HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing http://blog.hostgator.com The Official HostGator Company blog Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:01:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google Authorship Dead In 2014? http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/09/17/google-authorship-dead-2014/ http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/09/17/google-authorship-dead-2014/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:58:07 +0000 http://blog.hostgator.com/?p=8658 The post Google Authorship Dead In 2014? appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

If you’ve searched for anything on Google in the last month or so (who hasn’t?), you may have noticed slight changes in the results. First, the author pictures next to the results conspicuously disappeared. Then, videos started to vanish for most results (except those of YouTube and other sources where video is a primary source of content). Now, author names have disappeared. According to John Mueller from Google’s Webmaster Analytics team, Authorship has indeed been removed from your search results.

A few months ago, the same search would have displayed the associated Google+ profile picture and related information, as shown in the image below from our prior Authorship blog post:

 
Now the posts are stripped down to provide you the content that you’re looking for without the fluff.
 
Why Was Authorship Removed?
If you ever set up authorship, then you know it was not the easiest process to start with. There were several steps involved, including an update your site’s code to add the markup. If you were using a CMS like WordPress, the markup wasn’t too hard, but HTML sites were a little harder to modify. Since the entire ordeal wasn’t an easy 1-2 step process, it had a low adoption rate.
As stated ...

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authorship-featured
If you’ve searched for anything on Google in the last month or so (who hasn’t?), you may have noticed slight changes in the results. First, the author pictures next to the results conspicuously disappeared. Then, videos started to vanish for most results (except those of YouTube and other sources where video is a primary source of content). Now, author names have disappeared. According to John Mueller from Google’s Webmaster Analytics team, Authorship has indeed been removed from your search results.

Is Google Authorship Dead

A few months ago, the same search would have displayed the associated Google+ profile picture and related information, as shown in the image below from our prior Authorship blog post:

What Authorship Looked Like

 

Now the posts are stripped down to provide you the content that you’re looking for without the fluff.

 

Why Was Authorship Removed?

If you ever set up authorship, then you know it was not the easiest process to start with. There were several steps involved, including an update your site’s code to add the markup. If you were using a CMS like WordPress, the markup wasn’t too hard, but HTML sites were a little harder to modify. Since the entire ordeal wasn’t an easy 1-2 step process, it had a low adoption rate.

As stated in Mueller’s post, and speculated by many, Authorship simply did not have any direct impact to an increase in clicks or rankings. A direct quote from the post:

“If you’re curious — in our tests, removing authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads. We make these kinds of changes to improve our users’ experience.”
 

Is Authorship Completely Dead?

From search results, it appears to be mostly (though not entirely) gone. As explained by Mueller, search queries will still show relevant posts from your Google+ connections with their information. So if you were connected with an author and searched for information pertaining to them, then you may see something like this:

The Google Authorship Update

Keep in mind, the rel=author markup didn’t just affect search; social media displays this information as well. With Pinterest, you can stand out with rich pins. As you see in the picture below, you will still see the author markup:

Pinterest-Tips-Tricks

 
You can also see it on Twitter with Twitter cards as shown below. If you’re able to edit the author Twitter handle, you’ll also get another spot in the author section.

 

Conclusion

Although authorship has been mostly removed from Google search, it still does serve a purpose and cannot be entirely considered dead.. perhaps undead… zombie(?). You don’t necessarily need to go through the process adding the authorship through Google+ to include the rel=author tag, but who wouldn’t want a good branded back link on a Google product?

What do you think? Is authorship just dead and should never be touched again or will you still be including it on your blog? Let us know in the comments!

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How Archive As A Service Lets You Lose Those Information Silos http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/09/15/archive-service-lets-lose-information-silos/ http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/09/15/archive-service-lets-lose-information-silos/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:11:23 +0000 http://blog.hostgator.com/?p=8540 The post How Archive As A Service Lets You Lose Those Information Silos appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

There are a number of things that cloud storage services can do well. They can offer affordable resources, whether you’re starting out or extending from an existing setup. They can make those resources highly reliable and almost infinitely scalable (let’s just say, you’re unlikely to ever bump up against any limits.) And, last but by no means least; they can bring different parts of an organization together. With many enterprises still struggling to break down the barriers that prevent proper information flow, cloud storage services can be a boon for that reason alone. Archive as a Service offers additional “anti-information silo” features that become increasingly important as a company grows.
 
Demonstrating Compliance: Everybody’s Headache
To a greater or lesser degree, every business is bound by regulations and a need to practice and demonstrate compliance with those regulations. If you’re operating as a sole trader, then to start with you’ll need to keep records for taxes. If your business has employees, departments, branch offices, then you can look forward to accounting, health and safety, traceability, consumer protection, medical confidentiality and more, according to the sector in which you operate. Trying to get each department to conform to compliance regulations is a challenge in ...

