6 Website Navigation Improvement Tips for E-Commerce Websites

Reading Time: 4 minutes

There’s all sorts of different people, and all sorts of different prerogatives for each of them. But for those who are in business for themselves, one wish for the New Year that will be shared between all of them is the wish for greater business success, and the profitability that comes along with that. Now we could go on about the new economic realities of the digital world here in the 21st century, but we’re sure you don’t need to be informed of what you already know.

Offering customers the option to buy online is an absolute must for nearly any business, particularly one that’s in retail. It can even extend to service, albeit to a lesser extent. There’s a darn good reason why so many business don’t spare expense when it comes to building their online identity – something that extends way beyond simply having a good website.

Here at 4GoodHosting, one inherent attribute that comes with be a quality Canadian web hosting provider is really understanding the value of doing this. We do have a free website builder for those who purchase our advanced level web hosting packages, but there’s so much to be said for paid web design as web developers understand that navigation and general structure are every bit as important as visual appeal.

Today we’re going to close out 2019 with 6 improvement you can – and should – make to your website to improve navigation and therefore have more visitors ending up in the checkout rather than ‘bouncing’.

For those who don’t know, your ‘bounce rate’ is the number for the amount of visitors who leave a site within a certain time of arriving on it. And believe me when I tell you that they WILL ‘bounce’ if they find your site to be even the slightest bit user-unfriendly.

Right then, no more about that. Here’s these 6 very doable tips for you.

  1. Slim Menus

Navigation is key to everything that is important about your website. Trying to force all of your navigation means into one area can have negative results when it comes to the user and their being pleased with how the site is laid out and made navigable.

As a general rule, you should have no more than seven menu items in your navigation scheme. The reality is a menu loaded with options can have a big negative impact. Navigation that shows your main services or products and is descriptive as well as concise, works best.

  1. Descriptive Menu Items

As Google or another search engine crawls your site, what happens is your descriptive menu items will be indexed. Those that are only using a general or generic term will have their site lumped into that mix. It is preferable to create terms that are as specific to your product or message as possible. They will index more effectively and work to drive the most desirable traffic to your website. When products and services are too general they will apply to way too many types of businesses. You won’t be distinguishing yourself on the web like you need to be, and like many of your competitors WILL be doing.

Making you navigation terms descriptive will help with limiting bad clicks and lowering bounce rates.

  1. Pitfalls of Dropdown Menus

When the entirety of a site’s categories are listed in a dropdown menu, there’s a very real chance that a visitor won’t mouse over it. If that happens then they may bounce because they aren’t able to see what they want offered quickly enough. A simple navigation menu with descriptive terms will direct your user to a page where you can present more sub items. Done properly, this will promote more engagement and not put the visitor at risk of misunderstanding something that’s missing from your site when it’s really there

  1. Importance of Order

It’s well understood that optimized navigation is based on a sound understanding that the first and last items that appear will be most effective. Items that appear at the beginning and at the end of your menu are going to be the ones that are most effective for retaining site visitors. Your most important items need to be at the beginning and end of the menu, while the least important items should be located in the middle.

  1. Include Search

When a menu fails and site dropdowns are not sufficiently visible, a determined user will then proceed to find and use the search bar. A readily visible and easily located search bar is an essential component of a well designed site, especially an eCommerce one. A working search bar should be included near the top of every page on your website.

  1. Content and Social Media Items

The saying ‘Content is King’ really is accurate, as a blog and social media links can be explicitly beneficial to improving your conversion rates. Engaging your audience helps build lasting relationships, and over time they start to contribute to business and traffic growth. Visitors and shoppers that find your social media and web content to be agreeable / informative / interesting are more likely to see you as an authority of the subject nature of your business and as such they’ll be more inclined to buy from you.

Links to these areas should be an integral part of your site navigation. Don’t have the link to your blog sitting as part of the footer navigation options on your site. Have it clearly and readily accessible at the top of the home page.

