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How to Add Automatic Drip Content in Your WordPress Site

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Do you want to automatically drip content in your WordPress site?

If you’re running a membership site or selling premium content, then you may want to set up drip content instead of showing all your posts, pages, and other content right away.

In this article, we will show you how to add automatic drip content to your WordPress website.

Why Add Drip Content in WordPress?

Drip content is where you gradually release posts, pages, videos, and other content instead of giving it away all at once.

If you have a membership website then releasing content automatically at regular intervals can keep members engaged for a long time.

If you have a library of previously-published content then new members may assume these posts are old and outdated. However, content dripping can make old content seem new and exciting, particularly if you let members know about the content using automated drip notifications or personalized email marketing.

Content dripping is also useful if you offer monthly memberships, sincce people will want to renew their subscription in order to keep unlocking content.

You can also use drip content to sell more online courses.

Instead of giving students access to the entire course, you can release lessons across a scheduled training period so your students don’t feel overwhelmed. This can improve the learning experience, which will encourage students to buy more of your courses.

How to Add Automatically Drip Content in Your WordPress Site

To start, you’ll need a WordPress membership plugin that allows you to schedule drip content on your website.

This is where MemberPress comes in.

It is the best WordPress membership plugin on the market. It allows you to create paid subscriptions and set rules about who can access your content, and when. This makes it easy to create an advanced drip content schedule.

First, you need to install and activate the MemberPress plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit MemberPress » Settings and enter your license key into the ‘License Key’ field.

Adding the MemberPress license key

You can find the key by logging into your account on the MemberPress website. It’s also in the email you got when you purchased MemberPress.

After entering the license key, click on the ‘Activate License Key’ button.

Next, you need to add a payment gateway so you can easily accept credit card payments in WordPress. To get started, select the ‘Payments’ tab and click on ‘Add Payment Method.’

The MemberPress payment gateway settings

MemberPress supports PayPal and Stripe payments under their Basic and Plus plans. You can also use Authorize.net by purchasing their Pro plan.

Simply open the ‘Gateway’ dropdown and select the gateway that you want to use.

Configuring a Stripe payment gateway

MemberPress will then show all the settings you need to configure in order to use this payment gateway.

These settings will vary depending on the gateway, for example in the following image we’re adding PayPal payment to WordPress.

Configuring a PayPal gateway

Once you’ve configured the gateway, click on ‘Update Options’ to save your settings.

You may be able to get more sales and improve the customer experience by allowing users to choose a payment method. To add multiple gateways to your site, simply click on Add Payment Method and repeat the same process described above.

Once you’ve added one or more payment methods, it’s time to add a membership plan.

Simply go to MemberPress » Memberships and then click on the Add New button.

Creating a new membership subscription

On the next screen, you need to type in a title for your membership plan. This will appear in your WordPress admin area and will also be visible to the people who visit your site.

After that, you can type an optional description into the main post editor.

Configuring a MemberPress membership level

Next, type how much this membership will cost into the ‘Price’ field.

After that, open the ‘Billing Type’ dropdown and choose whether this is a one-time or recurring payment.

Creating a recurring membership level

If you choose ‘Recurring’ then you can use the settings to charge members on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.

By accepting recurring payments in WordPress, you can automate the billing process. This can save you a ton of time and generally leads to fewer payment delays and errors. It also means you don’t have to send invoices manually.

The MemberPress recurring payment settings

The other option is a one-time payment, which can improve the user experience by giving members full control over whether they renew their subscription.

If you choose ‘One-Time’ then open the new ‘Access’ dropdown and choose between expire or fixed expire. ‘Expire’ lets you set how many days, months, weeks, or years the membership will last.

Adding an expiration date to your content dripping schedule

Meanwhile, ‘Fixed expire’ allows you to set a calendar date when the membership will expire.

‘Fixed expire’ may be useful if you want to keep all members on the same schedule. For example, all your memberships should expire on the 1st of the month.

Adding a fixed expire date to your content dripping schedule

The final choice is ‘Lifetime.’ Content dripping encourages people to renew their subscription, so you may want to avoid offering lifetime membership.

After choosing a billing type, there might be some extra settings you need to configure such as choosing whether to offer a trial.

Most of these settings are fairly straightforward, so after completing them scroll to the ‘Membership Options’ box which has all the different settings for your membership plan.

The Membership Options settings

There are lots of different settings that you can look through, including a few that could improve the user experience.

To create a good first impression with your new members, we recommend enabling the custom thank you message and custom welcome email.

Adding a custom email and custom message to your members site

After checking these boxes, use the settings to create your customized message.

Tip: If you click on ‘Send Test’ and don’t receive an email, then there may be a problem with your WordPress configuration. If this happens then an SMTP service provider can improve your email deliverability rates.

When you’ve finished setting up your membership plan, click on the ‘Publish’ button to make it live.

How to publish your member level

To create more membership levels, just follow the same process described above.

Pro Tip: Once you’ve created at least one membership level, you’re ready to create drip content rules. However, there are still lots more features you can add to your membership website. To learn more, see our ultimate guide to creating a WordPress membership site.

Scheduling Automatically Drip Content Rules

MemberPress is a powerful plugin that lets you restrict access to your content in lots of different ways. For example, you can restrict WordPress pages by user role.

You can use these advanced rules to drip content and offer your members ongoing value.

To create a drip schedule, simply head over to MemberPress » Rules and click on the Add New button.

Creating a new content dripping rule

This takes you to a screen where you can create your rules.

MemberPress lets you restrict access to specific pages and posts. For example, you may only allow members to access a particular blog post after they’ve been a member for 10 days.

This may work well if you have a small amount of content, or you want to build a very detailed and precise schedule.

However, if you have lots of content then scheduling each page or post individually can take a lot of time and effort.

Thankfully, MemberPress also lets you create rules for specific categories and tags. This lets you release sets of related content, for example you might give members access to all posts tagged ‘Beginner’s Guide’ during their first week of membership.

You might even go through your content library and label all the posts that you want to release together. For example, you might create a ‘First Week’ tag.

For more information, please see our step-by-step guide on how to add categories and tags for WordPress pages.

When you’re ready, open the ‘Protected content’ dropdown and choose the content that should use this rule, such as ‘A Single Post,’ ‘Posts Categorized,’ ‘Child Pages Of,’ or any other option in the list.

Creating protected content

Depending on what you choose, you’ll get access to some extra settings. For example, if you select ‘A Single Page’ then you’ll need to type in the page that you want to use in the rule.

If you select ‘Posts Tagged’ then you can type in one or more tags.

Dripping content using WordPress tags, categories, and more

Next, open the dropdown in the ‘Access Conditions’ section and select ‘Members.’

You can then simply open the second dropdown and choose the membership level this rule will apply to.

Adding a content dripping rule in WordPress

Next, you can tell MemberPress when to drip the content.

Scroll to ‘Drip /Expiration’ and check the ‘Enable Drip’ box to reveal some new drip settings.

How to enable drip content in WordPress

To start, use the dropdown to choose whether to release this content after a certain number of days, weeks, months or years.

You can then type in a number. For example, in the following image we’re releasing the content after 1 week.

How to drip content to your members

Once you’ve done that, use the ‘after’ dropdown to choose the event that should trigger the countdown. For example, you might drip the content 2 week after the member registers or 1 week after they buy a particular product.

If you’re working with time-sensitive content, then you can even choose a fixed date. For example, you might publish a new post on Black Friday or announce a New Year giveaway or contest on the 1st of January.

Adding an expiration date to your drip content campaigns

Optionally, you can set an expiration date by checking the ‘Enable Expiration’ box.

This can create a sense of urgency, since the content is only available for a limited time. It can also encourage more people to buy memberships, so they don’t miss out on the time-restricted content.

Automatically drip content in your WordPress site

Once you’ve done that, scroll to ‘Unauthorized Access’ and decide what MemberPress will show to visitors who try to access the content without authorization.