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3 Archives

There are a number of things that cloud storage services can do well. They can offer affordable resources, whether you’re starting out or extending from an existing setup. They can make those resources highly reliable and almost infinitely scalable (let’s just say, you’re unlikely to ever bump up against any limits.) And, last but by no means least; they can bring different parts of an organization together. With many enterprises still struggling to break down the barriers that prevent proper information flow, cloud storage services can be a boon for that reason alone. Archive as a Service offers additional “anti-information silo” features that become increasingly important as a company grows.

 

Demonstrating Compliance: Everybody’s Headache

To a greater or lesser degree, every business is bound by regulations and a need to practice and demonstrate compliance with those regulations. If you’re operating as a sole trader, then to start with you’ll need to keep records for taxes. If your business has employees, departments, branch offices, then you can look forward to accounting, health and safety, traceability, consumer protection, medical confidentiality and more, according to the sector in which you operate. Trying to get each department to conform to compliance regulations is a challenge in itself. Trying to check that each one has done its duty can be even more difficult.

 

Cloud Archival as Your Aspirin

The first thing that Archive as a Service does is to federate all those otherwise isolated initiatives to conserve historical and compliance data. As an added bonus, the central storage not only guarantees data is kept safely, but Archive as a Service can also prevent any tampering with or unauthorized destruction of data, whether by accident or by design. By combining cloud archiving with cloud backup services you can extend that protection, store different versions with their individual timestamps and be ready for disaster recovery if required.

 

No More Capital Outlay

Private archival systems can get expensive, fast. They require more and more capacity, as more and more data accumulates and regulations become increasingly demanding. Cloud-based Archive as a Service obviates the need for laying out large hunks of cash. It provides the capacity you need for smaller monthly fees and lets you scale up smoothly, instead of having to buy a complete new archival server each time. More than this however, you can let the service provider do the work on making sure that the systems remain up to date and properly maintained. When you consider that archiving can last for years or decades, not having to worry about hardware refreshes in between can be a big help.

 

Retention Policies, Discovery and Beyond

Archiving is done so that information can be found again if required. But not all information should be archived or kept beyond a certain time limit. Archive as a Service lets you define and apply enterprise-wide policies for how long different types of data are retained and when information can or should be deleted. You can also search across the whole organization, which is important too for any legal requirements to comply with data sharing or discovery. And once you’ve got your different departments all ‘singing from the same song sheet’ for archiving, you can turn your attention to breaking down any other information silos that exist: for example, in your supply chain or leveraging innovative ideas. Archive as a Service maybe the end destination for much of your information, but that doesn’t stop it from being the starting point for a more unified, efficient and effective organization.

 

*****

Author Bio:
Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Google Plus, Twitter @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kulturarvsprojektet/6498637005/in/photolist-aUgdnB-aUghg6-7MD3dV-6zikYQ-8uDviZ-dSNCNT-G7hwY-FeWvD-fmtgQn-2XevxG-Mhc6R-Mhc7n-bH8xmk-5a4ToF-8JPib7-c5eEWw-fApYgF-cmXzG-aUg8cx-Mh1of-Mh1pq-8BFk82-aUg5p6-epa4xw-3nsq5E-jqCNfw-dYsB4V-8uGuMb-Mh1oQ-epa7My-epa5HW-epa8d5-epa5rC-eodUdx-eodTmp-epa6K5-jL2Khe-dYSxB1-Mh1om-4uZkio-EfQVB-aAyYzA-eLz2Kp-3nQM8v-3nVgnY-fvGq3x-6tqxy2-cXkMNS-itgAn2-mhCYtN

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Boost Sales With Effective Product Photography http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/09/10/boost-sales-effective-product-photography/ http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/09/10/boost-sales-effective-product-photography/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:02:57 +0000 http://blog.hostgator.com/?p=8638 The post Boost Sales With Effective Product Photography appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

The United States has seen a rising trend in digital buyers from 136.9million in 2010, to what should be nearly 170 million next year in 2015. That’s over half the country now shopping in eCommerce stores. As consumers, we can’t get enough of the attractive images drawing our eyes towards a potential purchase because online a sale often comes down to how well we can perceive the product.
Ideally, you’d want to hire a professional photographer to undertake such an important task, but these days with all of the additional costs small businesses are facing some budgets just won’t allow for it. That’s why we have created a guide for the most important characteristics pertaining to an effective product photo.
Follow the tips below in order to capture images your customers will respond to.
 
Get set up with consumer-grade equipment
There’s a big difference in consumer and professional equipment, and usually it comes down to the cost. Camera manufacturers are putting out new consumer models every 6-8 months, all of which are capable of delivering fantastic imagery for a fraction of the cost of what a professional-grade camera would run you.
I recommend looking into a DSLR and lens that costs no more than $1,000 ...

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The post Boost Sales With Effective Product Photography appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Product Photography

The United States has seen a rising trend in digital buyers from 136.9million in 2010, to what should be nearly 170 million next year in 2015. That’s over half the country now shopping in eCommerce stores. As consumers, we can’t get enough of the attractive images drawing our eyes towards a potential purchase because online a sale often comes down to how well we can perceive the product.

