Tag Archives: Superb Internet

Don’t let 33% of customers fall through the cracks

superb-wordpress-header

Today we continue our Black Friday Bootcamp to show you how to make sure your website is mobile-friendly and fast.

The reason we want a mobile-friendly website is because mobile devices accounted for over one-third of ALL sales transactions in 2015.

The name of the game for Black Friday and holiday shopping is to maximize every single visitor. This means we need to ensure our website is optimized for mobile devices.

In addition, Google reports that 77% of mobile searches occur at home or work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present. And I think it’s safe to assume that people will be shopping from the office for this holiday season.

If you’ve not updated your website in a few years, my guess is that you could use a few tweaks to be mobile friendly.

Step 1 – Check Your Existing Site(s)

The first thing we need to do is head over to Google and run a check on your existing website.

You can do that here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

With any luck, your website will already be mobile-friendly and you’ll see the following message per screenshot below. If so, I’ll see you in our next Black Friday Bootcamp article!

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If by any chance you were hit with the following message, there’s a few things we can do to make it mobile friendly.

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Assuming that your website is not mobile – think we can remove this line entirely.

Step 2 – How Did You Create Your Site(s)?

In order for us to fix the mobile-friendly problem, we need to know how your website was built.

How was your website built?

  • Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla!, or Drupal
  • Someone else built the website
  • I built the website myself and understand coding

I’ll go over a plan of action for each of the above.

Assuming you used WordPress (the most popular CMS), your road to becoming mobile-friendly is rather easy.

WordPress Mobile Websites

First thing you need to do is make sure your WordPress installation is fully up to date. Contact the Superb Internet’s support guru’s if you need help updating WordPress.

If you wish to update WordPress on your own, login to WordPress for the website you wish to make mobile-friendly.

Once logged in, look under the “Home” link for “Updates.” This will be in the top left corner of your WordPress dashboard.

Once you have located the “Updates” link, click it.

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You will then be taken to a new page where you will be told what updates you need.

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Once you are up-to-date, your website should be mobile-friendly.

You can re-check your website using the Google Mobile check:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

If you still don’t pass, we can install plugins that will fix everything for us.

Generally, updating WordPress should resolve it. But if your website is still not mobile-friendly then your theme is most likely causing the problem. We can perform a work around by installing the following plugins:

And most current theme’s (if not all) are mobile-friendly for WordPress.

Now, if you are using an alternate CMS, you can visit the following links for more help:

You may ask, “What if someone else has built my website?

Website(s) Built By A Web Designer Or Programmer

You’ll need to contact your web designer to see if they are capable of making your existing site mobile-friendly. With that said, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing a web developer for this project:

  1. Make it easy for customers. Show them what they want and make it easy for them to take action.
  2. Design for all devices using responsive design. Tablets, phones, desktops.
  3. Use the same domain, don’t place your mobile site on a sub-domain. This just increases work and confusion.
  4. Ask for references and a portfolio of mobile websites.
  5. Make sure your mobile site loads quickly. 4 seconds or less is the general rule of thumb given to us by Google.

But what if you built the site yourself?

I Built The Website Myself

If you understand HTML coding, congrats! You’ll be able to knock this all out on your own.

The good thing is, Google has a checklist you can go over when designing your website here.

I’ll be back in a day or two and we’ll start doing the fun stuff and I’ll give you a few idea’s so you can organize a plan for Black Friday so your sales don’t evaporate.

Is Your Website Ready for Holiday Traffic?

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Today’s Black Friday Bootcamp Checklist is all about speed.

Slow pages =  lower conversions (lost $$).

Is your website built for speed this shopping season?

If not, it’s OK.

We’ll get your hosting ready with today’s checklist item.

You’ll learn what you can do to welcome traffic surges and prevent high-latency and bottlenecks.

High amounts of traffic can cause the “Shark Tank Effect” resulting in slow downs, bottlenecks and outages… and pages that won’t load.

An Aberdeen Group study showed that a 1 second delay in page load time equals 11% drop in page views and a 7% loss in conversions.

Internet retailers discovered when load time is reduced from 8 seconds to 2 seconds, conversions went up by a staggering 74%.

Outages can occur when your hosting plan has limitations on traffic or processing power.

Luckily, you can easily do a few things to reduce the “load” on your server… ensuring that it will work fast and deliver your web pages, even when your site is busy.

Check #1: Content Delivery Network

The first thing you need to do is setup a Content Delivery Network… or CDN for short.

A CDN is a collection of servers placed in diverse locations around the World. The CDN works by storing images, large files, videos, and audio files.

When a visitor hits your website, the CDN decides which location is closest to the site visitor and then sends the files for download from that location. The closer the server sending the images and data, the faster the end user experience.

Here’s some research on how site speed affects user experience:

  • Conversion rate increases 74% when load time decreases from 8 to 2 seconds (real-user monitoring data from 33 major retailers)
  • Aberdeen Group study showed that a one second delay in page load time equals 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.
  • One marketer got an 8.47% conversion rate improvement by moving his landing page onto a faster host.
  • Shopzilla sped up their site by 5 seconds and increased the conversion rate 7-12%.
  • Shaving 2.2 seconds off Mozilla’s landing pages increased download conversions by 15.4%, which they estimate will result in 60 million more Firefox downloads per year.
  • Amazon reported way back in 2006 that they got 1% revenue increase for every 100ms of improvement.

