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May 2023 - Page 3 of 7 - SEO TOP AGENCY

Gutenberg Evolution and Its Future

Tammie Lister is our guest on the latest Hostinger Academy podcast. As a product creator, open-source designer, and core contributor involved in WordPress releases, we discuss how Gutenberg evolves and empowers its users.

WordPress is almost synonymous with websites. After all, the CMS makes up 45% of websites on the internet, and over 70% of Hostinger clients use it to build their websites. As WordPress keeps evolving and growing its user base, we talked to Tammie Lister to find out how the core contributors are working to improve WordPress and bring more value to its users.

Tammie has been involved with WordPress since the project’s early days. She started using WordPress for blogging after someone introduced it to her as a solution for a customizable CMS, and she never looked back.

After attending WordCamp in Portsmouth, she started contributing to WordPress herself. She described her WordPress contribution journey as a beautiful spiral as she became increasingly involved until she eventually became a full-time core contributor.

Fast-forward to today, Tammie is contributing as a hobby and working between design and development, as she is interested in the product side of things.

In this podcast episode, Hostinger’s Head of Content, Emma Young, sits down with Tammie to discuss how the core contributors are working to improve WordPress to bring more value to its users. Tammie also shared some insights into the future of WordPress and Gutenberg.

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The Importance of Experimentation and Feedback

Experimentation is at the heart of Gutenberg. After all, the tool exists because people with different visions and ideas experimented for five to six years before the project officially began.

Tammie uses the old parable to describe the process:

“The whole process resembled the story of the blind men and the elephant. The men are all trying to describe what an elephant looks like without being able to see one in the flesh. Someone probably got the trunk right, and someone figured out the leg, but they all had to work together to piece out the complete elephant”, she explains. That’s what happened with Gutenberg – the project combined input from various contributors together to bring us the final result.

Experimentation will also be an important part of the upcoming Gutenberg development phase. After all, experiments could help develop game-changing features or uncover technical roadblocks that need to be fixed.

Or, as Tammie explains: “Someone could come up with an incredible experiment that completely pivots our plans.” In order to create the best possible tool out there, experiments, together with community input and feedback, have become a staple with Gutenberg and WordPress core updates.

For the project to be successful, it needs to cater to different users – from agencies and product people to multilingual users, and so on. Initially, it was difficult to get feedback on new developments, as the team did not organize calls for testing. Organizing in-depth feedback sessions can be time-consuming, but the team agrees that the benefits outweigh the hassle. Now, they are trying to make testing calls a habit.

“So we’ve had testing tables and tried to get different people to participate. Ideally, the people who are developing certain features would also attend to hear what users think first-hand. I did some user interviews in Japan. That was amazing,” Tammie shares her experience in gathering feedback. She agrees that it’s all about getting into the habit of collecting feedback rather than just expecting someone to report an issue or share their two cents with you.

And thanks to that habit, the project now has initiatives focused on user feedback. Full Site Editing (FSE) calls for testing are a prime example of this. People can run a user test at home, do tasks on WordPress, such as building a front page, and send feedback. This feedback is powerful because it can come from anyone, not just the contributors. “You don’t create the next evolution of WP just by listening to the people who are full-time contributors”, Tammie says.

Testing and sending feedback are also great ways to contribute to WordPress. Contribution is often tied to a specific WordPress team, like core or design. But in Tammie’s mind, contributing means you move the project on in some way or another.

Maximizing Gutenberg’s Potential

Tammie sees Gutenberg as a toolkit that should provide the bare minimum to help you achieve what you want. Ideally, the tool should have all the features for site editing, from beginners to pros and beyond.

Tammie’s main advice for WordPress users is not to go against the Site Editor, as it’s more of a sliding scale. Users don’t have to do everything with it – they can use it just to colorize the text or use it theme.json for development. Ultimately, it’s in the user’s hands to choose their own adventures.

Beginners don’t have to learn everything either to get started. Tammie recommends using a default theme and core blocks, and getting to know how they work by using them. There’s also the Create Block Theme plugin that helps you create a child theme. If you feel brave, you could just start editing the theme itself, making it your own. It’s the easiest way to learn how to edit a theme without learning to code.

The Gutenberg and block themes have also grown, with more theme options available in the WordPress repository.

“Look at the themes that are out there and look at people who are building on top of them to start building one yourself,” Tammie says. Browsing for themes can open up more design options for you, and seeing how people build a website based on one can inspire your build, too.

