Delivering the top tips for achieving the highest-performance for your website and getting the most of your marketing efforts.
A2 Hosting recognized Earth Day for the entire month of April. We planted two trees for each hosting package we sold during the month. CarbonFund.org also pitched in by planting a tree for each package sold, for a total of three trees.
Thanks to our customers, we were able to plant a ton of trees. Take a look at the environmental impact of our Three Tree Initiative below. We planted enough trees to:
I've read a lot of studies saying that if you add some sort of 3rd party trust seal to your site, your website visitors are going to be 80%, 90% or even 200% more likely to purchase from you. While these seals probably do help to a certain extent, developing trust with your audience goes a lot deeper than merely putting a seal on your site. Let's explore some ways you can develop trust with your audience.
You could have the most innovative product and exactly what your site visitors are looking for, but if your site looks like it was put together haphazardly or like it is from the 90's, it's difficult to build trust. We've all seen a site like this and it is only natural to wonder who are the people behind the site. Not everyone has a huge budget for designing a site, but there are plenty of affordable and even free template sites you can use. If your site is outdated, it may be time to refresh it with a new look!
Write An About Page
Like I said, it's important for your visitors to see who is behind the company. That's what an About page is perfect for. Tell your visitors about you, your employees and your company's story. Knowing that there are actual people behind the company is a huge trust builder.
Have A Blog & Keep It Updated
A blog is the perfect way to put your own creative voice behind your company and products. Your visitors will appreciate it! You're going to want to keep it updated though. If you haven't posted since 2009, your visitors are going to wonder if you're still around and available, especially if you have any questions!
Ask the customers who you have your closest or most high profile relationships with for a review of your product or service. As we know, peer reviews are invaluable. Let your site visitors know about your existing successful customer relationships to help increase their own comfort level.
Proofread Your Content
This rule makes me paranoid because I'm scared I'm going to have a grammatical error in this post and look like a hypocrite. Even though it's risky to suggest this, I can't urge you enough to proofread your content for spelling errors and grammar errors. When someone reads the content on your site, it's in place of speaking to them in person. You want to keep your professionalism at its highest level by having error-less content.
Provide Superior Products & Service
Let's be honest, the best way you can build trust is by offering the very best product and service as you can. Be friendly, be helpful and always respond to your visitors in a timely manner. Nothing beats a customer for life, except a well connected customer for life who spreads the word about your products to their friends!
Last year when we were sending out our happy hour invitation, we made a minor, last second edit to it. Since we didn't quite know how well the event would turn out, we changed the invitation from the First "Annual" A2 Hosting Happy Hour to just The First A2 Hosting Happy Hour. The good news is that the event was such a good time that we in fact decided to do it again.
Come on out and join us on June 6th from 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM EST at the Corner Brewery (720 Norris Street Ypsilanti, MI). Mingle with the A2 Hosting staff and some of our other customers! If that's not a good enough reason to join us, we're going to have free food, free drinks and even giveaways (including an IPAD mini)!
So we can best plan for the event, please let us know by May 31st that you will be attending. We can't wait to meet you and to see you there!
PHP is the language of the web. Whatever your personal thoughts on it, its popularity cannot be denied. Many of the web's most popular applications are written in PHP and even with the growth of Ruby and Node.js, PHP is not going away any time soon. Beyond the massive entrenchment in existing applications, one of the main reasons PHP continues to hold the top spot is that the team behind it continues to add new features. A2 Hosting now offers PHP 5.5 Hosting! Just select PHP 5.5 in your cPanel control panel with our our exclusive PHP Switcher.
PHP 5.5 brings a nice assortment which should make developer's lives easier. I'll highlight a few of them here.
Finally, it's finally!
Those who follow PHP's development may remember a bit of a kerfuffle about the finally keyword a while ago. It was a highly requested feature that the developers behind PHP insisted wasn't necessary because its functionality could be duplicated (very clumsily) via other means. Simply put, finally lets you attach code to a try catch block which should be run whether or not an exception is thrown. You might think that means finally is useless since code after the try catch block would run next even without finally, right? In many cases that might be true, but if you have code within your try catch that alters the flow (e.g. throwing another exception which is caught elsewhere) that code after the block may never run or may be run much later. The finally block lets you ensure the code within it always runs before normal execution resumes, which can be quite handy.
