19 Apr 2018

The best Speed Test Tools

Page speed is the time required for a site to load. It depends on a variety of factors, such as the data center’s connection, the server’s hardware and the site’s design. The more a site is optimized and the higher the quality of its hosting, the faster its load time will be. Some aspects, such as the user’s location and connection speed, can’t be controlled, but others can.

In this guide, readers will learn why page speed is so important and how they can improve it.

Why Page Speed is Important to Users

Page speed is a crucial part of the overall user experience, especially on mobile devices. When a site loads faster, the user’s experience is better and conversions are likely to increase. If a site serves content and generates ad revenue, a shorter load time means that it’s easier for users to navigate between pages.

When sites sell services and products, faster load speeds make it easier for visitors to learn about the company’s offers, fill in lead capture forms, and make purchases. Sites that are designed in a responsive way tend to load faster on mobile devices, which can make it easier for users to find what they need when they’re out and about.

Why Page Speed is Important for SEO

Google has a simple reason for making page speed an important ranking factor: It creates a better user experience. The faster a site loads, the greater the likelihood that the user will have a good experience.

While the search engine prioritizes fast-loading sites, it’s unlikely to hurt a site unless it’s extremely slow to load. According to information from Google, only about one percent of results are affected by page speed ranking indicators.

Ways to Improve Page Load Speeds

how to improve page speedEvery website is unique, and there’s no universal way to optimize page load times. Some sites serve an abundance of unique content and need structures that make it easier, while other sites serve just a few pages. However, certain general tips can improve load speeds and site performance.

  • Select a top-quality server that’s powerful enough to host the site, and is located in a data center with enough bandwidth to accommodate the entire audience.
  • If the site has a global viewership, use a CDN or content delivery network to host images and videos on multiple servers, thereby decreasing load times.
  • If the site is WordPress-based, ensure that there are no unnecessary plugins. Scripts and plugins can substantially increase page load times.

Tools to Check Page Load Speeds

It’s quite easy to check a site’s load speed. There are several tools that load sites from different locations and measure load times; some tools even tell the user which factors are increasing the site’s load time. A few of the best tools are listed below.

  • Google’s PageSpeed Insights: This tool grades mobile and desktop site speeds by retrieving the URL from the appropriate agents. From there, it provides the site’s rank on a scale of 1-100; the higher the rating, the better the site is optimized.
  • Pingdom: This free tool provides a significant amount of information on a site’s speed. Along with an overall grade, the tool offers a visual depiction of the time required for each element to load. Under the Page Analysis tab, users get in-depth data that allows them to examine a site’s overall health.
  • GTMetrix: This tool goes into detail to show users a full history of site load times. It offers various monitoring services and reporting options, and it allows users to export the test history in CSV form.
  • WebPageTest: Here, users get the ability to specify browsers and locations for tests. This is essential for global sites that target a variety of geographical areas and browsers.

Is the Website As Speedy As it Can Be?

Page load speeds are an important yet commonly overlooked factor in SEO and conversion optimization. Use the tools and tips above to find out whether a site is performing to its full potential. If it is not, make increasing the page’s load speed the main SEO priority.

 

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28 Feb 2018

6 Tips on Running a Secure Server

Although it can be difficult and time-consuming to run a secure server, it is far from impossible. By putting in a few hours of research and hard work now, owners can save themselves from data breaches and long nights in the future. Regardless of which OS and server software a company runs, out-of-the-box configurations are typically insecure.

Below are several steps to achieve a more secure web server.

Eliminate Unnecessary Services

As mentioned previously, default configurations are insecure. In the average default installation, many unused services such as RAS, remote registry, and print servers are included. The more services an OS is running, the more ports are open, which allows an easier insertion of malicious code. By disabling unnecessary services, a user can make a server more secure and boost performance at the same time.

Remote Access Controls

Although it is not always practical, administrators should try to log into servers locally. If they need remote access, the user should ensure the security of the connection with encryption protocols and tunneling. Single-use sign-ons are a good secure server practice, and remote access should be limited to specific accounts and IPs. Corporate servers should not be accessed on public PCs or networks, such as those in internet cafes.

