Avalon Hosting Services | January 26, 2020

Confused about hashtag (#)? Do not know how to use the hashtag (#)? Want a learn more about this symbol (#) widely being used in social media platforms? You won’t need to look further. In this post, you will get an overall idea of hashtag (#), what it is and how to use it. The hashtag is widely used in today’s social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. You will get to know the following essential facts about hashtags throughout this post: What is Hashtag? Why Hashtag is important Supported platforms that use Hashtag Hashtags in Business and Marketing on Social Media Categories of common Hashtags Tools to find the right Hashtag What is Hashtag: Hashtag or this symbol “#” has gained much popularity. It has become an integral part of social media. Also, it is being used as a powerful medium to promote business, brand organizations, etc. in social media marketing. Organizations can use hashtags to reach their target audience and to help members filter information. Before we learn why should we use a hashtag on social media, we need to know what hashtag actually is. Feeling interested? Here is the answer; A hashtag (introduced by the symbol #) is a type of metadata tag used on social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms. It allows users to put on vibrant and user-generated tagging, which makes it possible for others to find messages with a specific theme or content easily. As an example, if you type #DomainName on twitter, you will see all related posts, articles related to “domain name”.You do not need to search for your required information anywhere else. hashtag mainly organizes all the information and conversations related to a particular topic in one group. How to use the hashtag: Users create and use hashtags by placing the number sign or pound sign # usually in front of a word or unspaced phrase in a message. It is mainly positioned in front of a keyword or phrase to make it clickable and searchable. Before we move forward there are some points we need to know about hashtag; Hashtags only work with letters and numbers.No spaces between words or numbers should be there. But they don’t work with just numbers like #1971,#50, etc. You need to get a meaningful word with the numbers. Also, punctuation marks are not supported, so commas, periods, exclamation points, question marks, and apostrophes are not allowed to use. Do not use asterisks, ampersands or any other special characters. Hashtags are not case sensitive. You can put words and phrases together, but you should capitalize each letter to make it easier to read. Do not put space in it. If you put space, only the letter after hashtag will be counted. By using a hashtag, you can effortlessly analyze what’s trending. You can easily find out what people are talking about related to your hashtag keyword. It is essential to be relevant. Anything you want to post, it needs to be to the topic. You should never post anything that has nothing to do with your topic. Let’s think about a popular hashtag #EatPizza; now, if you want to talk about Webhosting, you have nothing to talk about #EatPizza. Your hashtag would be #WebHosting. One more thing you need to remember is you need to be specific with a keyword that accurately represents what you are searching for. Say, if you want to know about hosting providers that are on business you should write #hosting providers rather than #hosting. Keep hashtags short and easy to remember rather than trying to use a lot of words in one tag. Do not try to force hashtags onto all posts. only utilize them when they increase value to your post. Make sure that they are likely to encourage discussion and collaboration. Hashtags can not only attract members of your target audience, but they can also be used to research your competition. Search using hashtags, and you will uncover relevant content related to your topic. Why Hashtag is important: Hashtags help to increase your social media existence as they make your content available by anyone who has an interest in your hashtag as it goes beyond just your followers. From a user perspective, hashtags allow people to find posts that are relevant to their interests and interact with other social media users who share those interests by joining the conversation about hashtag ABC. Hashtags can help you build a brand for your business or yourself by engaging with customers and joining the conversation about what’s trending. From a business perspective, it is your chance to be noticed in such a discussion and establish your company as a voice for specific topics. If you participate in the high-traffic conversation by discovering the most important trending topics, you are more likely to gain high visibility to your business. The more visibility you get, the more likely you can create a larger audience and a larger audience exponentially increases the likelihood of fresh leads for your business. Supported platforms that use Hashtag: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr are some leading platforms where the hashtag is commonly used. These social media platforms. Hashtag on Twitter  : Twitter is the birthplace of Hashtag usage. Twitter hashtags are mainly used to indicate specific topics of conversation. If you search for a hashtag on the twitter search bar, the most relevant and popular posts and discussions will relate to your topic. Also, you can watch the ongoing trends sidebar of your Twitter feed, which is “#Explore”. Search any Hashtag in the “#Explore” search bar and all related trends and ongoing conversation will be shown up. It also suggests you hashtags that you may be interested in. One thing you should remember that you should not use many hashtags in one post. The number of hashtags should be sufficient.  Hashtag on Facebook : It started providing a unique URL for each hashtag just like Twitter does to enable both the businesses and their target audience to click on and get connected with. On Facebook, it is recommended not to use many hashtags. One or two is sufficient. More than that will make you seem unprofessional and will most likely annoy those reading your posts. Posts that you intend to be found should be posted as public rather than just among your family and friends. It will enable anyone interested in the topic indicated by your hashtag to see your post. Hashtag on Instagram : Hashtags can be used to complement photos shared on Instagram and help you discover new accounts and pick up followers. Hashtags on Instagram are quite popular as they make the images more noticeable by the audience. On Instagram, using more Hashtags often leads to more engagement. Use up to ten or eleven relevant and popular hashtags on this platform for the best reach. Use the search box to see what hashtags influencers or competitors are using to engage on Instagram. Hashtag on Pinterest : Use one or two hashtags that are relevant to your topic. Click on the hashtag in a pin description to navigate results that contain the specific hashtag. Use definite and straightforward hashtags for pins. Hashtag on LinkedIn : On LinkedIn, people work on this platform the same way as any of the other social media platforms. If you publish long-form content on LinkedIn, use a few hashtags in the body of your post. One to three hashtags are usually recommended for LinkedIn. The use of hashtags on LinkedIn can get your updates in front of people outside your network. It’s a great way to increase brand awareness. Hashtag on Tumblr : Tumblr posts have a special “Tag” section where you can enter tags. These tags function like Twitter hashtags, organizing posts by topic, but the hash symbol is inserted automatically. Hashtags included in the main body of a post are not transformed into links. Hashtags in Business and Marketing on Social Media: Hashtags are widely being used on every social media platform. For business marketing on social media, you should skillfully use those hashtags. It will help you to develop your marketing process and gather more engagement with your product. Hashtags can expand your content reach, increase your brand, target your market, get your content found, improve your SEO, and more. Before you start using the hashtag for your business marketing, you need to choose a hashtag that represents your business or brand. You can also create your own hashtag but before that remember these following things: Make them short and relevant. Easy to remember and spell. Be specific to your topic. Do not use too many hashtags at a time. Use them everywhere but do not repeat the same tags in one post. In the case of marketing, you need to follow These following strategies for hashtags, Brand and campaign-specific Trending Content Brand and campaign-specific Hashtags: These are the hashtags that you make for your own business. Use them for marketing your brand and promoting them. Make a brand hashtag that is unique to your business, defines your business. So you can use your brand tag as your signature tag. Involve people to use them so that your brand gets marketed too. For campaign hashtags, make hashtags that are used to marketing campaigns of your product. For example, if you are having a sale on any of your products, you can make a unique hashtag for further promotion. Search on social media, If they’re already existing and famous on a few social sites use a different campaign tag for your brand. Promote your hashtag to engage your customers in your brand during your sale. Trending Hashtags: A trending hashtag is all about what people are talking about “what’s trending now”. They are often referring to the hashtags that are trending or are the most talked about right now. Trending hashtags can be continuously changed in real-time. There are different platforms to find what’s trending on every social media website. If you see a trend that relates to your business, using the tag. By using a trending tag in your content update, you can get audiences for your posts in a massive way. Do not post too many trends that are not related to your brand or business. There are also lots of resources where you can find recent trending tags, modify your tags, and sites where you can see a visual map of geographic hashtag trends. Look out these sites: Hashtags.org – You can find trending, declining and constant trends, as well as metrics about your social brand. Statigram – You can search for Instagram hashtags trends and get alternatives for hashtag words so that you can choose the most popular tags. Trendsmap – This site gives you a visual map to see geographic hashtag trends. As a local business, this is a great way to know what’s trending in your area instantly. Content Hashtag: These are the hashtags that are generally used in your posts. They are not branded (and not used to define your business and marketing), but they are essential to improve SEO for your content. They do need to be necessarily trending or highly popular. They are common hashtags that are related to your post content. Content Hashtags show you the recent updates related to the assigned tags of your content. Here are a few categories of common Hashtags: Product Hashtags: These should be related to your products. Use hashtags that both connect your product and your market. Lifestyle Hashtags: People want to connect with people who have common lifestyles. Make your hashtags so relevant to your product. People should easily relate your tags finding useful to their lifestyle. Event Hashtags: Event base hashtags can be included in a content update. If you or your organization is taking part in any event, you can mention the event tags on your post. This type of tags helps your business to grow faster and gain popularity among the audiences of several events related to your business. Location Hashtags: Use these hashtags to connect locally. You can easily connect with your local customers, using the same local tags they are using in your city. Your local customers will see your updates. Tools to find the right Hashtag: Want to know what tags are currently being used on a specific topic throughout social media? Visit www.ritetag.com. Type the hashtag you are searching for a particular topic and the website will show you all the results of posts are being published on social media related to your topic. Hashtags.org also tells you which tags are hot in real-time. Conclusion: In summary, using hashtag has become compulsory for social media users. You can find content and posts and ongoing conversations related to a topic you are searching for in one place. It is essential for business and marketing on social media to gather more engagement, gain customers and spread brand popularity.
Avalon Hosting Services | November 28, 2018

  Have you noticed a “not secure” warning showing up in your website address bar? Are you wondering why it’s displaying there? Well, Google has quite aggressively started to communicate the HTTPS status to users by identifying those that don’t have an SSL certificate, with a not-secure warning. We probably don’t have to tell you that this isn’t a good thing; it doesn’t look great and it can stop people from visiting your site. In this article, we will address exactly what the secure warning means, how to fix it and the advantages of doing so. What is the warning? You might have started seeing the “not secure” warnings rolling out lately, don’t worry…you’re not imagining it. Google’s new update means that they’ve started to let everybody know when the website they are visiting is not HTTPS enabled.   What this tells users is that a hacker could look at the data they have inputted into the site; things like passwords, addresses and card details could all been seen. A hacker could even, in some extreme cases, hijack the connection or redirect the user to a malware-laden page.   For obvious reasons, people are circumspect of a not secure website, some even choose not to stay on the website. What it means for your visitors So, we touched on it briefly in the point above, but your visitors will not like this warning. Internet users are told to look out for these not-secure warnings. If they see them, they’re advised to not enter any kind of sensitive data and, in some cases, exit the page.   Users are becoming more cautious and more cognizant of the issues on the internet, scams and viruses are a worry for them, and it is, in complete fairness, your job to make them feel safe and to make them feel like they can trust your website. What does it mean for you? If you own a website, and it shows a “not-secure” warning, you could be losing out on a lot of traffic or revenue.   If you run any kind of e-commerce website, your users will most likely not be entering their card details on your site, and they will ultimately look elsewhere for the product. This means you lose out on revenue.   If your business relies heavily on traffic, a not-secure warning could be affecting this too. Users may not re-enter your site because of the not-secure warning, and your website could possibly be showing up lower down on the search results as a consequence. How do I fix it? By now you’re probably in agreement that you need to fix it. The good news is; it’s pretty easy to do.   You need to get an SSL certificate, which is basically something which stops all suspicious activity on your website. It binds the domain name with the organisation identity, which will activate a padlock and make that undesirable “not secure” in the top left, completely disappear.   You have an option to get a free SSL certificate or a paid one. Both have their benefits, but we recommend a paid one.   The benefits of doing it To begin, you will get the convenience of being labelled as “secure” in the address bar – and that really can’t be faulted.   You’ll also (most likely) be ranked high in the search results, as being secure gives Google a good reason to boost you up there. This is great for businesses that heavily rely on traffic for revenue. Users and visitors will also be more inclined to enter their bank details and address, which is a necessity for e-commerce sites. Last but not least, and kind of the whole point of an SSL certificate – your website will be protected against scams and viruses. Will you run into any problems? A lot of people put off making their website secure because they don’t really know how to do it and are scared it will change their site.   A lot of questions we get asked are; “will it lower my ad revenue?”, “How do I do it?” and “will and SSL certificate affect how many visitors I get?” Redirecting a website to HTTPS isn’t hard at all, your visitors won’t be affected (in fact, it might benefit you) and it shouldn’t lower any ad revenue.   Is it difficult? No, not at all. If you choose a free SSL you will have to renew your certificate probably about every 90 days, which isn’t extremely convenient. This is one of the reasons why we recommend a paid SSL certificate.   With a paid SSL certificate, you have different options, the renewal process is super easy, you’re protected with a warranty (if anything does happen on your site, you’re entitled to a pay-out) and, quite importantly, you will get customer support, which makes the entire process monotonous.   Achieving a secure site, in short, is an easy and beneficial process which you should absolutely do.   Can I get help? Of course, with paid SSL certificates, customer support will always be there to offer you helpful advice.   If you feel like you need a little bit more help, you can use a technology partner, they will help you with all your technology needs. Avalon Hosting Services will help you with anything you could possibly need revolving around your website or tech problems. They don’t let you rack up a costly bill either. To summarise, if your site is showing a “not secure” sign, you need to invest in an SSL certificate, as soon as possible. You can choose from a free SSL certificate or a paid SSL certificate, and you can get help as you go along, either from customer services or a technology partner.  
Avalon Hosting Services | November 26, 2018