All in all, navigation needs to be sharp to create a usability ease environment with your site while still maintaining search engine ranking to drive traffic. Check your analytics before and then again after making navigation adjustments to your site. Follow your instincts regarding maximum simplicity, and know that when you simply tweak a few fundamental areas you can watch your traffic convert and see your name gain real traction in the e-commerce realm for your chosen industry.

With that said, we do wish you the very success you wish for in 2020, and more simply we’ll take this chance to wish a Very Happy New Year to all of you!

Your Need-to-Know for Thunderbolt 3

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Optical data transfer has been an absolute godsend for business computing interests since the USB cable arrived on the scene many, many years ago. Since then what was speedy has become downright fast, and when Apple introduced Thunderbolt technology nearly 10 years ago it was definitely a game changer for rapid charging and transferring large quantities of data between devices without having to twiddle your thumbs for a long time while that task was completed.

It would seem that the speedy transfer revolution isn’t done yet, as instead of competing with the USB-C port, the Thunderbolt 3 port that’s been on the scene since 2016 has decided to join forces with it to offer the newest and best choice for lightning-fast data transfer and charging capabilities.


Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re just the same as any other good Canadian web hosting provider in that we know that even the most layperson individual is going to have large-scale data transfer tasks from time to time, and if not more often than that. Thunderbolt 3 is definitely going to be the solution of-choice for both Mac and PC users, and for people who are in business or creative arts it’s going to be a game changer for sure.


Big Boom Data Transfer & Recharging


As mentioned, Thunderbolt technology has been around since the late 2000s, but once Thunderbolt 3 showed up in 2016, times had changed. USB-C had stolen the thunder and emerged as the latest version of the standard – an updated and powerful USB cable that could deliver up to 15 watts of power for devices and up to 100 watts for charging compatible laptops or similar devices. This was a major advancement for USB, and the future of many common computer connections was changed for good.


The guys behind Thunderbolt’s development at Apple had to make an objective decision. What they chose to do is rather than facing off against USB-C, they chose to join with it. Thunderbolt 3 then ditched the old DisplayPort connection base, and decided to go with a USB-C connection. Combining the two technologies has resulted in one particularly powerful hybrid.


By going with USB-C Thunderbolt 3 was able to make the leap from Apple devices to other PCs and laptops, a process that for many people was long overdue. The only downside has been the issue of compatibility. If you’re using Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2, the new USB connection isn’t compatible with yours unless your purchase a pricey adapter.


What can you do with a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port today? Here’s some of the most common examples:


  • transmit data at a rate of 40Gbps
  • output video to two 4K monitors at 60 Hz
  • charge smartphones and most laptops with up to 100 watts of power
  • connect to an external GPU (unless it’s been blocked by the manufacturer)


Some may not know which type of port they have. To determine whether or not your USB-C port is actually Thunderbolt 3, you can look for the little Lightning bolt symbol near it, and this symbol is usually what differentiates it from a conventional USB-C port.

The Thunderbolt Port’s History


Thunderbolt technology got its start in the late 2000s as an Intel project called Light Peak. The aim for this project was to add optical data transfer to traditional data transfer used with computer peripherals – which is by and large combining wire and fibre optics. Engineers soon came to understand that the prototypes with the old copper wiring standard were already achieving satisfactory results at a much a lower cost.


Thunderbolt then made its debut in the early 2010s, and at first was available only on Apple devices. It was seen as very promising by designers and engineers who were using laptops but still needed high-powered connections to external storage, high-resolution displays, and so on.


However, as the first Thunderbolt release was only available for Macs for the first year or so, it didn’t have the wide reaching usability and appeal that its creators had in mind for it. In addition to limited availability, this new tech required unique Thunderbolt cables, and at around $50 they were expensive.


In June of 2013 Thunderbolt 2 was released with the big promise of being enabled for simultaneous 4K video file transfer and display. Thunderbolt 3 arrived just a couple of years later in June 2015, and devices using it came out in December of that year.


