Marketing Tips and Tricks | HostGator Blog

HostGator Blog

Web Hosting Made Easy!

  • 5 Surprising Ways Your Business Can Use Video Marketing

    Monday, July 10, 2017 by
    Video Marketing for your Business

    How to Make Video Marketing Work for Your Business

    Consumers love video. Over a billion people use YouTube and a full one-third of the time people spend online, they spend watching videos. All that love of video isn’t exclusive to videos made purely for entertainment purposes; video marketing also offers impressive results:
    • Videos in an email increase clicks by 200 to 300%
    • Landing page videos increase conversions by 80%
    • Watching a video makes consumers 64% more likely to buy a product online
    They may cost more to make than some other forms of content, but those statistics make a clear case that the investment is worth it. Of course, as with any type of content format, you have to worry about the issue of oversaturation. If you do the same things with video that every other brand in your space is doing, you’ll have a hard time standing out. Here are a few approaches you can take to video marketing that are a bit less common and can help you break through the noise. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. Create a regular talk show.

    The talk show format’s been around for decades, but it’s not something brands have made much use of. That means there’s a good chance you’d be the first (or at least one of the first) to tackle this format if you do decide to give it a try. A talk show format will work best if you commit to doing it with regularity – for example, a new episode every month – so you can gain viewers over time that know when to look forward to a new episode being released. And you’ll need to put the work in to research relevant guests and start cultivating relationships with them to make them more likely to accept an invitation to be on your show. The Wine Exchange, a wine shop in California, uses a talk show format to interview wine makers each week as a way to promote different wines and bring attention to both their own business and those of their guests. Video marketing talk show format Each video they release earns hundreds of views, and their YouTube channel has thousands of subscribers. The videos are entertaining, educational, and relevant to the Wine Exchange’s target audience: people who buy wine. Through the talk show format, they’ve managed to make their mark in a competitive space.  

    2. Use live video.

    With the launch of Facebook Live, live video on social media has come into the mainstream. It’s a great way to reach your audience, since anyone that’s already liked your page on Facebook will see your video as they’re scrolling through their feed (and let’s be honest, we know people spend a lot of time scrolling through their Facebook feeds). Live video gives you the opportunity to respond directly to your viewers as they watch, which makes it more engaging for your audience and more valuable for you. Facebook live video marketing Blue Apron’s live video introducing wines that would go great with Valentine’s Day dinners gave the brand a chance to answer both general questions that were useful to their audience, like what to do when ordering wine at a restaurant, and specific questions about their own products. They were able to be helpful to their audience while also increasing interest in a product they sell at the same time. That’s a balance brands constantly seek in content marketing and one that a strategic and well thought out live video can help you achieve.  

    3. Give your audience a behind-the-scenes look.

    Most consumer interaction with a brand only occurs with the end product, or maybe through a customer service call or email. You can make your business more real and relatable to your prospects by showing them the atmosphere and work that creates the end product they love. Most people use Google every day without thinking too much about how the service we rely on so much actually works. If you’re curious (and over four million people apparently have been), you can watch a video that shows a behind-the-scenes tour of the data centers that keep the popular search engine working.
    Give your customers a glimpse of what your brand looks like from the inside so they have a new level to connect to you on. It makes your brand less of an abstract concept and more something that customers can visualize.  

    4. Make short videos highlighting your employees.

    As much as we hope all our marketing will help consumers connect with a brand, most people have an easier time connecting with other people than any company. Luckily, your business is made up of people. Video gives you a chance to introduce your customers to some of the personalities behind your brand. Freshbooks shared a short, playful video of one of their data analysts Fernando solving a Rubik’s cube, along with likeable videos that give viewers a look at the Freshbooks office and a little bit of information into the personalities of employees that work there.
    Both types of video help to personalize the brand and put real faces to the company. Videos like these show your customers that their decision to buy isn’t just profiting some faceless entity, it’s keeping real, relatable people that (hopefully) like their jobs in work.  

