Designing a great looking website doesn’t need to be prohibitively expensive or overly complicated. In fact, you don’t need to spend a single nickel and you don’t need to have any specialized coding skills whatsoever to have a clean, responsive web design, complete with built-in SEO tools and fancy features like integrated Google Maps, Soundcloud integration, website passwords and even e-commerce functionality. This is the promise of SITE123 and they say they can do it for free.
The Easiest Website Builder
Positioning itself as “by far the easiest free website builder” around, SITE123 is meant to be as accessible as possible to all users, regardless of technical expertise or experience.
While web design might feel like an incredibly daunting and intimidating proposition for a lot of people, SITE123 makes it easy for anyone to have a professional-looking website up and running literally in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is decide on the type of website you want to have, customize the options to suit your preferences and enter your content.
SITE123 is casting its net wide with its browser-based solution. This is great for entrepreneurs and freelancers, for instance, who want to have a great online presence without the potentially huge expense of hiring a professional designer to come up with a completely unique design. All you have to do is work your way through the easy-to-follow wizard.
Easier Than Drag and Drop
You’ve likely come across some other site builders where the interface is designed to be drag-and-drop. You choose the elements you want to have, you drag them into place, and then you can move them around or resize them, adding the details (like text and color) accordingly. That’s far easier than raw code, of course, but it still adds a layer of complexity that can be confusing or frustrating to use for some people.
SITE123 works differently in that you get to pick between a number of pre-configured designs and layouts through more of a point-and-click kind of interface. The “live” preview of your website or webpage appears on the right as you navigate through the multi-tiered menu on the left. What you see above is an example of a homepage that I worked on for the purposes of this review.
I was able to simply and easily choose the website name, customize the text for the title and slogan, and select from a huge library of royalty-free images to use as the background. In going through the available layouts, I found several that made it easy to integrate a video as part of the design too. While you may not have quite as many options as some other site builders, this also allows for a greater level of simplicity and approachability. The same holds true for the various pages you want to have your website.
A great way to catch a glimpse into how the SITE123 free website builder works are with the three-minute video they posted on YouTube. It offers a quick overview of several of the key features and interface choices for the site builder, so you’ll know what to expect before you decide to build a website of your own.
SITE123 Offers All Kinds of Websites Tools
What’s really fascinating about the SITE123 system is that it can be used to power a wide variety of websites.
Regardless of the kind of website you want to run, you have access to a huge wealth of features, including free hosting, free SSL/HTTPS encryption, unlimited web pages, email accounts, 24/7 website support, and access to a gigantic image, icon and video library that you can use to populate your website as you see fit. This “gallery” tool is incredibly useful and easy to use too.
Based on the type of website that you are interested in building, you’ll be presented with a slightly different set of options and default layouts. The tools that integrate into a photography website, for example, would not be the same as the ones used for promoting and selling tickets for an event, or the kind of website you might want to have to host your CV and portfolio.
I was surprised to see the online store among this list of options, as e-commerce usually comes at a cost with most other providers. With SITE123, you can quickly and easily set up an online store that is always open and ready to accept orders. Simply populate your online store with your products, and you’ll be able to manage orders and handle customer inquiries with ease.
SITE123 Even Has Full Blogging Capabilities
Yes, you can use SITE123 to create a blog too. Remember that you get access to a great library of images and videos, as well as the ability to host unlimited pages on your account, making it a great option for a blog. The site is automatically responsive and search engine optimized too.
The interface for managing your blog posts is kept simple and straightforward. You can see the thumbnail image and title along the left, the publish date and time in the middle (including the ability to schedule posts), and the buttons along the right to edit, delete and change the visibility.
Within each individual blog post, you are similarly offered a simple but very robust WYSIWYG editor. Here, you can assign the title, date and time, as well as post tags. The image can come from the royalty-free gallery or you can upload your own. The short description is the meta description that shows up on your homepage and in search engine results, and the long description is the blog post itself.
