“You can’t go wrong with Plesk” – An Interview with Softaculous

Softaculous: "You can't go wrong with Plesk"

Innovative products are so because they change the way the things work. One such example is Softaculous. An advanced auto-installer that can quickly install scripts, applications, and more with just a single click. Helping both non-technical and advanced users in their website experience. Beginners can install helpful apps, scripts and CMS without any technical complexities, while experts can save lots of time.

While popularly synonymous with the one-click app installer, Softaculous actually has many other features too. Lately, they’ve also introduced impactful products like SitePad and Wpcentral. We recently sat for an interview with Pulkit Gupta, Softaculous CEO, for more insights about its ventures and operations. How do they do it?

Could you tell us something about your latest venture ‘Wpcentral’?

Wpcentral, as the name suggests, is a centralized WordPress management dashboard. You can have multiple WordPress in different hosting accounts or different data centers. Then you can just manage your WordPress from one location. Wpcentral has one-click installation for plugins, themes, WordPress backups, WordPress itself – and soon, even post and comment management. You can do everything from just one place – Wpcentral

How does Plesk help Softaculous in its operations?

Softaculous - Plesk

Plesk is a long-time partner. Since integrated Plesk in Softaculous, thousands of users use it. Of all the control panels, I guess Plesk and cPanel are the two most advanced and stable panels. But you can’t go wrong with Plesk because of how easy it is to use a Plesk hosting account.

As a company, Softaculous believes in proactive customer service. That means, we make the first move to identify the needs of our customers. Then, we develop the solutions before the tangible problems can even crop up. We noticed that Plesk applies the same agile and proactive ideology. This is something that really aligns us with Plesk and similar progressive technologies with a futuristic approach.

Can Plesk be an asset for developers too?

Plesk is easy, feature-rich and stable. For a developer, this means they can concentrate on developing faster and not wasting time on managing their web panel or its functionality. Plesk is also very secure and constantly audited by security experts.

What tips can you give digital entrepreneurs to minimize risks and maximize returns in 2020?

Softaculous interview

(Smiles) There are many tips I can give new start-ups, but I’m sharing my three most basic tips for beginners:

  1. Start with clear objectives and a solid ideology.You can never start a business with a wavering mind. Don’t just follow the crowd, but develop clear objectives in terms of revenue and reputation. I would emphasize that you should be as specific as possible.- How much profit do you want to earn?
    – How much minimum capital will you need to support business expenses?
  2. Sell solutions.

Ask yourself three simple questions relevant to your niche and expertise:

  • What is a present or potential issue that has not yet been solved?
  • Can I offer a solution to it (and how)?
  • Can I make a good income (net profit, after costs) by selling this solution?
  1. Balance your flexibility.What I mean by this is that your fundamental activities and objectives should preferably remain the same. However, your strategies and operations can remain flexible. You can actually fine-tune these things to your specific business in order to reap the maximum benefits. Especially when it comes to the latest trends, technologies, and so on.

In the end, Softaculous found a good match with Plesk because of its advanced, yet easy, functionality. But also, because our campanies our aligned on values related to proactive customer experience and delivering solutions. Plesk can be an all-round solution for hosters and developers alike. So, if you’re still debating on whether to take your business to the next level, go for it. See what Pulkit Gupta has been saying for yourself.

Interested in Multicloud Management? Read This

Multicloud Management

You may be familiar with Multicloud management since many are saying Multicloud is the future of IT. But what you should know is that we’re already living in a Multicloud world. This IBM study clearly shows that 85% of organizations are already using this approach and benefiting from multicloud advantages. However, despite its popularity, as much as 60% of businesses don’t have the tools and procedures for multicloud management.

This can be a major issue for an organization, particularly in how it can unintentionally introduce risk and slow progress of moving high priority workloads. Here, we’re going to explore some of these major Multicloud problems and challenges of the approach. We’ll also look at Multicloud advantages and Multicloud solutions. These can help businesses navigate multiple cloud environments whilst meeting their ever-increasing demands.

What’s a Multicloud Management Platform?

Multicloud Management Platform

Cloud computing has evolved since Google CEO Eric Schmidt introduced the term in an industry conference. Today, most organizations use cloud computing to support some aspect of their business. Multicloud storage has become so popular that many now use two, three, or more cloud providers to meet their objectives. This led to the birth of Multicloud Management and Multicloud advantages.

Multicloud is a cloud computing approach made up of two or more cloud environments. As we touched on above, it developed because there are organizations currently using cloud services from more than one provider. There are many reasons why businesses choose to use a Multicloud management platform – and cloud services from several providers.

