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  • How To Create Your First Facebook Ads, Step By Step

    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 by
    Create Facebook Ads Step by Step Starting your first Facebook ads can be a daunting task. With so many steps, and so much to account for, it can seem a little overwhelming. But don't fear! Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide to create Facebook ads. HostGator Website Builder  

    Creating Your Facebook Ad Campaign

    Step 1: First, you’ll want to make sure you’re logged in under your business account. In the upper right hand corner under pages, select Ads Manager. Facebook Ads Manager   Step 2: You’re now inside your Facebook Ads Manager account. Select Create Campaign. Create Facebook Campaign   Step 3: You now have the option to set the goal of your campaign. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Get people to visit your website? Or boost sales in general? Choose whichever selection best fits your goals for the campaign. Facebook Ad Goal   Step 4: Finally, set your Campaign Name. If you plan on running the same campaign throughout the year with some changes, you might consider putting the date in the name. Facebook Ad Campaign Name  

    Creating The Audience For Your Facebook Ad

    If you have previously created an audience, just used the ‘Saved Audience’ tab, select your audience and proceed to our Placements Section. Step 1: Determine if you want to use a custom audience. The Custom Audiences box allows you to include or exclude audiences you have previously built. You might find this useful if you want to target only potential new customers and exclude your current customers, or include/exclude any audience lists you already have saved. Create Facebook Audience   Step 2: Next you’ll want to choose the locations you want your ads shown to. If you are a local business you can select to show your ads only in your city. You can also exclude certain locations if you choose. Create Facebook Audience   Step 3: Fill in the applicable Age, Gender and Language information for your business. Create Facebook Audience   Step 4: Determine your Detailed Targeting Detailed Targeting is where you’ll target people with interests similar to your business. Facebook compiles the information people put on their profiles, so you can reach the best audience for your ads. For example, if you run a computer repair service based out of Dallas, you might want to add: computers, computer repair, technology, shop local and Dallas. Facebook Detailed Targeting Now Facebook is going to target people that match ONE of those things; so if you want to be more specific you can choose to narrow your audience. Then Facebook will target people who are interested in one of the above AND whatever else you include. Facebook Targeting  

    Building Your Ad Set:

    Step 1: Choose the Placement of your ads. You can do this manually if you know specifically, or you can let Facebook choose for you with their new Automatic Placement Feature. You’re determining where on Facebook you want your ads shown and if you want them shown on Instagram as well. Facebook Ad Placements   Step 2: Set your Budget and Schedule. Select your budget per day.  You can also choose to schedule the ad’s start and end date or have it run continuously. In this area, you’re able to adjust the optimization and delivery choices. Facebook presets them for you based on what they think is the best. You can go in and change them if you’d rather. Feel free to play around with these settings as you become more comfortable in Ads Manager. Facebook Ad Budget  

    Creating the Ad (or Ads):

    Step 1: Add your Media. This is your ad image or creative. Make sure it’s inviting and has a clear call-to-action. Facebook also has a 20% text rule for images meaning your ad has to have less than 20% text in it. Facebook will also give you some Instagram specifications if you selected Instagram placement in the ‘Placement’ category. Set up Facebook ad   Step 2: Write your Headline and Description. Does your headline encourage people to click on your post? Does the description explain your business or promotion? Does it offer a call-to-action?  You can utilize your headline and description to explain anything you couldn't include in the creative. Facebook Ad Headline   Step 3: Choose your Destination. This is whatever website you want viewers to go to when they click on the ad. Now this can be your website, an event’s website, or a landing page with a special promo. Make sure to UTM tag this URL so you can monitor the traffic and sales in Google Analytics. Facebook Ad Destination   Step 4: Add your Pixel Tracking. Ensure you’re tracking the sales and traffic you get from these ads through Facebook using your Facebook pixel.  Facebook Pixel Tracking   If you have not yet set up your Facebook pixel, follow these steps:
    1. Go to the Pixel section of your Ads Manager Account.
    2. Click Create Pixel.Create Facebook Pixel
    3. Choose a name for your Pixel, and hit Create PixelCreate a Facebook Pixel
    If you manage your website yourself, choose the Install Pixel Now button. If you have a developer, choose the Email Pixel Code option. Facebook Pixel If the Pixel is working, you should see your website’s activity in the Pixel Page of Ads Manager.   Congratulations! Your first ad has now been created! Optional Step 5: Create additional ads. You can choose to create similar ads using the same Ad Set settings. This can be useful if you want to play around with different headlines and descriptions. Create Facebook Ad  

