Are Blogs A Dying Art Form, Or The Vinyl Albums Of Online Content?

YouTube. Podcasts. Even Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter. But… LiveJournal, anyone? No? Believe it or not, before the modern era of online content being almost exclusively streamed audio or video, there was a time when we all basically had to read the internet as though it was a digital book, more or less. Does anyone even remember the term “blogosphere” anymore? It was totally a thing.

Gather round the VR campfire, I’ll tell the tale of how it all began. You see, before we had actual websites that existed on the Word Wide Web that were viewed via web browsers, we had Bulletin Board Systems (more commonly referred to as a BBS), which were viewed within what was basically just a command line interface.

BUlletin Board System Menu
image credit: Wikipedia

A BBS was literally just a server with a modem in it that you would dial up (assuming you had the actual phone number) and connect to using the modem in your home computer. This was accomplished using your actual landline telephone connection.

Imagine, if you will, a world where mobile phones didn’t really exist and if someone was talking on the telephone then you wouldn’t be able to connect to a BBS. And vice versa. If the BBS server had 2 modems and two telephone numbers, then two people could simultaneously connect and chat with each other.

BBSes were often used as an early platform for online gaming (Legend Of The Red Dragon, anyone?) and of course for old fashioned chatting. Some BBS servers would have dozens of connections available, making chat rooms possible.

But let’s not get too wrapped up in the history here. The point is that all online communication and content at this point was text-based; you could only use numbers and letters. In time, people would create what was called ASCII art (images created by using numbers and letters, sort of like primitive digital hieroglyphics), but generally speaking there was no practical way to communicate between computers using your actual voice… and video was not yet even a blip on the radar of possibilities. All we had was the written word.

You say you want an evolution?

If we were to start comparing the evolution of online communication with the evolution of music media, then the written word really is kind of like vinyl (it’s arguably where it all began, after all) and a BBS was sort of like an 8-track tape. Are we a little too archaic here? An 8-track was a short-lived medium that eventually fell into obsolescence due to the invention of the cassette tape. In the same way, BBSes were replaced by web browsers and the dawn of actual websites.

Just as music mediums would evolve, from the cassette tape to the Compact Disc and MiniDisc, ultimately becoming fully digital as .MP3 and .FLAC files, online content and communication would likewise evolve through different forums and formats. 

As more people found their way to the internet, blogs were officially born and would become one of the first widespread purposes of websites. The year was 1998 and people had discovered that they could now share their unfiltered thoughts with the world. This concept has now carried through to the modern day with YouTube vlogs. “Vlog” being an adaptation of “blog” which itself is just a shortening of “weblog,” for anyone curious about the etymology there.

Although the earliest days of blogging are slightly muddled by the sands of time, there were a few platforms that came to popularity, including the aforementioned LiveJournal and even WordPress® itself began life as a modest blogging platform. In many ways, blogging never actually went away, though it did fall out of popularity as other mediums rose to prominence.

However, just as vinyl albums seemed to decline in popularity before resurging several years ago and reaching new heights of popularity with audiences of all ages, blogging has seemed likewise to begin its own ascent recently. In this world of 60-second TikTok videos, people are once again finding value in the long-form written word. 

Blogging as an SEO tool

The SEO value of a regularly-maintained blog is no secret. After all, the format of a blog is ripe for strategic keyword use. If your online business doesn’t currently publish a blog, then now is the time to dust off those keyboards and get to writing. There is arguably no better tool available to generate organic search engine traffic to your website than a well-written blog.

Additionally, blogs are used to establish your individual voice in a sea of competition. If the past has taught us anything, it’s that the cream does rise and quality content truly is king. 

The classics never go out of style

When it comes to music, there will always be a loyal and dedicated audience for that pure vinyl sound. Likewise when it comes to online content, there will always be an equally dedicated audience for the pure original format of blogging.

Whether for a business, entertainment, passion project, or hobby, why not start a blog today? Give it some thought, then share your thoughts with the world.

