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  • What Are Chargebacks and How Can They Kill Your Business?

    Thursday, July 28, 2016 by

    What Are Chargebacks

    Your new business is up and running, your website is generating sales, and life is great, right? Maybe, but stay alert for a hidden threat many new merchants don’t know about until it’s too late – chargebacks. Like shark fins in clear waters, chargebacks are e-commerce hazards that can strike without warning. Protect your business by understanding what chargebacks are, how to prevent them, and what to do when you encounter them.

    What Are Chargebacks?

    A chargeback occurs when a cardholder calls their card issuer to dispute a charge on their account. If one of your customers files a dispute, you’ll get a notice from your acquiring bank that a chargeback is pending. You can either accept it or appeal it – we’ve got more information on that below. If you accept it or if the acquirer or card issuer denies your appeal you’ve got a chargeback. That’s not good.

    Why Do Customers File Chargebacks?

    Visa lists four main reasons for chargebacks in its 94-page Chargeback Management Guidelines document. (It’s not great beach reading, but read it anyway.) The top two reasons come from customers: disputes and fraud attempts. Authorization and processing problems can also cause chargebacks, so we’ll talk about good recordkeeping in a minute.

    Customer dispute chargebacks

    There are many reasons a legitimate customer may file a chargeback request. If their order never arrived, if it was the wrong item, if it was radically different from the product description, or if they were overcharged, they may request a chargeback if your customer service team doesn’t fix the problem.

    Friendly fraud chargebacks

    Criminals posing as customers order goods, pay with a credit card, and then falsely claim they never received their order. This “friendly fraud” is a real problem for online merchants and it’s getting worse. According to retail news outlet WWD, chargeback fraud is rising 20% per year, and more than half of people who successfully file a fake chargeback will do it again within three months. In other words, once there’s blood in the water, the sharks move in.

    [bctt tweet="Over 50% of people who successfully file fake #chargebacks will do it again within 3 months." username="hostgator"]

    How Do Chargebacks Hurt Your Business?

    Chargebacks cause harm in the short run and over the long term. With each completed chargeback, you lose the revenue from the transaction, any merchandise you shipped or services you provided, and you’ll almost always owe a chargeback fee to your acquirer.

    If your chargeback ratio (chargebacks to total transactions) reaches a certain point, you’ll either pay higher processing rates or lose your merchant account entirely, often with much less notice than you’d like. If that happens, you’ll have to find a processor who’s willing to work with “high risk” merchants – at high-risk rates -- to keep your business from sinking.

    How Can Your Business Avoid Chargebacks?

    You can reduce your chargeback risk by following five simple steps to keep your legitimate customers happy and discourage fraudsters from taking a bite out of your business.

    1. Provide clear information to customers

    Your product descriptions and images should be accurate so shoppers aren’t disappointed when the goods arrive. Your shipping and return policies should be visible on every site page so shoppers know what to expect before they buy. Make sure the billing descriptor that appears on customers’ credit card statements is recognizable; use your shop name or another term you’ve told customers to expect to see.

    2. Track your shipments

    Package tracking helps everyone. Customers won’t assume their package is lost if they can track its progress, and fraudsters are out of luck claiming the package never arrived if you have proof it did. (There are plenty of WordPress plugins out there to help you manage shipping - check out our post here.)

    3. Provide great customer service

    Customer service contact information should appear on every page of your site and on the receipt in every package you ship. Round-the-clock help and a customer-friendly attitude can reduce the risk that customers will go straight to their card issuer to solve their problems.

    4. Screen your transactions for fraud

    Your processor, a 3rd-party fraud-prevention service, and/or your own in-house team can watch for red flags like shipping and billing addresses that don’t match, high-value purchases by a new customer, many small purchases from the same IP address in a short period of time, and purchases from locations that are known to have high rates of fraud.

    5. Keep detailed transaction records

    The more information you record for each transaction, the better. Some things are required, like the date, amount, cardholder name, and other basics. Go above and beyond to include what card issuers call “compelling evidence” – delivery signatures, customer service emails that prove receipt of the item, customer IP addresses and phone numbers, and more. Each issuer has its own rules, which you need to study. (See below.)

    What Should You Do If You Get A Chargeback Notice?

    Submit supporting information quickly

    Get your evidence to your acquirer within the time limit they set. If you’re late, you lose out, even if the chargeback would otherwise be unsuccessful. This is where good recordkeeping and organization literally pay off.

    Evaluate the chargeback

    Whether the chargeback is approved or denied, study it to see if there are things you can improve to avoid similar chargeback requests going forward.

    Want to learn more about chargeback prevention?

    Get the details on each card issuer’s chargeback process and fraud-prevention tips:

    Your acquiring bank can be a resource for chargeback prevention, too. Talk to your banker about ways to shore up your fraud controls and head off future attacks.

  • Drupal vs WordPress – Choose the Best CMS for Your Business

    Monday, July 25, 2016 by

    Drupal vs WordPress

    There are several content management systems (CMS) to choose from when considering your business needs.  The two giants that spring to mind are Drupal and WordPress.  Each platform takes up a huge chunk in the market share of CMS and are perfectly reasonable choices for most websites.