Keeping your website light from the beginning is also important. “Don’t load too many blocks to start off with. Know the core blocks,” Tammie advises. While there are plenty of great block library plugins, it’s highly advisable not to install them before knowing what you can already do with the core blocks. Determine what you need first, and see if the core blocks fit them.

The Future of Gutenberg and WordPress

WordPress is celebrating its 20th anniversary on May 27, 2023, and Tammie shared her hopes for WordPress for the next 10-20 years with us.

Ideally, Tammie would have more diverse groups of people involved with WordPress. This way, younger people could also share their views and perspectives on the project. It’s clear that involving a wider range of people is key to developing WordPress further. “I want most of the things I’ve put into WordPress to not exist anymore – because then that means other voices have become part of WordPress,” explains Tammie.

Welcoming more investment in the WordPress ecosystem in the future is also a great way to bring in diversity. This also allows people who need a job or who want to pivot their career to find it in the WordPress community.

Tammie also expects more frequent changes in interfaces. In Tammie’s opinion, we tend to be tied to the interfaces, which can be a problem in terms of usability.

If we stick closely to an iteration of an interface, its extensibility will be limited. One size does not fit all when considering accessibility and usability, especially with both aging and younger users coexisting in the WordPress ecosystem.

Meet Tammie Lister and Hostinger at WordCamp Europe 2023

Tammie will attend the WordCamp Europe 2023 in Athens, Greece. She’s looking forward to hearing some thoughts from other visitors and will also participate in the Contributor Day. She wants to be involved in many different teams, as more interesting discussions happen when you get multiple teams together and start talking together.

If you’re coming to WordCamp Europe, it’s your chance to talk with Tammie face-to-face. She will also be a part of the WordPress 6.3 Release Squad, so if you have any feedback or ideas for the upcoming updates, you can share them with Tammie.

Hostinger will also be in WordCamp Europe as a Super Admin sponsor. Be sure to visit our booth – we love to talk about all things WordPress and web hosting.

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wpadmin May 25, 2023 0 Comments

Legal succession process of e-commerce sites

To this day, business owners still need to understand the importance of having a succession plan. In a 2021 survey of 580 human resources (HR) professionals, 56 percent of the participants said their companies did not have a succession plan.

Succession planning is crucial for the longevity and survival of a business. Even entrepreneurs doing their business online can significantly benefit from having a succession plan. This short guide outlines what you need to know about the succession planning process for an e-commerce company.

Succession planning: what e-commerce business owners must know

If you created a profitable e-commerce business, you know the dedication it takes to succeed in a highly competitive environment. However, some entrepreneurs get so focused on managing the enterprise that they forget something fundamental: planning for the business’s future.

Some owners cite time constraints as the main reason they do not have a succession plan. However, others associate succession planning with leaving their business, discouraging them from creating one.

Remember that succession planning does not necessarily mean you are planning to leave the company you’ve worked so hard to build. Having a succession plan allows you to get involved with the company for as long as you like. Moreover, it ensures the survival of your e-commerce store even after your death.

A succession plan is a contingency plan so an organization can continue operations even if the current leaders are out of the picture.

Successful succession planning requires constant reevaluation, meaning the process is not a one-time event. Instead, leaders and other stakeholders must constantly review the plan as changes occur within the company.

In large enterprises, the board of directors oversees succession planning. The process affects owners, employees, and shareholders.

Meanwhile, small- to medium-sized business owners train mid-level employees to take over higher-level positions. For small businesses, succession planning involves training the next generation to lead after the leaders depart.

For e-commerce businesses, owners must still have a succession plan, so their platform continues to thrive even when they cannot run it. They can sell their store, or they can name a different owner.

If they choose the latter, they must give their successor all the information they need to lead the e-commerce business. While the documents you need for the succession process depend on the nature and size of your business, they usually include the following:

Checklist and shield

3 advantages of succession planning for e-commerce store owners

  • Strategic plan – This plan outlines your e-commerce company’s goals regarding past strategic decisions.
  • Organizational chart – This document lists staff members, including detailed job descriptions and responsibilities.
  • Standard operating procedures – This document describes how the new owner operates the core aspects of the business, such as product acquisition or marketing.

The flexibility to move on from the company whenever you want is only one of the advantages of having a succession plan. Read on to learn how succession planning can help your e-commerce store.

1. Protects your e-commerce business

Entrepreneurs too busy to develop a succession plan must realize they are failing to protect their business.

Look at it this way; business owners install security systems to defend against theft. They buy insurance to protect the organization from floods, hurricanes, and fires. They use backups to save their company’s sensitive information.

By planning the succession process, business owners can protect their business from falling apart even after they leave or cannot run it.