When it comes to servers, you have two main options; cloud server or in-house server. Don’t worry, we know it’s not as straight forward as it sounds, there’s a lot of considerations to make before choosing the right one. Not to mention, a server which fails or doesn’t fit your business can actually have cataclysmic consequences. Obviously, we don’t want to panic you – but picking the right server is super important, and there’s way more than just upfront cost to consider. Factors like uptime, security, space and data recovery should play much more important roles in making your final decision. The following highlights the pros and cons of both cloud and in house servers, hopefully guiding you through this often tricky decision. What is a cloud server? First of all, let’s just clarify what a cloud server is. A cloud server is a virtual server, in comparison to a physical server. By being built and hosted virtually, through the internet, you can access a cloud server (thus, all it’s data and documents) from anywhere, remotely. Cloud technology is actually a lot more common than you might be aware. We use it every day; online banking, playing music and social media all use cloud technology. In fact, cloud technology does solve the many problems that we have, especially for businesses, with just the simple fact that you can access your programmes, software and applications from anywhere. But is it the server for you? Pros of a cloud server You have the flexibility to work from wherever you want, whenever you want as long as you have an internet connection. You also have an increased flexibility in how much capacity you server has – suiting businesses with fluctuating demands. Cloud server gives you the added peace of mind that, no matter what happens, you will never lose your data or work. As well as being able to remotely wipe any information from a laptop or computer just in case, say, it gets stolen or lost. Not to mention the firewalls, backups, data isolation and customer identity control. Your uptime, with a cloud server, will never fall short. Because the whole system is built on interconnected servers, you never have to worry about a system failure or your website having downtime issues. When a website crashes, you’ll lose visitors – therefore this is a super important factor for businesses that rely on uptime. With a cloud server, you never have to worry about updating or maintaining your server – it’s all done for you, away from you. Not only does this give you more time to focus on your business, it means your server is always up to standard. It’s eco-friendly – great for businesses that are following in the footsteps of Amazon, Facebook and Google, and going green. A reduced amount of carbon emissions and an increased level of smugness that you’ve made the sustainable choice, what more could you want? Cons of a cloud server The biggest con is cost, which sometimes might outweigh how many benefits you actually get from a cloud server. Cloud servers are, in general, more expensive than an in house option, which for businesses that aren’t as dependent on uptime or recovery, might make them sway away. Tying in with cost, you have to pay for the amount of storage that you have. Although this might be great in terms of flexibility, it might not be as wonderful for those that need extra storage for their business, but can’t justify the cost that comes with it.  Cloud servers rely on the internet, which could prove to be an issue. What if the internet goes down on your side or your cloud server provider’s side? You won’t have access to your work or information, heavily impacting your business. A little bit personal, but you have to decide whether or not you trust somebody else with your data. With companies with highly sensitive data, with strict regulations, a cloud server might not be a possibility for you. Maybe it is just too risky.   What is an in house server? As the same suggests, an in-house server is located in a building (usually the office, studio etc). They host all the applications, file sharing, data, email and everything else your office will need. Although in-house servers were just the solution, before cloud servers, they still have benefits that could make them the best fit for your business. Here they are. Pros of an in house server You have complete control over an in-house server, meaning you can tailor it to fit the needs of your business perfectly. You have physical control of a backup, of updates and of, well everything. All your critical, sensitive data is in your building – no third party has access to your information. This is the selling point for businesses that have highly sensitive data or strict regulations. You don’t have to rely on an internet connection to access your data. Even if your internet crashes, for whatever reason, your server still remains intact, meaning there’s no loss or productivity. Can be a lot more cost effective as there are no monthly hosting fees, or storage upgrade costs. An initial investment will have to be made, but after that, there are no scheduled costs. Cons of an in house server The biggest worry is that an in-house server won’t survive in worst-case scenarios. How much data you recover from disaster situations all depend on how often you backed up your data manually. With an in-house server, there’s absolutely no uptime or recovery guarantees. This makes your business more susceptible to downtime. The cost of an in-house server might not actually be as low as you think. You will have to pay for IT professionals, maintenance, upgrades and renewing software licensing which all adds up, plus when these aren’t done automatically, you have to spend time. We all know, time is money. An in-house server requires actual physical space in your office, building or workspace. Organisations need to consider which server will work best for them, an investment in the right technology for your business will ultimately affect your long-term profits. We hope you find this information helpful and it guides you in your decision making process, but if you are still not sure then contact our support and our team would love to help you select the best solution for you. 
Avalon Hosting Services | November 08, 2018

  So, you’re ready to set up a new website, how exciting, but now you’re faced with the dilemma; “which web hosting package is best for me?”. We don’t mean to scare you, but this decision is kind of a big one. It determines everything from speed, security, uptime, and stability of your website. In this, we hope to share some important facts that we’ve discovered about hosting over the years, helping you to understand the crucial parts of hosting so that you can make the best decision and choose the right web host for you. Let’s get started. What is hosting?  Let’s start right at the beginning, what exactly is hosting?  Basically, a web host supports a bunch of servers. Servers are designed to let all those who are browsing the web to access their content. This means every time that you click on a website, what you’re actually doing is connecting to a server located somewhere, downloading the site’s files and viewing them. When you rent a space on a company’s server, you’re paying for them to “host” your site. So, you put all your files onto that server which then allows people browsing the web to view your site. Impressive, right? What is the difference between hosting and domains? Many people get domains and hosting confused, and we don’t blame them. It is important to understand the differences between hosting and domain names, so let’s dig in. Understand these differences will give you a little more clarity on the whole thing. When you’re giving space on a server, you’re also assigned an IP address. However, IP addresses are far too hard to remember, which is where a domain name comes in; it’s easier to remember. This also benefits you if you ever change your hosting package. Your IP address will change but your domain can remain the same. You won’t lose visitors but you still have the freedom to change your host. Things you need to consider Now that we have the nitty-gritty details out of the way, let’s get started on which hosting might be for you. It’s important to list all the requirements that your website might have. These are:  Security requirements? Obviously, all sites need to be secure, but some require a little more security than others. For example, e-commerce sites that will have card details and addresses processed through their website will need to give more attention to security than those who are simply just running a blog, for example.  Email hosting? Do you need email addresses that are linked to the domain of your new site? If you do need this (or simply want this), does your host provide this? How large is your data? What is your actual file size? Because the more data you have, the more storage and bandwidth your host will need. If you’re not entirely sure how much data you have, think about what your site actually includes. Is it mostly text? Well, you won’t need as much storage or bandwidth. Alternatively, if your site is full of images and videos you will need more storage and bandwidth. Volume of traffic. How much traffic do you expect on your site? You need to make sure that your host provider will be able to handle your initial traffic and your future traffic. If your business depends heavily on the traffic to your site, you need to pick a hosting package that will ensure uptime. Different types of hosting packages There are different types of web hosting services, and it can all be a little confusing. Below we have listed the most popular types, and what the advantages and disadvantages of using them will be. Shared web hosting. As the name suggests, shared hosting literally means you’re sharing a server with other websites. The low cost of shared hosting makes it a great option for start-ups or blogs. The disadvantage is that the other websites you share the server with may affect your performance. We recommend this server to those with a low budget or start-ups that aren’t initially getting a lot of traffic. Cloud based hosting. It’s the most modern of technologies that have many benefits attached to it. For example, if your site gets an unusually large amount of traffic all of a sudden, it won’t just shut down. Your hosting company will just accommodate for this surge. We recommend cloud servers to just about anybody, but please be mindful that they cost more. Dedicated server. A dedicated server is a physical server that usually sits in your company. Yes, you won’t have to worry about other websites slowing down yours, and your data and information are super secure with this type of hosting. However, upgrading, repairing and maintaining a dedicated server does create some issues. We recommend a dedicated server to businesses that have strictly confidential data. WordPress hosting. WordPress has become so popular that it deserves its very own point. WordPress hosting is perfect for sites that use the platform, it comes with installation updates, plugins and a good level of security. We recommend this to businesses that already use the WordPress platform. Which one is the best for me? We highly recommend that you list all the technical requirements that your site has. Make sure the host you’re leaning towards choosing supports them all. Make sure that the hosting package you’re considering choosing meets all your general initial needs, things like backups, security, domains, bandwidth, storage, and databases are the first factors you need to check off your list. Shared hosting is good for start-ups as it is cost effective. Dedicated hosting is good for businesses that have a large number of visitors, wants full control and tight security due to highly confidential and sensitive data. Cloud hosting is great for all types of businesses and requirements, it just costs a little more. WordPress hosting is highly optimised for WordPress websites and is perfect for sites that already use the platform. Lastly, always look for a hosting provider that has experience, will offer you customer support and understands the complexities of your business. We hope you find this information helpful and it guides you in your decision making process, but if you are still not sure then contact our support and our team would love to help you select the best solution for you. 
Avalon Hosting Services | November 04, 2018

Comodo CA Is Now Sectigo The world’s largest certificate authority Comodo CA is now Sectigo and will move forward with the new and existing products/solutions to protect your customers, employees, websites, intellectual property, and overall interests from online threats. All products will transition from Comodo brand to Sectigo brand name. e.g Comodo EV SSL is now Sectigo SSL EV.It’s still the same company that has issued over 100,000,000 SSL certificates in more than 150 countries.      Do I need to make any changes to Comodo CA products?No. You do not need to make any changes until they are due for renewal. Will my support change?No. You will receive the same expert service and support. When will the name change and rebrand take place?The rebrand change took place at the beginning of November 2018. We will continue to update you on all updates as Comodo CA transitions to Sectigo. What will happen to the Comodo trusted roots? Comodo Certificate Authority roots will remain trusted. Any newly issued certificates will continue to have a Comodo root until the new brand is established.  Do I need to change my Comodo TrustLogo to a new trust logo/site seal? Yes. A new trust logo will be provided following the Sectigo launch. We will update you when this needs to be done.  Will Comodo continue to show as the Certificate Authority in web browsers? Yes. Comodo will continue to be shown as the Certificate Authority in browsers until the rebrand is complete.   If you have any sales or technical questions regarding SSL certificates, from Sectigo or another provider, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.  
Avalon Hosting Services | October 24, 2018

What are the top five reasons to choose cloud hosting? I’m sure you’ve all been given the advice “move to cloud”, it’s probably seeming like a weird buzzword right now. To be completely honest, it can all be a little confusing, especially with everybody voicing their opinions on which type of hosting is better. However, it can’t be ignored; more and more people are moving to the cloud and we don’t blame them. So, we’re assuming because you’re here, you’re probably delving into the possibility of cloud hosting. Here we give you a little bit of a better understanding of what it is, and why you should just go for it. What is cloud hosting? Briefly, cloud hosting is where your applications, programmes, software and data is accessed through the internet. In comparison to physical servers; which sit in a building. Cloud technology isn’t out of this world, we can be pretty certain that you’re in the cloud more than you think; updating your Facebook status, checking your bank balance, accessing Google Drive, eBooks and iTunes are all examples of cloud applications that you, most likely, use every day. Cloud basically makes applications, software and data accessible everywhere you go, across the globe, at any time. In fact, cloud technology solves the many challenges that we (especially businesses) face every day. What is traditional hosting? To better understand cloud hosting, we feel it is necessary to very briefly explain just what traditional hosting is. Traditional hosting comes in one of two forms; dedicated or shared. Dedicated is basically a physical server, usually in the office building, which offers the complete resources, bandwidth, RAM, CPU and drive space. Shared hosting basically means that businesses pay for a certain amount of storage on a single server, whilst also sharing that server with other websites. Both of these options have drawbacks regarding security, uptime and flexibility…which is why many are turning to cloud hosting. Without further ado, let’s list the top five reasons. 1. Uptime The performance of your website is directly linked to the server uptime. With cloud hosting, you get the maximum network uptime and there’s no point of failure. Without getting into too much detail, the system is built of interconnected servers, so, if for whatever reason one server fails, one of the many other servers will take over by default. A traditional hosting option would leave you open to hardware failure and potential downtime of your website and applications. As we all know, a website that crashes will lose visitors, thus losing business. 2. Updates One of the most appealing aspects of cloud hosting is the fact that there’s automatic software updates, including the all-important security updates. You don’t even have to think about them – hooray! Traditional hosting would require you to maintain the system yourself, including any updates. When this is completed for you, automatically, you don’t have to worry about them. This gives you more time to focus on growing your business or website or just, quite simply, prioritising other things without any worry. 3.  Flexibility We’d say that the most attractive factor of cloud hosting lies with how flexible it is, in more than one way. Firstly, with cloud hosting you can increase or decrease your cloud capacity depending on your fluctuating demands.  This means you only pay for exactly what you need, with no hassle when you need to change. Secondly, cloud servers allow you to work from anywhere. If you’ve got an internet connection, you can be at your office. This gives you and your employees a lot more freedom, allowing everybody to enjoy an easier work-life balance. We can’t speak for everyone but working from home, even occasionally, would make a world of difference to our productivity. 4. Security Security comes in many forms, and cloud hosting covers them all. You name it, customer identity control, encrypted solutions, firewalls, backup recovery, storage segregation and data isolation. It truly covers it all. In addition to this, imagine you lose your laptop (although we hope this never happens), cloud hosting gives you the option to remotely wipe data from your lost laptop, but also gives you the added the advantage that you haven’t lost the data – it’s all stored in the cloud. This gives you peace of mind, even in the worst of situations. 5. Eco-friendly Okay, we had to mention it. We think it’s such an important consideration to make in today’s world. It’s also kind of nice to know that, whilst you may be benefiting yourself and your business, you aren’t committing an entirely selfish act, the earth appreciates it too. Cloud hosting completely eliminates the need for in house servers, and their upkeep. Most people don’t realise that managing and processing data with traditional hosting, such as a local server, can greatly increase carbon emissions. Cloud servers are utilised to their full capacity with a better infrastructure and a reduced use of electricity. In a time when “go green” is absolutely the right way to move forward, it makes complete sense to choose the cloud. Amazon, Facebook and Google are just a few of the big names that have decided to make efforts towards being environmentally friendly. Maybe you should follow in their footsteps? Time to move to the cloud We really hope these benefits have persuaded you to move yourself or your business to the cloud. We could have honestly made the list longer, but we assume that you get the picture. Obviously, we know your business needs might differ, we hope you can just use this as a general guide into making the best decision for yourself. We believe that your business can truly excel using cloud hosting, providing you with easy solutions that will effortlessly adapt to your needs. Maybe it could be the choice for you. 
Avalon Hosting Services | October 20, 2018