    But what distinguishes one from the other?  Which one is better?  Easier?  More functional?  Efficient?  What are the advantages and disadvantages to using one versus the other?

    Although both systems allow users to create and manage content over one or multiple websites, there are major differences between the two. Understanding how these platforms work, what their strong points are and their unique benefits will help you to become confident in your final choice.  The goal here is to provide you with a complete overview giving you insight into the good, bad and the ugly so you can make an informed decision on which route to select for your website. 

    WordPress

    WordPress is perhaps the easiest and most powerful blogging and website CMS on the Internet.  It has 10 times the amount of users than Drupal strictly due to its popularity and simplicity.  Starting out simply as a blogging system, it’s evolution to a fully-functional content management system has positioned WordPress to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, currently powering more than a whopping 24% of the web!

    Using the WordPress platform is ideal for beginner blogger/website creators yet advanced techies and web developers can have lots of fun with all the creative ways to customize.

    Here are the benefits along with the disadvantages and ugly side to using WordPress:

    The Good

    • Highly flexible, with uses of websites, blogs, complex portals and enterprise websites, and even apps
    • Easy to learn without having to know HTML
    • Search engines love WordPress, making it great for SEO
    • Huge community support for Q&A
    • 100% customizable
    • Thousands of free (and paid) themes, plugins and tools
    • Upgrades completed automatically without owners having to do anything
    • Gives owners complete control of their site without having to wait for web developers
    • Manage your site from any computer/mobile device
    • Set up for multiple authors, each having their own access and capabilities
    • Feasible for any type of marketing content

    The Bad

    • Due to frequent updates, some plugins may not adapt as quickly, preventing them from working efficiently if at all
    • Graphic changes do require knowledge of CSS and HTML
    • Permalinks are numeric until user knowingly activates the SEO friendly feature
    • Slower experience at times when handling large volume of content

    Now…the Ugly

    • Extremely vulnerable to plugin viruses that can wipe content and pages (yikes…check out how to prevent these viruses from occurring here)

    Who Actually Uses WordPress?

    Here are some well-known brands that leverage the power of WordPress and its benefits…

    • The Official Star Wars Blog
    • SONY Music
    • MTV News
    • New York Times
    • Best Buy
    • eBay
    • Yahoo
    • CNN
    • Ford
    • Mozilla Firefox
    • Fortune
    • Wall Street Journal

    Drupal

    Drupal is favored amongst government, higher education institutions, NGO’s, and global enterprises proudly serving sites like The White House website.  It is an incredibly powerful framework that can serve as a solid foundation for virtually any type of website. 

    The beauty of Drupal is that it was especially designed for search engine optimization.  It also places high value in security, reliability, and flexibility.  Although not boasting as many users as WordPress, Drupal indeed has a large friendly community that is highly active and responsive to inquiries.

    This CMS is definitely for the advanced with developer expertise…it is not for all users like WordPress.  If you do not have an experienced web developer on staff, you may have to contract one for this project.  However, it is a webmaster's dream because of its unique customization features. 

    Using Drupal is indeed a great choice with the ability to create fantastic looking sites. Let’s examine the advantages as well as the not so good features of Drupal:

    The Good

    • Advanced control over URL structure
    • Top notch enterprise-level security
    • Features countless modules, themes, and extensions.
    • Ideal for community platform sites that require complex data organization with multiple users
    • Great ability to handle large amounts of content
    • Supports multiple site stakeholders (admin, editors, logged in users requiring customized content, private groups, etc.)
    • Clean look, built for high performance
    • More robust features for complex jobs
    • Pages tend to load faster due to its defaulting caching features
    • Flexible with lots of versatility

    The Bad

    • Requires technical expertise
    • Hiring a web developer to install is more expensive than WordPress installation
    • Upgrades need to be completed with developer knowledge
    • Premium themes and plugins (modules) cost a lot more than WordPress

    And…the Ugly

    • It is difficult to install

    Who Actually Uses Drupal?

    • The White House
    • The Weather Channel
    • Turner Broadcasting
    • Australian Government
    • Verizon
    • Popular Science
    • Fox
    • Dallas Cowboys
    • NBC
    • Pinterest
    • Twitter
    • Warner Music Group
    • BBC
    • University of Oxford
    • gov.uk
    • Forbes

    How to Choose the Best CMS for Your Business

    The first step towards choosing which CMS will work better for you is to assess your current and future business goals and how can your website take you there.  If you foresee your site growing to hold lots of data (especially sensitive information), Drupal is a better choice because of it’s security and page load speeds.  If you plan to have multiple authors and want a platform that is simple to use (particularly for a team that may not be as tech savvy), WordPress is it.

    Knowing which CMS is right for your business will ultimately save you time and money…both now and in the future! 

    HostGator offers web hosting for both WordPress and Drupal. Learn more about the features of the two platforms and build your website today.

    Get Started With HostGator!

