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Tips and Tricks

What Is A Dark Post On Facebook?

Written by Kyler Patterson

Friday, August 15th, 2014



The featured image on this article is not a post that you will find anywhere on the HostGator Facebook Page.  But yet many people have seen it. How? The answer: Dark Posts.


Dark Post – What Is It?

According to the definition from Google, a dark post is the following:

An unpublished post is a status update, link share, video or photo that was never meant to be shared as an organic post. Staying true to its name, it’s never published but is only surfaced as an ad.

Basically, it’s a Facebook post that you control exactly who sees it through ads. If you have seen the main image on this page on Facebook, then that means you have seen one of our dark posts targeting you.


Why Dark Post?

The purpose of these posts are to create a message for a specific goal without cluttering up the newsfeed for those who would see it as irrelevant. For example, if you’re trying to sell your services and all of your followers already use your services, then it wouldn’t make sense for them to see an ad on their newsfeed for your services. However, you still want to post a message for selling your services to drive sales. This is where dark posts come into play. You can create a dark post with a message to sell your services and use that to advertise to your target market.


How To Create A Dark Post On Facebook

Facebook has a video on creating dark posts and you can find it here. Unfortunately, this video is very outdated. The power editor no longer looks like it did in the video. This walkthrough will show you how to create a dark post so that you can put Facebook to work for your business. Please note, we will be using Google Chrome because the power editor doesn’t work in other browsers.


1. Visit the Facebook Power Editor.



2. Click “Download to Power Editor” and choose the choose the advertising account you wish to download. For many of you, there will only be one option. For those who manage accounts for multiple clients, make sure you select the correct account. You don’t want one client paying for the ads of another.


3. Select the + sign under Campaigns.



4. Determine the Campaign Name, Buying Type (I always choose auction), and the Objective. The Objective is what you’re trying to achieve with your ad (Generate leads, get website traffic, increase page likes, etc)



5. Now that you’ve created your Campaign, click the Ads tab facebook-ads


6. Click the + sign again to create an ad


7. Select the campaign you just created, create an ad set, and then name your ad. (You can also create your campaign from this point if you’d like)


8. In the Creative tab, you can choose the Facebook Page that you wish to use for the ad and the post.


9. Once you’ve selected the page, under Page Post, click the + at the right.



10. From here you can choose the Post Type: Link, Photo, Video, Status, Offer. For this example, we’ll create a Link. I’ve set one up just for this article.

unpublished-page-post-facebook hostgator-facebook-ad


11. Be sure to choose the option “This post will only be used as an ad”. It should already be selected but make sure it’s there.


12. Review your post.



Now that you’ve created your post, you can begin to use it for your ads. This article does not cover how to create ads and how to target customers but the opportunities are virtually endless. To get started, check out this article on basic Facebook ads. Be sure to come back to the blog as we will add more articles about more advanced Facebook methods such as targeting and optimization.


Hopefully we have shed light on what a dark post is and you have found this information valuable. If you have any other questions about Facebook, please let us know in the comments. We will be more than happy to write about what you want to know.


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6 Online Apps To Help You Focus

Written by Jeremy Jensen

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

6 Online Applications To Help You Focus

Approximately two thirds of working Americans find themselves on a computer during the day. Many of which spend their entire shift glued to a screen, only a mouse click away from accessing the endless distractions that can be found on the internet. With so much information coming at us daily, our focus is quickly becoming diminished in exchange for the stimuli of the latest YouTube sensation.

For some it can become a serious problem, leading to low productivity, bad performance reviews, and the additional stress of bringing work home. Luckily we’ve compiled a list of six applications proven to break bad habits and help you get your work done on time!

1. Freedom- Block the internet for a certain amount of time

Have you ever played the psychological game with yourself that only after X amount of work, you’ll reward yourself with X amount of entertainment? Easier said than done. Freedom has one simple use, and that’s to block your internet completely for a specified amount of time. You’d be surprised just how quickly a glance at Facebook, or reading that ‘crucial’ article can take hours out of your day.

If turning off the internet completely is not an option, take a look at Anti-Social. It’s built for those who still need the internet, but would like to block certain sites while the web browser is open.

Freedom cost: $10
Anti-Social: $15

2. StayFocusd- Limit the amount of time you spend on distracting websites

With opposite functionality to ‘Anti-Social’, Stayfocusd is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that works by restricting the amount of time you can spend on certain sites, rather than blocking them entirely. Once you’re allotted time is spent, those websites will become blocked for the remainder of the day.