Running a business isn’t all fun and games, it comes with its highs and lows. One of these lows usually falls with cyber solutions. It’s no secret that outsourcing your IT needs will increase your profitability and business growth. It’ll free up your time and take some of the responsibility off your shoulders. However, a technology partner is only useful if they are fully capable of meeting all your needs and are compatible with your company. If these two things aren’t met, there’s a good chance that you will end up spending more of your precious time, and ultimately double up your workload. So, with all that being said, how do we know that Avalon Hosting services will be the one for you? What does Avalon Hosting Services do?Avalon Hosting Services will provide you with all your cyber solutions, without racking up a costly bill. With a dedicated team of experts that will literally help you with anything from SEO, Joomla, WordPress, Shopify, graphic design, mobile apps…the list goes on. The company is constantly growing, meaning they can offer you a fast, reliable service, no matter where you are and what you do. Does it matter what type of business I have? Not at all, Avalon Hosting Services has about 980 very happy clients, and not one of those had the same kind of business needs. When you’re picking your technology partner, you need to consider how much experience and expertise do they have? Will, they actually know what they are doing, or are they just making empty promises to grab you? We absolutely recommend that you look at tech partners reviews just to see how reliable and, just quite simply, professional they will be. Avalon has great reviews, with clients from multiple different businesses offering their gratitude for the help they have given them. That’s one box ticked off the “finding your technical partner” checklist. What are your business needs? Obviously, knowing what exactly you need help with, will help tremendously and further down the line. Do you need help with your web hosting? Or is it SEO that you need help with? Or do you have an android or IOS app that you need guidance for? If you have, even a brief, idea of what it is you need, your technology partner will hopefully be able to help you. If they can’t, keep on looking. What does Avalon Hosting Services offer?As luck would have it, Avalon Hosting Services offers a diverse offering, suitable for all businesses and their needs. The majority (if not all) business have some kind of website, but don’t always consider the technical side to having one. Their experience and skills give you the absolute best options, and they will always direct you in the most helpful manner. Things to consider when choosing a technology partnerWe’ve already raved on about Avalon Hosting Services, but you might not be sold just yet. Here are just some of the things you need to consider when you’re picking your technology partner: Do they have expertise? We touched on this earlier, but it’s an important one (so excuse us for repeating). Obviously, start-ups are always popping up, and they shouldn’t be discredited immediately but the experience is always an important quality to have. Look at their resume, ask them questions, make sure they know what they’re doing. How responsive are they? Experience and skills are important, but so are their communication skills. We don’t consider setting up an autoresponder as good communication, we mean actually letting you (the client) know their plans, how they intend to fix your problems and help you. No communication is just a big issue from the beginning, which leads to a disaster further down the line. If you’re struggling to communicate with them initially, they’re not the service for you. What are their costs like? Do they offer deals? A budget is important for every business, you need to know that what you’re spending your money on is actually a reasonable price, and worth it. Calculate the money you’ll save from saving working hours, improving security, securing uptime etc. Do you agree with their business? After all, they will be a partner of some kind, you need to make sure that you can work well with them. Why choose Avalon Hosting Services? Amazing prices – The payment options with Avalon are just the best. They even release various offers, where you can actually save money by selecting various plans. Click here to see these incredible offers. They have tonnes of experience – They’ve worked with so many different businesses that absolutely nothing will phase them. They will know what’s best for you and point you in the right direction. Free advice and support – At absolutely no cost to yourselves, Avalon will always be there to give you the best advice and support you could need for your business. Even if it’s just a simple question, or you want an opinion. Their services – They will easily set you up a domain, give you as many email addresses as you want, they’ll install it super quick, so you won’t have any downtime. What more could you need? Their servers also cover every major software, again proving that they cater to every business and their needs. They care about you – Things can go wrong, and when disasters do happen, all your data is backed up by Avalon Hosting Services. If anything did go wrong, you wouldn’t lose any of your important work, documents or website would not be affected. So, to get started with Avalon Hosting Services as your technology partner, take a trip to their website. It could completely transform your business.
Avalon Hosting Services | October 12, 2018

Free SSL Vs Paid SSL Certificate Security for online users is, to say the least, very important. We’re in quite a scary time, where hackers and fraudulent activity online are becoming ever growing issues every single day. We really don’t mean to scare you, that being said, we do believe that we website owners should use this concern to help them. An SSL certificate has become almost necessary for any website now, being used as an incomparable weapon against any suspicious activity online, as well as helping with your search engine rankings. Not bad. So, you can confidently say that you need an SSL certificate, but what type? There are two types; free and paid. To summarise, we think the best option is the paid SSL certificate, but you can’t just take our word for it, right? So, below we have provided you with all the reasons why you should choose the paid option. What is an SSL certificate? Basically, an SSL certificate binds together a domain name with the identity of your organisation, think, the name of your company or location. When you have installed your SSL certificate on a web server, it will activate the padlock, allowing secure connections from a web server to a browser. You can check if a website has an SSL certificate by looking at the address bar, once on the website. If you see a padlock, then the browser connection to the server is secure. If it says “not secure”, it does not have an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate will protect all your sensitive information, things like credit card information, passwords, and usernames. Many users will, rightly, opt to not stay on websites that are not secure too. What is a free SSL certificate? As you probably assume, a free SSL certificate is one that you do not have to pay for. However, there are more differences between a free SSL and a paid SSL than just the price. The whole purpose of a free SSL certificate is to make them available for everybody, no matter the budget, which (we admit) is great. You can choose between ‘self-signed certificates’ or ‘signed by a certificate authorities’ SSL. A free SSL certificate will provide the same level of encryption as the paid SSL certificates. What are the pros of a free SSL certificate The main (and slightly obvious) proof a free SSL is that you don’t have to pay. This gives start-ups and low budget organisations the accessibility to a secure server. Free SSL certificates do offer very similar protection, but there are a few issues and faults, which may make you more inclined to choose the paid option. What are the cons of a free SSL certificate> They’re a little inconvenient – you have to renew your certificate a lot more regularly, perhaps every 90 days, sometimes less.> Free SSL doesn’t protect subdomains. So, if you have a sit with a number of different subdomains, you will have to pay for your SSL certificate. > You won’t get the customer support. If anything goes wrong, or you’re unsure with something, there’s no immediate help that will be there for you.> They are unsuitable for e-commerce. To make customers trust your business and, thus, make purchases, we would advise a paid SSL certificate. In order to be able to secure credit card and personal information, you cannot use a free SSL certificate. What is a paid SSL certificate?Yes, you guessed it, you will have to purchase these types of SSL certificates. With this purchase, you will be issued with a secure SSL certificate, which will be signed by a respectable certificate authority (CA). You can purchase these certificates directly or through 3rd party sites. Though it is true that, in terms of the level of encryption, a free SSL certificate is very similar to a paid SSL certificate…so you’re probably asking; “why would I pay for something I could get for free?”. Well, the differences between the two will justify the payment. We promise Pros of using a paid SSL certificate > Your customer will trust you more. When you have a certificate issued by a respected, trustworthy Certificate Authority, makes a website just seem so much more reliable. Customers and clients will feel safer using your website and purchasing from your e-commerce store. > You have different validation options, something you don’t get with free SSL certificates. These are Domain, Business, and Extended Validation. You also get to choose from different certificate types: Wildcard, One-Domain, and Multi-Domain. These allow you to pick the best one for your website, your needs, and your complexities. > The renewal process of your paid SSL certificates is a lot more convenient. You will only have to renew every two years, meaning your business and website will run smoothly and stay secured. > You’re also protected. When you purchase an SSL certificate, you will get a warranty which covers you for any damage that might incur. So, if your website, unfortunately, got hacked or there was a data breach, you could be entitled to a pay-out. A free SSL certificate does not offer this. > You’ll also get customer support. This is just an extra bit of security and peace of mind for you. Why you should choose a paid SSL certificateObviously, free SSL certificates seem like a great, cost-effective solution, especially for independent, small websites at the beginning of their journey. However, paid SSL certificates grant you more flexibility, benefits, security, and support. If you have a big business or e-commerce site, in our opinion, there isn’t much to think about. A paid SSL certificate will help your business accelerate, your customers will trust you and keep coming back. You should consider this as more of an investment than a purchase.
Avalon Hosting Services | October 02, 2018

So, we’re assuming, because you’ve ended up here, that you’ve entered the weird world of debate revolving around which one you should get: Cloud server hosting or dedicated server hosting. Now, it can all be a little confusing – we won’t even begin to mention that you can have a blend of the two. So, which one should you choose?The reality is, both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately, your decision will be entirely subjective to your business, your objectives and your needs. Don’t worry, we’re here to guide you to make the best decision. The following will lay out the advantages and disadvantages of having both a cloud server and a dedicated server. From this, you will (hopefully) not only understand the two a little bit better, but also be able to determine which one would be best for you and your needs.  Cloud ServersAs you probably guessed, a cloud server is a virtual server rather than a physical server. They are built and hosted virtually through the internet, and can be accessed anywhere. The whole purpose of a server, especially for businesses, is to store and share data and distribute files and folders across a network of computers. Hypothetically, a cloud server would allow remote workers to have access to the same files and data, through the cloud service provider.  Benefits of a cloud serverThe big benefit of a cloud server is that you can share hardware, files and data easily, wherever you are. This would be great for a business that possibly has a lot of remote workers. But that’s not the only reason to favour a cloud server. Cloud servers have the added benefit that you only pay for the exact about of server space that you used up. So, if demand is low, your cost will also be low. This brings us onto the next benefit; it doesn’t matter how much your demands or workload fluctuates, your server will just adapt to your business at that time. This allows you to easily to manage your server, without cost implications.  Dedicated serverOn the other hand, you have a dedicated server. These are physical servers, you or your business will purchase or rent one of these, purely for your own needs. Don’t worry, you can still upgrade your dedicated server, it just has to be carried out by an expert – something that most businesses have.Many big businesses and organisations opt to purchase a dedicated server, and those with steady but high demands, find that they work the best for them. Benefits of a dedicated serverThe main benefits that come with a dedicated server revolve around the fact that it is your server. You have the full resources of a single server, with no worry about other websites, spammers or scripts slowing down your server. With it being just your server, you also have a better sense of security. You can be completely sure that you aren’t sharing a server with any malicious website. This is particularly important for large businesses with sensitive data. Something which is important for many is the IP address too. With a dedicated server you get your own unique IP address, instead of sharing one with other websites. In short, if you arr sharing a server with a spam website then your website might not rank high, just because of this factor.  Which one is best for me? Obviously, your decision will depend on many different things. Below we have listed some of the top factors people look into before choosing their server. By exploring these points, you will optimistically make a solid decision about your server. These factors are; cost, security and uptime.  CostCloud servers give you the option to pay hourly or monthly, depending on the resources you use. This means you will only pay for what you use; perfect for businesses that might not be able to estimate their capacity, for whatever reason. Dedicated servers require you to assume just how much capacity you’ll need, investing in a server that will meet these assumptions. That being said, providers could give you a much better deal on a long-term contract with a dedicated server.  SecurityWe’ve mentioned that a dedicated server is great for security – you don’t have to worry about sharing anything with anybody else. Basically, when you’re in a shared hosting, like with a cloud server, you are more vulnerable to hackers. Once a hacker has access to one of the websites on the shared hosting server, it has easier access to the others. If security is at the forefront of your business (maybe you have very sensitive data to protect), a dedicated server would probably be the best choice for you. UptimeWith a dedicated server, your uptime is heavily dependent on one single server. This basically means that, in the event of failure, there’s not really a backup plan…unless you have a second server. On the flip side, with a cloud server, your uptime could possibly be affected when other sites, on the shared server, get a peak in traffic. That being said, for those who are quite dependent on uptime, a cloud server would probably be your safest choice. Make the decision We hope we have shed a little bit of light on the advantages and disadvantages of cloud and dedicated servers, so that you can make the best decision for yourself or your organisation. Both have amazing qualities, it’s just about picking the right one for you, still not sure which one is best for you? Contact us and we’re happy to help you find the perfect fit.
Avalon Hosting Services | May 31, 2018

