With the start of the World Cup in June, eyes around the globe have been glued to televisions ever since. Instead of judging you for missing all the great content that was being created over the last month, we went ahead and rounded it all up into one convenient location. These are the best eCommerce, WordPress, and ExpressionEngine posts from June. If you’d like more great content on a day-to-day basis, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Enjoy and let us know if we missed anything important in the comment section! P.S. Make sure to get to the end of the roundup for Minions playing soccer. It’s worth it, we swear.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that domain registrars and web hosting companies have started to offer a large number of new generic top-level domains. There is some confusion among web hosting clients as to the status of these new domains, so I thought it would be useful to explain what they are, why they were created, and the potential benefits to hosting clients.
What Is A Generic Top-Level Domain?
Top-level domains are the final part of a bare domain name; “.com”, “.net”, and “.me” are all common examples of TLDs. Domain names come in a couple of different varieties: generic domain names (gTLD) and country-code domain names (ccTLD). The latter are intended to be used for sites that have a relationship to a specific geographic area, “.fr” and “.jp”, for example, although that is somewhat complicated by the way Google regards some ccTLDs, such as “.me”, the ccTLD for Montenegro, which for SEO purposes are treated the same as a generic TLD. As the name suggests, gTLDs have no ties to specific regions, and can be used by anyone. There are other top-level domains with a slightly different status, like “.cat”, but for our purposes the distinction between gTLDs and ccTLDs is sufficient.
Over the last few years, crowdfunding has taken off in a big way. In 2011, a total of $1.5 billion was raised through crowdfunding. In 2012, that number increased to $2.7 billion. The most successful crowdfunding projects raise many millions of dollars, with prominent examples being Star Citizen, a video game that raised over $44 million dollars after having asked for $500,000; the Pebble smartwatch, which exceeded $10 million; and the Ubuntu Edge, which failed in its (somewhat over-optimistic) goal of raising $32 million, but was pledged almost $12 million dollars.
The leading crowdfunding platforms, Kickstarter, have had a huge impact on the opportunities available for makers, creatives, and anyone who has a great idea but lacks the capital and connections to turn it into reality. While there are obvious advantages to using established crowdfunding platforms, the most notable being a built-in audience, a platform designed for running crowdfunding projects, and experienced people handling the financial aspects of the process, there are also benefits to going it alone and building a platform over which you exert complete control.
Naturally, WordPress offers several solutions to the problem of home-grow, self-hosted crowd funding. But, I’m going to highlight what I consider to be one of the best WordPress crowdfunding plugins available.
If you’re a WordPress user, the chances are that you’ll have to interact with plugin developers at some point. It can be frustrating and anxiety-inducing when a plugin goes awry, especially if it has a significant impact on your site’s functionality or even stops it working altogether. On many occasions, I’ve seen WordPress users vent that frustration at plugin developers. As satisfying as that might be in the short-term, it’s not helpful.
Developers work on free plugins for a variety of different reasons: to give back to a community from which they have benefitted, to publicize a premium version of their plugin or some other service, or simply as a hobby. If you’re using a free plugin on your WordPress site, you’re getting something for nothing from a developer who is probably very busy putting food on their table with a full-time job in addition to working on the plugin. Developers don’t have the time or the inclination to deal with rude, demanding, or uninformative users.
To help you deal with plugin developers in a way that’s likely to have a positive result for both you and the developer, it is helpful to keep a few simple guidelines in mind.
US eCommerce was built on the back of secure credit card data handling and a population of which the majority own a credit cards. In the US, and much of the rest of the world, credit cards are still the primary method of payment, but the proportion of people choosing to use alternative payment methods is set to reach half of the global eCommerce market, which is surprising when you consider that Amazon, the biggest fish in the eCommerce pond, doesn’t accept alternative payment methods on its main eCommerce store, in spite of offering its own spin on alternative payments.
In fact, the number of companies offering alternative payment methods is rapidly growing, with a particular focus on mobile payments. Amazon, Google, and others offer digital wallets, and Apple and Facebook are expected to jump on board in the near future. It’s likely that the battle for the wallets of eCommerce shoppers will be fought and won on mobile platforms, an area in which both Google and Apple are well placed to dominate.
