Your Title and Meta Description Are Key for Sensational SEO

December 15th, 2017 by Brenda Barron

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a priority for many site owners. It’s a concept that covers all the tricks and strategies that website owners use to get Google’s attention. Figuring out what SEO means for you (especially when you get inundated with terms you’re unfamiliar with) can be a little overwhelming. What are you supposed to do with things like HTML titles and meta descriptions, anyway? optimizes your site for search engines, through its behind-the-scenes tools. New pages and posts are automatically indexed with search engines so that your content becomes easily searchable. A sitemap (an organized breakdown of every page on your website) is included with each blog as well. However, there are a few things that you can do to improve how your site displays in search-engine results.

In this article, we’ll define the basic SEO elements and review how to optimize them on

Optimizing SEO elements

The three SEO elements covered below are the HTML title, the meta description, and the image alt text.

1. HTML title

The HTML title tells search engines what a particular page or post is about. This is the first thing that site visitors see when they search for a particular term. Ideally, your title should be about 70 characters or less, and include keywords relevant to the specific post or page.

You can edit the title of each post and page in the post editor:

HTML Title

You can also edit the title of your homepage straight from your site settings by navigating to Settings > General > Site Title. Keep in mind that the site title will automatically be appended to the end of the individual post or page title on a search engine results page.

2. Meta description

Search engines use the meta description to obtain additional insight into what your page or post is about. Meta descriptions appear immediately below the title on a search engine results page.

To create a meta description for your pages or posts on, populate the excerpt field below the post editor:

Meta description as excerpt

If you don’t populate the excerpt field, will automatically pull the first few sentences of your written content to use as the meta description. If you’re already on’s Premium or Business plans, you can specify a meta description and a separate HTML title for each page on your site using Advanced SEO tools.

3. Alt text

Another way to boost your site’s search rankings is to fill out the descriptive alt text for each image. The alt text is used by search engines and visitors who use screen-reader software to understand what the image depicts. It should describe exactly what’s in the image.

You can add alt text during the upload process in the media library:

Inserting image alt text

Improve your site’s SEO with these tips

While does a lot of work on its end to improve the search engine rankings for your site, you can probably be doing more on your end as well. Use the tips in this article to add a custom title and meta description, boost your SEO, and help your site rank better.

Are Website Terms and Conditions Necessary?

October 6th, 2017 by Lorna Hordos

Website terms and conditions, often called terms of service (TOS), help safeguard various types of online businesses and publications. These specifically tailored contracts outline a website’s legal “landscape” — the rules, provisions, exceptions, disclaimers, and so on — needed to educate users and protect the business from improper use.

Wondering if you need a TOS page for your website? If you’re a creative person with a blog and you offer a product or service through a website, e-commerce store, or mobile app, TOS or a similar document could help protect you and your venture in the event of a disagreement with or misuse by visitors. Depending on your trade, a less formal alternative may be more suitable than a complete terms of service agreement. The following tips will prepare you for a deeper discussion with your legal representative about how a TOS page (or some of its alternatives) can inform, caution, and direct your audience and give you peace of mind.

Do I need TOS?

A terms of service page may seem unnecessary for creative websites. If you’re a photographer, videographer, or writer, you may be satisfied with a basic copyright notice that protects your ownership of the content, art, or video featured on your site so that no one can try to pass off your work as their own (visit for more information on copyrighting). A forum owner, on the other hand, might only need a code of conduct for users to abide by. This ensures that everyone who comments on the owner’s website or blog knows what’s expected of them as well as what’s not appropriate to post. You can view’s own code of conduct (user guidelines) for an example of what one might look like.

If you have an online store or e-commerce site, you might not be required by law to have a TOS, but this binding contract can also help you avoid legal issues. Rather than fretting over product liability or the possible abuse of your website, consider building a terms and conditions page to help you operate smoothly and reduce the chance for future disputes.

If you collect personal information from your visitors (credit card details and email addresses, for example), talk to your lawyer about putting a privacy policy in place. Such a policy explains how the information that you collect from site users will (and will not) be used, and can prevent hassles down the road.

The importance of TOS

When it comes to your business’s online presence, a terms of service page — or a less formal set of guidelines — is a win-win situation. The more legal bases that you cover on your website, the safer your business is from being woefully wronged.

From a user’s point of view, a thoughtful and well-planned TOS page builds trust and confidence. It shows that you’re a serious business owner who handles responsibilities thoughtfully, and takes accountability for your content and online presence.

How do I build my TOS?

In the business world, requirements and obligations can vary greatly. By hiring a good business lawyer to help you compile your website terms and conditions, you don’t have to worry about overlooking any important details or improperly wording any part of the contract. To be binding, after all, a contract must be properly drafted and completed.

If you do choose the DIY route, search online for a reliable terms and conditions generator or template where you input your website’s URL and other pertinent information.

What if visitors don’t read the TOS?

A website’s terms and conditions may seem easy to overlook, as they typically appear linked at the bottom of every page. But by being there, TOS will cover you in the event of a disagreement, complication, or dispute — another important discussion to have with your legal professional.