Thunderbolt 2 combined the two 10 Gbps bi-directional channels of the first cable and created a single 20 Gbps bi-directional channel that could provide a lot more power to peripherals when necessary. They proved they had higher speeds than any other popular peripheral cable of the day, but the most relevant difference was their 4K compatibility. Users who depended on Thunderbolt connections could now know that the highest resolutions would be supported when necessary.


The new Thunderbolt standard made it so that with a little extra hardware to work with the updated USB-C port, even the USB-C’s data transfer and powering capabilities had been outdone. Dedicated Thunderbolt ports were now a thing of the past, and that’s why USB-C ports can come with or without Thunderbolt 3 capabilities, and USB-C cables may or may not be compatible with Thunderbolt 3.


Thunderbolt Developments


Charging devices using USB-C Thunderbolt connections has become more common. Compatibility has been expanded to include the USB 3.1 cable standard, but USB is moving to a more complicated standard setup with 3.2 and is set to appear on the market soon and will include several different varieties with different capabilities.


It should also be mentioned that the USB 4 standard is on its way, and it is reported to have speeds that can rival Thunderbolt 3. According to official data, USB 4 will offer two-lane data transfer with total speeds up to 40Gbps and its being more open-source will encourage more manufacturers to use it.


Consider security threats as well. Security experts recently warned of the Thunderclap vulnerability on Macs and PCs. This vulnerability allows hackers to use the Thunderbolt port to access and steal files on a computer via a device loaded with the right malware by bypassing Thunderbolt security measures in seconds. It’s something to be very aware of and reminder that you should never use these ports with unfamiliar devices.


Merry Christmas to Everyone from all of us here at 4GoodHosting!

Interesting Possibilities: Blockchain and IoT could come together to Disempower Food Fraud Interests within 5 Years

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We’re well aware that most the time we’re discussing something more explicitly related to web hosting, computing, or online business interests with our blog here. In a few instances we’ve discussed Blockchain technology and the Internet of Things, but we’ve never discussed them together before, and certain not within the context of how the two could be coming together in the future to ensure that what you’re putting on your dinner plate IS what you think you’re putting on your dinner plate.

Recent industry news is highlighting this exact possibility, and we’ll get into explaining just how exactly this may work. Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re like all other quality Canadian web hosting providers in that we very much enjoy hearing of how digital technology advances have the ability to not only make life better for many, but also to make it a lot more difficult for those who purposefully choose to be deceitful in the interest of making a dirty dollar.

So let’s get right to it, in the interest of any and all who’ve been sold farmed Tilapia that’s labelled as ocean-caught wild cod or something similar.

The Full Food Journey – Detailed Entirely

If what we are to understand here, the way blockchain and IoT tracking technology will be able to trace any grown, raised, or cultivated food along its entire journey from farms to grocery store shelves will change the food industry in very revolutionary ways. Most notably, it may actually LOWER your grocery bill. That may be made possible by reducing retailers’ costs by streamlining supply chains and simplifying regulatory compliance. All of this is according to a new study by Juniper Research in the United Kingdom.

The primary key to all of this would be blockchain’s immutable ledger, which when combined with IoT sensors and trackers, would create a supremely efficient food recall process.

But how would it take on the huge problem that is food fraud? For those not familiar, Food fraud is when food is mislabelled, diluted or substituted food and ingredients.

Let’s take an example, any example. How about extra virgin olive oil? It may be on your local grocery’s shelf labelled as originating from Greece. However, it originated from somewhere nowhere even close to the Aegean region. Blockchain’s ledger will be able to make end retailers be aware of these fraudulent claims, which of course are almost exclusively used to raise prices on products to create greater profits for manufacturers and middlemen in the food industry.

Big Time Billions in Savings from Fraud

Ever greater adoption of Blockchain and IoT tracking technologies in the supply chain industry are forecasted to create $31 billion in food fraud savings globally by 2024. This will be made possible by tracking food across the supply chain, and tracking it so accurately that the information will be functionally indisputable. Substantial savings in food fraud will be realized as early as 2021 and compliance costs are expected to be reduced by 30% within 4 or so years from now.