Comparing Multicloud vs Single Cloud

Firstly, the main difference between multicloud vs single cloud is that it lets you access the best SaaS applications. And across multiple cloud environments too – Such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. Secondly, multicloud minimizes their dependency on any single cloud provider, resulting in decreased risk and increased performance.

Even more, now it’s most businesses who are using a multicloud management platform approach. So, it’s becoming increasingly important for those who wish to remain competitive and agile in such a fast-evolving landscape.

The Multicloud Technology

The growth of multicloud so far has relied very much on containers and Kubernetes technology. One of the main multicloud problems has always been running different cloud solutions in different software environments. That’s why businesses need to be able to build applications that can move across environments without causing issues with integration. This is where Multicloud technology comes in.

As they isolate the software from the underlying environment, containers are an ideal solution to these Multicloud problems. They essentially allow developers to build applications that can be deployed when and wherever they please.

To manage and deploy these containerized applications, “container-orchestration systems” such as Kubernetes have emerged. Kubernetes, described as a platform for automating the deployment, scaling, and operations of application containers across clusters of hosts, is one of the most widely-used, open-source container platforms out there.

An organization can be following a multicloud approach without having any solutions in place to support effective multicloud management. Multicloud management is therefore the ability to manage multiple clouds from a single, central environment. Such management solutions may be called multicloud technology or multicloud management platforms. They are increasingly common today and stand out when comparing multicloud vs single cloud.

Multicloud vs Hybrid Cloud: What’s the Difference?

They sound similar but there are some discrepancies between Multicloud vs hybrid cloud. Multicloud is about using multiple cloud services from more than one provider. Meanwhile, with hybrid cloud, an organization uses a combination of private and public clouds and on-premises services from the same provider. Therefore, the providers are key when distinguishing Multicloud vs hybrid cloud.

Moreover, many businesses have moved away from public cloud models toward a hybrid model. Doing so means they can manage their workload across multiple cloud environments. Especially because of the development of hybrid cloud architecture. However, since many businesses are now following a hybrid cloud approach, they’re using a combination of different public cloud providers. Therefore, they’re also in need of a dedicated, multicloud management solution.

A hybrid cloud and multicloud management platform approach can and often do co-exist. But as they are different approaches, they each have their individual risks and challenges and so must have their own dedicated management solutions.

The Streaming Giant with Multicloud Storage

Netflix - The Streaming Giant with Multicloud Storage

As a quick case study of the multicloud storage approach in action, we can turn to streaming giant Netflix. A business based on delivering video via the cloud, Netflix has been open about its model. It’s also been open about how its main cloud provider has long been Amazon Web Services (AWS). More recently, however, the company has begun working with another provider: Google Cloud.

The move was reportedly executed to take advantage of the competing provider’s unique functions, from disaster recovery to artificial intelligence. Although switching providers may threaten its long-term relationship with AWS, the multicloud benefits far outweigh the risks. And in this case, it’s Multicloud storage that comes on top. The open-source tool it developed for Multicloud storage is called Spinnaker, and it’s even supported by AWS, Google, and Microsoft.

Before Spinnaker, Netflix was famous for putting all its eggs in the AWS basket. By multi-sourcing its data storage, the company has reduced its dependency on one provider. Thus, minimizing the risks of outages that occur without multicloud storage, and improving its flexibility for sustained growth.

What Are the Multicloud Advantages?

Multicloud management clearly has many benefits. For many organizations, hitting that 99.9% availability and significantly decreasing latency are enough to convince them. But it can also give you a range of integrations that only work on specific clouds.

For instance, if you have sensitive data you don’t want in the public cloud but need to build integrations for it. You can build workloads on the private side that can take advantage of the private sensitive data. This all-around makes for a more efficient workflow and greater user experience.

Potential Multicloud Problems

Multicloud management isn’t all good news. Alongside the many benefits of working in a complex multicloud environment, come several challenges. IBM outline these three challenges as Rapid Application Innovation, Data Overload, and DevOps and Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) best practices.

  • Rapid Application Innovation: As businesses work more with hybrid and multicloud architecture, the volume and complexity of objects and metrics increases. The result is monitoring and securing all your operations becomes an increasingly difficult task.
  • Data Overload:New technology in big data and artificial intelligence afford businesses many advantages. But with only traditional management methods at their disposal, they often lack the management capabilities to safely handle the data and implement an effective data strategy.
  • DevOps and SRE Best Practices: Employing DevOpsand Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) best practices is becoming increasingly expected in organizations. Moving to a DevOps model, however, is difficult because it is not just about technology, but also making cultural and operational shifts with teams — particularly in learning new ways of working and the introduction of new roles.