If you want your TOS page to be more present on your website, you can place it on a static page with an “I Agree” button or plugin. Having readers scroll to the bottom of this page and agree to your terms before proceeding to the rest of your website will ensure that they are taking responsibility for their actions moving forward.

How you set up your business’s website is up to you. But it’s generally a good idea to seek legal advice and use every tool available (such as a terms of service page) to govern your site and regulate how others use it, ensuring that there is no misconduct.

Monetize Your Blog: Make Money Doing What You Love

August 11th, 2017 by Bev Feldman

As a blogger, you’ve probably put a lot of time and effort — and maybe even the occasional tear or two — into your craft. And if you’ve been blogging for a while, you might have thought to yourself, “Hey, it would be nice to get paid for all of my hard work!”

Well, did you know that it’s possible to monetize your blog if you have a Premium or Business plan? While you may not earn enough to quit your day job (unless you attract significant traffic), at the very least you could potentially bring in enough to fuel your half-caff mocha latte addiction.

There are several ways to earn money through your blog, including paid advertising through WordAds, sponsored blog posts, and affiliate links. So let’s dive deeper into these three options, and also take a look at the best practices for monetizing your blog.

Advertising without effort

WordAds, the official advertising program for, creates advertisements for national campaigns that display on your site. It’s automatically available to both Premium and Business plan sites, but free or Personal plan users must apply to use the program. In those cases, the websites must meet the program’s traffic and content requirements.

The ads will automatically appear — meaning no extra work for you — once you use WordAds to set up advertising on your site. How much you earn depends on several factors, including how much traffic comes to your blog, where your blog readers are located, and whether they use ad blockers.

You have some control over the content of the advertising on your site with WordAds, but you cannot choose a specific advertiser — and this might not work for everyone. For instance, if you’re a blogger writing about sustainability and running an eco-friendly household, you may not want an advertisement for disposable diapers showing up on your blog. However, works to maintain the highest standards for the ads it displays.

Promote what you love

A sponsored blog post is when a company pays you to write a post that promotes its product or service. Ideally, this product or service should be something that fits in with the overall theme of your blog — and it should naturally weave into your post in a way that feels authentic. It can also be a fun way to use your creative muscles as you monetize your blog.

There are many ways that you can create a sponsored blog post, including sharing a recipe, crafting a do-it-yourself project, writing a review, or telling a story featuring the product or service. Let’s say you blog about photography, and you are writing a sponsored blog post about a new photo-editing app for your phone. You might write a blog post with tips on how to take photos of children, including a special focus on how to edit those photos using the new app.

So how do you find sponsored opportunities? There are networks that connect bloggers and companies for the purpose of writing sponsored blog posts. You must apply to be included in these networks — and once you are in, you often need to apply for acceptance to specific sponsored blog campaigns.

Another option is to reach out directly to companies that you love and want to promote. Start by connecting with the companies on social media — engage with their posts on Facebook and Twitter through liking, commenting, and retweeting. Once you build a rapport, find out who is in charge of marketing and send them an email. Be sure to pitch them a few post ideas that will really wow them.

Monetize your clicks

An affiliate link is a special URL that earns you money when someone clicks on it and purchases a product or service. In some cases, you can even earn money when a visitor creates a new account using this URL. Many big companies like Amazon, Target, and Hobby Lobby offer affiliate programs that are either maintained independently or are managed through an affiliate network. In most cases, you have to apply for acceptance to these programs. Once you’re accepted, each program has specific directions for how to create the affiliate links.

Let’s say you write book reviews on your blog. For each book that you review, you could include an Amazon affiliate link to the book. If someone clicks on that link and purchases the book — or something else from Amazon’s website — you will earn a small commission. An affiliate link would be a natural fit, since you would have probably included the link to the book anyway.

Optimize your strategy

To effectively advertise on your blog — without turning off your readers — promote things that fit within the overall theme of your website, and avoid products and services you would never actually use. If you are a wedding planner, for example, it would probably feel inauthentic (and more than a little strange) if you wrote about bowling shoes just so you can earn a few bucks.

It’s important to note that in the US, the Federal Trade Commission requires disclosure of paid advertising, promotion, or affiliate links. So remember to add a sentence to the top of your post that explains your relationship to the product or service, such as “The following article contains affiliate links,” or “This post was sponsored by Company X. All opinions are my own.” If you link to the company’s website, make it a “nofollow” link, which signals to Google that you were paid — and prevents your link from influencing search results. No matter what method you choose to monetize your blog, always make sure that you align with’s Terms of Service.

It might be easy to get wrapped up in the idea that you need to monetize your blog, but don’t lose sight of why you started in the first place. Put your best writing forward, and create content that connects with your audience. Then, earning a little cash will be a great reward for all of your hard work.

Your Online Presence Starts With These 3 Free Tools

June 21st, 2017 by Bev Feldman

With the abundance of free tools available to boost your business’s online presence, it can be downright overwhelming to know where to begin. How do you decide which ones are the best use of your limited time?

Well, there are three basic tools every new website owner should consider. You might choose to focus on them differently depending on the type of business you have and your long-term goals, but each matters in its own way.