As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please let us know. We are here to help in the best ways we can. You’ll find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

So Long 2020, Hello 2021

We can certainly all agree that the year 2020 delivered some unique and unprecedented challenges, both in business and our personal lives. As a result, we’ve been presented with a particular and unusual perspective from which we can reflect on this past year and project into the new year.

In other words, we’re collectively seeing things in a new light. For example, many of us are now working from home, which is something we may never have even envisioned before. In the same breath, business owners have had no choice but to adjust, adapt, and overcome many challenges in the past year in order to compensate for these atypical times. 

Fresh Perspective, New Opportunity

As a business owner, the start of 2021 is presenting you with a very unusual opportunity to completely rethink and revise your business. Never before in the modern era has there been such an open door for change.

Do you have an idea to improve your business, but have been weary of modifying something and presenting your customers with an unfamiliarity? Now is the time; if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that there can be change around every corner. Seize the moment and take the chance, you might just find your customers appreciate the change.

We’re Still Not Out Of The Woods

Of course, as of this writing, we are still being affected by the circumstances of 2020. It remains to fully be seen what the far-reaching effects of that year will ultimately be. While we cannot control what happens, we can always control our own reaction to anything that occurs. With that said, it is always best to be able to look back and be pleased with the manner in which we handled any given situation. In this case, “any given situation” is literally going to amount to an entire year. But, when it’s all said and done, we are in this together and we will rise to the occasion and move forward stronger than we were before.

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

As individuals, and families, communities, business owners, and fellow human beings, it is our responsibility to make the best out of any situation life throws at us. 2020 was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, but it did show us how caring and compassionate we can be as people. 

As we move into 2021, it’s almost like we’ve collectively got a clean slate to do with as we see fit. Take that chance, optimize your business. Grow a new revenue stream. Help your neighbor. 

Here at cPanel, our aim continues to be ensuring the safety of our employees and their families, while also innovating and adding value for our customers and Partners; we are moving forward and trust that you are as well. We are here to support you.

Together, let’s make a difference in 2021.

Please find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit. Be sure to also follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Join The Club: The Growing Subscription Service Model

How many subscription services are you currently subscribed to? Chances are, you have more than you realize. Subscription services have become the preferred model for digital assets and have changed customers’ ownership and purchasing power in the modern age, with 8 in 10 American adults currently subscribed to at least one such service. 

These scheduled subscription services have automated our lives much in the same way we have become accustomed to letting the “robots” do our work. Driven by instant access and low entry point value propositions, customers today are comfortable with the automatic recurring billing model, provided there is no interruption in service.

The subscription e-commerce market has also grown by more than 200% over the past five years, fueled by a globally connected marketplace and convenience-driven lifestyles. The Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA) estimates that by 2023, 75% of Direct To Customer (DTC) businesses will offer subscription services. Latest global e-commerce projections suggest that by 2025 the subscription market will be worth $246.6 billion.

In a recent blog, “It’s Subscription World,” Industry Analyst Robert Jacobi noted that “The reality is that business growth now hinges on the speed by which businesses adapt to technological change. SaaS makes this simple and cost-effective. Early adoption of the right SaaS solutions for your business are critical to retain greater financial control and free up resources to focus on business growth.”

Subscription services are nothing new, and most Gen-Xers will probably remember their first subscription being a school magazine or the infamous Columbia House Record Club. Though Gen-Y and Millenials most likely never had the unique pleasure of receiving a dozen or so records in the mail (for only one dollar!) and then being hundreds of dollars in debt. 

Photo: 1970’s Columbia House Advertisement

Subscription models haven’t always been about value and honesty. Columbia House’s bait and bill, negative option billing model is just one example of how far from those bad business practices we have come with the subscription models in use today. Currently, there are three main subscription models successfully generating recurring revenue on the web.