One option is to tease visitors by showing an ‘Excerpt’ of the restricted content such as the first 100 characters or the post excerpt.

Creating a custom unauthorized access screen for restricted content

If you don’t set a custom message, then MemberPress will show the default unauthorized access message to all users. For this reason, we recommend creating your own message by opening the ‘Unauthorized’ message dropdown and choosing ‘Custom.’

For example, you might let visitors know they can unlock this content by buying a membership subscription.

How to add a custom message to an automated content dripping schedule

Finally, it’s a good idea to show the MemberPress login form just in case the unathorized visitor already has an account with your website. To do this, open the ‘Login form’ dropdown and click on ‘Show.’

Once you’re done, scroll to the top of the page and click on the ‘Save Rule’ button.

How to save an automated content dripping rule

To add more rules simply follow the same process described above.

Tips on Managing Drip Content in WordPress

When used correctly, drip content can keep members happy and engaged, and get you lots of new registrations.

Here are a few tips to help you get even more new members, and keep those people engaged for a long time.

1. Plan a Smooth Content Strategy

It’s important to plan your schedule carefully. You don’t want to give away all of your content straight away, but there should be enough content to satisfy new members.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to create different membership accounts and test the customer experience. You can then fine-tune your content dripping rules so you’re providing a good experience to all users.

When testing your site, it’s important to hide your WordPress pages from Google and other search engines. If your premium content gets cached by the search engines during testing then unauthorized users may be able to access it for free.

There are a few ways to stop search engines from crawling a WordPress site but when your site is still in development we recommend putting it into maintenance mode.

2. Create an Email List

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your drip content and get members back to your site. An email can also reinforce that this is new and exciting content that members should look at.

We recommend using Constant Contact to integrate your drip content strategy with your email marketing.

Constant Contact is the best email marketing service for small businesses and comes with easy automation tools that can help you set up automated campaigns for new subscribers.

These automated workflows can save you a lot of time and effort.

Constant Contact email marketing provider

For more powerful marketing automation tools, you can look at HubSpot or Omnisend.

3. Promote Products with On-Site Retargeting

To grow your business, you’ll need people to renew their membership, upgrade their plan, or buy other products.

This is where OptinMonster comes on. It is the best conversion optimization tool that helps you sell more to your existing customers.

OptinMonster

You can use OptinMonster to show members targeted messages with lightbox popups, slide-in boxes, countdown timers, and more.

It even has gamified spin to win optins that you can use reward members with discounts, coupon codes, and other prizes.

4. Learn from User Behavior

Every site can benefit from tracking website visitors, which is why analytics is a must-have.

By monitoring what’s working and what’s not working on your membership site, you can continuously fine-tune your content dripping to get even more signups and renewals.

The easiest way to install Google Analytics in WordPress is by using MonsterInsights.

It is the best Analytics solution for WordPress and lets you monitor visitors and members from your site’s admin area.

Overview report in MonsterInsights

With this data, you can make informed decisions and adjust your drip content strategy to grow your business.

To learn more, see our step by step guide on WordPress conversion tracking made simple.

We hope this article helped you learn how to add automatically drip content in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a contact form in WordPress and our expert pick of the best live chat software for small businesses.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Add Automatic Drip Content in Your WordPress Site first appeared on WPBeginner.



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13 Best WordPress Multisite Plugins You Should Use (Expert Pick)

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Are you looking for the best WordPress multisite plugins?

WordPress multisite plugins can help extend your multisite network’s features and make it much easier to manage your network of websites.

In this article, we will share some of the best WordPress multisite plugins for your WordPress multisite network.

Best WordPress Multisite Plugins You Should Use

WordPress multisite network allows you to run and manage multiple WordPress sites or blogs from a single WordPress installation.

There are many benefits to using a multisite network, such as you can install plugins and themes for multiple sites from a centralized dashboard.

If you haven’t created your WordPress multisite network yet, then we have a step-by-step guide on installing and setting up a WordPress multisite network.

It walks you through choosing the right WordPress hosting, setting up your network, launching your network of sites, and more.

Let’s take a look at the best WordPress multisite plugins that you should use.

Note: Most WordPress plugins work seamlessly with WordPress multisite environments. However, there are always a few that aren’t compatible. Below is our list of the most useful plugins for all multisite networks.

1. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsightsMonsterInsights

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics solution for WordPress, used by over 3 million websites. It lets you easily add Google Analytics to WordPress and view your traffic data directly from your WordPress admin dashboard.

With easy access to this data, you can grow your traffic, email list, and revenue.

On a WordPress multisite network, all your subsite analytics is available in one place. This lets you see which sites are performing well at a glance.

When you set up MonsterInsights, you can choose which sites you want to enable or disable the analytics feature.

We have several guides that’ll show you how to set up Google Analytics in WordPress and how to track user engagement.

There is a free version of MonsterInsights available. However, the premium version unlocks the true power of this tool.

2. WP Mail SMTP

WP Mail SMTPWP Mail SMTP

WP Mail SMTP is the best WordPress SMTP plugin in the market, used by over 2 million WordPress sites. An SMTP plugin will ensure that any emails sent from your WordPress site will reach your users.

Most WordPress hosting companies don’t have the function to send emails through WordPress properly. Some even block this functionality entirely.

WP Mail SMTP fixes this problem by letting you send emails through an SMTP service provider like Amazon SES, Gmail, Mailgun, etc. This ensures your emails will get delivered and not end up in spam.

With WP Mail SMTP multisite, you can specify different email accounts for each WordPress blog or site on your network.

The free version of WP Mail SMTP will work for most multisite networks.

However, the paid WP Mail SMTP Pro offers white glove setup and support to configure the plugin to work for you.

3. AIOSEO

AIOSEOAIOSEO

All in One SEO is the best SEO plugin for WordPress in the market, used by over 3 million WordPress sites.

It’s a comprehensive plugin that offers all the features you need to improve your onsite SEO across your network of websites.

The plugin can help you optimize your meta title and meta descriptions, create sitemaps, optimize for social media, connect your sites to Google Search Console, and more.

For more details, see our guide on how to set up All in One SEO for WordPress correctly.

There is a free version of All in One SEO available. However, the pro version has additional features like local SEO, WooCommerce SEO, image SEO, and much more.

If you have various types of sites on your multisite network, this can help you optimize them perfectly.

4. WP Multi Network

WP Multi NetworkWP Multi Network

WP Multi Network is a powerful WordPress multisite plugin. It helps you add and manage new multisite networks within your multisite installation.

You can manage several multisite networks from the network admin post type in your WordPress admin area. It lets you assign available subsites to your global multisite network users.

The plugin will display information about the sites on your network, including available sites, assigned sites, active plugins, themes, child themes, and more.

5. User Switching

User SwitchingUser Switching

User Switching is a plugin that lets you switch between different user roles with a couple of clicks.

For example, maybe you need to switch between different user roles to troubleshoot or test a site. This plugin lets you instantly switch from one account to another with a single click.

The plugin maintains high-security levels, and it’ll never reveal account passwords. Users are only allowed to switch between accounts that have already been authorized.

If you’re running an online store using WooCommerce, then this plugin integrates and allows you to manage these users as well.

6. InfiniteWP

InfinityWPInfinityWP

InfiniteWP is one of the best tools for managing multiple WordPress sites. It lets you simply manage WordPress plugins, themes, and core updates from a single dashboard.

It’s a great solution for freelancers and agencies who manage websites for clients.

The free version gives you control over site updates. However, the premium plugin unlocks features like on-demand backups, migrations, staging sites, post and page publishing, malware scanning, and more.

This plugin gives you ultimate control over all the sites on your multisite network.

7. Members

MembersMembers

Members is a user role editor plugin that lets you simply create, manage, and change user roles across your entire network of WordPress sites.