When trying to address these challenges, businesses are typically stuck between choosing a management solution that provides speed or control. But not both. An effective multicloud management solution, therefore, allows businesses to strike a balance and achieve both.

“A Unified Approach Across Multiple Clouds”

A lot of the challenges of the multicloud approach are mitigated by choosing the right multicloud solutions. According to the IBM developer Sai Vennam, there are three areas in particular that an effective multicloud management solution needs to address. Together, these three areas or “pillars” form the basis of what can be a “unified approach across multiple clouds”.

  1. Automation:

It’s necessary to have a consistent and yet flexible way to deploy and manage applications. Multicloud solutions enable this by simplifying and automating application management. Plus, improving flexibility with features like multicloud backup, disaster recovery, and the ability to move workloads. Not to mention reducing costs thanks to intelligent data analysis.

  1. Visibility:

With so many clusters running in so many environments, it can be difficult to know what’s running where. A multicloud management solution enables businesses to know instantly what business application components are running where, as well as to be able to monitor the health of resources across multiple clouds, both public and private.

  1. Governance:

Increased use of cloud-native components should not also mean increased management costs and risk to your business. Yet DevOps teams have the difficult task of employing governance and security policies across multiple clouds. With a single unified dashboard, compliance policies can be pushed across multiple clusters with a single command, reducing both time, cost, and risk.

Getting the Multicloud Advantages

Multicloud management can be overwhelming. Each cloud-based service inevitably comes with its own tools and multicloud advantages. And so, when you use services across multiple providers, managing them is going to be nothing less than a complex and costly task.

As well as covering the three pillars of automation, visibility, and governance, multicloud solutions must be simple and efficient overall. New multicloud platforms, with central control panels and rapid access and delivery to multiple clouds, prove ideal. The multicloud solutions that companies have been waiting for.

WordPress Community Insights You May Not Know About

WordPress Community Insights You May Not Know - Plesk

Each year, seasoned WordPress developers, agency owners, WebPro experts and beginner users come together at WordCamps. From around the world, we connect, learn, and celebrate all things WordPress. WordCamps have grown from the one held by Matt Mullenweg in 2006, San Francisco – to hundreds all over the globe. Each with their own flavour, speakers, sessions, and communities. It’s only natural that we want to get more WordPress Community Insights.

As we create many WordPress-related products, we’re proudly involved in the community that makes WordPress and make regular appearances at WordCamps. We support WordCamps both with sponsorship and by showing up with a booth, speakers, games, special offers, raffles, and interviews. In November 2019, we attended WordCamp US and joined the thousands of other WP enthusiasts and experts. Celebrating and evolving the thriving WordPress ecosystem, hosting educational and engaging games and raffles with special prizes.

In exchange for the grand prize (that any techy would love), we took the opportunity to gather answers to a few burning questions for the WP community. We collated the responses from over one hundred respondents in the infographic you see below. Now we’re going to dive into these findings in a bit more detail and discuss a few patterns and trends we noticed.

Community Insights from WordCamp US 2019

WordPress is such a diverse and flexible platform that it’s used daily by a million different people in a million different ways. To be exact, there’s over 75 million people using WordPress in over 50 different languages. Powering over 172 million websites (around a third of the entire web). And those numbers are still growing.

So who are the WordPress Community?

From our survey of WordCamp attendees, we discovered that, as you would expect, most of them are developers — nearly half at 42%. The rest are a diverse bunch of bloggers, graphic designers, agency owners, marketers, SEOs, freelancers, security researchers, software developers. There are also prospective dev students or small business owners who are newbies to the WordPress world.

As you can see, there’s a real mix of people using WordPress for everything. From personal projects and their own career development to running businesses and supporting client projects. This is reflected in the reasons as to why people were attending WordCamp US.

Most of the respondents were at the event for both personal and professional reasons. With overall the biggest attraction being the opportunity to network, make connections, and simply have interesting conversations with like-minded people.

Of course, some people were there because they were running a session or because they simply wanted the free swag. But even so, they may have been meeting up with someone they met online or were otherwise benefiting from the strong WP community. Similarly, when we asked what they hope to take away from the weekend, respondents mostly mentioned making new friends, contacts and connections.

Other top takeaways included new knowledge/learning, feedback, contributing to the community and learning new solutions for current WP challenges. Many also want to improve accessibility of websites, or get a clearer idea of hosting options and new features out there. And, of course, grab some swag while they’re at it.