Generators via yield keyword
A feature that is coming in ECMAScript 6 as well, Generators are a great design pattern. In PHP (and ES6) they are accomplished via the yield keyword. Yield lets you return a value to the calling code without actually ending execution of the generator function. This means you can iterate over an array of values or objects without actually building up that array. That obviously saves a lot of memory. In asyncronous languages like ES they're even more useful, but just the saving they provide in PHP is reason enough to use generators over regular iterators where appropriate.
Array and string literal dereferencing
Previously PHP wouldn't allow you to write [1, 2, 3] you would have to first do $foo = [1, 2, 3] followed by $foo after. While most of the time this means PHP was forcing you to write cleaner code, there can be situations where directly dereferncing a literal is preferable. Well, now you can! Let's just hope people use this feature wisely.
There's obviously a lot more in PHP 5.5 than just what I've talked about here. Check out the full list for yourself to get it all.
I spend a bit of time on online marketing forums and one of the common questions I see asked is how to drive traffic to a new website. My first suggestion is always to write unique, relevant content and make sure that the site is optimized with the keywords that are being targeted. I like starting with SEO because it's a long term strategy. The content on your site does not go away. The second suggestion I generally make is PPC because it's targeted and if done correctly, it can be affordable.
Obviously there are tons of other ways to market your site besides SEO and PPC (like guest blogging, forums and social media) there comes a time though that you'll probably want to try display advertising. This can be an effective strategy especially since the average person needs to see new information at least 3 times before it registers for immediate recollection.
As with any marketing tactic, there needs to be a bit of a strategy behind it. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you get started.
1.) Who Are You Targeting?
You don't want to just start buying ad space without first considering where your target market is spending their time online. The first place I would look is at your Analytics sources to see where your traffic is actually coming from. If you look past PPC, direct traffic and organic traffic, I would look to see which sites are referring traffic to you and find similar ones to potentially advertise on. You can also get creative based on your product. If you sell treadmills, you probably will want to advertise on running sites, fitness sites and weight loss sites.
2.) What's Your Unique Message?
If you're just starting display advertising, you probably don't have a huge budget. This can make it difficult to compete in industries where you have mammoth competitors because you can't just plaster your logo or company name on a banner. That's OK. You just have to be unique in your messaging. If you haven't identified what sets you apart from your competitors, this is a great time to. Are you the strongest, most affordable, the fastest, most sleek? Put this message on your banners.
3.) Do Your Homework!
Before purchasing any ad space, you'll want to create a list of places you'd like to advertise and get their pricing guides. I highly recommend focusing on your CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) and getting the most bang for your buck. If you can get 10,000 impressions on one site for a $5 CPM ($50 total) or 50,000 impressions on a very similar site for $1 CPM ($50 total), which site makes more sense to advertise on?
4.) Placement On The Page
Let's take the same situation as I've described above. Now let's say the site where you can get 10,000 impressions for $50 has only 1 ad on their site and it's highly visible, right at the top of the page. On the flip side, the site where you can get 50,000 impressions at $50 has 5 other ads on the site and the one they're offering you is buried at the bottom of the page where nobody will see it. Which is a better deal now? Placement on the page and the number of competing ads on the site should be another consideration when you make your ad purchases. I'm proponent of advertising above the fold with as few competing ads as possible.
5.) Rotate Your Ads
When possible, use 2 or more versions of your ads when advertising, especially when you can see the clickthrough rates. If you're buying ads based on CPM and not CPC (cost per click) you definitely want to use the banners that have the highest clickthrough rate possible. Not only does this mean you're driving traffic to your site, but it also can help you evaluate the effectiveness of the ad placement. If you have 2 drastically different ads rotating on the same placement and both have a very low clickthrough rate, there is a chance that not many people are viewing your ad at all. Your ad dollars are probably more effective spent elsewhere.