Is Your Social Media Strategy Working?

Is Your Social Media Strategy Working? 

If you have your own business, social media is no longer just a fun thing to be a part of and use to keep up with your friends. Business owners should take social media strategy very seriously. Many brands have found a great deal of success using social media by building communities and finding leads.

However, it’s difficult for up-and-coming businesses to gain success from the use of social media, because it’s hard for a business to accurately measure the results. This leads them not investing in social media, because they feel like they’re taking a gamble on their return on investment. (For more information on how to track RoI, check out Virtual Market Advantage’s blog here.)

Because of this, it’s important to accurately track your social media strategies and results. That way, you can see whether or not your social media strategy is working, and have something to show to those picky investors!

Ways Social Media Can Work for You

Before you get into all the ways your social media strategy can work, you must first understand that not every strategy works for every business. Just because one strategy works for one business, it does not mean that it will work for you. This is something that you must test out for your business, look at the results, and work it out from there.

Success comes in all shapes and sizes when it comes to social media strategies, but usually comes down to one of the keys ideas listed below:

Traffic. Having a site that’s capable of generating revenue means that any traffic you get is valuable. This idea makes good sense, and in general, you can tie your social media success to just how much traffic it generates for your website.

Revenue. Not all traffic you generate will make you money. If social media traffic comes to your site but does not take action once there, this will not return money to your brand. If this seems to be happening to you, consider measuring conversions that start with your social media site, try to see where they fall off, and use that information to gauge your next step.

Visibility. While revenue is the ultimate bottom line for most businesses, it’s not the only indicator of success. Using social media helps for building a brand and increasing its visibility. This can lead to more loyal customer relationships that will ultimately increase your revenue, doing more than just creating short-term conversions.

Followers. The larger your list of followers, the larger and more active of a base you have for distributing your content and business promotions. This is an important step for startups that need help gaining that initial audience and customer base.

Common Traps with Social Media Strategy

While some strategies work on social media, some are just a trap that waste your time when used incorrectly. This can happen if you start to spend too much time focusing on one specific social media strategy. Remember to always step back and take a look at every aspect of your social media marketing to make sure you do not miss something that could ultimately be a big help to your business.

Followers. Having a long list of followers is great and indicates that you have a wider range of eyes on your product. Having more followers increases the potential reach of all of your content. A large follower count can also look great to potential investors into your business, who may use your follower count to seek popularity or influence. What the count does not tell you is how active those followers actually are and whether or not they are genuinely interested in your brand.

Traffic. While traffic is a valuable way to measure success, it does not mean anything by itself. You need something to measure it against to see just how valuable those visitors are. Not everyone who comes across your site will buy something, and not every visitor will return to buy something later.

Impressions. Social media platforms will sometimes give you insight as to how many impressions each of your posts have received. This is helpful, yes, but it doesn’t give you the entire picture, since it can’t tell you what those people are doing after they see your content.

Better Metrics to Use to Measure Social Media Strategy

Now that you’ve seen some ways to help your social media presence and you’ve seen some ways to fall into traps, what you need to look at are ways to better gauge the effectiveness of your campaign.

Conversions. You can measure conversions by setting up goals on Google Analytics to help you determine how many social media users are taking meaningful action on your website. Meaningful is defined by you and your business’s needs, and you can even assign a value to it on the site. This is important, because it allows you to actually see what percentage of your social media traffic is actually spending time on your website and taking action while there, along with what kind of value that action will create.

Engagements. Don’t always just look at how many followers you have, take a look at how many engagements you are getting from those followers. This includes things like shares, likes, and comments. This shows that people are not just glancing over your post, they are actively interested in what you are sharing and posting about.

On-Site Behavior. Go in and take a look at your social specific traffic inside Google Analytics. This will tell you how traffic is flowing on your page. Which pages are they visiting? How interested are they in the content on that page? If you notice those visitors are leaving quickly after visiting a single page, it may tell you that you are targeting the wrong audience.

Using any social media strategy can be tricky and stressful. If you just take the time for trial and error and find what works best for you and your business, you will eventually find your target audience and the best social media strategy!

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What is Reddit, and How Can it be Used for SEO and Marketing? 

What is Reddit, and How Can it be Used for SEO and Marketing? 

If you browse the Internet enough, you’re sure to come across the website Reddit. But what is Reddit, exactly? What can you learn from it? Is it useful for SEO? How can it help drive traffic to your website? How can it be used for online marketing? Virtual Market Advantage will attempt to answer all of these questions below!