How The Community Uses WordPress

When you get a bunch of WP aficionados together in the same place, you can’t not ask them about their experiences with WordPress and the tools they’re currently using. Starting at the top with hosting options, over a third of people (39%) preferred Managed WordPress Hosting, with Cloud and Shared Hosting following at 17%.

In line with these results is what they voted as the most important factors when working with WordPress. Speed and performance took the crown with nearly two-thirds of the vote. While 45% were happy enough to have WordPress work well. However, 44% also wanted stability, and 36% were looking for a user-friendly design.

With over 50,000 plugins available, the WordPress plugins marketplace is booming. Many look to WordCamp for insights into plugins to announce development of their latest ground-breaking product. Maybe even to improve the efficiency of their sites, or simply discover what’s out there.

Interestingly, SEO plugins like Yoast are the most-used WordPress tools, with 55% of respondents using them over others. Second were analytics tools with 37%, security tools at 31%, and page builders, CSS and email marketing plugins coming up the rear.

This shows a clear focus of WP users to quantify and boost their site performance in search engine results pages (SERPs) as much as possible.

Doing Our Bit For The WordPress Community

To finish off the survey, we asked the WordCamp US attendees a few more questions, including if they had any WP-related goals, and if so, what they were. The results revealed that WordCamps have a feel of being about socialising and educating people. However, they’re also pivotal for those serious about pushing their business goals forward.

Some of the respondents’ top WordPress-related goals were:

  • making their products known to the world
  • growing their WordPress client base
  • becoming web developers
  • blogging more consistently
  • building non-profit websites
  • Building awesome sites in general
  • teaching more
  • Increasing their traffic and scaling
  • Getting all the clients and dominating the world

To help fellow members of the WordPress community to achieve these goals, we’ve built a variety of WordPress tools like the Plesk WordPress Toolkit. The WP Toolkit is a single interface for easily installing, configuring, and managing WordPress, jam-packed with features.

We asked the community if they thought the Plesk Toolkit would benefit their work. Nearly half of respondents chose “yes”, with just under a quarter choosing “I think so.” A few of the things that are holding people back included the price. Some were also not sure if it would integrate well. And a few would not go for it, simply because they don’t like change.

Looking Ahead to The Next WordCamp

Go for the speakers, the opportunities, the insights, the lego prizes, swag – or all of the above. Attending a WordCamp is a great way to meet awesome people and stay in touch with everything WordPress.

There has been over 700 WordCamps in 70 cities around the world to date. We plan to attend more in 2020 to continue supporting the WP community and development of the incredible open source platform. Starting with WordCamp Asia in February. To find a WordCamp near you, or even set up your own, visit WordCamp central.

Will you be attending WordCamp Asia in February 2020? What content would you like to see us cover from the event?

Tools and Tricks to Manage Multisite and Control Your Network

Tools and Tricks to Manage Multisite and Control Your Network - Plesk at WCUS 2019

Matthew Rodela started out in IT consulting and has been building WP websites for about 10 years now. He acquired a theme called Website Builder for IT businesses. It came with tutorials on how to configure the theme and so on. He decided to turn it into more of a platform. Hence, after lots of trial and error, techsitebuilder.com was born. Turns out an automated Multisite was a better model for both his customers and his business.

“WordPress is a powerful platform that can really help organize and streamline website development.” 

However, Multisite can prove tricky to manage without the right tools and processes. That’s why Matthew chose to talk about plugins that can better help you manage your network. Plus the effective processes that can keep everything up-to-date, secure and backed up. Matthew’s lightning talk was not for developers specifically, but anyone who offers WordPress services to customers.

Providing your customers with the best WordPress solution

You may be used to the WordPress dashboard and how well it works. But oftentimes our clients are intimidated by it or don’t understand how to use it. So this is how you can develop a simpler, more controlled platform for your clients to use and become more successful.

 

Matthew explained that WordPress Multisite is built into the WordPress core and allows you to create subsites. These act as their own standalone WordPress install but they’re all sharing resources with one WordPress installation. Therefore, you only need to install the plugins, themes, and so on, once. It’s easier for you to manage and use your resources efficiently. For example, you update a plugin once and it’s basically updated on all sites.

 

Matthew uses WaaS – Websites as a service (like Wix, for example) to explain this model. Applying the Saas model to website delivery. These are Turnkey websites delivered automatically via WP multisite.

The focus of the business model is on scale and MRR (monthly recurring revenue). It’s low-cost for customers but also encourages a lot of DIY. Customers have a platform to build the way they want, while using the best tools. But above all, it’s niche-specific. You can be the best website platform for whichever industry you’re targeting.