    Analyze Your Facebook Ad Performance

    Go to Your Account Overview. There you will see your list of campaigns. This is also where you’ll be able to monitor the results of your ad; for explanations of each result, click on the “i” tooltip next to their names. This is also where you can turn off entire campaigns, ad sets, or individual ads. To do so, simply use the blue toggle bar shown below. Facebook Ad Analytics   How'd your ad perform? Share your experience in the comments!
  • How To Optimize Your Images For SEO In 3 Simple Steps

    Tuesday, December 6, 2016 by
    Optimize images for SEO Catch ‘em all! No, not the Pokemon -- the leads! Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works to bring your website more relevant traffic and closer to the number one slot on major search engines. Without SEO your company website is likely to drown at the bottom of a million other websites selling similar products and services. Recommended WordPress Hosting  

    What Are The SEO Basics?

    For starters, here’s a bunch of free stuff you can do to improve your website’s visibility:
    • Keyword research: Discover the words people use to try to find your website and your services. Then use these words throughout your site’s content.
    • Domain name: Choose a domain name that’s relevant to your business, so that you’re easier to find.
    • Page URL names: Avoid the often default number system, and rename your page URLs with keywords.
    • Social media marketing: Use social media to expand your website’s reach to a much larger audience on various networks.
    • Local listings: Get your business contact info set up at YellowPages.com and Google My Business. (We've got a list of online local listings directories here).
    • Reviews & testimonials: Positive feedback on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List will keep reeling ‘em in!
    • External links or backlinks: Share your content with influencers or on places like Quora and Reddit. These backlinks (links that point back to your website) score super high in the world of SEO.
     

    What About My Website Images?

    As you can see, just about everything you post on your website can be optimized for search, but you’re not limited only to words and links. Images are a tremendous part of SEO, and one that's often forgotten, so if you can get your pics up to SEO speed, you’ll be ahead of the curve. Here’s how...  

    1. Name your images using target keywords.

    Use readily identifying info to name your pics as you upload them to your website. If you’re targeting a specific geo-location, include that city name in your title. Same goes for specific products and services. For example, a local bike shop might label a photo of their storefront something like Mike's Bikes - Bike Shop in Austin TX  

    2. Use alternative text.

    Alternative, or alt text, shows up in certain browsers when site visitors hover their mouse over an image. Alt text also makes it clear to visually impaired users what your image represents. Long tail keywords (i.e. keywords that are super specific) are best. For example: Interior design for Charleston model homes Nashville nail salon features bridal party sale Here’s what the HTML looks like: <img src="InteriorDesignCharleston.jpg" alt="Interior design for Charleston model homes">  

    3. Take a look behind the curtain.

    • Find a website you admire (or visit one of your competitor’s sites).
    • Right-click your mouse anywhere on the page and select "View Page Source."
    • A new window will open with all the html code for the page.
    • Hit Control + F simultaneously on your keyboard and then type “img” in the search box.
    • This will bring up all image-related code.
    • Most sites will have a bunch of images, so you can see how the developer or marketer decided to set up their alt text.
    • Learn from the best!
    Here’s an example of what this looks like from our own cloud hosting page on HostGator. HostGator Cloud Hosting   Each of these icons has a related file name and alt tag based on the keyword. View alt tags in page source   Please don’t let the code freak you out. It looks daunting, but it really is super easy to adjust once you get the hang of it. Plus most WordPress plugins and content management systems make this even more user-friendly than it looks. As long as you know that you can adjust title and alt tags to make your images work SEO for you, you’re good to go!
  • Boost Holiday Donations With These 8 Nonprofit Website Best Practices

