You just launched a new site for your small business. Congrats! You may be a bakery, a dog salon or an ice cream shop. Now the trick is getting the word out. Focusing on SEO is a great way (and in most cases entirely free) to promote your website and more importantly your business. After all, over 90% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses. Here are a few relatively quick tasks you can complete in a day or two to help those consumers find you.
Claim & Verify Your Google My Business Listing
You'll want to get on Google My Business as soon as possible. Your verified business information will appear on Google maps. Google will also display your address, phone number, hours, business reviews and most importantly a link to your website. How much does this all cost? Nothing!
On Page SEO Best Practices
I recommend taking a moment to review SEO best practices, but here are your basics. I would highly recommend that you include the name of your business and your the name of your city and state (or country) in your home page's title tags. For example, if your business name is Yummy Bakery in Timbuktu, MI, you'll want a title tag that is something similar to "Yummy Bakery : Timbuktu, MI". Regardless of your business name, it's crucial to include the name of your industry in your title tag (bakery, ice cream, car wash etc.).
Make sure to also include the same keyword string used in your title tag somewhere in the content of the corresponding page. You'll want a similar keyword focus for each page on your website.
Also set aside time to write intriguing meta descriptions. If not, Google will choose the meta descriptions. You definitely don't want that.
Local Link Building
There are many opportunities to get free, quick back links. Local Review sites like Merchant Circle and Yelp are a great place to start. You will also find industry directories specializing in your business where you can link back to your site. You will also want to think of all the organizations you may already be involved in. That could be the BBB or your local chamber of commerce. These are all places you could and should be getting links from.
Don't Be Afraid To Get Social
There have been a lot of recent discussions about whether or not links from Facebook pages carry any weight. Putting that discussion aside, it's 2015. Your business should have a Facebook page. No, actually your business requires a Facebook page. Many times Facebook pages are the second Google result when searching for a business and they can drive a significant amount of traffic to your site. Additionally many local consumers get their news and information right on Facebook. An updated Facebook page is the perfect way to interact with your customers and let them know about news related to your company.
At A2 Hosting, we're all about making sure you get the fastest page load speeds possible. That way your audience can have an excellent user experience when they visit your site. Your audience's experience is a big part of the puzzle for you to be successful, but you need an audience in the first place.
Whether you're a one person operation who started a blog as a hobby or an enterprise level business who uses your blog to communicate to your customers, there's a possibility you haven't attracted an audience yet. We're all busy. I understand that. If we each had a few extra hours in the day, we probably wouldn't spend them blogging. What we can do though is tweak the time we do have set aside for blogging so we can be more efficient with how we're spending our time to attract that audience we desperately want. Here are three quick reasons why your blog may not be attracting an audience and what you can do to fix it:
1 - You're Not Active On Social
Stats show that over 30% of website referrals come from social sites. Make sure to use social to promote your blog. Add social sharing buttons to your blog and share your content on your own social sites. These are quick fixes. Also be sure to participate in the conversations taking place about your blog posts when you check social activity throughout the day.
2 - Your Blog Isn't Focused
A blog without a clear cut focal point can cause two key problems. The first is SEO. You may be publishing amazing content, but topics about each and every topic can make it difficult for Google to determine if you're an authority about what you're writing about. Make sure you choose a clear topic you want to focus on for your blog and publish relevant content.
The second reason why a focused blog is important is so you can develop your core audience. If Google can't determine what the main topic of your blog is, will your audience be able to? Do you really want to try to be the next Wikipedia anyway? Once you develop your core audience, keep them coming back with the topics that brought them to you in the first place.
3 - Your Content Doesn't Provide Value
A similar problem to not being focused is whether you're providing value. With Google's 2011 Panda update, it's been almost 5 years since sites with thin content have ranked well. Write for your audience, not for search engines. If you only have time for 1 blog post per week, make it original and thoughtful.
Put the topic of your post at the top of it as you're drafting it to remind yourself to stay on point, in your own unique voice. Your audience is going to appreciate a once per week, 100-word blog post you carefully crafted more than a 500-word post of regurgitated fluff.
When we launched our Turbo Servers back in November 2014, we touted up to 20X faster page load speeds thanks to a number of features like the A2 Optimized Site Accelerator, fewer users per server and enhanced performance over Apache. If 20X faster page loads weren't enough for you to give our Turbo offering a try, we've updated these servers and included even more features:
SPDY is Google's update of the HTTP protocol. It is designed to make the data transmission from a server to the browser faster, decrease latency and streamline data flow all in an effort to make the web faster. While SPDY is available on Turbo Servers, Google has announced they will be ending the development of SPDY in favor of...
