What is Geofencing Marketing?

What is Geofencing Marketing?

Imagine you’re walking in a mall and receive a Starbucks coupon on your smartphone. You look up to see a Starbucks shop.

This scenario may encourage you to visit the outlet, learn about the promo, and use the coupon

With geofencing marketing, or location-based marketing, this convenient strategy turns into a reality. 

How can you leverage it? 

Let’s start by discussing the basics. 

What Is Geofencing Marketing, and How Is It Used?

Geofencing lets businesses advertise to consumers within a specified geographic area. 

With technologies like GPS and radio frequency identifiers, marketers can specify a perimeter or boundary based on a real-world location. Then, they can create a virtual barrier or “geofence” in the area. 

As consumers enter the geofence, they’re sent location-based ads on their devices. 

Consider this geotargeted Uber ad for arriving tourists:

Geofencing Marketing - uber push notification

Geotargeted ads may be useful when you want to:

  • Boost foot traffic: Brands can send mobile ads, coupons, or notifications to attract customers to their brick-and-mortar locations.
  • Crowd engagement: Organizations and businesses hosting events, festivals or concerts can use it to attract those near their booths.
  • Target competitors’ customers: Businesses can set up a geofence within a competitors’ location to draw more customers into their shops. 
  • Understand consumer behavior: Geofencing lets brands aggregate consumer behavior such as time spent in-store or how visitors navigate their shops. 

Benefits of Geofencing Marketing

Geofencing marketing has many potential benefits for brands and marketers, whether they have an in-store or online presence. If you’re thinking about diving in, here are some possible perks to consider. 

Geofencing May Help With Local Marketing 

People express more interest in getting out of their homes, especially on foot, than ever before. This means targeting people as they make their way past shops is increasingly important. 

This isn’t a small uptick: A Billups study found 71 percent of consumers are more interested in simply walking around their neighborhoods or towns than they used to be. Many would also enjoy visiting outdoor pop-up shops as they wander.

Since more people want to visit shops and travel within their communities on foot, location-based marketing has a lot of potential—you don’t have to worry about people driving by too fast to get or use the notification. 

We also have evidence this method works even if people are driving past instead of walking. According to QSR magazine, a company conducted an experiment to determine location-based ads’ effectiveness in increasing breakfast sales. 

Upon setting up a geofence, the participating outlet experienced a 20 percent increase in in-store visits and a 26 percent increase in visits during breakfast hours. 

Get Data on Consumer Behavior 

Unlike online marketing, geotargeted ads let businesses collect data about consumers with high-purchase intent in real-time. 

After a while, you can use this information to improve your targeting and advertising methods to improve your results. 

Geotargeting can also uncover interesting consumer insights. Anonymous location-based data can reveal the other outlets customers visit, billboards they may notice, and roads or areas they frequent. 

This means marketers can identify ideal billboard or signage placements to boost outdoor advertising results or determine which other physical stores are genuine competitors.

Boost Brand Awareness

Geotargeted advertising can also raise brand awareness and promote your online channels. 

Remember earlier when we mentioned the hypothetical situation about noticing a Starbucks after receiving a targeted ad on your phone? That Starbucks could be any store you may have otherwise passed without noticing it was there were it not for the notification.

These ads provide the opportunity to remind customers you exist and let them know you’re right there, ready to serve them. They’re more aware of your brand and your location as a result.

How to Integrate Geofencing in Your Marketing Strategy

Location-based ads may be ideal for businesses hoping to drive traffic to their online or in-person stores. 

However, while it has many benefits, geofencing can be a bit more expensive than digital ads. 

A geofencing campaign ranges from $3.50 to $15 CPM (cost per mile) for desktop and mobile campaigns. By comparison, the average cost per click on Google AdWords’ search network is $2.32.

That said, if you’re still ready to try it, here are some tips for successfully implementing this strategy. 

Find the Ideal Size for Your Geofence 

A larger geofence is more expensive than a small one, but in this case, bigger may not be better.

If your geofence comprises a 25-mile radius from your store, for instance, you may find yourself spending money on faraway customers who don’t have the time to pop by.

Rather than a large geofence, I recommend creating several small perimeters. Ideally, the perimeters should max out at around a five-minute walking distance from your store. 

You aren’t stuck with only your store’s perimeter, though. In some cases, it may be a good idea to set up geofences at events. For instance, if your small business has a booth at a farmer’s market or even a music festival, you could send out messages letting people know you’re there.

Know Your Audience

Just like all marketing campaigns, understanding your target audience is key to driving results. 

Identify their ages, genders, interests, and shopping behaviors to improve your ad targeting strategies’ accuracy. What do they like about your business? Why were they drawn to your brand?

Beyond answering these questions, understanding your target audience can help you create compelling copy and advertisements people will respond to. 

Launch an Actionable Ad 

Don’t just talk about what you sell. Highlight in-store promotions or give out rewards in exchange for responding to the ad. If they’re your target audience, they may already know who you are—give them a reason to come in. 

For example, this is a personalized notification Starbucks sent to its nearby customers. Not only do they mention the customer’s name but include a promo about their favorite drink. 

starbucks push notification via geofencing

Add a Compelling CTA 

Top it off with a compelling CTA to sweeten the deal. 

A Reveal Mobile report found the top-performing CTAs for geotargeted advertisements include:

  • learn more
  • shop now
  • buy now
  • click here 

Marketers were also able to experience success with other CTA variations like “order now,” “click to save,” “call now,” and “shop online.”

Utilize Multiple Targeting Options

Geotargeted ads come with multiple targeting techniques you can use to communicate with your target audience effectively. 

Let’s take a look at the following variations:

  • Dayparting: Targeting users at a specific time of day.
  • Behavioral targeting: Displaying ads related to user behaviors.
  • Context targeting: Showing ads based on websites visited.
  • Retargeting: Sending ads to previous online visitors and former customers

Tracking the Success of Your Geofencing Marketing Campaigns

You need to track relevant KPIs and metrics to determine if your geotargeted marketing campaigns are effective. The good news is current marketing technologies enable users to collect data for their campaigns.