Keep Production, Testing and Development Environments Separate

Because it is easier and quicker for a developer to assemble a new version of a web app on production servers, it is common that testing and development are done there. It is common to find newer versions of sites, as well as other restricted content, in /new/, /test/ and other sub-directories. Because these apps are in the development stage, they have many vulnerabilities and handle exceptions poorly. These flaws can easily be exploited with widely available tools. In an ideal situation, testing, and development should be done on an isolated, secure server.

Privileges and Permissions

Network and file permissions play a critical role in running a secure server. If a server engine is breached via network services software, a malicious user can use the account to execute files and carry out other tasks. It is important to assign the lowest privilege level needed to run certain services and to anonymous users.

Audit and Monitor Servers

Server logs should be stored in secured areas. All website access, network services, database secure server and OS logs should be checked frequently. Log files offer information on attempted and successful attacks, but these are ignored most of the time. If a user notices strange activities, they should immediately investigate and escalate the issue.

Eliminate Unused Accounts

Default accounts created during OS installs should be eliminated or disabled. When certain software is installed, user accounts are created, and permissions for these should be changed as required. The admin account should be re-named, and every admin with access to the web server should have his or her own account with the correct privileges.

Web servers have a variety of purposes, but they only fulfill their intended roles when they are kept secure. By following the tips mentioned here, business owners and others can have a secure server while protecting the sensitive data contained within.

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10 Dec 2017

The Best File Hosting Solutions for Single Files

Before the advent of secure file hosting platforms, people used email to share personal and business files. However, this strategy has one problem: most email accounts have a file size limit, and large files are hard to send. Additionally, risk management experts understand the dangers of using an unsecured platform to send proprietary files. Secure sharing platforms address these concerns because top vendors offer data and security controls, including collaboration tools, that allow only necessary personnel to have access.

A Brief Overview of Secure File Sharing Platforms

Cloud technology offers a variety of products for business users looking to protect data and streamline operations. From online document management and cloud storage to data rooms and online backup, many options are available for businesses and individuals needing to share single files. There is a significant amount of overlap in the functions and purposes of these file sharing services because they all use internal servers to warehouse data.

For instance, many online file hosting services permit users to share single files, and many file hosting options back up users’ data on corporate servers. However, there are notable differences in the functionality and features of secured document sharing services and online file sharing platforms. Secure platforms offer great security while allowing users to collaborate on documents.

Benefits of Secure File Sharing

For users with sensitive data, email file sharing is not an appropriate option. Secure file sharing services offer software platforms that have much tighter security when compared to email exchange programs. Many business clients use FTP (file transfer protocol) to receive and send large, single files, and this strategy offers some security benefits when compared to email. Despite its capabilities as an in-house file hosting program, FTP does have some drawbacks.

File Security

There are frequent reports of security breaches at businesses of all sizes. Part of doing business involves understanding the concepts of data security. Today’s best file hosting programs include a minimum of 256-bit encryption. Below is a brief list of the top sharing services for single files.

  • Google Drive. This platform became popular because it allows users to edit files simultaneously. The free plan includes 15 GB of storage. The Premium version, Google Drive for Work, offers unlimited storage and additional functionalities like encrypted data storage.
  • Dropbox. Known as a consumer cloud service, Dropbox also provides secure single file hosting for business clients. Dropbox automatically syncs files and allow users to share them even if the recipient does not have a Dropbox account. Trial users get 2GB of storage space, and the largest business plan available offers 1TB.

Platform Considerations

From increased reliability and tracking capabilities to enhanced collaboration, more businesses are counting on file hosting services to get things done. Technology is forever improving, and competition continues to encourage a downward trend in prices. Secure file sharing services are becoming the next popular service among businesses.

Secure hosting software is rapidly becoming a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes as well as startups looking for a quick, painless way to share single files. The benefits of these platforms are difficult to ignore, making the file sharing industry an option that every organization should consider.