Perception is everything—especially when it comes to building trust online. The good news is you have a lot more control over your image than you think. SSL Certificates are one of the easiest and surest ways to prevent your visitors from jumping to the wrong conclusions by showing visible proof that you can be trusted. But, you have options that drive varying degrees of confidence. So, how do you know which makes the most sense for you? Keeping It Real Let’s start with the basics. If you’re like most business, it’s easy to get blindsided about all the recent press about encryption leading up to Google’s July 1 deadline. Sure, this is an important, and essential, part of your online presence. That’s why all SSL Certificates provide encryption. But, it’s not enough.   Ultimately, your visitors want complete confidence that the party on the other end of their connections is legitimate. While all SSL Certificates provide some level of validation, there are important differences that impact whether your visitors continue to engage with you or click over to a competitor.   The Proof is in the Validation Did you know that, according to a Tec-ED survey, 77% of online buyers were hesitant to shop on a website without Extended Validation (EV) SSL—the highest level of authentication? So, what exactly is EV, what are your other validation options and what does each mean to your visitors and your business? Let’s take a closer look.   Domain Validation (DV)—With a DV SSL Certificate, all you need to do is validate you own the domain. While this is the simplest and fastest option, it doesn’t give your visitors clear confirmation of who’s really on the receiving end of their data. In terms of credentials, think of it as getting a library card. You don’t have to prove your identity, you simply tell them your name and they take you at your word. DV may be sufficient if you host a blog, you’re a one-person shop, a company that’s already well-known and trusted, or just need encryption.     Organization Validation (OV)—OV SSL Certificates require a little more screening. You’ll be required to provide up-to-date documentation that shows your company or organization is legitimate. Visitors can click the site seal that comes with the certificate to see your organization details, giving them a comfort level that you’re who you say you are. We equate this to getting a driver’s license which requires you to supply documentation to confirm your identity by multiple sources in your country of origin. OV should be the minimum protection if you operate an e-commerce site and want to ensure visitors you’re legitimate and trustworthy.     Extended Validation (EV)—EV provides the absolute highest level of validation. The vetting process is more thorough and includes in-depth documentation, as well as phone calls, to validate your organizational, physical and operational existence. More and more visitors are looking for visual trust symbols and the Green Address Bar—the most universally recognized symbol of trust reputability on the web—is only available with EV. Plus, visitors can click and view more certificate details, including the issuing Certificate Authority, to maximize credibility. EV is comparable to a passport. While issuance is a bit more involved and takes a little longer, it provides proof of your identity across the globe. If you’re a national or global brand, looking to maximize conversions and want to make it clear your visitors’ security is a top priority, EV is the way to go.     Confidence Leads to Conversions When’s the last time you did business with someone you didn’t trust? Your visitors feel the same way. It’s up to you to clearly show them their information is protected and that a third-party trusted authority has confirmed that you’re, in fact, you. Choose the right SSL Certificate and let it do the confidence-building for you. Still not sure which one is best for you? Contact us and we’re happy to help you find the perfect fit.  
Avalon Hosting Services | April 24, 2018

The rules have changed about what good website security means—starting with a new minimum requirement for all website pages to support encrypted connections. The good news is you’ll gain other valuable benefits by adhering to this new standard. First, let’s get on the same page by reviewing a few basics. What’s HTTPS? When your customers land on a web page that’s not protected by any type of SSL Certificate they’ll see http:// at the beginning of the website address in the browser bar. This used to be perfectly fine unless your webpage involved a login ID, password, form or payments. Enter the era of mega cybercrime.   HTTP has one glaring flaw—it’s not secure. Any information transmitted via an HTTP connection is vulnerable to being tampered with, misused or stolen. Your visitors deserve to know any data they share with you is safe from prying eyes.   Installing an SSL Certificate changes the browser bar address to https:// to clearly show visitors the connection is encrypted, meaning the server is authenticated and data is protected in transit. No wonder web browsers have made HTTPS the new standard for website security.     HTTPS Is Good for Your Bottom Line Enabling encrypted connections is one great reason to protect your website with an SSL Certificate. But, it’s not the only reason. Here are some other ways HTTPS brings value to your business.   Speeds Up Performance—Being the slow kid on the block and the last one picked for dodgeball is a bummer. Being slow online could cost you everything. HTTP is being replaced by a newer faster version—HTTP/2. Encrypted connections are required to unlock the latest speed and security features.   Increases Search Engine Traffic—Google includes SSL as a ranking factor. How’d you like to boost your search visibility up to 5%? Be found above the competition by encrypting every page of your website.     Enables Mobile Options—Salesforce reports 71% of marketers believe mobile is core to their business. Mobile’s most popular features—geolocation, motion orientation, microphone, fullscreen and camera access—require HTTPS to be enabled by most browsers   Protects Your Brand Reputation—A recent CA Security Council Report shows a mere 2% of customers would proceed past the “Not Secure” warnings that are due to kick in July 1 for all webpages without HTTPS connections. Show visitors your brand values their security by protecting your website with an SSL Certificate.   Delivers a Seamless Experience—Don’t let visitors engage with several pages on your site only to be get broadsided with a “Not Secure” warning on pages you haven’t protected. They’ll reward you for taking the extra steps to give them an end-to-end encrypted experience.   Identity Validation Matters, Too HTTPS is no longer optional if you want to build relationships and a business online. The good news it adds a lot of value to your business. But, SSL Certificates do more than enable HTTPS. They also authenticate or validate your identity so visitors know it’s really you on the other end of their connection. We’re here to help you find the right level of validation based on your goals.
Avalon Hosting Services | November 30, 2017

When it comes to running a local business, it’s no longer enough just to have a great physical store and expect the customers to come running. Whether you’re a family run shop or store, an accountant, or a large company with multiple locations, local SEO is the only way that you will get the right customer who needs your products to your store, exactly when they need them.   Online search is now consumers’ top choice for finding local businesses, and local SEO is as important as ever. Your Google My Business listing is the first step in optimising your Local visibility (so make sure all of the information there is up to date and relevant), but there are a lot of other things that you can do, to make sure that your business is at the top of its game:   As good as Google My Business is for providing insights into local searches like clicks for directions, website clicks, phone calls and local pack impressions, the rest of the SERP can also be used to direct users to your page. For example, traditional organic search optimisation efforts that are made with a local angle can help to improve your business’s search presence in relevant local markets by inferring that a user is interested in shopping in the local area, showing local-based SERPs instead of generic results.   It’s just a fact that Google rewards websites that are easy to crawl, and using structured data will ensure that your website is easy for Google to both understand and evaluate your product inventory when someone searches online for a product that you may have; this, in turn, improves your store’s chance of showing up in relevant searches. In simpler local SEO terms, there is nothing more off-putting than looking up a business online only to find that its website, Facebook, Twitter and Google Business listing all show different results, so make sure that your opening hours, services, location and any other information is all up to date across the board. Inconsistencies will give your business a bad reputation and will affect how your business appears online.   As with all SEO, links to and from your website are an extremely important factor in establishing the credibility of your business. Try to consistently share links to and from all of your social media profiles, and boost your local presence by sponsoring local events or helping the local community and sharing the information about it with links to other local businesses involved online.  You can also try and be kind to other businesses in your community and share their deals, events and blog posts to build a sense of loyalty and use your website or social media channels like a local hub.   User reviews are a great way to help and build your business’s online presence and credibility, so make sure that you are treating reviews correctly. Whether you receive positive or negative reviews from your customers, you should be responding to them and showing your best side. It also bodes well to encourage your existing customers to leave reviews and ratings across a variety of different platforms to boost your local reach.  
Avalon Hosting Services | November 28, 2017

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest are the big players in the world of social media digital marketing, but is it time to find the next big thing? Snapchat is no longer just an app used to send risqué pictures that self-destruct, and over the past few years its popularity and usability have sky-rocketed, and here’s why and how you should be using it: Why: You can contact the right people Depending on the target audience you have for your brand, Snapchat Ads could be the most appropriate choice of social media to reach the right people. The key demographic for Snapchat is 18-34 year olds, so if you’re looking for young and active, then you can’t get closer than that.   Why: You can show a bit of personality Different social networks allow you to show different aspects of your business or brand’s personality, and thanks to the live, instant nature and 24-hour time-frame of Snapchat you can be so much more personal and intimate with your potential customers. Providing a first-hand look at the behind-the-scenes areas of your brand will help you to look more personable, relatable and trustable.   Why: You can make direct contact Facebook’s problem is that most people have to remember to visit your page directly to see your updates, and Twitter is so fast-paced that your updates can be easily missed, but Snapchat is unique in that the app is used by people who physically click on your ‘Story’ to see what you are saying. This is the key part of people’s Snapchat routine, meaning that you have your audience’s undivided attention at all times, and chances are that they are viewing your updates multiple times per day, every single day. What other social media platform offers such a direct and impactful service?   How: Videos and Photos Media is the way to go if you want to capture the interest of young people and retain their attention, and Snapchat makes it easy to record short videos showing products or explaining how they work; you can also post multiple updates in a row to create an interesting narrative, and even post images from your camera roll like a mini catalogue.   How: Filters Using personalised and custom-made filters can be a great way to create brand awareness and share your message. You can pay big to add these filters to Snapchat’s list for your brand, create a simple filter for the location of your store or office and even create a geo-filter that only activates when your customers are in a certain area.   How: Paid adverts Snapchat’s devoted audience is shown adverts every so often while viewing other people’s stories, and you can pay for a branded one to be shown in this way. The most straightforward and controllable form of advertising on Snapchat, you can create all sorts of impactful adverts to appeal to your potential customers.   How: Discounts Thanks to Snapchat’s 24-hour self-destruct policy, it’s the perfect place to offer discount codes and vouchers to your customers. Simply add a quotable code or specific word to any of your Snaps that customers can say in a store, or type in online and get a discount to help boost sales and convert people to actual customers. Sharing deals regularly will also encourage people to keep coming back and looking at your story, so they become immersed in your content.   How: Include links As well as letting people know new and exciting things about your brand, digital marketers can also add a link or webpage to their Snaps so that users can swipe up from a Snap to go straight to a website which is relevant. This is a great way to keep customers interested and learning more about your business.  
Avalon Hosting Services | November 23, 2017

2018 is almost upon us, and with a new year, comes new trends in the world of social media marketing. It may still be a few months away, but it pays to get on-board with these trends as early as possible, and prepare your marketing plan, so you can benefit from being ahead of the curve. So what trends can you look forward to in 2018?   Augmented reality The idea of augmented reality has been around for a few years now, and we’ve seen a few forays into this world, like Dulux and Ikea smartphone apps that let you virtually place paint on your walls, or a chest of drawers in your bedroom, but in 2018, augmented reality is about to kick off!   In Apple’s recent iPhone 8 and iPhone X models, both devices incorporate a new chip designed to enhance augmented reality, and there are talks of Snapchat and Instagram introducing AR features in the near future, which could be helpful for social media marketers looking to get their products or services even closer to their customers.   Laying down the law It’s been a tricky few years for social media platforms in terms of making some controversial decisions when it came to the 2016 presidential election and after Facebook recently invested in new AI and human forms of monitoring for their adverts, it is likely that websites such as Facebook and Twitter will be stepping up their codes of conduct and governance policies to protect them from criticism in the future.   Artificial intelligence 2017 was the year of the voice assistant, with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana all spending more time chatting away with people in their own homes.   The times are always changing, and companies are slowly moving away from focusing purely on social media platforms when it comes to communicating with their customers and chat bots, voice assistants and other forms of artificial intelligence are the way to go. Offering personalised shopping and suggestions on services like Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik will see a huge boost of the coming months.   Ephemeral content Ephemeral content is content that only lasts a maximum of 24 hours before disappearing forever. The likes of Snapchat have perfected this type of content, allowing users to post more authentic, realistic portrayals of their lives, and the lack of permanence reduces the chances of backlash or criticism if the content isn’t exactly what people expect.   This more realistic type of content is expected to rise in popularity in the coming years, and although social media marketers might be scared by how temporary the content is, your followers will thank you for being as authentic as possible.   Live Streaming What many thought of as a gimmick, is actually here to stay, and it is worthwhile in considering including Live Streamed content into your annual social media strategy to engage with more people in this unique and fast flowing way.   Digital Hangouts While hangouts were once attempted by the likes of Google+, they didn’t really take off until now. Services like Houseparty, a video hangout platform is now used by over one million people every day, and it looks like Facebook may be creating something similar to tap into this market.
Avalon Hosting Services | November 20, 2017