Let’s say you have a physical storefront and your goal is to get more shoppers into your store, you’ll want to start with the Google My Business tool. Then, build your online audience — and forge relationships with potential supporters — by turning to one of the most versatile tools: social sharing. And finally, when you’re ready to focus on search results, Google’s Search Console will be your go-to online tool.

Here we’ve laid out an action plan using these three tools that can help you effectively build your online presence.

It’s like Yellow Pages 2.0

What’s the first thing most people do when they’re trying to find a local business? They Google it. So if you have a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll want to start by ensuring anyone doing a Google search is able to find it. For instance, if you have a hardware store, it should show up in Google searches for “hardware stores near me.” People expect to access information without doing a ton of research, so it’s important that all your key information, such as your location and store hours, appears in search.

Google My Business is a website that allows you to enter basic information about your business, such as the address, phone number, type of business, and your business’s website. Once you’ve visited the site and entered that information, potential fans can find your business when they perform Google searches or turn to Google Maps.

You can even include photos of your store and products and allow visitors to write rave reviews about your fantastic customer service — say, the time you helped someone find the exact right nails for their home project. If you’re keeping your store open longer through November and December in order to prepare for the holiday rush, Google My Business will let you make adjustments to reflect the seasonal changes in your hours.

By using Google My Business for your store’s online presence management, you have the potential to increase the number of shoppers who walk through your door and make purchases.

Embrace your social side

Posting your business info to Google is extremely useful, but you’ll also want build a broader online audience. For this, social sharing channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are going to be your best friends. Start by considering which site to focus on. If you create visual products — say, handcrafted wooden wedding signs — your best bet is a more visual platform such as Facebook or Instagram, where you can show photos of your completed products, like one of your signs in use at a wedding, or even photos of those signs being made.

Twitter, on the other hand, can be a great tool for engaging with your potential audience, starting conversations, and making connections. If you’re a restaurant in search of publicity via food bloggers, Twitter allows you to engage with bloggers and critics and build an organic audience from those interactions. As an Entrepreneur article explains, “Read your target audience’s online content and join discussions to learn what’s important to them.”

You can search for hashtags your audience would be likely to use, such as #foodbloggers and #recipe, and then start interacting. Retweet others’ posts with your own commentary, ask them questions, and engage so that they know who you are. That way, they’ll be more likely to think of you the next time they’re looking for a restaurant to highlight.

And remember: staying consistent is ultimately more important than which platform you decide to use. Just work on growing a strong online presence on one or two social media platforms rather than trying to win them all. And since your ultimate goal is to draw visitors to your own website, make sure the URL is clearly listed in your bio and directs people to your homepage or contact form.

Driving the search

You gave Google your business information, and then you began building your audience. Now it’s time to focus on search results, which is where Google Search Console comes in. Previously known as “Google Webmaster Tools,” Google Search Console helps website owners “monitor and maintain [their] site’s presence in Google Search results.”

Basically, it ensures Google has access to your website and can better position it in Google searches. It also lets you see what terms users type into Google search to land on your website, learn which other websites link to your site, monitor your website for malware or spam issues, and alert Google if you have new content you want to show up in searches.

Say you make small-batch organic coffees and want your products to show up in Google searches for “organic coffee” and “small-batch coffee.” Google Search Console offers a tool called Fetch as Google. You type in your business’s website, which tells Google to check out (or “crawl”) the website and include it when people search for small-batch coffees. There’s also a handy tool called Search Analytics, which shows you which other websites link to your online store — hopefully, ones related to coffee. If you’re interested in learning more about Google Search Console but aren’t sure where to begin, you can find some great tutorials online. For example, offers a step-by-step tutorial for adding your website to Google Search Console.

The most important thing to remember when using these tools is that your website should remain the center of all the action. Although powerful, they’re intended primarily to complement your website, drive traffic to it, and, eventually, give your business that many more reasons to thrive.

Terms of Service

September 19th, 2014 by Automattic

The gist:

We (the folks at Automattic) run a blog and website hosting platform called and would love for you to use it.’s basic service is free, and we offer paid upgrades for advanced features such as domain hosting and extra storage. Our service is designed to give you as much control and ownership over what goes on your website as possible and encourage you to express yourself freely. However, be responsible in what you publish. In particular, make sure that none of the prohibited items (like spam, viruses, or serious threats of violence) appear on your website.

If you find a website that you believe violates these Terms of Service, please visit our dispute resolution & reporting page.

We also have additional services and products designed to make the web a better place like VIP, WooCommerce, Longreads, VaultPress, Akismet, and Jetpack.

(We’ve made the below Terms of Service available under a Creative Commons Sharealike license, which means you’re more than welcome to repurpose it for your own use. Just make sure to replace references to us with ones to you, and if you don’t mind we’d appreciate a link to somewhere on your website. We spent a lot of money and time on the below, and other people shouldn’t need to do the same.)