  • How to Protect Your Data from Your Employees (and Yourself)

    Thursday, July 21, 2016 by

    Protect Your Data

    No matter how careful you are about protecting your business information, there’s always a risk someone will break into your system to steal customers’ payment and password data. Although years of international data breach studies say theft is usually external, some of your staffers’ work practices (and yours) may unintentionally make it easier for outsiders to breach your security. Here are some habits you and your employees should break.

    Putting off updates

    It’s so, so tempting to dismiss those time-to-update notices from your antivirus program, your operating system, and your applications. You’re busy, it only takes a quick click to clear your screen, and you can get back to work. The problem is that putting the update off can become a habit, and that leads to extra risk.

    That’s because whenever an update notice goes out, hackers see it, too, and they start looking for businesses and networks that don’t quickly patch their software. According to the global 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, most of the attacks against out-of-date software happen within three months of the update announcement.

    If your team puts off updates to avoid work slowdowns, schedule updates to happen automatically overnight or at another time when your employees are offline. (Critical updates, of course, should happen as soon as possible.)

    BYOD without bringing device security

    Do you and your employees use your own mobile devices, tablets, and laptops to work while you’re outside the office? If you have a “bring your own device” policy (BYOD), you also need a BYOD security policy to protect your business information on those devices. Specifically, you need to ensure that you have control over which business data your staff can access on their own devices and have a way to remove that data if they resign, are fired, or lose their device. Just like your business network, employees’ devices should have up-to-date security programs and software to protect their data and yours.

    Exposing data to physical theft

    In the push to update your digital security, remember that physical security matters, too. If a bad apple finds the smartphone you left on the plane, the tablet sitting in your parked car, or the laptop you leave your desk, they can literally walk away with your data.

    Insurer Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey experienced this in 2013, when thieves stole two employee laptops and compromised data for 840,000 health-insurance clients. CSO Online reported that the machines sat in plain sight, attached to desks with cable locks that the thieves cut, and with no data encryption to protect customer records in case of theft or loss.

    Your employees should make sure to store laptops and other devices out of sight and under lock and key. It’s up to you to ensure the devices use the necessary password and encryption tools. (You can generate a secure password here.) While you’re protecting your current hardware, make sure you require employees to wipe data from old machines that are being replaced, too.

    Clicking links in phishing emails

    The wave of phishing attempts is higher than it’s been in more than a decade. Phishing attacks trick email recipients into clicking on links that install data-stealing malware on networks. It can be hard to distinguish a genuine email from a phishing attempt, especially for employees whose jobs involve opening many emails (customer service, for example). The 2016 DBIR looked at millions of results from organization-sponsored phishing tests and found that about 12% of test messages led an employee to click on an infected link or attachment. Of those, just 3% reported the problem to a manager.

    The DBIR recommends strong email filters as the first line of defense, because employees can’t click on malware links they never see. The report also recommends training your workers to be on the lookout for phishing attempts and to let you know when they click on suspected phishing links.

    Befriending strangers on social media

    There’s another type of phishing your employees should be aware of, especially if they mention your business name on their personal or professional social media accounts. Thieves can create fake profiles, make friend requests, and then monitor posts for information they can use to guess passwords to employees’ personal and business accounts. They can also share links and files that contain malware. If your staffers click on these while using your business network, you’re going to be infected.

    SocialNomics recommends that social media users only accept friend requests from people they know. The Better Business Bureau advises against following links or downloading files from strangers on social media.

    Leaving paper records accessible

    After all this talk about hardware, email and social media, and network security, it may seem odd to wrap things up with paper. However, until the day comes when no employee keeps a work password scrawled on a sticky note and every employee diligently shreds documents before disposal, paper will be a low-tech way for thieves to access your network and sensitive data.

    The DBIR recommends that you “rein in the paper” as much as you can. Ban workers from posting passwords where they are visible to customers or passersby/ third-party workers like cleaners and caterers. Make shredding discarded documents a companywide habit.

    For more information about small-business success, check out the Startup & Small Business section of the HostGator blog.

    Keep your website protected from malware and data thieves with SiteLock from HostGator. Get a certified SiteLock logo and increase your web conversions by 15%! Learn more here.

  • Using Social Media To Get a Job? LinkedIn Isn’t Your Only Option

    Wednesday, July 20, 2016 by

    Using Social Media To Get A Job

    We’ve all spent countless hours “Like”-ing our friends new puppy and retweeting our fave celebrity tweets, but have you considered using these social media platforms to find a job?

    The social stats: Companies rely on social media to screen potential candidates. According to Adweek.com, 93% of companies use LinkedIn, 66% use Facebook and 54% use Twitter for recruiting. It’s way easier for a company to use social media and, on average, requires 20% less time for an employer to find a new hire.

    And get this: roughly 30% of the time if a job candidate doesn’t have a social media presence, they won’t get hired. Sure, it depends on the type of job, but better to appear socially savvy than not.

    [bctt tweet="30% of job candidates who don't have a social media presence won't get the job." username="hostgator"]

    When we think about social media and job-hunting, there are some dos and don’ts:

    Do: Retweet/share an inspirational TED Talk.

