Everything in the internet starts with web hosting – the service that makes it all possible by enabling businesses, blogs, and other websites to be accessible online to prospective clients and users. So basically for a business, web hosting is the key to establishing an online presence.

And therein lies the catch…

An unreliable hosting service, despite giving your business an online presence, will occasionally end up making it inaccessible to prospective customers at times when they want to check your website out.

So what does people generally expect from a reliable hosting service then?

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • 99.9% uptime
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Ability to handle mission critical applications
  • Responsiveness

…just to name a few.

But generally people just want a cost-effective hosting solution. Most of them end up availing shared hosting service. For a business, this is actually not a good deal. In the long run, shared hosting just wouldn’t cut it. This leaves them with three other alternatives.

Before we get into details, let’s analyze why shared hosting isn’t a good idea for businesses.

Shared hosting’s low price tag is the decisive factor that makes it preferable to many website owners. But there are other variables that people don’t usually bother to consider. First off, shared hosting is not something that promotes the growth of a business. Your website will be sharing server resources with other websites. If a few of those neighboring websites utilize a lot of server resources, your website will be left to function with what remains; and it won’t be enough to guarantee accessibility to your potential customers at all times.

As a matter of fact, it can slow down your website. This is known as the bad neighbor effect. However, shared hosting is easier to set up and is a good start to just launch your website. But once your website starts to grow and traffic starts to increase, you will be forced to switch to a better hosting solution.

The Alternatives – VPS or Dedicated?

You have 3 alternatives – Cloud, VPS, and Dedicated. But in this blog, we will analyze facts and features to help make the choice between VPS and dedicated servers.

Virtual Private Servers

The best way to describe VPS is to think of it as a condo. When you own a condo, you will be responsible in maintaining it. However, you and the others in the building will be sharing a few resources. VPS is quite similar. Your website will be hosted on a virtual private server (a virtual compartment of a physical server). That is your condo. There will be other virtual compartments that house other websites, and each function independently.

You will get access to the resources you pay for. Other websites on the machine will not be affecting your website’s performance in any way. It also offers more security than shared hosting, and costs much less compared to a low-end dedicated server.
Other benefits include:

  • Scalability; you can add or remove resources depending on your business needs
  • Great control and security with root access
  • Minimal server load, in most cases, results in a comparatively better performance

So basically this is pretty much a more reliable version of shared hosting. And the only limitation you should be worried about is the reliability of the hosting service provider. If you don’t have complete access to all the resources you paid for, your website will run out of breath at peak loads.

Dedicated Servers

One of the best albeit costlier alternative to shared hosting, dedicated hosting solutions give you a server dedicated to serving your website alone. You will not have to share resources with any other websites. Shared hosting may be prone to connectivity issues, downtimes, and even speed drops. Issues like that don’t exist in a dedicated server.

However, you should be mindful of the amount of resources your dedicated hosting solution provides. It’s primarily of use to websites with high or consistently increasing traffic.
Benefits include:

  • More power and control over resources than other hosting alternatives
  • Can handle high traffic without any issues
  • Reliable and highly secure
  • Customizable; you have the choice of using the software and hardware the way you want
  • Supports a plethora of scripting languages

There are two things you need to be aware of if you are interested in availing a dedicated hosting solution. First, the amount of resources the server provides you. Make sure your website has more than enough to function even at peak loads. Second, go for a managed dedicated server if you think you can’t maintain the server on your own. If you go for an unmanaged dedicated server, you will either have to maintain/upgrade/repair the server by yourself or hire help from technicians.

Its biggest limitation is that it’s costlier than other hosting alternatives. If by some chance the server crashes, it will take a good amount of time to get it fixed.



  • VPS is less expensive comparatively and comes with reasonably good features for a low-mid scale website. Dedicated servers are expensive, robust, secure, and ideal for large websites with high traffic.
  • Dedicated servers are comparatively more scalable than virtual private servers.
  • VPS offers just enough security for a website to function (generally), while dedicated servers offer the best security you can get in the hosting sector.



Let’s make things easier. Ask yourself the following questions to figure out the right kind of hosting solution you will need.

  • Is your website small, medium, or big?
  • What is your budget to avail a reliable hosting package?
  • Once the website grows, will there be a lot of traffic?
  • Does your website accept payments for products or services, and does it save sensitive information of registered users in its database?

If your website is big and the traffic keeps increasing, a dedicated server will do you justice. If it’s small and you are not expecting a big spike in traffic, you can manage with a VPS package. If there are sensitive information involved, you would need robust security. A dedicated server is the best option when it comes to security. So basically, your choice ultimately depends on how big the website is, and its demands.

Written by: Safeer

If you are running a business, you may have already dealt with negative feedbacks from a few embittered customers. It’s just one reason that could cost you prospective clients. Moreover, it’s not easy as getting rid of embarrassing party pics from Facebook.