The Curation Model

The Curation Model, based on personal preferences and impulse purchases, accounts for most of the subscription box market. Think retail and meal kit boxes:

  • Beauty (Birchbox)
  • Clothing {Stitch Fix)
  • Meal kits (Blue Apron, HelloFresh™, Imperfect Foods)
  • Gaming Gear (Loot Crate™)

The Replenishment Model

One of the best models is the Replenishment model, containing products that will generally need to be replenished weekly or monthly. Think personal care and household items:

  • Personal Healthcare (Dollar Shave Club®, Ritual™)
  • Household Items (Amazon Subscribe and Save, Secondnature) 
  • Pet Supplies (Chewy.com®)

Digital Access Model

Digital products, content, and SaaS services are also growing at a record pace. Adobe’s Creative Cloud SaaS is a perfect example,  comprising more than 65% of the companies total revenue. Other examples include:

  • Apps
  • Stock Images (Shutterstock)
  • Credit Reporting (Experian®)
  • Digital Books and Newspapers (Kindle, New York Times)
  • Online Training (Udemy™)
  • Computer Software (Adobe Cloud, MacPaw)
  • Music (Spotify, Apple Music)
  • Hosting Plans (GoDaddy, HostGator®)

Starting your own subscription service has also become part of the market, with more SaaS-based options emerging.

SaaS-based subscription services

As the Subscription Market reaches new heights, getting started has never been easier. These SaaS solutions cater to literally everyone, from total beginners on up to large corporations: 

Shopify®

Shopify® has quickly become an industry leader in the SaaS e-commerce sector. Shopify currently powers over a million SMBs in 175 countries around the world. Using Shopify’s new Subscription APIs and Product Subscription Extension, you can build a custom subscription solution. 

Recurly

Recurly is at the center of enterprise-level subscription services. Recurly boasts powerful analytics and industry-leading decline management technology, driven by machine learning to minimize churn, and maximize revenue. Streaming media giants Sling, Showtime Twitch, and CBS Interactive use Recurly’s flexible promotion creation and management tools to quickly test, learn, and iterate.  

Subbly®

Founded in 2014 by Steffan Pretty, Subbly® has focused on creating a one-stop Curation and Replenishment model “Subscription Box” SaaS platform. At the core of Subbly is a powerful subscription billing engine making complex billing requirements simple, from Cut off dates & set renewal dates to customizable billing and shipping cycles, “build-a-box” to trial periods. Add to that a powerful website builder and marketing tools, and it’s no wonder Subbly is one of the leading Subscription Box Platforms.

Creating a subscription service with WordPress 

It’s no doubt that WordPress is the go-to Content Management System for bloggers and small to medium business sites. WordPress currently powers over 38% of the entire internet and has 68% of the CMS market share, but is it right for your subscription service?

In 2015, Automattic Inc, the parent company of WordPress, acquired WooCommerce®. Since the acquisition, the team has focused on keeping the product viable in the ever-changing software market. Today, setting up an online shopping cart with a subscription platform is fully integrated into WooCommerce with plugins like WooCommerce SubscriptionYith WooCommerce Subscription PluginPaid Member Subscriptions, and SUMO Subscriptions. These solutions make it easy to accept member payments, manage members, create subscription plans, and restrict access to premium content. 

WordPress’s open-source codebase and community give you the flexibility and extensibility to create a custom subscription website and cPanel’s WordPress Toolkit can help you launch, secure, and maintain your WordPress site in a matter of clicks.

In Conclusion

No matter what model or software you choose, the subscription market is on fire with the lasting impacts of the 2020 pandemic. The growing use of subscriptions among millennials, along with  online streaming services’ rising popularity, and the low cost of subscription boxes, surely means there is no end in sight for this phenomenon.  

We hope this helps you to reach success with your subscription service. As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please let us know. We are here to help in the best ways we can. You’ll find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit. Be sure to also follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Adding cPanel University Certifications To LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the social network for, well, professionals. Whether you’re looking to secure your next job or establish yourself as a thought leader within your current position or industry, LinkedIn is the place where you want to put your best professional foot forward.

For anyone unfamiliar, cPanel University is a one-stop shop for training and certification on all things cPanel & WHM, including technical issues and sales courses.

Becoming a cPanel Certified Partner not only earns you the esteem of your colleagues and industry, but includes other benefits like having your support requests automatically escalated to our Ultra Priority Technical Support queue.

