A2 Posting

The Official Blog For A2 Hosting

Delivering the top tips for achieving the highest-performance for your website and getting the most of your marketing efforts.

  • Now Featuring PHP 7 Hosting

    With the recent Alpha release of PHP 7, A2 Hosting is proud to be one of the first providers to offer PHP 7 Hosting. PHP 7 is available on A2 Hosting’s Turbo Web Hosting service. Our PHP Switcher makes it easy to move between multiple PHP versions including PHP 5.1-5.6, and of course PHP 7.

     

    With speed being a key focal point of PHP 7, the PHP development team decided to move past PHP 6 which had entirely different goals. It appears the PHP developers have been successful so far in meeting their performance goals. Tests show PHP 7 performs 100%, and even faster in some tests, than PHP 5.6. This is not surprising as PHP 7 is based on the PHPNG project (PHP Next-Gen), designed to speed up PHP applications.

     

    PHP 7 Alpha is a development preview so it's not quite ready for production use and there is no guarantee of specific application compatibility as of yet. However a full PHP 7 release is scheduled for this year.

    Get PHP 7!

  • Accessibility Testing with Tota11y

    Khan Academy has released a new accessibility testing plugin called Tota11y. It's a JavaScript plugin that can go in any web page and help you identify accessibility issues with your website. It will not only help you identify the problems with your site, but offer suggestions on how to correct the problems. Some of the categories that Tota11y will look at include:

    Headings - Making sure that you are using H1, H2, etc. tags properly so that readers can organize the sections properly.

    Contrast - Most designers know that text needs to contrast with the background, but making sure that the backgrounds of different sections contrast with each other enough to make them distinct is also important.

    Link Text - Common phrases like "click here" can be extremely ambiguous when being read out by a reader. Especially if there are multiple of them.

    Labels - A label that is properly labeled as such in within the HTML is important. Simply putting a span or div adjacent to the input is not enough.

    Tota11y will help with more than just the issues above. Problems with these can make navigating your site difficult or even impossible for some of your users. Correcting these problems is often easier than you might think, and is obivously the right thing to do. 

  • Is User Experience The #1 SEO Ranking Factor?

    Still stuck in the mindset that tons of backlinks and tons of content is the most effective way to skyrocket up Google's rankings? Sure these both have an impact on your rankings, but always make sure to provide a positive user experience for your users. Google has even been quoted in previous blog posts about rewarding high quality sites that "The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs. "

     

    So what are some of the important factors to keep in mind when providing a quality user experience? Obviously there is a lot more than what I can cover in a single blog post, but here are a few of the key items to look out for:

     

    Your Site's Speed

     

    Perhaps the most important user experience factor is your website's speed. Google has specifically mentioned that site speed does play a part in their algorithm. Just think about how maddening it is waiting for a slow page to load. It should come as no surprise that a 1-second page load delay decreases visitor satisfaction by 16%. If you don't care about SEO rankings, you should care about the fact that the same 1-second delay lowers conversion rates by 7%.

     

     

    Mobile Friendly

     

    In April, Google announced that they were going to give priority to mobile friendly sites in their mobile SERPs. After all, mobile devices now account for over 50% (by most reports) of Google's paid search clicks. They want to provide a great experience for those users searching from mobile devices. Sites accessed via mobile with a ton of text and require a lot of pinch/zoom equate to a negative user experience.

     

     

    Clear Calls To Action

     

    Your site should invite your visitors to read, explore, and/or take an action. Think of call to actions as the GPS directions to make it easy for your users to navigate your site, find the information they're interested in and maybe even make a purchase. Your CTA's should be clearly visible (I recommend not using the color you select for your CTA buttons anywhere else on your site), should give clear directions, limit the number of options available and look click-able.

     

    Streamlined Homepages

     

    You do not want to bombard your users with all the information they could ever want right on your homepage. This may seem counter-intuitive for SEOs since content is generally viewed as king, but by segmenting out all the content listed on your homepage into individual pages and funnels, you greatly increase your opportunities for even more content. Just make sure to use those clear calls to action to navigate to that content, and you're delivering the content you're promising from your links.

  • Up To 20X Faster Turbo Reseller Hosting

    Recently, one of our most requested features has been for Turbo Reseller Hosting. This is understandable considering we offer Turbo Servers, featuring up to 20X faster page loads, on our Web Hosting, Managed VPSVPS Hosting and Dedicated Hosting packages. Our Reseller Hosting customers were requesting that they get the boost provided by Turbo as well. Your requests were received loud and clear. We have launched Turbo Reseller Hosting!

     

    Our Reseller customers, and their customers, can now experience the many benefits of our Turbo servers including:

     

    • Use less CPU and memory than Apache
    • Handle connections faster and more efficiently
    • Provide enhanced stability
    • SwiftCache – Our exclusive pre-configured website accelerator

     

    Are you a current customer who wants to move to Turbo? Just contact our sales staff for more information. Migration fees may apply.  

  • Introducing Our Amsterdam & Singapore Data Centers!

    It's obvious one of our primary goals is to offer you the fastest hosting service possible. Our team of engineers work hard everyday to optimize our servers so you get this fast service. With the launch of not just one new data center, but two, we're bringing those servers closer to your website visitors. After all, how close your data is to your visitors can have an impact on your site's load times. That's why we're excited to announce the launch of our service in both our European data center in Amsterdam and our Asian data center in Singapore.

     

    Our Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, Managed VPS and VPS services are now available in both of these data centers. Best of all, our high powered Turbo service is available for each of these services in all our data center options as well. Interested in hosting your site in our Amsterdam or Singapore data center? Contact our sales staff for more information. Migration fees may apply.

     

    Interested in ordering a new hosting package in one of our new data centers? Just select the service you'd like to use and choose the data center of your choice from our order form!

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