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  • 10 Beginner Website Mistakes You’re Probably Making

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015 by
    Top 10 Beginner Website Mistakes You're Probably Making
    If you run a business online or off then you understand the importance of having a website and online presence. However, if it’s your first website, or you designed your website yourself then you might have made mistakes. Luckily, a lot of these mistakes are easy to correct. If you’re relying on your website to drive traffic your way, then you’ll want your website to be a well-oiled machine. Below we highlight the ten mistakes that most beginners make, and what you can do to fix these issues.  

    1. Lack Of Vision

    Your website needs to exist for a definite reason, not simply because you think you should have an online presence. You need to decide upon the purpose of your website before you even begin building. Your website must have a definite purpose, as every page on your website will work to fulfill this purpose. For example, your website could be used to build authority, source new leads, sell a product or service, give information about your business, and much more. You’ll want your user to land on your website and immediately know what your website is all about.  

    2. Rushing To Market

    Instead of getting your website up as soon as possible it’s important you take time to research your market first. For example, if you have an older target market you’ll need to make sure your website is easy to read, digest, and navigate. By having an understanding of your market first you’ll be able to build a website that actually serves them, instead of simply taking up space.  

    3. Complicated Design

    In order to have a successful website it needs to be simple, not flashy. Having an overcomplicated design will only lead to confusion. The goal of your design should be to create the best possible user experience across your website.  

    4. Design Is Too Trendy

    Trends come and go, but timeless design lasts forever. By building your website on the back of solid design principles you’ll be able to create a website that outlasts certain trends and fads. Websites that rely on trends will become outdated very quickly.  

    5. Out-Of-Date Content

    If you haven’t updated your content in years then chances are it’s not up to date with your current business, or the latest web standards. If you have older content your site your visitors may assume you’re out of business, or aren’t as innovative as your competition. If you have a blog make sure you update it on a regular basis, as nothing looks worse than a vacant blog.  

    6. Poor Quality Photography

    Low-quality photography, or outdated stock photography gives your website an amateur feel and won’t do a lot to draw your visitor into your website. Images can help you build a connection with your audience, but only if they’re aligned with your message and business. Make sure you either hire a professional photographer, or use high-quality stock photos that aren’t cheesy.  

    7. Having Broken Elements/Links

    Every element of your website needs to be working. This means you need to test all of your links and pages, so your users don’t end up with the dreaded 404 page. You’ll also want to check all of your internal links to make sure you’re not leading your users to a dead end.  

    8. Poorly Designed Logo

    Your logo is a central piece of your branding. By designing your logo yourself, or getting a cheap logo designed, you won’t do much to further your branding or website. Although your logo is a subtle part of your design it can communicate a lot about your business.  

    9. Poor Font Choice

    Font choice is another subtle element that most business owners neglect. The font you choose needs to compliment your design and increase the readability of your content. This is when it can be helpful to consult the opinion of a professional designer. But, if you’re choosing your own font choice the simpler font is often the better choice.  

    10. No Call-To-Action

    You must lead your visitors somewhere. A website without a call-to-action is akin to nothing more than a virtual business card. Once you’ve proven yourself valuable to your visitors you need to direct them to take action. That action can be signing up for your email list, giving your business a call, or a multitude of other options. Getting your website into tip top shape can take a lot of work. But, it’s time well spent because a well functioning website will help your business grow for the long-term.
  • How To Successfully Pitch A Guest Post

    Wednesday, September 30, 2015 by
    How To Successfully Pitch A Guest Post
      If you’re planning on using guest posting as a part of your content marketing strategy, it’s important to get it right. A lot of popular bloggers and high-traffic websites receive a ton of guest post pitches every single day. Luckily for you, most of them are pretty terrible. If you spend time crafting the perfect guest post pitch you’ll increase your chances of your post being accepted and hopefully build a long-term relationship with the blogger. Below you’ll find our tips that will increase your chances of landing a guest post on your dream blog or website.  

    1. Build Rapport And Show That You Care

    Often, people simply ask to write a guest post without taking the time to build up any kind of relationship. Before you pitch, especially if it’s a single author blog, it’s important you take the time to email them, comment on a blog post, or purchase one of their products. This helps to highlight that you’re an active member of their community and you actually care about the work of the author. You can even build rapport within your email by mentioning how long you’ve been a fan by referencing a few of your favorite posts. Some people have even had success by mentioning a shared interest. For example, maybe both of you are very interested in windsurfing. Building a connection that’s outside of the business space can be very valuable and will help you stand out.  

    2. Be A Case Study

    Have you implemented one of their strategies, or frameworks, and found success in your business and life? If so, then mention it. This can even be the topic of your blog post. A successful case study not only provides value to their readers, but it also provides massive social proof that what the author is sharing actually works.  