As it is now, food tracking systems rely on paper trail to manually track assets throughout the supply chain, and do so far too much. These inefficient systems make it so that records can be lost or unreconciled. Plus these new more irrefutable records could be shared by all supply chain users, which would promote the overall visibility of the supply chain.

The Starbucks Example

Starbucks’ and Microsoft are taking the lead on this, creating a mobile ‘bean to cup’ tracking app that incorporates this blockchain / IoT merger perfectly and enables customers to see where their coffee was grown, and the full journey it took before filling their cup (ideally not a disposable one).

It’s helpful to look at this further and understand that companies often have to rely on intermediaries to perform these tracking tasks. The drawback is that this adds a level of complexity to the supply chain, resulting in increases inefficiency, fraud and waste. New Blockchain and IoT technology supply chain tracking would eliminate nearly all of this very nicely.

Further, private or ‘permissioned’ blockchains can be created within a company’s four walls, or between trusted partners. Being able to administer them centrally while still retaining control over who has access to information on the network (in order to overview any who may try to falsify it) is going to be hugely beneficial.

It is true that IoT devices shipped with goods link the physical and digital worlds primarily via location tracking sensors, along with temperature and humidity monitoring. Add blockchain to the equation and you’ve now got a place where the data can be stored and accessed by everyone on the ledger. Ledger users can also be segmented so sensitive business data isn’t exposed to competitors, the report said.

This new distributed ledger technology’s innate capabilities have not been lost on enterprises either. More pilots and proofs of concept are sprouting up all across the grocery and food industry. Look no further than the fact that 20% of the top 10 global grocers will be using blockchain by 2025, and it’s expected that the widespread utilization of this – and belief in it’s effectiveness – will increase consumer confidence and help with customer trust and loyalty.

Transparency in product nature and sourcing is going to be HUGE for customer satisfaction and return business in a multi billion dollar a year industry in North America.

Talking about Starbucks again, they’ve partnered with Microsoft to build a blockchain supply chain aimed at tracking coffee beans from farms to stores. Not stopping there, they’re also planning to create a mobile app that lets customers track the full supply chain journey of the beans that are the source of the coffee they’re enjoying at that very moment.

GrainChain, a blockchain-based supply chain service based in McAllen, Texas, is also being an early bird with all of this. Their new service is being piloted by roughly 10% of Honduras coffee growers – some 12,000 farmers – with an eye on going into full production around April 2020.

So the next time you bite into a food of any sort and question whether you’ve got what you’ve paid for, take some solace in the fact that new digital technologies may be making the ease of this deception a thing of the past. That’s going to be good for EVERYONE, as well as spend a lot of our hard-earned money at the grocery store year in and out, and especially if you’ve got children at home.



Ways to Maximize Battery Life with your Notebook

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The appeal of the notebook computer in comparison to the desktop is that the notebook allows for portable personal computing, and that’s a big plus for people nowadays. More often than not people’s laptops will be plugged in when they’re resting on a desktop at home, but when they’ve got them tagging along outside of it then there’s few things worse than seeing your notebook’s battery start to wane dangerously low.


Some notebooks are worse than others with the way they tear through a battery reserve in very little No time, and these days many of you have likely seem the new Chromebook commercials that promote a product with a superior long-life battery to prevent any of the ‘we’re dying over here’ as they say in the commercial. No matter what you might be doing on your laptop, a near-dead battery while you’re still a long way from home is definitely not cool.


Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re like the individuals at any good Canadian web hosting provider who will be similarly anxious anytime our devices are dipping way too much for our liking. One of the things the nature of our job does for us is it has us in a position to soak up a lot of information on the world of computing, and we soak it up pretty readily. When we learned of these tips for getting more battery life for your notebook, we thought it’s exactly the kind of information that would be well received in our blog.


So here goes for this week.