Top Multisite Plugins according to Matthew Rodela #WCUS

WP Ultimo

WP Ultimo sells subsites on a subscription basis. It allows you to provision subsites to customers on a subscription. With pricing plans, you can limit how many posts you want customers to create per month, for example. Or by how much media they can upload – hosting costs. Certain themes can be available to certain plans. You can create starter content or the ideal site which customers can follow for their own.

KeyPress UI Manager

Rearrange, rename, hide and further modify all backend menus – Admin, Toolbar and Customizer. You can customize or style the dashboard. And soon, users of this plugin will also be able to edit other areas of the admin, like the Dashboard, Gutenberg  and branding.

UpdraftPlus

With multisite you have hundreds using a website from one WP installation which is a bit scary. With this UpdraftPlus plugin, you can backup the entire multisite network, but also individual subsites, which not all plugins can do.

White label CMS

This tool lets you brand your dashboard so you can customize the login page, and add your branding and logo, for example.

Multisite Enhancements and Beyond Multisite

Both sprinkle elements of accessibility which ease Multisite wrangling, but they also:

  • Shows on which sites a plugin is active
  • Display blog and user IDs
  • Various time-saving enhancements

Hosts like WP Engine and Closte

Both are great with subtle differences. WP Engine is one of the more popular hosts. It works with WP Ultimo domain mapping, scales well and has in-built security and caching. It has one-click staging for testing. And with WP Engine, you can convert to multisite in one click. It only counts as one install.

Closte also works with WP Ultimo domain mapping and you get Auto-SSL with WP Ultimo too. However it;s more flexible and the pricing scales according to your usage.

Final tips for running a multisite platform

Many users opt for premium plugins instead of free ones mostly so that they can get premium support. So be picky about plugins offered. Use a managed WP host ideally. Remember image optimization is key to manage disk space bandwidth – WP Smush works well with multisite in this respect. This way you don’t end up killing load time by uploading too many images and so on.

For more info on this topic, check out our take on multisite, or you can follow Matthew’s work here.

How to survive the shift from developer to manager

How to survive the shift from developer to manager - Plesk at WCUS 2019

Brian Thompson currently runs the Web Team at the Mindgrub Technologies digital agency. He’s been working with WordPress since he was a sysadmin managing WordPress website servers in 2011. He then moved to WordPress development in 2012 before he grew into his current management role. This developer to manager shift happened to Brian. And he came to WCUS to share valuable tools and tips on how to effectively lead a development team.

– Manager responsibilities in both good and bad times

– Building team relationships and soliciting good feedback

– Balancing technical development with team collaboration

– Delivering constructive feedback

– Saying “no”

level up - developer to manager

For many developers, being promoted into a managerial role requires a drastic shift in mindset. While many programming paradigms do carry over to being a manager, there are plenty of other skills that most developers just need to “figure out.”

Brian Thompson

Managing developers is like white water rafting

Just like white water rafting, when taking on a lead engineer role, you need to use the proper equipment. Suddenly tasks and responsibilities start coming at you in all directions. From project managers to developers. You will need something like a task tracker to help organize it all.

Brian Thompson - Managing a developer team is like white water rafting

Brian even admitted to using spreadsheets to collect all his employees information because he is a people manager now. He even created an escalation playbook which personally helps him decipher when and how to get involved when there’s an issue.

Going with the flow can be dangerous

While still on the rafting metaphor, before getting in the water, you will be told to go faster or slower than the water but not at the same speed as the water. This goes for management as well. You need to go faster than your projects or your people. Otherwise, if you’re just sitting back and letting the questions come to you – you are not leading, you are following.

As a manager you need to get used to not always being pointed forward and in the right direction. Sometimes it’s not smooth, you don;t always know where you’re going and may bump into things on occasion. Brian says he walks into situations with a plan or some knowledge, and at least the direction he wants to go in. Even if many things are unclear.

Don’t be afraid of bumps in the road

Sometimes you need to lean into the hazard to deal with it. As a manager, you need to give your team direction. Many times, not everyone needs to be on a project. A few people need to work harder than others. Sometimes it’s OK to allow some team members to have a breather.

You need to deal with adversity because things won’t always go well. You’re going to have bad days, but it’s always important to bounce back up. Every bad experience is a learning opportunity and you can always do better.