Some entrepreneurs may think they’re too young to experience any severe illness. Some forget that other e-commerce companies could lure potential leaders away from the firm. These scenarios can leave a business vulnerable.

Remember that succession planning is another crucial step to protect the company. The conversation about succession may indeed be daunting. However, the sooner you develop a succession plan, the quicker you can protect your e-commerce firm.

2. Helps identify future leaders

Formal succession planning requires your e-commerce firm to identify the positions most critical to business success. It also helps you find internal candidates with the skills, values, expertise, and desire to take on crucial roles.

By taking these steps in succession planning, you can get a clear picture of your company’s organizational chart. This step can help your leadership team identify potential vulnerabilities, which prompts them to offer cross-training opportunities to key employees.

It is also possible that there are no internal candidates suitable for leadership positions within the firm. This situation indicates that the company needs to look for external candidates who can fill leadership roles.

Another crucial advantage of succession planning is recognizing and acknowledging the hard work of ambitious but less-experienced internal candidates. You can help these employees advance their careers by offering them managerial positions.

3. Supports long-term business plans

If your e-commerce company knows its goals, you can plan for the future better. Planning can give you the confidence that your business will be fine even after facing leadership changes.

By having succession as part of your company’s plans, you develop a path for retiring employees to hand off their years before they leave. They can teach what they know and transition meaningful working relationships for seamless succession.

Hedgehog with list and graph

3 factors to consider before developing a succession plan

You will need a strategy if you want a succession plan to benefit your e-commerce firm significantly. This section outlines the factors you must consider when creating a succession plan.

1. Potential successors

Many entrepreneurs choose e-commerce business models because of advantages like reduced operating costs. They can profit from their products without paying rent and operate with few employees.

They can also work from anywhere, keeping operations running even while traveling. They only need a laptop, an Internet connection, a website, and a phone.

However, it also means that e-commerce companies depend highly on their owners. If the owner is not involved, the business may struggle. This disadvantage can pose a challenge when planning for the company’s future.

If e-commerce owners want longevity for their business, they must consider how the company will operate if they can no longer run it. They must prepare successors for the transition if they have a family member or an employee with the skills and abilities to take over.

2. Usernames and passwords

As an e-commerce business owner, you will have crucial login credentials for various digital services. Most entrepreneurs use online solutions like password management tools to keep track of their login details. However, solely relying on them comes with certain risks, including cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

To keep your login details safe, make a copy of your login data on a password-protected flash drive. You can also provide your estate planning attorney or digital executor with a sealed envelope containing your login credentials.

Your usernames and passwords are crucial once you give up control over your e-commerce company. Keep them safe for your successor so they can access everything they need while leading the store.

3. Assets or shares to sell

If you have a reasonably old e-commerce business, you have loyal followers contributing to the brand’s longevity. Your brand and customer base can be valuable assets even if your company has no physical presence.

Today, many investors buy an established brand with a massive following rather than starting their own company. If you do not plan on passing your responsibilities to a family member or an employee, you can choose to sell the assets you own. However, it would help if you first determined the valuation of your shares and investments.

There are different ways to get the valuation of a business. However, for e-commerce brands, other factors affect valuation other than expenses and revenue, including the following:

  • Supplier agreements – What are your agreements with your suppliers? Are they willing to continue working with your brand, even with a new owner?
  • Web traffic – This term refers to the number of site visitors your store receives in a certain period. The platform has a higher valuation if your site has a robust organic search volume.
  • Mailing list – Does your brand have an established contact list to drive new sales? If yes, potential buyers will be willing to pay more for your business.
  • Customer acquisition cost – A potential buyer will evaluate how your brand attracts new customers and how much you spend on this effort.
Hedgehog with list and graph

How to create a succession plan for an e-commerce business

Creating a succession plan ensures that your business can continue to grow even after your departure. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to develop a succession plan for your e-commerce brand.

Step 1: Identify crucial roles

First, you need to identify the positions most in need of successors. Criticality and vulnerability are two crucial elements to consider when prioritizing positions.

Vulnerable positions are those with no obvious successor. Meanwhile, critical roles heavily impact the brand’s ability to achieve goals.

Identifying these roles can help you find successors easier. This process highlights potential vulnerabilities in the organization and prepares you to overcome them.

Step 2: Determine eligibility requirements

At this stage, you must identify the qualifications and requirements for potential successors. To help in this effort, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What selection criteria would I use to find the best-qualified employee if this is a vacant post?
  • What knowledge, abilities, skills, and competencies must employees have in this position?