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04 Oct 2017

7 of the Best WordPress Backup Plugin Options

As great as WordPress is, it’s not immune to security threats, cyber attacks, and data breaches that can tarnish a company’s reputation. Apart from these dangers, a Backpage misconfiguration can threaten a website’s integrity. In any event, site owners should prepare for the worst by having a backup from which full functionality can be restored. Below is a WordPress Backup PlugIn list that can make the data backup and restoration processes easier.

BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy is one of the most popular WordPress backup plugin options. It allows users to schedule monthly, weekly, or daily backups, and it stores them in Dropbox, Stash, Rackspace Cloud, Amazon S3, or another cloud service. There’s no subscription fee, and users can use this plugin on a certain number of sites as outlined in the plan. It comes with access to regular updates, support forums, and a gigabyte of cloud storage. BackupBuddy can also be used to restore, duplicate, and migrate websites.

BackWPUp

With BackWPUp, users get a free WordPress PlugIn that allows them to create comprehensive backups and store them with any number of cloud services, send them in emails, or save them to a hard drive. It’s easy to use and allows users to schedule backups according to the site’s update settings. Restoration from a backup is simple, and the Pro version of BackWPUp comes with Google Drive storage, priority support, and other great features.

BackUpWordPress

This is the WordPress Backup PlugIn to use if a site owner wants to create reliable, simple, and automated backups. After installation and activation, the plugin goes to work using default settings. If necessary, site owners can set a different backup schedule in the Settings menu. Although the WordPress Plugin itself is free, users can pay for extensions that increase the plugin’s functionality by linking it to cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Windows Azure.

Duplicator

This isn’t just a WordPress Backup PlugIn. It also gives users all the tools needed for site duplication and migration. It works by storing core files, databases, content, plugins, and WordPress Theme files into a single package. When the entire site is packed into a zip file, users can host it elsewhere or use the infrastructure to build a new site. However, users should know that Duplicator isn’t for WordPress beginners. While the process of creating a backup is very simple, it requires technical knowledge to use the packages created during the backup process.

VaultPress

If a user needs more than a simple WordPress Backup PlugIn, VaultPress is the way to go. Along with the ability to create an automated backup, the plugin also scans the site’s databases for viruses, malware, and other security holes. VaultPress also comes with spam protection to maintain a site’s SEO and reputation, but users will have to pay a monthly fee to use it and its features. Although the cost may be too high for a new site owner, it’s good for those who have the budget to invest in WordPress security.

Updraft Plus

This is a popular backup plugin that does nearly everything. It does backups, restorations, migrations, and site cloning all with one click. Users can also use advanced tools like site wide control and database search through UpdraftCentral. Although the plugin’s basic functions are free, a paid license allows users to encrypt backups, use backups from different plugins, back up a multisite network, and much more. This makes the UpdraftPlus tool useful on sites of any scale.

BlogVault

The only thing better than backing up WordPress sites on a daily basis is doing it in real time, which is one of BlogVault’s core features. The tool works by making an instant backup whenever site changes are saved, and it ensures that site owners never lose progress during content and site development. BlogVault comes with history, testing, and backup monitoring tools to preserve the integrity of a site’s data. The only drawback is that there’s an annual fee to pay before the features can be accessed.

In Closing

Creating regular, comprehensive backups is an important part of website maintenance and continuity assurance. However, site owners should remember to choose a WordPress Backup PlugIn that can help them meet their goals. Whether a webmaster needs a simple plugin or a comprehensive security solution, the options listed in this WordPress tutorial can help them make an informed decision.

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12 Sep 2017

Learn How to Update Your WordPress

Community members and developers work to keep WordPress updated. Other than adding new features and addressing security issues, these updates simply improve the WordPress UX. However, learning how to update your wordpress site can be tedious. This guide addresses the importance of staying up to date and offers tips on what to do when upgrading a WordPress plugin, version, or site.