Your cPanel University Certificates

Accessing your existing cPanel University certificates is quite simple. Literally all you need to do is type your name into the search box located in the upper right-hand corner of https://university.cpanel.net.

Click on the results for your name, and you’ll then be shown any/all certificates that you have earned, both Active and Expired:

cPanel University Certificate Search Results

You can then copy and paste the CERTIFICATE ID into the same search bar to be shown the details and verify validity of any individual certificate.

How To Add Certificates To LinkedIn

Now that we know how to locate our cPanel University certifications, it’s time to share these credentials with the rest of the world. The first step is to ensure you have the “Licenses & certifications” section enabled on your LinkedIn page. If you do not, just click the “Add profile section” dropdown just below and to the right of your profile picture, then click “Licenses & certifications”:

LinkedIn Licenses and Certifications

You’ll now be able to scroll down to the Licenses & certifications section of your LinkedIn page and click the + symbol. Here is where you’ll provide the information the we located above for your cPanel certification(s).

And once you’ve entered the necessary information, and clicked “Save,” your certification will now be proudly displayed on your LinkedIn profile for all to see.

LinkedIn Certification

You can repeat this process for any other certificates you may have. A robust LinkedIn profile will only benefit you in your pursuit of any professional goals.

As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please let us know. We are here to help in the best ways we can. You’ll find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/44644/add-edit-or-remove-certifications-on-your-profile

Disaster Recovery And Why It Matters

Zombie apocalypse. Random meteor crash. Electromagnetic pulse from the Sun. Or maybe just a crashed hard drive that has no backup. But don’t forget volcanoes. Or vampires!

These are just a few examples of things that can potentially interrupt your normal flow of business. Some of those examples are less likely to happen than others (I mean who doesn’t backup their hard drive these days?), but the most likely cause of a business disaster might just be the least expected eventuality. 

What Is Disaster Recovery?

Disaster recovery is the plan for, and execution of, restoring mission-critical business functions following any type of disaster. Zombies aside, what if your data center was to actually catch fire and be destroyed. How long before you could restore service to your customers, and do you even have a plan in the event of a worst-case scenario?

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. Accidents happen. Clearly pandemics also happen, which has loosely translated into a slow-motion disaster recovery scenario on a global scale; many businesses had to figure out how to continue to provide service under an atypical and unprecedented set of circumstances. This is the fundamental idea behind disaster recovery.

Hope For The Best, Plan For The Worst

Although it is rarely (if ever) spoken of publicly, all larger businesses have disaster recovery plans. Normally, these plans consist of:

  • Multiple (daily / weekly / monthly) data backups physically stored at entirely separate geographic locations.
  • Third-party data center or colocation space (generally at least a few hundred miles away from their main business location), containing the necessary hardware to re-establish mission-critical business operations from the aforementioned backups in the event of a disaster.
  • Clearly identified team members who would be dispatched to the off-site location with the knowledge and expertise to restore all mission-critical business functions in as little time as possible.

These businesses will then periodically run actual disaster recovery drills, sending team members to the designated data center with only their data backups. The team then attempts to fully restore all business operation within the controlled environment, effectively making a micro version of their company’s entire data infrastructure. This is the only way to know, with certainty, that business could actually be restored in the event of a catastrophic occurrence.

Why Does Disaster Recovery Matter?

Fundamentally, the value of a disaster recovery plan is equal to the value of your data plus the ability to restore business operations following any catastrophic occurrence. For smaller businesses, an event of this nature might not be something where you would put business before, say, family or other matters. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t something to be learned from the way in which large businesses handle emergencies.

If you don’t currently maintain backups of your important data, then you really should start immediately. The price of external hard drives is very reasonable these days, around $100USD for 4TB of capacity. Don’t just trust “the cloud,” always maintain your own physical backup of any critical data.

An ounce of prevention will always be worth a pound of cure; keep your data, and your business, safe. Consider your own disaster recovery plan today.

As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please let us know. We are here to help in the best ways we can. You’ll find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit.