Nov 13

Content delivery network: the wormholes of the Internet

Hello everybody, my name is George Moody and here is the first Tech Wednesday story for this week. As we just partnered up with the cool guys at CloudFlare, I have a very exciting story to tell.

Remember the good old StarWars movies in which our favorite characters traveled through space using some kind of cool wormholes, crossing the universe in just a few seconds? I am sure you do. Well, these technologies might be far in the future for us but your website can benefit of something similar much sooner than you expect. If you don’t know what exactly is a wormhole, here is a nice definition. It is a theoretical passage through space-time that could create shortcuts for long journeys across the universe. How this affects your website you might wonder, well hear me out.

The Problem

To have your website online 24/7 you need a hosting company which provides hosting services, or in other words, gives you the ability to upload your website on their servers. Every server is an actual physical computer located in a datacenter somewhere around the world. For example, some of our shared hosting infrastructure is located in Chicago and if you host with us most probably your website is physically stored there. This means that if you have visitors from, let’s say the European Union, the connection to your website will be performed via multiply intermediate Internet Service Providers to deliver the data package to them which inevitably result in some loading time delay.

This is valid for every location in the world, the further your visitors are from the actual server location the more time it takes to load your website. In the past, to speed up things we needed to optimize the server as much as possible to reduce the server-side loading time to minimize or compensate this latency impact. Well, server optimization is an important thing and we know it well but it does not solve the actual problem. We need something like Internet wormholes to have your website content delivered faster and remove the geographical distance impact and package travel time, right?

The Solution

Imagine your website is not hosted in a single datacenter but having it in 23 different locations around the world simultaneously. This way, you have a local delivery point for every visitor around the world despite their geolocation. Just like the wormholes, your website data travels through these Internet shortcuts to reach your visitors as fast as possible avoiding the intermediate carriers which delay the package. With TMDHosting and CloudFlare CDN you can have your website traffic routed through the nearest of the 23 different datacenters, strategically located around the world. Here is how this looks like:

“The ghost in the machine” or what is behind the curtains

As your website traffic passes through the CDN data centers, CloudFlare intelligently determines what parts of your website are static versus dynamic. The static portions are cached on the servers around the world for a short period of time, typically less than 2 hours before they are checked to see if there is any update. By automatically moving the static parts of your site closer to your visitors, the overall performance of your site improves significantly. And remember, only the static content is cached so your visitors will not see outdated information or miss your latest post as it is dynamically generated content.

CloudFlare’s intelligent caching system also means you save bandwidth, which means saving money, and decreases the load on your website, which means your web application will run faster and more efficiently than ever. On average, people who use CloudFlare see a 60% decrease in bandwidth usage, and a 65% in total requests to their servers. The overall effect is that CloudFlare will typically cut the load time for pages on your site by 50% which means higher engagement and happier visitors.

Travel Fast, Travel Safe

While traveling fast, you must stay safe, this is valid for your website as well. CloudFlare’s CDN provide not only a huge performance boost for your website but a wide range of security features against attacks such as DDoS, hacking or spam submitted to a blog or comment form. What is powerful about this approach is that the system gets smarter the more sites that are part of the CloudFlare community. We analyze the traffic patterns of hundreds of millions of visitors in real time and adapt the security systems to ensure good traffic gets through and bad traffic is stopped.

Join the club

If you are not yet a TMDHosting customer, contact our Sales Team and get the right plan for your website. Every hosting package include Free CloudFlare addon which can be easily activated via your account cPanel.

If you experience any difficulties or need additional information about CloudFlare CDN or how to activate it for your website, please contact us via your client area ticketing system. We are 24/7 here for you.

To Sum Up

In just a few words, TMDHosting partnered up with one of the best Content Delivery Network providers nowadays. This provides all of our customers with the ability to activate the CDN features improving both the performance and security of your website at no additional cost. CloudFlare CDN is a must-have feature for your website now available free of charge with all TMDHosting hosting packages.

