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Ignas Stancikas is a Lithuanian architect making waves in the USA and beyond with his bespoke architectural service, Truoba.
Truoba focuses on designing custom homes grounded in Ignas’ vision of presenting traditional Lithuanian design concepts for a contemporary market. Customers choose a predesigned house plan from Truoba’s website and can then customize it.
The concept was born during Ignas’ time studying architecture in Glasgow, Scotland. “Alongside studying, I wanted to develop my portfolio. That said, I wanted my concepts to be built, not just drawn up.” So Ignas spent his summer holidays in his native Lithuania, working on small architectural designs and offering them to local real estate agents, home developers, and builders.
Taking From Tradition
Ignas began designing in Lithuania, a relatively small market with the construction industry routinely keeping with the status quo. During this time, he researched and analyzed homes built in the USA, which led to him founding Truoba there.
In Lithuanian, Truoba means a traditional Lithuanian house. This design will slowly become extinct over the next thirty years as such homes are demolished and replaced by new buildings. Truoba’s goal is to preserve traditional Lithuanian housing by translating the design to meet current living needs.
“Lithuanian housing is distinctive because the homes are decorated with traditional Lithuanian patterns – you can find them on buildings as well as folk costumes. We believe the modern minimalistic style has become too empty and dull. Modernism, in some cases, lacks detail. So Truoba designs modern houses that are more detailed in a distinctive way – the same way a traditional Lithuanian house would feature folk geometry as decoration.”
A Move in the Market
Moving to the American market meant shifting perspectives in both the construction and website industries. The designs of houses built today in the USA are the same as 100 years ago, based on architectural styles such as Colonial, Craftsman, Cottage, and Mid-century modern.
Architects design only 2% of new houses. General contractors take care of the rest. Their portfolios usually contain 15-20 homes that they keep building over and over throughout the years. Truoba offers a different foot forward.
“There is a large niche once you understand how the construction industry works in the USA. In 2019, 800,000 homes were built here. I spent a lot of time analyzing houses built in the US.” Over three months, Ignas traveled across 17 states by car, visiting suburbs in each city and town to identify the ways in which he could improve the market.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
Truoba’s strength lies in its website design. It provides the customer with a vision before they commit to the purchase. This online interaction lets customers be creative and eliminates the disconnect between their desired project and the end result, an issue that is common when working with local architects.
“We do what we do because we simply want to make people’s lives better. We do so by offering good designs and functional houses that can be built without wasting too many materials on unnecessary features. Shelter is a basic human need, and everyone needs to have a home.
“Life can improve depending on the living environment. For example, your mood may improve just by having a higher ceiling with upper windows from all sides that could capture the sun from different directions throughout the day. Architecture has a great power to shape our quality of life, and that drives us towards better results.
“The most exciting project is always the next one. My heart belongs to the project that I work on at a given time. I love coming up with a house design that people would like and decide to build.”
Truoba’s current website – Ignas developed it himself – is an extension of its original format built on WordPress. It was initially hosted by a different provider, but Ignas is happy that he made the switch to Hostinger: “I’m not an IT guy. Having been with Hostinger for around three years, I am relieved that I have everything from a strong website design, an intuitive hosting interface, great servers based in America, and beyond brilliant customer support that cares.”
Truoba’s website is more than just a service that lets clients play around with the design of their buildings. It is essential to the business’s branding, too. For example, when Ignas found out that the pronunciation of Truoba was interpreted differently depending on the geographical location, properly-applied SEO techniques made the brand globally recognizable online.
“The name ‘Truoba’ will bring difficulties for people who speak other languages. But this is a case when a business has to follow the main vision. The mispronunciation issue can be solved by SEO as our business can be found online on search engines such as Google. Whether they pronounce it ‘Truba,’ ‘Trouba,’ or ‘Troba,’ with the help of SEO, people can still find the website. ”
Dreaming Up Reality
Truoba’s success is measured by the number of happy families they’ve helped build their dream homes. “Clients send us emails and photos of the built houses, and it is heartwarming to hear all the good things they mention about living in them. For many, these homes are something they’ve been dreaming of for a long time. Great outcomes and emotions are the biggest driving force to keep improving our skills.”
