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What Does Google Know About Me?

Have you ever thought about your digital footprint and the trail of information you leave behind? No? If not, let’s just say that you are leaving behind a slew of data.  

While some search engines have chosen to dump that data, Google is one of the few that save your every move. If you have ever signed up and used Google’s services, then just know that they know everything about you. Yes, everything! That might sound terrifying at first, but the purpose of this “invasion of privacy” makes total sense! Just how much they know about you, though, is determined by the services you use. 

According to recent 2021 statistics, Google is the number one most popular website in both the global market and the U.S. Considering the grasp they have on the average person’s life, it makes sense. With applications and services like Gmail, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google Drive, Maps, Adsense, Translate, Calendar, etc.; It would be hard to deny the power behind this tech-giant. 

Why is Google collecting my data? 

You may be wondering, why is Google collecting my information? What do they need it for? Well, there is a simple explanation for that. In this great big technological world that we live in today, data is the driving force behind the information economy. While there are many different types of data flooding the Internet, the most profitable type of data is something called personal data. Much of today’s society doesn’t realize how important their data means to tech giants like Google. In order to monetize its services, Google must collect your information. They do all of this to track your interests and gain a better understanding of who you are. This is so that they can cater to you and make your experience better.  

Based on the services that you have used, Google knows you almost as well as your closest friend; Maybe even more. 

How is data gathered?

Understanding how the company gathers information is key to grasping exactly what Google knows about you. Don’t worry, there isn’t some stalker on the other side of your screen watching your every move. Google simply stores all of your data and keeps a historical record of it so that they can access it years down the road. That doesn’t sound much better, does it? (Ha!) 

That sounds conniving, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s not. When you sign up for Google services, you agree for them to view, track, and save your data. Basically, you are signing away your privacy.  But, let’s be honest, anyone who uses the Internet is signing away their privacy. Let’s face it, we live in a world without a lot of privacy. 

Because Google owns and operates so many services, they have numerous ways to track you and gather your data. With Google Search, the team keeps a history of every search you’ve ever made. Google Chrome provides the team with a complete history of every website you have ever visited. YouTube allows them to track every video you have ever watched. Google Maps has access to your location and history. Google actually owns another location app called WAZE that also tracks your location and history. If you own an Android phone, Google is storing your messages and app usage. Think about all the other Google apps that you use: Photos, Calendar, Docs, Drive, and so on. Each of those services and more are capturing data and storing it for their own personal use. It’s all to create a better service for you. They want to make sure they provide what you want before you even want it. That’s high-tech, am I right? 

How do I make Google stop collecting my data? 

Did I completely scare the living daylight out of you? If anything, I hope this information made you more aware of your actions online. If you want Google to stop collecting data on you, your solution is simply to stop using their products. If you want to take drastic measures to stop using Google services, you should switch from an Android to an Iphone, install a Firefox Browser and download DuckDuckGo, WolframAlpha, or any other search engine that doesn’t track. There are tons of them out there! All it takes is a quick search. 

The thought of being tracked by Google shouldn’t be that scary. Their main reason for doing it is to create a better experience for you. There are tons of different websites, search engines and apps that track your data. The Internet is a public place that you have willingly entered. You are being tracked some way or another, no matter what you do. At least you can control it a little more when using search engines like DuckDuckGo and WolframAlpha. Google is just more open about being less private. If you didn’t get anything else out of this article, I hope it stands as a simple reminder to be cautious of how you are using the Internet.

Despite the fact that they track you, many businesses utilize Google to improve their search engine ranking, draw visitors to their website, and grow their business.

How to Choose The Best Domain Name For Your Brand

Choosing a domain name that fits your brand could possibly be the most important thing that you could ever do for your website. It is pivotal for your success. A good domain name can be an extremely profitable marketing tool to help grow your brand. 

A strong domain name can create so many opportunities for your business, such as professional credibility, visibility, and mobility. Your domain name can also help you in search engine rankings. As you begin to grow your business, your name will become more recognizable by Google, in turn, drawing more customers to your site. 

The actual process of choosing a domain name can be intimidating. If you choose the wrong name, you risk damaging your brand or hurting your search rankings. Your name should compliment your business and create a lasting impression on your customers. In this article, we will share tips, tools and steps to choosing the best domain name for your brand.  

1. Use a .Com Domain Extension 

There are tons and tons of different domain name extensions available today, ranging from .com, to .net, .org, .online, .wine, .life, .jewelry, .photography and so on! There are 280 Internet domain extensions in total, so you would have a wide variety of extensions to choose from. We recommend choosing a .com extension, as they are viewed as the most credible type of website. As cool as it would be to have a unique looking domain name, stick with the .com extension. Believe it or not, .com is the most memorable domain extension. Those who aren’t as “tech-savvy” will automatically tack .com to the end of your domain, whether or not it ends with .com. It might be smart to just avoid the creative extensions and stick with ‘ole reliable.