Ideally, you’d want to hire a professional photographer to undertake such an important task, but these days with all of the additional costs small businesses are facing some budgets just won’t allow for it. That’s why we have created a guide for the most important characteristics pertaining to an effective product photo.

Follow the tips below in order to capture images your customers will respond to.

 

Get set up with consumer-grade equipment

There’s a big difference in consumer and professional equipment, and usually it comes down to the cost. Camera manufacturers are putting out new consumer models every 6-8 months, all of which are capable of delivering fantastic imagery for a fraction of the cost of what a professional-grade camera would run you.

I recommend looking into a DSLR and lens that costs no more than $1,000 if you’re going to be running an eCommerce site with frequent updates and product variations. Mirrorless cameras are also quite the bang for your buck, coming in compact sizes and with built in lenses that capture wonderful macro and detailed product shots.

 

Taking one photo is not enough

The biggest difference in eCommerce shopping is that your customer won’t have the opportunity to handle and evaluate the physical attributes of your product. As you’re probably familiar with this process, you can understand no matter how good the deal is being offered, you probably won’t commit to a purchase until you feel you’ve grasped it visually.

The trick: put yourself into the mind of your shoppers.

Taking multiple product photos will often eliminate any doubts associated with loss in sales. Try and make these details very clear:

  • The size and scale relative to the products functionality
  • Are there additional items that will come packed inside?
  • Does it require assembly?
  • How it looks at all angles

The last bullet point is probably the most important. Larger companies have product windows with 360 degree viewing software, so in order to replicate that assurance make sure there is not an angle missing that may be deterring sales.

shoe ad
 

Background, Lighting and Environment

angels

Just like we need to see the product at all angles, the look should feel like it would in real life. Often photographers will construct what’s called an ‘infinity curve’ to give the background a look as though the product were floating in infinite white space.

This can be as simple as using a roll of paper on the ground as pictured above. The reason behind this is it leaves very little room for aesthetic distractions while customers are browsing your items and won’t confuse anyone as to what is being sold.

It’s always best to try and find natural lighting if you aren’t experienced in lighting a studio. While the illumination of soft boxes can be very enticing, mixing different light temperatures and angles can often make a photo more unattractive. Here’s a great resource for setting up a studio from home.

Last, try and include objects that will help it relate to real life. For example, jewelry makers have been shown to have much better success by photographing items being worn, while also having some shots of the item by itself. This is a great trick for translating what the item will look like on your customers.

 

The power is in the details

Like any attractive advertisement you want customers to see the fine features that define your products’ quality. Often times this means using a shallow depth of field, or one of the macro features built into your camera to truly focus in on the textures, materials and details that make the item worth purchasing.

*Try selecting the flower setting or aperture priority to really sharpen the image.

 

Edit and Post

Rarely do professional photographers just take an image off the camera and upload it. After you’ve gone through the capturing process it’s important you’ll also be able to adjust the lighting, color and clarity to truly portray your items attractively.

If you’re not looking to get a subscription to Photoshop, here are some free software options for PC and Mac.

Photography can be a lifelong pursuit to reach perfection, but if you follow these steps you’ll be much more likely to convert sales knowing how to properly showcase your products.

 

Image Sources:

https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/7131/dune_quick_view-blog-full.png

http://cjchampion.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/product21.jpg

https://arqspin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/dslr-360-product-photography.jpg

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Email: Unlimited vs. Infinite http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/09/04/email-unlimited-vs-infinite/ http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/09/04/email-unlimited-vs-infinite/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:10:18 +0000 http://blog.hostgator.com/?p=8620 The post Email: Unlimited vs. Infinite appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Email is one of those little things that you can easily forget about. You read it, maybe even type out a response and click send… but then you go on about your day, likely paying no mind at all to the fact that the little email actually does take up physical space on a hard drive within a server. This can lead to some major issues in the long run, however. Like personal fitness, it is something that you need to keep tabs on and do daily. Left unchecked, an inbox full of old email and spam can ultimately lead to detrimental issues.
 
What Unlimited Really Means
It’s easy to think that unlimited does actually mean infinite, but the reality is that physical limitations do exist; there will always be a finite amount of space, be it in your office or on a server. Every single file takes up space, even if just a miniscule amount, but those teeny-tiny amounts do add up when left unchecked!
This is most definitely applicable with email. If you don’t go through and remove old emails and spam from time to time it can really add up, just like cholesterol in your veins. Overtime, the blockage ...

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full mail inbox

Email is one of those little things that you can easily forget about. You read it, maybe even type out a response and click send… but then you go on about your day, likely paying no mind at all to the fact that the little email actually does take up physical space on a hard drive within a server. This can lead to some major issues in the long run, however. Like personal fitness, it is something that you need to keep tabs on and do daily. Left unchecked, an inbox full of old email and spam can ultimately lead to detrimental issues.

 

What Unlimited Really Means

It’s easy to think that unlimited does actually mean infinite, but the reality is that physical limitations do exist; there will always be a finite amount of space, be it in your office or on a server. Every single file takes up space, even if just a miniscule amount, but those teeny-tiny amounts do add up when left unchecked!