Stay tuned for our latest Tech Wednesday posts for more cool goodies your website will love.

Nov 12

Do-it-Yourself: Premium Mobile Website

It is of no need to convince you that mobile devices in 2013 have conquered over computers and laptops. Statistics show that our browsing habits today look like this: every other person uses mobile to search the web for information (55%), more than half of the children aged 2-5 have access to a mobile device in a certain way – the majority of them uses it for playing games, retail business is swamped by mobile devices in its ¾ . In other words – to reach the 125 million U.S. consumers with a Smartphone and the other 50 million who own a tablet, you need to go mobile.
Caring about your online presence, we sincerely advice you not to leave this matter for later, because while you are reading this blog post, the percentage of people buying and using Smartphones are rising steadily. You may now think that “Oh, please, it’s not so urgent to get a mobile website setup!”, but you may also read how launching a good mobile site impacts different businesses.

Having understood the demand to be as mobile and flexible as your site visitors are, TMDHosting had established a successful partnership with the leader mobile website platform goMobi, because let’s admit it – the site on the right looks better and is more responsive:

(image courtesy of iffelinternational)

The responsive design and the better usability of a mobile site have proven to lead to better Click-through rate and result in rising revenues. Here are few ways in which goMobi can help your business thrive by the end of the year.

1. We bet you find yourself in this situation at least once a month – you are downtown, sipping from your coffee and preparing for a long downtown walk for a gift for your friend’s bday.
Didn’t you wish that you could simply type in your Search tab ‘gift shop downtown’ and then get all the relevant contacts on Google maps? Soon, this will be an outdated wish; unfortunately a lot of retail businesses have not yet embraced the idea of setting up a mobile site.
+ Multiple locations are also supported on goMobi platform

2. What could be better than finding the address of a gift shop? Certainly it will be better if you could have a look at their products, before you head towards the shop. Besides a gallery, you can add a short video, which provides more information than 20 photos of the same object, taken from a different perspective.

+ goMobi automatically converts and optimizes videos from Youtube or Vimeo for you

3. This is a good one – imagine you can see running promotions at the moment using your mobile. No, we don’t implement you should be scrooge about your friend’s present, but since you are going to go to that shop anyway, why not have a look at their hot offers?

+ highlights on certain products increases their convertibility

4. You are almost persuaded that you are buying the present, but you wish you could ask someone about an honest opinion before you head towards the shop. This is why you start reading a review section.

+ Reviews play important role in the last phase of the purchase. Nothing converts better than real people’s feedback.

5. This is the last step – you know what a present you will give to your friend. You should now just go and get it. But what if you could easily purchase it online and be done with the shopping right away?

+ integrating an easy-to-check-out shopping cart is a must if you want to provide a thorough customer experience

Of course, there are many more features your business may benefit from – Booking requests, Social media add-ons, Contact form, Site translations, QR codes are only a few to mention.

The best of all is that it is so easy to set up a mobile site! Watch this video guide and start your mobile site without further delaying it. It will start paying for itself very quickly!

TMDHosting is partnering goMobi and all our Customers benefit from a 30 days free trial, which can be activated via our Client area.

Nov 11

44 days Of The Life Of A Successful Affiliate (Part 3)

This is the third part of the success story that follows Tom, a person making his livelihood with affiliate. Hopefully you have enjoyed a good read with the previous two parts, but if you have missed them you can catch up easily with 44 days of the life of a successful affiliate (Part 1) and 44 days of the life of a successful affiliate (Part 2).

 

Day 24, 2:00 p.m.

Tom’s got mail

Tom knew he was on the right track to successfully monetizing his website. Persistency and patience got him to where he was now. He had a great bank of informative articles about the hosting industry, and he would constantly produce more to keep up with the increasing thirst for information of his audience.

Tom wanted to take the conversation to the next level, and knew he had to perk up his e-mail strategy. He had already started building an e-mail list, but he had not spent much time on it, since most of his efforts had been concentrated on content optimization.