Terms of Service:

The following terms and conditions (“Terms”) govern all use of the website and all content, services, and products available at or through the website, including, but not limited to, Jetpack (“Jetpack”), VaultPress (“VaultPress”), and VIP (“VIP Service”), (taken together, our “Services”). Our Services are offered subject to your acceptance without modification of all of the terms and conditions contained herein and all other operating rules, policies (including, without limitation, Automattic’s Privacy Policy) and procedures that may be published from time to time by Automattic (collectively, the “Agreement”). You agree that we may automatically upgrade our Services, and these Terms will apply to any upgrades. If you reside in the United States or Brazil, your agreement is with Automattic Inc. (US), and if you reside outside of the United States or Brazil, your agreement is with Aut O’Mattic Ltd. (Ireland) (each, “Automattic” or “we”).

Please read this Agreement carefully before accessing or using our Services. By accessing or using any part of our Services, you agree to become bound by the Terms of this Agreement. If you do not agree to all the Terms of this Agreement, then you may not access or use any of our Services. If these Terms are considered an offer by Automattic, acceptance is expressly limited to these Terms.

Our Services are not directed to children younger than 13, and access and use of our Services is only offered to users 13 years of age or older. If you are under 13 years old, please do not register to use our Services. Any person who registers as a user or provides their personal information to our Services represents that they are 13 years of age or older.

Use of our Services requires a account. You agree to provide us with complete and accurate information when you register for an account. You will be solely responsible and liable for any activity that occurs under your username. You are responsible for keeping your password secure.


  • Your Account and Website. If you create a blog or website on, you are responsible for maintaining the security of your account and blog, and you are fully responsible for all activities that occur under the account and any other actions taken in connection with the blog. You must immediately notify Automattic of any unauthorized uses of your blog, your account, or any other breaches of security. Automattic will not be liable for any acts or omissions by you, including any damages of any kind incurred as a result of such acts or omissions.
  • Responsibility of Contributors. If you operate a blog, comment on a blog, post material to, post links on, or otherwise make (or allow any third party to make) material available (any such material, “Content”), you are entirely responsible for the content of, and any harm resulting from, that Content or your conduct. That is the case regardless of what form the Content takes, which includes, but is not limited to text, photo, video, audio, or code. By using, you represent and warrant that your Content and conduct do not violate these Terms or the User Guidelines. By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing, and promoting your blog. This license allows Automattic to make publicly-posted content available to third parties selected by Automattic (through the Automattic Firehose, for example) so that these third parties can analyze and distribute (but not publicly display) your content through their services. You also give other users permission to share your Content on other websites and add their own Content to it (aka to reblog your Content), so long as they use only a portion of your post and they give you credit as the original author by linking back to your website (the reblogging function on does this automatically!). If you delete Content, Automattic will use reasonable efforts to remove it from, but you acknowledge that caching or references to the Content may not be made immediately unavailable. Without limiting any of those representations or warranties, Automattic has the right (though not the obligation) to, in Automattic’s sole discretion, (i) reclaim your username or website’s URL due to prolonged inactivity, (ii) refuse or remove any content that, in Automattic’s reasonable opinion, violates any Automattic policy or is in any way harmful or objectionable, or (iii) terminate or deny access to and use of to any individual or entity for any reason. Automattic will have no obligation to provide a refund of any amounts previously paid.
  • Web Traffic. We use a third party, comScore, Inc. (“comScore”), to measure’s audience and usage. By hosting your site on, you agree to assign the traffic relating to your website to Automattic and authorize us to sign a Traffic Assignment Letter on your behalf for comScore audience measurement reports. Your website’s traffic will be included under Automattic. You understand that your website will not receive credit for traffic in these reports, and you must not assign your website’s traffic to any other party. If we or comScore require additional documentation to verify ownership of your website or domain name, you agree to make reasonable efforts to accommodate such requests.
  • HTTPS. We offer free HTTPS on all sites by default, including those using custom domains, via Let’s Encrypt. By signing up and using a custom domain on, you authorize us to act on the domain name registrant’s behalf (by requesting the necessary certificates, for example) for the sole purpose of providing HTTPS on your site.
  • Advertisements. Automattic reserves the right to display advertisements on your blog unless you have purchased an Ad-free Upgrade or a VIP Service account.
  • Attribution. Automattic reserves the right to display attribution text or links in your site footer or toolbar, attributing or the theme author, for example. The toolbar may not be altered or removed. Attribution text or links may only be hidden if you are subscribed to Business or VIP.
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  • Payment and Renewal.
    • General Terms. Optional paid services such as extra storage or domain purchases are available (any such services, an “Upgrade”). By selecting an Upgrade you agree to pay Automattic the monthly or annual subscription fees indicated for that service. Payments will be charged on a pre-pay basis on the day you sign up for an Upgrade and will cover the use of that service for a monthly or annual subscription period as indicated. More details are available in our refund policy.
    • Automatic Renewal. Unless you notify Automattic before the end of the applicable subscription period that you want to cancel an Upgrade, your Upgrade subscription will automatically renew and you authorize us to collect the then-applicable annual or monthly subscription fee for such Upgrade (as well as any taxes) using any credit card or other payment mechanism we have on record for you. Upgrades can be canceled at any time in the Upgrades section of your website’s dashboard.
    • VIP Service. VIP Hosting/Support and VIP Support services are provided by Automattic under the terms and conditions for each such service, which are located at and, respectively. By signing up for a VIP Hosting/Support or VIP Support services account, you agree to abide by such terms and conditions.