Looking back on the formative years of Truoba, Ignas ponders over the highs and lows of following your dreams. “If you want to start a business just to make money, don’t start. Most businesses don’t turn a profit for some time – this could be half a year or more. So find a purpose for yourself and your business. A vision of how you could help others, improve on existing things, or do the same old in a new way will help you overcome any hardships.”
One of the best ways to open up your business to reach international audiences is to have a multilingual WordPress website.
Think about it.
As we all know, English is not a universal language. The majority of the world’s population is from non-English speaking countries. In fact, only about 25.9% of Internet users are native English speakers.
So if you want to quickly improve your customer experience and increase your market share globally, make your website multilingual. Your customers will pay more attention to your brand when you speak their language. According to research, about 76% of online shoppers prefer to purchase from brands with information in their native language — 40% will not even consider buying if the language is foreign to them.
Therefore, a multi-language website can transform your business and be the edge you need to stay ahead of the competition. This article will explain seven reasons your WordPress site should be multilingual.
Multilingual WordPress expands your potential market
Globalization and cross-border e-commerce are expanding very quickly. By the end of 2021, the international e-commerce market was valued at $719.02 billion, and it is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.8% from 2022 to 2030.
So as an online business, you need to take advantage of this to win a piece of the pie. And being able to communicate with people from other parts of the world is a vital part of this process.
Including different language options on your site can open up your business to new customers that were not reached before, potentially increasing your sales and revenue.
Also, remember that a multilingual website is not only necessary when reaching a market outside of your country. Many languages can be spoken within the same country too. For example, Spanish is the second most popular language in the US. To reach and communicate efficiently with this group of people, you should have a Spanish option on your website.
Reduces the bounce rate
Consider this: you’re looking for a kitchen appliance for your townhouse and are very specific about what you want. You search for the appliance online, and the first result is a Spanish website with a detailed product description in Spanish. But you don’t understand Spanish. What do you do? Close the site and bounce to the next search result, right?
Online shoppers will spend the most time on a website in a language they understand. Before clicking the “Buy” button, customers need to feel that they have understood what they have read and all the steps in the buying process.
Having a multi-language website means that foreign online shoppers visiting your site are less likely to leave immediately if they don’t understand the language. Consequently, the reduction in bounce rates can increase your conversions significantly.
Better for international SEO rankings
E-commerce has quickly become an indispensable part of the retail market. Today, consumers will first search online for goods and services that they need before they consider visiting businesses in person. As a result, everyone is competing to be the first option that the customer sees when they search online.
So, the success of your business in both local and international markets depends on your rankings on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The higher you rank, the more traffic you get and the higher the conversions.
A multilingual website offers the opportunity to rank highly locally and internationally. Search engines love multilingual pages because they see them as independent and thus automatically give them additional rankings.
To increase your chances of ranking high for all the languages on your website, you must translate 100% of the content, including the metadata. It would help if you also had a unique URL for each page with a language-specific subdomain or subdirectory. This will make it easy for search engine bots to scan and rank your content in specific languages.
It makes marketing cost-effective
For most businesses, a website is the focal point of all their marketing efforts — and for a good reason. A website is the most cost-effective way of marketing, both in terms of market reach and cost. And there are numbers to support this theory. According to research, a website-centered marketing strategy costs at least 62% less than other traditional marketing methods. Even better, it brings in about three times more business leads.
Hence, a multilingual website offers a cost-effective and reliable way of communicating and engaging with customers who speak different languages. If you translate your content to reach different regions, making your product or services available to more people worldwide, you are increasing both your customer base and revenue.
Builds brand recognition and trust
Consumers buy more from brands that they trust. And in this day and age, brand recognition and trust are built from general customer engagement.