Businesses get access to powerful tools from the internet to boost their growth and expand their territories. However, there are downsides as well. For instance, the amount of control you get over how your business appears online is limited. Your business’ reputation is vulnerable online, as even a single person with an ill intent to damage it, will find it easy to do just that…

…unless you are equipped with some online reputation management (ORM) strategy.

A proper online reputation management obviously requires people with expertise in PR, technology, and online makeovers. They should be able to essentially bury the negative feedbacks, and promote those content that assure clients that your business delivers what it promises.

So why does a business need help managing its reputation? They can do it themselves with their own team, right?

Because it requires profound technical expertise. But of course, there are many things the business can do from their end. However, to repair the damage done to their reputation, they will need services that are tailored to serve that purpose, and personalized for the kind of business their client is running.

It’s a bit sophisticated…kind of.

Basically, it does 3 things.

Monitor. Prevent. Clean up.

Monitoring – This is the most important of the three. You need to know what’s going on with your business.

What people think of it? What alternatives do people have other than your business? How your business appears to them? Will they recommend your services to others?

These are but a few questions you need to consider. There are a number of tools that can provide you with answers to those questions. Google Alerts, Social Mention etc. are two great examples.

Preventing – To prevent something from tarnishing your brand means there should be some amount of protection as well. This protection should extend to not just the company but also to its high profile employees and products/services.

Before we go into the details, here’s another fact about ORM. It shares something common with SEO. You see, branding is one very important asset when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). Coincidentally, it’s also vital in ORM. For your ORM efforts to work, you need to establish your brand well.

Social media can help you with that. You can start a blogging domain, and share your content in social networking websites. However, keep in mind that social media is a double-edged sword. If the content you publish lacks quality or are irrelevant and useless, your plan will backfire. Readers will respond with negative remarks, and that in turn affects your brand.

The more established your brand, the higher your position in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

Clean up – You can be sure this is what you should do next once the damage has been done to your brand. If you think your online reputation is being tarnished, or when you are overwhelmed with targeted attacks from embittered customers, you will need a cleanup service.

Cleanup is just one of the things an ORM service can do for your business. The main purpose is to unify all of your online accounts including social media accounts so as to establish a solid reputation for your business. Technically, SEO falls under ORM too.

Signs that demand ORM

Businesses are willing to be ‘transparent’ in the internet i.e. they are willing to be open to criticisms and feedback. If done right, it can provide beneficial results. However, many SMBs (small – medium sized businesses) choose not to take that risk. It can do more harm than good in the long run though. Businesses online should be transparent, but only if they have an online reputation management service to back them up.

Here are a few signs you should watch out for in your business.

  • Your products and/or services getting too much criticism
  • If your competitors take advantage of the negative feedback you received
  • If your employees are clueless about social media marketing
  • If your brand is being negatively publicized in online forums

If even one of them is present, you should hire an online reputation manager, and a reliable one at that.

Tips to keep in mind

If you still want to manage your online reputation by yourself, here are a few tips that could come in handy.

  • Earn people’s trust and respect – Trust and respect are hard to gain in the online realm. That is why they are very important for businesses online. Build enough trust and your clients won’t lose faith in you even if a few negative reviews about your products show up online.
  • Monitor social media activities – Nowadays, people use social media to post their concerns about a product or to get opinions on a product from a particular brand. If they are talking about you in Facebook, Twitter or any other platform, you should be the first one to know.
  • React quickly, respond softly – If you ever receive complaints from customers, make sure not to keep them waiting for a response from you. Let them know that you are aware of the issue, and that you are working on it. Reassure them that things will be fine. But if you keep them waiting, they would get frustrated enough to lose their trust in your brand, and might even post negative feedbacks in public forums.
  • Never neglect criticisms – Some firms choose not to respond to criticisms believing that the fire will die out after a while. This will most likely antagonize the customer into taking more drastic measures to get the business’ attention.
  • Ask for help if necessary – Sometimes you may feel like your reputation management efforts aren’t making a difference, and is neither protecting nor restoring your brand image. That’s when you should hire a professional online reputation manager.
Written by: Shibu Kumar

Smart Insights, a Digital Marketing company, published an article last month listing top-rated digital marketing techniques that could give businesses an edge in 2017. The information provided in the article was consolidated after crowdsourcing the importance of various trends, rated by the popularity of each, to their readers ending up with over 2300 responses from professional marketers.

According to the article, the readers were asked to share their opinion on the one marketing activity that would provide the biggest incremental uplift to businesses in leads and sales in 2017. The results showed ‘Content Marketing’ at the top followed by ‘Big Data’.
Digital Marketing Techniques 2017
Each of the labels above were expanded to carefully scope the responses. For instance, the definition of Big Data was expanded to include predictive analytics and insights.