    5. Create a branded web series.

    To be honest, this option is likely to be more costly than any of the others listed here, but if you’re able to make the investment, it could be a great way to bring new interest to your brand. A number of brands have worked with creators to develop branded web series that are entertaining enough to gain wide interest from viewers, while relating to the brand behind them in some way. GoPro, a brand that targets its marketing toward an audience of adventurous types, has a documentary series called the Searching the Maya Underworld that follows explorers (using GoPro cameras) as they delve into a hard-to-reach cave.
    Meanwhile, Nike funded a narrative web series called Margot vs Lily about two sisters who make a bet about getting a new fitness channel off the ground. The series is subtle in its mentions of the brand, but is very in keeping with the types of topics the Nike brand emphasizes in its advertising.
    Both of these examples touch on a couple of things that make branded web series work:
    • They have to be on topics of interest to your target audience.
    • They should relate to your brand, without hitting your viewers over the head with brand mentions.
    If branded web series get the right traction, they can be big. A Contently analysis found that the average number of views for an episode of a web series is over 200,000 (although smaller brands probably shouldn’t count on a number like that, the median number of views is closer to 3,000). If you’re up for the challenge, a well-made branded web series could be a powerful way to reach more people and promote your brand through video. If you can figure out the right idea and approach to create a video that attracts attention and really speaks to your audience, video can be a powerful tool to cut through the noise and encourage more engagement with your users. Carefully consider how best to work video marketing into your content strategy and try to think outside of the box to bring your audience something new and interesting.
  • Using Email Marketing to Create and Grow Customer Relationships

    Monday, July 10, 2017 by
    Email Marketing Customer Relationships

    Why Email Marketing Is Relationship Marketing

    For small businesses, online competition is fierce. And that’s in part because you’re not just competing against other businesses for your audience’s attention, you’re competing with a person’s friends on Facebook, their favorite entertainment blog, the news, and everything else they seek out online. If you’re going to have any chance of getting and keeping your audience’s attention, you have to develop a relationship with them. You want your customers to think of more than just your products when they hear your brand name. To do that, you need to cultivate relationships that go beyond the transactional, and give your customers opportunities to interact with you at moments other than when they’re about to buy. Where building customer relationships used to primarily happen in person, that process has now largely moved online for many businesses. Instead of urging your audience to make stopping by the store a habit, you want to give them reasons to keep coming back to your website regularly. The most powerful marketing tool you have for encouraging habitual online interactions with your brand is email marketing.  

    Email is the Cornerstone of Good Relationship Marketing

    Email marketing is a cost-effective solution that gives you the power to reach customers in a place most people visit every day — their inbox. Anybody who takes the step of signing up for your email list is telling you they want a relationship with your company. That makes them some of the most valuable customers you have. The research backs it up: As with any marketing tactic though, the power of email marketing doesn’t lie in the platform itself – it’s all about how you use it. The reason email has so much potential for success is because it gives brands a way to reach loyal customers regularly and directly. Relationship marketing – a marketing approach that prioritizes developing an ongoing relationship with customers – depends on this kind of access. Once customers agree to let you in, you have the opportunity to show them how much they matter to you with the kind of valuable content and special offers likely to keep them coming back. You can practice relationship marketing through other channels – on social media, in customer service interactions, and with loyalty programs, for instance – but none of those provide the direct, consistent interactions that email does. It’s quite simply the most important component to any relationship marketing strategy.  

    Best Practices for Email Marketing

    Every time a person signs up for your email list, it’s a marketing triumph – but there’s no promise that their decision to opt into the relationship is secure moving forward. You have to earn that. And it can be a challenge to pull off. For your email marketing to succeed – not just in terms of getting you new sales, but also in giving your customers reasons to continue reading and interacting with your emails– you need to follow a few main best practices.  

    1. Make email marketing part of your content strategy.

    Email marketing works best if it’s folded into a larger content marketing strategy, because email and content marketing are a perfect fit. Your email list functions as a tool to promote the content your team produces, while your content does the work of enticing more people to sign up for the email list. As you use your content more and more over time to build trust with your email recipients, you increase their comfort and familiarity with the brand to the point where they’re likely to help you in your promotion efforts. Email subscribers are almost four times more likely to share posts on social media than those from another source. And your email analytics can provide useful insights to help you understand your audience better and tailor your entire content strategy over time based on what tactics, formats, and topics perform best with your subscribers. Email is widely considered one of the most effective forms of content marketing, but it can be as useful for how it helps you promote and strengthen your other content marketing efforts as it is in and of itself.  