This is most definitely applicable with email. If you don’t go through and remove old emails and spam from time to time it can really add up, just like cholesterol in your veins. Overtime, the blockage can grow to become a serious issue.

Despite its name, an inode isn’t some new flashy Apple product, it’s a data structure used to keep information about a file on your hosting account. Things on your hosting account like emails, files, folders, or literally anything else stored on your server consumes a relative amount of inodes. There is a set limit of how many inodes you can utilize at any given time, which is the literal physical limitation that people may start to bump up against. A HostGator shared server imposes a limit of 250,000 inodes, and while that sounds like a lot it can easily be consumed by an unkempt inbox.

 

Easy Solutions

Although it’s easy to lose track of the situation and let it get out of hand, it’s actually quite as easy to nip it in the bud. Put aside some time every day to go through your inbox and trim the fat, deleting old emails or even just attachments that are no longer relevant. Every little bit helps. Don’t forget to empty your trash and spam folders too!

Another solution might be to use an offsite mail fetch service such as Google. This will help reduce the use of Disk space and inodes, leaving you more leg room to work with.

This hygienic practice should also extend to any 3rd party email services as well like Gmail and Yahoo. Remember, it’s important to keep your inbox clutter free, not only for the health of your server but for the health of your business too!

 

Image source:http://www.beautyprpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/full-mailbox.jpg

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Looking Into The Past To Predict The Future: The History Of The Internet http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/09/02/looking-past-predict-future-history-internet/ http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/09/02/looking-past-predict-future-history-internet/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:44:49 +0000 http://blog.hostgator.com/?p=8612 The post Looking Into The Past To Predict The Future: The History Of The Internet appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

In a digital era where connectivity and technology are terms as ubiquitous as food and water, it’s easy to take the Internet for granted and not pay it any more mind beyond your latest tweet. In fact, relatively few people really understand what the Internet is, no less the origins of the world wide web or how it has grown over time to reach its current capabilities.
Although this information might strike you as irrelevant, it might be wise to take minute and learn the basics just as you should understand the fundamentals of a car, considering that the Internet will undoubtedly be the tool that defines the 21st century.
 
Birth of “The Net”
Conceptualization – The Internet was conceived in 1962 by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT as a “Galactic Network” that would connect a group of computers so they may access data and programs regardless of where a single computer was located.
Experimentation – After MIT researchers Leonard Kleinrock and Lawrence G. Roberts expanded upon Licklider’s idea and theorized the feasibility of such an invention, they managed to successfully link two computers from Massachusetts to California via a low speed dial-up telephone line in 1965.
Development – By 1968 the Defense Advanced Research ...

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The post Looking Into The Past To Predict The Future: The History Of The Internet appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Looking Into The Past, To Predict The Future

In a digital era where connectivity and technology are terms as ubiquitous as food and water, it’s easy to take the Internet for granted and not pay it any more mind beyond your latest tweet. In fact, relatively few people really understand what the Internet is, no less the origins of the world wide web or how it has grown over time to reach its current capabilities.

Although this information might strike you as irrelevant, it might be wise to take minute and learn the basics just as you should understand the fundamentals of a car, considering that the Internet will undoubtedly be the tool that defines the 21st century.

 

Birth of “The Net”

Conceptualization – The Internet was conceived in 1962 by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT as a “Galactic Network” that would connect a group of computers so they may access data and programs regardless of where a single computer was located.

Experimentation – After MIT researchers Leonard Kleinrock and Lawrence G. Roberts expanded upon Licklider’s idea and theorized the feasibility of such an invention, they managed to successfully link two computers from Massachusetts to California via a low speed dial-up telephone line in 1965.

Development – By 1968 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, guided the technology and its development under the project name ARPANET and honed the boarder aspects of the project, such as its structural and technical parameters, architectural designs, and key components like the Interface Message Processors (IMP).

Inception – After the very first host computer was connected to the first node at UCLA in 1969, the Stanford Research Institute connected and host-to-host messaging was born. Following this with the addition of two nodes that dealt with application visualization projects, four host computers were connected to ARPANET.

Sophistication – As more and more computers were added to the network, function and utilization was the focus for improvements. Software was subsequently devised and the Network Control Protocol (NCP) was implemented, thus leading to the need for more applications. In 1972, the budding network saw its culmination in the construction of the ultimate coordination tool– electronic mail.

Integration – Soon the ultimate goal of ARPANET turned to incorporating other separate networks through the foundational idea of Internetworking Architecture where they may be independently designed for a unique interface. This would be referred to as “internetting” and throughout the late ‘70s and early 80’s there would be extensive development of LANS, PC’s and workstations that would not just lead to more networks, but to more modifications of the initial model.

Evolution – As the Internet grew, so did the progressive management issues; in particular were the router insufficiencies, the transition to the Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol, and problems regarding a single table for every host after they all were assigned names for easier public use. This latter was accommodated by the creation of the Domain Name System (DNS) that would mitigate the task by properly distributing hierarchical host names into Internet addresses.