    Don't: Retweet/share an endless stream of Kardashian family photos.

    Listen, we won’t judge you if you dig the Kardashians, but think about which of those two options makes you a more appealing job candidate.     

    We recommend beginning with one social media outlet to start your job hunt and then progressing to other platforms. Be consistent, and remember that you are your brand.

    Which Social Media Platform is Best for Your Job Search?

    LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is the most widely used platform for job hunters and employers. Use LinkedIn to post resume info, interests and achievements. You can search LinkedIn to find people who work in your field or for a specific company. And did you know there’s an app for that? LinkedIn offers a free app you can use to search for jobs by keywords, location and industries while on-the-go. You can also follow your favorite companies and receive hiring notifications. The app syncs with your LinkedIn profile and can make job recommendations based on your profile. LinkedIn also offers a paid Premium account where you can compare yourself to other applicants and even get estimated salary info.

    Oh, and to look even fancier on LinkedIn, add your skills and get endorsed for them by your colleagues. Need more endorsements? Try endorsing others. People usually react in kind.

    LinkedIn Endorsements

    Twitter

    If you already use Twitter for fun, consider creating a separate Twitter account for professional use only. Use hashtags to follow industries and companies in your field. Let people know you’re job hunting by using hashtags such as #Jobs, #Hiring, #Careers. You can follow industry trends by using specific hashtags: #Marketing or #Accounting. Follow industry leaders and if you find a person who tweets good advice, tell them. Think of this as a networking opportunity. Don’t just be a follower but create your own following by tweeting industry-related facts that you’ve learned.

    Facebook

    Increasingly, employers are using Facebook to screen job candidates. If you don’t want that top five accounting firm to see what a crazy (I mean, crazy) good time you had in Cancun, make sure your settings are private and delete any questionable pictures or posts.

    If you want to stay public enhance your job profile by adding work experiences under the “About” section of your profile.

    Search for friends who know people at companies you like. Join groups from your college and high school and let them know you are job hunting. So you don’t bore your non-professional friends, create a professional group from your current Facebook friends and share industry-related news with them.

    Instagram

    Instagram is a must for creative professionals. And Instagram portfolios are a thing. You can even link your Instagram account to your LinkedIn profile so employers can see your body of work.

    Pinterest

    Awesome for consultants or freelancers, Pinterest is a great place to show off your copywriting and graphic design skills. Set up your profile with pics of your own designs, infographics, and industry-related products that interest you.

    If you’re really proud of the work you’re presenting via social channels, link to them from your resume. Social media gives job applicants the opportunity to show themselves as a thoughtful, well-rounded person; so much more than just a piece of paper.

    Snapchat

    Okay, maybe it’s a long shot, but Snapchat is becoming a more legit way for companies to make money and for people to get found. Just ask Michael Platco who turned his goofy Snapchat pics, drawings, and storytelling into a massively successful freelancing career with clients like Walt Disney World.

    In today's world, anything is possible, so get out there, get social and get the job of your dreams!

    Ever land a job through social? Hit the comments and tell us about it!

    Besides social media, a sure way to stand out among other job candidates is with your own website. Leverage your online presence by showcasing your work. Build your personal brand today with a web hosting plan from HostGator - starting as low as $3.95/mo.

    Get Started With HostGator!

    * * *

    Written by Jennifer Carlisle

  • Starting an Online Business? Here’s What’s Popular In Your State, According To Google

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016 by
    So, you've decided you want to go into business for yourself. Good for you! Started is half-done, as they say. But perhaps you're struggling with what to sell. Whether you're planning to run a brick-and-mortar store, operate an e-commerce site, or monetize your blog, HostGator's latest investigation may help you decide on a path to business success. We recently reviewed the top Google autocompletes for "best [state] ..." to find out what consumers are looking for when they think of your state. This list is a viable starting place for selling something in which people are interested.  

    The Most Common #1 Autocomplete for Each State

    Wondering what your state is most known for? Check out the map below, which reveals the #1 most searched for "best" item in each state. Best State Google Autocompletes Map by HostGator As you can see, "beaches" claimed the most #1 spots with a total of 16 states. In fact, beach-related terms represented 9.5% of all the searches. Looking at the individual state images below, you can see the beach theme shows up a lot. Analyzing the data, we discovered trends among other related word groups. Below is a list of the most popular word groups:
    • Hotels/lodging-related = 11.6%
    • Liquor-related (beers, wineries, etc) = 10%
    • Food-related (crab cakes, restaurants, etc) = 8.4%
    • Spectator sports (best basketball players, running backs, etc.) = 8.0%
    • Educational = 6.5%
    • Hunting/fishing = 2.7%
    Can you guess what the most searched for item was? Golf courses! The term showed up in the 28 of the state searches, with a tie for runner-up between "resorts" and "colleges," which each showed up in 25 of the state searches. Apparently, Americans love their golf. (As does Snappy, as you may remember from a recent post)  

    What's "Best" In Your State?