If you’re running a network of sites with a large number of WordPress users, then this plugin makes it super easy to oversee and manage access & permissions.

Often administrators use this plugin to create custom user roles with specific permissions to enhance security.

This plugin is maintained by the team behind MemberPress, which is the best WordPress membership plugin that lets you create and sell online courses, premium content, and more.

8. OptinMonster

OptinMonsterOptinMonster

OptinMonster is one of the best lead generation tools in the market. It’s trusted by over 1.2 million sites, including ClickBank, Pinterest, Patreon, and more.

This tool lets you create high-converting popup modals and lead generation forms across your entire network of WordPress sites. A network activation feature lets you create different campaigns for every site on your network.

OptinMonster has a large template library and an extensive drag and drop builder to create custom popups, slide-ins, content upgrades, and more.

The Exit-Intent® technology helps convert visitors who leave your sites into subscribers and customers.

With a multisite installation, all your campaign data is available in one place. This lets you see the results of your lead generation efforts and improve your conversions across multiple websites.

9. Duplicator

Duplicator ProDuplicator Pro

Duplicator is the best WordPress migration plugin. It allows you to easily migrate your WordPress blog between different servers and WordPress hosting accounts.

The plugin is very easy to use. It lets you simply download all of your website files and upload them to your new server.

There is a free version of the plugin, but to migrate a network of sites, you’ll need the plugin’s premium version. Migrating an entire WordPress multisite network might seem stressful, but this plugin simplifies most of the process.

You can copy your entire multisite network on all plans, but to easily reinstall new sites, you’ll need a premium plan.

10. WPForms

WPFormsWPForms

WPForms is the best WordPress contact form plugin in the market. Over 4 million WordPress sites use it.

It’s very easy to create simple contact forms, user registration forms, multi-page forms, and more.

Running a multisite network means you’ll have various form needs. This plugin can help you meet all of them.

Even though it’s packed with features, it’s very easy to use. They have a drag and drop form builder to help you quickly build advanced contact forms and customize them to match your website.

There’s a large template library to help you add a variety of forms to your sites quickly.

The free version WPForms Lite can be used if you only need to add simple contact forms to your sites.

11. WP Rocket

WPRocketWPRocket

WP Rocket is one of the best WordPress caching plugins in the market.

A caching plugin can help boost your WordPress website speed and performance without technical skills.

Once the plugin is installed and activated on your site, it’ll automatically improve your loading speeds. There are all kinds of advanced features you can customize depending on the type of website you run.

It’s one of the few caching plugins equipped with lazy loading, minification, page caching, cache preloading, static file compression, font loading, and more.

WP Rocket lets you improve your site speed without impacting your pages and posts on any site.

12. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlusUpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is the best backup plugin for WordPress. You can simply back up your WordPress sites with a couple of clicks.

Your WordPress multisite network could have dozens or even hundreds of subsites, so you must use a backup plugin to keep every site on the network safe.

This plugin helps you create automated backups for every site on your network.

You can save your backups to your computer or integrate them with other cloud storage services. There’s a great feature to restore a site with a single click.

For more details, see our guide on how to back up and restore your WordPress site with UpdraftPlus.

There’s a free version of the plugin available, but the paid plans offer you priority support and even more features.

13. Multisite Language Switcher

Multisite Language SwitcherMultisite Language Switcher

Multisite Language Switcher adds multilanguage capabilities to your WordPress multisite network.

There are various plugins you can use to create a multilingual WordPress site. But, this plugin is dedicated to WordPress multisite.

It allows you to manage translations across multiple sites. You can oversee translations for pages, posts, taxonomies, and tags across all your properties.

With this plugin, managing translations for entire websites or translating individual pieces of content across your entire network is easy.

Final Thoughts + More WordPress Multisite Plugins

There are over 60,000+ WordPress plugins available, most of which will work on a multisite network.

Depending on your needs, you may want to see our following expert picks:

We hope this article has helped you find the best WordPress multisite plugins for you. You may also want to see our ultimate guide on how to create a business email address and how to get a virtual business phone number for your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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How To Lower Average Cost Per Click

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Average cost per click (CPC) is top of everyone’s mind – the lower the CPC, the more clicks you can fit into your budget.

There have been several questions about how to lower average CPCs. Today’s Ask An SEO comes from two readers, Muhammad and Raghvendra, who ask the following two questions:

1. How can we reduce our keyword CPC? Keyword is triggering on $15, but I have a low monthly budget. Can you please guide me on how I can control CPC?

2. How can we lower the average CPC of any keywords? For example, the CPC of ‘interior design Institute’ is Rs. 71, but I am getting an average CPC Rs.102 in my search campaign.

This post will review strategies to lower average CPCs and evaluate average CPCs.

How To Lower Average CPCs

It’s important to remember that an auction dictates the average CPC.

The price you pay directly results from what you and your competitors are willing to bid.

The most direct way to control what you bid is with manual bidding. However, doing that forfeits the over 60 signals that go into automated bidding.

Instead, consider opting for different variants of keywords. This can mean bidding on “attorney” vs. “lawyer.” It can also mean bidding on misspellings.

A typical budget buster is bidding on the same concepts in multiple campaigns or ad groups. Before bidding on an idea, make sure you’re not entering the same auctions with that concept.

For example, if you bid on the keyword “dog walker near me” in a campaign targeting Boston and another campaign targeting New York, you would not be driving up your auction price.

If you bid that keyword concept targeting the exact location, it would cause duplicates. Duplicate keywords drive up average CPC.

Why Are Some Average CPCs So High?

Some verticals will have higher average CPCs because of the services offered. Location and cost of living can also influence CPCs.

Setting realistic expectations for the average CPC is essential.

Too low, and you won’t budget enough to get reasonable ROI (return on investment) from your marketing. Too high, and you’ll allow your campaigns to get complacent.

As more and more accounts shift to automated bidding, building in time for new campaigns to find their keyword champion is essential.

Sometimes it makes sense to opt into more expensive keywords because they represent higher value.

For example, investing makes sense if you know your best customers search a certain way and tend to transact at a specific time.

On the other hand, cheap clicks for the sake of cheap clicks might clog the budget and make it so you don’t have fuel for those prime prospects.

Balance efficiency with pragmatism, and your account will perform well.

Final Takeaways

The most significant contributing factor to increased CPCs is competition.

Make sure you’re not accidentally bidding against yourself, along with setting reasonable expectations for the competitiveness/value of keyword concepts.

Have a question about PPC? Submit via this form or tweet me @navahf with the #AskPPC hashtag. See you next month!

More resources: 


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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Current Trends in Email Marketing: Tips & Pitfalls [Podcast]

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Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach your audience. However, staying up-to-date on the latest trends is crucial to avoiding common mistakes.

Jay Schwedelson, the founder of SubjectLine.com, joins me on the SEJShow to discuss subject line techniques you should be testing, key tips for conversions, and pitfalls to avoid.

You’ll discover new options to stay ahead of the curve and how to make the most out of your email marketing.

You’re not going to get more business by sending less. That’s not the way it works. You need to send more. Marketers think they send too much, but they’re just not sending relevant stuff. –Jay Schwedelson, 6:50

Technology has changed in the last five to seven years, and the reason you go to the inbox versus the junk folder is not because of the content. It’s not because of the words or symbols that you’re putting in your subject line. It’s because of your sending reputation. It’s because of the engagement, the opens, and the clicks you’re generating with the people in your database. Your engagement is the reason you’re going to the inbox or not. –Jay Schwedelson, 8:58

You go in the junk folder because you have a bad sending reputation. You have no engagement. The misconception of spam trigger words hurts marketers because they’re trying to write subject lines, not utilizing the words that all marketers know to work the best –things like free or expires. –Jay Schwedelson, 9:47

[00:00] – About Jay.
[03:02] – What is the Guru Conference?
[08:15] – Common email myths.
[11:10] – Does purging & getting unsubscribes help with ratios?
[15:24] – Email triggers words that are not okay.
[19:24] – Using emojis in subject lines.
[23:13] – What are Friendly Forms?
[26:01] – Importance of personal names & avatars.
[29:10] – How important is a subject line in outreach emails?
[33:15] – How personalized can we get with email marketing?
[37:10] – How important is it to get the CTA above the fold?
[40:25] – Holiday email marketing tips.
[45:24] – How to avoid getting into the promotions folder of Gmail.

