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  • 4 WordPress Landing Page Builders To Inspire You

    Wednesday, November 30, 2016 by
    WordPress Landing Page Builders Did you know that 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website? As a conversion oriented marketer, you’ll need to grab the attention of your visitors as quickly as possible and encourage them to do what you want on your website—either to subscribe to your list or purchase the product you sell. And because the human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish–8 seconds–capturing your visitors' attention is difficult and turning them into leads or customers is even harder. This is why creating landing pages must be an essential part of your marketing strategy. Landing pages remove all distractions from a page and narrow your visitors’ focus to the opt-in forms or call-to-action buttons placed in it. This persuades them to take an action like filling out a lead form or making a purchase.  

    Creating a WordPress Landing Page

    You don't have to be a designer to create a landing page for your website. You can create landing pages yourself with a WordPress landing page plugin such as Thrive Landing Pages or OptimizePress. As there are many different choices, you’ll need to compare their features and find the right one that fits your need. In this post, I’ll introduce four WordPress landing page builders and example landing pages built with them. I hope this will inspire you to create a conversion-oriented landing page for your next marketing campaign. Recommended WordPress Hosting  

    Landing Page Builder #1: OptimizePress

    OptimizePress is the most popular landing page builder for self hosted WordPress sites. The product is available as a two core parts, both plugin and theme. Beyond landing pages, you can use it to build membership websites as well. If you’re looking to create landing pages with a design consistent with the rest of your site, or to build a membership website, using the theme option for your site would be the right choice. Alternatively, you may use the plugin version if you don’t want to change the entire theme just for the sake of building a few landing pages on your website. Below are two successful landing pages that were created using OptimizePress.  

    Expert Voice Book

    This landing page is designed to build an email list that offers a free ebook written by Kristen White. The landing page uses the latest OptimizePress theme that supports responsive design, as well as a WP Video Lightbox plugin to beautifully embed Vimeo video on the page. ebook landing page   What this page does well: By embedding a convincing video and displaying media company logos at the top, the page establishes the author as an authority. Apart from explaining the opt-in offer, the page also explains who the author is and includes testimonials as a social proof.  

    Healthier Fat Loss

    This site used the OptimizePress theme to build landing page that promotes their weight loss program.  Landing page example   What this page does well: The landing page briefly explains what the program is and its benefits by using beautiful images. The video is not hosted on a third-party platform like YouTube, so it doesn’t contain a link that takes away readers from the site. They also use various certification logos beneath the CTA button along with doctors’ endorsement, which gives a sense of security to potential buyers to make a purchase. CTA with trust signals  

    Landing Page Builder #2: Thrive Content Builder

    Thrive Content Builder lets you create visually impressive content right from the visual editor of your WordPress site without the need of touching a single line of code. Better yet, it also allows you to pick from more than 150 templates, so you don’t need to create everything from scratch. Let's take a look at a landing page that was created using this plugin.  

    EJ Insider

    The EJInsider website sells various information products, such as this premium ebook, How To Buy and Sell Websites landing page for ebook   What this page does well: The landing page has followed all the recommended practices for boosting conversion: placing the CTA above-the-fold, removing distractions like external links that may take visitors away from the landing page, and including positive testimonials.  

    Landing Page Builder #3: LeadPages

    LeadPages is a stand-alone landing page builder. Unlike other plugins featured in this post, LeadPages is a hosted solution, so you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee for the service. You can either create a sub-domain or use your own website's domain for your landing page. Once you installed the plugin, it connects your WordPress site with LeadPages server so you can easily start creating landing pages right from your WordPress website. LeadPages is a perfect choice especially if you have a decent advertisement budget for driving traffic to your landing pages. It also enables you to boost your conversion rate by A/B testing your pages.  

    Loud Rumor

    LoudRumor is a marketing agency for fitness studios and gyms. They use LeadPages plugin to create squeeze pages for their Facebook ad campaign. This is one of the successful squeeze pages by LoudRumor created to promote a list building campaign. Their goal here is to explain the program using a video and encourage visitors to opt-in. Once the CTA button is clicked, an opt-in form will appear as a popup where visitors can submit the details. Video landing page   What this page does well: The page is distraction free and it attracts highly targeted traffic through a PPC campaign. The page explains their program using the video without bragging too much with text-based content.  

    Landing Page Builder #4: Landing Page Builder

    Landing Page Builder is a free WordPress plugin that lets you create unlimited number of pages. Best of all, you can pick from over 50 templates and it supports mobile responsive design.   