Updates Patch Security Holes

The primary reason to update your wordpress site is security. Although the WordPress CMS is immensely popular, it is far from perfect. When site owners don’t update their wordpress themes and sites, the site itself becomes vulnerable to intrusion. Following a regular update schedule is the best way to reduce the risk of a cyberattack.

Bugs are Fixed With Every Update

Although every version of WordPress undergoes weeks of rigorous testing, bugs still get through occasionally. When new functions and features are tested, the chances of a malfunction increase. Every new WordPress version fixes bugs that were found after the last release, and users can see the release notes for specific details.

Updates Bring New Features

With the popularity of WordPress, users regularly get to experience new functions and features. These new add-ons are designed and intended to make it easier to run a WordPress website and, in most cases, they’re the result of direct user feedback

Follow Basic Best Practices

In most instances, updates go smoothly. However, to ensure a hassle-free upgrade, site owners should take a few precautions. To avoid serious problems, never try a new update on a live WordPress installation. Test them in a sandboxed environment, which minimizes the risks posed by a failed update.

Wordpress Hosting

Set Up Auto Updates

Every WordPress site has automatic updates enabled for translation files and minor releases. While it may be convenient, process automation isn’t always beneficial. Devs are often slower to bring their plugins up to date when a new WordPress version comes out. In some cases, these problems can break a site without the owner’s knowledge. Therefore, it may be a good idea to disable automatic updates.

Check Plugin Compatibility Before Updating

A plugin can significantly affect a website’s design or function. If a plugin is found in the WP directory, the user can check its compatibility on the appropriate page before committing to the upgrade.

Perform Frequent Updates

Before undergoing a major update, site owners should always do a wordpress database backup. If something happens, the site can be restored to its last working configuration and its data won’t be lost. Several software-based solutions are available, and a site owner’s choice depends on which solution the server uses. WordPress plugins can create on-demand backups to be placed on a server, stored in the cloud, or emailed to a specific address.

Updating WordPress

There are two main ways to install a new WordPress version to a website: the one-click update from the WP dashboard and the manual FTP update. Regardless of the option a site owner chooses, they should try the update on a remote copy of the website so issues are found before downtime occurs.

  • A one-click update is found in the plugins section. Before updating core files, users should first update themes and plugins.
  • The FTP update process is a bit more involved. Start by backing up the WP installation and database, and download the newest WP version. Turn off plugins, access the server through FTP, and delete the necessary WordPress files. Upload the new files to the appropriate folders, and visit the WP backend to run an update script. Be sure to update permalinks in the appropriate menus and, finally, reactivate plugins to ensure compatibility with the new version.

Checking the Site After Updates

After finishing an update, it’s important to ensure that everything is working normally. To test a site, open the home page, go to a few subpages, read a post or two, log into the admin dashboard, and create a post. While doing so, look for design changes, layout breaks, and other glitches. If there are no problems, that’s great! If issues are present, however, the user may have to restore the site to an earlier version.

Restoration After an Update Fails

Website-MigrationIf a site is taken offline when you update your wordpress themes, database, or the site itself, there’s no reason to panic. If the owner has done proper backups, they can restore the site to its last working configuration. Database restorations are usually done with a management tool such as phpMyAdmin, and users should be patient during the process. After the database is restored, the process is repeated with the files on the server. Here’s how it’s done with an FTP client.

  • Start the client and connect to the site’s FTP server
  • Delete everything but the folder marked wp-content/uploads, which contains the site’s media
  • Browse to the most recent backup on the hard drive or in the cloud, whichever is applicable
  • Upload the necessary files (except for the wp-content folder) onto the site’s server

When the process has finished, open the wp-content folders on the server and in the backup. From there, restore all files except for the Uploads folder, which should already be present.

Conclusion

That’s how to update your wordpress site and recover from a failed upgrade. After completing the steps above, visit the site to see how successful the restoration process was. If it failed, it’s time to troubleshoot the update process on an online or remote copy of the website.