But across the alternative payment market as a whole, the more established players continue to rule the roost, with PayPal and AliPay being the most prominent. AliPay, which is China’s leading online payment solution, processed over €100 Billion worth of transactions, making it world’s third largest mobile payment provider.
It’s never been easier to publish content on the web. If you have something to say, you can publish it on any number of platforms in minutes. It’ll look good, have great typography and design, and the publishing process is often as simple as typing, throwing up a few images, and hitting a button. Tumblr is a paradigmatic example of a service that allows users to create their own space on the web with next to no hassle. That being the case, why bother with a more complex content management system like self-hosted WordPress?
It’s Really Not That Much More Complicated
At its simplest, publishing using WordPress is not that much more difficult than free platforms. Long gone of the days of manual installs and messing around on the Linux command line. Good hosting companies offer one-click installation of WordPress on an optimized platform that’s ready configured to make the most of the CMS. Choosing a theme, either free or premium, is straightforward, and once its installed, in many cases you’re good to go. Read more
As the original Magento web hosting provider, nobody knows how to make a Magento storefront perform quite like Nexcess. The following infographic is a distilled version of our popular white paper: Best Practices for Optimum Magento Performance, which details how to improve Magento performance by 1,300% or greater.
We invite you to share and reblog this piece openly, as it applies to anybody that’s ever installed Magento and then proceeded to lose money by not optimizing with an ideal server environment.
The eCommerce market in the US has plenty of room for growth, innovation, and new entries to the marketplace, especially as brick-and-mortar retail loses its dominance in favor of online equivalents offering more convenience and an improved experience. But the US and European markets are mature, and innovation often takes the form of value-adds from established retailers — same-day and next-day delivery being an obvious example.
Developing regions like South America, with up-and-coming economies including Argentina, Venezuela, and Brazil, which has the seventh largest economy in the world and a growing middle class, have significantly less mature but quickly growing eCommerce markets, presenting an opportunity to both local and international online retailers.
The number of online buyers located in South America is growing. Across the region as a whole, numbers of buyers will have increased around 14 percent between 2010 and 2016. Argentina and Brazil both beat the average growth rate by a considerable margin. Around 30 percent of Argentina’s population were classified as online buyers in 2010, by 2016 that’s expected to have grown to almost 50 percent. For Brazil, the proportion of buyers is expected to rise from 24 percent to 40 percent in the same period. As these economies strengthen, we can expect that rate of growth to increase considerably.
Vulnerabilities have been discovered in the popular All In One SEO Pack WordPress plugin that could allow privilege escalation and cross-site scripting attacks. The plugin has been patched and users should ensure that they immediately update to the most recent version or there is a real risk of their WordPress site being compromised.
In a recent post on the Sucuri Blog security researcher Marc-Alexandre Montpas revealed the discovery of a pair of critical vulnerabilities in the plugin, which is used for search engine optimization on a large number of WordPress sites. The free version of the All In One SEO plugin has over 18 million downloads and provides features like meta tag generation, XML sitemap support, and robots.txt control.
According to Montpas, two exploitable vulnerabilities were discovered. The first allows logged-in users without admin privileges — an author or ordinary user, for example – to adjust parameters used by the plugin to change title tags, meta description tags, and keyword meta tags. By changing these parameters, a malicious user could cause a site’s search engine optimization to be degraded — a serious problem for sites that depend on Google for referrals.
May was an important month for the Magento community, as over two thousand members came together for the Imagine Conference in Las Vegas (an event we were thrilled to sponsor), and, in equally big news, Magento co-founder Roy Rubin announced that he would be stepping down from position as the CEO of Magento. Here at Nexcess, we’ve been connected with Roy since the Varien days and would like to thank him for his incredible contribution to eCommerce. Although those were two of the biggest stories from May, there were still a lot of other happenings in the world of eCommerce, WordPress, and ExpressionEngine. So, without further ado, here’s our roundup of the best posts from the last month. If you’d like more great content on a day-to-day basis, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Enjoy and let us know if we missed anything important in the comment section!