How Will Twitter’s New 280 Character Limit Affect Your Twitter Campaign? For millennials and digital marketers everywhere, Twitter’s 140-character limit is just ingrained in everything you do. From tweeting about your new sale, to sharing a guest blogger’s new blog post with your followers, paring down your content to as few character’s as possible is just what you do. However, after a recent testing period, Twitter has now bitten the bullet and introduced its double character-limit of 280 characters to all users. In a statement from Twitter itself, “Historically, 9% of Tweets in English hit the character limit. This reflects the challenge of fitting a thought into a Tweet, often resulting in lots of time spent editing and even at times abandoning Tweets before sending. With the expanded character count, this problem was massively reduced –that number dropped to only 1% of Tweets running up against the limit.” However, some say that this 9% wasn’t really a big deal for many people, and for most, the reduced character limit helped them to remove unnecessary words in Tweets, distilling the resulting Tweet to just the most important and impactful information. It’s not all doom and gloom though, others are overjoyed at the expanded limit, and amongst those are digital and media marketers everywhere! Here are a few tips on how to make the new 280-character limit work for you and boost your marketing campaigns on Twitter: 1.More emoji’s Whether you are embracing the new character-limit or not, we can all agree that double the characters, means double the emoji’s! Using emoji’s is a great way to pique your potential customers’ interests, to get your Tweet noticed, and to bring a bit of fun to your message.   2.More hashtags Hashtags are any digital marketers bread and butter, and with an increased character limit, you can now include your whole message AND a few extra hashtags to really boost your chances of appealing to the correct people. Hashtags are one of the most useful and effective ways to show off your content to those who might be interested in it on Twitter, so embrace the change and try a few extra hashtags to see what happens.   3.More information This may sound obvious, but with 280-characters to play with, you can now include all of the information that you want to convey to your customers and potential customers in just one Tweet. No more using ‘1/2’ and ‘2/2’ to show that your message is split up into sections, or even having to post an image of text to get your point across, now you can show the whole message to your followers in one fell swoop.   4.More links Another great thing about the new character limit is that you can now include more than one link within a single tweet. Whether that’s links to your Facebook, website and Instagram, or including information about more than one product, we’re sure there are lots of creative ways to use links within your Tweets now.   5.More lists Twitter never really lent itself to making lists before, but now thanks to those extra 140 characters, you can show your content in a new way. By adding lists of things to do, products to buy or even instructions for customers on how to avail of a coupon code or offer to your tweets mean more engagement, and more fun!
Avalon Hosting Services | November 16, 2017

If you own or run an online store, and are looking for new ways to reach new customers, then Bing Shopping campaigns and Product Ads are a great way to appeal to people who might be interested in what you have to offer. Much like Google AdWords for Google, Bing Shopping campaigns allow advertisers to show their adverts on the Bing Search Network along with the right-hand side of the search results page. Including the price, store name and an image, Bing Shopping advert campaigns are an extremely effective and visually appealing way to advertise, and now the service has been launched in Canada and India so you can reach even more customers from all over the world. Over the last few years, Bing Ads has gone from strength to strength, launching in countries such as the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia, and from the 1st November 2017, now Canada and India, to expand the market even more. Bing assures us that over the next few months, the platform will be improved even more, with more international markets being added to the roster. This is great news for advertisers across the world, as millions of new potential customers are now available to them! Although expanding to Canada is a huge boost for advertisers everywhere, only English language Product Ads are supported, and due to Quebec’s language laws stating that stores located in the province must provide a French website, users in Quebec will not be shown Product Ads. So, with so many new potential customers being opened up to advertisers, here are a few tips on how to maximise your Bing Shopping campaigns: Make sure your Product Image pops! Use a high-resolution image for your Product Image URL so that potential customers can see exactly what you have to offer them. Bing recommends using images with a white background for maximum effect, and image size must be 220 x 220.   Use Custom Labels Custom labels are a great way to differentiate high revenue items and top sellers, so you can segment by the campaign to optimise budgets and bids, and keep track of everything.   Don’t be basic When making your Product Ad, don’t just fill in the required attributes; make sure that you add as many attributes as you possibly can, as the more attributes you have, the higher the chance of your advert being shown in the most relevant results.   Don’t forget to use Share of Voice reporting The share of Voice reporting shows you the impressions that Bing thinks you are losing out on due to your budget, keyword bids, keyword relevance, landing page relevance, or position on the Bing search results pages. So, make sure you are using Share of Voice reporting for benchmark CPC, CTR, and impressions.   Refresh your feed Your feed will automatically expire after 30 days, but Bing recommends that you update your feed at least once a week, or for even better results, update it once a day.   Negative keywords are important too Obviously, keywords are one of the most important things that you can use to get potential customers looking at your ads but don’t forget that negative keywords are important too. Negative keywords stop your advert from showing up in searches that probably won’t lead to sales, so using negative keywords is a great way to save yourself time and money, and just let your adverts be shown to people who might be converted to sales.
Avalon Hosting Services | November 13, 2017

Refining a keywords list is one of the most crucial and time-consuming parts of handling a pay per click (PPC) marketing campaign. Any marketer working with PPC will, at some point, be questioned by a client about reasons of bidding on brand-related keywords. “Why should we spend on brand related keywords when we already show up on the top of organic listing?” What are Brand Related Keywords? Brand related keywords are keywords which involve a specific brand or business. For example if “football boots” is a non-brand related keyword, then “Nike football boots” would be a brand related keyword. Other variations, such as “Nike home page”, “Nike sale”, “Nike nearest store” and “Nike return policy” are also example of brand-related keywords. Now, let’s go deeper into the reasons for bidding on brand-related keywords.   1. To improve quality score Brand related keywords are amazing. They tend to have a much higher click through rate (CTR) and a much lower cost per click (CPC) and cost per acquisition (CPA). CTR is the key variable in determining quality score in Google AdWords. AdWords accounts with a history of high CTR tend to enjoy the benefit of higher ad rank and lower CPCs.     2. To boost credibility Previous studies indicate that websites appearing simultaneously in the first position for both paid and organic searches are more reliable as far as web users are concerned. These websites tend to gain up to approximately 50% incremental traffic compared to other websites.   3.To gain control of landing page Organic results might not send searchers to the most relevant landing pages. By creating brand related keyword campaign on PPC, you can have full control of your landing page. This is ideal for updating customers about your promotional discount or seasonal offer.   4. To gain control of sitelinks appearance Google’s algorithm decides which organic sitelink appear, and even whether they appear at all. Unlike organic sitelink, you tend to have more control over your PPC sitelink. You can insert high converting brand promotion sitelinks together with location extension to maximise your potential. You can also perform A/B testing to identify the best landing page and sitelink combination.   5. To set higher barrier to competitor bidding Defence is another reason for bidding on your own brand related keywords. Your competitors could bid on these keywords to appear in the space above the organic listing and steal your traffic. Bidding on your own brand related keywords will create a higher barrier for competitors. As long as you have a good ad copy with a relevant landing page in place, it’s going to be difficult your competitor to sustain their campaign before their quality score is 1.   6. To capture high quality lead People who are searching for branded terms are generally more likely to be further into the buying cycle than someone who is searching for the general term. These people are likely to have heard about your brand from positive word of mouth, or they have been browsing on your website before.   Summary There are many benefits of brand-related keywords bidding. Branded terms may not always be suitable for you depending on the industry, brand and budget you are working with.  
Avalon Hosting Services | October 15, 2017

Digital marketing and apps go hand in hand, and thanks to a carefully curated selection of smartphone applications digital marketers can save time and money using just their phones to organise all of their digital marketing needs. In terms of digital marketing requirements and campaigns management there is a huge list of Saas Applications and softwares like MOZ, Ahrefs, SEMRush etc but some of these apps will be more applicable to you than others, here are our favourite 10 apps for digital marketers:   1. Hootsuite Allowing you to schedule content, publish content and keep an eye on a number of your social media accounts, Hootsuite is most digital marketers go-to app when it comes to organising their social media campaigns. Whether you’re on your laptop at home, or using your smartphone on the commute to the office, Hootsuite makes it easy to seamlessly share and edit content across your social networks.     2. Buffer   Similar to Hootsuite, Buffer is another staple app for digital marketers in all fields, and depending on your needs and what features you use most often, you may find it handy to use a combination of both Hootsuite and Buffer to achieve the best results.   3. Daily   For use in conjunction with Buffer, Daily comes from the same developers and acts as a sort of Tinder for shareable content. Simply swipe to instantly schedule and share great content with your followers, or swipe to skip content that doesn’t suit.   4. Asana   The perfect tool to collate all of your work and manage your projects with team members, Asana combines to-do lists, team conversations, private chats about projects and tasks, and acts as a place you can send and receive files and photos.   5. Mention   Digital marketing is all about keeping an eye on what people are saying about your business and brand, and Mention is one of the best social listening tools around. Following everything from social media posts and blog posts to searches and all mentions of your selected keywords, there are so many uses for this app.   6. IFTTT   IFTTT, or If This Then That is an app that allows you to set in motion a series of reactions to certain events. For example, you can set up an IFTTT ‘recipe’ that automatically retweets any tweets that contain certain words, or a recipe that sends you an email each morning with the latest trending keywords. With thousands of combinations and hundreds of social services connected, this app can do everything.   7. Canva   Hands down the easiest way for digital marketers to create and share custom images for everything from social media to blog posts, Canva is a beautifully easy tool that allows you to add text to images, overlay filters and even use stock or paid images included on the app to create stunning and shareable images quickly.   8. MailChimp   If you already use MailChimp for your email marketing campaigns or you are thinking about using it for your future campaigns then using the MailChimp app is a no-brainer. An easy way to construct, create, edit and keep track of your email campaigns on the go, this app is invaluable.   9. Trello   Perfect if you need to collaborate with others on projects, Trello organises all of your tasks, and activities into individual boards so you can focus on what really matters. No software required, you can keep up to date on the go and see who is at what stage of a project at a glance.   10. Slack   Used by everyone from Airbnb and Facebook to Ticketmaster and Harvard University, Slack allows you to communicate with your whole team easily. Organisation is easy with Slack and you can categorise events, conversations and projects using tags so that can be accessed at any time.    
Avalon Hosting Services | October 11, 2017

Every single day we all get far too many emails in our inboxes about absolutely everything. Whether it’s offering information on a new product, a big sale or something else, in order to boost your email marketing campaign it needs to catch the reader’s attention and hold it.   In order to compete against the tens of emails your reader will receive daily, you will need a few tricks up your sleeve, and here are some tips to make your email marketing campaign stand out:   1. Keep it snappy   Your subject line is the first impression that a reader will get of what your email is all about, and while it needs to give your readers a bit of information, being too literal could kill your impact. No one will read on if all is revealed in the first sentence, so retaining a bit of mystery and fun is the key to reeling your readers in.   The content of the email itself doesn’t have to be paragraph upon paragraph of information either, or your reader will get bored and move on. Short, snappy and punchy is definitely the way to go.2Emojis make an impact   Just because you are trying to convey a clear message to your customers doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun while you’re at it, and adding emojis is a great way to appeal to your reader’s sense of fun and youth. Unless your marketing campaign is a stuffy business proposal aimed at the over 50s, there is no reason why a few colourful emojis can’t be the star of your next email run.   Don’t forget to add emojis to your subject line for an extra punch!   2. Videos are the latest trend   People are constantly bombarded with reams and reams of text, so videos and images are a welcome relief for many that can be digested quickly and easily. Research has found that people would much rather see a product or idea in action in a video than read a complicated description that may be difficult to understand.   Keep videos short, simple and with a clear message for full impact and to achieve the best results.   3. Appearance matters   It really isn’t enough for you to just pack a load of great content into your email marketing campaign and send it off hoping for great results. How your email looks when it is opened will have a big impact on whether readers continue reading on, click on any call to action buttons, or even open your next email at all.   The key to this is using a responsive design which optimises your email for all platforms, so it looks great no matter whether your email is opened on a mobile, a tablet or a desktop computer.   Email length is also a big issue, so be sure to break long blocks of text into manageable chunks with headers so that readers can scan your email for pertinent information.   4. Keep it personal   As a sender, you want people to trust you, to interact with you and to ultimately, view you and your business as real people with real opinions and information. Forget boring, faceless, corporate emails, and start injecting a bit of personality into your campaigns to achieve some serious results.   Adding a fun, personal signature to the end of your email helps to convey the fact that you’re a real person who cares, and including a sender photo and a short bio is a good way to communicate personality as well, not to mention adding social media links to boost your click-rate.
Avalon Hosting Services | October 05, 2017