    Monday, December 5, 2016 by
    Fundraising Tips for Nonprofit Websites For everyone, the holidays can feel like a stressful, busy time of year. For nonprofit professionals, the stress of balancing social and family obligations is compounded by these months being the most important time of year for fundraising. Nearly 30% of all giving for the year happens in December. The average amount people give is nearly 40% higher in December than throughout the rest of the year. Clearly people are in a giving mindset during the holidays. Nonprofits should do everything in their power to encourage that generosity and provide people with easy, persuasive reasons to follow their hearts this time of year. [bctt tweet="#NonProfits, take note! People give 40% more in December than the rest of the year." username="hostgator"] Here are eight techniques you can use this holiday season to maximize the donations that come your way before the onset of the New Year.   Recommended WordPress Hosting  

    1. Offer gift options.

    One of the most valuable techniques you should implement this year is tying the general gift-giving people are doing for friends and family in with giving to your organization. If your donors feel they can check both boxes at once, they’ll be more likely to send money your way. There are a couple different forms this can take.  

    Create an online gift catalog.

    Charity gift catalogs make giving to a charity feel more like shopping – in a good way. Instead of providing a lump sum of cash, a gift catalog lets them visualize a list of  specific items that they can choose to give. Giving a couple hundred dollars to charity feels different than buying a goat for a struggling family. Create online gift catalog   Some charities, like Oxfam, take it a step further and make a card part of the gift. You can buy chickens for a family in need in the name of a loved one, and present your loved one with the card as your holiday gift to let them know. Charitable donation card  

    Offer physical gifts at different donation levels.

    Sometimes having something physical to wrap up and hand to a loved one feels important. To tap into that desire, you can offer different items to people who donate at different levels. A t-shirt or tote bag for anyone that donates enough allows a donor to let a loved one know they’ve supported a cause they care about while also providing them with an item they can hand them come gift-giving time.  

    2. Promote your Amazon Smile account.

    One thing you can count on people to do this season is buy things. And a lot of them are specifically buying things online. Last year on Black Friday, more people shopped online than in stores. Your organization can benefit from some of that spending with an Amazon Smile account. Whenever customers use the URL smile.amazon.com rather than going straight to amazon.com, .5% of what they spend will go to your organization. That percentage isn’t huge, but if enough people make you their chosen Amazon Smile charity and then do a lot of their holiday shopping on Amazon, the donations will add up. If you haven’t yet set up an Amazon Smile account for your nonprofit, then that’s your first step. Just follow the instructions Amazon provides here. Once that’s done though, you should actively encourage your followers to select your charity and make a point of doing their Amazon shopping through the smile link. Provide step-by-step instructions on how to set their Amazon smile account to donate to your charity, like World of Children does. How to use Amazon Smile Then promote your account to your followers. Before Black Friday rolls around, send an email to your list about your Amazon Smile account and post about it on your social media profiles. The more people start shopping in your name, the more those donations will add up to something significant.  

    3. Ask a big donor to match all gifts through the beginning of the year.

    When donors hear that their donation will be worth more because of a matching gift, that ups their incentive to give. If you have a reliable big donor you can convince to match all the donations made within a specific time frame, your promotions to the rest of your list will have some extra kick. The Central Texas Food Bank found a generous donor to match all gifts this holiday season and put that information front and center on their website to encourage more giving. Donor matching How much more likely are you to give $10 to an organization when you know that will translate into 80 meals due to someone else’s matching contribution? The psychology behind matching donations is powerful; if you can find a big donor to help, use it.  