    UC Baby

    This landing page was used for a contest entry. Participants will need to opt-in for entering the contest. Of course, the entry has closed now but still the landing page is live. This landing page is created with the free Landing Page Builder plugin. Contest landing page   What this page does well: This one is a perfect example of how simple a landing page can be to attract user entry. With over 900 entries, the page was a success.   Have you used any of the above landing page builders? Share your landing page in the comments!
  • What Is A Website Builder?

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016 by
    What is a website builder When it comes to building websites you’re going to have a lot of tools available at your disposal. In fact, it can be a little overwhelming when it comes to choosing the right tool to build the perfect website for your business. If you’re relatively new to building websites, or you want to create a website with the least amount of technical knowledge possible, then using a website builder can be a great place to start. Below we dive into what a website builder actually is and the pros and cons to using a website builder.    

    What Is A Website Builder?

    Website builders allow you to make a website without having to know any code. Pretty awesome, right? Not too long ago, if you wanted a beautiful and functional website you’d have to spend a ton of time learning how to code yourself, or you’d have to fork out a fortune for a web design team to build a site for you. Not anymore; today's website builders allow even those with zero coding experience to build a beautiful site. Of course, if you do have any coding or design knowledge you can take your website even further. But with website builders, it’s no longer a requirement. Website builders use WYSIWIG (What You See Is What You Get) software to allow you to drag and drop design elements to create a website. There are a variety of website builders available. To reduce confusion, we’re going to be focusing this blog post on online website building tools, instead of content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. If you're interested, you can learn more about those here.  

    Why Should I Use A Website Builder?

    One of the biggest benefits to using a website builder is the ability to build a website very quickly, without any technical skills. You simply login to your website, pick one of the available themes, and begin customizing your site to your liking. Website builders have come a long way over the years, and the kind of site you’ll end up with can rival the design of sites that people have spent big money on. If you’re looking to get a website up as quickly as possible, and the thought of doing anything technical or messing around with code scares you, then using a website builder could be a great idea.  

    Are There Disadvantages To Using A Website Builder?

    Drag and drop website builders do have certain weaknesses. For starters, they aren’t as customizable and can’t do as much as other means of building a website. The kind of website you create with a website builder is usually rather thin, compared to sites you can build with a CMS or by hiring a design team. Sites built using a website builder are also hosted using the shared servers provided by the website builder. So, you don’t have full control over your site and your account could be banned for violating their terms of service. Also, sites built using a website builder tend to load slower, since you’ll be sharing bandwidth with other users. And you usually don’t have access to a site backup if something unfortunate arises, or if you want to migrate your site to another host.  

    HostGator Website Builder

    There are a variety of website building tools out there, including one right here at HostGator. The HostGator Website Builder includes over 100 mobile-friendly templates, pre-built sections and pages, and social media and SEO tools. The basic version is free for current HostGator customers, and available to new customers for a small monthly fee. Learn more by clicking here or the banner below. HostGator Website Builder   Did you use a website builder to design your website? Share your experience in the comments below.
  • Cloud vs Dedicated Hosting – Which Is Right For Me?

    Monday, November 28, 2016 by
    Cloud vs Dedicated Hosting Choosing the right web hosting environment is a decision you’re going to face time and time again as a website owner. Even after you make an initial decision, your web hosting needs may change and evolve over time. Below we dive into the differences between cloud and dedicated hosting, so you can make the best choice for your website and your business.  

    What Is Cloud Hosting?

    When it comes to cloud hosting, a lot of people begin to think about the ethereal cloud. A place that doesn’t quite exist, where all of their data is stored. They have no idea where it’s stored and how it got there, but it does, and it exists. The cloud is still a relatively new concept, but it’s based upon cloud computing technologies that allow an unlimited number of machines to effectively act as a single system. So, instead of a website being hosted on the actual server it’s being hosted on a virtual partition of the server, which is drawing its resources from a network of existing servers. Cloud hosting is extremely reliable, because it draws its resources from multiple different servers. If one goes down, the other servers can take its place. Cloud hosting can grow with your company as all you’ll need to do is add additional server resources if your site demands it. However, most cloud hosting does have a lower level of performance when compared to dedicated servers.  

    What Is a Dedicated Server?

    A dedicated server is exactly like it sounds. Your website and all of the necessary files are stored on a single physical server dedicated to your website. Most dedicated servers will come pre-equipped with certain hardware specifications, so make sure you choose a dedicated server that has the specs your website requires. This style of hosting is generally more expensive, but dedicated servers come with very high performance, as they can be configured to your exact needs, and provide a high level of security. This can be a great choice for larger businesses or websites that receive high amounts of traffic. Or, if you have a business that requires a very high level of security for your data storage. Dedicated Server  

    Which One Is Right for Me?