From this result, here are 14 of the top-rated digital marketing tactics which will influence the sector in 2017.

1. Content Marketing

It has been in the top 3 for the last 3 years, emphasizing the significance of devising an integrated content marketing strategy to uplift businesses in the digital world. From HubSpot’s recent research, it was clear that more businesses have now started going for a strategic content marketing approach. This is likely to continue in 2017.

With the cost and competition within content marketing increasing, more focus is expected this year on measuring Content Marketing ROI.

2. Big Data

The marketing applications of Big Data include market, customer insight and predictive analytics. Businesses dealing with a very large quantity of real-time data can use big data analytics to analyze the data, and increase sales through personalization.

Diya Soubra’s Data Science blog mentioned 3 V’s that define Big Data – data variety, data volume, and data velocity.
Big Data
The V’s indicate why big data is one of the fastest rising trends selected by businesses dealing with a huge amount of data. Smart Insight also mentions that big data has a connection to machine learning, where it’s used to identify propensity to convert different customer behavior and characteristics.

3. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation has also been in the top 3 for the last couple of years, and has undergone many improvements from a business perspective. According to Smart Insight’s research, businesses can still improve their automation further.
Marketing Automation
Though web personalization, behavioral email marketing and other automation tools for marketing have been successfully establishing their worth in larger businesses, many businesses are still not sure where to begin marketing automation.

4. Mobile Marketing

The opportunities for growth in mobile marketing have gone down lately, as a lot of businesses started focusing more on mobile-friendly web design, and email marketing. This meant they didn’t have to focus more on mobile marketing. It is a fact that retail conversion rates on handheld devices will be significantly lower than that on desktops. However, businesses can still optimize conversion on mobile devices, considering its impact on search marketing evident from Google’s affinity to mobile-friendliness.

According to Smart Insights, this ‘mobile-first’ approach is misleading when you consider the overall customer journey where multiple devices will be used at different points for browsing. They added that mobile strategy should be treated as part of a multichannel strategy instead, rather than as two narrow spectrums (of mobile-only and desktop-only).

5. Social Media Marketing

Smart Insights also seems to agree to the fact that social media still revolutionizes marketing because of its reach, and the options available to engage audiences. Their research also indicated a consistent growth in social media usage, though some social networking platforms became less popular in certain countries.

Social networks like Facebook and Instagram now requires businesses to pay to get the reach they require through the network. Regardless of the mode they choose to monetize, social media marketing still continues to be a hot trend. Social Customer Care and CRM have already started turning heads this year.

6. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

A more data-driven approach of Internet Marketing, CRO was speculated to see the most growth in 2017 by Smart Insights and many other researchers. Though its popularity increased, CRO is still partly in the shadows. Until now, many businesses still haven’t figured out the potential of CRO in increasing leads and sales from their websites. But 2017 could bring about a positive change where we will see CRO getting the attention it deserves.

7. Marketing applications of Internet of Things (IoT)

According to Smart Insights, IoT has been one of the most important marketing technology applications for the last few years, though it is of a much greater value to retailers and device manufacturers.

Many research suggests that a whopping 75 billion connected devices will be present by 2020; almost 10 times the number of people on the planet. According to Smart Insights, IoT devices will be transforming the way we live with this level of data sharing.

8. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine giant, Google, released AMP last year along with announcements on the mobile index. A big increase in AMP smartphone traffic was seen after AMPs were rolled out in September, 2016. Business websites with obstructive popups will be penalized by Google, and the ones that implemented AMP pages will have an edge in 2017.

9. Wearables

Consumable commodities like Apple Watch, Augmented Reality tools etc. turned heads last year. Certain streams of businesses have benefitted from them too. They could play a bigger role this year, as many companies have already started researching ways to leverage the devices in marketing their product. Augmented reality apps have been coming out as well.

10. Paid Search Marketing

Google AdWords has always been the most important form of Pay Per Click. By 2017, they will be switching from standard ads to expanded ads, with two headline fields and one description line, and optimized for mobiles. This could probably be associated with Google’s ‘Mobile First’ strategy. Other forms of paid search marketing will also see some welcome changes this year, presenting more beneficial opportunities for marketers.

11. Online PR

Though it’s commonly linked with SEO or Content Marketing, online PR still retains a low rating. A difference in the way online PR works is much expected in 2017.

12. Communities

Digital marketing communities are still counted as useful platforms for marketers to devise effective marketing strategies.

13. Display Advertising

Banners on ad networks, social media, publishers etc. can still be effective this year depending on how marketers use them.

14. Partnerships including co-marketing

This also made it to Smart Insights’ research results somehow though it still doesn’t have much priority even now. It’s still a neglected aspect of digital marketing according to Smart Insights, but has been used effectively by businesses before.