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11 Aug 2017

What is IaaS?

Infrastructure as a Service is one of the fundamental service models in cloud computing, alongside, Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service(PaaS). Instead of leasing or renting space in data centers, acquire labor and manage utilities required to deploy storage, computer servers, and cloud networks, users rent space in a virtual data center. With IaaS, cloud buyers have access to virtual components over the internet and create their own IT platforms. They pay for the resources they consume such as storage space, data transfer, bandwidth, IP addresses and load balancers.

What are the Benefits of using the software?

Its providers offer highly scalable resources that are easily adjusted on demand. This means that it is suitable for businesses that are experimental, temporary or those that are prone to changes. Startup businesses can save on costs of establishing a physical data center, servers and paying IT experts to operate these servers. In addition, cost control is further improved because payment for cloud services is done on a per-user basis. Whether payment is by the hour, month or year, users have an opportunity to save on in-house hardware purchases.

Cloud buyers also enjoy quality service without experiencing the hustle of managing or upgrading cloud data centers. The providers are responsible for managing the cloud. Since the operators that manage the cloud are specialized in their field, the room for error is greatly reduced.

The risk of failure is greatly reduced due to the availability of multiple hardware resources from the cloud providers. Additionally, users can assess services as long as they have an internet connection. It has broken the physical constraints associated with traditional servers and data centers.

Services are available upon demand. The providers are easily found on the internet, and buyers can easily access services through direct communication. With this technology, the time consumed during the construction of physical data centers is eliminated.

Buyers are free to concentrate on the core of their business rather than on the IT structure. All maintenance, backup, and upgrade of systems are managed by the provider.

Better security for data is provided by the Cloud providers.

Types of IaaS Cloud Offerings

Public IaaS Cloud: Providers rent out hardware resources to multiple tenants in the general public. The users share server resources and only pay for the resources they use. The public cloud is easy to set up highly scalable and elastic.

Private IaaS Cloud: The provider delivers cloud-computing services to one organization. This type is suitable for businesses that have large CAPEX budgets and are rely on personal data center professionals to manage the computing environment. All resources are directed to one business.

Hybrid IaaS Cloud: This is the conjoining of physical and virtual resources in a private or public cloud. The hybrid cloud allows companies to take advantage of scalability with cloud technologies while managing sensitive company data that is not suitable on the cloud.

Common Business Scenarios are

  • Test and development operations that can easily be scaled up and allow the quick release of applications into the market.
  • Webhosting with IaaS is cheaper than traditional web hosting.
  • Storage, recovery, and backup of data is cheaper and can be easily scaled up and scaled down when required.
  • Web applications are easily supported on IaaS.
  • High-Performance Computing (HPC) is easier on super computers and computer grids that perform complex calculations are easier.
  • IaaS economical in the analysis of big data.

Examples

Internal Business Networks: Businesses can store data and run applications through the utilization of pooled servers and networking resources. Additionally, businesses can scale their resources as the business grows.

Cloud Hosting: Websites utilize several virtual resources from several servers.

VIRTUAL DATA CENTRE’S (VDC): Interconnected virtual servers that are used to provide enhanced cloud hosting capabilities, IT infrastructure and integrate operations.

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05 Jul 2017

What Every Company Needs to Know About Brand Safety

A brand can be harmed simply because an online ad is situated in a context that isn’t appropriate for the company involved. No company wants to discover they have spent thousands of dollars (or more) only to have the ad achieve the opposite effect of what was intended. Furthermore, having an ad appear next to content that is contextually negative, inappropriate or offensive can do significant harm to the organization in a short period of time. This impacts not only the reputation of the company but its sales. Brand Safety needs to be a priority for this reason.

Brand Safety

Brand Safety refers to tools that help to eliminate problematic advertising with regards to online marketing. Digital advertising, especially on sites such as YouTube, is something a company gives up some control over. For example, a brand advertising on this site needs to feel comfortable their ad won’t show up before content their target audience will find inappropriate or offensive. A company offering leather goods wouldn’t want to appear right before a PETA ad as PETA is known for protesting goods of this type. This is only one instance where brand safety could be compromised by the inappropriate placement of the ad.

