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  • Keeping Your Site Secure Is More Important Than Ever

    Google has begun to roll out algorithm updates intended to remove hacked site spam from their search results. The goal of these updates is to help keep their searchers and users safe by removing these potentially harmful sites from their searches.


    What are hackers looking to gain by compromising a site? Their goals include adding malware downloads to the site, sending traffic to low quality sites, promoting adult content and selling illegal products.


    Google says that the update will eventually impact roughly 5% of queries. That's huge a number! Compare this to Penguin, one of the largest and most talked about Google updates in recent memory . Penguin impacted just 3% of searches. You definitely don't want your site to get hacked in the first place. You certainly don't want to be removed from Google's listings.


    It's more important than ever to keep your site secure. There is a whole laundry list of things you can do to help keep your site secure. Below are five major tasks that will significantly improve your site's security. It's likely you could complete all of them within the next hour.


    • Use secure login passwords
    • Keep your software up to date
    • Keep plugins and themes up to date and uninstall any you're not using
    • Use captcha on login pages (and comment pages when applicable)
    • Use Google Webmaster tools to be informed when Google suspects potential compromises on your site
  • Auto-Optimizing Your Favorite Software!

    It’s been just over a year since we launched A2 Optimized WordPress. The goal of A2 Optimized WordPress was to take the guesswork out of how to get the fastest page loads and most secure settings. It is safe to say A2 Optimized WordPress has been a success with optimized WordPress sites loading up to 6X faster than non-optimized sites. A2 Optimized WordPress is available on all of our Hosting packages and we have since have made it available to all WordPress users regardless of their host (with a few feature limitations).


    With the success of A2 Optimized WordPress, we turned our attention to boosting the speeds of your other favorite solutions. Over the past year, our team has been hard at work A2 Optimizing PrestaShop, Magento, Drupal and Joomla. We’re also excited to announce A2 Optimized OpenCart is just around the corner!


    These newest auto-optimizations are currently available on our Turbo Web Hosting accounts only. With Turbo, you’ll also be able to 1-click setup the caching solutions APC, Memcached and Turbo Cache for up to 20X faster page load speeds than those other hosts.


    Contact our sales team to upgrade your account to take advantage of these site speed optimizations.


    PrestaShop Optimizations

    • HTML and JavaScript compression.
    • Caching of theme CSS and JavaScript content.
    • Page caching.
    • JavaScript deferral.
    • Apache optimization.
    • Smarty cache


    Magento Optimizations

    • Expires headers.
    • Gzip compression.
    • CSS and JavaScript merging.
    • Cron optimization.
    • Disabling logging.


    Drupal Optimizations

    • CSS and JavaScript merging and compression.
    • Cache clearing.
    • Block and core file caching.
    • Database logging minimization.
    • Daily updates.


    Joomla Optimizations

    • Page caching and duration.
    • Gzip compression.
    • Browser caching.
    • CSS and JavaScript merging and minification.
    • Disabling debugging.


  • Ghost Scaring Away The Competition With New Updates

    Ghost has launched its first major interface update in two years. I personally can't believe it's been that long since Ghost was launched and took the blogging software audience by storm. This update is exciting news especially if you're a current Ghost user, or you've tried it in the past but didn't think it was quite ready for prime time. Some of the new features you'll see in this version of Ghost include:


    Enhanced Navigation

    While the top navigation bar on the previous version of Ghost was quickly running out of real estate, the new side bar menu is a huge improvement. This new menu is much easier to use and offers more room for navigating to the most used and important features. It also makes room for exciting new features expected in future releases.



    Search Functionality

    A common complaint about the old interface was how difficult it was to dig up old posts. Thanks to the new search feature, it's easier than ever to find your archived content.



    Quick Editing

    If you come across a post on your site that needs to be edited, just add "/edit " to the end of the post to quickly update it.


    Want to give Ghost a try? A2 Hosting offers up to 20X faster Ghost Hosting! Ghost even comes pre-installed on your account so you don't even have to worry about setup files! Try it now completely risk free with our Anytime Money Back Guarantee.


  • 4 Quick Ways To Get Your Small Business In The Top 10 On Google

    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.

  • Three Reasons Why Your Blog Isn’t Getting Traffic

    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.

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