Mainstream – By the mid 90’s, the Internet was a respected and well-supported technology that was embraced not only by those in the research communities, but the mainstream masses for personal communicative uses too.

 

What Brought About the World Wide Web

Documentation – One of the key factors in the successful building of the Internet into what it is now was the free promotion and sharing of research and data. The new, dynamic, and real-time exchange of knowledge was critical to the concept of an online, interconnected community.

Community – Though the Internet was established by those in academia, it was the efficient transmittance of ideas that allowed the common man to become engaged and help build it with his public presence. By creating a widespread community, they also created a widespread dialogue and their peer-to-peer relationships helped drive the technology forward.

Commercialization – As vendors began to supply the network products, and the service providers the internet connections, we have seen a shift in the popular demand that now treats the technology much like a physical commodity due to the systemic use of browsers and search engines and the World Wide Web for commercial purposes.

 

Tool of The 21st Century

What once began as a data communications network and evolved into a global information infrastructure is now a technology that manifests itself in every person’s life. It dictates how we communicate as a society, how we learn, and how we will continue to evolve. You should take credence in the fact that knowing this brief history will help you understand the trajectory we are all on as a globalized, interconnected people.

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Raising The Bar: Fundraising And The Future http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/08/27/raising-bar-fundraising-future/ http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/08/27/raising-bar-fundraising-future/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:15:20 +0000 http://blog.hostgator.com/?p=8592 The post Raising The Bar: Fundraising And The Future appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Editors Note – Cy is a friend of HostGator, currently pursuing entrepreneurial dreams in Silicon Valley. We have asked him to share his adventures. If you missed it see Part 1 The Spark: A Startup Is Born and Part 2 Perilous Pivots: When a Dream Meets Reality.
 
Traction is great, but it doesn’t keep a company alive. After five months of growth Contastic was picking up steam. We had hundreds of users on board and real revenue starting to trickle in. However, it was not enough to sustain our costs as a business. We had only three months of cash in our personal bank accounts left to survive. With that dwindling lifeline in mind I jumped into the process of fundraising.
It started with a bang; I made a long list of all the investors I knew from our time at Lightspeed. Everyone took a meeting – leading to at least a hundred coffees and calls. With each meeting we heard a new opinion that led us to create countless iterations of our pitch deck – presenting our company in a new light each time. Little did I know this would all be ...

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The post Raising The Bar: Fundraising And The Future appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Editors Note – Cy is a friend of HostGator, currently pursuing entrepreneurial dreams in Silicon Valley. We have asked him to share his adventures. If you missed it see Part 1 The Spark: A Startup Is Born and Part 2 Perilous Pivots: When a Dream Meets Reality.

 

Traction is great, but it doesn’t keep a company alive. After five months of growth Contastic was picking up steam. We had hundreds of users on board and real revenue starting to trickle in. However, it was not enough to sustain our costs as a business. We had only three months of cash in our personal bank accounts left to survive. With that dwindling lifeline in mind I jumped into the process of fundraising.

It started with a bang; I made a long list of all the investors I knew from our time at Lightspeed. Everyone took a meeting – leading to at least a hundred coffees and calls. With each meeting we heard a new opinion that led us to create countless iterations of our pitch deck – presenting our company in a new light each time. Little did I know this would all be for naught.

 
Send_In_Seconds

 

I’d fallen into the classic trap of sales – failing to qualify. We were taking advice from many investors who chose not invest – no matter how we pitched ourselves. By taking their advice we scattered the messaging and wandered away from what really mattered – Contastic.

After setting into a feeling of hopelessness from all of the conflicted advice, I just gave up and pitched the next investor we met like a customer. The product we spent months refining had come to a sharp focus that could be conveyed in about a minute:

 

Simply put – Contastic tells sales teams who to contact, when to reach out, and what to say to close a deal. This saves time and increases prospect conversion rates. Focusing on this pithy value proposition led to instant and binary results.

Investors began to either instantly love our product (we closed one spectacular investment with a 30 minute phone call), or they would simply opt out. This eliminated the slow no – investors who would waste my time with endless questions and requests for information, but never invest. Investing in the early stage is purely emotional. Either it’s love at first sight, otherwise no amount of rationalization will get you there.

Armed with this knowledge, we ended up closing our lead investor on week two – with the rest of our round closing with a snap in the two weeks following the lead. We ended up raising almost double what we had originally intended. At the outset of the process our very survival was uncertain, but by its end we have the support of the very best in the world:

investors

 

Although raising money concludes our series here, it’s only the beginning for Contastic as a company. This round of funding arms us with the means to compete in the big leagues. It’s up to us to sprint to build a real business. Closing our round is not the end – it is the beginning – the punctuation of a starting pistol. Now, it’s time for us to run.

contastic

 

About Cy

I’m an engineer who loves to sell. My career started out in big data engineering for Microsoft evolved into a sales role that landed me as the founder of Contastic (getContastic.com). I bring the hard data-driven approach of an engineer to the softer science of sales. It’s always a pleasure for me to meet new people and help them evolve their sales practices. I blog at blog.cykho.com and tweet @cykho.