Resources mentioned:

Guru Conference – https://guruconference.com/
Subject Line – https://www.subjectline.com/
Outcome Media – https://outcomemedia.com/
Inside Scoop – https://jayschwedelson.com/

Email marketing here at SEJ is one of our cores. It’s one of our most significant pillars in terms of marketing. –Loren Baker, 4:57

You don’t have to get any negative repercussions from an unsubscribe. You get negative repercussions from spam complaints which only occur if you’re doing some sketchy stuff. –Jay Schwedelson, 12:44

If they’re going to unsubscribe, they will never buy anything from you. So, therefore, they send the offer because they’re looking and waiting for something. –Loren Baker, 5:46

For more content like this, subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/searchenginejournal

Connect with Jay Schwedelson:

Email marketing expert Jay Schwedelson is one of the best in the business. Founder of the #1 rated subject line grading tool, Subjectline.com, he’s evaluated over 15 million subjects and helped 200 thousand marketers send out their message effectively!

Also, as the President and CEO of Outcome Media, Jay has helped some of the most iconic brands in the world to become even more successful. With his innovative solutions, he knows what it takes for your business to soar.

Connect with Jay on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/schwedelson/

Connect with Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal:

Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lorenbaker
Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorenbaker

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A Blueprint From Beginner To Advanced

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There isn’t a standard way to learn search engine optimization (SEO). Ask anyone working here at SEJ how they started in SEO, and you’ll get lots of different stories.

It can be frustrating because if your business has any online presence at all, you need to know at least some SEO.

Maybe you’ve just launched that amazing new website and want Google to rank you on the first page.

Or maybe your existing website isn’t getting the traffic you want. Or you just want to start a new, in-demand career.

Whatever the reason you want to learn SEO, you’re in the right spot.

Right now, some of you are probably a little bit intimidated. All this talk of search algorithms and keyword research and reciprocal links sounds complicated.

Relax, despite all the technical jargon, SEO isn’t that hard to learn, even for a complete beginner. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort.

This article will give you a step-by-step blueprint you can follow to build your SEO skills from scratch or enhance your existing knowledge.

And while we can’t promise you a top ranking in Google, we promise that if you do the work, you’ll see results.

Your Guide To Learning SEO

Before we dive into the first step on your path to becoming an SEO Jedi, let’s take a quick look at what exactly we mean by search engine optimization.

According to Google’s developer’s guide:

“Search engine optimization is the process of making your site better for search engines.”

In other words, it’s figuring out exactly what changes you need to make to your website to make it more relevant to search queries.

The elements of SEO fall under two main categories: on-page and off-page.

As you might expect, on-page SEO elements are the parts that are on your website. These include:

  • Crawlability and indexability, i.e., how easy it is for search engines to find and map your content.
  • Content quality and keyword usage.
  • Usability factors such as loading time and responsiveness, known as Core Web Vitals.
  • Mobile responsiveness.
  • E-A-T: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
  • Images.
  • Tags.

Off-page SEO elements, on the other hand, are the ranking factors that come from outside your domain. This primarily focuses on link building and getting other high-quality websites to link to your content.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of mastering SEO.

Step 1: Master The Basics

One of the best things about Google is its extensive amount of available information. While they won’t give away the secret sauce of what exactly drives its algorithm, the search engine giant is surprisingly forthcoming about what does and doesn’t get factored into rankings.

And even better, they’ve provided an extremely helpful SEO starter guide for people just starting in the field. This is a high-level view of how search engine optimization works, including definitions of common terms and the basics of getting ranked.

If you’re starting your SEO education completely from scratch, this is the perfect place to start.

It will tell you how to get your site on Google, the best ways to control crawling so the search engine can find your content, and indexability, which will help it understand what your content is about – and what sort of queries it will be a good fit for.

Every year at SEJ, we produce multiple ebooks on various SEO and digital marketing topics. One such ebook is our SEO For Beginners Guide, a comprehensive starter guide and how-to for many common SEO tasks.

Step 2: Dive Deeper Into The Technical Side

Once you feel confident that you have the fundamentals of SEO down, it’s time to move on to more technical concepts.

Once again, Google has provided several excellent resources for your educational purposes.

One good spot to further your education is the webmaster guidelines for maintaining your site’s SEO. It can help get you started with intermediate to advanced techniques for boosting your ranking or dealing with other SEO issues.

This includes information on how to deal with duplicate content and canonical pages, using robots.txt files to tell Google which pages to crawl and index, building and submitting sitemaps, and other ways you can help Google better understand your site.

Depending on what type of content you have on your site, you may need to use different strategies to maximize its exposure.

For example, videos are a popular form of content requiring extra SEO work to ensure they rank as highly as possible.

If you’re using anything outside of plain text (and you should be – no one wants to scroll through a wall of text), make sure you check Google’s content-specific guidelines.

Step 3: Create An SEO Process

By this point, you hopefully have a reasonably good understanding of what SEO is and how it works.

And now, it’s time to put that education into practice by developing and implementing your very own SEO process.

If you’re working on an existing site, the very first thing you need to do is perform an SEO audit. This is a fairly extensive undertaking, but once again, Search Engine Journal to the rescue!

We’ve created an ebook that will walk you through the entire process of evaluating your current SEO efforts using a helpful checklist.

After you’ve understood where you stand now, it’s time to build a strategy. If only there were another helpful ebook you could use to guide you through that process – oh wait, we have one.

This is a step-by-step guide (plus a template) to building your year-long SEO strategy, with month-by-month guidance to help you measure results and improve your rankings.

And regarding monitoring performance, Google Search Console gives you a ton of analytics and information you can use to improve site traffic. It would greatly behoove you to become familiar with this tool.

Step 4: Optimize Your Content

It is impossible to overstate how important your website’s content is. Content is what drives people to your site, encourages them to take action, and is the entire reason for your site to exist in the first place.

So, after you’ve done the backend, technical and strategic work necessary to boost your ranking, it’s time to focus on your content.

Your content strategy should have been a big part of your overall strategy, as discussed in the last step, but this is where the rubber meets the road.

This is where you’ll create the keyword-rich (but not overstuffed) copy, build a solid structure that’s easy for bots and humans to read, and improve your overall content experience.

For detailed information on how to perform this, watch this webinar.

Step 5: Build Your Backlinks

This has been touched on already, but it warrants its own step.

Your incoming links tell Google a lot about how trustworthy your site is.

For example, if you fall for one of those link farms, pay-per-link scams (which, of course, you never would), Google will probably ignore those links.

On the other hand, if the Chicago Tribune is directing people to your page, Google may well view that endorsement in a good light and consider that link valuable.

But how exactly do you build links? Did you really expect us to ask that question and then not have another great ebook that answers that question in-depth?

Download and read this for everything you need to know about building and maintaining a fruitful link-building campaign.

Step 6: Don’t Forget About Humans

With all the technical parts to search engine optimization, it can be really easy to forget about the primary purpose of your website: to provide value for actual people.

And lest you think Google search is entirely comprised of a variety of computer programs, don’t forget actual humans are verifying the algorithm’s work.

These people are known as Search Quality Raters. They follow an extensive guide to determine how well Google search results meet the needs of the querier and evaluate your pages’ quality.

So, always keep that in the back of your mind – that even with all the title tag and image optimization and responsive design work you’ve put in, at the end of the day, SEO is all about people.