You could have the most perfectly designed website, a fantastic digital marketing plan and a great product or service to offer, but if your web host isn’t up to scratch then nothing else matters! It’s often the last thing that people think about when setting up a website or online business, but it really is vital for you to have a good, solid web hosting that you can rely on and who knows what they are doing. When it comes to hosting your website, a reliable web host provider could mean the difference between success and failure, and here are a few reasons why:   1. Downtime means lost sales It might sound simple, but it really doesn’t get much more frustrating than trying to access a website and seeing an error message saying the website is down. If your website is hosted with a cheap, unreliable company then chances are that your website will be offline for a large chunk of time. Whether that is to do with technical glitches, overloading servers or any other number of issues caused by the web hosting company, website downtime means you lose viewers, you lose customers and ultimately, you lose sales. We live in a high-speed, interactive age, where time is money, and people won’t try more than once or twice to access your website if it isn’t loading or appearing properly. Another issue with repeated downtime is that search engines such as Google actually penalise you if your website is offline a lot which affects your SERP.   2.  Speed is important The faster your website loads, the less likely customers will lose interest and go elsewhere. A good web host will offer fast loading times for all of your pages and the media contained in them, so whether your website features just text, or photographs, gifs and videos too, your visitors will always get the best experience the first time around. Less reputable web hosts will often overload servers and have too many clients and not enough resources, resulting in slow and unresponsive websites, which is bad news for your customers.   3. Data is your livelihood Every single website owner’s worst nightmare is the thought of their website losing any amount of data, files or content, and having a reliable web hosting company storing your entire business can help to give you peace of mind that your website is being stored and backed up correctly. There really is nothing worse than a cheap web host going bankrupt and disappearing with all (or at least some) of your hard work in tow, and for this reason alone, paying a bit more for a reputable web host is definitely worth it.   4. They won’t leave you high and dry No matter how advanced or experienced you are, there will always be problems and issues with your website that you need a bit of help to sort out and fix. A good web host will always be there 24/7 when you need some support and they should have a dedicated team working on solving your problems and answering your questions to make things run as smoothly as possible. A good web host will make sure that your website is running in optimum conditions at all times and if something does go wrong, they will always be there to help. Whether they are contactable through Live Chat, email, contact form, phone or in person, a good web hosting provider will make sure you are never, ever left high and dry!    
Avalon Hosting Services | September 20, 2017

Website Analytics is one of the most important ways that you can keep track of all aspects of your website, especially when it comes to seeing what kind of content is working for your visitors, how they are finding your website and how long they hang around for. Analytics really is the only accurate way to assess the success or failure of a digital marketing campaign or strategy, but what are some useful analytics to look out for? Channels Google Analytics breaks down how people find your website into eight distinct ‘channels’. These channels are ‘organic’ which are unpaid search results, ‘direct’ which is when someone types your URL into the search bar directly, ‘social’ which is when someone finds your website through a social network, ‘email’ which is through a link in an email, ‘referral’ which is a link clicked from an external website, ‘paid search’ which is from a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign, ‘other’ which is traffic from online advertising outside of search and display and ‘display’ which is from display advertising such as Google AdWords. It is important to keep an eye on how people are finding your blog or website, as this will give you a valuable insight into what is working for your business and where you should be focusing your digital marketing efforts on in the future. Engagement Engagement measures how much time visitors spend on your website. It is not only important for you to attract visitors to your blog or website, but it is also key to get them to stick around. Looking at the levels of engagement for each of your pages allows you to see how well your website is working as a whole and where you can improve the quality and relevance of your content to keep visitors there for longer. Bounce Rate Bounce rate is a measurement of how many people visit a single page of your website and then leave. Shown as a percentage, the lower this percentage, the better your website is at retaining visitors, however, a high bounce rate doesn’t always mean a bad design or poor content; someone could be looking for an email address or a contact number and then leaving straight away. Exit Pages A really interesting analytic that people tend to ignore, exit pages show you the last page a visitor looks at before leaving a website entirely. It is important to review these exit pages regularly to see what is guiding people away from your website, whether it’s boring, irrelevant content or just a natural end to a journey like the ‘thank you’ page at the end of a contact form. With information like which pages are acting as exit pages for your website, you can change and improve the visitor’s journey to suit your digital marketing strategy. Landing Pages The opposite of exit pages, landing pages are the pages of your website that welcome your potential customers and visitors. These landing page analytics not only show you the pages that visitors are entering your website through, but they also show you lots of relevant information about those landing pages like where those visitors came from, what pages they clicked on next, and how long they stayed on your landing page before moving on. While this may not sound overly useful, these analytics allow you to see what works well, what doesn’t work at all and where you can improve other landing pages to make them perform as well as your top performers.
Avalon Hosting Services | September 16, 2017

How to Stop Wasting Money & Get The Most From Your Paid Facebook Advert Pretty much everyone you know will spend at least a small chunk of their time on Facebook throughout the day, and whether that time is spent mindlessly scrolling through their newsfeed for hours on end, or just snatching a few minutes at a time, there is no doubt that they will see a few paid Facebook adverts along the way. If you’ve got a business or a service to offer, why not capitalise on this and invest in some paid Facebook adverts yourself? Paid Facebook adverts are a great way to target people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, but with so many options offered, it can be hard to know the best way to optimise your paid Facebook adverts for the best results. To help you get started, here are a few suggestions on how to get the most from your paid Facebook advert: Use different adverts for both desktop and mobile When you create a paid Facebook advert, it can be easy to just go through the different stages and then publish your advert on both desktop and mobile by default, but these are very different mediums that require different approaches to achieve the best results and should be treated differently. Set up separate ad sets for mobile and desktop as these will both be used differently by your audience, and some things will work better depending on the medium they are viewed on. For example, mobile adverts should be lighter, more humorous and more direct as people tend to scroll through their phones frequently for short periods of time and are more likely to interact with an ad on impulse; whilst desktop adverts can be heavier and contain more information and still receive good results. Likewise, it is important to run separate ads for news feed and right-column ads, as these should also be optimised in different ways. Source: Pixabay Use pixels If you’re new to the world of paid Facebook ads, then you may not have heard of a Facebook pixel before. A Facebook pixel is a small piece of code that you place on your website and it helps you to track any conversions from Facebook ads, optimise your ads based on data it collected, build target audiences and even remarket to qualified leads (people who have already used your website). Important pixels to install on your website are the ‘conversion pixel’ which allows you to monitor how people interact with your website after they have viewed your Facebook ad and a ‘remarketing pixel’ which allows you to target ads specifically to people who have already visited your website and who are interested in your product or service. It is this remarketing pixel that allows you to do things like show a customer an advert for a product that they added to a wish list on your website. Test your adverts It’s all very well and good coming up with a great idea for a paid Facebook ad, finding the perfect image and text and posting it online, but how do you know that you’re really making the impact you want and reaching the type of people who are interested in what you have to offer? This is where testing comes in, and Facebook makes it really easy to run a whole series of tests on what works best for your advert. Facebook now allows you to perform a split testing on your Facebook adverts which means you can experiment a bit with the adverts you produce. Split testing is an experiment that involves at least two versions of a single variable that all see the same ad. For example, you can arrange to show the exact same advert to two different geographical areas, or to two different age groups of people to see which responds the best. Of course, there are all sorts of other tests you can perform, but as long as you are keeping an eye on the results of your paid Facebook adverts and adjusting future campaigns to suit, then you are definitely on the right track.
Avalon Hosting Services | September 14, 2017

Your Questions About Digital Marketing Answered In today’s hyper-connected world, it is now easier than ever to connect with, contact and communicates with your customers and potential customers online, and that is why having a digital marketing plan is as important as ever. A sort of umbrella term for all of your online marketing protocols, digital marketing includes everything from SEO and Pay Per Click adverts on Google to advertising on Facebook or Twitter and email marketing campaigns. Digital marketing is a very broad category of marketing, and there are lots of little details that fall under digital marketing that you may never think of, like having the best hosting services possible (to avoid spam or online scams) and even SMS or MMS messages which don’t even involve the internet! There are hundreds of questions that even the most advanced digital marketers don’t know the answer to, but to get you started here are a few of the most common conundrums to help you out:   Does my business really need digital marketing? The short answer is: yes! Digital marketing is perhaps the most important tool you have when it comes to attracting new customers or users to your website or business, and no matter what type of business you have, digital marketing will be an invaluable asset. The beauty of having a digital marketing strategy is that you can see the results of your efforts in real time as they happen, so you can quickly and easily see what works, in what way it works, and how well your tactics are working too.   Is digital marketing expensive? There are loads of free and easy ways to implement digital marketing for your business, and you really can achieve some great results without even spending a penny, but once you have exhausted the cost-free ways of marketing online, it may be worth stepping up your digital marketing plan by paying to get even better results. As long as you have your website hosted through a reputable web hosting company then you can employ some inbound marketing techniques like SEO with only a little bit of research and no cost at all. However, if you are looking to employ outbound techniques such as online pay-per click advertising or buying email lists, then you will have to pay for your results.   Is there a difference between digital marketing and inbound marketing? You may have heard both the terms ‘digital marketing’ and ‘inbound marketing’ quite a lot, they may even have been used interchangeably in conversation, but is there a difference between the two terms? Whilst both ‘inbound marketing’ and ‘digital marketing’ are extremely similar, there are a few small differences between the two. In the world of digital marketing, there are both inbound and outbound methods or tactics which can be used, and while the term ‘digital marketing’ as a whole doesn’t differentiate between the push and pull of these tactics, ‘inbound marketing’ is a much more specific term which relates to marketing techniques that actually attract target customers to a website rather than just aiming your efforts at everyone (whether they are interested in your product or service or not). To put it simply, inbound marketing is digital marketing, but digital marketing isn’t necessarily inbound marketing.   What type of digital marketing content can I create apart from a blog post?   Everyone knows that SEO rich blog posts and websites are the first and most important type of content every digital marketer should be creating for their business, but there are also lots of other great types of content you can create to pique potential customer’s interests. Infographics, blog posts, and short videos are all easy, shareable nuggets of content that are quick to create and a great way to spread the word about the sector your business is in, or the brand you have created if you have just started using digital marketing effectively; however, e-books and webinars are another form of content you should be thinking about as they allow a lot of room for lead generation, interactivity and are extremely high in value. So, whether you’re an old hand at digital marketing, or just new to the party, you can take a few hints and tips from this article to help inspire your next big digital marketing campaign and push your business to the next level.  
Avalon Hosting Services | September 05, 2017

WordPress is an open source product that was originally built for blogging and is undoubtedly one of the most popular content management systems. Its ease of use, time-saving and SEO friendly features are just one of many reasons which make WordPress perfect for small businesses and start-ups. First of all, WordPress is free. For any small business or start-up wanting to dip their toe into the online world, this software is perfect when you consider the extensive features which are on offer free of charge. This includes many professionally designed themes, which allow customisation without the need to hire a designer or web developer. You don’t need to be an expert coder to set up your website either. When starting a new business, you want your website up and running as fast as possible, and WordPress allows you to do this in just a few clicks and now even most web hosting companies provide managed WordPress hosting as well which keeps your site fast, secure, and available so you can focus on building your site, not your server. There are now over 50,000 plugins for WordPress which can drastically expand the functionality of your site. E-commerce Plugins such as WooCommerce can develop your site into an online shop, and Yoast SEO helps you to write better content to ensure you have a site which is fully optimised for search engines. These plugins can slow down your website but there are ways to optimise your sites speed and even other plugins to decreased loading speed. Furthermore, WordPress has inbuilt SEO features making your site extremely Google friendly. You can tag content and create keyword-rich URL’s, which helps a new or smaller website rank in online searches. As mentioned above, WordPress is quick and simple to use, and you can easily update your site, adding new pages, images, and posts without the need for coding. For users who do have some web development knowledge, however, WordPress allows experienced developers to customise their sites. It must be stated however that WordPress has its own PHP syntax that can require some learning for even the most experienced PHP coders. Another great thing about WordPress is that it’s super popular. There are over 70 million sites which depend on WordPress on the internet. This means that if you come across any issues or get stuck with anything, WordPress has a massive online community available to help you in online forums. WordPress has developed from a blogging platform to a full feature CMS over the last 10 years, but it still works great for its original purpose. Many businesses are launching blogs to fuel their SEO efforts. It’s engaging for potential clients and builds confidence, and WordPress makes it super simple to post SEO friendly blog content. It is hard to dispute the fact that WordPress is the best CMS option for small businesses and start-ups. It’s free, feature rich software is easy for even a novice user and the in-built SEO help allows your website to contend with your largest competitors in page rankings. The sheer amount of users speaks for itself in why this software is great.
Avalon Hosting Services | August 19, 2017