    Are you from one of these states? Let us know in the comments if you were surprised by any of the autocompletes. We'd also love to hear your suggestions for the "best" your state has to offer. Note: This data was collected in late June 2016 and is subject to change due to search trends. If you perform the same search and find something different, please let us know in the comments! Scroll below to discover the top ten Google autocompletes for your state.  

    Best Alabama...

    Best Alabama Google Autocomplete Similar to Indiana, the state of Alabama's thunder is partially stolen by the popular band Alabama Shakes. Notwithstanding the band-related searches, people are interested in Alabama recreation, BBQ, and football. Write a blog about the best Alabama beach towns and destinations or the best Alabama football players, optimize your site for SEO, and you could likely make a pretty penny off of ad traffic. Queries unique to Alabama:
    • players in NFL
    • rig
    • shakes album
    • shakes songs
     

    Best Alaska...

    Best Alaska Google Autocomplete The autocomplete results make it abundantly clear: Everybody wants to go on an Alaskan cruise. Starting your own cruise line is quite audacious, but you can jump on the cruise bandwagon in a multitude of other, much more feasible ways: become a travel agent, blog about the different cruise lines, or sell vacation gear. Autocompletes unique to Alaska:
    • cruise 2016
    • cruise deals
    • cruise ship
    • cruises from seattle
    • excursions
    • itinerary
    • land tours
     

    Best Arizona...

    Best Arizona Google Autocomplete As expected, Arizona golf courses are much sought after. But the less expected result is the interest in breweries. Beer enthusiasts, take heart! Critique the local brews or develop your own craft beer. It should be easy enough to get friends to help you taste-test. The oddball one here is "best Arizona flavors." If anyone has any idea what that's about, we'd love to know. Autocompletes unique to Arizona:
    • flavors
     

    Best Arkansas...

    Best Arkansas Google Autocomplete Outdoorsmen and earth-lovers seek adventure in Arkansas. Help them find it with a tourist guide. Alternatively, tap into the motorcycle culture with a blog devoted to reviewing different models or their favorite haunts along the highways. When in doubt, you could always get into the stone sharpening business. Autocompletes unique to Arkansas:
    • cabins
    • hiking trails
    • motorcycle roads
    • stones
     

    Best California...

    Best California Google Autocomplete No surprises here: inquiring minds want to know about the best beaches, wines, and olive oil in California. Launch an online business selling wines or olive oil. If you do this, be sure to name your business "Best California Wines" for optimum SEO impact. You could also start a college advising business and break down the pros and cons of the different universities. Autocompletes unique to California:
    • king mattress
    • olive oil
     

    Best Colorado...

    Best Colorado Google Autocomplete Everyone knows Colorado is a go-to vacation spot for snowbirds in the winter, but people need help figuring out where to go in the summer. Create a travel blog documenting your summertime visits throughout the state. Photographers can capitalize on these interests by adding galleries to their sites of the best mountain vistas, skier action photos, or town skylines. Autocompletes unique to Colorado:
    • summer destinations
    • summer vacations
    • towns in summer
    • towns to visit in summer
     

    Best Connecticut...

    Best Connecticut Google Autocomplete Who needs Cuba when you have Connecticut? Sell Connecticut cigars online or open up a humidor in your town. People love to dine in Connecticut, so review the restaurants and breweries on your local blog (or open up your own). Autocompletes unique to Connecticut:
    • cigars
    • towns to visit
    • wrapper cigars
     

    Best Delaware...

    Best Delaware Google Autocomplete In Delaware, it's all about the beaches, the schools, and... starting your own business! Offer freelance web development or design services to local schools to help give them a boost in the search engines. If you start a business, be sure to get a Delaware registered agent - every LLC and corporation operating in Denver needs one. Better yet, you could become one yourself. Autocompletes unique to Delaware:
    • beach for families
     

    Best Florida...

    Best Florida Google Autocomplete Unsurprisingly, Florida's autocomplete searches are dominated by visions of beaches. Find a popular beach near you, and zero in on a business opportunity that's clearly missing. If you don't want to run a beach-based business, or you live inland, start almost anything else. The competition should be much less steep. Autocompletes unique to Florida:
    • beaches near orlando
    • gulf beaches
    • key
    • keys beaches
    • keys resorts
     

    Best Georgia...

    Best Georgia Google Autocomplete People in Georgia are balanced. They care about having fun and drinking beer during their leisure time, just as much as they care about their education. Maybe the key to making money online in Georgia is by having ads on your site that appeal to whichever thing you're not selling - beer on a golf course site, beach resorts on a beer distributor site, beer on a school site... wait a minute. Never mind that last one.  

    Best Hawaii...

    Best Hawaii Google Autocomplete There's a reason those "Just Maui'd" shirts are popular. Hawaii is the only state to be a top honeymoon spot, according to Google's autocompletes. Enterprising business owners can create deals catered towards newlyweds, and new entrepreneurs could find ways to attract tourists towards their business by associating it with the beach, vacations, and resorts. Autocompletes unique to Hawaii:
    • deals
    • honeymoon
    • island
    • vacation
    • vacation packages
    • vacation spots
     

    Best Idaho...