Step 3: Find a talent pipeline

Now that you know what qualities to look for, you can look for a talent pipeline. To make this process easier, look at positions with similar responsibilities to the successor position. Employees in these roles may be qualified to apply if the company needs a successor.

Answer the following questions below to find a talent pipeline for successor roles:

  • Are there aligned duties between the two positions?
  • What are the gaps or differences between the two roles?
  • Do the employees have similar day-to-day responsibilities as the successor role?

Step 4: Name potential successors

When naming potential successors, look for the following qualities:

  • Sustains high performance regardless of the tasks assigned to them
  • Works hard to improve
  • Has a positive impact on other employees
  • Represents the e-commerce brand’s culture
  • Demonstrates the company’s values

Step 5: Prepare successors for transition

Now that you have potential successors, you must prepare them for the transition. The following are examples of successor development opportunities to try:

  • Provide training and learning opportunities aligned with the successor position
  • Offer coaching opportunities
  • Act for the incumbent while the latter is away from the office
  • Have successors work on special projects to improve skills relevant to their new role

Step 5: Evaluate succession planning efforts

After developing the succession plan, you must evaluate the succession planning efforts. This way, you can improve your strategy or make any changes to the program if needed.

Are you ready to move forward?

Thorough planning can ensure business continuity and sustained growth for your e-commerce brand. With an effective succession plan, you can protect your business even after you or other employees in senior management roles depart.

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wpadmin May 23, 2023 0 Comments

Is Bing booming in the era of AI?

Who uses Bing, anyway? Google handles a staggering 8.5 billion searches per day, plus “to Google” is a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary, and Google has been a household name for as long as many can remember. Microsoft’s Bing, on the other hand, has long struggled to leave a similar legacy in the digital revolution. But are things about to change? The Undercover Geek has the AI ​​secrets and stats you need to know about.

Bing was launched in 2009 by the one and only Microsoft Corporation, but the software giant had plenty of experience providing Internet users with search engines before Bing was even born. MSN Search made its debut in 1999, and Microsoft continued to rebrand with Windows Live Search, Live Search, and eventually — you guessed it — Bing.

Now, with Microsoft’s $10 billion investment into Open AI’s GPT technology, is Bing booming in the era of AI? I’m on a mission to find out.

Bing brings in big numbers

While Google is winning the market share race — 85% as of March 2023 — Bing has a new trick up its sleeve: Bing AI.

Up until recently, people eager to try out the new Bing had to sign up on a waitlist. Fortunately, Microsoft has now scrapped the wait and launched its AI chatbot to the world.

The new AI-powered Bing search engine within the Edge browser is designed to provide a better search experience, more complete answers, an enhanced chat experience — and with its ChatGPT integration — the ability to generate content.

The numbers nerd in me wanted to know whether Microsoft’s plan was working, so I did some research. It turns out page visits on Bing have increased by 15.8% since Microsoft launched its new AI-powered search engine. And app downloads have shared equally well, propelling eight times globally following the AI ​​integration.

Microsoft’s tempting us to switch

Microsoft’s latest move to launch an AI-powered search engine is part of an ongoing push to get people to make the switch to Bing. Here’s a reminder of just some of the reasons why Bing remains competitive in the search engine race:

  • Microsoft Rewards — Launched in 2010, Microsoft Rewards lets users earn points for simply using Bing to perform searches. These points can then be redeemed for free gift cards, games, movies, and more.
  • Bing Videos — Officially released in 2007, Bing Videos is a dedicated tab that allows users to see new and trending videos from YouTube, Facebook, and other media.
  • Beautiful homepage backgrounds — Let’s face it, Google’s default homepage is a bit boring. Bing, on the other hand, gives you beautiful backgrounds to admire every day without any human intervention.
  • Bing Chat — Microsoft has officially joined the AI ​​chatbot revolution with its newest version of Bing, and it’s already taken the second most popular search engine in the world to new heights.

Bing’s bigger than you think

If you asked someone to “go Bing it,” they’d probably look at you blankly. However, not everyone knows that many search engines are powered by Bing. For example, Yahoo!, the third most popular search engine with a market share of 1.13%, uses Microsoft’s Bing to power its results. So, what other search engines is Bing hiding behind?

Here’s just a small selection of search engines Microsoft has partnered with:

  • Yahoo!
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Lycos
  • Search.com
  • AOL

Before Google became synonymous with searching the internet, Yahoo was still the second most popular site online. However, Yahoo and other search engines failed to keep up with Google’s search algorithm, which was constantly being updated and tweaked. So, in order to stay somewhat in competition with Google, many smaller search engines teamed up with Microsoft’s Bing. What’s more, advertisers can make use of Microsoft Advertising across the search engines’ partner sites.