What is Reddit?

Like many other social media sites, Reddit’s content is provided by its users. One person creates a post, which can be text only or include photos, videos, and links, and other people upvote or downvote the content, depending on how much they like it. The highest rated content is pushed up to the front pages, while the downvoted content will be seen by very few people. This content only lasts on the front page for a short amount of time, however, allowing the site to rotate through new content constantly. Other users can further comment on a post, and those comments are also upvoted and downvoted towards the top or bottom of the list contained within the post.

Reddit is a website that is well known to Internet marketers. The site calls itself “The Front Page of the Internet.” It’s a mix of news, interesting links, social commentary, and just downright nerdiness. Sounds like a great place to promote a website, right? The site drives headlines, traffic, and new ideas further and much more quickly than any other social network out there right now. This site can have massive promotion, reach, and influence if used right by Internet marketers.

Using Reddit for Research

Marketers can use Reddit to find a large selection of resources to develop new content marketing strategies. This sets it apart from other social networks, since it allows marketers to more easily find a constant stream of fresh and new content and conversations surrounding it. Using Reddit, you will find resources to launch your marketing with new ideas.

Marketers on this site can also use subreddits in their updates and research. This is an easy way to get more content marketing ideas from additional audiences and also get traffic for the official website. A subreddit is a way to further organize posts on the main site. For example, the subreddit r/aww is a place to peruse pics and videos of cats, dogs, and other adorable animals. As with the main site, the recent posts that are most upvoted rise to the top of the list of the subreddit.

Utilizing Subreddits

Because of how the voting system works, Reddit pushes hot new content to the forefront, making research for marketers even easier. The main challenge for you, the marketer, is finding the subreddits that are relevant to your website and audience. The best way for you to seek out information is to do a search related to what you are marketing for and then follow all the related subreddit links.

This tool also allows you to find the most popular subreddits, then follow the sidebar link to related, more specific subreddits. This will get the information flowing directly to you! You can even try to create a subreddit yourself for a niche topic, but unless it draws in and becomes visible to many other people, you won’t get much of a response.

If you take the time to combine these methods, you will find good, relevant subreddits to help you research content and beef up your marketing campaign!

Choosing Keywords

One of the hardest but most necessary parts of SEO is choosing the right keywords. It’s crucial to make sure that the language you use on your website matches the language your audience actually uses while searching for your products in the search engines such as Google. This concept is at the core of search engine optimization.

While the specialized research tools that are out there are great, they can sometimes blindly lead you into keywords that sound good but lack reach, because your audience does not actually search for terms like those.

To use Reddit for keyword searches, you must first figure out the best subreddits to use. These subreddits will allow you to watch your audience interact and talk about related products and problems in normal way, through both the posts themselves and the underlying comments. This will take some research on your end, but taking the time to go through and read subreddit threads can give you a goldmine of relevant keywords that simply don’t pop up anywhere else.

Get Involved

If you join Reddit to simply use it for self-promotion, the community will notice and react negatively. Join some subreddits that you want to be involved in as well as subreddits that can help you promote and grow your business.

Be active in discussions as a member, not just a marketer. Being an active member of Reddit allows you to study your market for free. There are always tons of conversations going on, and there are always questions that need answered. If you know an answer or have blog post that can answer the question, join the conversation. The more active and trusted you are in the Reddit community, the more likely you are to gain success in your SEO and marketing down the road with this platform.

Reddit Overview

Reddit is a wonderful website that is full of untapped resources. Most marketers who use Reddit do so with a focus on promotional potential and without putting in time or effort to do it well. Do not ignore the full research potential of using Reddit for your SEO and content marketing.

Remember that Reddit will act more favorably towards you if you participate with honesty and enthusiasm. Become an active member as you do your research and before you start in on your promotion. Blend in with other members by posting interesting and relevant content. All the while, use the ongoing conversations to help you develop new ideas, keywords, and other content for your SEO campaign. Properly using Reddit will help you as an Internet marketer if you go about it correctly!

If you want more information on SEO, coding, website development, and recent Internet news, check out Virtual Market Advantage’s other blogs, such as this one that goes over the problem of fake news and how it’s not a new issue.