    2. Follow the rules – give customers the chance to opt-in.

    When you ask permission, you’re able to build a list of subscribers who are interested in your business and excited to hear from you. 64% of people say the main factor in deciding whether or not to open an email they receive is who it’s from. If you buy an email list and start contacting people with no prior relationship to your company, they have no reason to open the email you sent. Worse, not recognizing who the email’s coming from makes it likely they’ll mark it as spam – 43% of people say they click the “spam” button based on what’s in the “from” field. When people mark your emails as spam, you can end up blacklisted by some email servers, making it less likely that your emails will reach the people who actually want to read them. That’s bad, but what’s arguably worse is that you hurt your chances of ever gaining trust from the recipient. If they lump your brand in with the hundreds of obnoxious spam emails they get a day – many of them from outright scammers – why would they ever want to start a relationship with your company after that? Permission-based email marketing is the best route to developing long-lasting customer relationships that can drive repeat sales and valuable word-of-mouth for your business. The benefits of email marketing are only possible if the people receiving your emails care enough to open them, interact with them, and continue receiving them. Don’t jeopardize that by trying to push emails on people that don’t want them.  

    3. Don’t over promote.

    This is a tricky line to walk, because on the one hand, 61% of people say they’re happy receiving weekly promotional emails from brands (and some say they’d even prefer more frequent promotions); but on the other hand, almost a third say they trust content less if it includes a pitch. You have to find the right mix between providing valuable, educational content to your subscribers and sending promotional offers. And there’s not a clear right answer to how that should work, it depends on your particular audience. Pay close attention to your email analytics. If your promotional emails consistently get great results, then your mix is probably okay. But if you’re getting a lot of unsubscribes or a general lack of response, then you may be overdoing it.   Pro tip: Give customers a choice. The complicated truth is that some of your consumers will likely have a much higher tolerance for getting frequent promotional emails from you (or even prefer it), while others will get turned off quickly by them. You can better serve each customer by providing different options for email frequency and letting recipients choose which one they prefer.  

    4. Use personalization.

    Marketing software makes it fairly easy to use segmentation in your email marketing. By creating different email lists, you can create more targeted email campaigns based on what you know about your prospects. Customers that are already familiar with your brand should receive different offers than new leads that are still getting a feel for who you are. And different leads can benefit from different email campaigns based on the actions they’ve taken. Use the data you have to figure out what topics and products they’re most interested in so you can increase the likelihood of only sending them emails they’ll find relevant. Emails that are personalized see 14% higher click-through rates and 10% higher conversions. And 74% of marketers that have used personalization in their email marketing say it increases customer engagement. Personalization also plays an important role in the relationship building that’s your main goal with email marketing. You can’t build a relationship with a list of names, you have to provide a more personal touch. But it’s hard to be personal with every subscriber when you have a large customer base. Using data and segmentation might not be on the level of the traditional handshake or wave you’d give when someone came into a physical store, but it can help you achieve a closer digital analogue to it.  

    5. Provide something unique.

    Your email subscribers have taken a big step in showing some level of loyalty and interest in your company. You want to reward that. Share compelling, valuable content they won’t find anywhere else, but also provide them with special deals and information your average Twitter follower or website visitor wouldn’t get. These aren’t just any customers; these are the ones that took the step of letting you know they wanted a relationship with you. Show them what that means to you by making sure your email campaigns center them and provide something valuable and special to them every time. Email marketing isn’t always easy to do well, but it can be so valuable in helping you build and maintain the kind of relationships you most want to have with your customers. And the customers who open your emails and visit your blog regularly are likely to be some of your most loyal and profitable customers. They’re worth nurturing.
  • Should You Promote Your Online Shop with Free Items?

    Monday, June 26, 2017 by
    Promote Online Shop with Free Items We’ve looked at the importance of competing on value rather than price, and now here comes a seemingly counterintuitive idea: giving your customers stuff for free. Should you try this promotion tactic? Maybe. Exactly what to hand out and how to do it will vary based on your goals and what you sell. In another post, we covered freebie options for service providers and B2B businesses. Right now, let’s look at some common freebie tactics for online retailers to see whether they’re right for you, and how to use them wisely. HostGator WordPress Hosting

    Email list signup giveaways

    Offering people a free item in exchange for joining an email list is a tradition as old as e-commerce. Most advice on list-signup freebies focuses on information products like special reports, but retailers can use freebies to build a list, too. The best-known retail example is Bed Bath & Beyond’s instant 48-hour, 20% coupon for new list members. If you run a stationery, organization or craft store online, you can offer free printable downloads in exchange for joining your email list. And yes, retailers can offer free information, too. If you sell homemade, allergen-free dog treats, you might write a list of tips for helping dogs with allergies thrive. Format it for easy printing and be sure to include your business name and logo.