An effective e-mail strategy would help Tom communicate better with his subscribers and engage them, and at the same time help him build an extensive e-mail list. Capturing his audiences e-mail addresses and building an e-mail list was beneficial in his efforts:

  • To have a more personal approach towards his audience. Delivering information personally to his fans would help him strengthen their relationship. Personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened. (Adestra July 2012 Report).
  • To have his audience everywhere: The e-mail list was his insurance policy. If anything happened to his site, for whatever reason, he would still be able to get in touch with his subscribers. Not to mention that he’d never have to worry about starting from scratch.
  • To make money: By delivering the newest incentivized offers of the hosting company to his subscribers via affiliate links in his e-mails. After all, he remembered the famous expression that the ‘Money is in the list’. 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. (Convinceandconvert.com)

Day 33, 16:00 p.m.

The newsletter which did not deliver news

So far, Tom had built a list of e-mail subscribers through an opt-in form on his site but for some reason newsletter seemed like quite a challenging job to do.

With the help of a close friend and … Google, Tom would understand the basics of the newsletter subscription process:

 

Source: Smart Passive Income

Before he moved towards implementing an e-mail strategy, he had to setup an account with an e-mail marketing service provider, such as MailChimp or AWeber. The benefits of using a designated e-mail service provider were many, some of which included not having to worry about e-mail deliverability, being able to create beautifully designed e-mail templates, automating the whole sending-receiving process, and being able to deliver measurable results.

Tom wanted to establish a lighter e-mail strategy at first, contacting his subscribers twice a month and making special personalized offers. He did not want to have his newsletter turn into a copy of his blog. Instead, he planned to make his subscribers feel really special by:

  • Being first to be invited to special events he organized, such as webinars
  • Being first to receive special discounts for those events
  • Being first to receive any new freebies that he introduced, such as e-books
  • Being first to receive the newest offers from the hosting company he was affiliated with

His ‘VIP’ approach to his subscribers helped shape and enhance their relationship  even more. Of course, all of this helped him convert more, as he also kept in mind the following rules of mass e-mail:

  • Avoid any punctual and grammar mistakes: Always proofread your e-mails.
  • Test your e-mails before you send them out: Send a copy to yourself first.
  • Avoid bulky e-mails: Keep your e-mail short and informative
  • Include CTA (Call-to-Action), such as Sign Up, Register, Read more, Join: This helps direct your readers’ mind into a specific action that should be taken. For best results – have the CTA in a large button.
  • Consider mobile and tablet users: 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices. (TopRankBlog). Offering a responsive and minimalistic design plays a crucial role if you want mobile and tablet users to consider your e-mail. Finger-friendly clickable product squares and larger text are just some of the options to improve the experience of mobile users.
  • Test your links: Make sure you the links in your e-mail will really send your subscribers to the right URL.
  • Include social sharing buttons in the e-mail: Emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click-through rate. (GetResponse)

Starting his own newsletter was not an easy task for Tom. What helped him the most, in successfully launching his e-mail campaigns, was being persistent, asking his audience through social media and polls in his website for feedback and keeping himself constantly informed on the newest trends in e-mail marketing.

By Day 41, Tom had 300+ new subscribers to his newsletter and another 5% increase in his affiliate sales, solely from his e-mail campaigns.

Nov 07

44 days Of The Life Of A Successful Affiliate (Part 2)

If you have missed the previous part of this compelling story – 44 days of the life of a successful affiliate (Part 1), you can catch up here. You can let us know what you think of Tom in the comments – it will be much appreciated!

Day 11, 13:00 p.m, Tom’s Fatal Attraction to content 

Doing research, and writing about the hosting industry in general, Tom was beginning to gradually feel attracted to it. He was fascinated by all the different topics related to hosting he could talk about – it was a whole new world to him, still with almost unlimited amount of topics and threads to explore. Tom wanted to touch on common concerns most people have when choosing a hosting service or changing the old one:

  • What determines a good host?
  • Is having 24/7 support more important to me than server uptime?
  • Difference between the types of hosting, and which one is most suitable for my site?
  • Where to find trustworthy information about hosting on the net?