A multi-language website expands your business’ playing field and allows more people worldwide to engage with your content. Once people can communicate and understand what you offer, they will start associating your brand with certain needs and wants. They will start to seek out your brand for solutions to their problems, which will gain you recognition and trust, and set you apart from the competition.
Additionally, if customers understand and connect with your content, they are more likely to share it with their friends and family. This means that you will have repeat business and new business from referrals.
A multilingual website also helps build your brand’s credibility. People worldwide will begin to trust that your business is an expert in what it offers. People who speak different languages will feel like you understand them and their culture and will more likely buy from you.
Gone are the days when people thought the best way to reach international markets was to have an army of websites in different languages. Today, all you need to do is to set up a multilingual website. This allows your site to have the same external effect on consumers worldwide, allowing you to maintain your brand’s identity. One multilingual website ensures that the design and all the processes remain the same regardless of the language chosen.
But this doesn’t mean you should have different content for different languages. WordPress allows you to customize each language to match the needs of each consumer subset. For instance, you can have separate purchase and invoicing processes for each language.
Both CMS WordPress and WordPress online shop systems are highly suited to creating whichever type of multilingual site you need for your business.
In most instances, you can create a multi-language website easily without changing the template’s design. You only need to create a single language website, add the TranslatePress plugin, and choose the languages you want to include on your site.
Creates a competitive advantage
In online selling, everyone wants to win. And to succeed in online marketing in these economically precarious times, you need to differentiate yourself so that a customer will choose you over the competitor.
As mentioned, a customer is much more likely to purchase from a website in their native language, so having multiple languages on your website gives you an edge against the competition.
For example, let’s say that a foreign customer is looking for information on how to build credit without a credit card. If you have a page explaining the different ways people can build credit in their language, this customer is more likely to trust your brand than if the article was written in English.
Make multilingual sites a priority
When it comes to user experience, ensuring your WordPress site is multilingual is widely overlooked. But as you can see from what we’ve discussed, there are many benefits associated with multilingual websites.
Whatever reason inspires you the most, it’s time to take your website and company to the next level. Making your WordPress website multilingual is simple, cost-effective, and can transform your business.
For your next WordPress site, make more online for less — choose managed WordPress hosting from EasyWP.
Spend enough time online, and you will probably run into stories about the horrors of malware. They’re usually about hackers getting into someone’s social accounts, but did you know that it can happen in games too?
Most people associate malware with the casual side of the Internet, like social media and shopping. However, you may be horrified to know that not even popular games like Minecraft are safe from cybercriminals. If you’re not careful, downloading a texture mod infected with ransomware could cause issues on your computer, or you could suffer serious financial losses.
Researchers in cybersecurity found that many cybercriminals heavily abuse Minecraft to lure gullible gamers into installing malware. According to Kaspersky, Minecraft accounted for about 25% of all cybercrime cases associated with game brands. The runners-up included FIFA, Far Cry, and Call of Duty at roughly 10% each.
Other popular games that have had a substantial number of cyberattacks include Grand Theft Auto, Valorant, PUBG, and Roblox.
State of online games
To say the gaming industry is one of the most profitable sectors in the world is an understatement. The gaming industry has effectively made itself a powerhouse among other industry giants.
According to Techjury, over three billion people play games, and the market globally is on track to reach $256.97 billion by 2025. Sony, one of the biggest names in the gaming industry and the creator of the PlayStation, was valued at $97.55 billion in September 2022. In the same year, the global audience for eSports games like League of Legends grew to over half a billion.
The recent boom in gaming is arguably a result of the pandemic. Since then, thousands of people have taken up online gaming as a means of escaping the depressing reality that scourged the globe.
Along with the sudden surge in player base numbers, cybercriminal activity also increased. As the gaming industry grew in its online presence, hackers found new ways to exploit people within popular games.