If you are a new business trying to build your social media presence this is the article for you. It is important to make the right impression with a client. This is true with your social media accounts. A successful approach to social media can improve the number of visitors to your website, but getting your approach right requires careful consideration.   Avoid the Hard Sell The most effective social accounts don’t sell you anything. Social media should not promote your products all the time. Sharing knowledge which demonstrates your expertise is a proven way to succeed with social. The best social accounts provide key information and interact with their following. A recent article from Moz examined how Buzzfeed shared content with the single aim of engaging users. This engagement then becomes synonymous with the brand, increasing popularity as a result. Focus on publishing content that your users can relate to. By creating a genuine, engagement-orientated account your customers won’t feel pressured into buying from you with every post you publish. However, your business is likely to benefit from an increase in sales over time due to an increase in trust and brand awareness.   Build and Engage To create an awesome social account you need to build your following. Yet, having a social media account with hundreds of followers is not enough. Finding the right way to engage with your social media community is imperative.  Talk to your customers as you would in person. If you boast world class customer service, let it shine through in your social media conversations. Some brands have become famous for being risque when it comes to Twitter and Facebook, but if you aren’t confident in pulling off an alternative persona we recommend keeping it simple.   Make Your Content Unique It is almost impossible to create unique content. Due to the sheer volume of content already available on the internet, you will face a high level of competition to get your message heard. It is even harder to find your unique angle when so many other people have already written about your chosen topic. Find your company’s USP and promote it. By sharing details about your company that makes you unique, you are more likely to stand out from the crowd. Although you may not be a worldwide brand, taking a refreshing approach to an old problem can still benefit you.   Share Your Success Everybody loves a success story and it is important to show your company in the best possible light. Sharing your success stories, with the permission of your clients, can be a great way to boost brand awareness. If you have completed a project which has produced great results, sharing your success shows how you achieve the best results for your clients.  
Avalon Hosting Services | August 11, 2017

Enhanced Cost-per-Click (ECPC) and Target Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA) are both automated bidding strategies which take a lot of the guess work out of setting your bids if your advertising goal is to increase conversions. Picking which one to use can be a difficult choice, even for an experienced Adwords user. It is important to understand the differences between the two strategies in order to make the most out of your campaign.   Target CPA Target CPA was previously referred to as ‘conversion optimiser’ as this is exactly what it does. Your Target CPA is the amount you are willing to pay for a conversion. This bidding strategy sets bids according to your target in order to get the most conversions for your money and increased Return on Investment. In order to do this, you need to have conversion tracking set up and have at least 15 conversions within the last 30 days. As this strategy uses past conversion data, the more information you have, the better. Google recommends at least 30 conversions within a 30 day period but even more conversions will lead to more accurate bids. It also uses this conversion data to avoid bidding for unprofitable keywords. Some conversions may cost more or less than your target CPA but Google aims to keep it at the average amount you have set.   Enhanced CPC Enhanced Cost Per Click also aims to get you the most conversions but allows you to stay in control of your keyword bids. Automatically adjusting your manual bids, this bidding strategy aims to achieve the same cost per conversion. Unlike Target CPA, Enhanced CPC is constrained by your max CPC bid. This bidding strategy ultimately boosts your manual bid when a conversion is more likely by adjusting bids in select auctions. ECPC will make small changes to your bids compared to automatically generating them as CPA does. If Google’s algorithms predict that a conversion is more likely, it will bump up your bid to win that specific auction for that specific keyword. When Google introduced Enhanced Cost Per Click they guaranteed a 30% increase cap on your max CPC. Google then announced that in June 2017 it was going to remove this cap to account for differences in conversion rates. ECPC still respects your manual bid, however, and aims to keep your average CPC below your Max CPC over time. You can read more about the Google changes here.   But which one should you choose? Google recommends trialing both strategies to see which works best for your campaign, but it also lies within personal preference. If you don’t want to spend time manually managing your bids and have a steady account which you are willing to hand control to Google, then Target CPA is the strategy for you. After working hard to make your account successful it can be hard to give it over to an automated system. Enhanced CPC allows you to manage your bids manually but gives them the slight push they need when there is a higher chance of conversion. This strategy is much more useful for smaller businesses with accounts with a smaller budget.
Avalon Hosting Services | August 09, 2017

If you’re a small business owner looking to start an e-commerce website, the options available to you can be overwhelming. It’s hard to know which one is going suit your needs, let alone make you stand out from the crowd. Each of the different software packages in this short list of 5 Best E-Commerce Software has its own qualities and advantages which will aid you with specific business needs. 1) WooCommerce for WordPress WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that has experienced huge growth since it began. Built off of the most popular Content Management System in the world, WooCommerce is both a feature rich e-commerce software and an extremely powerful blogging platform. WooCommerce is free and easy to install. You can have an online store with PayPal up and running in a matter of minutes. Unlike many other e-commerce software packages, you do not need prior knowledge of coding and web development. There is no complicated coding making it perfect for someone setting up their first online store. It’s also SEO friendly and its rapid growth really speaks for just how effective this software is. Like any other software, it does, however, come with some downfalls. This plugin is not supported on some WordPress themes. This can be problematic as changing your Word Press theme could be a hassle. Furthermore, although it is free to install, many extensions, including some which are essential, require payment. For example, the default payment method is PayPal. If you wish to add credit or debit card payment, this requires a purchasable plugin. The simplicity of this software also means it is less advanced. It exists on WordPress and cannot be used as a stand-alone platform meaning less functionality compared to other alternatives. The analytics are also not comprehensive however this issue can be resolved with plugins if you are prepared to pay. If you already have a WordPress website and wish to sell a small selection of products then this software is definitely for you. If you have big plans for growth however and forecast a future with thousands of products, this may not be your best option.   2) Shopify Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify has tonnes of free features to help you manage your online store, and doesn’t even require any coding to get started. The software does come at an initial price, with plans starting at £22. However, you can take advantage of a free trial period of 14 days. This includes everything you need to launch your online shop but a cheaper version is also available which lets you sell goods on Facebook. Of all the e-commerce software available, Shopify offers one of the most affordable packages for small businesses as you get a lot for your money. Shopify is easy to use and can be set up within seconds, moreover the simple dashboard makes it easy to complete specific tasks. Again, you don’t need any technical skills to build your website and Shopify offers a 24/7 help centre if you do get stuck. You can customise the 100+ ready made themes and add your own logo and company colours. Shopify offers tools such as an online shopping cart, social media selling, analytics and mobile access which will allow your e-commerce business to thrive. It also offers SEO tools to help your products reach people searching for them on Google. The servers are fast and Shopify boasts a 99.94% guarantee that your site will be live and running at all times. Advanced customisations however can be hard to achieve without touching Shopify’s coding.   3) Magento Although WooCommerce and Shopify are excellent choices for those wishing to start out with e-commerce software, Magento has endless possibilities for customisation. This does require coding, making the software suitable for more advanced users. Magento is useful for unusual or extensive amounts of products but the user definitely has to be willing to learn the ins and outs of the software in order to reap the full benefits. Unlike both WooCommerce and Shopify you need some coding knowledge just to get started and set up your site. A number of unique features are offered such as guest checkouts and a ‘bill me later’ program to help customers finance their purchases. If you are looking for free software, Magento offers a free version which is still highly customisable despite having less features. If you are a small business owner looking for a fully customisable e-commerce site then Magento is definitely the software for you if you have prior coding knowledge.   4) Presta Shop Similarly to Magento, Presta Shop has plenty of features, with a free basic package but you do have to purchase templates and themes to make the most out of the software. Training materials are provided for all levels of user however they don’t offer an official support team. This software also offers analytics and an extensive range of tools for growing your online store such as product listing management and payment methods. Presta Shop is user friendly and perfect for small businesses, especially if it’s your first time setting up an e-commerce site. However, like WooCommerce, if you have plans for rapid growth this software isn’t your best option.   5) Open Cart Open Cart is highly recommended for small business owners just starting out. This software is useful especially if you want to get your shop up and running as soon as possible as it just takes a few clicks to install. Although this software is free, it still includes many features which are included in paid software and even includes tools that will support different languages and calculate taxes for different currencies. This simple software is time saving and free making it perfect for small business owners, however you aren’t going to get the customisability you get with a software such as Magento. Your choice of e-commerce software is dependent on your skill set and business goals. If you just want to sell a few products and have vert little coding knowledge then WooCommerce is or Open Cart are your best options depending on wether or not you already have a Word Press site. If you have coding knowledge and want a seamless, sleek website that is completely customisable Magento is perfect to fit your needs, however as a small business owner you may not have the time to maintain this yourself. Shopify offers the best all-round package, with plenty of guidance available on how to use it even if it is your first time setting up a website. It is customisable and offers analytics and SEO tools.  
Avalon Hosting Services | August 08, 2017

There were over 5.5 million businesses in the U.K in 2016 and around 28 million in the US alone, and over 99% of these were small or medium sized. It is essential for businesses to have an online presence. Strong competition means all small business owners need to be on top of their game when it comes to Digital Marketing Strategy. Without a marketing team or a wealth of time, an arsenal of effective and time-saving tools are essential for getting your business noticed online. This short yet essential list of 10 of the Best Digital Marketing Tools is the perfect aid for any small business owner. Google Webmaster (Search Console) This software provides you with valuable information about how well your website is performing, how google crawls your site and errors or opportunities within your SEO. You can link your webmaster account with your analytics and AdWords account to see how well your paid and organic search terms are ranking, and what search terms you are ranking for.   Google Analytics Analytics are essential for any online business, whether you are big or small. Many of the tools on this list provide detailed insights into your online presence whether on your website or through your social feeds. It is crucial to understand your audience, and what is, or isn’t, driving traffic to your website. Google Analytics is a free and comprehensive tool making it perfect for any small business owner. Google has even produced an online course for Analytics users who want to get more out of their software. The software provides you with information from general statistics about your website to full comprehensive reports on user behaviour.   Analytics reports on which draws people to your site and what is keeping your visitors interested. You can also discover where visitors are leaving your site with the exit pages report. This allows you to re-tool pages which lead people to leave your site. Similarly, Google Analytics offers Bounce Rate breakdown, showing you the proportion of visitors who are navigating away from your site before clicking through to a second or third page. It is important to know how many pages people are visiting when they come to your site. If they aren’t looking at more than two pages which lead to conversions then a re-design may be on the cards. Furthermore, this report offers information about the operating systems your visitors are using, as well as whether or not they’re using a desktop or mobile devices. The information provided can help you correct issues with incompatible web features; analysing these features can help you change your website and optimise it for conversions.   Google Trends Similarly to Analytics, Google Trends is also free and easy to use. Google Trends is a tool for navigating around trending stories and can be used to better understand your audience. Google is suggestive of public opinion and searching for your keywords will show search trends over time. You can see if products have been popular or if they are in decline, and the news headlines feature allows you to monitor popularity in correlation with news stories at that time. It is also useful for generating content ideas people are interested in, as it helps you understand hot topics people are searching for and talking about. Google Keyword Planner This software provides all the information a small business needs in order to make knowledgeable decisions when it comes to keywords. For example, by entering a competitors website you can get their complete keyword strategy. Not all the features of Keyword Planner are suitable unless you’re creating paid ads, but you can still get lots of value from it for your SEO strategy, such as finding low-competition, high-volume keywords to use in your campaigns.   Facebook and Facebook Audience Insights Social media is a vital medium for any small business owner, as it can help strengthen your relationship with customers. Facebook is especially effective for keeping these connections blooming as it facilitates emotional connections on a large scale. Posting photos of your products and services give people a behind-the-scenes sneak peek into your processes, adding a human element to your business which your customers can connect with. You can use Facebook to interact with customers from your smartphone. This can be vital as responding to a customers post in a timely manner can strengthen rapport. If you’re a small business owner, you probably already know that there isn’t always time to constantly man social media pages. Growing and maintaining effective social media accounts is a full-time job. Facebook has introduced a feature which allows you to schedule posts even years into the future, increasing coverage on your page whilst saving precious time. Facebook also allows you to advertise ‘offers’. Facebook Audience Insights gives businesses an insight into their audiences’ habits, where they are from, and the lifestyle they live. Having more information about your audience can help target your marketing efforts towards your niche, rather than spending on an audience that doesn’t care about your product.   LinkedIn LinkedIn is another fantastic social network that, when used correctly, can be very useful for a small business’ digital marketing strategy. LinkedIn allows you to acquire new customers through online recommendations. Word of mouth still stands as the most powerful form of marketing, and asking satisfied customers to write a recommendation is your opportunity to do this online. Sharing your blog content on LinkedIn can also help convince potential customers of your expertise. LinkedIn differs from other social networks however as it allows you to build your industry network. You can search for associations and networks to partake in, as well as social events in your industry to help your real-life networking.   Twitter and Followerwonk As a small business owner, you may find it hard to use Twitter effectively. The competition is fierce and even the most successful companies struggle to get their content seen on their followers’ feeds. The reason most people aren’t engaging with your tweets is simply because they don’t see it. Since Twitter changed their algorithm, the site will show your tweets if your followers are constantly interacting with your content. The way to do this is to communicate with people individually. Another thing small businesses often do wrong is only tweeting about content once. Whilst posting hourly about your latest blog post is a little OTT, sharing a tweet a few times throughout the week or month increases your chances of being seen. FollowerWonk is software created by SEO champions MOZ which can aid your Twitter presence. As well as helping grow follower count, it can find relevant users to follow, as well as analyse the demographics of both yours and your competitors followers.   Hoot Suite Manning your social media accounts is hard work. Hoot Suite allows you to keep on top of this task. This software allows you to manage multiple accounts from across different platforms. This software offers a useful monitoring service that shows your mentions, replies and direct messages on one dashboard. Conveniently, you can also schedule updates. Hoot Suite’s reports are formatted in a way that you can present to clients without much additional work.   Ahrefs This software has 12 trillion indexed links and crawls over 6 billion web pages every single day. Ahrefs is an important SEO apparatus that provides you with an array of backlink tools. It is important for small business to build high authority backlinks as this is a key ranking factor. Ahrefs can analyse your own site to make sure your links are legitimate and aids you to disavow or remove link spam. You can read more about link spam here. It can also analyse your competitor’s websites to see where their backlinks are coming from, which is a good starting point when creating your own link building campaign.   Mail Chimp Email marketing can be a long and laborious process however Mail Chip allows users to simply copy and paste lists of emails from Excel. There are plenty of design template options making it easy to customise, and you can include your own company colours, logo and images. For beginners, they offer online training to get you started and once you have set up one campaign you can replicate your design in the future. An email on MailChimp can also be triggered by a specific date, event or activity – exciting! Once an email has been sent, this software offers tracked details and stats straight away, which you can even access on-the-go through an iPhone app.   Buzz Sumo Buzz Sumo recognises that content is king. Buzz Sumo is a powerful tool that provides customer insights, influence information and competitor analysis based on your content. It is important to know what people are talking about and this software gathers information on what topics are gaining the most attention, as well as who is getting the most attention. Knowing what your competitors are up to and seeing what does and doesn’t work for them can save you time and money in trialing your own efforts.   Summary This list barely skims the surface of available software which can help with your digital marketing needs. Each of the software packages in our list has one thing in common: They save you time and money, whilst providing insights into how your efforts are affecting your business. Using even just a few of these tools will drastically improve your digital marketing performance.
Avalon Hosting Services | February 01, 2017