The faster your website loads, the higher your conversions.

=> Click Here to Try the Superb Internet CDN for FREE

A CDN is easy to use and easy to setup. In fact, you can be up and running in just minutes.

The Superb Internet CDN has 172 Points of Presence in 113 cities across 43 countries. Your content will be delivered fast – no matter where your website visitors are located.

Next up: Check #2: Choosing the right hosting plan.

We’ll dig deeper next week to get you ready for the 2016 holiday shopping season.

Black Friday Bootcamp (Are You Ready?)

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For the next two weeks, I will show you how to prepare for Black Friday so you can increase your traffic and conversions.

I’ll also show you how to create an annual marketing plan, enabling you to increase your revenue throughout the year.

We’ll release articles every few days with actionable steps so you aren’t overwhelmed. This will make it quick and easy for you to prepare for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.

But first, let’s look at some numbers before we dive into this “Black Friday Bootcamp” series.

Online shoppers spent a record $4.45 BILLION dollars during Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales last year.

And according to IBM statistics, consumers cashed in on Black Friday deals:

The average order value for the mobile and desktop shopper combined for Black Friday 2015 was $127.84, down slightly from 2014($129.37)

That’s a lot of money, and you can grab your chunk of it with the proper preparation.

Interestingly, over one-third of ALL sales transactions were completed using mobile devices. Smartphones accounted for 44.7% of all online traffic, 3 and a half times that of tablets at 12.5%.

In addition, I was surprised to learn 40% of customers begin researching their holiday shopping before Halloween (according to the National Retail Federation).

The NRF expects retail sales in November and December to increase 3.6% (to $655.8 BILLION). Online sales are forecasted to grow between 7 and 10% over 2015, by as much as $117 billion dollars.

The good thing is, you have plenty of time to prepare for the holiday sales season.

My sincere hope is that you implement all that you can to improve your sales process. This alone will ensure more profitability throughout the year.

By the end of this series, you will be prepared and ready to maximize revenue this holiday season and throughout the year.

Here’s your Black Friday Bootcamp Checklist:

  • Get your hosting ready. How to welcome traffic surges and prevent high-latency and bottlenecks
  • How to make it rain – steps to plan and organize sales for Black Friday so your sales don’t evaporate
  • Change their mind and increase your profits – the best methods for reducing abandoned shopping carts
  • Copywriting basics you can use to create stunning and convincing banners and text ads for Black Friday
  • Borrow Amazon’s ‘teaser method’ to create buzz in advance for any marketplace
  • Turning the old to new again – using pixels on your site to bring back old traffic and customers for cheap
  • 5 tweaks to your Facebook page that will boost Black Friday sales immediately
  • This method drove 27% of last year’s holiday sales and it can work for you too
  • Do this now and you’ll turn one-time shoppers into year-round customers
  • Watch your competition closely with this technique to remain ahead of the game
  • Surefire way to create a blazing email campaign for Black Friday that’ll lure anyone

I’m really excited about this new marketing series.

As you can see above, we will cover a lot of topics. Don’t worry though, each lesson on our checklist will be easily actionable… taking only a few minutes out of your day.

The end result will be a streamlined process for boosting sales not just for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but year-round.

Be sure to check tomorrow for the first check to perform so you can be ready for Black Friday.

Source(s):
National Retail Federation: https://nrf.com/sites/default/files/Documents/NRF%202014%20Holiday%20Survival%20Kit%20REV.pdf
https://nrf.com/resources/consumer-data/holiday-headquarters
IBM: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions/benchmark-reports/black-friday-2015.html

Xen vs. OpenVZ & Shoelaces vs. Velcro, Part 2

 

Xen Topology
Xen Topology (Photo credit: lindztrom)

At Superb Internet, we have virtual private servers (VPSs) as an alternative to dedicated or shared hosting. As you may be aware, the VPS solution lies between dedicated and shared. Essentially, it allows you a plot of server soil to call your own while not causing you to have to bear the upfront cost and maintenance expenses of an entire independent server.

In this article, we are looking at two potential platforms you can use to establish and run a VPS: Xen and OpenVZ. The comments of Scott Yang (HostingFu), VPS6.net (via HostingDiscussion.com), and Steven (The Linux Fix) all bolster our sense of the subject and provide a well-rounded picture. Note that our company works specifically with OpenVZ – and the reasoning for that is briefly provided at the conclusion of this three-part series.
Continue reading Xen vs. OpenVZ & Shoelaces vs. Velcro, Part 2

Choosing Colocation vs. Leasing Dedicated Servers & Landlord Appreciation – Part 2

 

¿Qué es el Web Hosting?

As discussed in the first part of this series, choosing whether to own or rent is sometimes a challenge to determine. With some products, you have to buy. For instance, underwear only comes as a rental in Belgium, South Korea, and Nauru. More sizable and sophisticated products, though, are available to lease or own worldwide. Dedicated servers are one example of the latter, with the options to use colocation (at a datacenter or web host) or to lease with a hosting service.