Start with a Visit to Power Settings


Every laptop battery is built to handle a certain number of charge cycles. This number is typically somewhere around 500 full cycles — and in some instances more. A charge cycle equals one full discharge down to 0% before recharging back up to 100%. Similarly, a discharge down to 50% and then topping up to 100% would equal half a cycle. Over the course of the battery’s working life, each charge cycle decreases its capacity from the original design specification. The less often your drain it, the longer the battery will last.


A good place to start in the quest to improve your battery performance is visiting the power settings on your laptop and then coming to understand how your battery works. Plus what battery settings you should enable. Learn about hibernation modes too and then make sure yours are ideally set up.


The best choice is to have your laptop enter hibernation mode before the battery is totally drained and also during extended downtimes when you won’t be using the laptop for a while.You can conserve even more power by taking a tour of your apps and quitting any that are running in the background and decreasing your battery life while they do so.


PC users with Windows 10 can and should enable the Battery Saver feature on their notebook. It will automatically turn on when your laptop comes to be at 20% battery life. Then background apps will automatically be blocked and features like Calendar won’t be allowed to sync or push notifications. The screen brightness will also be lowered, and there’a also other less notable changes that will also promote better battery conservation before you can get plugged in again.


Your approach if you’re a MacBook owner is to look into enabling Power Nap. It will put your Mac to sleep without worrying about it abandoning important tasks or notifications, allowing you to save more battery life. Another good move is enabling automatic graphics switching. This also helps MacBooks save energy by switching to a lower graphics mode when engaged in certain ways where graphics aren’t as important.


Most of the manual changes you can make here too are pretty easily done. Shutting down cloud storage services or video players can be a good choice, and you can also manually reduce power usage by shutting off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they’re not needed. Consider shutting off optional features like keyboard backlighting, and take stock of any components that may be burning power.


Guides from Microsoft and Apple explain this process further, and are easy to dig up online.


Keeping The Battery in Zone


Before lithium-ion batteries came into existence there was a problem called ‘battery memory’ that caused nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries to get confused as to their full charge capacity, and then start charging to lower and lower levels while showing ‘full’. This isn’t a problem anymore, but it has left behind something of a common misunderstanding for a lot of people.


Anyone who tells you should completely discharge a lithium-ion battery and then recharge it to somehow reboot or calibrate it is NOT correct. This is actually very damaging for your battery. The industry consensus is somewhere around s letting your battery discharge to around 20% or so and then charging it up again.


Another myth is that it is good to avoid keeping devices plugged in, based on the idea that letting a battery charge to 100 percent could wear the battery out more quickly. Again not true – modern devices will reliably stop charging at 100 percent and continuing to have them plugged in doesn’t impact the battery’s lifespan.


Now for some accurate information – Never let your battery go below 20%, and if you’re going to store your laptop for an extended time without using it, then discharge or charge it to 50% before putting it away.


Avoid Overheating


Today’s lithium-ion batteries are more durable than their predecessors, but they can only take so much heat. If your batter is radiating a lot of heat while its charging it may be because the CPU or graphics processor is overactive, and if you can it’s a good idea to shut the device down and pop the battery out if possible. If not, just let the computer have half an hour or so of downtime.


Avoid using your notebook on your lap. If you really like having it there while you watch TV then consider one of the many notebook stands that can locate right off to the side of your armrest.


Avoid leaving your notebook in direct sunlight, this can promote overheating if your notebook is not turned off, but in sleep mode.


Moderately cold temperatures won’t affect a laptop battery much, but of course don’t leave your laptop in very cold or freezing temperatures. There are a number of apps you can run that will monitor laptop heat. This includes CoreTemp and Real Temp for Windows, and you can download both for free.


Software and Your Battery


Keeping your software updated helps to enable better battery life. Companies work hard to improve the way programs use power via software updates. The same operating system on a later patch may be oriented to use less battery power, providing you with a longer energy lifespan with nothing more required. Keep your OS updated to improve battery life.