If you’ve been considering Google Adwords for a while, you’re just trying them out or you’ve been using them for a while but they’re just not working then we are here to help you. We know that Google Adwords can be somewhat overwhelming as this is why we have put together a simple guide of Google Adwords mistakes that others have made, so you can avoid making them yourself. In business, it is all about learning from mistakes so you can avoid them and that’s what this blog post does for you. It’s important that you remember the keywords with the highest search volumes are not always the best keywords for your business. You need to use targeted keywords and local areas as this will help you get the traffic you want without spending a fortune. Keywords with a high search volume can very quickly eat through your Google Adwords budget and you may find you get very few conversions from them too. Keep checking out your accounts; you need to check them daily to see how they are working and if you need to make changes. Don’t just sit on your Google Adwords account; work it hard to make sure it is working for you and your business. Tweak your accounts daily as part of your daily things to do and you’ll soon notice good results by doing something that doesn’t take very long at all. There are always new opportunities out there so also make sure you don’t just set up your Google Adwords and forget about them. One of the biggest mistakes we see businesses make is having no landing page for their Google Adwords visitor to land. Don’t drive traffic to your home page because that isn’t what the visitor wants to see, they want to see what they clicked the link for whether that is a blog post, a product or a service. They can then go back to your homepage to find out more about your business. When you have a dedicated landing page for your Google Adwords visitors you’ll notice a return in investment of your Google Adwords. As crazy as it sounds, you also need to bid on your own brand. If you don’t then your competitors will, using this as an easy way to steal your potential customers. By bidding on your own brand you are also promoting your own business and this can also help you dominate page one on the Google search engine which will also help to grow brand awareness and reputation for your business. If you need help with your Google Adwords then drop us a line, we are always happy to help with any advice or guidance where we can.
Avalon Hosting Services | February 01, 2017

Do you want a responsive website for your business or services? That’s a great decision. Actually, it’s half a great decision. The other half is understanding and deciding exactly why you want a website, but this is the most important part. What will your website do?   Until you know what you’re trying to do with your website, you shouldn’t go any further with developing one. First, you should decide whether you want to sell things, build your reputation, gather customer information, or something entirely different.   Knowing what you need your website to do is step one on the road to online success because it dictates everything from your web design onwards. Your website can affect your other marketing channels and can have a major impact on your entire customer service flow, so its role needs to be defined from the very start.   Once you know exactly what you want your site to do, you can start to plan the content and structure. This is where many businesses go off the rails and create sites they would never want to use themselves.   Make it user-friendly and easy to use   Even if you don’t consider yourself to be web-savvy, you’re still an expert at knowing a website that works from a website that doesn’t.   You’re an expert because you use the internet already, so you’ve had plenty of experience using bad sites and good responsive websites which work around all devices. You know whether you’re on a good or bad site within a few seconds. Actually, that’s not quite true – you’ll only know if you’re on a bad site within a few seconds. If it’s a good site, you won’t notice a thing.   When it comes to responsive website design and content, a regular web user will be used to intuitive and well laid out websites which are a breeze to navigate. These sites take them exactly where they want to go, and usually send them away again in minimal time. The process of navigating a good website is so easy that we barely notice we’re doing it.   However, if you’ve ever been on a bad site, you certainly know about it. You can’t find what you want, the menu items are confusing, the information isn’t in plain view, and you often spend longer on the site than you wanted to before leaving empty-handed and frustrated.   Creating a bad website and leaving people feeling like this is worse for your business’s reputation than having no website at all. That’s why it’s very important that you approach designing, structuring and populating your website from the customer’s point of view.   Less content is more   One big mistake a lot of businesses make when they’re designing their websites is to try and make the user stay on their website for as long as possible, and take in lots and lots of information about how good the company is. While the company might think this information will impress a customer, it can actually have exactly the opposite effect.   Maybe you’re desperate to tell your customers all about your company’s history because you want to impress them as soon as they land on your homepage. But this doesn’t matter to your customers if they’re only there to look at your products, make an order and leave.   Your customers’ time is precious, and a good website is one that lets them do what they need to do and get back to the rest of their lives as quickly as possible.   Fast is better than flashy   On that same subject, the loading speed at which your website works is absolutely vital to your customers having a good experience. Depending on what you need your website to do, you need to be sure you’ve optimised its loading speed however you can. That might be through the image sizes and software on the website, but it could also be the type of hosting you have. Big flashy websites that load too slowly are more likely to be abandoned by your customers than websites that are simpler but instantly responsive to them.   There are free tools out there that allow you to test the speed and performance of your website, so make sure you do this and get it running as quickly as you can before you unleash it on your potential customers.     Keep content fresh   One thing you need to consider is what content on your website you can regularly update. Keeping your content fresh can keep existing customers coming back, attract interest from new customers, and keep your site high up the search rankings too.   Blogs are an easy way to do this, and many businesses use their blogs to write news and opinion pieces about their products and about the industry they’re in. Customers like interesting insights into niche business sectors.   Plus, if you establish yourself as an expert within the industry via your blog posts, customers are more likely to think of you as the best choice. This means they’ll come to you when they need your services, instead of a competitor.   Write for the web   Writing for the web is very different from writing for print. Online, your content needs to be structured so that a user can quickly find the information they’re looking for. Readers online scan pages rather than reading them sentence by sentence. They’re looking for the words that stand out.   Headings, subheadings, bullet points and short paragraphs help readers to scan your website, so you should aim to include these wherever you can. If you can’t scan your own web copy and pick out specific bits of information in seconds, your readers won’t be able to either, and they may give up and go away.     Test and test again   The only way you’re going to find out what your customers really think of your website is to get it tested. Before you launch your website, ask people who aren’t experts to test it for you.   Getting people outside your company to navigate your site and give you feedback on it can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. They can give you an honest, neutral and external view on your site, helping to iron out problems before it launches. Now over to you. How you started your website? please share your experiences in the comments box below.  
Avalon Hosting Services | January 31, 2017

One of the key rules of business is that your potential customers need to be able to find you, otherwise your chance of getting new custom is next to non-existent. With so much business now being done on-line, the good location and the eye-catching shop front have been replaced with well-placed links and tantalising copy, leading customers away from search pages and straight onto your website.   Bearing this in mind, it’s no surprise that Google can play a huge part in the success – or failure – of any business, no matter what it is you’re trying to sell.   Why you need your Business to be on top of Google Search Results   Some studies have shown that the top result in Google for a specific search term can send more than 30% of customers to the very first company at the top of the first page of results. And the result just below it gets just under 20% of the custom.   With such a huge portion of business going to the top search result, and with such a big gap between the top result and the result immediately below it, you can imagine how tiny a portion of custom goes to those businesses that don’t even make it to the first page. Less than 5% of people go beyond the first page to find what they’re looking for, so you should be aiming to be as high up as you can get.   The big takeaway here is that you need to be thinking about your search rankings unless you want to get left behind. You might have enough business right now, but you need to make sure new customers can always find you, otherwise you could find yourself in a very vulnerable position and entirely reliant on word of mouth in the future. What is Google SEO?     SEO – or search engine optimisation – is the art and science of getting your business to pop up in Google in the right place, at the right time, and in front of the right people. Using a combination of data and intuition, you can come up with a unique formula that works for your business.   There are good and bad SEO services out there – the bad ones will offer a cookie-cutter solution to lots of businesses which results in them all competing even more heavily with each other for the same generic top spots or most likely encourage Google to penalise their site. The good ones, however, will know how to assess the market and reach the people who are definitely looking for exactly the products or services you’re offering.   One of the ways good SEO differs from bad SEO is in taking into account the language your potential clients are using when they’re looking for the products and services they need. If you sell a very specific make and model of product which is available to consumers, then of course you’ll want to rank highly in Google when someone searches for your product by name.   But you also need to think about those potential customers of yours who might not know the make and model of the product you sell, they only know what problem they want to solve with it, or what need they’re trying to fulfil by finding it. Keywords Research Being able to work out the right search terms to catch all the phrases these potential customers are using will give you double the potential customer base. For a start, you can reach everyone who is informed enough to search for the make and model of product by name. Secondly, you can catch anyone who doesn’t know the make or model, but does know what they want the product to do, or what problem they want it to solve.   This is why SEO is as much of an art as it is a science. If you can think the same way your customers think (the art) and then use data and technical tools to turn that information into an SEO strategy (the science) you can make your way to the top of Google and leave your competitors behind. Now over to you. How Google affected your business and what you did about it? please share your experiences in the comments box below.
Avalon Hosting Services | December 31, 2016

Google is trying to make the Internet safer and In January 2017, with the release of Chrome 56, they will start showing non-SSL – HTTP websites as Not secure. Chrome currently displays a green padlock icon with HTTPS in the address bar for sites that are secure and the circle-i with a message that this website is not secure but the security team will be taking it one step further by displaying a red triangle for all HTTP pages. Emily Schechter, Product Manager for Chrome Security, said on the official Google security blog that the first phase is to flag HTTP sites that process passwords or credit cards. Then, Google plans to extend the SSL warnings to Incognito mode in following releases and will eventually show a red triangle on all HTTP pages. This will help answer the visitors question, “Is this site encrypted?” Or, maybe a better question “Is this site safe for transactions?” The answer is, “No, the site is not encrypted, so Not secure.” This means that, without SSL, someone can not only access the data from the internet, seeing everything we do on a site, but can also control it and manipulate it. When traffic is not encrypted, it makes us vulnerable to anyone using the same Wi-Fi at the local centre or coffee shop, who can steal our email, passwords or banking information. With proper installation of an SSL certificate, the “Not Secure” sign will disappear and be replaced by a green padlock icon. Then the site will be secure for any online transactions and public dealings. It’s important to note that SSL isn’t only about confidentiality, which is how most people think of it but also about integrity and authenticity, which in many cases are much more important. Schechter also explained that switching over from HTTP won’t affect sites’ search rankings, it is easier to install and much cheaper than ever before, and also enables the best performance and powerful features that are too sensitive for HTTP. For most startups and small-to-midsize businesses, the move to HTTPS shouldn’t be difficult. While you can buy and install a certificate from multiple providers or your web hosting company itself, most web hosts are offering easy, one-click Encrypt SSL certificate installation and most also provide automatic renewals. Check out our set-up guides to get started.