As you can see, you have access to full formatting tools like bold, italics, bullet points, blockquotes and so forth. You can also easily insert images and videos, adding links and changing other properties as you see fit. One feature that I found helpful was that when you click in an empty paragraph space in the editor, a small “plus” symbol appears on the left for “quick insert.” Clicking on this reveals a floating toolbar to insert images, videos, tables, unordered lists, ordered lists and horizontal lines. Handy!
Is It Really Free?
The site builder itself is completely free and it really does come with free hosting too. The catch is that your website can only live on a SITE123 subdomain and you are limited to 500 MB of storage and 1 GB of monthly bandwidth. You can have theoretically unlimited pages, but they need to fit within the confines of your account.
If you wish to map your website to your own custom domain, you will then need to invest in at least the $9.80/month premium plan. This removes the SITE123 floating tag and upgrades you to 10 GB of storage and 5 GB of bandwidth, as well as providing you with a free domain for a year and access to e-commerce tools.
Beyond the free and premium plans featured on the pricing page, there are also options for even higher plans too. These generally increase the amount of storage and bandwidth you have, but there are some other notable upgrades too. For example, while the $9.80/month plan gives you e-commerce, you are limited to 10 orders per month. Each successively larger plan increases that number. You can also add more mailboxes, unlock additional languages, remove the SITE123 footer tag, and leverage more advanced e-commerce features.
Go ahead and take SITE123 for a free test drive first. It costs you nothing to get started and you can have an account in a matter of seconds. This really is the easiest and most robust free website builder around.
Acquire Empowers Customer Conversations With Technology
The way that the world of business works today is that you need to be able to have those targeted conversations with the right customers at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way. Online users in particular demand a certain level of instant connection. If they don’t get the answers they want right away, they are apt to move on to the next viable alternative.
Facilitating your ability to have personalized and targeted conversations with customers is Acquire, a complete multi-channel messenger packed with invaluable features.
Sparking a Conversation
Utilized by such notable businesses as Samsung, Audi and Penske, as well as the UK government, Acquire is positioned as a customer communication platform.
The objective here is to provide you with a messaging platform where you customers can connect with your sales and support teams in a quick, efficient, and user-friendly manner. But really what is key here is that the communication through Acquire extends beyond what your sales and support teams are able to deliver.
And a big part of this has to do with the remarkable artificial intelligence (AI) that Acquire employs for its chatbots. This can automate much of the process to deliver faster, more personalized support in a way that is utterly seamless, working right alongside your human team to provide the best customer experience possible.
Live Chat and Chatbots
You may have noticed that an increasing number of websites on the Internet provide some sort of “live chat” functionality, all without having to go to an actual “live chat” page or to initiate a session directly. This is powered through a little “chat” icon that is omnipresent across all pages.
With Acquire live chat, your agents are able to talk to customers both on your website and through your mobile app. This can include regular text-based chat sessions with support for links, thumbnails and images, but also live video chat for the fastest and most efficient customer support. This is terrific for sales too, because it means you’re able to reach the right customers at the perfect time.
But what if you don’t have human agents available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Or what if there are certain routine questions and queries that are not the best use of human resources? That’s where the modern, AI-based chatbot from Acquire can step in. All you have to do is import your existing FAQs, chat history and knowledge base. Your bot can then use this to build its foundation for interacting with customers.
The chatbot is constantly learning based on its interactions with customers, so it only gets smarter and better over time. Common customer questions can be answered quickly and efficiently. This includes sales inquiries for improved conversions and support questions for intelligent suggestions. You can review the questions your bot has been answering and refine as needed for future inquiries.
When more complex issues arise, a human agent can be assigned to pick up where the chatbot left off. Indeed, the chatbot recognizes how to best route a customer query to the best possible human representative. And even where a human team member wasn’t called in to intervene, it’s easy enough to review the bot conversations and pass along the key customer details to a human team member for follow-up. Remember that the goal is an exceptional customer experience.
The Advantage of Co-browsing
Another major component to the Acquire platform is a feature they call co-browsing. This allows your agents to interact with a customer’s web screen in real time.