Saying NO

How to say no - developer to manager - Plesk at WCUS

As a manager, say no is painful, but there are ways to make it easier. It helps to always give a reason. It helps your team understand. Don’t apologize for saying no, because saying sorry just diminishes your answer. It’s your decision to make, and they may not always agree or like it, but it’s not something to be sorry for if you deem it to be correct at the time.

Understandably this can be tricky and can range from rejecting requests on workflows and processes to salary raises. Sometimes you have to say no to a salary increase because performance is lacking. However you can always give a reason and maybe plan to help them get there.

Mentor vs Manager

Being a mentor to somebody should happen outside of management. Both parties needs to want mentorship. You can try dividing your team into those who need more of your guidance, for whatever reason, and those who may need less. Maybe they work more independently or are on a project which does not need any further involvement. You need to be realistic with how much time you can spend giving individual attention, especially if your team is larger.

Brian’s ultimate advice is to also have fun with it. Even if things aren’t always going your way, there is a lot of reward in leading a great web development team. Whether you’re new to management or simply want to improve your team’s performance, these tips are for you. Empower yourself to become the leader that your team needs and can count on.

Achieve better website performance using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Achieve better website performance using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs - Plesk

Here at WordCamp US, Steve Persch reveals how web teams can standardize and automate the levels of Marlow’s hierarchy of needs to achieve their goals. Using these tools at any level of the hierarchy can build on a stable foundation and focus upwards towards conversion. 

Like you, Steve Persch knows the pain of trying to juggle different developmental priorities. Steve is a developer with over 13 years’ experience in building WordPress and Drupal sites. “There are always new requests for more functionality, fresh redesigns, and bug fixing”. You need to increase conversions on top of keeping the websites maintained, which may be conflicting at times. Hence why Steve wants to present a way to organize these priorities – the hierarchy of needs for high-performing websites.

Steve Persch

It’s easier to organize these developmental priorities when you view them as building blocks on top of the other. During his funny WordCamp US 2019 lightning session, Steve used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a metaphor. Effectively highlighting how web teams leverage solid foundations and standardization in all hierarchy levels to move their focus upwards to the conversion stage.

Maslow’s hierarchy applied to website performance

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a 1943 theory. This sees people motivated by five basic needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

At the base, you’ll find the building blocks, which are physiological and safety needs. Things like food, water, health and money, as these are hard to function without. On top of that there is belonging – a community of friends and family, then self-esteem and respect. At the top, you’ll find self actualization, the real purpose. Are you reaching your full potential?

Maslow's hierarchy o fneeds applied to website performance and conversion

In the same way, we can look at a website’s hierarchy of needs. At the bottom, we have the servers running, because without servers, there can be no website at all. Next is safety, you need to keep the ship afloat. Can you get hacked? Will you get a traffic spike that will break something?

Moving further up, there is compliance. Are we compliant with the things we need to be compliant with? Regulations, and so on? Next is quality, especially important since we need to provide the best experience to the user. Also, there is so much noise online that standing out with good quality websites just makes sense from a business perspective.

However at the top there is always conversion. Similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the apex of the pyramid is the main purpose. This is the reason that your website exists in the first place – conversions. So collectively, we should be aiming to satisfy the need at the top of the pyramid.

WebOps is a team sport

WebOps people - a team sport

Steve specified again that this is not a hierarchy of people, but a hierarchy of needs.  Members of a WebOps team can exist on various or multiple levels of the hierarchy of needs. Each can do their job perfectly, but ultimately their processes and goals should be aligned from the bottom upwards.

“Perfect execution won’t fix a broken culture.” - Steve Persch

These WebOps practices and standardizations are better done as a group.

How Formerly Skeptical IP-Projects Turned Direct Plesk Partner

How IP-Projects Turned Direct Plesk Partner

What makes our customers and partners tick? We asked Michael Schinzel, Managing Director at IP-Projects and long-term Plesk partner about what made them choose us. Seems it was a shift of perception, proper support when in need, and open discussions about prices. 

Who are IP-Projects?

The hosting company IP-Projects focuses on personalized direct customer support and its mantra is to solve the needs of its customers. And these very customers asked specifically for Plesk. Why? Because they prefer a user interface that allows them to create and manage domains within seconds – within a single platform.

Watch Michael Schinzel tell the full story of how the “rather small or medium-sized” IP-Projects powered up with Plesk. 

So, based on a pure cost /benefit analysis, Michael says IP-Projects opened up to Plesk. But it was not an instant decision.

Initial Reservations of Plesk and Change of Perception

The start was not very optimistic, as IP-Projects was rather reserved towards using Plesk. The perception was that it was a rather confusing and complicated management panel, some time back in 2011. Therefore, Michael recalls, “until the time when our former license partner had ceased to cooperate with Plesk, we did not deal with your company intensively.”