    The pricing of each of the server options - cloud or dedicated - will depend upon the hosting company you’re using. Generally, dedicated servers are more expensive and you’ll be paying an up-front monthly fee for the server space you’re using. Cloud hosting is usually sold on a sliding scale and you’ll end up paying for the total amount of server resources you’re actually using. If you’d like to experiment with different hosting environments and have something more flexible in nature supporting you, then cloud hosting might be the best option for your needs. Before you make the jump into choosing a web host, or upgrading your current package, make sure you take the needs of your website into account. If you have questions about either of these options, contact HostGator's support team for more information.   Which style of hosting do you prefer? Please share in the comments below.
  • I Registered A Domain, Now What?

    Wednesday, November 16, 2016 by

    I Registered A Domain, Now What?

    You took a big step. You grabbed that domain name you wanted. It’s officially yours. Now what are you going to do with it?  

    To Start, What Are Your Goals?

    There are three main reasons to buy a domain name: Most likely you had a clear idea of what you wanted your domain name for before you purchased it. Your next steps will vary based on which of these purposes you have in mind. To skip directly to your purpose, click on one of the links above. HostGator Website Builder  

    To Launch a New Website at Your Domain Name

    For most people reading this, chances are you fall into the category of people looking to build a new website to launch at your new domain. Here are the next steps for you to take.  

    1. Purchase website hosting.

    Owning the domain and owning the space a website lives on are two different things, but often hosting companies also sell domains. If you got your domain as part of a hosting purchase, then this step is already taken care of. If not, then finding the right hosting platform and plan is the next thing you need to do. Hosting packages usually come as monthly or annual subscriptions and often include some nice extras along with the hosting itself, like a website builder and tech support for those launching a website for the first time.    

    2. Load an “In Construction” page.

    If your website isn’t ready to launch yet, then the next thing to do is let people know what’s coming. An in construction page can provide a simple teaser to inform any visitors that happen upon your website that, while they’re a little bit early, they will find something great there if they come back later. If you already have a logo or a color scheme in mind for your website, then you can design the in construction page so that it matches the branding to come. If you know for sure what day you’ll be launching your website, you can let people know when to check back – but be careful not to oversell. If you end up launching late, you could lose people’s trust and interest.  

    3. Design your site.

    Before your site goes live at the domain you’ve registered, you want it to look just right. You can either build a website yourself, which you can expect to take some serious time, or you can hire people to help. Option A: Build It Yourself Many hosting companies (including HostGator) offer website builders as one of the features that comes with your hosting subscription. Even if you’re entirely new to website design, these make it possible to do it yourself, with some time and work. Your other option is to go the more old-fashioned route and design a website using html or a design software like Adobe Dreamweaver, but those options are best for people who already have extensive experience with website design (in which case, you know who you are). Option B: Hire Someone If you’d rather hand over this part to someone that’s an expert, you can outsource it to a web designer or web design firm. Do a little research to make sure you hire a web designer that can do what you need. If you have the money to spend, hiring a professional can save you a lot of time and effort and mean you end up with a website that looks closer to what you had in mind. HostGator offers design services for current HostGator customers. Click here to learn more and request a quote for your site. Don’t Forget the Copy! Writing copy is a different process than designing the website itself, but it’s an important step to making sure your finished website says what you need it to. You can whip up some copy yourself, but for words that are persuasive and do a good job of communicating what your website is and why it matters, hiring a professional copywriter or marketing agency is likely to pay off.  

    4. Launch!

    Once your website looks just how you want it to and all the copy is written, you’re ready to launch.   You can upload your website to the hosting platform using an FTP client or the File Manager in cPanel. If you’re using HostGator as your hosting platform, follow the instructions here. Once everything’s loaded, go check out the new website at your domain! Recommended WordPress Hosting  

    To Treat Your New Domain as an Investment

    Domain investing is harder now that the internet’s been around for a while and a lot of the domains with the best keywords have been snatched, but if you manage to purchase a domain name that you know will generate interest, you can resell it at a profit. One of the first things you can do to advertise the availability of your name, if you’ve invested in a hosting plan, is put up a page at the domain that says it’s for sale. In addition, you can find a number of auction sites that help publicize domain names that are for sale, such as Sedo, Flippa, and Snapnames. Make sure you have a realistic idea of what the domain is worth. If the name is useful and the price is right, potential buyers will find you.  