Written by: Shibu Kumar

While many businesses use various SEO techniques to get their business on the first page of search engine results, some of them don’t bother whether they use White Hat, Black Hat or Grey Hat techniques as long as they get the desired results. This is not a good approach to SEO. Some of the search engine optimization strategies can get your business website penalized and permanently drop its rank.

Times have changed. 2016 calls for more effective yet careful SEO strategies that might require you to modify your previous SEO approach if you aren’t getting good results.

Here are a few effective SEO tips to improve your Google ranking while keeping your website safe from rank drops.

Link building is ok, if…

A commonly practiced strategy, link building includes buying, asking, and selling links. Last year, Google’s John Mueller suggested that link building is unnatural and that webmasters should refrain from using it. However, Google clarified that link building is alright if it’s used in the right way without violating guidelines. Ensure that your business uses link building the right way and avoid dire consequences.

Mobile is the key

eMarketer’s predictions about mobile searches surpassing desktop/laptop searches proved to be true to a certain extent last year. So it’s safe to say that smartphones/tablets will be the key factor for organic traffic and paid clicks in 2016. People now use mobile devices for quick searches. Adapting to changing technologies, Google now gives more importance to mobile-friendliness of a website before ranking it. This means your website should be optimized such that it appeals to mobile users. This goes for your product pages, layout and overall website design.

Lots of content…and good ones too

In 2014, Regalix concluded that 96% of marketers provide informative contents using Search Engine Marketing. In 2016, original content matters more. Try to use fresh contents in your website. Just one or two posts every month will not cut it. In fact, it can lower your rank.

There should be an abundant supply of fresh contents of different varieties targeting the users in your niche. Make sure these contents are informative while conveying why your organization is unique at the same time. The constant update and inflow of fresh content will get you noticed by Google. So keep them coming and go up in ranks.

Where does Social Media fit in?

One last tip before we conclude – The role of social media in SEO. More than 70% online marketers leverage social media to boost SEO. Although businesses include social media in their SEO approach, it still isn’t being effectively used in various parts of the globe. For example, social media marketing in Dubai reaches users but fails to get them to notice the businesses in most cases.

This is exactly the reason why an SEO strategy combining Content Marketing and Social Media is one of the best approaches a business can use. Google has revealed that social signals have become an important ranking factor now. The more social signals you have, the faster you rise in search rankings. Use social media to expose the contents you have rather than focusing on getting your organization noticed.

Keeping all these tips and the aforementioned factors in mind, revise your SEO approach to get better results. Even if you rely on an SEO Company, make sure they do it the right way without violating Google’s guidelines.


You may also like this – 4 Questions You Should Ask any SEO Company Before Hiring It

Written by: Rini Chandra

It never is easy to identify a great SEO partner especially when getting your business in the top rank list of search engines is a dominant factor of business expansion. With the rising competition in SEO services, it’s difficult to pick a partner that delivers on their promise.

A gaudy website and SEO jargons don’t make an SEO company good enough to help your business grow. That’s why you should definitely ask 4 questions before making a wise choice.

May I know your present, past and long running clients?

This question aims at helping you measure the capabilities of an SEO company. If the company is what they claim to be, they will have no issues in providing you with details of their work with past clients as case studies, along with other proofs that their services have helped many businesses. Although most of them won’t be able to share much, they will surely be able to share reports on how their services made a positive impact on their clients.

Will I be able to know the changes that you make in my site?

This question stems from the fact that SEO consultants might make changes in your website coding as part of their SEO campaigns. You will need to know what all webpages will be subjected to these changes and how it will affect your business’ SEO. You may even suggest letting them ask for permission every time they change a website code.

What type of Link building do you follow – White Hat, Black Hat or Grey Hat?

According to experts, using Software or other automated techniques to build links for a website may only grant a short term boost. This is considered to be a Black Hat approach. Chances are, it will do more harm than good in the long run. It is also not wise to let your SEO partner buy links on your behalf. Paid links also grant your business a temporary SEO boost, until Google finds out and penalizes you, which will cost a whole lot more. White Hat tactics, on the other hand, is a slow but fruitful process if executed properly. It primarily includes hand-crafted links, blogging and content marketing, as well as social share.

Do you stick to search engines’ SEO guidelines?

Google posted “Webmaster Best Practices” publically, asking SEO Consultants and Website owners to prohibit a couple of SEO practices like bogus links, spam contents etc. You have to make sure that your SEO Services provider abides by these rules. Otherwise, your business may end up with an abysmally low search results rank or, worst case scenario, get banned from search results completely. The Webmaster’s Best Practices are not just limited to Google. There are guidelines for other search engines as well.

Remember that an SEO Consultant can help or harm your business. A good SEO partner is especially difficult to find in the UAE. Keep in mind the fact that any SEO company Dubai is answerable to all the aforementioned questions and more to prove their worth as a beneficial SEO Consultant.

Written by: Shibu Kumar
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