Michael Schinzel from IP-Projects

IP-Projects go from fear to finding something special in Plesk.  

“In our experience, there is no other hosting control panel with such a diverse offer.”

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“Only in 2014 did we become a direct Plesk partner. From that point on, Plesk established itself as a real alternative to the free dashboard we were using.” 

Finding Solutions to Critical Issues

Plesk is an added layer over IP-Projects’ server infrastructure. Their numerous enhancements such as the SEO Tools, WordPress Toolkit and Joomla! Toolkit, are also valuable add-ons for IP-Projects customers. They discovered it to be a great choice due to our management interface. But one of the strongest arguments for using Plesk is the technical support offered free of charge for direct customers.

“[Plesk Support] created several service tickets for a range of issues. And some were not even 100% coming from the Plesk hosting panel. We always received excellent support from the customer care teams. Without any additional costs. This is how we discovered that Plesk has become a reliable partner in the recent years”

Michael Schinzel

Good Value for Money

When it comes to Plesk pricing levels, Michael Schinzel believes that startups should benefit from a pricing tier dedicated to this category.

Good value for money - Plesk Panel

“This way they would be able to offer new providers good conditions to buy Plesk licenses. For example, a special discount for 1-2 years for direct partners.” 

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With such a settling offer in their pockets, companies on the same range as IP-Projects could build a customer portfolio faster. And once secured, they can scale up by choosing from Plesk’s solutions portfolio. Nonetheless, IP-Projects moved smoothly past this specific initial challenge. And Plesk played a key role in this regard.

How? Plesk is always open to discuss license prices and other possibilities of cooperation with customers. IP-Projects listened to its customers, as does Plesk. They both met halfway. However, being open to price negotiation is not all.

Plesk support for direct partners is the other top differentiator. Faster and leaner operations for direct partners generate happier customers – And this provides great value for money.

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Are You Making Any of These 10 Website Launch Mistakes?

Website Launch Mistakes

You should consider your company website the essential bridge connecting your clients to your business. It’s the go-to platform where potential customers can find all the relevant company info, your products and services, and a way to get them. And while many businesses have now grasped the fundamental importance of investing in a proper website, there are still 10 common pitfalls that can hinder your website’s performance and success.

Vital security measures

1. Missing vital security measures

Online security has become a key factor users look out for when accessing new websites. Think of features like SSL, providing a safe, encrypted link between browser and server, or a CAPTCHA, stopping unwanted bots. Not investing in them can mean unknown sources interfering with your business website performance. In turn, poor performance will very likely result in scaring away potential clients.

Update WordPress plugins

2. Forgetting WordPress plugin updates

As with any system, the different features that make up WordPress require regular maintenance. Failing to do so can slow your website way down and even make certain functions not work properly for their users. So it’s vital for your business to find a tool to update these plugins regularly, such as the popular WordPress Toolkit. Because this lets you mass-manage instances, plugins and themes instantly and from one place. Among many WordPress Toolkit benefits, you also get a staging environment to test new features before they go live.

No scalability

3. Not planning for scalability

Any online business aims to get the biggest customer base possible. So naturally, it’s important for your website to be built in such a way that you can later scale. For example, having enough server power to handle a surge in traffic. And having efficient data backup to manage mass information flow. Note that it’s always better to account for this from the start because it will become very difficult to upgrade a website at the last minute.

Plesk’s control panel works as a scaling tool, allowing businesses to grow over time. Hosting providers can manage their clients and servers across different infrastructure setups, even tailoring it to their business needs.

Accessibility

4. Failing to account for accessibility

In an age where users can access a website from any OS, browser, or device – we all need to make sure we’re available everywhere and to everyone. It would be quite damaging if a business website is designed in such a way that it loses compatibility with, say, iOS devices. Because this essentially eliminates an entire section of potential customers interested in your services. So make sure any device, OS and browser can access your website.

Website Audit

5. Forgetting to undertake a website audit

Website audits are a full analysis of all the different issues that may impact your website’s visibility in a search engine. This is especially important when considering marketing campaigns, because a website audit can help your business uncover weak factors that impact performance.

SEO

6. Skipping SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process where one optimizes their websites so as to receive higher natural rankings in search engine results. And with the online market becoming increasingly more competitive, SEO is a key tool for business to stand out.

Not implementing SEO on a website relegates it to lower position on a search results page, meaning that business can miss out on a considerable number of potential customers. Since SEO can be quite extensive, we recommend that beginners install the SEO Toolkit on Plesk to get started and get found online.