2. Jetpack.

  • Description. Jetpack is a plugin that connects your self-hosted WordPress website to’s infrastructure to give you the most powerful features.
  • Jetpack Content. You’re fully responsible for the content of any website you own that runs Jetpack (“Jetpack Content”).
  • License. You agree that we may scan your website, and compile aggregated/anonymized statistics for our internal use to optimize Jetpack’s performance.
  • Features. Jetpack includes various features, and you can visit to learn more about them. Some features, like Enhanced Distribution, when activated, will include your Jetpack Content in the Firehose. By activating these features, you grant us permission to display your Jetpack Content on for the purpose of distributing and promoting your website. Some features are on by default and others you need to enable manually. You can see which features are active, and activate and deactivate features, on your dashboard.
  • Storage of Information. Certain Jetpack features rely on servers to function, such as those that allow you to send email, publish links, relate posts to each other, or resize images. To take advantage of the performance boosting features of Jetpack, certain information about the content, settings, and setup of your site are synced with our servers, as described on our “What Data Does Jetpack Sync?” support page.

3. VaultPress.

  • Description. VaultPress is a subscription-based security and backup service for self-hosted WordPress websites.
  • VaultPress Content. VaultPress will backup your WordPress content (e.g., your WordPress database, plugins, themes, and uploads, as well as some additional files, as described this introduction to VaultPress) (“VaultPress Content”). You can view the Content that VaultPress backs up via your VaultPress dashboard. You’re fully responsible for your VaultPress Content. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your website’s Content abides by applicable laws and by these Terms. We don’t actively review the VaultPress Content.
  • Access. If you lose access to your account, you may not be able to access your backed up VaultPress Content.
  • License. By using VaultPress, you grant us access to your website’s servers for the purpose of backing up and securing your VaultPress Content, and restoring files and database information (which may include access details for multiple servers or accounts for each website that we backup). In order to address security vulnerabilities, we may push an upgrade to your site, or we may access your site to remove malicious code. We may also scan VaultPress Content, and compile aggregated/anonymized statistics for our internal use to optimize the performance of the VaultPress service. You also grant us a worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to copy and store your VaultPress Content, to the extent necessary to operate the VaultPress service. These Terms don’t give us any rights in your VaultPress Content, beyond those we need to operate VaultPress. You own your VaultPress Content.
  • Prohibited Uses. When using VaultPress, you agree not to:
    • Publish material or engage in activity that is illegal under applicable law.
    • Use VaultPress to overburden Automattic’s systems, as determined by us in our sole discretion.
    • Disclose the sensitive personal information of others.
    • Send spam or bulk unsolicited messages.
    • Interfere with, disrupt, or attack any service or network.
    • Distribute material that is or enables malware, spyware, adware, or other malicious code.
  • Payment, Renewal and Refunds. VaultPress offers different levels of service. By signing up for a particular level of service, you agree to pay VaultPress the applicable subscription fees. Unless you notify us before the end of your subscription period that you no longer wish to run VaultPress, your subscription will renew automatically. If we change pricing for a service to which you’re subscribed, we will notify you before your subscription is set to renew. You authorize us to charge any then-applicable fees to your credit card or other payment method we have on file for you. We offer refunds up to thirty (30) days after payment. Payment failures will result in the cancellation of your VaultPress plan. Each WordPress website requires a separate subscription to run VaultPress.
  • Cancellation. If you cancel your subscription to VaultPress, we will queue your backed-up VaultPress Content for deletion.

4. Firehose.

  • Fees; Payment. By signing up for the Firehose you agree to pay Automattic the specified monthly fees in exchange for access to the feeds. Applicable fees will be invoiced starting from the day your access is established and in advance of using such services. Automattic reserves the right to change the payment terms and fees upon thirty (30) days prior written notice to you. Firehose access can be canceled by you at anytime on 30 days written notice to Automattic.
  • Permitted Use. You may use the Firehose to develop a product or service that searches, displays, analyzes, retrieves, and views information available on You may also use the name or logos and other brand elements that Automattic makes available in order to identify the source of the information, provided the use doesn’t suggest any endorsement by Automattic.
  • Restricted Use. You may not use the Firehose to substantially replicate products or services offered by Automattic, including the republication of content or the creation of a separate publishing platform. You may not display, distribute, or otherwise make available content or data to governmental entities for intelligence gathering or surveillance purposes. If Automattic believes, in its sole discretion, that you have violated or attempted to violate these conditions or the spirit of these Terms, your ability to use and access the Firehose may be temporarily or permanently revoked, with or without notice.

5. Ecommerce.

There are certain features offered via WooCommerce, WooCommerce Services, or that enable you to sell items (goods, content, services, etc.) on your website (“Ecommerce Features”). If you use WooCommerce, the WooCommerce Use Terms also apply.