It was because Tom was providing solution to people’s problems that he was so well received by his audience, who were engaged with his posts and kept giving positive feedback.

He saw that through providing valuable content, he gained trust in his readers and they started to regularly check his site, looking for fresh information. They wanted to share his posts, tweet about them, and ‘facebook’ them.

Having this fatal attraction to content, Tom liked to KISS. Not really in that sense, but in Keeping It Simple and Steady. He knew that the average reader would like to read about solutions to common problems served in a simple but yet useful way.

When Tom came down to the real business and that was promoting the hosting company through his regular content, it was quite tricky. To ensure his copywriting success, Tom stuck to 6 core points:

  • Create a compelling keyword-rich title
  • Deliver value: Using lots of real-life examples and charts, he would optimize his content to be informative and useful for his readers
  • Generate engagements: He would make it easy for his visitors to comment on and share his content across the most popular social networks. He would make his content flow and support it with lots of visual materials, making it easier for his readers to go over his content and engage with it.
  • Endorse the hosting company through the affiliate link: He would add his affiliate links at the end of his articles, being upfront about the fact that this would bring money to his pocket. Transparency always helped in such cases.
  • Attract links: Using various techniques such as link magnets and, sometimes, link baits (though saw the uncertainty and risk they bring), he would optimize his site to rank higher in search engines. Above all, he would give his best to create evergreen linkable assets, which could be utilized for high quality back links for years.
  • Rank for targeted keyword phrases: Using various tools, such as the Keyword Density Analyzer – Ranks.nl , he would analyze the frequency usage of his targeted keywords and/or phrases and optimize for a higher ranking.

Tom liked to inspire, educate and wow his readers. He wanted to offer more than just content, but to create epic content. One that celebrates them as readers who come back to read his blog every day. This is why he perceived writing about the hosting industry as a challenge, and the reason why it attracted him so much.

For the first-timers visiting his site, he offered special treats for free, such as different tips and tricks in exchange for their e-mail. This TUTORIAL-based method helped him achieve three major things

  1. Getting the new visitor’s e-mail in exchange for a goodie, of course.
  2. Using the affiliate links in the e-mail to recommend the hosting company.
  3. Gaining the new visitor’s trust.

Day 23, 15:00 p.m., Tom’s Endorsements

When Tom felt that the time is right, he started to ENDORSE the hosting company. He talked about its main benefits, not its features, because he wanted to share how the company’s services ‘changed his life for the better’.

Tom wanted to use different kinds of platforms to spread the word about the hosting company and not only stick to his own site. He started following sites, related to hosting and wrote REVIEWS in different forums, keeping it clean and simple every time:

“I went looking for a host after I was let down by my previous host: no contact, phpfox coudn’t access passwords, I waited a whole week for it to respond nothing. I am so VERY glad I found TMDHosting. They give me a working admin section and I can run round it normally. I had first class service from TMDHosting: a free new domain to get my site up and running and the support still continues. TMDHosting will have to kick me from their servers before I leave.

Thank you TMDHosting for the wonderful service.”

He figured that including the negative also added credibility to reviews. He realized people wanted true opinions, and talking about how perfect everything is would not get his readers to actually believe him. Being transparent in his reviews helped him strengthen the relationship he had with his audience. Tom did not forget to be direct about his affiliate links, as he didn’t want his audience to believe they got tricked into clicking on a link.

Applying all the above tactics, hosting company, which Tom promoted, started getting more exposure, his blog was getting more exposure, and of course his commission payouts started growing.

By Day, 34, Tom’s sales had grown with 32% from Day 1.

He realized that as with most things in life there was the easy way and the hard way to be successful. He could easily stick the banners of the hosting company to his site and chill. If he wanted to earn a stable passive income though, he has got to be active, and patient, and devoted, and realize that…

…content creation was his key to worthwhile affiliate marketing!