Laser Blasted Magnets: A Potential Ticket to Much Faster Computers

Reading Time: 4 minutes

With all the talk about the ongoing advent of supercomputers and all they’re poised to do and having major ramifications for our day-to-day existences, there hasn’t been a whole lot of talk about the technological discoveries that are enabling these new mega processor computers to do what they do. Often times it’s not that they’re doing something which they weren’t capable of doing previously, and more that they’re doing them infinitely faster than they could before. Size is only part of it, as most of these new super computers are nowhere near the room-taking behemoths that were seen in the late ’70s and early 80s.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we imagine there isn’t so much as one reliable Canadian web hosting provider who’s not keeping close tabs on these developments. Given the nature of the business we’re in, this stuff is especially relevant and we’re quite confident in guessing that it’s similarly must-read stuff for those of you with business interests that tied to what the World Wide Web is capable of as well.

So today we’re going to look at how one particular component of computers that have been part of them since the beginning – magnets – are now having being supercharged in a very particular way. If this is something that interests you, read on.

The Power in Disrupted Magnetism

A necessary scientific preface here; magnets rapidly recover their magnetic properties following any sharp hit that disrupts their magnetism. Over recent years there’s been more research into this phenomenon, and it appears that was for good reason.

Lasers were fired at slim magnets, and what happened after the laser beam hit it was that the magnetic spins of the material’s atoms started behaving more like a fluid, rather than a solid. As a result the magnetic properties formed ‘droplets’. The researchers then compared the magnetic activity to filling a jar with oil and water, and then shaking the container.

How all of this is relevant is in how the spins of zapped magnets act like those in superfluids, with the magnets increase the expanse and concentration of properties due to the new molecular arrangement that is promoted by the laser beams.

(A superfluid is a phase of matter that has no viscosity and shrugs off friction.)

The new molecular arrangement once the magnet has been zapped is to have their materials able to be ‘spinning’ in multiple directions, and not only to the North or to the South as is the case with the untreated, standard magnet. The brief pulse of amplified light disrupts the natural organization of a magnetic material.

After receiving the energy imparted by the laser, the spins of the magnet stop pointing up or down. Instead, they start orienting in various directions, which neutralizes the material’s magnetic properties. The untapped potential in all of this as far as supercomputing is concerned is in the very short (microseconds) of time that exists between the arrival of the laser pulse and the magnet moving back to its previous equilibrium.


Flipped Magnetic Orientation = Much More Data Storage Capacity

Different magnetic alloys were tried during these experiments, including ones made from cobalt, gadolinium, and iron. After the magnets were introduced to lasers, researchers compared the lab results to the ones produced by math equations and computer simulations.

What immediately grabbed their attention and quickly highlighted the potential in all of this was this; The magnetic materials remained in a solid phase, even though they’d been hit by a laser. However, the spins of their atoms started acting like the ones in fluids (which in physics encompasses gas and plasma, as well as liquids). Both their position and their magnetic orientation was changed.

The promise is in how these magnetic spins flip their orientation is that they may improve computer data storage. The belief is that the spins behaved like superfluids after the laser strike, but only for a brief moment.

The spins start to settle down very quickly, but in that very brief window of opportunity there’s the potential to accomplish a great deal in the way of processing extremely extensive computing equations that otherwise would take heaps of time, energy, and other resources. As the spins cluster together, however briefly, all this becomes possible but after time they limit their orientation to up or down instead of pointing to every direction of the compass.

Given time, the droplets increased in size. Their behavior invoked how intermixed oil and water split apart and form growing clusters. Experts now compare this cluster behavior to a seed that formed the center of bigger groups. Further, it seems there is the possibility of a zapped magnet flipping the direction of its spins. Sometimes, after getting hit by a laser pulse, a magnet recovers its magnetic properties, but starts pointing in the opposite direction. So instead of pointing up, it now points down, and vice versa.

Computers may be able to use the flipping behavior of spins and magnets to store vastly larger amounts of data, and processing, categorizing, and then eventually making it available for utilization in a much more speedy and efficient manner. The results of this experiment may help improve the performance of data storage devices, and given the rampant growth of data centers and the need to try and keep them as small and with as little ecological footprint as possible, this is DEFINITELY a very promising development in the world of computing.