Sitemap

7. Ditching the sitemap

A site map is essentially a list of pages that make up a website and is considered a tool for search engine bots to crawl your website and index it. When a page gets indexed, it makes it more easily searchable in a search engine, thereby increasing its visibility. Therefore, if you don’t submit a sitemap to a search engine, you’re effectively limiting your website’s visibility.

Marketing strategy

8. Not having a marketing strategy

Choose your content carefully as it sets the tone for your brand, but make sure it ties in well with your marketing strategy. No marketing strategy makes sales attempts messy. If your mission doesn’t make sense to your potential customers, they’ll find it difficult to engage with your brand. Meaning that ultimately, they won’t convert.

Ignoring analytics- 10 Website Launch Mistakes - Plesk

9. Ignoring Analytics

Website analytics give businesses valuable insights about their audience, like age, location, and preferences. They can also reveal visitor behaviour, like each website session’s duration, which pages are the most popular and how a visitor arrives at your site. Use this to build a complete profile of your target customer so you can cater to their needs better with your product, service and content.

Social proof

10. Forgetting your social proof

When it comes to online businesses, everyone looks for proof of its legitimacy before engaging further. These include client testimonials, means of contact, including physical addresses and actual phone numbers, and most importantly active social profiles. Businesses who focus so hard on the actual product that they forget their social community, end up losing customers to competitors. Perhaps competitors who were more engaged.

As you can see, launching a business website isn’t as simple as plugging in and hitting the ‘on’ switch. You need to plan for all of the above and more well in advance. Since they all have the potential to increase customer traffic and your overall business success.

Do you agree with all the points we mentioned above? Have we missed anything? Your opinion counts. Let us know in the comments below!

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Thanks for a smashing 2018: Year in Review [Video]

Plesk year in review 2018 - SM

What a journey! But we couldn’t have achieved so much without the engagement and support of our customers and partners. You drive us to develop better products, service and solutions. So let us take a moment to thank you for being great, and present Plesk’s top wins of the year.

1. New Plesk Onyx 17.8 Release

We took your feedback and gave Plesk Onyx a huge update in March. Thus, better aligning our complete platform with the way web professionals work. We focused on five main areas: Site performance and speed, SEO tools integration, WordPress Toolkit efficiency and ease, tighter security and Cloud integration.

Find out more about this update here.

2. Major Industry Events

From Cloudfest in Germany to WordCamp Europe in Serbia, to J and Beyond in Germany and WordCamp US in Nashville. These were only a few of the events that allowed us to connect with new and old friends this year. Plus, learn and grow from the communities and the great minds we met. We even organized our own successful APAC Partner event in Singapore to better connect and exchange ideas with our partners.

3. SolusVM Joins the Group

London-based SolusVM from OnApp is a virtual server management system that offers Infrastructure-as-a-Service hosting. And is trusted by thousands of service providers. Plesk vowed to carry on its growth strategy and elevate it from a single server control panel to a future-proof cloud platform. In the same way, SolusVM boosts Plesk’s offering as it now becomes a complete solution, thanks to combined skills and resources.

Read the full story here.

4. New Plesk Editions

If Plesk Web Pro, Web Admin and Web Host Editions didn’t suit your needs exactly, we now also have Plesk WordPress Edition and Plesk Business and Collaboration Edition. Providing even more solutions, to more users. Plesk WordPress Edition offers Managed WordPress Hosters a complete solution to manage, secure and grow their business. While Plesk Business and Collaboration Edition combines all the features of a corporate grade collaboration suite. The ready-to-use solution includes communication, performance and security tools too.

5. More Partner Success

This year, in our efforts to get closer to Partners and provide better solutions, we refocused our Partner Success Team. Thus, better serving our partners, no matter where or how big. Providing more resources and support, better initiatives and offers, dedicated partner events and much more. Want to become a partner too and reap our special benefits? Get more info on our Partner Program page or get in touch.

6. Plesk Extensions of the Year

We’re constantly searching for new ways to deliver better solutions to plug into your Plesk. And so we released loads of extensions this year, both in-house and from partners – many available for free. We’ve made leaps forward in providing add-ons for web development and apps, security and monitoring, backup, Cloud, DNS, and more. Check out our full extension catalog to see what’s new – and what you can benefit from

Now that we’ve had a look back at the good stuff, we can continue flying forward. We hope to carry on exceeding expectations in 2019. So from all the Plesk Team: Thank you – and we’ll see you next year!