    4. Share touching success stories.

    This is helpful anytime of year, but when people are already in giving mode, it can especially make a difference. People like to see how their contribution will pay off in specific terms. If you can show them the little girl that was able to wake up to several gifts under the tree because of their help last year, that turns their donations into something more personal and moving. Last year in December, Austin Pets Alive shared a video of Poppy, a dog that came to them suffering from parvo the year before. After being treated in their care, Poppy made a full recovery and was adopted. When potential donors came to the site that holiday season, they knew they weren’t just giving money to an organization, they were helping specific dogs like Poppy go from sickly to running, playing, and stealing slippers in a home they know they’ll be living in for keeps.
     

    5. Take advantage of Giving Tuesday.

    Giving Tuesday is one of the biggest giving days of the year. Falling right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when people are still in spending mode, it’s a day that encourages people to top off their spending spree with some charitable goodness. For people already in the spirit, making a few tweaks to your website for Giving Tuesday can help ensure you get a piece of the action on the big day.  

    6. Create a branded donation page.

    It may not seem like the kind of thing that would make a big difference, but having a donation page that’s designed to match the look and feel for the rest of your brand can actually cause a significant increase in how much people give. Network for Good has found that branded giving pages earn 7 times more money than their generic-looking counterparts. The Jane Goodall Institute includes the organizations’ logo and a large picture of Goodall herself at the top of their donation page. It’s only when you scroll down that you see the donation form to fill out. Branded donation page Before they reach the point of providing credit card information, donors get a reminder of just what the organization does and why it matters. As such, anyone who clicks through to this page won’t doubt for a second that their money will be going where they intend it to. And when the donation page forwards the message the rest of the website provides, they’re less likely to change their mind or doubt their decision.  

    7. Position donating as an easy New Year’s Resolution to keep.

    A lot of the donations that come around the holidays have to do with people being in the gift-giving spirit, but a good chunk of them come at the very end of the year – right as people are starting to think about their New Year’s Resolutions. Every year, thousands if not millions of people try to think of ways to become better versions of themselves. Every year, a good portion of those good intentions fall short of their goal. This presents an opportunity. Keeping a resolution like losing weight or quitting smoking is hard. Keeping a New Year’s resolution to give more to charity can be easy. If they simply take five minutes to set up a recurring donation now, your donors can know they’ve achieved their resolution for the year before it even starts. [bctt tweet="Suggest recurring donations to your #nonprofit as a #NewYearsResolution that's easy to keep." username="hostgator"] Use the New Year and the good intentions people always have as it starts to push out a marketing campaign that positions giving to your organization as the best kind of New Year’s resolution: one that helps others (and that they’ll actually be able to keep).  

    8. Make it easy for donors to share the word.

    Word of mouth is always one of the most powerful ways for an organization to gain more awareness and interest. The donors that know you already care about the work you do, which means they’ll probably be happy to help spread the message. You’ve probably seen “I just donated” Tweets or messages on your social media platforms before. Often, people don’t have to write those themselves, they’re automatically generated with a simple click. I just donated tweet Share donation on Facebook   People are more likely to share a message if you make it super easy for them to do so. Whenever someone gets to the confirmation page, set up buttons with Share Link Generator that prefill messages for different social media sites. Make it easy for donors to brag about their generosity. Be sure to include a CTA in the message you write that urges their followers to give as well. Social proof is powerful. Having your followers do part of the work for you can help bring new donors to your cause. People are predisposed to think about all that they have (and can expect to receive) during the holiday season, which tends to bring out their generosity. For nonprofits, that makes these months the ones where you (and your website) need to work the hardest. But the good news is that the rewards you reap from your efforts are likely to pay off in more donations than you’ll get for much of the rest of the year combined. Good luck and happy holidays!
  • Does Your Company Really Need a Blog?