Here are some metrics to consider: 

  • Ad Impressions or Views: Number of times your ad is seen.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Number of clicks your ad receives per number of impressions.
  • Cost Per 1000 Impressions (CPM): Amount you pay per 1000 impressions.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): The highest amount you pay for a click on your ad.
  • Conversion Zone Visits: Number of people who visited your store or a specific location upon viewing your ad.
  • Cost Per Visit: Total number of visits to your store divided by the cost of your marketing efforts.
  • Cost Per Action (Phone Call, Walk-In, Sale): Amount you pays to generate a conversion.
  • Walk-In Rate: Percentage of people on a street who end up going to your store.

You can change your ads based on your results. If passersby aren’t responding to your push notifications, modify your copy or promos. 

Geofencing Marketing Ethical Considerations

When it comes to location-based ads, the primary ethical consideration is privacy. 

Laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU are dedicated to protecting consumer data. 

More than 80 countries have implemented digital privacy regulations, and more bills are being considered in the upcoming years. 

While most location-based ad technologies generate anonymized data, location data is still personal information. Additionally, an individual’s search history and browsing data must also remain private. 

Businesses can protect themselves and their consumers while also implementing geofencing by abiding by the GDPR’s and CCPA’s consumer rights policies. 

This includes the following:

  • Consumers can ask what information is being gathered and why.
  • If asked, you must provide data gathered to consumers.
  • People may opt out of this data collection.
  • You can only use the information for the reasons you disclose.

Chances are, you’ve already seen companies abiding by these expectations. For example, the Sephora app gives shoppers a choice to opt-in or opt-out of location services and store notifications:

Geofencing Marketing Ethical Considerations - example of sephora user permission

Conclusion 

Geofencing marketing can be an effective way to boost traffic to your store, website, or even social media channels

Remember, potential customers’ locations aren’t enough: You also need to figure out who your target audience is and create ads to send directly to them.

As long as you know the right steps, you can build your own geo-targeted marketing campaigns. We highly recommend monitoring your results, creating compelling CTAs, and understanding your target audience for maximum effectiveness.

How will you use geotargeted ads for your business?

The post What is Geofencing Marketing? appeared first on Neil Patel.

Best WordPress Security Plugin

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If you are reading this post because your site’s been hacked, download Sucuri now and get the company’s help completely removing the problem. For everyone else, Wordfence is my top recommendation for most users to prevent an attack.

A security breach on your WordPress site can kill your business instantly. All the hard work you put into building your brand and customer trust is on the line.

How quickly will you be able to identify a problem and respond?

Using the best WordPress security plugins, you’ll be able to prevent attacks from happening in the first place. 

Bad actors will see that your site isn’t worth the trouble, given how many unprotected WordPress sites are still out there.

Don’t be one of those unprotected sites. Hacks can bleed your budget dry and destroy your company’s reputation. If your visitors’ information gets compromised, they have a good reason not to come back.

My WordPress sites are the lifeblood of my business. With seven-figure revenues on multiple sites, I know I’m a prime target. 

I’ve got a lot of experience with WordPress security plugins. I want to share some of what I have learned so that you can make sure that your site, visitors, and reputation stay safe.

Here are the top WordPress security plugins and a short guide to help you find the right one for your site.

#1 – Sucuri Security — The Best for WordPress Developers

Sucuri Security helps companies protect websites of all kinds. Its WordPress security plugin is a good way to harden your site and prevent damaging attacks.

I don’t recommend the free Sucuri plugin as a standalone solution. It doesn’t come with access to a website firewall, which I consider a fundamental element of WordPress security.

If you are a web developer or an agency that sells or manages WordPress sites for their clients, the cost of paying for Sucuri is nothing compared to the benefits it delivers.

Sites experiencing crippling DDoS attacks have installed Sucuri and been fine within an hour. After getting hacked, WordPress administrators have reached out to Sucuri and had their site clean and running before the day is done.

These are just some of the common stories Sucuri users have shared.

If you are responsible for ensuring your clients’ WordPress site protection, look no further than Sucuri. You’ll be able to get an in-depth picture of exactly what’s happening on each site and automated alerts if something goes wrong.

Sucuri is constantly scanning your sites for malware. Unlike Wordfence, Sucuri scans remotely (from their servers), so you are not drawing on your own resources for scans or loading up your database.

The other benefit of remote malware scanning is that all the data is safely stored with Sucuri, so attackers can’t delete logs to cover their tracks. You will always know exactly what happened and how.

In the event that a site gets hacked, there’s no better ally to have in your corner than Sucuri . There are zero hidden costs for complete malware removal

Unless you’re a fairly skilled software engineer, making sure a hack is 100% cleaned up is incredibly difficult. With Sucuri, it’s guaranteed.

Like I said, you have to have a paid Sucuri license to access the firewall. The reason is that it’s a best-in-breed product. Sucuri can’t just give it away.

It automatically blocks all unencrypted traffic, DDoS attacks, bots, brute force attacks, password cracking, and malicious code. You also get fine-grained control over IP whitelisting to ensure that only appropriate users have access to admin panels.

You can also block visitors from certain countries. This can be very important if you notice a high number of attacks coming from a particular location.

There are some vulnerabilities with a cloud-based firewall, which is why Wordfence’s endpoint firewall works so well. Sucuri solves this problem by including website server-side scanning. 

This protects you from phishing pages, backdoors, spam and other types of attacks that won’t get picked up by Sucuri’s remote malware scanner.

The Sucuri Security plugin is free, but to take advantage of many of the features I just listed, you will need to get the full platform. 

There are three tiers available:

  • Basic: $199/year per site
  • Pro: $299/year per site
  • Business: $499/year per site

The difference in tiers has more to do with how your service requests are prioritized. 

Business-tier licenses include a malware removal SLA of six hours. If your client’s site gets hacked in the dead of the night, it is guaranteed to be back up by the time everyone gets back to work.

With the other plans, you still get the complete malware removal, but it may take more time, depending on the complexity and severity of the attack.

All plans come with a secure 24/7 ticketing system for customer support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you are looking for a free WordPress security plugin, I’d go with one of the other options on this list. But if you have clients that depend on you to manage their WordPress sites, paying $20-40 for the Sucuri platform is well worth the top-notch protection and peace of mind.

#2 – Jetpack — The Best for Improving Your Whole Site

Jetpack is one of the easiest ways to make your WordPress site faster and more secure. It’s like a dozen plugins in one, allowing you to do more with less. 