Many prefer this calculated approach as they still desire intermittent breaks in working, but do not like to go beyond a certain point. Want to give yourself 45 minutes to space out? This app is right for you.

StayFocusd cost: Free


3. TrackTime- Understand how your time gets spent while online

While we acknowledge we spend a lot of time on the computer, most of us have no idea how that’s broken down into individual application use. How much time did you waste on Twitter today? How often were you actually using your Word Processing application?

TrackTime allows you to monitor your activities daily by providing you with statistics and colorful timelines of where you spend your time, and how often you’re switching between applications

Tracktime cost: Free (only available on Mac)


4. RescueTime- A more in-depth look at where your time goes and how to take action

RescueTime will give you one of the most accurate picture’s on the market as to where your activity is performed on your computer. With detailed activity reports, weekly email summary, and daily goals built right into the interface you’re guaranteed results in becoming more efficient.

With premiere, you also get the benefits of:

  • Customized Site Blocking
  • Track Offline Activity
  • Notifications- Notify yourself when spending too much time on something, or for being super productive.

RescueTime cost: $9/month or $72/year


5. Concentrate- Work and study more productively between tasks

Many of us are responsible for more than one type of task throughout the day; for instance, there’s times when I’m writing, budgeting, updating my web-page, or producing new content on Social Media. Needless to say these tasks can become intertwined unintentionally and break our focus.

Concentrate allows you to create custom activities that run a corresponding set of actions to only allow applications and websites to run that support productivity within that activity. In English, that means if I’m writing I can only access my word processor, and websites I haven’t placed on a block list while I’m working. You can set up multiple forms of activity to segment your work day and focus on each item individually.

Concentrate cost: $29


6. FocusWriter- Creating an optimal environment for your thoughts

Writing can require the greatest self-discipline of any profession, especially in the last decade as life and internet have become so intertwined. FocusWriter commandeers your desktop to provide a distraction-free writing environment so you can focus on what really matters, the words.

Some additional features, include:

  • Daily writing goals (word count or writing time)
  • Typewriter sounds
  • Standard text-editing features

FocurWriter cost: Free, but with a suggested “tip”

Do you have any other apps or tips that you use to stay focused? Let us know in the comments section!


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Stand Out On Pinterest With Rich Pins

Written by Kyler Patterson

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014


If you haven’t started using Pinterest to share your products and blog posts yet, then you should start doing so. Especially if your target market happens to include a fair percentage of females. Although it may sound cliche, I will still say it: Go where your customers are. And Pinterest is definitely home to a lot of active users. But how do you stand out in the crowd of pins? The answer is actually pretty easy.


Rich Pins

If you’ve been following the HostGator blog and have implemented some of the suggested seo strategies, then you’ve likely already optimized content such as meta data and share buttons. If you’re using WordPress or another CMS, you may be able to find a plugin to add these if you haven’t already. For sites created without a Content Management System, you will need to manually add these tags onto your pages. For information on what is needed for Rich Pins and how to apply, please review the Rich Pin Documentation.


What Do Rich Pins Do?

Simple Answer: Make You Stand Out. Whether on the home page or within a board, there is a sea of pins. With Rich Pins, you will pop out in the crowd. Take a look at this picture of a Pinterest live feed:


You may have noticed that, unlike most of the other pins on the page, the HostGator pins display:

  • The title in bold
  • The associated Favicon
  • The title of the source blog

These extra cosmetic enhancements make these pins stand out in the crowd, drawing the audience’s attention. If you have physical products on your page with prices, it will even show the price! This shows the viewer that the product is for sale and if they like what they see, they’re just a click away. But the enhancements don’t just stop on the boards. Your actual pin has new features too. Taking a closer look:


Just like on the board, you’ll see some of the same features: bold title, blog title, favicon, but also the Author’s name. For products, you’ll also see the price. However, there’s one additional feature that is not just helpful for SEO, but will show even more content to your readers, enticing them to click your site’s link! This is your meta description data! For most blogs/product pages, this is the first few sentences of your content. But for those who know how to optimize their meta description, this can be your sales pitch! If used properly, you should start driving targeted leads to your page straight from Pinterest.


How To Get Rich Pins?

