solid understanding of SEO is key to success as a web professional in 2019.

All WordCamp US events end with a Contributor Day. Contributor Day is a collaborative effort among the attendees of WordCamps to give back to the WordPress project. Attendees gather in a large room and learn how to make the WordPress open-source project better through their contributions. Contrary to what some think, you don’t need to code to contribute to WordPress. Many teams focused on improving open source marketing, providing support for the open source project, and more. Our team sat in on the development, hosting and marketing contribution teams. 

The People & Their Feedback

Of course, for our teams at Liquid Web and Hostdedi, one of the most exciting parts of going to a large event like this is getting to talk to new and existing customers. This was a great opportunity for us: at our final count, we talked to over 110 people over the weekend! We also met some of our favorite customers such as DC-based Knucklepuck and the fully-remote Beacon Agency. In addition, some of the other sponsors were also people we were excited to meet. We were pleased to see AWS Lightsail and Google sponsoring WordCamp US. Opportunities for technology and collaboration that make the life of a web professional easier and better are apparent at WordCamp US.

The people & their feedback

We also use this opportunity to listen deeply. Our partner team representatives consistently asked one of two questions to prospects depending on if they were technically minded or business minded. Either “Tell me about your business strategy for the coming year” or “What hosting and business processes have you changed to make your life easier?”

We learned about what’s making the web better, and we contributed information about our highly profitable affiliate and partner programs, as well as the time and cost-saving benefits of our Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce plans. 

The Activities

Of course, no event is complete without a host of activities to keep everyone entertained and engaged. At the Liquid Web booth we had a photo booth that both employees and attendees used to take photos of themselves, share them with friends, and learn more about our offerings. It was a fun opportunity to kickstart conversations and share in the fun.

We believe that our Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce offerings allow web professionals the flexibility and freedom to focus on what really matters: growing your business and staying happy and healthy. For this reason, we decided that one of our swag items would be Liquid Web-branded hammocks. These hammocks were a huge hit! Our key agency partners and affiliates were invited to receive a Liquid Web hammock, and in addition, we gave them to potential new partners and affiliates to enjoy after the event.

 

Finally, the Liquid Web booth served as the recording location over the weekend for theWomen in WP podcast. They interviewed attendees who identify as women about their experiences. At Liquid Web, we have an ongoing commitment to increasing diversity in technology and it shows. Check out the Women in WP podcast recorded episode at our booth on their home page, as well as our own Liquid Web Women In Technology series. 

 

Wrapping It Up

Our team contributed and gained a lot from attending WordCamp US 2019. But you don’t have to travel all the way to St. Louis in 2020 to do the same thing. By checking out the WordCamp Central page, you can find a local WordCamp event near you–and if it’s in North or Central America, we’ll see you there! In addition, 2020 will also bring us WordCamp Europe and WordCamp Asia, in Porto, Portugal and Bangkok, Thailand respectively, for our international WordPress fans. We’re excited to go into 2020 energized for more success with WordPress and WooCommerce. When it comes to your next choice in hosting and managed services for your WordPress and WooCommerce site, consider our Liquid Web application hosting on our Hostdedi platform.

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Carrie Wheeler Talks Innovative Solutions with WIWP at WCUS

Carrie Wheeler Talks Innovative Solutions with WIWP at WCUS



Another year of WordCamp US has come and gone, and we hope everyone who attended – and didn’t attend – found the best hosting solution for their business. This year, our partner Liquid Web was in attendance. Not only did they offer some incredible booth experiences (recap article to come!), but team members also hosted sessions and talked community.

Carrie Wheeler, executive vice president and COO of Liquid Web, talked with the Women in WordPress, discussing her journey to where she is now and how Liquid Web and Hostdedi are offering innovative solutions that help both merchants and content creators to do more. Below are some of our highlights. 

 

On her journey to where she is now

“It’s been a “three decade journey. Started in consulting. I started in software development. Spent a couple of decades in telecommunications […] and along that path got super passionate about cloud hosting.” 

 

On why she has such a passion for cloud hosting

 “I’ve just seen the entire explosion of technology […] and it is just such a huge enabler for businesses.”

 

On creating innovative solutions for the community

“We could not be happier to be a big part of this community. We love the fact that it is the democratization of publishing. [And] we’re putting together the best platform you could possibly have for both content and commerce.” 