    In-store freebies

    Costco knows how to leverage freebies. Shoppers join to buy food in bulk but they get surprisingly excited about the tiny cups of free food and drinks on offer. If you have a physical store or vend at fairs, think about small items you could offer for free to get new customers to try your products or treat repeat customers to a token of appreciation. You may have to make your samples “first-come first-serve” or “the first 50 shoppers” so you don’t unbalance your budget, and be sure to promote your giveaways in advance and in real time on social media for the most mileage. Also, limit in-store freebies to times when you have something new to promote, so you don’t have people coming around all the time for free stuff without ever making a purchase.

    Bonus items with purchases

    Free extras with purchases are an easy way to get your existing customers to try new products. This is actually how the grocery delivery service I use got my entire family hooked on Coke Life; free samples kept arriving with our orders and now we buy some every week. Online beauty retailers like Sephora and Paula’s Choice do something similar by letting shoppers choose their freebies from a menu during the checkout process. [bctt tweet="Free extras with purchases are an easy way to get your existing customers to try new products." username="hostgator"]

    Swag bags, silent auctions and door prizes

    Whether it’s a PTA fundraiser or the Oscars, it’s not an event without swag bags. These goodie bags, along with silent auction items and door prizes, are typically contributed by local businesses at the request of volunteers. If a group asks you to contribute your merchandise, take these steps to make sure your donation benefits your business as well as their event.
    • First, make sure the cause is something you genuinely support and that the event audience matches your customer profile. Over time, your business may get lots of donation requests and you won’t be able to fulfill them all, so choose strategically.
    • Next, make sure your business name and contact information is on your products. Order stickers if you need to and put them on everything you donate. I once got a full-size tube of Mary Kay hand lotion in a swag bag, and I loved it. Unfortunately, by the time I got the bag contents sorted out, the representative’s card was nowhere to be found, so I didn’t know who to repay for their generosity with an order.
    • Finally, if you’re contributing a door prize to an event, make sure in advance that your prize and company name are announced as part of the drawing. Ask that the MC show off what you’ve donated and tell people where to find your table or business cards at the event.

    Giveaways to social media followers

    Giveaways on social media are a good way to add followers. For example, maybe you hold a giveaway drawing for Facebook followers who share your post on their personal page. You can sweeten the deal with a promo code for everyone who participates. For example, maybe you do a drawing for a candle from your home décor collection, and after the drawing, give everyone who shared your post a coupon code for your shop as a thank-you. [bctt tweet="Giveaways on social media are a good way to add followers." username="hostgator"]

    Reviewers and influencers

    Giving samples to reviewers and influencers can expand your audience without spending a lot on advertising. The trick is to choose recipients carefully. Their audience profile should match your customer persona, and you should understand their review policies before you send anything. If they agree to do a review or testimonial, send something great. Then promote their review (assuming it’s good) all over your social media and on your product page. You may get requests for samples from reviewers whose audience is too small or doesn’t match yours. It’s OK to say no, thank them for their interest, and direct your promotional efforts elsewhere.

    The easiest freebie: shipping

    Online shoppers expect free shipping now, even though intellectually we all know shipping costs are built into product pricing. Offering free shipping can be a tie-breaker for shoppers considering other retailers, and even small shops can make free shipping work as long as you set the conditions carefully. For example, express and international shipping can be breathtakingly costly, so maybe limit your free offer to domestic standard shipping. You can also offer a free gift wrap and card option during the holiday shopping season to make gift-buying easier for your customers. Remember that you need a goal for your giveaways, whether it’s building your email list, expanding your social media following, introducing new products or strengthening your relationship with your current customers. The one goal that should underpin every free promotion you do is getting people to appreciate the value of what you sell. That way, people who get something from you for free are more likely to become repeat customers who shop with you because of your products’ value, not just their price.
  • Why Your Facebook Cover Photo Matters

    Monday, June 26, 2017 by
    Good Facebook cover photo You heard you needed a Facebook presence, so you threw together a page for your business. When it came time to load an image, what did you choose? If you were in a hurry to get something up, you probably just tried to find any image related to your business that seemed like it could work. Maybe you cropped a stock image to be the right size or picked something generic but basically relevant. If you just went for an easy image that fit, you’re missing a real opportunity. Your Facebook cover photo does matter and you should invest the time or money to create one that really communicates what your business is. If you’re still skeptical, here are a couple of reasons to reconsider. HostGator WordPress Hosting

    Facebook is where a lot of your audience is.