A few years ago, the measurement company comScore provided an article regarding ad campaigns and how often they were placed in a contextually inappropriate place. It was found that 72 percent of ad campaigns were placed in an environment that was inappropriate. The question a company must ask is how much harm this will do to their business. How will their target audience act? Brand name recognition is good unless the brand is known for negative reasons. However, research presented at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting found this number to be significantly lower. Brand Safety truly shouldn’t come down to which research a company believes. It is too important to leave to chance, thus it needs to be a priority.

Real Time Bidding

Real time bidding has declined as a result of concerns about the safety of the brand. This type of impression-focused advertising was notorious in the past for placing a brand’s ad next to content that was questionable. Direct programmatic is replacing this type of bidding, as it may be used to ensure the ad is placed only in those areas where the target audience will be left with a favorable impression of the advertiser. Programmatic advertising eliminates the human element and allows machines to determine where ads will be placed.

Contextual targeting is of great importance to make certain a company gets the best return on investment. Brand Safety plays a role in which type of programming should be selected. Be sure to take this into consideration when deciding which option is right for the company, the ad campaign or another factor. Often, companies find they benefit more from direct programmatic than real time bidding.

Brand Safety Tools

Brand Safety save dataA number of tools are now offered to help safeguard a brand. Brand Safety tools include ones that can be plugged into an ad server, and this type of tool allows the advertiser to establish ad campaign parameters to be certain the materials are only placed in contextually appropriate locations. As the company purchasing the ad determines the breadth of the parameters, they may limit the advertising options significantly or allow for more leeway. With direct programmatic advertising the company receives the option of white listing or selecting the desired environment and content types for ad placement. White listing guarantees the ad will only be found on these sites and no others.

When buying privately, companies find they reach a larger portion of the target audience. Furthermore, the ads are placed in a brand-safe environment, and the purchases made are carried out in a data-driven manner. Very few companies want to be associated with a product or service that is sexist, extremist, homophobic or racist, yet this can be an issue with real time bidding. Brand Safety tools help to minimize this problem.

Brand Safety and its importance should never be discounted. Companies that allow their ads to be placed anywhere on the internet, with no regard as to the context of the ad placement, will find they are suffering as a result. Keep the above in mind to ensure this does not become a problem. Organizations that make this a priority find doing so benefits them in a wide range of ways.

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14 Jun 2017

Understanding the Website Migration Process

While there are numerous rationales for migrating a website from one domain to another, there are specific questions site owners should always investigate prior to initiating any type of website migration. If your organization is currently considering migrating to a new domain, consider this website migration checklist first.

Explore the Available Options for Web Hosting

It generally pays to start planning a website transfer well in advance of the anticipated date for the move. One of the reasons organizations routinely consider a website migration is an unhappiness with the current provider. That means any provider selected must have the capability of meeting the organization’s current needs and, almost more importantly, have the capability to meet future needs as well. A successful website migration strategy must anticipate future needs and ensure the new provider has the capability of adapting to new technology and software.

Backup All Existing Website Files First

Backup your files before website migrationTo avoid losing valuable data, back up all files to a safe location before starting the website migration process. Consider using experts to ensure the backup process goes smoothly. While there are numerous plugins and applications available to assist with the process, it pays to work closely with a professional to prevent problems from developing. Having a complete backup available is a safety measure and should not be ignored under any circumstances.

Transfer Data Files and Website Files

Here’s another place where the assistance of experts can be helpful. All files must first be uploaded to a public_html directory using the new web hosting account. It’s vitally important that every step in the process be completed correctly to avoid issues when establishing the new website. The ultimate goal is to ensure the new site runs properly once the website migration is complete. When all necessary steps are completed correctly, the new site should function exactly as the old one did. If changes are being made to the site, discuss how to best implement those changes with a website expert.