    To Point it Toward A Finished Site

    If you bought a second domain that you’d like point to a website you already have, then you simply need to create a parked domain in your cPanel. If you’re a HostGator customer, the process of adding a parked domain is simple. A new domain name comes with exciting potential. Whatever your goal is snatching up that online real estate, now you have a chance to do something with it. Go and make the most of your little section of the web.
  • 10 Common Website Design Mistakes And How To Fix Them

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016 by

    Website Design Mistakes

    Every new business should have a website, whether it’s for lead generation, e-commerce, or just general branding. Having even the most bare-bones site puts your business ahead of more than half of US small businesses, which don’t have a website at all. However, your site may not be helping your business as much as it could, or should. In fact, marketing researchers have found many design problems that work against the business the site is supposed to promote. Here are some common web design mistakes that confuse visitors, erode their trust, or run them off, along with suggestions for design improvements.

     

    1. Slow-loading, wordy landing pages

    Web users wait no more than 250 milliseconds for a page to load before they give up and leave, according to the New York Times. The Nielsen Norman Group found that many site visitors spend 20 seconds or less on a page unless the content grabs their attention, and they only read about 25% of the text on a page.

    That means your home page needs to load fast and explain your business quickly, in as few words as possible. Anything that negatively affects page load times, such as complex graphics or auto-play videos, should be removed (or at least moved off the home page). Long blocks of text are a waste because visitors almost never take the time to read them. Focus on clean graphics, a strong logo, a short explanation of your business, and an easy-to-navigate menu on your home page.

    Speaking of your home page, make sure you're not making these mistakes, either.

     

    2. Design without market research

    Effective web designs factor in the target audience’s age, educational background, and purpose for visiting the site. For example, businesses catering to customers over age 60 should follow design guidelines from the National Institute on Aging. They include the best fonts and type sizes, color combinations to avoid, and recommendations on graphics and content. Businesses catering to working parents, busy professionals, and Millennials – many of whom who rely on their smartphones for product research and shopping – should make sure their site is optimized for mobile use.

     

    3. Cluttered pages

    Too many graphics, too much text, clashing colors, and confusing navigation tools are common problems. Visual clutter makes it hard for your audience to find the information they want. It also damages your credibility. In a study reported by Forbes, design elements including busy layouts and obnoxious ads were among the factors that created feelings of distrust in site visitors. Remove page elements that distract visitors from the main purpose of their visit.

     

    4. Too-trendy design

    Every year, there’s a fresh crop of web design trends to watch and another crop that’s declared dead. Just-because-we-can trends like tag clouds and photo carousels are dated for a reason: Almost no one finds them useful. Adopt trends only if they offer value to your visitors. For example, a custom illustration for your site builds authority better than a thousand cheap stock photos.

    HostGator Website Builder

     

    5. Stale content

    Fresh content helps your site rank more highly in search results, and it also guides visitors through your sales funnel. Abandoned blogs, neglected Twitter feeds, and Instagrams with three old photos say your business is neglected, overwhelmed, or doesn’t finish what it starts. Your site should only feature a blog or social media feeds if you can regularly update them.

     

    6. Poor-quality images

    Even when you’re starting up on a shoestring, high-quality images are an important investment. Low-end and free stock photos don’t build credibility, and they often don’t do a good job of illustrating your business services. As marketing psychology expert Derek Halpern says, “If you pulled your image from Flickr or a popular stock photo website, you probably have the wrong image.” Use high-quality product images, include professional shots of you and your employees, and leave it at that.

     

    7. Broken links

    Broken links frustrate visitors, erode their confidence in your business, and hurt your site’s search engine performance. Review all the links on your site regularly to make sure they’re still good, and fix broken ones right away.

     

    8. Bad logo design

    Your logo is a central piece of your branding, and its design should involve the same level of care and research that you put into your business plan and site design. Consider your audience, your company’s “personality,” how the colors affect your message, and more. If you already have a homemade or cheaply done logo, work with a designer who specializes in logos to improve or replace it.

     

    9. Hard-to-read or silly fonts

    Remember, most users will only spend a few seconds glancing over your page while they decide to stick around or leave. Stick with fonts that are readable and professional-looking – and make them big enough for the average glasses-wearer to read them easily. When it comes to font size, “14 is the new size 12,” according to Halpern.

     

    10. Hard-to-find contact information and calls to action

    Your contact information and call to action should be above the fold on each page of your site, not buried on a “Contact Us” page. Speaking of contact pages, don’t offer a contact form as they only way customers can contact you. They probably won’t – especially if they can call the competitor with a phone number at the top of their site. Unless you’re willing to optimize your form carefully (and maybe even then) you’re better off listing a phone number and email address so customers can reach you in the moment.

    Each of these design mistakes is fixable with the right combination of audience research, expert help, and effort. Each mistake you fix can increase your audience’s trust in your business, the amount of time they spend on your site, and the likelihood that you can earn their business. That’s when your site becomes a true asset to your business.