This is hugely advantageous over conventional sales and support chats, where needed, because it means that a customer doesn’t have to capture a screenshot, find somewhere to save it, and then figure out how to get that screenshot to an agent. To provide the best user experience, co-browsing allows customers to show agents where they’re having difficulty, while also allowing agents to show customers how to best resolve their issue.
The cobrowse feature isn’t just simple screen sharing either. For example, it’s possible for agents to interact with what is shown on the customer’s screen using drawing and highlighting tools. They can point out that they should fill out “this” field or that they need to click “that” button or that “this” section is used for whatever purpose.
Agents can also navigate customers through your website on their behalf to help them get to where they need to go. What’s more, co-browsing with Acquire works not only on your own company website, but also on other sites. All you have to do is put the URL in a co-browse box on the dashboard and your agents and customers can share in the experience in real-time.
No third-party downloads are necessary, and you can mask out private data and fields (like credit card information) so your agents can’t see or interact with them. Security is certainly a priority. Co-browsing works in parallel with live chat or video chat, as well as with phone representatives working at call centers too.
What Else Can It Do?
The goal with Acquire as a platform is to provide the tools you need to “encourage customer engagement and success across the board.”
The advanced AI sales and support chatbot can automate much of your customer interactions, freeing up time and resources for your human team. This can boost productivity, because the chatbot can handle more routine inquiries on their behalf. Co-browsing adds great value to the customer experience too, as does the integrated video and voice chat.
Beyond that, you’ll find the ability to create campaigns to segment customers based on behavior, manage customer profiles so you can best target them with the relevant promotions and campaigns, and dive into the deep analytics with plentiful data to boost sales, identify successes, and improve support.
How Much Does It Cost?
Acquire is offered in three main pricing tiers to suit a range of businesses.
The basic tier is free and includes one agent. The scope here is modest, allowing for 250 customer profiles, one campaign, and the basic chat messenger. The $25 (per agent) premium tier adds co-browsing and screensharing, video and voice chat, complete integrations, and unlimited campaigns and customer profiles. The $200 team plan is the most popular with 5 agents ($40/month more for additional agents), the AI chatbot, mobile SDK, video and voice call recording, and team analytics.
Take Acquire out for a free test drive for 14 days. Set-up is easy and no credit card is required.
Managed WordPress Hosting From 1&1 Makes Websites Easy
We’ve come a very long way since the early days of the Internet. Way back then, you had to dig right into the raw code if you wanted to create your own website. The technical aspect was overwhelmingly complex and intimidating for the vast majority of people. Thankfully, building a website is much easier than ever before and it’s a lot more affordable to boot. The key is finding the right platform and the right providers to fuel your online journey and 1&1 Internet wants to be on your team.
A Full-Featured Web Hosting Provider
It may surprise many of you to learn that 1&1 was actually founded way back in 1988, back when the public Internet was still in its infancy. Since then, the company has proudly served up some 15 million customer contracts around the world, employing more than 7,000 people around the globe. A fly-by-night operation they most certainly are not.
What you can expect from 1&1 is a full suite of product and service offerings so you and your website can be successful online. This starts with domain registration with your standard .com and .org TLDs, as well as more unique TLDs like .online and .club if that is what you are after. When you “claim your perfect domain” with 1&1, you also get a free email address and unlimited subdomains.
As you make your way around the 1&1 website, you’ll find an impressive array of services, including multiple web hosting options, cloud server services, business email solutions, online accounting software, several options for building and running an eCommerce website, local and online marketing tools, and web security. This is just about everything you’d need.
The 1&1 Website Builder
For people who aren’t at all interested in getting themselves elbow-deep into the complexities of a custom web design, the 1&1 MyWebsite website builder is ideal. The goal here is to provide an all-inclusive package for not only building and designing a great looking website, but also supporting whatever it is that you wish to accomplish with the website. This includes marketing tools like a newsletter to keep your customers informed of what’s going with your business.