What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is a sandbox game created by Markus “Notch” Persson using the Java language and developed by Mojang Studios. After numerous initial test versions, the game made its first public appearance in May 2009. With Notch stepping down, Jens “Jeb” Bergensten took over development, and the game’s full version was released in November 2011.
Since then, Minecraft was ported into several other platforms outside of the Windows, Apple, and Linux PC Versions, including:
The Xbox 360 on May 9, 2012
The PlayStation 3 on December 17, 2013
The Xbox One on September 5, 2014
The PlayStation 4 on September 5, 2014
The PlayStation Vita on October 14, 2014
The Wii U on December 17, 2015
The Nintendo Switch on May 11, 2017
The Nintendo 3DS on September 13, 2017
Minecraft is one of the best-selling games of all time. As of 2021, it sold over 238 million copies, with the number of users hitting almost 140 million on a monthly basis.
Minecraft is a sandbox masterpiece with intentionally blocky graphics as part of its charm. Players explore randomly generated 3D worlds with nearly limitless terrain.
The game’s functionality enables creative ways to play, like extracting in-game raw materials, crafting items and tools, and building structures. Players may also fight hostile creatures and even play co-op or PvP mode with other players in the same world, depending on the game mode of their choice.
Minecraft allows a wide variety of user-created content in the game. These include servers, texture packs, custom maps, skins, and modifications that add new possibilities and game mechanics.
At face value, the game promotes creative thinking and socializing with others without the toxicity prevalent in other online games. However, the emphasis on user-generated content introduces vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
Minecraft takes the malware crown
From July 2021 to June 2022, popular game titles were subjected to cyberattacks with the aim of distributing files containing malicious software and malware, such as trojans. The total number of malicious files distributed to unsuspecting players was 91,984. Meanwhile, the total number of users running into these threats globally was about 384,224.
By 2021, Minecraft was one of the most-played video games worldwide for over a decade. Unfortunately, due to its popularity, it is also the bait of choice for cybercrime. Within the same period, cybercriminals distributed 23,239 files that affected 131,005 users using the Minecraft name as a lure.
One incident involved the infection of approximately 50,000 accounts with Minecraft malware designed to wipe hard drives, backup data, and system programs. The Powershell script piggybacked on Minecraft skin mods using the PNG format. The code was not particularly impressive and was probably not created by professional cybercriminals. The real problem the malware incident uncovered was how easy it was to upload the infected skins to the official Minecraft website.
Another sandbox game, Roblox, followed suit with 8,903 unwanted and malicious files distributed and 38,838 affected players.
Even if you avoided these sandbox games, other genres are not entirely safe either. Other game titles hackers use as bait to lure unsuspecting players include Call of Duty, FIFA, and Far Cry. Another significant number of users found threats during searches for Need for Speed and Grand Theft Auto content.
What is malware?
Malware is an amalgamation or short word for malicious software. It refers to any software intentionally developed by cybercriminals or hackers to intrude on computer systems. Their purposes can vary from data theft to damage or complete destruction of computers or computer systems.
The most common malware forms include worms, Trojan horse viruses, adware, spyware, and the infamous ransomware.
Viruses are malicious software contained or attached in a file or document and often require an executable file to activate. Once activated, a virus can spread through computer systems, files, or network router hard drives. A virus spreads through self-replication by modifying computer software and inserting its own code into those programs.
Computer viruses always require a host or some other way to activate them; otherwise, they remain dormant and harmless. The most common ways to activate a computer virus include the following:
Visiting infected websites
Downloading malicious applications
Opening malicious email attachments
Plugging in an infected removable storage device like an external hard disk or USB
Clicking on a scam link
Accessing malicious files or documents
Viewing infected ads
Running malicious software
Some cybercriminals are masters at hiding the viruses they create. Typically, these hackers conceal their viruses in socially shareable files like videos, music, pictures, and even greeting cards. With social media already part of the average person’s daily life, people will inevitably run into infected files at some time or another.