AI Bing is the new bling

The new Bing elegantly combines Microsoft’s search engine with a customized version of the ChatGPT bot from OpenAI. As well as seeing the traditional list of links you’d get from performing a search, AI-powered Bing also provides a sidebar with a human-like response. Hitting “Let’s chat” or “Chat” lets you transition to a chatbot that provides a markedly different search experience, similar to WhatsApp, Teams, or Slack.

You can also set a conversation style by changing the tone to Creative, Balanced, or Precise.

Bing chat sidebar

Bing Compose lets you generate content for emails, blog posts, standard paragraphs, or videos. In this mode, you can also pick the tone, including Professional, Casual, and Funny. Finally, you can specify the length of the desired content: Short, Medium, or Long.

Bing Chat seamlessly integrates into the Edge browser, and if you don’t have time to read through a webpage, the Bing Edge sidebar can be used to summarize the page content instantly. Alternatively, you can paste the URL into the standard Bing Chat interface, but the Edge Sidebar is far more convenient. The sidebar is also helpful for quickly changing the website’s language and answering questions directly related to the webpage you’re on.

Bing AI chat vs ChatGPT

You may be thinking, if ChatGPT is integrated into Bing, isn’t it just ChatGPT? Yes and no.

Although both AI solutions use similar language models and the ability to respond to questions in a human-like way, there are some notable differences between them.

First, Bing AI and ChatGPT are launched in different ways. After you’ve signed up to ChatGPT for free, you can access it directly through the main OpenAI website, whereas Bing Chat requires you to download the latest version of Microsoft Edge. This could be a barrier for people looking to jump straight into AI-powered Bing without the annoyance of upgrading first. However, Bing Chat isn’t just accessible from a browser — it’s also made an appearance in Skype and Teams.

Fortunately, ChatGPT and Bing Chat have generous free tiers. However, if you want access to GPT-4 — the newest version of OpenAI’s language model — you’ll need to upgrade to ChatGPT Plus, the premium version of ChatGPT. Bing Chat, on the other hand, is completely free and is already powered by GPT-4.

A concern some people have about AI chatbots is how up-to-date the information is. ChatGPT has access to sources up to and including 2021. However, Bing Chat has the advantage of pulling more recent information.

Bing vs ChatGPT

So, should you use ChatGPT or Bing Chat as your AI search assistant?

ChatGPT can be used for:

  • Creative writing, although it’s not a dedicated AI writing tool.
  • Getting personalized advice, like having your very own shopping or health assistant.
  • Digesting complicated topics so you can understand them.
  • Coding and debugging (great for geeks like me).
  • Writing songs (yes, really).

Bing Chat is great for:

  • Planning a detailed trip itinerary.
  • Getting up to speed with the latest news.
  • Composing content for social media, such as a LinkedIn post.
  • Writing emails.

These are the results I got from searching for “best towns to visit in Brittany, France” in Bing Chat. The answer is short, easy to read, and helpful. I don’t need to search through travel blogs to find what I need.

Screenshot of planning a trip

I used Bing Chat’s Compose tab to write a paragraph about “Undercover Geek’s passion for tech”. I set the tone as Casual, the format as Paragraph, and the length as Short.

Bing writes an email

As you can see, the Compose feature in Bing Chat is super convenient to use and the customization options allow you to create a variety of content.

Is AI Bing the next big thing?

ChatGPT may be making all the tech headlines, but there’s now a frantic rush to get similar AI products to market. From Google’s AI chatbot Bard to Chinese tech giants Baidu, Alibaba, and JD.com with their ChatGPT-like products, tech companies are racing to get in front of the AI ​​chatbot revolution. So, where does Microsoft’s AI-powered Bing fit into all of this?

Bing has recently surpassed a major milestone of 100 million daily active users, and Bing Chat has played an important role in helping Microsoft achieve these numbers. Although that pales in comparison to Google’s one billion daily active users, it still represents a significant leap forward for Microsoft and its efforts to increase its market share.

Google has dominated the way we interact with the Internet for decades. Still, the rise in AI tools such as Bing Chat can shift the balance, even if it’s unlikely to topple Google’s monopoly. While Google’s Bard has launched somewhat of a shaky and controversial start, Bing is booming like never before. Is Bing on the up in the era of AI? The Undercover Geek says yes.


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wpadmin May 18, 2023 0 Comments