  • Usage of Information. WooCommerce Services may require Automattic’s servers, a connection to our partners, and/or data from your site, to work, as described on our “What Data Does Jetpack Sync?” support page.
  • Prohibited Uses. You may not use Ecommerce Features for any unlawful purposes, or in furtherance of illegal activities. We may terminate your access to Ecommerce Features if we determine (in our sole discretion) that your use is in any way harmful or objectionable. If your store is on, you must not violate our User Guidelines or Store Guidelines.
  • Third Party Services. You may choose to set up and/or use third party services, such Stripe or PayPal to collect payment, TaxJar to calculate taxes, or EasyPost to manage shipping. If you do so, be aware that some of your — and your customers’ — data may be passed to the respective third party, and the respective third party’s terms of service, privacy policy, and other policies may apply. We are not involved in these relationships. Please note that some of these third party services (like TaxJar) may be enabled by default, but you may disable them before your store is set up. If you do not want to use these third party services, please disable them.
  • Tax Calculations. Tax Calculations are provided by TaxJar. You are responsible for all taxes and fees associated with your ecommerce activities. You must collect, report, and/or pay the correct amounts to the appropriate authorities, if applicable, and if needed, inform your customers about any taxes they may be required to pay and issue appropriate invoices. While some Ecommerce Features allow you to include sales taxes or Value Added Taxes in transactions, you should not rely solely on these features. We make our best efforts to keep our content and documents up-to-date, but because the tax law changes rapidly, we cannot guarantee that all the services are completely current. Tax laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may be subject to different interpretations by different authorities. We recommend you consult an appropriate tax professional for your specific tax situation.
  • Shipping Services.
    • Shipping labels are provided by EasyPost and allow you to take advantage of real-time shipping rates to purchase postage and print shipping labels from certain mailing services, such as USPS and Canada Post. We act only as an intermediary between you and these third parties; we are not involved in any way with your product or its shipment. We also do not warrant that the results you obtain from the use of these services (rates and labels, for example) will be accurate or reliable.
    • You are solely responsible for compliance with all applicable rules and regulations, including domestic and international shipping and customs regulations and those of the relevant mailing service. For example, if you use USPS postage, you will need to comply with their shipping restrictions and mailing standards, among others.
    • In addition, you are solely responsible for customs charges, import taxes or duties, or any other charges related to your shipments. If any charges are assessed against us as a result of your use of the shipping services, you will reimburse us for the full amount within 7 days.
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Set Up a Custom Domain on

March 12th, 2018 by Francesco Carlucci

Once you sign up for a account, you can pick a domain name (web address) for your site. Many first-time site owners don’t put a lot of thought into this address, and they’ll opt for a free account that tacks “” onto the end of their chosen name — like

If you want to establish yourself as professional, reputable, and memorable, you’ll want to create a custom domain on In other words, a web address that doesn’t end with “”

Removing the “” portion of a domain name isn’t all that you need to do, though. It’s also important to think carefully about choosing a domain name that best represents your brand. Read on for tips on how to set up a custom domain on, and how to ensure that you’re picking the best one for your site.

Configuring a custom domain on

To begin, let’s walk through the necessary steps to configure a custom domain name.

First, visit the domain page, select the site that you want to name, and click the Add Domain button. If you have a free account, you’ll be asked to upgrade to one of the paid plans.

Adding a Domain on

Adding a domain on

Next, enter the domain name that you want, and make it your Primary Domain. Your new domain will automatically be associated with your site — no extra effort required.

Setting a Primary Domain in

Setting your primary domain.

If you already have a domain name from another provider and want to use it on, map your existing domain to your new site. After clicking the Add Domain button, select Upgrade next to the “Already own a domain?” option. Then, enter your domain name.

Update your settings on the domain registrar’s website. To make your life easier, compiled instructions for updating a domain name with the most common providers.

For each scenario above, remember that it may take some time for the changes to go into effect.

Choose the best domain name makes it easy to set up your domain name, but choosing one can prove more challenging than it sounds. Even if you already own a business with an established brand, it might be more effective to use a different name for a domain. How do you choose? Luckily, there is a set of golden rules that you should know and follow:

Keep it short and simple

Consider some of the most famous website names — eBay, Amazon, and Google. In these cases, the domain names are easy to type, remember, and share. This doesn’t mean that you need to invent a new word for your site like Google did, but try to keep it simple, and make it both memorable and melodic.

Be original

If you already have a great name in mind, be sure that someone else hasn’t already used it. Search for it on Google or use a tool like Panabee, which tells you when a domain is taken and provides suggestions for alternative options.

Be relevant

In terms of customer perception and search engine rankings, it’s beneficial if your custom domain name represents your products and services well. If you want to learn more about the best techniques for choosing a good domain for ranking in Google searches, read this helpful guide from Search Engine Journal.

Pay attention to extensions

Your domain extension (like .com, .net, and so on) is also an important factor to consider. As “.com” is the most popular one, using it is often advisable. Extensions like “.org” or “.net” might be better choices depending on the type of site you have. With you can be creative and use any of the numerous domain extensions available.