Transferring the Domain Name

Here is another issue commonly causing issues during a website migration. In many cases, an organization’s domain name is registered along with the existing web hosting company. If that’s the case, the host should provide a guide outlining the steps required to successfully transfer the domain name. Determining how best to register a domain name when migrating can be complex, and there are a couple of options available. It pays, at this point, to discuss the pros and cons of each option with website migration experts, as doing so can prevent future complications and, in some cases, save money.

Moving Email Information to the New Site

Also transfer your emails when moving to a new hostThe majority of site owners elect to have their email accounts managed by their hosting company. If that’s the case, there is also a procedure available to ensure all email is transferred properly. If you’ve elected to host your email accounts elsewhere, the transfer process is simplified, as only the DNS information will have to be modified.

Finalizing the Process

Once the files are transferred to the new host and any required modifications are made to the configurations, the process is nearly complete. At this point, it’s vitally important to verify the site functions properly. Testing procedures are used to ensure all the site’s features are functioning properly. Hosting companies routinely provide some assistance with this process, but the onus to make sure all aspects of the site operate as needed is normally on the site owner.

If everything functions properly, now is the time to end the relationship with the former hosting organization and delete all files from their old locations. If all the files were properly transferred during the website migration, the site should operate seamlessly, with visitors being completely unaware of the changes. However, it’s common to encounter some issues during the migration, suggesting it is advisable to have some level of expert assistance available to deal with any problems encountered during the migration or when testing the site in its new location.

Once the website is up and running, it pays to continually monitor it to quickly identify potential issues and ensure the site’s search engine rankings don’t suffer. SEO efforts should continue unabated to further ensure the site fulfills its objectives.

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08 May 2017

How to Create and Manage a Multilingual WordPress Site

It’s undeniable that the internet has prompted increases in globalization and access to information. Today, people all the way across the planet from each other can communicate in real time, and anyone with a computer can access information from across the globe. Sites like WordPress, which is sometimes referred to simply as “WP,” allow just about anyone to create a unique website. However, while this internet giant hosts fully one out of every four websites currently in existence, only a quarter of these sites are available in multiple languages. While the more than three billion people using the internet on a daily basis speak hundreds of languages, many of these languages are either underrepresented or completely unrepresented on the internet.

 

What Does That Mean For Businesses?

Increasing multilingualism on the web comes with a host of advantages for business owners in addition to the obvious benefits of facilitating better communication and allowing more internet browsers to comfortably surf the web. A Multilingual WordPress site is much more likely to attract international business, which not only increases traffic to the site but also improves the chances of even a small business expanding its reach. By addressing potential customers or clients in their own language, businesses can also create a more comfortable browsing experience, increasing conversion rates and brand loyalty.

 

An Overview of Options

Although WP does not directly support multilingual blogs, it does support extensions that make it possible to create them. These extensions are created by third-party developers and are generally quite good. However, using a Multilingual Plugin isn’t the only way to create an effective multilingual website. A web hosting tool called WP Multisite can also be quite an effective means of accomplishing the same goal. Read on to find out more about each of these solutions.

 

Using Plugins to Create a Multilingual Blog

As one of the first multilingual plugins that became available on the platform, the WPML plugin is well-developed and uniquely equipped to handle just about any multilingual website. Although the content itself still needs to be translated by a native speaker or translator, once it is created, the plugin makes it simple to toggle back and forth between languages. This is accomplished via something called a language switcher. Placing one or more of these in prominent positions on the website allows visitors to easily choose which language they want to use to view the page.

When it comes to the translations themselves, most businesses find they get the best results from translations provided by native speakers, despite the extra cost. However, desktop translation software is available for those who don’t place a high value on readability. Either way, there are thousands of developers and a great many excellent translation services that are fully integrated with the plugin, meaning that any content needing to be translated can be sent directly from the dashboard instead of manually copying and pasting it elsewhere.