    Best Idaho Google Autocomplete Whether it's fishing, camping, hunting, golfing, skiing, or hiking, there is a wide variety of outdoorsy activities for nature lovers to enjoy in Idaho, which means there are a lot of different niche business opportunities for you to explore! In fact, Idaho is the only state that has ten completely different auto-completes listed. Bravo! Autocompletes unique to Idaho:
    • fly fishing rivers
     

    Best Illinois...

    Best Illinois Google Autocomplete Illinois threw us for a loop. The state can't seem to decide whether it wants to focus on getting a good education, or simply getting wasted by any means possible (even if it takes a fake ID!). Tutors can grow their business by blogging about or advising on the top schools in the state. Realtors should be sure to know about the suburbs in their area. Sports fans could make a good living with a football website. Take all the fun of having a brewery, without the work, and devote yourself to reviewing state-crafted beers. Autocompletes unique to Illinois:
    • fake id
     

    Best Indiana...

    Best Indiana Google Autocomplete Indiana has a similar experience to Alabama, with some of its autocompletes getting outshined by the Indiana Jones franchise. Besides that, Indiana is all about basketball. Set up a basketball blog, forum, or fantasy team business, and you'll be well on your way to success. Autocompletes unique to Indiana:
    • hoosiers basketball players
    • jones game
    • jones movie
    • jones quotes
    • pacers players
     

    Best Iowa...

    Best Iowa Google Autocomplete Iowa loves its sports. Create a fan site devoted to the comings and goings of famous players, and you might just become the Perez Hilton of the Iowa sports world! If they're not watching sports, Iowans are hunting (and they're hunting whitetail in particular), so you could create a business catered to that crowd. Autocompletes unique to Iowa:
    • whitetail outfitters
    • wrestlers
     

    Best Kansas...

    Best Kansas Google Autocomplete What's better than eating meat and watching basketball? Combine those together and you'll have a successful business plan for the state of Kansas. Autocompletes unique to Kansas:
    • album
    • city bbq
    • city neighborhoods
     

    Best Kentucky...

    Best Kentucky Google Autocomplete It's all about the Kentucky Derby! Craft a fashion or interior design line inspired by the Kentucky Derby. Open up a event planning business and develop a Kentucky Derby-themed party. If you're not interested in the Kentucky Derby, basketball and whiskey are safe bets, too. Autocompletes unique to Kentucky:
    • bluegrass seed
    • derby dresses
    • derby hats
    • derby outfits
    • derby parties
    • derby times
     

    Best Louisiana...

    Best Louisiana Google Autocomplete Chefs, Louisiana may be just the place for you. Open your own restaurant, devise your own special hot sauce recipe, or start your own foodie blog devoted to crawfish, gumbo, and Creole food. Autocompletes unique to Louisiana:
    • casinos
    • crawfish boil recipe
    • food
    • gumbo recipe
    • hot sauce
    • plantations
    • swamp tours
     

    Best Maine...

    Best Maine Google Autocomplete Maine is another vacation destination. Plan your business around attracting tourists and helping them enjoy the best seaside experience. Autocompletes unique to Maine:
    • lobster
     

    Best Maryland...

    Best Maryland Google Autocomplete In Maryland, crabs are where it's at. Review the best crab restaurants and recipes the state has to offer, or create your own to share on your blog. Autocompletes unique to Maryland:
    • crab cake recipe
    • crab cakes
    • crab dip recipe
    • crabs
     

    Best Massachusetts...

    Best Massachusetts Google Autocomplete Cape Cod, anyone? When they're not focused on getting into the best schools, people want to know how the fastest way to the beach! Autocompletes unique to Massachusetts:
    • high schools
     

    Best Michigan...

    Best Michigan Google Autocomplete When they're not busy giving directions using the palms of their hands, Michiganders are drinking beer, watching sports, and enjoying their leisure time. A sports blog or beer review site should do well here.  

    Best Minnesota...

    Best Minnesota Google Autocomplete It's not called the Land of 10,000 Lakes for no reason. Help people find all 10,000 with map guides, tours, online reviews, or blogs about the lakes.  Better yet, open up a resort or brewery nearby. Autocompletes unique to Minnesota:
    • lake resorts
     

    Best Mississippi...

    Best Mississippi Google Autocomplete While Minnesota's all about its lakes, Mississippi is all about the river. If you don't want to open up a recreation or travel business, why not a dance studio to help people with their half-step or a cooking school to make the best Mississippi mud pie? You can film instructional videos to play on your website. Autocompletes unique to Mississippi:
    • half step
    • mud cake
    • mud cake recipe
    • mud pie recipe
    • river cruises
    • river towns
    • roast recipe
     

    Best Missouri...

    Best Missouri Google Autocomplete Missouri is a great place to spend time outdoors, exploring caves, camping, and hiking. The standout on this list is "small towns" - create an online road trip guide where you provide driving directions to hit all the quaint spots. Autocompletes unique to Missouri:
    • caves
    • float trips
    • small towns
     

    Best Montana...