Know what to avoid

Domain names that are too long can be difficult for site visitors to remember or spell. Numbers and hyphens should typically be avoided, as they can be mixed up or forgotten. Be sure to stay away from anything that might leave your visitors feeling confused.

Follow the above guidelines and you’ll be sure to pick a domain name that perfectly represents your site. Transforming a name into a custom domain on is a straightforward process that will give your website a professional, trustworthy aura, sure to attract wider audience segments.

So, You Log in to Now What?

February 12th, 2018 by Jonathan Bossenger

After building a blog or website, you should actively monitor its progress. This means that you need to log in to every day — even if you don’t have new content to post.

So, what should you do after you log in? There are particular tasks and routines that successful bloggers and site owners follow to keep up with their sites’ health and their communities. Below are three habits to get into after you log in to

Catch up on the news

The first thing that many people like to do after they log in to their accounts is catch up on the sites they follow using the Reader. If you don’t follow any other sites, it’s a good idea to do so. Following websites or blogs in your niche will provide you with a good understanding of what’s trending globally. This is especially important for small businesses. It’s also a great way to catch up on industry news and events. Reader Page

The Reader Page

To access the Reader, click the Reader tab on the top-left corner of Then, search for relevant keywords. This will generate a list of all articles and sites related to those keywords. The results will also include short summaries of the articles and site content. You can click on the article or site that interests you, or click Follow to receive updates from them in the future.

View your stats

If you manage a website or blog, you probably log in to to monitor every aspect of its performance. As your website grows, you will want to know how popular your articles are, where people are accessing your site from, and which search terms are directing them to your site. The built-in Stats tool is a great way to review all this information.

Stats Page in

The Stats Page in

To view your stats, click My Sites on the top-left corner of your screen. If you only have one site, its dashboard will be displayed. If you have multiple sites, select one by clicking on the Switch Site link. Either way, the site stats are loaded by default when you enter your site dashboard. You can also click on the Stats link within the site menu.

The Stats page includes a handy group of charts and graphs that depict important data, including how many people visit your site, your most popular posts and pages, how people find your site, their locations, and much more.

Read and reply to comments

People log in to their sites to communicate with site visitors. Receiving and replying to comments is one great way to interact with your audience, as it helps you understand their needs and wants. As sites already support commenting, managing comments is easy to do. Comments Page

The comments page

Click on the Comments link on the site menu and you’ll be taken to a page that displays all of your comments. Your unread comments will be highlighted in red at the top of the list, and you can approve or reply to each comment by clicking on it. If it’s a spam comment (which rarely come through due to the spam-blocking features of you can mark it as such. This in turn improves the spam filters. If the comment is not relevant, you can easily delete it.

Every site and site owner is different. In time, you may develop different routines that make more sense for you. But these three ideas are great starting points for new site owners wondering what to do after they log in. Checking your Reader, keeping up with your site’s stats, and reviewing your visitors’ comments are great ways to get yourself thinking about site improvements every single time that you log in to

Web Analytics Basics: What Do You Need to Know?

June 7th, 2017 by Satta Sarmah Hightower

A website can make for an effective business marketing tool. But really understanding web analytics basics — who visits your site, and what they click on — is critical for small businesses looking to convert website visitors into loyal supporters. This is where web analytics — data that measures different activity on your site, including which pages people visit, the time of day they visit them, and the number of views — comes in.

Launching a site is one thing, but mastering the basics of web analytics is what makes your site truly effective, both in how it speaks to your audience and how it can help drive your business.

Discover the basics

Thanks to platforms like, starting up a fully functional website no longer requires a web development background. But there’s more

View of the Insights section of the Stats page.

to a site than simply getting it onto the web, as any successful site involves ongoing effort. After you’ve launched your website, you’ll want to check out the Stats feature. The Insights page includes various measurements and statistics you can use to improve your site. Learning more about how people interact with your site allows you to tighten your focus on what works, and adjust your strategy as you go. Here are some of the stats worth becoming familiar with, starting with the stats that show up immediately on the Insights screen (a version of which is shown on the left).

  • All-time posts, views, and visitors: how many posts, views, and visitors your site has accrued since launch, as well as what day you had the all-time most views.
  • Latest post summary: information on the number of comments, likes, and views for your most recent post.
  • Posting activity: a chart that shows when and how often you post.
  • Most popular day and hour: the time of day and day of the week your site gets the highest views.

The following stats, while important, don’t immediately show up in Insights — you have to select Days/Weeks/Months/Years in order to view them.

  • Referrers: information on which blogs, websites, and search engines drive visitors to your site.
  • Today’s stats: the number of comments, likes, views, and visitors your sites gets on a given day.
  • Tags and categories: information on the number of views your most popular tags and categories (i.e., keywords denoting the content of the post) received the previous week.
  • Search engine terms: the terms, words, and phrases people use on Google, Yahoo, or Bing to find your site.
  • Views by country: the number of views your site gets per country by day, week, month, and year.

Numbers that matter

Ideally, knowing whether your site attracts visitors allows you to tweak that site in order to attract more people to your business. Anyone in business will argue you need to know your audience to be successful. Learning web analytics basics helps you achieve this by answering key questions: What pages do people view on my site? What content is the most popular? How often do site visitors come back?