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Webhosting SOAP http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/08/25/webhosting-soap/ http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/08/25/webhosting-soap/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:17:45 +0000 http://blog.hostgator.com/?p=8537 The post Webhosting SOAP appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

With your website up and running, you can welcome visitors from all over the web. And with several websites – or web applications – you can multiply that number of visitors further. But what if you wanted to give each visitor a seamless experience so that whichever website he or she accessed, it would be possible to transparently get services from the other websites, too? Sure, you can always provide handy links to open up new browser windows or embed information in pop-ups, but web hosting also allows you to make things much more seamless and slick. You can give your visitors the perception that they are getting everything they need from just one site.
 
Visitor Perception
How your visitors see your site can affect visitor loyalty, traffic and (if that’s your goal) website revenues. Suppose you run a travel information service on one web hosting platform, a hotel reservation service on another, and you’d also like to make up to date currency exchange information (which you don’t host) available to your visitors too. In fact, by using a standard networking protocol that other providers offer, you can also make your web site the center of the universe for your visitors and ...

web hosting

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2 Soap Box

With your website up and running, you can welcome visitors from all over the web. And with several websites – or web applications – you can multiply that number of visitors further. But what if you wanted to give each visitor a seamless experience so that whichever website he or she accessed, it would be possible to transparently get services from the other websites, too? Sure, you can always provide handy links to open up new browser windows or embed information in pop-ups, but web hosting also allows you to make things much more seamless and slick. You can give your visitors the perception that they are getting everything they need from just one site.

 

Visitor Perception

How your visitors see your site can affect visitor loyalty, traffic and (if that’s your goal) website revenues. Suppose you run a travel information service on one web hosting platform, a hotel reservation service on another, and you’d also like to make up to date currency exchange information (which you don’t host) available to your visitors too. In fact, by using a standard networking protocol that other providers offer, you can also make your web site the center of the universe for your visitors and invisibly pull in all sorts of information that could be of interest to them. ‘One-stop shops’ like this are more convenient and encourage more visitors to return. So what sort of mechanism lets you do that?

 

SOAP: Simple But Effective

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol to give its full, former name) is a standard protocol that lets web sites access information from external sources for their visitors without interrupting the ‘one site does it all’ experience. It’s not the only way to accomplish this, but it is one of the most simple. What’s more, it doesn’t depend on any particular web programming language or web hosting operating system, so it can hook up just about anything. SOAP just uses two universal resources to work: HTTP (which is how your website works anyway) and XML (eXtensible Markup Language), which is also available as a standard part of any mainstream web platform.

 

What SOAP Does

SOAP specifies how to set up communications with an HTTP header and an XML file so that an application in one server can call an application in another and ask for information. It also specifies how the other application then responds to the first with the requested information. Essentially the provider of the information makes instructions available about what information can be requested and how. These instructions are expressed in WSDL or Web Services Description Language (which is based on XML). The consumer of the information uses the instructions to create a calling application and sends it using SOAP to manage the interaction.

 

Back To Our Example

If you’re running the website with the travel info and the webserver with the hotel reservation system, then you can choose to have a SOAP provider application on your reservation system and a SOAP consumer application on the travel info website. A visitor reading your travel info could then click to get immediate hotel availability information and even a hotel reservation form without leaving the travel info site. To get auxiliary information on currency exchange rates for foreign destinations, you could use the WSDL instructions from a third-party site and create a second SOAP consumer application to get up to the minute currency conversion for your own visitors – again, without them leaving your travel info site.

 

Is It Complicated to Implement?

In absolute terms, no. Somebody who knows HTTP and who understands XML will likely find that SOAP and WSDL are simple enough to work with. Of course, you’ll want to design and test your web services applications properly to make quite sure they work consistently and reliably for all your visitors. But once they are in place, you can then also offer your slick hotel reservation web service to other webmasters so that you can boost your business even more!
 

*****

Author bio:  Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Google Plus, Twitter @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.

 

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/monsieurlui/316350341/in/photolist-tXnWe-fNfHbS-ifXF2F-ifXFjN-arujE9-cfFUX3-kLeAct-9kKrVe-5T9fu6-4xhrfT-fkv78c-aWa2ZT-3265bo-FLKc7-nxxMxP-eUAzmU-617kFE-7WvyGS-fV8bGm-e1ajoV

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Facebook Ads Update: September 2014 http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/08/22/facebook-ads-update-september-2014/ http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/08/22/facebook-ads-update-september-2014/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:22:32 +0000 http://blog.hostgator.com/?p=8552 The post Facebook Ads Update: September 2014 appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

In March of this year, Facebook made some changes to the way in which ad campaigns are managed; essentially providing for better campaign management via increased granularity. This allowed for significantly better A/B testing; one example being the ability to split mobile ads into a unique ad set separate from regular newsfeed ads, which proved to be exceptionally helpful. Eight months later, they’re at it again with a new update.
 