The process starts with choosing one of the numerous customizable design templates for your website. These templates cover a broad range of industries and usage cases, including real estate, arts and leisure, professional services, restaurants and tourism, health and beauty, and even just personal pages. There are literally thousands of these templates to choose from, each of which can be customized to align with your brand.
What’s great is that you are also offered access to a high-quality image archive with over 20 million images to give your website the visual appeal you desire. As you work through your website project, you will be offered image and text suggestions to make the process even easier. It really is approachable by just about anyone, even if you’re not technically inclined. There’s even an integrated Google translator to serve international audiences as well as a built-in online photo editor to edit those images on the fly.
WordPress Web Hosting
You can certainly choose to pick up a standard web hosting plan from 1&1 and install WordPress yourself. All you’d have to do is log into your 1&1 control panel and then search for WordPress through the provided app center to start your website project. However, for people who are less technically inclined or who don’t want to deal with the finer details of administration, the Managed WordPress packages from 1&1 could be much more appropriate.
The monthly price for the Managed WordPress plans with 1&1 cover the same range as the regular web hosting plans, but these are targeted specifically at users who plan on using WordPress and would like to take advantage of the easier installation, plus automatic security updates, pre-installed plugins, WP Expert support, and more. This will help you hit the ground running.
You see, while you could take the standard hosting plan and go through to complete the regular security updates on your own, this managed hosting plan puts your mind at ease, because you’ll know you’ll always have the newest updates installed and running properly. And since the most popular plug-ins come pre-installed, you don’t have to spend time doing that either.
The monthly plans are based mostly on the number of WordPress projects you wish to have. The basic plan is just $0.99/month for the first year ($7.99/month after that) and it supports one project with 50 GB of SSD storage and unlimited visitors, plus a free domain for 12 months. Most users will likely step up to the second tier with the plus plan for $4.99/month for the first year ($9.99/month after that) for five WordPress projects and 250 GB of SSD storage, as well as unlimited visitors and the one-year free domain.
The other big difference when you upgrade from a basic plan to the plus plan, even if you don’t have much interest in running more than one WordPress site, is that you gain access to the 1&1 CDN (content delivery network). This ensures the best possible experience and the fastest loading times for your site visitors. You also get up to 2 GB of RAM guaranteed and the SSD web space means faster performance too. They say you get up to 50% more speed compared to traditional hard drives!
Your Home on the Web
Should you ever get to the point where you’d rather administer your WordPress site yourself entirely, you can always move away from a managed WordPress experience to one that is self-guided. The reverse isn’t true, so most WordPress users should at least start with the managed packages first. And realistically, if you plan on powering your sites with WordPress, there’s no reason not to get the managed plans. Just the automatic updates alone make it an excellent choice.
Creating, designing, launching and running a successful website doesn’t need to be hard. When you opt for a hosting plan with 1&1, you gain access to a wealth of terrific features at an affordable price. No wonder they’ve been around for so long and have proudly served millions of satisfied customers around the globe.
Megapu.sh Push Notifications Ad Network Really Clicks
The world of online advertising has changed significantly since the early days of the Internet. Publishers want to maximize their earnings while advertisers want to maximize their return on investment. Part of the challenge stems from the ongoing battle to get a user’s attention and one of the fastest growing trends to address this conundrum is the push notification. And Megapu.sh is “the first advertising push notifications network.”
The Network of Push
The earliest memory you may have of a push notification may have been when you received an email message on your BlackBerry. Push notifications have evolved tremendously since that time and they’ve been pushed onto desktops as well. This represents a huge opportunity for publishers and advertisers alike.
With Megapu.sh, you gain the opportunity to deliver your visual ad creative to users by push notification directly onto their device. This includes both mobile devices and desktop. Push notifications offer several key advantages over other types of online advertising. Rather than putting out an ad and hoping that the user goes to the right website and then hoping that the user notices the ad, the push notification puts your message front and center.
As an advertiser, you want to attract the attention of the right user at the right time at the right place. Push notifications allow for that, especially if you tap into advanced functionality like geo-activated notifications. You can target based on device, OS, browser, country, ISP and more. And you only pay for the clicks you receive (CPC) to maximize your potential ROI.