 

Using Multisite to Create a Multilingual Blog

The second option for multilingual blog hosting is the use of a tool called Multisite. As the name implies, this tool allows developers to host multiple sites on the same server using the same IP address. That means users can create multiple blog sites that say exactly the same things in different languages and manage them concurrently using the Multisite interface. The process of creating and maintaining this network doesn’t require much more than managing a standard site. Unlike the most popular multilingual plugins, though, Multisite does not include fully integrated translation services.

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20 Apr 2017

Tips for Improving WordPress Pagespeed

It seems like everyone has a website. When it comes to creating an effective site, having a beautifully designed and easy to use website is important, but it just isn’t enough. Other considerations, search engine ranking, play a huge role in determining the amount of traffic that will be directed to any particular site. WordPress has made establishing a well-designed personal or company website extremely simple, and tons of internet users have taken advantage of the platform as a result. Once viewers are there, though, there is one aspect of user experience that can literally make or break their viewing experience: WordPress Pagespeed.

Why Speed Matters

Modern man has an attention span that is practically growing shorter by the day. This shortened attention span dramatically impacts how internet users navigate around the web. Recent reports have indicated that even a 2-second delay in load times can reduce visitor satisfaction by almost 4%, leading to a lower conversion rate and lost revenue. Website speed is so important that many potential customers will not even wait around for the initial page to load before deciding whether they are interested in a company’s product or service. If the load time is too long, they’ll go elsewhere.

On top of all that, many search engines, including Google, have begun to include site speed in their site ranking algorithms. That means faster-loading websites get ranked higher on their search results, driving more traffic to them.

How to Tell if a WordPress Page is Slow

It’s important to take note of the fact that website load times are not consistent across every user’s computer. All too often a site’s creator will simply load the page on his or her browser, note that everything pops up quickly and looks correct, and call it a day. This is a huge mistake.

Modern internet browsers cache data for easy retrieval, so revisiting a site causes load times to decrease substantially. WordPress Pagespeed will appear to be extremely quick, but this will not necessarily reflect the experience of the average visitor. The best way to tell how quickly a site will load on an unfamiliar computer is to perform a speed test, which can easily be found online.

Common Reasons for Slow WordPress Pages

Large images and other files that are not optimized for web use can cause slow load times, as can poorly coded plug-ins and external scripts. Web Hosting servers that are not properly configured can also cause slow a page down, as can server overloads. Of course, individual users have more control over some of these factors than others. Most WordPress users don’t necessarily have the extensive coding experience necessary to improve plug-in codes. There are, however, some simple steps that just about anyone can take to improve load times.

Find a Better Host

How to improve wordpress pagespeedThis might seem obvious, but many users just don’t give it much thought: shared hosting leads to slower response times. It’s always a better idea to entrust hosting to a managed hosting service than it is to share resources blindly with other WordPress Users.

Use a Better Caching Plugin

Plugins are extremely useful. Those that utilize web caching can even be useful in improving response times. They generally work by causing certain elements of the page to be cached for easier retrieval, and thankfully, they are plentiful on the internet. Just be sure to find a reputable source for the download.

Optimize Images

As noted above, large images can seriously slow down a website. However, poor quality images that load quickly won’t be getting any business or individual any points when it comes to professionalism. The best solution is, once again, plugins. Simply download a plugin that automatically optimizes images for use online by reducing file size without reducing image quality.

Optimize the WordPress Database

Optimizing a website’s database can be extremely time-consuming and boring if performed by hand. Thankfully, there’s a plugin for that. Whether using a plugin or performing these changes manually, the goal is the same: to reduce the overhead of unnecessary files such as post revisions, drafts, and span.

Keep the Site Updated

It’s important to update frequently in order to address any potential bugs and other issues. Failing to keep a WordPress site up-to-date can lead to slower load times, as themes and plugins may end up falling behind on updates as a result.

Split Up Comments

It’s a good idea to include a blog on just about any website, and tons of comments on those blog posts are a sure sign of a generally engaged audience. Unfortunately, though, they can really take their toll on site speed. Be sure to break them up for best results.

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