The Problem of Fake News 

The Problem of Fake News 

Fake News. We’ve heard that phrase a lot over the last year, but it’s not a new concept. In fact, the problem of fake news is something that we’ve been struggling with for decades, and misinformation and propaganda seem to have been a problem as long as human society has existed. In the more recent past, fake news was known as ‘yellow journalism,’ but with the ability to easily spread information across the world with the Internet, it seems to be a growing problem with no end in sight.

So just who is this fake news affecting and why? Virtual Market Advantage will take a closer look at the issue and try to determine if it’s a problem that can be solved or one that can merely just be managed.

The History of Fake News

Known in the past as Yellow Journalism, fake news was and still is a style of newspaper reporting that pushes sensationalism over the facts. An example of this is the tabloids sitting at the grocery store checkout stands.

This sensational style of ‘news’ writing went so far as to start wars in the late 19th century. The Spanish-American War of 1898 is sometimes called “the Journal’s war,” since yellow journalism played a large part in how it began. Many historians consider this war to be the first one so heavily affected by the media.

In modern times, fake news has the potential to sway how people think and vote. Over time, sensational writing has carried on, never disappearing completely. It was bad enough when it was published in competing circulations, but the rise of the Internet is making it easier to spread a huge amount of sensationalized content instantly anywhere in the world.

The Problem with Fake News

As amazing as the Internet is, it has its share of problems, especially when it comes to false information. Anyone at any time can put any headline out there, and someone is bound to jump on board and believe it, no matter how outrageous the claims. A key example of how fake news can affect a large group of people or even businesses is the story of a headline and short story that Dow Jones Newswire published as a technology test.

The article stated that Google planned to buy out Apple for $9 billion. That’s a crazy statement, since Apple is worth an estimated $800 billion. However, the short story went on to say that Google CEO Larry Page had secret talks with now-deceased Steve Jobs back in 2010 to settle the deal. Dow Jones quickly deleted the story after a few minutes, explaining it away as part of a technology test, but at Wall Street, the effect of the headline had already started. The stock traders barely had time to digest the crazy news before Apple stock prices jumped to $158 from $155.

Who is Affected by Fake News?

So who was really tricked here? The stock traders, the general readers, or Internet bots? A growing number of stock trades are controlled by computer algorithms (bots), which scan twitter feeds, news headlines, and other forms of social media to get a lead on information that can move the markets. With most stock trading being done by these bots, it’s clear that the jump in stock in this case was due to these bots scanning that headlines.

On a smaller scale, fake news affects everyone who browses the Internet. I’m sure we can all can think of a time when we saw a sensational headline and thought, “Wow, that’s crazy!” before later realizing that the correct response was probably, “Is this true?” Most of the time, these stories aren’t particularly harmful, and just serve to provide entertainment. However, when they start to affect how people see the world around them based on incorrect assumptions, problems begin to form.

With the times changing, whether stories are true or fake news, they are being released faster than they can be processed. So what can actually be done to combat the release of fake news?

Can the Fake News Problem be Solved?

With the likes of Facebook and Google fighting to combat fake news with little success, it seems that the flow of fake news and false content is something that cannot be completely stopped. If these huge content pushers can’t get a handle on the problem, who can? A survey done by Pew of over 1,100 tech expertsfound that 51% of these experts believe that the fake new problem will only continue to get worse over the next 10 years.

For the majority of experts, the situation does not look good. There’s a strong human desire to see pleasing or entertaining content, whether it’s true or not, and no tech company will ever be able to compete with that. This desire will just feed the fake news flow, and it’s likely that no technological advances will beat our human desire to control it.

However, there is faith in our tech ability from the other 49% of experts who see fake news getting back under some sort of control. They think that with tech fixes and our ability to recognize a threat to truth, we can all collectively find a solution.

For now though, the tech giants are still struggling to produce a system fix to slow the tide of fake news. Facebook is introducing possible fixes to its algorithms to supply fact checking in the background, and Google is trying to combat its fact checking problem with honest answers and articles. But until these systems are put into place, perfected, and begin to work, fake news headlines will still affect us daily.

The Internet and Fake News

With the invention of the Internet, the initial idea was to have a library type of database so that everyone everywhere could have access to information. This also included misinformation. With no one there to fact check what was being put on the Internet, the onslaught of fake news instantly grew. The tech giants had no way of knowing just how bad it could get with the fake headlines or that other countries could possibly sway a large population of our own by posting all sorts of false facts.