    Best Montana Google Autocomplete With dude ranches and elk units in the top ten, it's clear Montana has retained some of its Wild West roots. Here you can live the cowboy dream with your very own ranch, or start an online outfitters' store to sell hunting, hiking, and skiing gear. Autocompletes unique to Montana:
    • dude ranches
    • of 300 lyrics
    • of 300 songs
     

    Best Nebraska...

    Best Nebraska Google Autocomplete Who says Napa Valley owns the market on wine? Sure, there are a lot of beer-drinking football aficionados in the state, but there's plenty of vinos too. Use YouTube to offer virtual wine-tasting classes, or to realize their dreams of being a sports commentator - all you have to do is create a channel. Autocompletes unique to Nebraska:
    • football team
    • wide receivers
     

    Best Nevada...

    Best Nevada Google Autocomplete Nevadans know there's much more to their state than Las Vegas. Happily, so do Google searchers. Create a virtual ghost town experience, or partner with local breweries to develop a ghost-themed draft. Got online marketing experience? Offer SEO services to the smaller cities to help them compete online with the Vegas tourist trap. Autocompletes unique to Nevada:
    • barr book
    • ghost towns
     

    Best New Hampshire...

    Best New Hampshire Google Autocomplete "Live Free or Die" is the state motto of New Hampshire, and it shows in their recreation. People come to this state to explore the wild and free outdoors, whether it's hiking, camping, skiing, or swimming. If you're outdoorsy, start your own business guiding people through your wilderness. More comfortable indoors? Develop online marketing campaigns for the businesses near you to help them show up in the Google search results.  

    Best New Jersey...

    Best New Jersey Google Autocomplete People are looking for the best cities, towns, and suburbs in New Jersey. There's a good chance these searches are from people looking to move there, so get your realtor license and make sure you have an online presence.  

    Best New Mexico...

    Best New Mexico Google Autocomplete There is a wide variety of tourist interests in New Mexico, and there's a business opportunity for any kind of entrepreneur. Like the cold? Do something for skiers. Prefer the heat? Focus on golfers. Like to stay active? Cater to camping and hunting enthusiasts? Prefer to lay low? Kick back and relax with the wine drinkers.  

    Best New York...

    Best New York Google Autocomplete And we thought Louisiana was the place to go for foodies! Calling all chefs, food bloggers, and restaurateurs - step right up and claim your food of choice. Autocompletes unique to New York:
    • bagels
    • cheesecake
    • cheesecake recipe
    • movies
    • pizza
    • style pizza
     

    Best North Carolina...

    Best North Carolina Google Autocomplete People love their North Carolina beach resorts, don't they? Open up a beach-related tourism business, and create suggested itineraries, hotels, and transportation options for the different beach towns. You could add a travel blog where you review all of your itineraries and the different accommodations and restaurants you visited.  

    Best North Dakota...

    Best North Dakota Google Autocomplete Sadly, what's notable about North Dakota is that it was the only state that inspired less than a full list of ten autocompletes. With a search query as vague as "attractions," people are clearing looking for things to do, which means any kind of recreational or leisure activity should be met with a warm welcome. Create a kooky roadside landmark or a business focused on fun! Autocompletes unique to North Dakota:
    • hockey players
    • mule deer unit
     

    Best Ohio...

    Best Ohio Google Autocomplete Ohio is big on sports, beer, and higher education. Start an online forum for high school students to interact with Ohio college students and alumni to get their questions answered. Launch a blog or podcast reviewing Ohio State's sports teams. Autocompletes unique to Ohio:
    • state football players
    • state running backs
    • universities
     

    Best Oklahoma...

    Best Oklahoma Google Autocomplete Similar to Ohio, there's a lot of interest in Oklahoma about the state university's sports teams. Develop a fan site dedicated to bios and stats of the individual players, or share your commentary about each game with a live blog. If you're not so into sports, you can always do your part to let people know that Minnesota's not the only state with great lakes. Autocompletes unique to Oklahoma:
    • casino
     

    Best Oregon...

    Best Oregon Google Autocomplete Vintners and winos, Oregon is your state! Review all of the state wines, or make your own to ship online from your very own e-commerce store. Advise people on the best local wines along the coast, or the best wine to drink while playing Oregon Trail. Autocompletes unique to Oregon:
    • coast hotels
    • coast towns
    • pinot noir
    • trail game
     

    Best Pennsylvania...

    Best Pennsylvania Google Autocomplete Who knew Pennsylvania was the place to be for flea markets? After "best Arizona flavors," this may be the oddest autocomplete yet. Get in on this trend by blogging about the best flea markets, what shoppers can expect with each one, and providing tips and tricks for scoring the best deals. Autocompletes unique to Pennsylvania:
    • flea markets
     

    Best Rhode Island...

    Best Rhode Island Google Autocomplete Many outsiders feel Rhode Island is quaint because it's so small, but this small state packs a big punch! Whether it's breweries, restaurants, golf courses, or beaches, there's a lot to do in Rhode Island, and it all goes well with clam chowder. Set up a reviews site dedicated to one of these search queries in particular, or share your own experiences by blogging about any of these. Autocompletes unique to Rhode Island:
    • clam chowder
     

    Best South Carolina...