This isn’t just convenient and efficient—it’s way safer. Plugins are the #1 target of WordPress hackers. Using fewer plugins decreases your attack surface.

In terms of security-specific features, Jetpack isn’t as robust as Wordfence or Sucuri, but it may have enough to get the job done for your WordPress sites. 

It covers the basics, like automated plugin updates, 2FA, brute force attack protection, spam prevention, and malware scanning. 

Anyone can find their way around the intuitive interface, no engineering chops necessary. For tech novices, Jetpack can be a refreshingly easy way to manage WordPress security:

You also get automated backups of your site. That’s a feature reserved for an add-on charge with Sucuri or another plugin with Wordfence. Oh, and you get unlimited storage for backups, which is huge for people with ecommerce sites.

Plus, the single Jetpack plugin also gives you tools to design a beautiful site and grow your traffic. 

I’m focusing on the security side of Jetpack in this post, but know that it comes loaded with design, growth, and performance features that you won’t get with other options on this list. 

Each of those features is one less plugin you need to install, which hardens your WordPress security in a real way.

Like I said, Jetpack is designed for general users. Yes it’s powerful, but it’s stupid simple to figure out. 

Even if you are not at your desk when you receive an alert, Jetpack’s mobile app will walk you through the process of setting things right:

Jetpack is actually hosted by WordPress, which means all of these great tools aren’t putting a strain on your servers. Like any plugin, it can still slow down your site, but it’s nothing compared to the 20-30 plugins you’d need to replace it.

The reason that some people complain that Jetpack is slowing their site way down is usually that it’s in conflict with another plugin, or they’ve enabled Jetpack modules they aren’t using. 

This is not hard to fix. The most popular modules are enabled by default, but you can control all your Jetpack features on one page:

Simply enable the ones you want, disable the ones you don’t, and watch the website performance issues fade into the rear-view.

Jetpack Free comes with a very helpful set of security features, including brute force attack protection, two-factor authentication, daily backups, daily scans, and automatic plugin updates.

Throw in the design, growth, and performance features, and you’ve got one of the better all-around WordPress plugins on the market.

The paid plans for Jetpack provide more security features—like spam prevention—and a much more comprehensive activity log to audit your site. 

Pricing breaks down into three tiers:

  • Jetpack Backup: $7.95/month
  • Jetpack Security Daily: $19.95/month
  • Jetpack Security Real-time: $59.95/month
  • Jetpack Complete: $79.95/month

As you might expect, the difference between Jetpack Security Daily and Real-time plans refers to the frequency of backups and scans. Instead of happening once a day, Jetpack Security Real-time scans and backs up your site continuously. 

You also get a one-year activity log with Real-time instead of the 30-day archive that comes with Jetpack Security Daily.

For ecommerce and membership sites with a lot of active visitors, the additional protections that come with Jetpack Security Real-time are really valuable. If your site is a lot of static content, the Daily plan will probably be enough.

If you are just focused on security, don’t worry about Jetpack Complete. It doesn’t come with any relevant features that aren’t included with Jetpack Security. The difference is in the CRM software features, which are great for managing customer relationships, but I won’t get into them here.

All of the tools that come with Jetpack Free will work on all of the WordPress sites you manage. The paid features work, too, but you have to purchase licenses for each site. 

When problems or confusion arise, Jetpack has what they describe as a “global team of Happiness Engineers ready to provide incredible support.” It’s tantalizing, but what does it mean?

Well, Jetpack is made by Automattic—the same folks who run WordPress—so it’s safe to say you will be getting quality support from experts who know their stuff.

If Jetpack isn’t getting it done, you can request to cancel within 14 days and receive a full refund.

I highly recommend Jetpack for people who are new to WordPress, as it makes managing a site much easier. It’s also great for people who want to increase security and decrease the number of plugins they’re relying on. 

#3 – Wordfence Security — The Best for Multiple WordPress Sites

Wordfence is one of the top-rated WordPress security plugins with an outstanding free version that’s packed full of essential security features.

Simply install the free plugin available on WordPress.org and share an email address that Wordfence will use to send you notifications. Whenever there is an outdated plugin, malicious file, or virus detected, you’ll be notified immediately.

Wordfence is an especially good option for people with lots of WordPress sites to protect. Wordfence Central lets you manage security across all of your sites in a single interface. 

There are no charges or restrictions for Wordfence Central. From the intuitive dashboard, quickly track security events and configure alerts to be sent by email, SMS, or Slack.

Looking at the security capabilities at your disposal, it’s hard to imagine a better or cheaper way to protect all of your sites.

The Wordfence security scanner checks all your WordPress core files, themes, and plugins for a wide range of potential issues, such as:

  • Bad URLs
  • Backdoors
  • Code injection
  • Malicious redirects
  • SEO spam

And that’s with the free version. The only difference with the paid version is that the scanner checks to make sure your site and IP haven’t been blacklisted and it updates in real-time with the Wordfence Threat Defense Feed. 

Because Wordfence protects more than 4 million WordPress sites, the company has incredible insight into the latest threats, malware signatures, and necessary firewall rules. 

Premium Wordfence users get the latest security updates from the Threat Defense Feed in real-time. With the free version you have to wait 30 days for the updates to kick in.

The web application firewall (WAF) is really well-developed as well. Stop spam, bots, brute force, and DDoS attacks in their tracks. 

Unlike other WordPress security plugins, Wordfence uses an endpoint firewall instead of a cloud-based one, which means that the firewall actually runs on the server it is protecting.

This picture simplifies what’s going on and how a cloud-based firewall can cause problems that won’t happen with a WordPress-specific, endpoint firewall:

The combination of a strong firewall and malware scanner is further enhanced by Wordfence login security. 

You get two-factor authentication (2FA) that uses temporary one-time passwords and login page CAPTCHA forms to prevent bots from breaking into your site.

Wordfence Live Traffic, which is included with the free version, gives you a real-time picture of what’s happening on your site by producing logs at the server level. This captures a lot more information than data visualization software like Google Analytics.

The tradeoff is that enabling Live Traffic can put a serious strain on your server resources.

This is why Wordfence has a reputation as a plugin that will slow down your site. This is especially true for people on shared hosting plans.

I recommend setting Live Traffic to “Security Only,” which will only track successful logins, attempted logins, and other security-related incidents. This will decrease the load on your server.