Worms are malware that replicates and spreads quickly into any device or computer within the same network. Compared to viruses, worms are a more independent form of malware. That’s because they don’t require human actions to activate, replicate, modify software, or spread. Worms can infect a computer by downloading files or connecting to an infected network.
What makes worms so dangerous is the fact that you don’t even need to execute a file to infect your device. Files that contain a worm or any connection to an infected network are enough for a worm to spread.
Worms typically use common networking protocols to explore their local network. They spread spontaneously after finding vulnerable systems like older or unpatched software versions in need of upgrading.
Some worms can even access your email and send copies of it to your contacts to increase its spread. The higher the number of unprotected users, the faster and farther worms spread.
Not all systems are vulnerable to worm infection, however. Some are dependent on specific operating systems. Worms designed to infect the Microsoft Windows OS may not have the ability to infect the Apple Mac OS.
Worms may also struggle to infect systems that run fully patched and up-to-date software. That’s why developers highly recommend regularly upgrading your operating software: it protects your system.
Trojan horse malware gets its name from the horse the Greeks used to infiltrate and destroy Troy. Similar to its Greek counterpart, Trojan horse malware can come under the guise of helpful software but from suspicious providers. Most people unintentionally open a Trojan horse thinking they downloaded legitimate software from a reliable source.
Some Trojan horses are harmless and designed purely for pranks like adding funny icons or temporarily messing with mouse functionality. Others, however, have more sinister purposes that can cause severe damage. The most dangerous of these can create back doors exploited by cybercriminals to gain access to your computer system.
At that point, they can do anything from deleting essential files to accessing sensitive, confidential, or personal information. Unlike worms and viruses, Trojan horses cannot self-replicate to infect other files.
Ironically, the most common example of a Trojan horse is antivirus software. That’s why it’s essential to check the legitimacy of any software source, especially when installing antivirus software, because far too often, software posing as cybersecurity software is malware itself.
Malware a remote user secretly runs on another computer is known as spyware. Instead of disrupting your computer’s functionality, cybercriminals use spyware to gain remote access and extract sensitive information. The aim of spyware is often to steal personal or financial information from the victim.
The most common type of spyware is a keylogger. A keylogger keeps records of a person’s keystrokes that can reveal confidential information or login credentials like passwords.
Interestingly, some forms of spyware are relatively harmless and may even coincide with adware. Examples are the tracking cookies websites like Facebook and Google use to optimize ad placements depending on users’ browsing history.
Adware is a type of malware designed to collect information from your computer usage to provide custom advertisements to you. While most adware is more of an annoyance than a danger, some adware can cause performance problems for your system.
Some adware can redirect your browser to unsecured websites that could potentially contain spyware and Trojan horses. Additionally, if there’s enough adware installed, it can even slow down the whole system significantly.
Much like spyware and adware, ransomware is a cybercrime tool used to access sensitive information. However, ransomware takes that a step further by using that information to extort money from the victim.
Some ransomware is harmless and is often a scam or a bluff. An example of harmless ransomware is a program that can lock you out of your computer and demand money to unlock it. These kinds of ransomware are easy to bypass if you know what you’re doing. However, there is another ransomware that has teeth.
A prime example of dangerous ransomware is the kind that can encrypt critical files in your computer. Sometimes, that could still be a bluff you can bypass with enough computer knowledge. However, in most cases, these are the kinds where the hacker can threaten to destroy the decryption key. That will result in you losing the encrypted file entirely unless you pay the ransom.
Beware of Minecraft malware
It seems like malware is everywhere, from social media to popular games like Minecraft. The game has provided a creative outlet for many players of all ages. However, like many online games, it has its downside. The ability to create in-game mods skyrocketed Minecraft’s popularity, but it also introduced in-game vulnerabilities.
Like with any games that enable third-party modifications, you should be careful with your sources. Aside from ensuring you only get your mods from credible sources, it would be best if you also took other precautions. These include using a VPN, installing reliable antivirus software, and other forms of cybersecurity.