Advertising Update 2014

 
On August 13th, Patricia Lai posted news on the Facebook PMD about new changes in the structure of campaigns.  For those who like to exercise as much control as possible over their campaigns, these will again be welcomed changes. Let’s take a closer look.
 
What You Should Know

 
The biggest change for the September 2014 update is highlighted in the picture above. You may remember back in March, Facebook updated the campaign structure as follows:

Campaign: Objective
Ad Set: Schedule and Budget
Ad: Creative, Placement, Targeting and Bidding

The most notable change was the introduction of the ad set. For this update, Facebook will be reversing the roles of ads and ad sets.
 
With the new structure, it will look more like this:

Campaign: Objective
Ad Set: Schedule, Budget, Bidding, Targeting and Placement
Ad: Creative

 
When Is ...

web hosting

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The post Facebook Ads Update: September 2014 appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Facebook-Ads-Update-Sept-2014
In March of this year, Facebook made some changes to the way in which ad campaigns are managed; essentially providing for better campaign management via increased granularity. This allowed for significantly better A/B testing; one example being the ability to split mobile ads into a unique ad set separate from regular newsfeed ads, which proved to be exceptionally helpful. Eight months later, they’re at it again with a new update.
 

Advertising Update 2014

Facebook Ad Structure
 
On August 13th, Patricia Lai posted news on the Facebook PMD about new changes in the structure of campaigns.  For those who like to exercise as much control as possible over their campaigns, these will again be welcomed changes. Let’s take a closer look.
 

What You Should Know

Ad Changes On Facebook
 
The biggest change for the September 2014 update is highlighted in the picture above. You may remember back in March, Facebook updated the campaign structure as follows:

  • Campaign: Objective
  • Ad Set: Schedule and Budget
  • Ad: Creative, Placement, Targeting and Bidding

The most notable change was the introduction of the ad set. For this update, Facebook will be reversing the roles of ads and ad sets.
 
With the new structure, it will look more like this:

  • Campaign: Objective
  • Ad Set: Schedule, Budget, Bidding, Targeting and Placement
  • Ad: Creative

 

When Is The Change?

September 1st, the rollout will begin on Ads Manager, Ads Create Tool, and Power Editor. By mid-September the rollout should be complete and all advertisers will be able to start using the new structure on October 1st.
 
If you are an API developer, you will have at least 5 months to update your systems because they will need to work with the new system by January 2015 at the earliest.
 
Advertisers, if you are using Ads Manager, Ads Create Tool, or the Power Editor, then you will see this change soon. If you are using a third party tool, you may not notice the update until 2015.
 
As for your existing campaigns, you do not need to make any updates to them at this time. You can continue to run these until January. At that time, Facebook will have the option to migrate existing campaigns within the Ads Manager.
 

Major Hints For Coming Updates

Facebook Ad Update
“This will also pave the way for launching advanced delivery controls, audience management, and a campaign spend cap in the near future.”
 
It is very exciting to see this platform evolve. Hopefully these new advanced controls will prove to be another useful evolution.
 
What do you think about these new changes and the path that Facebook is on with their advertising platform? Will it become everything that Adwords isn’t, or just another platform that doesn’t live up to the hype? Let us know in the comments!

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Google+ Moves Forward http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/08/20/google-moves-forward/ http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/08/20/google-moves-forward/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:43:24 +0000 http://blog.hostgator.com/?p=8562 The post Google+ Moves Forward appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Most businesses opt to use Twitter or Facebook as a means of communicating with their customers, or their potential customers; though there are those that are willing to utilize G+, they often do so as an afterthought, making it a nice place for many of us to hang out who don’t like dealing with advertisements in our news, information, and social escapades. Still, with Facebook starting to trail behind the others, as it increases the amount of advertisements and decreases in popularity, many users are starting to turn to G+ as the next big platform.

 
What Does This Mean For Businesses?
You may want to get on board with G+, and Google’s making that easier than ever for you to do now. All e-commerce business owners use some form of analytics in order to determine the best moves for their business, allowing them to find out where they want to take things from here, so to speak.
While this has been somewhat possible through social media as well, many business owners find that they don’t want to pay the additional fees needed in order to access this information, leaving them questioning as to whether or not they are doing things right on the ...

web hosting

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The post Google+ Moves Forward appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Most businesses opt to use Twitter or Facebook as a means of communicating with their customers, or their potential customers; though there are those that are willing to utilize G+, they often do so as an afterthought, making it a nice place for many of us to hang out who don’t like dealing with advertisements in our news, information, and social escapades. Still, with Facebook starting to trail behind the others, as it increases the amount of advertisements and decreases in popularity, many users are starting to turn to G+ as the next big platform.

Google Plus

 

What Does This Mean For Businesses?

You may want to get on board with G+, and Google’s making that easier than ever for you to do now. All e-commerce business owners use some form of analytics in order to determine the best moves for their business, allowing them to find out where they want to take things from here, so to speak.