Step 7: Never Stop Learning

Whew, that was a lot. Now you can just sit back and relax, enjoying your new title of sixth-degree SEO black belt, right? Not even a little.

Search engine algorithms are constantly undergoing changes.

Some of these are so small you won’t notice, while others make a big change in the kind of returns queries generate. And this constant state of flux means the last thing you can do is rest on your laurels.

But where do you go from here?

Luckily, there is a vast ocean of SEO resources out there, including this very website, where you’ll find all the news, as well as regular updates and blog posts on a variety of topics related to search engines.

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you about some of the great online courses to help you take your search engine optimization skills to the next level.

For your convenience, we’ve provided a select list here, and you can check out some of them in more detail in this post about SEO certifications.

Free SEO Courses For Beginners

Coursera’s Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals: This 13-hour, 4-module digital course (created by the University of California, Davis) is designed to help you understand how search algorithms affect organic search results. It covers everything from building an effective strategy to analyzing and optimizing your existing website.

Ahrefs’ SEO Training Course: This program, presented by SEO tools software provider Ahrefs, consists of 14 lessons split into four modules, comprising two hours in total length. It will teach you the fundamentals of SEO, including how to perform keyword research, technical SEO, and link building for beginners.

Shopify’s SEO Training for Beginners: The ecommerce platform Shopify offers a 30-minute course designed to help online entrepreneurs get up to speed on the fundamentals of SEO fast. This course will give you a repeatable framework you can apply to help improve your business’s search engine ranking.

Yoast’s SEO for Beginners Training: Another SEO tools provider, Yoast’s beginner’s course in SEO features two hours of instructional videos, PDF files, and quizzes to train you in what you’ve learned.

WP Courses’ Intro to Search Engine Optimization: This free course is designed to teach you how to improve your site for both search engines and human visitors. It covers the basics of SEO, including performing keyword research, creating great content, and optimizing your site for maximum ranking and traffic.

Bruce Clay SEO Training: Bruce Clay is known as the programmer of the first webpage analysis tool. Now, he runs a search marketing company (Bruce Clay, Inc.) that provides a wide range of digital marketing services. This online course will teach you how to improve your website’s ranking with an emphasis on E-A-T. It includes more than 15 hours of instruction across 48 videos.

Next.js’ Introduction to SEO: This text-based course offered by production framework Next.js provides a quick, four-page overview of SEO. It covers search systems and robots and web performance topics, emphasizing using them alongside Next.js.

Hubspot’s SEO Training Course: This short course offers free certification and focuses on the business impacts of SEO. With six lessons built around 22 videos and three quizzes, it uses Hubspot’s blogging strategy as its core example when explaining how SEO works.

Intermediate To Advanced SEO Resources

Got the fundamentals down and are ready to move on to more advanced topics? There are plenty of great resources out there, including:

Semrush Digital Courses: Online visibility and content marketing SaaS provider Semrush has put together one of the best libraries of SEO content available anywhere. These free lessons, which generally run one hour in length, are hosted by various experts and cover nearly every aspect of digital marketing you can think of – including a dozen on search engine optimization.

Ahrefs’ Advanced Link Building Course: This 14-lesson course can be completed in under two hours. It’s designed to equip you with strategies for building links at scale – that go beyond traditional backlinking tactics. It will teach you how to structure and distribute outreach emails, validate campaigns, and manage your link-building team more effectively.

Coursera’s Advanced Search Engine Optimization Strategies: This free 25-hour course focuses on technical, mobile, and social strategies for improving your website’s traffic. It will teach you more advanced SEO skills like improving site architecture, evaluating competitors, and developing global strategies.

LinkedIn Learning: Formerly Lynda.com, the educational portion of the social networking site LinkedIn offers a variety of SEO topics, from beginner to advanced. It offers a free trial but then costs $19.99 per month for unlimited access. LinkedIn Learning has 86 SEO-related videos, many of which specialize in one particular aspect, for example, SEO for ecommerce sites or structuring data for web crawlers.

Advanced Technical SEO: A Complete Guide: You didn’t really think we were going to make this list and not include another of our ebooks, did you? Maybe we’re biased, but this free downloadable ebook will teach you everything you need to know about technical SEO, including finding the best hosting company, structuring your site to be web crawler-friendly, and best practices for pagination, alongside a wealth of other useful information.

Google Analytics Academy: While strictly speaking not an SEO course, if you’re serious about SEO and improving your skills, this certification is well worth earning. This free course will help you better understand the content and digital marketing industry while ensuring you get the most out of the tools the search engine giant makes available.

Stay Up To Date And Get Optimizing

As you can see, there’s quite a lot that goes into search engine optimization. And even experts are learning new things every day.

Hopefully, by this point, you’ve learned a bit about SEO basics and where to learn more about them.

And after you’ve perused some of the linked materials, then it’s time to put your new knowledge into action.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results immediately – remember, search engine optimization is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes, it can take months for your changes to start showing up on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Just remember, this is a constantly shifting environment, and what worked yesterday may not work today. This is partly because of shady SEO specialists who gamed the algorithm through things like keyword stuffing and article spinning (i.e., recreating content with different words).

But the main reason you must stay on top of SEO is Google’s unending quest to provide better, more relevant results.

Currently, this means focusing more on search intent than keywords, but who knows what it will mean tomorrow?

The only way to stay on top is to keep working once you get there. Because if you kick your heels up, it won’t be long before your hard-earned ranking goes away to a harder-working, savvier optimizer.

Don’t ever stop learning, and now get out there and get to the top of search results!

More Resources:


Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

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Ultimate Web Hosting Statistics and Market Share Report (2022)

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Are you looking for the latest web hosting statistics and market share information?

Web hosting is one of the key parts of every successful website. By understanding the hosting market and all of the major players, you can choose the best provider for your WordPress website.

In this article, we’ve gathered tons of web hosting statistics and market share information.

Ultimate List of Web Hosting Statistics

We’ve divided this list of web hosting statistics into several different categories. You can use the links below to jump to the section you’re most interested in.

Global Web Hosting Services Market Size in 2022

Global web hosting market size statistics
  • The global web hosting market is projected to grow to $267.10 billion by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate of 18%.
  • In 2020, the global market was valued at $75 billion.
  • Web hosting is expected to generate $79.25 billion in revenue in 2022.
  • By 2027, it’s predicted that the web hosting space will generate $144.40 billion.
  • According to experts, the growing number of small and medium businesses is the biggest factor driving the industry’s growth.
  • Market share differs dramatically depending on location. While Amazon rules the US market with a 3.9% share, in Germany the most popular web hosting provider is 1and1 (18.29%), while in Italy Aruba has an impressive 30.71% market share. Similarly, the most popular cloud hosting provider in the United States is Amazon (31%) but the Google Cloud platform has the biggest share of India’s cloud computing market (39%).

No matter whether you run an online store, a nonprofit organization, or an affiliate marketing business, every organization needs a website. That means a big demand for web hosting.

In fact, at the start of 2022, there were around 1.8 billion live websites and over 5.1 billion internet users.

When you consider the stats, we can see that web hosting is a billion-dollar industry that’s only going to grow in the future.

Global Web Hosting Market Share in 2022

A global web hosting network
  • In 2020, the North American web hosting industry was valued at $34.32 billion.
  • Experts predict that the United States will have the largest market share right up until 2026, with Europe forecast to have the second biggest market share.
  • In 2022, analysts predict the United States will generate the largest web hosting revenue ($5,832 million). In second place is the UK, which is predicted to generate $5,832 million, followed by Japan ($5,666 million), China ($4,930 million), and Germany ($4,435 million).
  • Asia Pacific is expected to grow at the highest CAGR throughout 2021-2028, with the market in the Asia Pacific expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2026.
  • Experts also predict that the Middle East and Africa will show steady growth in the web hosting space due to an increasing focus on digitization.
  • China is forecast to reach an estimated market size of $16.9 billion in the year 2026, with a CAGR of 15.6% for the period 2021-2026.