The free version of Wordfence is going to be more than enough for most WordPress owners, even if they have a ton of different sites.

If you need the extra protection afforded by Wordfence Premium, licenses start at $99/year per site, with discounts for volume purchases and longer contracts.

Should you be unhappy with how it’s going, you can let Wordfence know within a month and they will give you a refund.

#4 – All In One WP Security & Firewall — The Best Free Forever WordPress Security Plugin

All In One WP Security & Firewall is a straightforward option that’s beloved by people who would never call themselves WordPress security gurus. I’m thinking of those who are great at using WordPress for their business but less confident with the technical backend.

Regardless of your level of WordPress know-how, All In One will make the process of protecting your site as simple and clear as possible.

The plugin is also free forever. There is no paid version. Every feature and function they list is yours upon installation, with no upsells coming your way.

The tradeoff is that you are going to have to do a lot more on your own than you would with a plugin like Sucuri. Like I said, though, All In One makes it as painless as possible to maintain your WordPress security.

Let’s dig in.

After you install the plugin, you’ll see a simple dashboard with a Security Strength Meter and a Security Points Breakdown:

No degree necessary to understand these. The score on the meter is based on the number of security features you’ve enabled. The breakdown explains how the points are scored.

It’s great to get a quick temperature read and easy to figure out how to increase your score if the needle moves into the danger zone.

There’s also a Critical Feature Status box which, as you might guess, shows you the whether or not the most important security features are enabled:

If you’ve had to disable these features for any reason, this way you won’t forget to turn them back on.

So far, not too complicated. 

What about the other features that impact your security score and protect your site?

All In One rates features as Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced according to how likely they are to cause problems on your site.

Basic features will improve security without much impact. Intermediate and Advanced features may impact other parts of your site, depending on the other plugins you are using.

With All In One, you can enable features one by one. The feature ratings let you know how careful you have to be. 

This fixes a common problem people encounter using WordPress security plugins. You mess with one firewall setting and, all of a sudden, another plugin breaks.

Some of the highlight security capabilities that you can control confidently with All In One are:

  • Password strength tool
  • Auto detect duplicate login names
  • Brute force attack prevention
  • Track and block login attempts
  • Add Google reCAPTCHA
  • Database and file security tools
  • Blacklist unwanted IPs
  • Flexible firewall
  • Scan WordPress for changes
  • Spam prevention

This isn’t even everything that’s included. You’ll notice there are some features that you definitely have to pay for elsewhere. This is because they aren’t as deep. 

The scanner, for example, will alert you to any changes that have been made to your WordPress system, but it’s not going to detect or remove malware with the precision of Sucuri.

In other words, All In One lets you know something is wrong, but you have to figure out how to fix it.

Support is also limited to posting questions on the community forum. It’s certainly not concierge service—which is to be expected for a totally free plugin. 

So your questions may get addressed in a day or two, but that’s a far cry from the on-demand customer service provided by paid plugins.

All In One is updated routinely and constantly evolving. Experts designed it for non-experts to use. It’s been a blessing to hundreds of thousands of WordPress owners who have never had to pay a cent. Maybe it’s for you, too.

What I Looked at to Find the Best WordPress Security Plugin

Keeping your WordPress protected from attack is important. Finding the right security plugin will make that task easier.

Finding the wrong one could break your site, leave it vulnerable, or slow it to a crawl.

You want the increased security without the headaches, so which one do you choose?

Use these criteria to evaluate your options. This will help you find a reputable WordPress security plugin that covers your bases and works well for your site.

Plugin Credibility

Experimenting with new plugins is a ton of fun, just not for security purposes.

Only use those that are popular and widely trusted. It’s not hard to do. You’ll find basically everything you need to know on the WordPress plugins page.

As you scan your options, you can quickly tell how many people have installed the plugin and how highly it’s rated by users:

This is all really good news. More than 4 million people are using Wordfence, and it has 4.5 out of 5 stars. That’s pretty much the gold standard of plugin credibility.

There’s no hard and fast rule about ratings and installations. Just don’t try something that only a few thousand people have used. Let other people work out the kinks.

Clicking on Wordfence, you’ll find a description of the plugin along with a closer look at some key information:

I’d steer clear of plugins that haven’t been updated in a year. Cybersecurity evolves way too quick for that kind of pace. There may be lots of new vulnerabilities since the last time it was patched.

You can also dive into the ratings and read reviews. This is a good idea for credibility, but also to see how the security capabilities work in the real-world:

Finding a highly-rated plugin will tell you whether or not it lives up to expectations.

At the end of the day, just with what’s working already for WordPress users, especially those in similar situations to yourself.

Security Capabilities

What do you need your WordPress security plugin to do? Many users know they want their site protected, but don’t know what that entails.

Here are some of the hallmark security capabilities and how they protect you:

  • Automated backups to restore your site if something happens
  • Automated updates of WordPress core and plugins
  • Security alerts that notify you immediately when something goes wrong
  • Malware scanning to ensure your site is clean
  • Spam protection for your forms and comment section
  • Uptime monitoring to alert you if the site goes down
  • Brute force protection to stop bots or attackers from cracking passwords
  • Blocklist/Blacklist monitoring ensures your site is not flagged by regulators
  • IP monitoring to block known attackers
  • Activity Log to track and audit changes on your site
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to secure logins
  • Web Application Firewall (WAF) to block malicious traffic before it reaches your site
  • CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It’s going to prevent bots from filling out forms or logging in to your site.

You’d be surprised how much of this is covered by the free plans on this list. The difference with the premium plans (besides the faster turnaround from customer service) is that you get a greater degree of protection and control over these capabilities.

For instance, with Wordfence free plan, the malware scanner covers core files, themes, and plugins for a range of potential cyberthreats. With premium Wordfence, your scanner is updated in real-time as new malware signatures are discovered. The free version only updates 30 days later.

Looking at your different options, there are tradeoffs. Sucuri users get blacklist monitoring for free, which only comes with premium Wordfence. 

With Sucuri, however, only premium licenses get a website firewall, whereas Wordfence includes that standard.

Assess the tradeoffs. If you already have a firewall, then the free version of Sucuri is more appealing.

Resource Usage

This is something to consider with any type of plugin, which all take up processing and server power to do their jobs. 