While this has been somewhat possible through social media as well, many business owners find that they don’t want to pay the additional fees needed in order to access this information, leaving them questioning as to whether or not they are doing things right on the social media platforms. Well, no more!

G+ now offers businesses the ability to access all of the analytic information that they need in order to determine the best methods of connecting with customers, identifying what is working and what is not, and, perhaps more importantly, works to increase the amount of control that small businesses have over their promotional activities. Offered as a part of the service now known as “Google My Business,” small business owners are able to manage many aspects of their online presence, including search results, maps, directions, reviews, and the analytical data offered to them through the use of G+.

 

Time To Make A Change?

Google’s always worked to try to provide users with all of the information that they could ever possibly need or want (and then some), but now it appears as though they are working to take care of not just individuals but businesses as well. With all this available readily at your fingertips, perhaps it’s time for you too to consider making a change; if not permanently, at least working to include G+ in your retinue of tools.

web hosting

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Harnessing Your Web Power http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/08/18/harnessing-web-power/ http://blog.hostgator.com/2014/08/18/harnessing-web-power/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:30:59 +0000 http://blog.hostgator.com/?p=8433 The post Harnessing Your Web Power appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

This is perhaps the “selfie” generation. Never before have so many horns been tooted by their very owners. Frankly, that’s a lot of noise with which to compete. What is a self-appreciating, well-meaning artist to do? Blow harder? Louder?

In college I was ever-fascinated by the marching bands. The organization of those harmonies and the concerted effort displayed amid the open roofed, fan crazed, frenzy that ensued in the stands was nothing less than spectacular to me.
Through the playful back and forth between various sections of instrumentation, there seemed to reign a constant (perhaps even arrogant) dominance of the trumpeters. Who, after moments of being connivingly coy, pierced through and blurted out their superiority as though the keep all else in check and ensure their prowess was well recognized.
I eventually grew to appreciate a particular instrument more than all the rest; it was not the trumpet. It was the Piccolo, the miniature flute. It seemed to simply float up in the atmosphere, ever present. It could be easily missed, yet once you have grasped its unique pitch and tone, it is undeniable and somewhat addictive.
Stay with me…I assure you I’m going somewhere with this.
You want nothing more than to be ...

web hosting

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The post Harnessing Your Web Power appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

This is perhaps the “selfie” generation. Never before have so many horns been tooted by their very owners. Frankly, that’s a lot of noise with which to compete. What is a self-appreciating, well-meaning artist to do? Blow harder? Louder?

In college I was ever-fascinated by the marching bands. The organization of those harmonies and the concerted effort displayed amid the open roofed, fan crazed, frenzy that ensued in the stands was nothing less than spectacular to me.

Through the playful back and forth between various sections of instrumentation, there seemed to reign a constant (perhaps even arrogant) dominance of the trumpeters. Who, after moments of being connivingly coy, pierced through and blurted out their superiority as though the keep all else in check and ensure their prowess was well recognized.

I eventually grew to appreciate a particular instrument more than all the rest; it was not the trumpet. It was the Piccolo, the miniature flute. It seemed to simply float up in the atmosphere, ever present. It could be easily missed, yet once you have grasped its unique pitch and tone, it is undeniable and somewhat addictive.

Stay with me…I assure you I’m going somewhere with this.

You want nothing more than to be heard. To develop a fan base large enough to support your music habit full-time, or at least take your career to that elusive next step.

Many musical artists, signed and unsigned, independents and traditionals, hardcore and “sell-outs” alike, all make use of mainstream distribution channels. iTunes, and GooglePlay accounts promoted by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages. So many people all playing the trumpet… but what about the piccolo?

I would encourage you to try a different route; be the piccolo. After you have partnered with your web-host and launched an easily navigable site that best expresses your essence, promote it. You have spent substantial time and a good amount of money on developing your brand (You have considered branding-haven’t you?). Time for a return on that investment. Develop your fan base directly.

Use the other channels and tools, of course, but consider them to be supplementary. Instead, aim to drive direct traffic to your very own site and drive sales through your very own site as well. There are two main benefits of this on which I want to focus:

1. Visibility. Promoting your site more than your YouTube, MySpace, or any other pages will help you acquire SEO visibility. When people Google you…YOUR site will come up, not just your YouTube and other social media accounts.

2. Analytics. Proving your worth as an indie artist is hard enough, don’t add fuel to the fire by not being able to highlight numbers! You may be an artist, but you are also in the BUSINESS of music. There is no wise business mind that would forsake the mighty metrics. Numbers don’t lie.

If you have 10,000 fans with whom you maintain direct contact and are able to prove they visit your website regularly, THAT’S A BIG DEAL! Those 10,000 fans equal a “market place.” Sponsors will pay you for access to that “market place” and it may only require something simple like wearing their logo or including their business name and link on your site. Don’t block your blessed income because you can’t show and tell.

 

Stay tuned for the part 2 of this article: Maximizing Your Reach; Monetizing Your Brand

Image Source: http://biedermanblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Digital-Music.jpg

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