    Facebook has over 1.65 billion active users, over a billion of which visit the website every day. With numbers like that, chances are a lot of your customers and potential customers are spending time on Facebook. [bctt tweet="Chances are a lot of your customers and potential customers are spending time on Facebook. " username="hostgator"] And a lot of them are interacting with brands while they’re there. 52% of people using the popular social media platform have said they’ve liked brands on Facebook before. Facebook therefore shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought. It’s a place for you to directly connect with your customers, which is extremely valuable to you. More importantly, for a lot of your customers, it may be the main place they see and interact with your brand. The face you put forward on Facebook will have a significant impact on how your customers see you.

    Your photo is the first thing they’ll associate with your brand on the platform.

    If you look at any Facebook business page, you’ll immediately see that the photo dominates the page. It’s the first place your eyes are drawn to. When someone finds your business page on Facebook, that image will be the first thing they notice and associate with your brand. You need to make sure whatever you use represents your brand well and makes your page look good.

    What Makes a Good Facebook Photo

    Your Facebook cover photo has a few main jobs it needs to do.

    It should match the style of your website branding.

    To start, your Facebook cover photo is a branding opportunity. You can use it to forward the view of your brand that customers will find in other places, in particular, your website.’s Facebook cover photo echoes the website’s blue and white color scheme, prominently features the brand’s logo, and includes the brand’s tagline “where pet lovers shop.” Chewy Cover Photo At a glance, it clarifies who the brand is, who it’s for, and the kind of items they sell. And for anyone that goes from the Facebook page to the website, the visual relationship between the two is clear.

    It should communicate something about what your business does.

    Your Facebook cover photo isn’t just a branding opportunity; it’s a chance to show off what you do. ModCloth’s cover photo shows models wearing several dresses, skirts, and tops available for sale on their website. ModCloth Cover Photo The photo demonstrates the company’s style, makes clear what they do (sell clothes), and doubles as a selling opportunity – several Facebook followers commented on the cover photo to ask where they could find the outfits to buy. ModCloth Cover Comments

    It has to look good.

    Any image associated with your brand has to do one last extremely important job: look good. Adagio teas makes use of the beauty of the setting where their teas are grown to make their Facebook page look great. Adagio Teas Cover Photo The photo’s both beautiful and relevant to what the company sells. With Facebook cover photos though, there’s a bit more you need to consider to make sure you come up with a cover image that looks good to all your users. You see, your image can’t just look good on a desktop; it also has to look good on mobile devices, and Facebook sizes their cover images differently. You need an image that works both at:
    • 828 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall on desktop, and
    • 640 pixels wide and 360 pixels tall on smartphones.
    In other words, you need an image that is at least 828 pixels by 360 pixels, but still works if you shave off some of the top and sides. Adagio’s image works just as well on mobile, but check out the comparison. Adagio Teas Mobile Cover The difference between the two sizes isn’t too big and therefore finding an image that works on both shouldn’t be too hard to pull off, as long as you’re aware of the issue and make a point to choose something that works in both sizes. As we already established, coming up with the right Facebook cover image matters. Consider hiring a graphic designer or photographer to help you get it right. A little bit of expense is worth it if it helps solidify your brand and catch the attention of your customers on Facebook.
  • 9 Online Tools for Mom Bloggers

    Monday, June 19, 2017 by

    Mommy Bloggers online ToolsThe Mommy Blogger's Online Toolkit

    If you have a kid, a computer, and a love of sharing stories and opinions, you've probably thought about starting a mommy blog. You're not alone – there are about four million moms in the US and Canada with their own blogs, according to mommy blogger coach Candis Lynn Hidalgo. Clearly, blogging is a popular hobby, and for some bloggers, it's also a source of income. So how can you start your own mom blog? First, you'll need to assemble your online toolkit. Here's what you'll need. Create Your Blog  

    1. Your mommy blog needs a goal

    Decide before you begin whether you want your blog to be a hobby or a business. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that if you're approaching it as a hobby, you can skip some elements of the toolkit, like finding marketing affiliates, and focus on crafting your posts, photos, videos and/or podcasts. Another reason to clarify your goals early on is because if you plan to make money from your blog, you'll need to treat it like a part-time job, with a regular posting schedule, professional networking, and outreach to brands.  