WordPress security plugins are notorious for hogging resources. There’s just no getting around it, malware scans and traffic logs of security incidents are going to put a strain on your system.

Think about this in terms of your hosting provider and situation. What kind of resources do you have, and what’s the cost of going over the limit?

You also want to be aware of the control you have over a WordPress security plugin. Configuring it properly may solve a lot of the resource-related issues.

For example, you can disable the live feed for Wordfence or ask it to only log security-related incidents instead of all traffic. Many users report that this is all you need to do, should Wordfence be slowing your site down.

Jetpack is hosted by WordPress. That means there’s no draw on your servers, though memory and CPU usage can be an issue. Fortunately, Jetpack  gives you fine-grained control over which modules are enabled, which can help you manage resources efficiently.

Plugin Compatibility

If WordPress is one part of your larger online platform, be sure to do a little research on how the plugin will work across your entire ecosystem.

WordPress security plugins prevent bad things from happening to your site, but sometimes the added protections can get in the way of legitimate users or cause other plugins to break.

Jetpack will play nicely with WooCommerce, as both plugins are made by the same company. In fact, Jetpack will probably increase site speed for Woo.

On the other hand, if you are using the BuddyPress plugin, which turns your site into a social media venue, Jetpack has been known to cause issues.

I recommend going back to the reviews to establish some sense of how compatible each WordPress security plugin really is:

The one-star reviews are my favorite to read. They are where you find the situations where your plugin doesn’t work well, though I tend to skip the reviews written in all caps.

There is also some degree of responsibility on your end for making sure that plugins play well together. 

I really like All In One WP Security for this because they help you understand which features of their plugin are most likely to impact other plugins you are using.

It can be hard to forecast plugin compatibility, but it’s not something you want to put off. See what you can find out ahead of time.

Responsive Support

When you select a free WordPress security plugin, you are only going to get so much in the way of support. With All In One, for example, there’s really no one to reach out to beyond the community forum on WordPress.org.

With plugins from WordFence, Sucuri, and Jetpack, you at least have someone to call, though a prompt response time is only guaranteed with their paid options. With Wordfence Premium, you get direct access to expert advice, whereas their free support may take a few days to reply.

You’re going to notice the biggest difference in customer service when something bad happens. 

After a hack, Sucuri is going to clean and restore your site. No other product I’ve reviewed includes that level of support. 

With Wordfence, for example, you have to pay for a site cleaning service that’ll run you $490 per WordPress site.

If you have suffered attacks before, or you have a WordPress that does a large amount of business, paying the higher price for Sucuri’s best-in-class customer service is more than just peace of mind. It may end up saving you and your clients a ton of money in the long run.

Conclusion

In terms of WordPress security, plugins are part of a larger battle. 

You still want to practice common sense security hygiene—strong passwords, no admin accounts named “administrator”, always updating plugins and themes, and so on.

Even if you have the best plugin, lapses in these areas can result in issues.

All In One WP Security & Firewall is going to help you stay on top of this, ensuring people are using strong passwords and alerting you when plugins need to be updated. It’s an easy way to protect your site and enforce best practices at the same time.

Using Jetpack means you can probably stop using 10-20 other plugins, which is going to make your site more manageable and secure. On top of that, you can shield your WordPress from many of the most common attacks.

Wordfence and Sucuri lead the pack in terms of security capabilities. The free version of Wordfence is definitely better than the free version of Sucuri. Between the two paid options, it’s going to come down to your specific needs.

If you own multiple sites, Wordfence is going to be very easy to use. The Wordfence central dashboard will let you track and respond to events across all of your sites in real-time.

If you are developing lots of sites for clients, Sucuri will deliver peace of mind to everyone involved. Their security auditing tools are second to none, and their reputation for post-hack response is unparalleled.

The post Best WordPress Security Plugin appeared first on Neil Patel.

7 Free SEO Tools to Drive Traffic, Clicks, and Sales

free SEO Tools you need to be using

Free is awesome. Especially when that “free” whatever is giving you extra traffic, money, rank, reputation, and sales. Thankfully, there are a ton of free SEO tools. The downside is that some of these free tools are junk.

I want to give you a go-to collection of the top free SEO tools. These are intuitive, slick, effective, powerful, and — best of all — they’re absolutely free.

1. Google Analytics

If you’re not yet using Google Analytics, I recommend you start as soon as possible. There is no other data source that provides high-quality and detailed information like Google Analytics. In a Google-dominated era, it’s what we have to work with. Most of the other data tools simply piggyback on Google’s data using the API.

Assessment

You can’t ignore Google Analytics. Virtually all the actionable and important data about site visitors, traffic, etc., comes from this critical source.

More Information

2. Google Search Console

If Google Analytics is the air that an online marketer breathes, then Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is the food that the online marketer eats.

The word “webmaster” in the former name is a bit of a misnomer. The tool is for more than webmasters. It’s for SEOs. The very focus of the tool has to do with “search” and “optimization.”

Some of GSC’s best insights come from just glancing at the dashboard. SEOs and marketers need to keep up with the dashboard on a regular basis.

google search console free SEO tools

Google Search Console provides some of the same data as Analytics, but in a simpler and more straightforward way. There’s less tweaking you can do with the numbers, but easier access to them.

search queries free SEO tools

One of the most important datasets is the link data. (Search Traffic → Links to Your Site → More). Staying up to date with toxic backlinks is one of the most essential steps in off-page SEO.

download latest links free SEO tools

If you ever have to deal with the dreaded manual penalty, or are routinely disavowing stubborn spam links, you will become very familiar with Google Search Console.

webmaster tools site messages free SEO tools

Assessment

Clearly, Google Search Console is indispensable. You need the data, you need the tools, and you need the power. I wish that more SEOs saw the value of the tool and used it more.

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3. Ubersuggest

Ubersugest is an all-in-one SEO tool designed to help you win the game of SEO. A big part of SEO success is knowing what you’re doing, what your competitors are doing, and how to adjust your strategy to take advantage of holes in the market.

Getting started with Ubersugest is as simple as typing a domain or keyword into the search bar.

ubersuggest free SEO tool

From here, you gain instant access to a report for your chosen domain or keyword.

ubersuggest information free SEO tool

For the sake of this post, I want to focus on the keyword search capabilities of Ubersuggest. It’s a great alternative to the Google Keyword Planner tool, which has lost some of its luster over the years.