Now that they do know, they are scrambling to find a fix. So far, the new algorithms to fact check ads and news stories are not being built fast enough and are losing ground to the fake news headlines that pop up daily. Will these fact-checking tools be good enough to squash the fake news in the end? Only time will tell.

Social Media’s Role in Fake News

Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter were not invented to be journalism sites. They were made to connect people with others online from around the world. So it doesn’t seem fair to make them the leading force to regulate fake news, when they were not designed to be a part of the journalism world.

However, you are given the option on these sites to share news stories no matter where they come from, and it does fall on them to make sure what their users are sharing is accurate news. This is a vicious cycle that can seemingly not be stopped by any one company or person. It’s going to take the cooperation of individuals and companies around the world to slow down the tide that is fake news.

If you want more information on Google algorithms, check out VMA’s blog that goes over some factors that don’t affect Google rankings.

Factors that Do Not Directly Affect Google Rankings

Factors that Do Not Directly Affect Google Rankings

When you start building your website and setting it up to get higher Google rankings, you may think that everything you do with the site will have a direct effect. Over time, it has been found that this is not entirely true. While Google has not come right out with a list of things that make a website rank higher on their search engine, through trial and error and some programming knowledge, others have created that list for you!

Non-ranking factors are things that do not have a direct affect on your Google rankings. Virtual Market Advantage will go over a few of them here. Just keep in mind that the parameters for Google rankings are subject to change at any time, as the company is constantly working to tweak and improve their system.

The Age of Your Website

Google does not care if you registered your website back in 2008 or as recently as 2017. The age of your website does not directly affect your Google rankings. What they do care about is how much your content actually helps people, and that you have inbound and outbound links and authority signals.

However, there is a correlation that comes into play between these factors. If a website is still going strong today after 10 years, the chances are good that it has built up lots of links and authority over that time. Since these are not things that can be built up instantly (building links and good authority takes time), there is an indirect effect of age on ranking.

If you do build up these strong links with a site that you registered just two years ago, Google could reward that site more than one that took over 10 years to develop to the same level. This is because you built up this authority over a small period of time versus a longer one, and indicates that the information is relevant to current online audiences.

Using Google Apps and Services

The idea that if you offer Google apps and services on your website it will immediately help your rankings is simply is not true. Your decision to use or not to use these on your site will not help or hurt your Google page rankings in any direct way.

Google apps and services are tools that are up to you to offer and use. Google doesn’t reward websites that offer them more than the websites that do not. If you’re leery of using these apps due to privacy issues, rest assured that Google does not use them to look in on your site in any way (though Google does keep metric data in plenty of other ways).

Likes, Shares, and Tweet Counts

You put a Facebook share counter on your website. That’s great if you want to share that information with your visitors or you want another way to keep track. That’s all it will be though. Google does not care that you are using visible social media counters when it comes to SEO.

If the people on that Facebook share counter end up doing other activities that lead to more browser activity on your site, links, or brand awareness, Google does care about that. So this can indirectly have an effect if it alters viewer behavior. But it does not directly affect Google rankings. You don’t need to purchase Facebook shares in hopes of a higher Google website ranking. Just those shares alone will not help your Google ranking.

Bounce Rate and Time On-Site

If you get on your Google Analytics and see that the average time a visitor is on your site is only for about a minute, do not freak out and worry that it will hurt your Google page rank.

There are several factors that can lead to a shorter visit. Maybe your page loads at a faster rate, allowing the visitor to find what they need quickly and be on their way. Or they may have reached your site from another location and are just doing a quick browse. In general, time spent on the site by visitors (or the bounce rate) does not directly affect your Google website ranking.

Re-Submitting a Site

Once a search engine knows about your site, they know about it. It’s indexed and will not be forgotten. It may be low in the search results, but it will always be there somewhere. So there is no point in continuing to re-submit the site repeatedly. Google or any other search engine will not rank your site higher simply because you keep filling out a form.

You only need to complete a submission form once, and then use the other tools on your site to help your Google ranking.

Having a Dedicated IP Address

A web address is a web address. Taking the time to give your website its very own IP address will not affect your Google ranking. It will not improve the search results to elevate a site that has a separate IP address. So don’t take the extra time to do this step, and put that time into an area that will actually help you rank higher in Google.