The Asia Pacific region is expected to grow rapidly throughout 2021-2026. Experts say this is due to the growing popularity of online platforms and improved connectivity in the region.

Governments have also invested lots of money in small and medium enterprises, startups, and side businesses, which is fueling the growth in web hosting. For example, in 2019 the Chinese government announced a special investment of $894 million for small and medium enterprises, and in 2020 it invested $140 million into developing more startups.

With that being said, we expect to see the number of websites continue to grow. By investing so much money into startups and small businesses, governments in the Asia Pacific region are creating a huge demand for web hosting in these areas.

Domain Registration Statistics

Balloons showing different domain extensions
  • A domain name typically costs $10–$15 per year, although the most expensive publicly reported sale was carinsurance.com, which sold for $49.7 million.
  • GoDaddy has over 78 million registered domains, which gives them a 12.77% share of all registered domains. That makes GoDaddy the world’s most popular domain registrar.
  • Namecheap is GoDaddy’s closest competitor with over 17 million registered domains. This gives it a 2.87% share of all registered domain names and makes Namecheap the second most popular domain registrar.
  • 37.20% of domains are top-level domains (TLDs).

Choosing the best domain name for your website is crucial, and many sites even use a domain name generator to pick the perfect domain, fast.

Once you’ve chosen a domain, the next step is to properly register that domain name.

The good news is that many of the top web hosting providers are also domain name registrars, so you can often get a domain and hosting from the same provider.

Interestingly, GoDaddy is both the most popular web hosting provider and the most popular domain registrar, which suggests a lot of people choose to use the same company. Since it’s such a popular choice, we expect to see more web hosting companies also offering domain registration in the future.

If you haven’t purchased a domain name yet, then please see our expert pick of the best domain registrars.

Shared Hosting Stats (Including Average Cost of Web Hosting)

Shared web hosting
  • Shared hosting plans typically cost between $2.51-$4.63 per month.
  • On average, an entry-level shared hosting plan will cost $2.5 –$3.72 per month.
  • Typically, you can expect to pay between $4.63–$6.52 per month for mid-tiered shared web hosting.
  • Experts predict that the shared hosting market will grow at 15% CAGR and reach $72.2 billion by 2026.
  • 75% of the websites on a shared hosting plan use GoDaddy.

Shared hosting is where multiple websites share a server. By hosting several sites on the same server, web hosting companies can reduce their costs and offer hosting at a lower price, as the stats show.

To help you decide whether shared hosting is right for you, we’ve published this guide on the real truth about the best shared web hosting services.

VPS Hosting Stats (Including Hosting Costs Per Month)

A VPS Virtual Private Server
  • You can typically expect to pay between $13.41-$21.89 per month for VPS hosting.
  • Entry-level VPS hosting costs $13.41–$15.57 per month.
  • For mid-range VPS hosting, the average cost is $21.89–$25.17. However, when publishing these figures researchers pointed out that the range is skewed by a small number of premium service providers.
  • 21% of the websites on a VPS hosting plan use GoDaddy.

Similar to shared hosting, VPS hosting runs multiple sites on the same server. However, VPS uses powerful virtualization technology to create a digital barrier between each site. This gives customers guaranteed access to a percentage of the server’s resources. They also have greater control over how their server is set up.

As we can see from the web hosting statistics, extra flexibility, security, and improved performance come at a cost. On average, even entry-level VPS plans are noticeably more expensive than shared hosting.

To help you choose the right VPS hosting plan for your budget, we’ve created a guide to the best VPS hosting.

Dedicated Hosting Stats (Including Web Hosting Market Size)

A web hosting server
  • In 2021, dedicated hosting had 25.5% of the global web hosting services market.
  • Dedicated hosting is predicted to grow at 11.1% CAGR throughout 2021-2026.
  • GoDaddy is the most popular dedicated hosting provider. When we look at all the sites that are known to use dedicated hosting, 35% of those websites use GoDaddy.

Dedicated hosting is where a single customer has private access to an entire server. Dedicated hosting plans are mainly used by big websites that get lots of visitors and need a high level of performance and security.

Dedicated plans are expensive, but they’re not the only way to create a top-notch website.

For example, if you’re using WordPress then there are lots of ways to boost WordPress speed and performance. Plus, you can use security plugins to help protect your site.

Web server software code
  • Nginx is used by 34.2% of all websites whose web server is known, making it the most popular server technology. Alipay, TikTok, and Zoom all use Nginx.
  • 31.2% of all the websites with a known web server use Apache. Some big names that use Apache hosting services include eBay, Spotify, Dropbox, and Salesforce.
  • 21.6% of all websites with a known web server rely on Cloudflare Server. This includes some big names such as Zoom, Indeed, Etsy, Discord, and Fiverr.

The web hosting stats show that over 50% of all websites use open-source server software.

Open source gives you the freedom to use, change, extend, and redistribute software without having to pay anything. Immediately, open source helps you run a website for less and creates a sense of community and collaboration that benefits everyone who uses the software. With that being said, it’s not surprising that it’s one of the major hosting trends.

As well as open-source server software, almost half of the web (43%) uses the WordPress open-source content management system. It’s clear that in 2022, the world wide web runs on open source.

For more details about open source and WordPress, you can check out our guides on why WordPress is free and how much it really costs to build a WordPress website.

AWS Web Hosting Market Share

The AWS Amazon website
  • Over 57 million websites use Amazon as their hosting provider.
  • 6.2% of all websites use Amazon as their host, which gives Amazon Web Services (AWS) the biggest share of the web hosting industry.
  • Some of Amazon’s most well-known customers are Reddit, Netflix, TikTok, Twitch, Zoom, and eBay, plus Amazon themselves.
  • Out of the top 1 million websites, 22.23% use Amazon as their provider.
  • 41.08% of the top 100K websites use AWS, plus 53.76% of the top 10k websites.

Amazon has the largest market share and is also clearly a favorite among high-traffic sites.

This popularity could be down to Amazon’s reputation, as they’re known to provide robust and scalable hosting to some of the biggest companies in the world.

In fact, Netflix alone uses over 100,000 Amazon server instances to deliver high-resolution videos to their customers.

GoDaddy Hosting Market Share

The GoDaddy web hosting website
  • Despite the name, the GoDaddy Group owns several web hosting providers including Host Europe and Media Template. When we look at the entire GoDaddy Group, 3.9% of all websites use one of the company’s hosting providers.
  • GoDaddy is the Group’s most popular brand. Out of all the sites that use the GoDaddy Group, 78.5% choose GoDaddy as their web host.
  • Over 41 million websites use GoDaddy’s data centers.
  • When we look at the top 1 million websites based on traffic, 2.27% use GoDaddy as their hosting provider.
  • 1.76% of the top 100K websites use GoDaddy, plus 1.78% of the top 10k websites.

GoDaddy may have a mixed reputation, but it still has a big market share and hosts over 41 million websites.

This may be because of how much GoDaddy spends on marketing, as they invested over $100 million during the second quarter of 2022 alone.

However, it’s always smart to consider all your options. With that being said, you may want to see our expert pick of the best GoDaddy alternatives.

Namecheap Pricing and Web Hosting Statistics

The Namecheap web hosting provider
  • Over 5 million websites use Namecheap as their host, which is 1.0% of all websites.
  • Out of the top 1 million websites, 0.75% use Namecheap as their hosting provider.

Namecheap is best known as a domain registrar, but they’re also a popular hosting provider since their plans are very affordable.

For example, Namecheap’s shared hosting plans start at $2.18 per month, which is low when compared to the shared hosting average of $2.51-$4.63.

As we’ve previously seen, Namecheap is also the second most popular domain registrar. For website owners who want to buy their domain and hosting from the same company, this makes Namecheap an attractive choice.