Usage Cases and Scenarios
Megapu.sh lists several potential usage cases where a push notification ad campaign can be very successful and profitable for the advertiser. Push notifications are a great way to inform customers about special offers and promotions, for instance, as well as a way to attract new subscribers for your email marketing list.
You can just as easily utilize a push notification to inform users about news and content as you can if you want to tell them about free games, free downloads and more. It really is as versatile as you want it to be. The push notification itself takes on a standard form where you upload an image (2:1 aspect ratio), along with title text and a short description. Whatever you want to promote, you can do it with a push notification.
Among existing advertisers on the Megapu.sh platform, you’ll find a fairly even split between such verticals as sweeps, dating, products, news, binary options, bookmakers and gambling. As long as you follow the rules — adult content is prohibited, for example — you can advertise almost anything you’d like. You do need to pre-fund your account before launching a campaign; the minimum deposit is $100.
The first thing that you’ll need to do when you log into your account for the first time is to review the Megapu.sh rules. There’s no button for “I Accept,” but it is in your best interest to read through these rules carefully to ensure you comply with the network’s guidelines. After that, simply click on the “My account” button in the top-right corner to access your dashboard.
This is all pretty straightforward and easy to understand. If you click on your name in the top-right corner, you can select to edit your profile from the resulting pull-down menu. There’s not too much on this page aside from your name, Skype contact, Telegram, and phone number, as well as the option to change your password. Next to your name is the option to switch between English and Russian as your language of choice.
On the dashboard, you’ll be shown the number of clicks you’ve received across all campaigns today, as well as your total ad spend for the day. Below that is a chart for the same information over a period of time, and below that you’ll see some information about your top campaigns, as well as the geolocations with top campaigns across the network.
The main navigation is along the left sidebar where you’ll also see your support contact information, plus where you can create a new campaign, access existing campaigns, add funds to your account, check the total volume across the network by country, look into your referral program stats (7%), and look into the rules, news, API and FAQ.
Create a Campaign
The process for setting up a new campaign in Megapu.sh consists of just a single page. Just click on “new campaign” in the left sidebar.
On this page, you’ll be asked to provide all the pertinent details for your campaign. This includes a campaign name, which is mainly only for your own reference. Beyond that, you’ll need to provide a target URL for the link, a title (maximum 30 characters) to appear in the push notification ad and a message (maximum 45 characters) to appear in the push notification. For the latter two, there is a “smiley face” button there if you’d like to insert an emoji.
After that, you’ll need to upload the primary image (492 x 328 pixels) and the icon (192 x 192 pixels) for your campaign. There don’t appear to be any specific guidelines for file format here. I used PNG and JPG files and had no problem. You will need to resize them to the right dimensions though. Below that you’ll find all your targeting options, like country and browser, as well as your CPC bid in cents. In other words, a bid of 0.1 is equal to $0.001 or 1/10th of a penny per click.
When you select a country, you will be shown the minimum price and the average price for that geolocation. Understandably, some countries are more expensive than others. The average bid in Canada was about 5 cents, whereas the average price for Albania is just 0.3 cents. Your mileage may vary. Below this is an option to select a start and end time, define an IP range, and choose between five networks: MegaPush, AdMaven, AdSterra, PropellerAds and Advexxx.
Click on the red “preview” button and you’ll be shown what your push notification ad will look like when deployed. Click on the blue “create” button and your campaign will be submitted for moderation. And that’s it. Once your ad is approved, you can check up on its stats, group it with other campaigns, top up your budget, and so on.
The Future Is Push
Generating over 12 million clicks every day from countries all around the world, Megapu.sh is a demonstrated leader in the arena of push notification advertising. Minimum prices are as low as $0.001 per click and you get a full tracker with no need for third-party trackers. Some of the top geos include India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia and Thailand, but you can just as easily target just about anyone from anywhere. Sign up today and unleash your potential.
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