Using Shared Hosting or Inexpensive Hosting Options

Shared hosting and inexpensive hosting options will not directly affect your website unless it hurts the loading speed. If the hosting does not hurt this, then one hosting provider is just as good as any other. If it works well for you, then there is no reason to pay more to use solo hosting. There is no reason to worry about the SEO, as it will not directly affect Google rankings of your site.

While there are many myths out there about the algorithm of Google and what helps your rankings and what does not, the list above contains just some of the things that are known to not have a direct effect. Take the time to build a site that works for you and your business. Just remember that some things are a ranking factor and some things are not.

If you want more information on how to improve your SEO, check out these blogs from Virtual Market Advantage: SEO Tips for Small BusinessesHow to Improve Your Business’s Advertising and Marketing, and Long Tail Keywords.

 

Picking Colors for Your Brand

Picking Colors for Your Brand 

The colors you choose for your brand have a larger impact on the performance of your product than you may think. These colors should also carry over to your website to make your entire brand come together, both online and off. Although you can hire a professional designer if you want to, the only cost you have to put into this choice is the time to really know your product and its customers.

While you choosing, it can be easy to go overboard with your colors by choosing too many or using colors that are just too intense or clash with each other. It’s best to be simple as you’re carefully picking colors that will be associated with your brand. Let’s go over a few things you can do to choose the best colors for your company and get the most out of them for your brand.

Minimize Your Colors for a Maximum Impact

There’s an old adage that less is more. This holds true as you are picking colors for your brand. The whole goal as you pick your brand colors is that you want prospects and customers to subconsciously remember your colors and associate them with your business in a positive way.

If you want these customers to remember you, it’s best to not give them too long a list of colors to remember. In order to accomplish this, you should bring down your color choices to two main colors.

How to Choose Your Two Main Brand Colors

Start by finding some color inspiration. Don’t just look at lists of colors. Pay attention to all of the colors around you in the world, whether it’s in nature or in man-made items, television, and advertising. It’s likely as you start looking that you’ll find certain colors that you gravitate towards. As you keep finding things that draw you to them, look for the similarities in the colors and find what they all have in common.

After you have created a color palette of the colors that you are drawn towards, start to narrow that down to just six colors. As you look at these colors, figure out which ones go best together and compliment each other. There may be a couple of colors that are too similar, so go ahead and pull one of those out of your color palette to make your decision easier.

You need to ultimately find two colors that are similar in tone: you would want each color in the pair to have a bright, dark, or neutral tone. Try and stay away from pairs that have a dark color paired with a pale color. Finding contrasting colors will come in later when you look for accent colors.

Also make sure that the colors fit your business. For example, you might personally be attracted to dark blues and purples, but if your business sells lighting, this is probably not the tone you really want. Or maybe you really love how your logo looks in pink, but most of your audience is masculine. Always keep your audience in mind when making any choices for your business!

Once you have found your two main colors and you feel that they not only work well together but also fit with your brand, it’s time to put them to use in all of your marketing materials. This is where you find out how well these colors will actually work together. During this step, you can tweak the colors a little here and there to make sure they work, but in the end, everything needs to have the same colors across the board.

Add Your Accent Colors

Picking colors for your accent takes your palette to a new level. Remember that color palette you made of six colors to pick your two main colors from? Take a look at the colors that are left over and see if one of those could fit in as your accent color. Sometimes this can work, but other times it looks too similar to your main choices.

Use your two main colors consistently throughout your branding and your marketing. These are the main colors that customers will associate with your brand and your brand identity. Now you need to find the color that will pop from the rest of your page. This accent color should stand out because it’s brighter, darker, or different in some other way from your main colors.

Once you see your main colors consistently on your brand and its marketing, your accent color should come fairly easily. Look for that bright color to jump out at you from among the other two main colors. If you are really stumped at this step, it can be very helpful to take a look at color combination guides and color wheels.

When picking colors, the important part is to remember to keep your color palette small with just your two main colors and one accent color. Using too many colors can make it look like the colors are competing with each other. You do not want the customer’s attention to focus more on the branding colors than your product.

Picking colors for your brand can be a long process to make sure you choose the right ones, but do not get discouraged. Once you find those perfect colors, you will know. Keep in mind through this process that these colors will become your brand identity, so take your time and make sure it’s exactly what you want and works for your brand!

If you want to further improve your business’s advertising and marketing after choosing your branding, check out Virtual Market Advantage’s blog here!

BeaverBuilder – Why We Use It!

BeaverBuilder – Why We Use It!