 

To hear the full podcast, watch the video below or visit womeninwp.com.

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How the Success of WordPress is Due to its Plugin Ecosystem

How the Success of WordPress is Due to its Plugin Ecosystem



WordPress’s plugin ecosystem is one of its greatest strengths. As we write, there are over 50,000 plugins in the official repository, a number that doesn’t include premium plugins and custom plugins created for individual WordPress sites. Plugins range in functionality from tiny interface tweaks to full-featured ecommerce applications, all taking advantage of the hooks and frameworks built into WordPress by its developers.
About a third of the web runs on WordPress — tens of millions of sites — so we’re used to statistics about WordPress involving big numbers. However, it’s worth taking a moment to think about what a staggering achievement the WordPress plugin ecosystem is and how many thousands of hours of developer time have been dedicated to creating plugins, the vast majority of which are free and open source.
When Matt Mullenweg started work on WordPress in 2003, it was by no means a certainty that there would be a plugin ecosystem. Many early blogging engines were not designed with a modular architecture. Towards the end of 2003, Ryan Boren joined the nascent WordPress project and his work led to the creation of the plugin system we know today.
Mullenweg created Blogtimes, one of the first useful plugins which is still in the plugin repository, although it was last updated 14 years ago. He also created Hello Dolly, which was bundled with WordPress installations to demonstrate how to build plugins.

What Makes Plugins So Powerful?

Plugins are powerful because they allow anyone to create a feature for WordPress without it having to be included in every WordPress site. WordPress’s history would be very different if every possible feature had to be included in WordPress Core. It would be bloated beyond recognition if even a tiny fraction of the features available as plugins were installed as part of the application, not least because it would lead to a horrendously complex interface.
Plugins serve a purpose beyond allowing WordPress to maintain a slimline application and a manageable user experience. The WordPress 5.0 release lists 12 lead developers and 423 contributors. That’s a lot for an open source project, and it’s challenging to organize so many people, especially when most contribute for free. However, a conservative estimate for the number of people working on plugins is hundreds of times the number working on WordPress itself.
For all practical purposes, it’s impossible to organize that many people to work on a monolithic application while hitting deadlines, maintaining security, and adhering to quality standards. Plugins can be developed independently of the core application, by organizations and individuals that manage themselves, that aren’t tied to the needs and release schedules of the main application, and that can create features that are useful to thousands but that aren’t a good use of the core developer’s time.
Without the plugin system, WordPress as we know it wouldn’t exist. It may not have existed at all in 2019, perhaps being remembered only by historians of content management systems. How many WordPress users are familiar with b2/cafelog, the CMS that WordPress replaced?
Thanks to its modularity and the dedication of thousands of developers, WordPress went from strength to strength and is today one of the most important pieces of software in the world.

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Debunking WordPress Hosting Security Myths

Debunking WordPress Hosting Security Myths

Debunking WordPress Hosting Security MythsWordPress hosting is complex. Every WordPress site depends on a stack of software and hardware created by companies and communities with standards and values that are difficult to understand from the outside. This gives rise to misunderstandings and myths, especially where security is concerned.

In this article, we look at some of the most pernicious WordPress hosting myths, with a particular focus on myths that lead to security mistakes.

Small Sites Don’t Get Hacked

The media often reports on significant security breaches where the attacker’s goal seems obvious. The victims store gigabytes of personal data that can be used for identity theft. Many store credit card numbers, which are stolen for obvious reasons. Some attackers are engaged in industrial espionage.

None of that applies to smaller websites with a handful of user accounts: not much useful personal data there. They rarely store credit card numbers, wisely opting to use a payment processor. So why would a criminal invest the effort to hack a small site?

First, it isn’t much of an effort. Most hacking is automated: bots trawl the web for vulnerable sites, compromising them with pre-programmed attacks. The attacker sets his bots loose and waits for the IP addresses to come rolling in.

Second, even a small site is valuable. It has an audience, who can be infected with malware. It can be dragooned into the attacker’s botnet and used to compromise other sites or to take part in DDoS attacks. It can be used for SEO spam. Every website represents a package of bandwidth, storage, and processing power — all of which are useful to criminals.

If It Works, Why Upgrade?

People who don’t spend their lives staring at code on a screen are quite satisfied when technology does what it’s supposed to. They may feel that updates, which bring changes, are an unwelcome disruption. WordPress isn’t hard to learn, but it’s hard enough that the thought of change worries some of its millions of users.

