Nexcess Blog

May’s Best ExpressionEngine, WordPress, and Magento Content from Around the Web

May 29, 2015 0 Comments

RoundupLooking back at May, we had a great time at php [tek] last week, and if you’re a PHP developer, we’re still hiring. Reach out if interested. This coming month, we’ll be at IRCE in Chicago from June 2nd to June 6th, so if you’re around, look for us at booth 1853. Our own undertakings aside, the major news from the last thirty days was Automattic purchase of WooCommerce and WooThemes. In coming months, we may have to change the “WordPress and Blogging” section to “WordPress, Blogging, and eCommerce.” In other news, Magento released another patch bundle, which we get into a post below, but if you haven’t done so, update. Here’s the rest of the best from May 2015. If you’re looking for the same 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.

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Posted in: Monthly Roundups

We’ll Be At IRCE To Talk About All Things Magento

May 28, 2015 0 Comments

The Internet Retail Conference and Exhibition is the world’s largest gathering of retailers, and we’ll be there in force to talk to eCommerce store owners, Magento professionals, and anyone else who wants to chat about building performance-optimized Magento stores.

With an expected attendance of 10,000 and exhibitions from everyone who’s anyone in the eCommerce world, including Magento, PayPal, and Ebay, IRCE is an unmissable opportunity for anyone in the eCommerce space.

The conference and exhibition will take place June 2-5 in at Chicago’s McCormick Place West.

We hope to see you there. Feel free to come and talk to our Magento hosting experts — and we really do have a lot to talk about this year.

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Posted in: Nexcess

The Right Way To Handle Images For Retina Devices In WordPress

May 26, 2015 0 Comments

Retina DevicesWe’re well into the era of high-definition displays. The term Retina is a bit of marketing-speak from Apple, but almost every smartphone and most tablets now offer screens with very high numbers of pixels crammed into a small space. Retina screens are still relatively uncommon on the desktop, but that’s likely to change — once again, Apple led the way here with the Retina MacBook Pro and now the Retina iMac.

If you’ve ever looked at a site that hasn’t been optimized for Retina screens on an iPad or similar device, you’ll have noticed that images look blurry and pixelated. Many business site owners still haven’t gotten around to optimizing their sites for Retina, and given the popularity of high-DPI screens, that means their sites look bad to many of their visitors. In this article, I’d like to take a look at why unoptimized images look bad, and what WordPress site users can do to accommodate modern displays.

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Posted in: Nexcess

Magento Releases New Patch Bundle To Address Multiple Security Vulnerabilities

May 22, 2015 0 Comments

Magento has released a bundle of patches that fix several vulnerabilities. The vulnerabilities addressed by the patch can be exploited by attackers to disclose confidential information and execute code remotely.

The bundle (SUPEE-5994) can be downloaded here and should be applied as soon as possible by users of Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise Edition.

It is important to note that the SUPEE-5994 Patch Bundle does not address the ShopLift vulnerability, which was fixed with the patch SUPEE-5344. Magento users should ensure that both sets of patches are applied to their Magento stores or they could be at risk of an RCE (remote code execution) attack.

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Posted in: Nexcess, Security

The Easiest Way To Add Free Images To Your WordPress Blog

Free ImagesUsing compelling, attention-grabbing images with WordPress and social media posts is one of the best ways to increase engagement and drive traffic. But licensing images isn’t cheap — if you publish frequently and use a stock image service like Getty Images or ShutterStock, you can end up spending hundreds of dollars a month on images. If you’re running a small business blog or personal blog, it’s really not worth the investment.

But You Can’t Just Take Any Image

Some bloggers choose the less than noble route of Googling for an image that suits their purpose and using whichever one takes their fancy, and while a few don’t understand the implications of this, anyone writing professionally for the web should have a solid grounding in copyright law. It’s quite simply illegal to take a photographer’s work and use it in ways that don’t conform to the licence under which the photographer published the image. The chances of getting caught are minute, but it does happen and it can expose you and your clients to both legal action and public shaming.