    2. Choose a niche within the mommy blogger universe

    If you're purely a hobbyist blogger who wants to experiment with words and images, do what you like. However, if building an audience matters to you—whether you're a hobbyist or a professional—you'll do better if you choose a niche. With millions of moms blogging, it's not enough to write up your kids' antics and share recipes. Today's most successful mom bloggers describe life through a lens that's both unique and relatable. Here are a couple of very different but successful examples of moms who started blogs and have gone on to become authors, media figures, and experts in their own niches. Lenore Skenazy at Free Range Kids has been pushing back against helicopter parenting for nearly a decade. She's taken heat and won praise for things like letting her son ride the New York City subway unsupervised when he was 9 years old. She's built her blog and her niche by calling out intrusive laws that restrict kids' freedom to play outdoors and by collecting statistics on child safety. Free Range Kids mom blog Emma Johnson at combines two concepts that often don't go together in American culture -- the notions that a mom can be a single parent and financially successful. Always direct, sometimes profane, Johnson has built a following of professional single moms who want to thrive at home, at work, and on the dating scene. One way to find your own niche is to think about what motivates you as a mom, your own personal interests, and goals you have for your family. Maybe that means you're an attachment parent who also knits and wants to raise llamas on some land you own. Maybe you're the mom of special-needs teens, so you've not only learned the ins and outs of dealing with schools, IEPs, and the healthcare system, but you've also helped those kids get into to college. (I know this mom, by the way, and I wish she'd start a blog.) Whatever makes your life and family yours, that's your niche.  

    3. Your blog needs a web host

    Your blog will need a web hosting service that you pay for, rather than a free third-party blogging platform or a social media account. That's because if the third-party site or social media provider decides to suspend or close your account (or shuts down, like Vine did in 2016) you no longer have access to your content or your followers. That's bad if you've built an audience for a hobby blog. It's a disaster if you're blogging for money. For less than $10 a month, you can have your blog hosted with a service like HostGator's WordPress Cloud Hosting that keeps your blog up and running, loads your content fast, and won't arbitrarily vanish.  

    4. Your blog needs a name and a URL

    Naming a mommy blog, like naming a baby, is a big project, not to be taken lightly. First, you'll want to choose something that clearly tells readers what your blog's about (Attachment Mama with Llamas, for example) and that's not already taken by another blogger. Then you'll need to see if the URL for that name is available. If it is, you can register it, and then you've got an address for your blog-to-be. Dive into the details of choosing a domain name for your blog here.  

    5. Your blog needs a design

    Just like decorating a nursery or a playroom, there's no limit to the time and money you could put into designing your site. But when you're just starting out, the most cost-effective approach is to use a WordPress theme that saves you lots of time and will display nicely on desktops and mobile devices. Later, if your blog is profitable or you feel like spending more on design, you can.  

    6. You'll need a blog-related email address

    Another advantage to having your blog hosted by a professional service like HostGator is that it gives you the ability to create email addresses using your domain name. This looks more professional than a third-party email address—important if you're looking for sponsors and affiliates—and it can help you sort out your personal email from your blog correspondence. It also makes it easier to set up your email list.  

    7. Your blog needs an email list

    Part of your blog design should be an email signup form so visitors can subscribe to your blog and newsletters. This is a must if you plan to monetize your blog, because your subscriber count will matter to prospective affiliates, and because email marketing is an effective way to reach readers with your own offers of paid content like ebooks and courses. Sweeten the signup invitation by creating a compelling freebie for new subscribers. For example, Emma Johnson offers subscribers her free “15 Secrets to Thriving as a Single Mom” guide. Emma Johnson mommy blogger  

    8. You need a decent camera

    You don't need to buy a digital SLR camera just yet, but good photos and videos are an important part of blogging, so make the most of your smartphone camera and learn to light your shots well. If you're recording podcasts, the built-in mic on your laptop won't deliver the sound quality you need. It's worth investing in a standalone mic, and you can find a good one for under $100.  

    9. Your blog needs at least one social media account

    Don't try to do all the social media platforms. That way lies madness and burnout. Instead, go back to your niche and think about where people who are interested in the same things as you spend their time. Maybe it's Pinterest, maybe it's YouTube, maybe it's Instagram. Pick one for now, and use it to drive traffic to your blog.  

    As your blog grows...

    As your blog grows, if you're running it as a business, you can start adding affiliate links, a press section to show off your mentions in the media, and a resources section where readers can find your books, online classes, or mentorship groups. In the meantime, keep posting and growing your audience, and keep tabs on our HostGator blog, where you'll find tips on everything from creating video tutorials to monetizing your blog.