Hostinger Web Hosting Market Share

The Hostinger web hosting website
  • Over 1 million websites use Hostinger as their provider, which is 1.3% of all websites.
  • Out of the top 1 million websites, 0.5% use Hostinger as their hosting provider.

Hostinger may not have a huge share of the high-traffic market, but they have a significant slice of the wider web hosting market.

This is likely because they offer affordable, all-in-one hosting packages complete with 24/7 live chat support, managed automatic updates, a free CDN service, and free site migration. They also have a 1-click installer that makes it easy to install WordPress plus other popular software.

For a detailed look at Hostinger’s strong points and weak points, you can check out our expert Hostinger review.

WP Engine Group (Managed WordPress Usage Statistics)

The WP Engine website
  • 2.2% of all websites use one of WP Engine Group’s brands as their hosting provider.
  • 81.5% of all sites that use WP Engine Group, choose WPEngine as their provider.
  • Flywheel is used by 18.5% of all websites that use the WP Engine Group.
  • Some of WP Engine Group’s biggest customers include Indeed, Udemy, SoundCloud, and Mozilla.

WP Engine is one of the world’s leading managed WordPress hosting providers, used by 2.2% of all websites.

A managed hosting plan is perfect for busy website owners who want to avoid time-consuming admin tasks.

With its advanced security features, protection against DDoS attacks, and built-in CDN in partnership with MaxCDN, WP Engine is powerful enough to support larger businesses such as Mozilla and SoundCloud.

For more information, please see our expert review of WP Engine.

HostGator Web Hosting Statistics

The HostGator homepage
  • HostGator is part of the Newfold Digital Group, which was formerly known as the Endurance International Group. HostGator is the company’s most popular web hosting provider. In fact, HostGator is used by 30.8% of all websites that use a Newfold Digital Group brand.
  • HostGator is used by 1.4% of all websites.
  • Over 960,000 sites rely on Hostinger as their hosting provider.

With 1-click WordPress installation, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and 24/7 support, it’s easy to see why HostGator is used by 1.4% of all websites.

They also offer shared hosting, Virtual Private Server hosting, dedicated hosting servers, and managed WordPress hosting plans, so website owners can choose the plan that works the best for them.

To see whether HostGator is right for you, check out our expert review of HostGator.

Bluehost Pricing and Web Hosting Statistics

The Bluehost special offer for WPBeginner readers
  • Bluehost is also part of the Newfold Digital Group and is the company’s second most popular hosting provider. Bluehost is used by 27.4% of all websites that use a Newfold Digital Group brand.
  • Over 2 million websites are hosted on Bluehost, which is 1.2% of all websites.
  • Out of the top 1 million websites based on traffic, just 0.39% use Bluehost.

Bluehost is an affordable hosting provider, especially when compared to the average prices we’ve seen earlier.

WPBeginner readers can get a 60% off discount with Bluehost. You can purchase a shared plan for just $2.75 per month, which is at the lower end of the $2.51-$4.63 average. Plus, it comes with a free domain name!

These affordable prices may explain why Bluehost is used by 2 million websites. As well as offering low prices, Bluehost is one of the few hosts officially recommended by WordPress.

To learn more about Bluehost, you can see an in-depth Bluehost review from our experts.

Shopify Hosting Stats

Shopify website
  • Almost 4 million websites use Shopify as their hosted solution.
  • In 2020, Shopify’s market share was just 1.8%, but by 2022 it was 4.4%. That’s an increase of 2.6% in just 2 years.

Shopify is a popular website builder, similar to Wix and Squarespace. Shopify has seen rapid growth from a 0.4% share of the web hosting market in 2016 to 4.4% in 2022. This is likely due to the rising popularity of online shopping, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With physical shops closed around the world, many businesses needed to create an online store, fast. As a fully hosted eCommerce platform, Shopify saw good conversion rates and lots of new customers during the pandemic.

However, Shopify does force you to use its Shopify Payment platform. If you want to use a different payment processing solution, then you’ll need to pay an extra 2% transaction fee which is very high compared to other eCommerce platforms.

With that in mind, we may see Shopify’s growth slow as store owners start to look for more affordable Shopify alternatives. For example, we’re starting to see more people move from Shopify to WooCommerce.

Squarespace Web Hosting Stats

The Squarespace CMS
  • Over 4 million websites use Squarespace as their hosting solution, which means 2% of all websites use Squarespace.
  • When we look at the 1 million sites based on traffic, 0.69% of them use Squarespace.
  • 1.36% of the top 100k websites use Squarespace, plus 3.16% of the top 10k sites.

Similar to Shopify, Squarespace’s market share has grown very quickly. In 2016, Squarespace had just 0.3% of the market, but by 2022 it had 2.0%.

Despite this, today only a small percentage of the top 1 million sites use Squarespace. This could be because Squarespace forces customers to use its built-in drag and drop builder which can be restrictive.

Bigger organizations are more likely to choose a flexible hosting plan and open-source CMS such as WordPress, rather than a hosted solution and restrictive web builder.

For more information, you can see our guide on Square vs. WordPress – which one is better?

Sources:

Internet Live Stats, Internet World Stats, GoDaddy, Global Industry Analysts, Fortune Business Insights, W3Techs, Statista, BuiltWith, Domain Name Stat, AWS.

We hope this ultimate web hosting statistics and market share report will help you find the best hosting provider for your website. You may also want to see our research on the latest blogging statistics as well as new marketing trends and stats.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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Several HTML elements format text to help website visitors and search engine crawlers easily identify important portions of your content.

But can these elements have an impact on your rankings in search?

Continue reading to learn if text formatting is a Google ranking factor.

[Recommended Read:] The Complete Guide To Google Ranking Factors

The Claim: Text Formatting As A Ranking Factor

You can use HTML elements to format text in various ways; for example:

  • Bold text using <b>.
  • Indicate strong importance, seriousness, or urgency using <strong>.
  • Italicize text using <i>.
  • Indicate emphasis and meaning using <em>.
  • Underline text using <u>.

<em> and <strong> differ from <b> and <i>, as the former indicate semantic importance while the latter are styles that indicate how the words appear on the screen.

That is an important distinction we’ll dig into later.

Some believe that using HTML elements to highlight specific words for Google can directly impact how the webpage ranks for those keywords.

But are they right?

The Evidence For Text Formatting As A Ranking Factor

Google’s Matt Cutts seemed to indicate in a 2013 Google Search Central video that HTML text formatting is a ranking factor.

Or did he?

A viewer had asked, “In terms of SEO, what is the difference between <strong> tag and <b> tag for emphasis on certain words of text?”

Cutts noted that he had answered this question before, in 2006, and didn’t think the answer had changed.

“Back then, whenever we checked, <strong> and <b> were treated the exact same in terms of ranking and scoring and how they’re indexed and all that sort of stuff.

Likewise, there’s also the <em> and the <i> that stands for italics, and those were treated exactly the same.

You could use either one, and it wouldn’t make a difference in terms of Google ranking.”

A Google patent awarded in 2014 also suggests that ranking algorithms give bolded/italicized text extra weight:

“One existing document quality measurement technique calculates an Information Retrieval (IR) score that is a measure of how relevant a document is to a search query.

The IR score can be weighted in various ways. For example, matches in a document’s title might be weighted more than matches in a footer.

Similarly, matches in text that is of larger font or bolded or italicized may be weighted more than matches in normal text.”

Of course, not everything that Google patents get used in algorithms.

[Discover:] More Google Ranking Factor Insights

The Evidence Against Text Formatting As A Ranking Factor

In the earlier-referenced video, Cutts is saying Google treats the two types of HTML elements the same from a ranking perspective.

He doesn’t say whether they impact ranking at all. It could be that they equally have no impact.

Google has never confirmed or denied HTML formatting as a ranking factor.

In the Google developer documentation style guide, Google offers advice on HTML and semantic tagging. Specifically, you shouldn’t use HTML elements for visual formatting.