For example, if the happy hour and weekend specials page on your restaurant’s website is the most popular, it might spur you to introduce new specials throughout the week to drive more foot traffic during slower periods, or it may encourage you to get more creative in order to set yourself apart from other restaurants (Mojito Mondays or Wing Wednesdays, anyone?).

The same thing goes for an interior design firm that notices before-and-after home renovation photos receive the most views on its site. The firm might consider doing more of this content as a way to creatively showcase its portfolio and pull in more business for similar projects.

Additionally, understanding where your traffic is coming from is a great way to find out if your social media strategy is working. You can check to see if your Facebook post has sent people your way, and might learn that Twitter is a more impactful platform for your business.

Want more?

If you’ve already mastered web analytics basics or want deeper-level data, consider using Google Analytics. The application has advanced features that complement the site stats already built into If you have a wedding boutique website, for example, the Google Analytics reports would detail how visitors navigate from the homepage to the wedding dresses page to the reservation page, where they can book an appointment to try on a dress. Google Analytics will also tell you how often visitors view one page and then leave. You can even use it to set goals for your site (such as the number of views per post) and track how close you are to hitting these goals. All this data can help you fine-tune the content and messaging on your site.

Google Analytics is available with a Business plan, which comes with a custom domain name (, for example), unlimited Premium themes, advanced SEO tools, and the ability to monetize your site, among other features. All you need to get started is to set up a Google Analytics account and follow the instructions to add a tracking ID to your site that connects it to Google Analytics.

Web analytics are a powerful tool, but even an understanding of the basics can go a long way. Companies large and small use analytics every day to drive sales and deepen engagement with their supporters — one university increased its website visits by 89 percent when it focused on analytics, consulting company LunaMetrics showed, and a large footwear company noticed the number of active users on its site increased by more than 200 percent when it made a similar effort, according to Biznology.

Any small businesses with a website can do the same. Use analytics to understand who your fans are and what they like. It’ll make your website a bigger draw — and your business too.

Crushing the Small Business Marketing Game: Five Tips

May 1st, 2017 by Willow Older

When it comes to shopping, people today tend to follow one important principle: before you shop in person, search online. What does that mean for your small-business marketing plan? Well, if your plan includes building an engaging, well-organized, up-to-date website with loads of relevant content, it means you’re on track for helping your brick-and-mortar business thrive.

There’s plenty of proof that a website is a valuable small-business marketing tool, even when your business is offline. Econocom reports a whopping 90 percent of shoppers use the web to gather information like location, hours, and whether or not something’s available before heading to a nearby store. Think with Google found that half of all shoppers who first do a mobile search end up visiting the brick-and-mortar business they found online within 24 hours.

Making it work

Here, we’ve outlined five tips for embracing a digital small-business marketing strategy that truly supports your physical store.

1. Cover your basics.

Whether you own a pizzeria or a nail parlor, you’ll want important information — like a physical address (with directions), hours, and contact information — to be readily available for Google and other search engines to find. Keep in mind that while one-click commerce may be convenient, many people still value shopping locally and in person. Increasingly, people will enter words like “near me” and “nearby” when they search online, so it’s more important than ever to let folks know your small business is actually in the neighborhood.

2. Keep it in real time.

Millennials will spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017, according to Advertising Age. These 17-to-34-year-old digital natives (not to mention other shoppers) streamline their spending by using mobile or digital devices to compare prices, check product availability, and find out about in-store return policies and delivery options. If your website accurately reflects your real-time inventory and offerings, you won’t disappoint shoppers who do their due diligence online and then swing by in person to make a purchase that’s … not available (whoops).

3. Inspire in-store visits with online specials.

Here’s a great way to turn online browsers into in-person visitors: use your website to promote “screen-to-store” specials. For example, you might offer a discount coupon for an in-store-only product. Or you might invite supporters to an on-site product or service launch. You can also invest in social ads and promotions, which appear on social media platforms and other “sharing” sites and are targeted to a specific audience. Using your digital presence to incentivize in-store shopping is a tried-and-true strategy for boosting sales, customer loyalty, and brand awareness.

4. Let your supporters spread the word.

Positive online reviews help any small business stand out. Shoppers today turn to social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp for honest feedback about merchandise and services — even for offline businesses. If your site is built on a web-publishing platform like, you can easily integrate content and reviews from social media platforms or let customers comment directly on your site about your great customer service and hassle-free return policy. even offers a Testimonials feature to help accomplish this.

5. Consider your content.

You can help customers find your website — and then, say, call you up for a quote — with regularly refreshed content written by people, not bots. Search engines rank findings based on keywords and tags, so it really pays to be thoughtful (and strategic) when writing blog posts and other content. Another reason to carefully consider your content? According to a study by Cohn & Wolfe, people value communications from companies that are authentic, honest, and helpful.

Maybe it’s best to think of your website as the online spokesperson for your brick-and-mortar business. In an increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever that your small-business marketing strategy includes building a site that’s engaging, helpful, up-to-date, and easy to understand. When that happens, customers will be more than happy to pay you a visit — again and again.