First you need to make sure your page is optimized for this. The link for tips on this is posted earlier in this article. After you’re optimized, you can validate the pin using the Rich Pin Validator. If successful, it will allow you to Apply. The turnaround time on this can vary from a single day up to several weeks.


Hopefully this helps you stand out on Pinterest! Good luck!


Do you have other Pinterest tips? Please share them in the comments below.

Seven Branding Books You Should Read This Year

Written by Taylor Hawes

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Seven Branding Books You Should Read This Year

The role of business is ever changing, and with it, the practice of crafting identity. Competitive companies must continually position themselves as a necessary part of customers’ lives in order to stay relevant and profitable. Educate your staff, re-imagine your practice, and build a better practice through the knowledge imparted by these seven highly acclaimed resources.



For many businesses, the concept of branding is difficult to grasp. Building recognition in the marketplace takes more than exposure and advertising, it takes a compelling story. That’s what 30-year advertising veteran Jim Signorelli preaches in this high-impact volume entitled StoryBranding: Creating Stand-Out Brands Through the Power of Story.

The book takes a look at the practice of branding as an extension of corporate identity. By asserting that modern branding practices should favor messages that resonate with customers over editorialized benefits, he challenges long-held preconceptions about what branding means and how to execute it successfully. The 6-step process guides businesses large and small through the process of finding their story and sharing it effectively with their target audience to build identity.


Designing Brand Identity

Branding and marketing are ever evolving practices, and brand managers that wish to stay abreast of changing trends need a reference as relevant as their work. Enter Alina Wheeler’s Designing Brand Identity, a powerful resource rebuffed by dozens of case studies highlighting the best practices of successful brands. Through a five-phase process that begins with research and leads through product implementation, launch, and continuing governance, the tome is a veritable users manual for the practice of branding in the modern marketplace.


Ancient Secrets of Lead Generation

A brand adorned with Facebook likes and clever aesthetic is nothing more than window decoration if it doesn’t generate sales. Fortunately, Daryl Urbanski’s cheekily titled volume examines what brands mean to customers and how to turn sentiment into revenue.

By looking at what brands and businesses mean to communities and groups of people, Urbanski inspires and entices with techniques designed to tap human psychology and satisfy customer needs. By combining message with method, Ancient Secrets works to build relationship with customers that bring profit and prosperity for both parties.


What Great Brands Do

Design can seem like hokum to the analytically minded. For those unconvinced of branding’s power, What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best from the Rest is like a marketing foreign-language dictionary.

Denise Lee Yohn takes world-class brands like Nike, Zappos, and Apple and examines their method on a scientific basis that makes branding understandable and approachable. Designed to examine companies from the inside out, from culture to capital, and build a brand-as-a-business model that facilitates profitability and personnel satisfaction, her seven key principles highlight the commonalities that can turn have turned multiple businesses from bit-players into superstars.


Kellogg on Branding

When you’re building the backbone of your corporate identity, leaning on the experts is never a bad idea. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management takes an academic look at the practice of branding in this 352-page book that will educate your practice and hone your craft. It’s academic themes may feel inaccessible to some, but the information, presented scientifically or otherwise, is steeped in knowledge that only years of university research can provide.


Essential Elements of Brand Identity

A strong brand requires a strong visual identity and Essential Elements of Brand Identity tackles the aesthetic aspect of branding with aplomb. Kevin Budelmann, Yang Kim, and Curt Wozniak outline a platform for building brand identity predicated on a common framework of terminology and tools that both designers and customers can comprehend.

The work dives deep into the concept of visual identity by creating a structure of brand analysis. By deconstructing how aesthetic affects brand perception and linking the process of design to business concerns, it becomes immediately applicable and immediately understandable for both designers and management; a marriage that can lead to cooperation, impact, and profitability.


The Brand Gap

The strategic and creative forces behind your companies brand can sometimes become divorced, mired in a disconnect of goals and methods. Marty Neumeier’s The Brand Gap seeks to combine the two in a coherent fashion that aligns branding efforts for maximum effectiveness. Breaking the concept down into the “five essential disciplines of brand building”, the book looks to remove the disconnect between marketing arms and unite them in a way that strengthens image and breeds revenue.

Building a strong brand is an essential part of any successful business. Understand your goals, your allies, your customers, and your market through these seven volumes, and make 2014 the year that your brand reaches new heights.