People who use WordPress every day become accustomed to it. They prefer to avoid change for the sake of change, and so they are often reluctant to update. After all, why alter what works.

The developer’s answer to this is two-fold. Software never stands still and has to change to keep up with changes in the world. And, more importantly, updates fix bugs that cause security vulnerabilities. A site that has not been updated for a few months is almost certainly vulnerable. In the previous section, we talked about botnets and automated hacking. It is unpatched content management systems that those bots seek. Eventually, they will find an unpatched site, and it will be hacked.

I’d Know If There Was A Problem

What does a hacked website look like? For the most part, it looks like a website that hasn’t been hacked — especially to its owner. As we have discussed, bad actors breach a website because they want its data, resources, visitors, or SEO potential. If the site owner finds out they have been hacked, the bad actor loses access to those resources. So, they’re sneaky. They try to hide.

If you’re looking closely, you might notice spikes in bandwidth or memory use. If you regularly scan for malware, you might find their malicious code. But if you use the site normally, you’re unlikely to see anything is amiss.

Take SEO spam as an example. When a site is compromised, links to sites the attacker wants to promote are injected into its content. Those links are visible to Google, and they might be visible to ordinary visitors, but they are hidden from people logged in to the site.

That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly scan your site with a tool like Sucuri or Wordfence. They spot malicious code and let you know about it. If you don’t scan, then you are most likely to find out about an attack when Google starts warning your audience that your site is unsafe.

SSL Keeps Your Site Secure

SSL certificates have two jobs. They encrypt data traveling over the network from a server to a browser and back again. And they are used by browsers to verify that they are connected to the host they expect. That’s all SSL certificates do. They are an essential security and privacy tool, but they don’t protect data stored on the site’s server. Nor do they protect a site from attackers seeking to exploit vulnerabilities.

Every WordPress Plugin Is Free

This is a pernicious myth that causes people to download malware-infected plugins. Most WordPress plugins are open sourced under the GPL license. When the developer distributes the plugin, they also distribute the source code. They are required to do so by the license.

Often, open source software is free. It doesn’t cost any money to use. WordPress itself is open source and free. But some open source software is not free to use. Premium WordPress plugins are in this category: they are open source, but the developer expects users to pay a license fee to use the plugin.

When users pay the fee, they get the source code, as required. But open source doesn’t mean the developer has to give everyone the source code — just the people to whom the plugin is distributed, the people who have paid. This is commonly misunderstood. It is perfectly legal to take the code of a premium theme and give it away for free once you have paid for it, but this is discouraged in the WordPress community, for obvious reasons.

You might be wondering what this has to do with security. Bad actors know that people want to use premium plugins without paying for them. So, they take the plugin, add a sprinkling of malware, and give it away for free. These “nulled” or “pirate” plugins contain backdoors and other malicious code. When an unsuspecting WordPress user installs the nulled plugin, they give control of their site to an attacker. Installing pirate plugins on your site is a bad idea.

We’ve covered five common WordPress hosting myths in this post, and there are many more that we might have included. If you’d like to see a follow up post that dives into more WordPress hosting myths, let us know in the comments.

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WordPress Terms New WordPress Users Need To Know

WordPress Terms New WordPress Users Need To Know

WordPress Glossary- WordPress Terms New WordPress Users Need To KnowIt’s easier to get started with WordPress than any other leading content management system, deliberately so because WordPress was designed to make publishing on the web as intuitive as possible. However, your introduction to WordPress will go more smoothly if you understand a handful of key concepts. In this short glossary, we’re going to look at nine concepts that are important to understanding how WordPress works, concepts that will prove useful to you as you write, publish, and manage your WordPress site.

Posts And Pages

WordPress organizes web pages into two groups: posts and pages. Posts are, essentially, blog posts, although they might be used to publish videos, podcasts, or other media. The most important thing to know about Posts is that they are displayed in reverse chronological order on the posts page, which is often the homepage of the site.

A page is any other webpage on your site: the About page, or a landing page, for instance. Pages are not displayed in blog listings, but they typically appear in navigation menus.

Open Source

WordPress is open source software. That means WordPress is distributed with its source code, which can be modified by anyone. WordPress development is a collaborative effort between developers working in the open. Because WordPress is open source, it is also free, and it will remain free forever.