2. Keep Domain Name Short 

It is important to include keywords into your domain name, but don’t overdo the length. Keep it short so that it is more memorable. Standard rules say to keep your domain name under 15 characters or less. Anything longer than 15 characters can start to get hard for users to remember. Longer domain names also come with the risk of a misspelling, deterring those users away from your site 

3. Keep it Brandable and Unique 

Along with making sure that your domain is short and ends in .com, you should also make sure that it’s unique and creative. Your business name should stand out in your users’ minds, so they never forget it! Before choosing your name, do some research on other blogs/websites and find out what words and names they are using. That research will come in handy more than you think. In the midst of creation, it will help keep you away from a copyright nightmare, yet inspire you to create something that fits your brand. Think of some names that are catchy, yet brandable. For example, websites like Amazon, Google, Target, and many more have very catchy business names that have shown to be wildly successful over the years. 

4. Leave Room to Expand 

When choosing a domain name, do not limit your options. If possible, think about where your business may be in a few years. If you see your business expanding, then do not limit your business! For example, a hair stylist might choose a domain name such as hairstylespace.com, but later might want to offer more services. Instead of branding the website hairstylespace, the hair stylist may want to consider a different business name that would encompass all of the services they offer. Keep in mind that moving your site to a new domain can be a pain in the rear end! Not only that, but it can cause many downfalls, including losing search engine rankings. Our advice is to do yourself a solid and create a flexible name from the very beginning. 

5. Avoid Hyphens and Double Letters 

Stay away from creating domain names with hyphens or double letters. Hyphens can easily be mistaken for suspicious content or spam, which will deter users from visiting your site. Domains with hyphens are also more prone to typos. If you choose a domain name with a hyphen, users may get confused and end up on your competitors site instead. It’s also a good idea to avoid using double letters because it increases the chances of making a typo. For example, let’s say you decided to make it: egggrass.com. Notice the three G’s in the domain name? That kind of a domain name will end up causing typos. Do your best to avoid things that would cause confusion! 

Choosing your domain name may seem like a daunting task, but at the end of the day it should be a fun and creative process. This is your opportunity to define your brand’s message and mission! If you need help with this process, the Hostirian team is filled with creative professionals who’ve done this for years! If you’re running out of ideas, they can help you determine the perfect domain name for your website. If you want to check to see what domain names are available, we have that too!

Is WordPress Dying? The Answer is Simple

A Typewriter Printing out a ppaer that says WordPress

For quite some time, WordPress has been known as the most powerful content management system on the market. With an estimated 35% of the Internet powered by WordPress, it’s immeasurable popularity doesn’t seem to be fleeting anytime soon. It’s hard to imagine that such a powerful system could possibly be close to death. 

WordPress has made extensive strides since its release in 2003. The powerful platform has evolved from a simple blogging tool into a comprehensive content management system. Would you believe me if I told you that WordPress is still growing? Yes, that’s right! To all those negative nellies out there that believe WordPress is even remotely close to death, look at the facts! 

What do researchers say?

There are over 2 billion websites in existence. As stated before, WordPress powers 35% of those active websites. That’s a huge number! WordPress websites also make up 14.7% of the top 100 websites in the world. Giant companies utilize WordPress to operate their website, such as NBC, TED, CNN, UPS, Best Buy, and many more. WordPress is also known to handle outrageous amounts of traffic on a daily basis. In fact, the powerful platform receives nearly 20 billion page views per month. 

As easy as it may be to point fingers and assume that WordPress is on the brink of death, think about how many people use it every single day. The platform continues to dominate the market; It shows no sign of slowing down. 

Given these statistics that clearly show the steady incline of WordPress success, it would be hard to imagine that such a system could possibly take a hit. What’s even more shocking is that people think the platform is actually dying! Everywhere you look, there are videos and articles pointing to seemingly prejudiced opinions as to why WordPress is headed for the junkyard. 

Why do people suggest WordPress is dying?

While the idea that WordPress is dying simply isn’t true, the reasons for such baloney should be addressed. When you take somebody who already dislikes WordPress and combine it with negative personal experiences, you get somebody who is fully convinced that the platform is on its way to the grave.

WordPress grew into its massive size because it has provided the simplest process for getting a website up and running. As the years have progressed, other web builders like Drupal, Joomla, and Wix have jumped into the competition in an effort to make a simpler web design process. In an effort to compete, those sites created their web design process to be as simple and easy as possible. Those sites were designed for the ultimate beginner, and as a result, making sites like Wix, Drupal and Joomla more restrictive. People started flocking to other platforms because they wanted a website that was easy to use and more limited.  