The first thing you may be asking yourself is, “What is BeaverBuilder, and why should I use it?” BeaverBuilder is simply a plugin that can be used to help build website page layouts. It gives you a great number of features to use when building your website without needing to know how to code. Let’s go over a few ‘need to know’ facts about BeaverBuilder and why we at VMA suggest using it for your website.

Does BeaverBuilder Work With WordPress Themes?

Yes, it sure does. You will use BeaverBuilder in the content area of the WordPress theme. BraverBuilder is used successfully in all WordPress themes, since the content area of the theme is the same for all of them.

There may be a few cases where you need to make minor adjustments for the full-width display of BeaverBuilder contents due to your current theme CSS over-riding the content layout width, but this won’t be a problem most of the time.

Is BeaverBuilder Free?

Yes, basic BeaverBuilder is a free plugin. You just need to install the BeaverBuilder Lite version of the plugin, available in the WordPress repository. This ‘Lite’ version will allow you to test drive BeaverBuilder’s core functionality for building page layouts. You will be able to do this in no time by using basic module and column layouts.

There is also a premium version of the plugin available. This contains some advanced modules and more features like shortcode support and quick template import/export. You probably only need to consider using this upgrade if you manage a large website or several websites.

What Types of Pages Can I Create With BeaverBuilder?

You can pretty much make any kind of page you want to with this plugin. There are a lot of developers who use BeaverBuilder to make full structure websites, and then there are a large percentage of people who are using it just for building high-conversion landing pages.

With BeaverBuilder able to work independently of the installed WordPress theme, you can quickly create landing pages that are unique in design, layout, font, and color.

Does the Page Builder work for Custom Post Types and Other Types?

It sure does. The plugin is only enabled for Pages with the install but can easily be enabled for Posts and even those Custom Post Types. Here is a quick guide on how to do that:

  • In WordPress Dashboard, go to Settings, then Page Builder Options.
  • Click the ‘Post Types’ option.
  • Click the ‘Enable the Posts’ option.

See? Easy stuff. And once the post type is set up, it will be listed on the settings page for easy access.

Can BeaverBuilder Pages be Migrated to Other Websites?

Yes, they can be and it’s very simple to do. The first thing you need to do to a page layout built with the plugin is to save the page as a template.

  • Open the page in the BeaverBuilder mode.
  • Click on ‘Tools’ at the top right, then click ‘Save Template’.
  • Enter any name, then click the ‘Save’ button.

After you save the pages as templates, you will then use the default WordPress import/export feature to migrate the templates. Once your import has been completed, you will need to update the images used in the template, and then you are good to go.

What Happens to my Content if the BeaverBuilder Plugin is Removed?

This is another part of what makes BeaverBuilder so user friendly. The moment you decide to deactivate the plugin, BeaverBuilder will put back your text and image content within the post editor automatically. The only thing you would lose would be the content layout formatting and the content contained within the more advanced modules.

Do Other Plugins Work With BeaverBuilder?

Yes they do! While not every single plugin within WordPress has been tested for its compatibility, most of the popular plugins get along just fine with the BeaverBuilder plugin.

Can BeaverBuilder Handle a Multisite Setup?

Of course! The top version of the BeaverBuilder plugin, the Agency Package, has an inbuilt multisite support. This allows you to configure the BeaverBuilder plugin from one place and even allows you to override settings from specific websites in the multisite setup.

What If I Forget About the Auto Renewal?

That is okay. BeaverBuilder allows you to use the plugin as long as you want. The renewal is required, however, if you want to receive plugin updates after one full calendar year and continue to have access to the BeaverBuilder support team.

What Makes BeaverBuilder Better Than Other Page Builders?

Well, we think BeaverBuilder is better because of how easy it is to use for those who want to build a website and have little to no knowledge of code. With it being easy to use with so many other plugins that do similar jobs but not put together, it comes as a one-stop tool without having to go all over and try to piece your website pages together.

Why Would We Recommend the BeaverBuilder Plugin?

  • It allows you to pre-create layouts for customers or yourself so that when the layouts are needed, they are there.
  • It really allows for the user to move things around on the page, so everything is placed just they way you want it.
  • It allows for you to change the text or photos on the page with ease.
  • It comes with a lot of features but keeps the code clean, which makes the performance of the plugin faster.
  • Using the BeaverBuilder plugin allows you to build flexibility into your website design work.