    Monday, December 5, 2016 by
    Does My Company Need a Blog Does your business really need a blog? Nope. You’re good. Oh, but you want sales, referrals, lead generation, customer loyalty, and engagement? Then yes, you absolutely need a business blog. First, understand this: the numbers don’t lie. Let’s also understand that creating and maintaining a business blog is no simple task. You must carefully consider your blog’s content, and cadence. Having said that, though, Hubspot shows us that the more posts published, the higher the customer acquisition. HubSpot Blog Post Frequency Chart However, what you publish and how frequently you publish it entirely depends on your audience. There’s unfortunately no hard and fast rule to business blogging or content marketing for that matter, so the best you can do is to test what works, then test, and test again. To help you along, let’s take a look at some powerful blogging insights from two extremely well-known and successful blogs. Create Your Blog Pro tip: To measure the success of your blog posts, track unique post and overall site traffic using Google Analytics. Here’s how to install Google Analytics on your WordPress blog.  

    Insight #1: Seth Godin’s Blog

    Multiple business founder and best-selling author Seth Godin (Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars) receives an estimated 640K visits a month to his blog. SimilarWeb Pro tip: SimilarWeb is a free Chrome plugin. Use it to spy on your competitors or to get an idea of average site rankings, bounce rates, and visits. At first, Godin thought the Internet was stupid, but when he realized how powerful a tool it was in directly reaching his audience, he eventually committed to his current cadence of publishing one blog post a day. In a recent interview on the Tim Ferriss Show, Godin says “[Blogging is] one of the top 5 decisions I’ve ever made. I have a practice that resonates with people that I can do forever.” [bctt tweet="Why Your Business Needs A Blog: Speak directly to your audience in a way that resonates with them." username="hostgator"]    

    Insight #2: The Smart Passive Income Blog

    Pat Flynn’s blog is a tremendous resource for anyone aiming to make extra cash through multiple income streams. On blogging, Flynn writes, “Although a blog isn’t passive in nature, it’s one of the best platforms for launching other passive income opportunities.” In addition to providing endless tips for small business owners and marketers (check out the podcast), Flynn suggests that a stand-alone blog won’t make money, but that the eBooks, products, print books, courses, consulting that you write about and sell will boost traffic and rake in the cash. Flynn should know. From his very humble beginnings, he’s now passively raking in over 100K/month. If that’s not a great reason to start business blogging, we’re not sure what is! [bctt tweet="Why Your Business Needs A Blog: It's one of the best platforms for passive income opportunities." username="hostgator"]  

    Insight #3: MySocialSuite’s Blog

    New social media marketing startup MySocialSuite rivals the likes of Hootsuite and SproutSocial for helping businesses boost productivity through social posting automation, analytics, and more. We recently spoke with co-founder Luke Clifford who launched the MySocialSuite blog in June 2016. He says, “Carefully selecting the content you publish puts you in the SEO driving seat and in control of your site’s organic audience.” Clifford says he’s seen tremendous site traffic growth since the launch of the blog which he credits for dozens of direct product purchases. While Clifford agrees that business blogging is about point-of-sale, he says “It’s also about building customer loyalty and carving out a meaningful space as an industry leader.” [bctt tweet="Why Your Business Needs A Blog: Build customer loyalty and carve out your space as an industry leader." username="hostgator"] There’s a reason HostGator has a blog and even more reasons why our blog is segmented into these categories: web hosting, marketing, small biz & Snappy (the adventures of everyone’s favorite gator mascot). We’ve studied our audience. We know who you are and what you want, but we’re always testing, tuning, and improving. We recommend studying these blogs for content ideas, calls to action, and key selling points. Discover what it is about the blogs and specific posts that invite you to continue clicking and reading. Do you enjoy other blogs? Share your faves in the comment section! We’d love to know who you’re reading for inspiration (did the HostGator blog make your list of favorites?).  

    Are you ready to start making money from your business blog?

    Create Your Blog With HostGator!