User Roles

Each WordPress user has a user role. User roles control what the user has permission to do on the site. The site owner and perhaps other trusted accounts are assigned the Administrator user role. They have permission to change settings, publish and unpublish content, install plugins and themes, and more. Other roles include Editor, Author, and Contributor. An account assigned the Author user role can publish and manage their posts, but they can’t manage other people’s posts or install plugins.

User roles are a key security feature: account holders should be given a user role that grants only the permissions they require. A writer shouldn’t be given admin privileges, and the number of administrator accounts should be as small as possible.

Taxonomies

Taxonomies organize the content on a WordPress site. There are two types of taxonomy, categories, and tags. Categories organize content into groups, often by subject matter. A post can belong to one category. A food blog might have categories for recipes, tool reviews, and tutorials. Categories are frequently used in a WordPress site’s navigation menu, and each category has an associated category page that displays all posts in that category. You can see the categories for this blog in the sidebar, or beneath the article list on mobile browsers.

Tags are a little different. There is no limit to the number of tags a post can have. They are more flexible than categories and are often used to group posts with similar topics. Our example food blog has a “recipes” category, but a recipe for guacamole might also have tags for avocado, dip, salad, and Mexican.

The way a site uses taxonomies affects its information architecture, search engine optimization, and user experience, so it is worth taking the time to devise a logical and coherent category and tag structure.

Database

WordPress is a dynamic content management system. Rather than storing web pages ready-made on a hard drive, WordPress generates them on the fly, running code that gathers data to construct an HTML page the browser understands. The data is stored in a database, a program that organizes and indexes data so that it can be retrieved efficiently. On your Hostdedi WordPress hosting account, the database is a performance-optimized variant of MySQL, the most popular open source database on the web.

As a WordPress site owner, you rarely interact with the database directly, but it is useful to know that content, plugin and theme data, configuration data, and information about users are stored in the database. When you backup a WordPress site, both the files and the database should be copied; it is a common mistake to copy only the files, and that is only a fraction of what makes a WordPress site.

Static Front Page

WordPress started life as a blogging engine, and, although it has since developed into a full-featured content management system, it retains some of the qualities of a platform intended primarily for publishing blog posts. This can be seen in the default configuration for the homepage, which displays a reverse chronological list of posts. That’s good for a blog, but not for a business site, where a landing page or traditional homepage is more appropriate.

The Static Front Page setting, which can be found in the Reading Settings section of the Admin menu, replaces the blog listing with a page of the site owner’s choice. In WordPress parlance, a Static Front Page is just a homepage that doesn’t display the blog listing.

Plugins and Themes

WordPress is a modular system: it has a central core that can be augmented with the addition of software packages. These come in two varieties, plugins and themes. Plugins add extra features and enhancements to WordPress. A plugin may make a small tweak to an existing feature; it may introduce a set of related features, such as with a caching or security plugin; or it might transform a large swath of WordPress’ functionality and user experience, as with a plugin like WooCommerce. There are tens of thousands of free plugins to choose from as well as premium plugins with advanced features and support.

Themes govern how WordPress looks and features related to its appearance. Every WordPress site has a theme that determines its front-end color schemes, typography, and page layouts. Basic themes provide a simple set of appearance configurations whereas more complex themes are packed with features such as sliders and drag-and-drop page builders. As with plugins, there are thousands of free themes and a large market for premium themes.

Caching

As we discussed in the database entry, WordPress is a dynamic content management system: it generates pages as they are requested. Dynamic content generation is key to WordPress’ ability to show different content to users, but it is slower than serving pre-generated content. Caching allows content that was generated in response to a previous request to be served more than once; if the content doesn’t change, it is a waste of resources to generate it for every request. Caching can make WordPress site much faster while consuming fewer server resources.

Caching can occur at many points during the process of serving pages. At Hostdedi, we equip WordPress sites with the W3 Total Cache plugin and install Memcached on all WordPress hosting plans.

WordPress Hosting

Hosting puts a WordPress site on the web. It provides the server that runs WordPress’ code and that supports the database. It also provides a network connection to the internet. There are many different types of WordPress hosting, from shared hosting to dedicated server hosting and cloud hosting.

WordPress hosting providers offer the same basic service, but they are not the same where performance, reliability, and security are concerned. To learn more about what makes a great WordPress host, take a look at how we optimize our WordPress hosting platform.

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