    3. Illustrate Your Value

    When designing your guest post pitch make sure you gear your post towards the audience of the blog you’re writing for. It can be useful to take a look through their most popular posts, as these resonate highly with the audience. When you’re crafting potential titles for your blog posts make sure they mimic past successful post formats. It can be helpful to mention your background and any other posts you might have written, but make the topic of your email geared towards the value you can bring to them and their audience, not your accolades alone.  

    4. Give Multiple Options

    When pitching potential posts it can be helpful to give them more than one option to choose from. Don’t overwhelm them with post ideas. You can always pitch them again, but give them at least three post topics to choose from. Never write the post first, unless the blog demands it. Always ensure your idea is approved before diving into the writing process. This will save you valuable time.  

    5. Realize You’re Dealing With People

    In the end, it’s always important to remember there’s another person on the end of your email exchange. It can be all too easy to distance ourselves across the digital landscape. Think about what kind of emails you love to receive and reply to and structure your pitch accordingly. Give them the needed information and nothing more. By following the tips above you’ll increase your chances of landing a guest post on a blog or website that has the potential to grow your authority and send traffic back to your website.
  • Kohl Children’s Museum Touch A Truck Festival

    Monday, September 28, 2015 by
    Kohl Children's Museum Touch A Truck Festival   HostGator fortunately has the opportunity to sponsor some amazing events across the globe. Recently, we had the honor to sponsor the Touch A Truck Family Festival. This event was a wonderful success with over 2,500 people exploring trucks of all shapes and sizes in a secure and safe environment. Kohl Children's Family Festival Not only did our contribution to this event help the Kohl's Children Museum put on the festival, it will also help them continue their two flagship outreach programs: Early Childhood Connections and Everyone at Play. Through ECC, they provide quality early learning opportunities and educational resources to children, families, and educators from across the Chicago metropolitan area. In addition, their Everyone at Play initiative creates hands-on, developmentally appropriate learning opportunities for children with special needs. Touch A Truck Festival With A Firetruck We are incredibly grateful for the wonderful folks at the Kohl's Children Museum that do so much to give back to the community. It's people like them that help keep our world look brighter for our future generations.  
    Images courtesy of
  • The Future Of Video Advertising: 360 Degree Ads Hit YouTube

    Wednesday, September 23, 2015 by
    youtube360 In the famous words of Nam June Paik, “The Future is now!”, at least in the sense YouTube's Advertisements have just pioneered the 360 degree world of video, rolling out the capability on Chrome, Android and iOS. Back in January, Google unveiled being able to support the feature, and has very recently seen the first takers from Bud Light & Coca-Cola with exceptionally high-production value. JR Futrell, YouTube's Ad product manager, remarked the new 360-degree format as a “mobile-first” initiative for two reasons:
    1. Motion - 360 ads will move with the mobile device, allowing you to view the video through a virtual lens.
    2. Mobile Is Dominating - In ten countries around the world, mobile searches have now surpassed that of desktop use, inspiring innovations to keep viewers watching advertisements longer.
      When looking at how revenue is earned on YouTube in the first place, engagement is the most important aspect. It's always been rumored that the more views you have, the more you make, but even videos with 1 million views could earn nothing unless viewers engage with the advertisement. That's why in the ever-changing world of video YouTube has taken the concept of viewer engagement to an entire new dimension: The World of 360 Motion.  

    Not Just For Corporations

    Right away many viewers new to the concept would expect this technology to be limited to corporations or businesses with a large marketing budget to support the production value. But, creating a video in the three dimensional space has become surprisingly easy, and highly accessible to even the smallest business looking to advertise. The trick is acquiring a camera capable of filming 360 Degree video format. As the technology improves, the amount of camera options has readily increased, including:  

    Tapping Into Viewers Curiosity

    In order to run any effective advertisement you must capture the attention of your viewer within a split second. We've all seen the “Skip this Ad” after 5 seconds button, which has set the standard for how fast you need to capture your audiences attention on YouTube. Skipped ads don't create conversions, and nowadays unless there is something dynamic built into a video, viewers are quick to simply ignore it. The goal with 360 Degree video is to take the viewers from a place of feeling passive, into a realm of activity and curiosity. The Ad can involve scripted elements similar to Coca Cola's, or it can simply allow your viewers to spin the camera behind the scenes to get a perspective on how the ad was created. Google sees this innovation as the future of advertising, and as food for thought, imagine how obsolete regular ads will feel once users can tap into this form of virtual reality. Like everything, we're advancing towards higher forms of stimulation.  

    Staying Ahead Of The Curve

    Understandably, many business owners might feel overwhelmed by the prospect of generating 360 ads on their own. However, we assure you the process is as easy as regular video once you own the right camera mentioned above. Getting into this trend before it's inevitably dominant will keep your advertising campaign at the forefront of newer innovations once they happen. The more interesting your ads, the greater ROI for your company. Once you have workable videos, follow these steps provided by Google to upload. Campaigns for 360 degree videos running as TrueView Ads can be set up in Adwords.  
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