With the free version of the BeaverBuilder plugin, you will be able to start building a single-page website or a multi-page website within minutes, and it will look great! Go ahead and download the plugin and see for yourself what we are talking about. You will not be disappointed. Happy webpage building!

If you have more website design questions, check out Virtual Market Advantages other blogs, like this one that goes over the basics of how to design a website.

DigitalOcean – Why We Use It!

DigitalOcean – Why We Use It!

DigitalOcean – Why We Use It!

What is DigitalOcean and why does Virtual Market Advantage use it? Well, DigitalOcean is a fairly new hosting company that is set up to help you learn your way around a hosting provider as easily as possible. There is a large community of people who use DigitalOcean, and many are available to help you no matter how many questions you might have.

In 2013, this startup passed Amazon to become the fastest growing cloud provider. This is a great accomplishment, considering the startup was barely two years old at the time. A recent report from Netcraft reveals that DigitalOcean is currently the third-largest hosting company in the world. Lets take a closer look at what makes it so big and why so many people are going to this hosting provider.

The Value in the Product

When people stumble across DigitalOcean, one of the first things they notice about it is the price point. At a $5 VPS with SSD and instant deployment, this deal seems too good to be true, right? Many people think that when they see a low price point, they will ultimately get what they paid for, and it will not be worth the money. However, this is not the case with DigitalOcean. With this hosting provider, cheap does not equal a low-quality product.

DigitalOcean uses a simple pricing system that takes the guesswork out of usage and how much it will cost. You can choose to pay hourly for the service or monthly, and this makes it a more affordable choice for early startup companies. By setting up payment as hourly or a monthly charge, there will be no surprises when your credit card statement arrives, and you will always know just what you are paying.

Easy-to-Understand Documentation

DigitalOcean is home to a very complete and extensive collection of tutorials, walkthroughs, and how-to guides. No matter what questions you have, the answers are bound to be inside of DigitalOcean’s documentation section.

Not only is there extensive documentation, but also the tutorials are ones that are useful for any developer working on any cloud platform, not just DigitalOcean. If you want to find some great open source technology, then you for sure will want to check out DigitalOcean’s documentation.

The Stability

When you think about how many websites are out there on this digital cloud that is DigitalOcean, it may make you a bit queasy. There are thousands and thousands of websites hosted here. What happens if one of DigitalOcean’s servers goes down? Not to fear. This is another one of the reasons why so many people have come over to DigitalOcean. They are one of the only VPS hosts to offer SSD-based storage, and the RAM is much less expensive in comparison to other hosts. Your RAM can also be upgraded or downgraded at any time during the lifecycle of your VPS. You ultimately get a lot of storage space for the price.

These cloud servers are built on powerful Hex core machines with dedicated storage. They also offer private networking among the VMs for running any database clusters in certain regions. All in all, DigitalOcean has a fairly decent footprint with over 6 data centers in North America, Europe, and Asia.

The Use of Network Transfer

As you look at most of the other VPS providers, you may notice that they do not offer much in the way of bandwidth allowance. This might not seem like a big deal to some people, but if you are running media sites or have your own custom-built CDN, eventually your bandwidth space will start to become a problem.

DigitalOcean allows you to transfer bandwidth from one hosting provider to the other, so if you have been grandfathered in before any changes were made to the bandwidth service, you can truly get unlimited bandwidth using DigitalOcean.

Use of Minimalistic Approach

When you look at the inner workings of the other popular cloud providers, you see so many knobs and buttons that you can quickly become overwhelmed and confused. DigitalOcean has a user interface that is minimalistic and simple to use. There are just enough buttons and links to give you just the right amount of functionality. While it looks simple, it does have everything you would need to deploy and manage your web applications.

If it is automation and integration you are looking for, DigitalOcean does use 3rd party tools. Once you have an API token generated, developers can then go in and use standard HTTP tools. There are so many options and native choices that a developer can find and use in DigitalOcean.

While this is still a fairly new enterprise and rising business, DigitalOcean is showing its guns daily as more and more developers jump on board with this low cost hosting platform. If you want a platform that is easy to use and gives you more bang for your buck, it may be in your best interest to follow in VMA’s footsteps and check out DigitalOcean and see what it can do for you and your business.

If you want more information on services that VMA chooses to use, check out our blog on BeaverBuilder, a wonderful WordPress plugin that makes designing websites easy and fun!