After running a search for your primary keyword, here’s how you can use Ubersuggest to uncover related keywords to include in your content.

Step #1: Click “Keyword Ideas”

Located in the left sidebar, click “Keyword Ideas” to be taken to a comprehensive report.

ubersuggest free SEO tool keyword research

Step #2: Review the Results

This is where the fun begins. You’re provided a long list of keywords related to your seed keyword.

ubersuggest free SEO tool keyword ideas

There are four columns with corresponding data for each keyword:

  • Volume – Average number of monthly searches the keyword has on Google.
  • CPC – Average cost per click for a Google Ad for the keyword.
  • PD – Estimated competition in paid search (the higher the number, the more competitive).
  • SD – Estimated competition in organic search (the higher the number, the more competitive).

While this data alone is helpful, I want you to drill down deeper. Let’s keep going.

Step #3: Click on a Keyword

For example, if you want to rank for the keyword phrase “content marketing agency,” click on it to access the following.

ubersuggest free SEO tool keyword overview

Now, there’s no question as to what you need to do to reach the first page of Google. This data allows you to address points such as:

  • How much traffic you can reasonably expect to receive for each position on page one
  • The number of backlinks for your page one competitors
  • The number of social shares for each URL

Use this data to create content that’s 10x better than your competitors.

Step #4: Filter Your Search

After you gain a clear overview of related keywords that align with your company and its goals, turn on the filter feature to narrow your search. Here’s an example.

ubersuggest free SEO tool keyword ideas

You can set additional parameters, but this is where I like to start when searching for long-tail keywords.

You want to uncover keywords with enough search volume to move the needle, without focusing on anything that has an extremely high SEO Difficulty score.

ubersuggest free SEO tool keyword ideas

Even though it cuts out more than 400 keywords, you’re left with 12 that match your exact criteria. “Content marketing examples” is one of the best keywords on the list, despite an average monthly search volume of only 1,000. It has the ability to drive highly targeted traffic to your website, and with an SD of 17, you have a good chance of ranking.

Assessment

You can do a lot more than keyword research with Ubersuggest, but it’ll definitely help in this department. With this, you have what you need to select keywords that allow you to create killer content that’s destined to rank.

You can also add the free Chrome extension to use Ubersuggest right from the SERPs.

More Information

You can learn more by reading The Guide To Keyword Research.

4. MozBar

Knowledge is the name of the game with the MozBar. When you think about it, SEO has a lot to do with knowing the right stuff. The MozBar helps you discover the right stuff at a glance.

The MozBar button sits right up in your browser toolbar — the place where all the action is going on. Click on the MozBar, and you generate an instant report on the website you’re visiting.

page analysis moz bar free seo tool

You can position the MozBar at the top, side, or bottom of your browsing window at all times.

mozbar free SEO tool

The toolbar has three main categories of data — Page Elements, Page Attributes, and Link Data.

Page Elements displays the nuts-and-bolts of on-page SEO. There’s a lot of information accessible at a glance. You can see the various tags — title, description, H1s, etc.

moz bar page analysis free SEO tool

Page attributes shows some below-the-surface onsite optimization features, such as robots, rel=”canonical” and load time. Additionally, you can find out on-page link data.

moz bar free SEO tool page analysis example

The Link Data tab has ranking factors and more information on a site’s links. Complete information is available only with a paid subscription.

mozbar free seo tool link data tab

Assessment

The MozBar’s true power is available to those who subscribe, and it’s a service worth the money. If you’re still in startup-cash-strapped phase, though, the folks at Moz are kind enough to provide this robust version of their tool at no cost.

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5. SEOWorkers Analysis Tool

The Analysis Tool allows you to plug in a website URL — any website, even if it’s not yours — and generate a report.

Free SEO tool SEOworkers

SEOWorkers doesn’t provide anything new, but it does help to save a lot of time in analysis. Also, it provides background information on the data.

The report is quick and detailed.

analyzed page free seo tool

Some of the data, like the HTTP Headers Check is under-the-hood stuff that you wouldn’t normally think to check for.

http headers check free seo tool

Other analyzed features provide helpful icons to show you if you’re doing well, or if you need to pay attention to something:

head elements free seo tool

Here is SEOWorker’s unique feature. They teach you about SEO in addition to showing you the SEO data that matters. Within each analyzed category, the report provides a detailed discussion.

The keyword analysis is comprehensive. It displays head terms (single keywords), and two-, three-, and four word keyphrases (longtail keywords).

single keywords two words free SEO tool

Assessment

SEOWorkers provides a lot of information, and some of it is different from other SEO and reporting tools. However, it can be information overload.

For the experienced SEO, the discussion in each section is superfluous. For new SEOs who are still learning the tricks of the trade, it could be useful.

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6. WooRank Website Reviews

At first glance, WooRank’s Website Review appears to be just another freemium website analyzer. Upon closer, inspection, however, it gives handy insights into some not-so-obvious stuff.

You can analyze any website, and generate a report in seconds.

woorank free SEO tool

WooRank first displays a “Top priorities section. Unfortunately, here’s one of the downsides of the tool. Somehow, it thinks that I have a 404 error, lack a favicon, and don’t have a robots.txt file. All of these are inaccurate.

top priorities for Quicksprout woorank free SEO tool

For example, when I click on “Blog,” in the SEO report section, I receive this message.

We have not found a blog on this site woorank free SEO tools

I’m nonplussed, since content marketing is kind of my middle name, and my website definitely has an active blog.

On to more positive things.

The geodata is insightful, although Analytics provides similar information.

visitors for QuickSprout SEO tools

Social shareability is another helpful section. Few free analysis tools are able to aggregate this much social network data in a single place.

Social characteristics of QuickSprout free seo tools

The most outstanding feature of WooRank that I want to point out is the mobile section. Few free SEO analysis tools provide this level of data and perspective.

Mobile QuickSprout free SEO tools

That being said, Google does offer a free Mobile-Friendly Test.

Assessment

For its ease, interface, and amount of data, WooRank gets high marks. Unfortunately, not all the data seems to be accurate.

One of its major tools, the mobile optimization overview, can also be viewed using free tools from Google, so it’s not really revolutionary anymore.