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Posted in: Nexcess

Backing Up Your WordPress Database The Right Way

May 20, 2015 0 Comments

Backing UpOne of the most heartbreaking experiences I’ve had when advising people about WordPress was with a friend of mine who had spent weeks setting up her site, writing content, and posting images, only to lose everything just as she was about to launch because she mistyped a command on her VPS’s command line.

Of course, it’s sad to lose all that work, but what made it worse is that she had thought she was doing everything right — she had a backup plan, and every couple of days would use FTP to copy the contents of her site from the server onto her home machine.

Unfortunately, what she copied was just the WordPress installation along with her themes and plugins. She didn’t copy was the database, which is where most of the content lives. Her backup was great if she wanted to resurrect a theme, but no use at all for recreating her posts and pages. It’s an expensive mistake to make, and I’ve seen it happen more than once.

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Posted in: Nexcess

Attracting Traffic Is Only Half The Struggle For Business Site Owners

May 18, 2015 1 Comment

Attracting TrafficNo business has a bottomless pot of money to spend on their online presence. What money they do have has to be spent in the right place. Site owners face competing demands: hosting, SEO, content, design, advertising, social media promotion, and so on. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many businesses split the pot in the wrong way; they focus on bringing people to their site, and yet they invest very little in creating a positive experience for the visitors they do attract. They spend on search engine optimization, and ignore conversion rate optimization.

Construed very broadly, conversion rate optimization can be considered the optimization of everything about a site that encourages a visitor to carry out a particular action, which can include buying something, clicking through to the next article, sharing on social media, or signing up from a newsletter, among many other potential conversion goals.

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Posted in: Nexcess

Adding JavaScript To Your WordPress Site The Right Way

May 15, 2015 0 Comments

JavaScriptIf you have a basic familiarity with web development, you’ll know that if you want to add a JavaScript or JQuery script to your site, the best way is to insert the < script > tags into the head section of the pages (or at the bottom of the body section, in some cases). The most obvious way to achieve this in a WordPress theme is using the wp_head hook. You can create a function that echoes the < script > tags and runs when the wp_head hook is triggered. This method is quite often used by theme and plugin developers.

However, if you simply inject scripts into the header, WordPress has no idea the code is there, and so it can’t handle conflicts and dependencies properly. WordPress ships with a number of JS libraries, including JQuery, and they’re loaded only when required as a dependency to a properly registered script. Because WordPress sites are usually loaded with plugins and a theme, each of which is likely to want to include code on the page, the CMS provides a mechanism for properly managing script loading.

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Posted in: Nexcess

The Secret Of High-Converting Calls To Action

May 13, 2015 0 Comments

Call To ActionCalls to action are the pointy end of the conversion optimization process. They’re the make or break element that can mean the difference between a sale or signup and a “maybe not.” Your website is a machine for creating sales and conversions. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a blog, a eCommerce store, or a lead generation site, calls to action are an essential part of making the visitor do something that goes beyond passive content consumption and browsing.

Calls to action are, for the most part, common sense, which is why it’s surprising that so many websites either don’t include them at all or do them badly. In this article, I’d like to take a look at a few tips to turn turgid CTAs into the razor’s edge of an effective conversion machine.

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Posted in: Nexcess

Twitter Quick Promote Ads Are Useful For Expanding eCommerce Reach

May 11, 2015 0 Comments

Quick PromoteThere are two schools of thought when it comes to promoting social media shares. Firstly, businesses can promote posts that don’t appear to be doing very well in the hope of giving them a boost so that they gain momentum. Secondly, they can promote shares that already appear popular with their users so that they are seen by a wider variety of people that just those in their immediate network.

I’m a fan of the second approach. The people who choose to follow a business have already expressed an interest in its products or brand. If a Tweet isn’t doing very well among that group, the chances of it appealing to a wider audience are slim. My inclination is to write-off badly performing social media posts as duds. Throwing away money that could better be spent on proven content is a non-optimal approach.

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Posted in: Nexcess