HTTP/2 is based on Google's SPDY project and actually marks the first major HTTP update since 1999! Google does not see a reason to continue developing SPDY mainly because the features of SPDY and HTTP/2 are almost identical and HTTP/2 will be an official standard.
The goal of HTTP/2 is obviously improved performance. HTTP/2 delivers files 20%-30% faster than HTTP. It accomplishes this by making network connections more efficient through multiplexing. With HTTP, file loading requests between the browser and server cannot be accomplished until each individual request reaches its turn in a queue. This can cause bottlenecks. With HTTP/2's multiplexing ability, multiple files can be requested at the same time. HTTP/2 also avoids bottlenecks because it can prioritize requests so they don't get stuck behind slow loading requests in a queue.
With ESI, you no longer have to designate an entire page as non-cacheable just because one portion cannot be cached. Instead you can easily designate portions of your page to be cached (or not cached) using ESI.
An example of where ESI is particularly helpful is with a shopping cart like Magento. Since the shopping cart is on every page, the page becomes non-cacheable once a visitor adds a product to the cart. This is a shame since 95% of the page could still be cacheable. ESI allows you to configure different portions of the page so those sections can still have caching speed advantages.
Our Turbo servers makes it easy to setup a WebSocket proxy to a WebSocket beckend. WebSocket's allow you to create two-way interactions between a browser and a website for a realtime web experience. This is perfect for developing live content and realtime games.
According to a recently published Google study, hacked sites are up 180% over the past year. In an effort to help keep your websites and account from becoming another victim, we are excited to announce that we are rolling out our new security solution called Patchman. Patchman is a multi-function security tool that provide the following 3 services free of charge! We are rolling out Patchman on all Shared SSD Hosting accounts and on HDD servers numbered 81+. As Patchman requires cPanel, we are also investigating ways to offer this service on our Reseller, VPS and Dedicated Servers as well.
1) Out of date version detection
One of the most common ways for a hacker to compromise your site is if you’re using insecure, outdated software. Patchman will send you a notification reminding you if you have installed software that is out of date.
2) Infected file quarantine
Patchman will send you a warning if and when it detects an infected file on your account. If infected files are not addressed, they are quarantined 24 hours later for your protection.
WordPress, Joomla and Drupal security issues will be patched. A notification and a reminder will be sent when files are found that can be patched. The patches are back-ports of bug fixes released in updated versions of the installed software. That means that updating to the latest version will likely eliminate the need for patching. After 2-days, the patch will be applied automatically. The patch will not change the installed version of your software.
When Patchman is available on your server, you will be able to use the Patchman icon in cPanel to see outdated applications and files to be patched. The main area shows the files to be patched and offers explanations of why each one should be patched. You can also patch them manually before the automated process. In the upper right corner you can get a list of outdated applications, control notifications and start a new scan.
Not only can hacked sites ruin years of hard work, they can ruin your reputation and be costly to fix. Our hope is that with the launch of Patchman on your account, we can help prevent that from happening to you. We welcome you to submit a support ticket if you encounter any problems as a result of a patch or would like to migrate to a server where Patchman will be available. Account migration fees may apply.
With all the Magento 2 Optimizations we can expect, it's not surprising you want to get your hands on the latest version of Magento. From performance boosts to an enhanced dashboard, Magento 2 certainly sounds like the real deal. However with Magento 2 still in beta, it may be a bit of time before we can move to 2.0 on production sites. While we sit and wait for the latest and greatest version to get released, Magento published a rough timeline of events so we can at least have a reasonable idea of when this new version will be made available.
Developer Beta – This post is a bit tardy if you wanted to get your hands on the initial version of Magento. In December 2014, the developer beta of Magento 2 was released. This version was for developers to test out and report bugs. It did not even support any payment methods even if you did want to upgrade to it.
Developer Release Candidate – This version was released in March 2015 (again a bit tardy as far as the purpose of this post). With this version, Magento is still encouraging its users to send in their bug reports. We're not expected to see any major architectural changes between now and the stable release, unless of course a major bug is discovered.
Merchant Beta – This release was expected in Quarter 3 of 2015 and in fact was made available on July 15.
Merchant General Availability – The moment you've been waiting for! The stable version of Magento is expected in the final quarter of this year. Stay tuned!
Even if they meet their goal of releasing Magento 2 in the final quarter of 2015, you may want to consider waiting until early 2016 to upgrade your site when the major bugs are corrected. A2 Hosting has got you covered regardless of your upgrade plans with our Magento 2 Hosting selection.