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7. Neil Patel SEO Analyzer

We’ve already covered Ubersuggest, but there’s another tool in there that you need to be aware of — our SEO analyzer. (It used to be a separate tool, which is why I gave it its own number.) It really is a valuable tool — and it’s totally free.

Just plug in your URL, and the tool will spend about 10 minutes crawling your site.

The visual layout is clean and intuitive, providing plenty of crucial information including estimated traffic score, SEO score, and backlinks.

free seo analysis Ubersuggest

It will also tell you if you have any broken or blocked pages.

It will also share in SEO issues, see how your site performs on mobile, and actually give you tips on how to improve your site.

Assessment

Personal bias aside, I think that my website analyzer provides a very helpful perspective both on your own site, and especially on a side-by-side comparison of your competitors.

Bonus: ClickFlow

When it comes to growing your traffic, most marketers default to creating new content, building new backlinks, and so on.

The ClickFlow Content Decay Tool is different—it shows you old pages on your site that are no longer performing well. These outdated posts are great candidates for a content refresh.

First, you’ll want to connect the Content Decay Tool to your Google Search Console.

Once ClickFlow imports your data, you’ll see a report that shows you the pages on your site that have lost the most search traffic over the past 12 months.

clickflow free SEO tool

From there, you can update these posts to win back lost traffic. Simply expand upon your content, add examples to make it more thorough, and cut any outdated references.

If you choose to upgrade to a paid ClickFlow account, you can even measure your content refreshes.

ClickFlow will show you the impact that updates have on your traffic and rankings, on a page-by-page basis.

Conclusion

These free SEO tools will get you started, and a few of them are pretty powerful.

If you’re serious about SEO, you’ll need to pony up the cash to get the right tools. You won’t be able to do thorough SEO work without a paid subscription to something.

Here are the things that are typically not available for free:

  • Heat Maps: If you’re interested in usability, conversions, and SEO, a heat mapping tool like Crazy Egg is crucial.
  • Rank Reports: Knowing where your site ranks in the SERPs for certain keywords is an important part of good SEO. Rank trackers allow you to see what page and position you’re on, and track your rank over time.
  • Backlink Analysis: Crunching all the data behind backlinks — anchor text, DA level, site quality, webmaster contact info, velocity — is necessary when you’re doing any sort of backlink audit. The tools that provide such analysis are sophisticated, but usually not free.

What are some other SEO tools that you’ve found useful?

The post 7 Free SEO Tools to Drive Traffic, Clicks, and Sales appeared first on Neil Patel.

What is Livestream Shopping?

ivestream shopping guide

Traditional, physical retailers are great at customer service. They can focus on the specific needs of a handful of shoppers at a time, answering their questions and providing bespoke recommendations until browsers are ready to buy.

On the other hand, e-commerce stores have a much broader reach than their brick-and-mortar peers. There’s basically no limit to the number of people they can serve at once, and those people can be anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection.

Livestream shopping effectively combines the two, putting digital retailers in front of a vast online audience while still allowing them to respond to customers on a one-on-one level.

It’s highly effective: Livestream shopping generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019. Yet just $1 billion of that came from the United States, with China dominating the market. Almost one in three Chinese internet users has bought products via live broadcasts that link to a product landing page, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China.

However, the potential upside of livestream shopping means it could be only a matter of time before it starts catching on in the West.

What Is Livestream Shopping?

If you’ve ever watched a home shopping network like QVC, you’re probably familiar with the theory behind livestream shopping. A presenter showcases a product, which you can purchase during the broadcast.

That said, there are a couple of big ways livestream shopping improves upon the traditional home shopping experience. 

For one thing, it’s far more interactive. While home shopping channels allow viewers to call in, livestream shopping enables the audience to interact through comments, likes, polls, and more. For example, anyone watching the stream can ask a question about the product or request that the host show it from a different angle.

For another, it’s more convenient. You don’t need to be in front of a TV screen to participate. You could be in a coffee shop or on the bus. Given that a staggering three-fifths of American viewers who watch live TV are aged 55 or over, if you’re trying to reach younger consumers, home shopping networks likely aren’t the answer!

In the United States, livestream shopping is currently used mostly by small, direct-to-consumer brands, including a handful of celebrities like Catherine Zeta-Jones. She sells her line of makeup products via the talkshoplive platform.

Catherine Zeta-Jones Livestream Shopping Event

Livestream shopping isn’t limited to any specific product category (although it’s almost all B2C). A quick browse of categories on CommentSold, a livestream shopping platform used by more than 3,000 retailers, includes:

  • women’s retail
  • direct selling
  • wholesale
  • sports merchandise
  • home decor

Livestream Shopping Platforms You Should Know About

Livestream shopping first rose to prominence in China, thanks in part to the existence of fully integrated digital platforms combining e-commerce, payments, and livestreaming. The undisputed market leader is Taobao, owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, with three in five Chinese shoppers having tuned into at least one of the platform’s live shopping streams.

top livestream shopping platforms

Outside China, a bunch of dedicated livestream shopping platforms aimed at Western audiences are already available. These include:

  • Popshop Live: An iOS-specific platform that allows sellers to host shows from their iPhones, use photos to upload purchase links, and integrate with inventory management software.
  • buywith: Allows influencers to “shop live with their followers” on brands’ e-commerce sites, helping influencers to win bigger partnerships and brands to generate greater ROI from their influencer marketing strategies.
  • Bambuser: Originally a live streaming platform for journalists, it’s since entered the livestream shopping space and has been used by brands like H&M.
  • Livescale: A live shopping app that integrates with a range of existing e-commerce platforms, including Shopify. 
  • NTWRK: Promotes daily limited-release product drops and shopping events. The platform reportedly generated over $100,000 in revenue in just 24 hours by selling a $250 platinum money counter from celebrity jeweler Ben Baller.

Unsurprisingly, the big tech companies are starting to bet big on livestream shopping, too. Amazon has a streaming platform featuring daily shows on topics like cooking, fitness, and makeup.

Amazon livestream shopping

Facebook has gotten in on the act as well, rolling out a live selling feature across its platforms, including Instagram.

How Does Livestream Shopping Work?

The premise behind livestream shopping is pretty simple. It effectively combines livestreaming, which you can already find on a lot of the big social media platforms, with a direct purchasing feature. 