“The <em> element indicates emphasis, not italics as such. Don’t use it to italicize something that isn’t meant to be emphasized; instead, use <i> for non-emphasis italics.

The <strong> element indicates strong importance, not bold as such. To bold a word that doesn’t merit strong importance, use the <b> element.”

This suggests that tags like <em> and <strong> are important for understanding pages.

John Mueller responded to a tweeted question about bold text in particular in 2017, but again, the response is somewhat ambiguous and open to interpretation:

“You’ll probably get more out of bolding text for human users / usability in the end. Bots might like, but they’re not going to buy anything.”

Many on-page factors have diminished in importance since the early 2000s.

But here’s what logic tells us: If you want to rank for a term, simply using that word in your content and then making it bold (or italics, or bold and italics) every single time you use it won’t be enough alone to elevate it in the rankings.

Mueller, in 2021, confirmed that text formatting could help both users and bots see what you want to stand out on a page.

“It’s essentially semantic HTML – make it easy to recognize (for bots & users) what you think should stand out on a page. Titles help, headings help, highlighting within text helps (like bold, or strong, etc), tables for tabular data, lists as lists, etc.”

But in the following tweet, he also confirmed it would not help with rankings.

“These things don’t make your site rocket up in rankings, but especially with regards to understanding pages better, small things can help. Think of it more as giving relative guidance within the page; if you have 5 ‘SEO-points’, what should they be used for on this page?”

In a Google SEO office hours from the same date, Mueller discussed an argument on whether bolding parts of your paragraph could boost your SEO.

After referencing the Matt Cutts video from 2012, he explains that semantic HTML allows you to give more meaning to a part of the page with proper markup.

“So usually, we do try to understand what the content is about on a webpage, and we look at different things to try to figure out what is actually being emphasized here. And that includes things like headings on a page, but it also includes things like what is actually bolded or emphasized within the text on a page.

So, to some extent, that does have a little bit of extra value there in that it’s a clear sign that actually, you think this page or this paragraph is about this topic here.

And usually, that aligns with what we think the page is about anyway. So it doesn’t change that much. The other thing is that this is, to a large extent, relevant within the webpage.

So, if you go off and say, well, I will just make my whole page bold and then Google will think my page is the most important one, then by making everything bold, essentially, nothing is bold because it’s all the same.

Whereas, if you take a handful of sentences or words within your full page where you say, this is really important for me, and you bold those, then it’s a lot easier for us to say, well, here’s a lot of text, and this is potentially one of the most important points of this page. And we can give that a little bit more value

And essentially, what that kind of goes into is everything around semantic HTML where you’re giving a little bit more meaning to a page by using the proper markup for the page. And from our point of view, that’s good. It helps us to understand the page a little bit better.

So, if you want to simplify it to a one-word answer, does bolding important points on a paragraph help the SEO? Yes, it does. It does help us to better understand that paragraph or that page.”

Text Formatting As A Ranking Factor: Our Verdict

Ranking factor: Possibly

As you can see, text formatting can affect how search engines determine the most important content on a page.

But, it’s unlikely that bolded content on a page will be the element that moves you above competitors in search results.

Even so, proper markup will help users and search engines find the most important points of your content.

You can learn more about text-level semantics and how to appropriately use these elements in the WHATWG Community HTML Living Standard resource that Apple, Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft provide.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

Ranking Factors: Fact Or Fiction? Let’s Bust Some Myths! [Ebook]Ranking Factors: Fact Or Fiction? Let’s Bust Some Myths! [Ebook]

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What You Need To Know

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How do you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns?

Have you ever felt that some marketing channels’ data seems to be located in “a void” – meaning it’s hard to discover their actual impact?

Channels like connected TV, satellite radio, digital advertising, email, and social networks have made marketing campaign analysis a complex field for marketers.

But you can find valuable insights for your strategies – if you know where to look.

Luckily, you’ll uncover precisely where this hidden data lies, right now.

On September 28, I moderated a webinar by Shaubhik Ray, Senior Director of Digital Analytics at iQuanti.

Ray explained how you can improve your ability to predict the success of your marketing programs.

Here is a summary of the webinar.

To access the entire presentation, complete the form.

The What, Why & How Of Marketing Effectiveness

Marketing effectiveness goes hand-in-hand with efficiency. If your marketing is performing effectively, the cost of acquiring or executing a campaign is more efficient.

The underlying goal of all marketers is to understand the actual return on their investment in different channels.

It’s important to measure marketing effectiveness because you want to optimize:

  • Marketing performance.
  • Marketing budget.
  • Business performance.

However, isn’t always easy to track due to external and internal factors.

[Learn Your Barriers Of Effectiveness] Instantly access the webinar →

Measurement Techniques To Use To Guage Success

First, create a KPI framework to identify your important business KPIs.

Next, design a solution to capture your company’s KPIs accurately.

Then, standardize your channel data collection.

Finally, develop a structured approach to identify what marketing KPIs should be collected for measuring business success.

iQuanti, September 2022Measuring Marketing Effectiveness: What You Need To Know

Once you understand the different metrics you’re capturing, focus on standardizing how you capture this data.

These methods can include:

  • Campaign tagging framework.
  • Campaign naming conventions.
  • Roll-out of a campaign tracker.

[Easy Technique: Learn How To Use Google & Facebook For Data Collection] Instantly access the webinar →

Advanced Techniques For Measuring Effectiveness

You can measure marketing campaign effectiveness by tracking:

  • Attribution.
  • Cause & Effect.
  • Marketing Mix Modeling.

Digital Attribution

Digital Attribution is the science of assigning credit to each marketing touch point of the customer journey based on that touch point’s influence on their ultimate conversion decision.

Measuring Marketing Effectiveness: What You Need To KnowiQuanti, September 2022Measuring Marketing Effectiveness: What You Need To Know

Approaches include rule-based and algorithmic attribution.

[Learn What These Are & How They Help] Instantly access the webinar →

Incrementality: Proving Cause & Effect

Incrementality in marketing is the lift or increase in the desired business outcome (e.g., awareness, web visits, conversions, revenue) resulting from a marketing intervention.

You can approach this on a user level or geo-level.

[Learn More] Instantly access the webinar →

Marketing Mix Modeling

Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) is a statistical technique used to identify and quantify the relationship between a pre-defined KPI like sales and the factors influencing them.

This approach is privacy friendly, holistic, and flexible.

[See it in action] Instantly access the webinar →

Metrics For Measuring Marketing Spend

By analyzing the spend metrics you’re tracking for the particular campaign, you can get a good understanding of how effective different campaigns are.

There are a lot of spend metrics, but the three cost metrics that help you understand how well each of your campaigns is performing are:

  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).
  • Cost Per Incremental Acquisition (CPIA).
  • Marginal Cost Per Acquisition (MCPA).

[Take a closer look at each metric] Instantly access the webinar →

Now that you know the techniques and metrics, you can go on selection.

How To Select The Right Measurement Techniques

Consider the following factors while selecting the proper measurement techniques:

  • Availability Of Data
    • Is the data foundation in place?
    • Availability of historical data and granularity of data.
  • Availability Of Resources
    • What’s the current tech stack for measurement?
    • Access to skilled resources.
  • The Use Case
    • The primary objective of the analysis.
    • Industry and customer journeys (path to conversion).

Knowing where to look allows you to find valuable insights for your strategies, gain clarity, and move in the right direction with your campaigns.

[Find Your Best Measurement Technique] Instantly access the webinar →

Measuring Marketing Effectiveness: What You Need To Know [Webinar]

Here’s the presentation:

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

6 Keys Your Business Needs To Win With Your Marketing Agency

Building trust with your agency and establishing a strong marketing foundation is a sure-fire way to take your business to the next level. This webinar will walk you through ways to have a clear, transparent and trusting partnership with your agency and drive results.


Image Credits:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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