This placed WordPress in a very awkward position as it became people’s second-choice. People no longer considered WordPress a “go-to” solution. Although things have certainly changed, the platform is still dominating the market.

So? What else?

On top of the tempting competition, people consider WordPress on the brink of a brutal death because of its use of older technologies. 

WordPress uses a programming and scripting language called PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), which used to be extremely powerful and prevalent back when it was first created. It is still powerful, but not as powerful as it used to be due to the advancement of technology in other areas. PHP is a server side scripting language that is embedded in HTML. Its purpose is to manage content, session tracking, databases, and build e-commerce sites. Users do not need to know PHP in order to use or manage WordPress. Users just need to know that it operates with PHP. Although PHP has come a long way since its first release in 1994, people do not consider using it as often because of the creation of other, more efficient, scripts. 

The rise of JavaScript has taken over the minds of web creators all over the world, convincing them that WordPress is officially behind the times. JavaScript has most recently been ranked first among programming, scripting and markup languages. PHP was ranked 9th among that list. Although both programs can be used and enjoyed by developers, many people consider the popularity of the script language when deciding what to use, resulting in WordPress moving further down the list of content management systems that people most enjoy. 

No, it’s not dying…

While it’s true that WordPress has some hefty competition and uses older programming, the platform is still considered the most powerful content management system in the world. Keep in mind that technology is ever changing. It would be unfair to “pin” WordPress on the programming that has made them undeniably successful for years and years.

Despite what people may believe, WordPress is still growing and making changes. It is very alive and continues to dominate the market because of the number of people who are using it. Although WordPress might get a bad rap, there is no other content management system out there that can match its speed, efficiency, flexibility, adaptability, and support.

If I have enticed you to use WordPress for your website needs, then follow this link and my team and I will help you get started.

What is SEO and Why is It Important?

Did you know that organic search is most often the primary source for web traffic? That places a big weight on the shoulders of search engines. Because organic search is most often used, SEO has become a main tactic for putting websites in the position to be seen by web visitors.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is all about brand exposure, website ranking, credibility, increasing the quantity and quality of web traffic, and creating a better experience for web visitors. 

Search Engine Optimization is a method of increasing a website’s ranking on search engine results such as Google, Yahoo, AOL, Bing, and many more. There are hundreds of factors that go into search engine rankings. These factors help websites get closer to ranking at the top of search results.

Why is it important?

A website that ranks at the top of the search results page will have more web traffic. That is just a fact! This is just one of the many reasons why businesses optimize their website. It is one more way that those businesses can gain traffic. Not only does great SEO increase website traffic, but it also increases yearly sales and revenue. Optimizing your website for SEO is an important step in getting your brand noticed. In its essence, SEO makes your website more visible, trustworthy, and credible.

How does SEO work?

SEO can only be truly understood when you understand the purpose of search engines. 

A search engine is meant to provide impartial search results that detail and present information as quickly and as accurately as possible. In order for a search engine to provide you those quick results, they need to be able to identify and analyze websites all over the Internet that match what you are looking for.

There are over 1 billion websites in existence today. Search engines are working overtime to pick through active, inactive, quality, and subpar websites to display high-quality and relevant results. Just think about that for a second! We do not give search engines enough credit. Nowadays, we just expect search engines to display results in two seconds. We don’t even think about the work that goes on behind the scenes to make those results pull up quickly and accurately. 

For example, let’s say that you typed “Restaurants near me” into Google. You wait a few seconds and local restaurants begin to pull up. You may not have realized this before, but Google is analyzing tons of data from different websites before displaying them to you. Want to know something crazy? Search engines are analyzing data ALL the time! They actually never stop analyzing data. That’s how you know that the websites perched at the top of the page are relevant and high-quality!

How do search engines analyze so much data?

But wait! How are search engines able to analyze so much data on millions of websites everyday?

Their secret? Web crawlers. 

A web crawler, sometimes known as a spiderbot, is an Internet bot that systematically and regularly browses the web for the purpose of indexing. Web crawlers look for specific things when browsing websites. Search engines use web crawler’s information to separate the high-quality sites from the subpar sites. The high-quality sites that use SEO-friendly techniques are ranked higher. Those will be the websites that you see at the top of the page when you search for anything specific. 

The websites at the top of the page are deemed “trustworthy” because they contain most of the necessary information needed to have the best SEO. The websites on the second, third and fourth pages aren’t necessarily “untrustworthy”, but they are missing a few things that would boost their ranking even higher! The ways that you optimize your website have a direct effect on your SEO ranking. There are hundreds of different ways that you can improve your SEO. One way that you can get started is by improving your keywords