It’s like watching a live unboxing on YouTube, except you can buy the product right then and there.

Livestream shopping also encompasses a lot of the features that make social media so popular. Comments pop up as they appear, just like in a Facebook or Instagram livestream, and the audience can react in real time with likes and emojis. All that interaction makes for a far more engaging shopping experience than simply adding an item to a shopping cart and filling out shipping details.

Of course, livestream shopping only works if you can attract a large enough audience. With that in mind, a lot of brands favor one of the following tactics to generate hype:

  • Limited-edition releases: In some livestreams, the product is only available for a set time. A countdown timer is often displayed within the stream to increase the sense of urgency and drive sales.
  • Time-specific discounts: Shoppers can access special promotions by purchasing during a set window.

Both of those approaches lend a feeling of excitement and exclusivity to the occasion, creating an experience that’s nothing like traditional e-commerce.

Tips for Hosting a Livestream Shopping Session

Like the sound of livestream shopping? So do a lot of other brands. Take a look at the NASCAR slide of one livestream platform, Brandlive, and you’ll see name-drops like Adidas, GoPro, Nike, and even the U.S. president!

brands using livestream shopping

Of course, just because it’s a hot new trend doesn’t mean there are any guarantees of success. Read these tips before you host your first livestream shopping experience.

Understand Your Target Audience

As with anything else in retail, livestream shopping won’t yield results if you don’t truly understand your audience. Unless you know who you’re reaching, you can’t make smart calls on issues like:

  • which platform to use
  • which products to promote on your livestream
  • what tone of voice to adopt
  • how to raise awareness of your livestream
  • when to host it

There are many ways to research your audience, but one you shouldn’t overlook is Google Analytics. 

You can find a ton of user data within this tool if you know where to find it. As a starting point, click the “Audience” tab in the left-hand menu and then select “Overview.” As you’d expect, this gives you a brief breakdown of key audience information, such as:

  • where they live
  • what sort of device they use to visit your site
  • what browser or operating system they use
livestream shopping audience research analytics

Next, take a look at the “Interests” section. This is where you’ll find some of the most interesting (and useful) information around your audience’s behaviors, characteristics, and professional lives. Depending on your audience’s makeup, it might tell you things like:

  • recent life events, such as a house move or new job
  • hobbies and interests
  • the industry they work in
  • the types of content they engage with

Some of this will seem obvious. If you sell wedding dresses, it won’t surprise you to learn that a lot of your customers are getting married soon.

However, you might unturn a few gems. For instance, say you’re a homeware brand, and you learn that a lot of your audience have recently started their own businesses. Maybe it’d make sense to host a live shopping stream dedicated to kitting out a home office?

Build a Dedicated Following

Once you understand who your audience is, you can get on with building a following. The ability to foster a sense of community among shoppers is one of the standout features of livestream shopping, helping bring people back to your streams time and again.

When it comes to attracting a following, we can learn a lot from Chinese livestream influencers (also known as “key opinion leaders”) like Huang Wei, who sold $6 billion worth of products in a single year.

Better known as Viya, much of her success comes from the efforts she’s taken to prove herself trustworthy. Viya refuses to feature products unless they’ve first been approved by her team and then by herself. In fact, she spends about four hours a day on product testing.

This commitment to quality has seen her mostly female followership take up the nickname “Women of Viya.” They don’t just buy from her; they feel loyal to her and like they’re part of a club.

Market Your Livestream Shopping Sessions

Clearly, if you don’t have an audience, you don’t have a live shopping stream. It takes a lot of time and effort to build up a community, so you’ll likely need to do your share of promotion ahead of your first stream.

Influencer partnerships are a natural fit for livestream shopping. Getting a recognizable face to showcase your products and highlight key features and benefits can be great for driving sales, and it also helps create some noise ahead of the event.

Again, we can learn a lot from Viya here. When the Chinese streamer invited Kim Kardashian onto her show to promote the latter’s fragrance line, they sold 150,000 bottles in a matter of seconds.

Viya is extremely selective about the influencers and celebrities she works with. Typically, she only invites those with hosting experience because they come across more naturally on-stream.

Of course, influencer marketing is only one approach to promoting a livestream. It might not be appropriate to your brand, or you might not have the budget to partner with the right person. Don’t worry; there are lots of other tactics you can use, like:

  • Running social ads: Livestream shopping is a highly social experience, so why not leverage the advertising capabilities of platforms like Facebook and Instagram to generate awareness of your event?
  • Informing your customers: Let your existing customers know about your first foray into livestream shopping by shouting about it in your newsletter, organic social posts, or blog.
  • Building excitement: Remember when I said how streamers use limited-edition product launches and time-specific discounts to generate hype? Do the same with your livestream, and make sure everyone knows about it before the event.

Choose the Right Platform for Livestream Shopping

The final piece of the puzzle is choosing the best platform to host your shopping session.

When cosmetics giant Maybelline promoted the launch of a new lipstick to Gen X women in China, it selected Taobao as its platform of choice.

Why? Because it wanted to steer clear of niche apps, shorten the path to purchasing to a single click, and reach as many people within its target niche as possible. During the event, anyone searching for Maybelline on Taobao was shown the livestream in a pop-up window, and 50 key influencers were also invited to stream to their fans, allowing them to add their own unique touch to the launch.

To give an example from a company that isn’t a household name, California-based Japanese pop culture brand JapanLA has seen big success through livestream shopping on Popshop Live. In just one show, it sold $17,000 worth of products through more than 1,500 individual checkouts.

livestream shopping JapanLA

JapanLA owner Jamie Rivadeneira says Popshop Live’s interactive features are key to the brand’s success. “I’m able to respond to customers’ requests in real time, such as adding any products that the audience sees in the show on the fly.”

Conclusion

Livestream shopping might be a hot e-commerce trend, but at its heart, it’s very simple. Doing it well is all about leveraging traditional marketing skills like researching your audience, building a community, and choosing the right amplification tactics.

Get those things right, and you’ve got a chance to capitalize on a new approach to digital commerce that prioritizes audience engagement and fosters trust in a way that traditional online retail simply can’t match.

How are you planning to incorporate livestream shopping in your e-commerce strategy?

The post What is Livestream Shopping? appeared first on Neil Patel.