  • 6 Must-Have WordPress Plugins For Real Estate Agents

    Friday, December 2, 2016 by
    WordPress Plugins for Real Estate Agents Whether you’re a realtor or a developer, it’s important to have an understanding of how you can build the most effective and useful WordPress site for your needs. WordPress is an incredible framework for most website builds, as it’s extremely flexible, functional, and easy to use. Luckily, there are literally hundreds of plugins for you to choose from that will help to increase the functionality of your real estate website. However, with the sheer number of plugins available it can be overwhelming deciding which plugins will be the best fit for your needs. To simplify your search we’ve decided to break down a handful of the very best plugins for real estate agents. Let’s dive in! Recommended WordPress Hosting  

    1. WP-Property

    WP-Property - WordPress Powered Real Estate and Property Management This is an intuitive plugin that can benefit both real estate agents and property managers. You can easily create, edit, and manage the property listings across your website. WP-Property has a very easy to use user interface, so adding properties to your site is a breeze. Some of its features include:
    • Supports translation into Italian, Russian, and Portuguese
    • Allows for Google Map integration and the use of included shortcodes
    • Can allow you to display different types of templates for a wide variety of property-types
    • Well optimized for SEO purposes, to increase traffic to your listings
     

    2. IMPress Listings

    IMPress Listing - A Plugin For Realtors IMPress Listings is a free open source plugin that allows you to create a more effective listing management system for your website. The plugin was designed by the team Agent Evolution, who specializes in web solutions for agents and brokers. This plugin easily integrates into your existing theme with its pre-made templates. Features include:
    • Can create featured listings to show your favorite properties up top
    • Fully responsive, so it displays well across any screen
    • Very high number of data fields to easily customize your listings
    • Can create a default sorting structure for your listings
     

    3. Estatik

    Estatik - Full Featured Real Estate Plugin For WordPress Estatik is a relatively new WordPress real estate plugin. It seeks to be a clean and minimalist version of the other real estate plugins that are currently out there. The free version includes all of the features highlighted below, but is also available in two premium packages, including the Pro version, and the Pro version plus an additional theme. Some of its features include:
    • It’s fully responsive, so it’ll look good across multiple screen sizes (perfect for agents on the go)
    • It comes with its own custom themes, but can still integrate with most other themes in the marketplace
    • You can completely customize every listing
    • You can allow other agents to modify the listings from the front end
    • It has several other widgets that include advanced search, property slideshows, and location maps
     

    4. Easy Property Listings

    Easy Property Listing Through WordPress Easy Property Listings seeks to be the best plugin for easily adding real estate listings to your website. It works with most themes that are currently available without causing too much fuss. This plugin focuses on a single feature, and does it very well. In addition to the free features highlighted below there are also paid add-ons, which will enhance its functionality even further. Check out some of its features below:
    • Contains a “theme compatibility mode” to help with integration into your existing WordPress theme
    • Gives you multiple listing and pricing options for simple listing customization
    • Caters to international listings by allowing multiple currencies and locations
    • Can make showing and inspection appointments through the calendar function
     

    5. WP-Real Estate

    WP Real Estate - A WordPress Plugin WP-Real Estate is a great all-around plugin that will help to build your real estate website. If you’re looking to add additional functionality to your existing website, or truly unlock the potential of your site from the start, then give this plugin a go. Features include:
    • Can easily add and customize property listings
    • Has a translation feature to translate your site into multiple languages (perfect for cities where multiple languages are the norm)
    • Has an in-depth property search website to easily navigate between properties

    6. WPL Real Estate

    Real Estate Plugins - WPL Real Estate WPL Real Estate is a great plugin choice for real estate agencies. This plugin is designed to help improve your data management and listing management processes as a realtor. However, it can also be used for several other purposes, such as:
        • Adding properties to your listing wizard, and enable other agents to add listings as well
        • Easily categorizing your listings based upon property type, number of bedrooms, etc.
        • Displaying your listings on Google Maps to better gauge location
        • Sharing your listings to Facebook, email, Twitter, and more
    As a realtor it’s important to have a plugin that will help you achieve your goals and more easily manage your listings. The plugins featured above will help to improve the overall functionality and usefulness of your site.