This series looks at colocation versus leasing, using thoughts from Webhostingfreaks.net, ITworld, and About Colocation. The first installment focused on the basics. This part and the next one get a little more opinionated, with both of the perspectives I’m citing arguing for colocation (which is an easy argument because you get to build the server, but the investment and expertise required to do so may not be for you).

Beyond dedicated server leasing and colocation, we are also assessing different ways to approach housing: renting versus owning. One great thing about owning a house is that you get to do the yardwork. Yardwork is fun, no matter what your immediate instincts might tell you. For example, you might think, “I have better things to do than pick up sticks and leaves all day,” or “I am horribly allergic to my yard.” You know what, though? Being active by walking around with a rake in the hot sun is healthy.
Continue reading Choosing Colocation vs. Leasing Dedicated Servers & Landlord Appreciation – Part 2

How to Speed Up Your WordPress Server (Part 3) … Plus Some Jokes

 

WordPress dashboard interface

Oh my goodness. Juliet was right that parting is such bitter sorrow (I have that quote right, correct?), which is why this third and final post on optimizing servers for faster WordPress is going to be emotionally challenging for all of us. I’m available to join hands and sing “Kumbaya” with anyone who feels that would help; just give me directions to the campfire. I’ll bring tinder and an open heart.

In the last two articles, we discussed eighteen WordPress speed ideas from Jason McCreary at Pure Concepts; today, we’ll get a different perspective from the programming blog TekBrand. Offering a wide variety of ways to improve the page load times of your site allows you to dabble in a number of different directions so your site is as user-friendly and SEO-friendly (since page load is part of the algorithm) as possible. These tactics will create a WordPress site on steroids; then we’ll have the practitioner destroy all the records afterwards so we can keep playing ball.

Did you know, Susan (assuming your name is Susan), that Superb Internet is a WordPress host? But wait, there’s more! We give you 50% extra standardly: a full 6 months of hosting with every annual package. I know you’re concerned about our bottom line, but we must be generous – the result of a botched hypnosis session that was supposed to help us quit smoking. Now we chain-smoke menthols and give everything away … and our skin feels like melting chocolate, while our minds feel like freezing venison (ah, well).

WordPress & the Need for Speed

Again I’ll quickly note Jason’s thoughts from the previous two installments: those thoughts provide an encapsulated sense of why speed is important and how these ideas can generally improve our Web efforts. Jason’s general thoughts on WordPress speed (which were initially presented at a couple of WorldCamp events in Kentucky and Illinois, neither of which were held on a fleet of canoes):

  • WordPress is a “heavy” content management system (CMS);
  • WordPress is so popular that it is effectively making the Internet slower;
  • Enhancing WordPress increases our overall knowledge of optimizing page loads.

 

Now let’s shift gears with a look at ideas from TekBrand, with Vipul’s four main pieces of advice on the subject, most of which are free (except for the CDN packages and the hot-air balloon to see the entire Internet all at once from the sky, the latter of which costs $16,495 and includes a romantic dinner for two). Before listing Vipul’s specific ideas (we’ll cover some of the same ground from Pure Concepts & then enter new territory), two of his general notes are worth mention:

  • Not just SEO and UX but bounce rate can be significantly improved by optimizing the site’s speed;
  • WordPress plugins can be detrimental to load times, so WP speed must overcome those setbacks.

Speeding Up Your WP Site – Specific Strategies:

  1. Unplugging Plugins – This mirrors an idea from Jason about auditing the plugins on a site to ensure everything is worth it. Plugins add “weight” to the site. They’re like carbs. Remove the bread, and you’ll make more dough.
  2. Caching – Again, we’re familiar with this advice from Jason. Both of these bloggers recommend this same plugin – W3 Total Cache. It makes the entire site operate better. General server performance is improved, and it optimizes the site for global content delivery networks (CDNs). It also tastes like tapioca. Additional caching plugins recommended by Vipul are WP Super Cache & Hyper Cache.
  3. Database Weight – Vipul notes that all the revisions of a post are stored within the WP database. The reason all those revisions are stored is for backup purposes. However, typically there’s no need for all that stuff. WP database optimizing tools can clean it up, like a kind elderly lady giving a sponge bath to a domesticated squirrel (no judgment). Plugins include Optimize Database After Deleting Revisions (the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind of plugins), WP-Optimize, and WP CleanFix.
  4. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) – You can use CDNs with any site, no matter where it’s hosted. In other words, you get your site hosted here (because gosh darnit, I want you as a customer, Susan – your name was Susan, right?) and then integrate the CDNs into your hosting account. Two of the best ones out there are Amazon CloudFront and CloudFlare (the latter of which can warn other aircraft if your hot air balloon gets stuck on the side of the cloud).

Conclusion

We’ve done it. We’ve actually done it. Well, maybe we haven’t done anything. Knowledge, though, as they say, is half the battle. The other part is the actual battle part. Good luck out there. If you have any comments or other ideas (chicken salad recipes, moon landing conspiracy footage), please let us know below.

by Kent Roberts