    Best South Carolina Google Autocomplete South Carolina is a wonderful vacation destination, known in particular for its islands (it's the only state to have this search query). You could capitalize on all of these search queries by blogging about the best islands, and then the best beaches, BBQ, and golf available on those islands. Autocompletes unique to South Carolina:
    • islands
    • vacation spots
     

    Best South Dakota...

    Best South Dakota Google Autocomplete What's unique about South Dakota? Pheasant hunting. Use your website to sell gear, blog about the best pheasant hunting spots, or answer FAQs from out-of-towners. Provide tutorials on hunting and camping to post on YouTube and embed on your site. Create a recipe forum devoted to pheasants, and invite other users to post their creations. Autocompletes unique to South Dakota:
    • pheasant hunting
    • pheasant hunting lodge
     

    Best Tennessee...

    Best Tennessee Google Autocomplete What goes better with a camping trip than whiskey? Bourbon or BBQ, maybe. Tennessee has a rich culture for distilled beverages. Partner with local distilleries to help them distribute and sell their whiskeys online, or set up a reviews site that rates the best liquors Tennessee has to offer. Tennessee also has a lot to offer in terms of the great outdoors, so attract online visitors and ad traffic with a travel blog.  

    Best Texas...

    Best Texas Google Autocomplete Texans love to drink, and they're not particular about what they're drinking. This means you can zero in on your favorite type of drink, or you can use them all in your online business! Create an online blog about the best Texas wines, beers, and whiskey, and invite people to submit their own reviews or upload their favorite cocktail recipes. Send an email newsletter that announces the newcomers on the market each month. You could also sell ad space to the individual wineries and breweries. The unique one here is "country songs" - how many country songs can you name that are about Texas or by Texan singers? Tell us in the comments! As a Texas-based company, we at HostGator were shocked and dismayed that "best texas web hosts" was not a search result, but one can dream... Autocompletes unique to Texas:
    • country songs
    • travel
     

    Best Utah...

    Best Utah Google Autocomplete If you love exploring the great outdoors, Utah is the place to go. Guide tourists to the coolest parks, hikes, and resorts with a travel blog, forum, or reviews site. Set up a Utah Jazz fan site with profiles of all the players, the latest gossip, and a guide to the best seats. Autocompletes unique to Utah:
    • jazz players of all time
    • national parks
     

    Best Vermont...

    Best Vermont Google Autocomplete Mmm... Vermont maple syrup. We all saw that coming. Besides maple syrup, people come to Vermont for its coziness - it's the only state with searches for "bed and breakfast" and "inns" in the top ten autocompletes. Help them find the coziest place possible with an online reviews site or travel blog. Equip people with instructions on how to make their own maple syrup, or dishes that taste even better with maple syrup. Autocompletes unique to Vermont:
    • bed and breakfast
    • inns
    • maple syrup
     

    Best Virginia...

    Best Virginia Google Autocomplete Virginia Beach dominates the autocomplete results for Virginia. Review the best beach destinations and develop a travel guide to help beachgoers find restaurants, resorts, and seaside attractions. Alternately, you could take on the country ham craze and sell Virginia ham online, share recipes on a foodie blog, or review the sellers. Autocompletes unique to Virginia:
    • ham
    • woolf novel
     

    Best Washington...

    Best Washington Google Autocomplete So when we searched for Washington, the only thing that was able to hold its own among results for the nation's capital was "wines." No judgments. To give the state its due, we performed another search. Best Washington State Google Autocomplete While wine ranks #1, there is a nice variety of interests for Washington state. Open an advising business to help future undergrads find the right college for them, or create a travel blog to review the best beaches, resorts, parks, and other attractions in the state.  

    Best West Virginia...

    Best West Virginia Google Autocomplete West Virginia's top results are all completely different.  Start your own travel blog or basketball fan site. Help the ski resorts and golf courses stand out online by providing marketing or web development services.  

    Best Wisconsin...

    Best Wisconsin Google Autocomplete Like Vermont's maple syrup, it shouldn't come as a surprise that "cheese" appears in Wisconsin's search results. Blog about the best cheeses and incorporate online reviews to build your site content. Discuss the top dairies and farmers, and provide recipes and serving suggestions. Autocompletes unique to Wisconsin:
    • cheese
    • cheese curds
    • dells resorts
    • dells water parks
     

    Best Wyoming...

    Best Wyoming Google Autocomplete Hunters flock to Wisconsin for the antelope, the elk, and the fly fishing. Help them get more out of their trip by offering guides on nearby hotels and campgrounds, explaining state regulations, and revealing the best spots and times of year. Autocompletes unique to Wyoming:
    • antelope unit
    • fly fishing
     

    And In Conclusion...

    No matter where you live in these United States, opportunities abound for those possessing the entrepreneurial spirit. Do some quick research, locate your niche, and launch your new online business today!

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