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  • Online Marketing Terms You Need To Know

    Monday, September 25, 2017 by

    Online Marketing TermsA Glossary of Online Marketing Definitions

    When you’re starting a new business or delving into the world of online marketing for the first time, not only do you have a lot to learn about the types of online marketing and best practices for each of them, but you’ll find there’s a whole new language you have to learn. You can expect to encounter marketers casually throwing around terms and acronyms like they think everyone will understand them (hint: not everybody does, it’s not just you). To help you navigate all the new, confusing language of online marketing, we’ve put together a glossary of online marketing terms you’ll want to know. Bookmark this for future use so you have a handy resource next time you come across a marketing term that leaves you scratching your head. A/B testing – The practice of releasing two marketing items that are similar in every way but one, in order to see which of the changed elements performs better. This can be used for emails, landing pages, calls-to-action, etc. AdWords – Google’s advertising service that runs many of the ads you see around the web, in particular those that show up above and to the side of organic search results. Affiliate marketing – A marketing practice wherein bloggers or other influencers include links to a brand’s website in their content and earn part of the proceeds for customers they help refer. (Learn about HostGator's affiliate program here!) Anchor text – The words that are used in a link (the ones you usually see blue and underlined on the page). Backlinks – A term commonly used in SEO to describe links from other websites that point back to yours. Banner ads – A form of online advertising in which a visual ad shows up somewhere on a website’s page, usually an image in a square or rectangle shape. These can be at the top of the page, to the side, or embedded within the text. Behavioral targeting – Many online advertising platforms allow you to target ads based on online actions users have take in the past. For example, if a person’s browsing history suggests they’re a runner (or hoping to become one), marketers selling running shoes can target their ads at them. Bing – One of the main three search engines people use. Black hat SEO – SEO tactics aimed at essentially tricking search engine algorithms into ranking a website higher, such as keyword stuffing and comment spam. Google’s constantly refining their algorithms to penalize sites that use black hat tactics. Bounce rate – A marketing metric that measures the percentage of website visitors that leave your site without visiting more than the page they landed on. Buyer persona – A marketing tool that helps people imagine the audience they’re targeting by creating a description of a fictional person that would be your ideal customer. Most companies develop several buyer personas to help guide their marketing. Buyer’s journey – The path prospects take to become a customer. This often includes the initial actions taken when a person first learns about a company, a period of doing research and interacting with a company’s website and content to learn more, then the decision to purchase. Blog – A commonly used content marketing platform for publishing frequent written content that provides value to visitors in the hopes of improving SEO, developing a relationship with potential customers, and gaining new email subscribers and customers. Create Your Blog Case study – A written piece of content that describes the success story of a past or current customer in order to convince new leads to consider doing business with you. CMS (Content Management System) – A type of marketing software that makes it easier for companies doing content marketing to create, edit, organize, and schedule pieces of content. Content creation – The act of creating any type of content used in content marketing. Content distribution – The tactics businesses use to spread their content on the web so new people in their target audience will encounter it. Content marketing – A form of online marketing based on the practice of creating valuable, relevant content that helps brands attract new leads and build relationships with customers and people in their target audience. Content promotion – The tactics used to promote content that you’ve created to ensure people in your target audience see it. Content strategy – The strategy that guides your content marketing efforts. Developing a content strategy plays a key role in doing content marketing well. Contextual advertising – A form of targeted advertising in which the ads displayed relate directly to what a person is doing or seeing at the time. For example, someone reading an article about gardening tips could see an ad for a fertilizer alongside it. Cookie – The online tool used for tracking user behavior. When you visit a website, the site’s cookie will record your visit and send a message to your web server. This record of your web activity is what helps fuel targeted marketing. CTA (Call to Action) – For every piece of marketing you create, there’s an action you’re hoping your audience will take. The call to action is where you express that and urge your visitors toward what you want them to do next (click here, sign up for your email list, etc.). CTR (Click-Through Rate) – CTR is a marketing metric that measures the percentage of people who viewed a link that chose to click on it. Conversion optimization – Online marketing tactics designed to increase your conversion rate. Conversion rate – The percentage of visitors that take the desired action you want them to. As an example, for an email promotion a conversion could be clicking a link in the email to go to a website landing page. CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) – One of the billing methods common in online marketing. For any channel that charges based on CPA, you’ll pay a set rate when their referral results in a sale. CPC (Cost Per Click) – Another billing method in online marketing that’s especially common in search advertising. Based on this model, you only pay when someone clicks on an ad. CPM (Cost Per Impression) – A third billing model for online marketing, CPM is when you pay each time an ad is seen by a certain number of people. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – An approach to tracking, analyzing, and managing all aspects of a customer’s relationship with a company from their first interaction through their time as a customer.  Sometimes the same acronym is used to refer to software that helps enable customer relationship management. Domain authority – A measure of how respected a website is according to search engine algorithms which plays a role in its likelihood to show up high in search engine rankings. Earned media – Marketing that focuses on unpaid promotional efforts, such as guest posts or customer word of mouth. Earned media is often discussed in comparison to owned and paid media. Ebook – A longform written piece of content. Ebooks are often used as gated content to collect new information on leads. Email marketing – All marketing delivered through email. This includes promotional emails, emails that promote content, and email drip campaigns for new leads and customers. Engagement – An oft-used term in online marketing that describes interactions prospects have with a brand. External link – A link on another website that points back to yours. Facebook – The biggest social media network and therefore one that potentially provides brands a lot of opportunities to interact directly with their audience. Gated content – High-value content that you put behind a web form so people have to provide you information (usually things like email address, job title, etc.) in order to access it. Google – The biggest and most important of the search engines. While SEO includes optimizing for Bing and Yahoo as well, the vast majority of the focus goes to Google. Google Analytics – The tool Google provides for tracking and measuring website success through a variety of useful analytics. Guest Post – A post a brand has published on a third-party blog as a way to promote the brand, reach a new audience, and gain external links. Hashtag – Popularized by Twitter, a hashtag is a word or phrase that’s preceded by a pound sign (#) that can help people follow trending topics on the website. Inbound marketing – A marketing strategy based on the idea of attracting people to your brand rather than pushing out ads at them. Influencer marketing – A marketing tactic that involves working with popular figures in an industry or space in order to reach more followers. For example, a business that sells cooking supplies might partner with a food blogger who creates recipes that require using the company’s supplies. Infographics – A visual form of content marketing that collects interesting facts or data and displays them in a visually attractive way. Instagram – A growing social media platform with a visual focus. Internal link – Links on your website that point to other pages on your website. Internet marketing – Another term for online marketing. Interruption marketing – Any marketing that interrupts what a person’s doing to get their attention (e.g. commercials, autoplay videos embedded in an article, pop-up ads). A term used to differentiate content marketing and inbound marketing from traditional advertising. Keyword – The words and terms people use when searching for something online Keyword research – The research marketers perform for SEO and PPC to determine which keywords their target audience are using in order to know which ones to focus their marketing efforts on. Keyword stuffing – A black hat SEO tactic that involves filling a page with your target keyword in an unnatural way in the hopes of increasing your chances of ranking for it. (Note: this tactic no longer works and should be avoided). Landing page – The page a link or ad sends your visitors to. Landing pages should be relevant to whatever ad or link sent visitors and designed to increase the likelihood of a conversion. Local SEO – The search engine optimization tactics that work best for businesses with a local focus (e.g. those specifically out to attract customers within a set geographic area).   Link building – Any tactics used to encourage or create links on other websites that point back to your website. This is a key part of SEO. Long-tail keyword – Longer, more detailed keywords that are less competitive (and often therefore cheaper) to target for SEO and PPC. For example “mother’s day flower delivery in austin” is a long tail keyword, whereas “flower delivery” isn’t. Marketing analytics – The data online marketing tools collect which help marketers track and analyze the results of their efforts. Marketing automation – The practice of using technology to automate some aspects of marketing, such as setting up a specific email to go out in response any time a prospect downloads a related ebook. Marketing Funnel – A visual that helps describe the common buyer’s journey. The idea is that the top of the funnel (TOFU) is the awareness stage where you attract a huge number of leads, the middle of the funnel (MOFU) is where you nurture and develop a further relationship with many of those leads, and the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is where the few leads that remain toward the end of the process are ushered toward the final sale. Mobile marketing – Any marketing that either appears exclusively on mobile devices or is optimized for views on mobile devices. With people increasingly using mobile for a wide array of tasks, including much of their shopping, mobile marketing is especially important for online marketers today. Natural listing – Another term for organic results, this describes the search results that show up that haven’t been paid for. On-site optimization – The SEO tactics that you can perform on your own website, such as filling in meta tags and including your target keyword in the text on a webpage. Organic results – The search results that haven’t been paid for (they usually show up below the PPC ads, which are labeled as ads). Outbound links – Links on your website that point out to other websites. Owned Media – All the media published on the channels you own, such as your own website and blog and your social media channels. Owned media is often discussed in relation to earned and paid media. Paid Media – Marketing you pay for, such as search ads, social media ads, and more traditional forms of advertising like commercials and billboards. Paid Search – Another term for PPC marketing. Any advertising you do on the search engines. Permission Marketing – Marketing that’s only seen by people who have opted into seeing it. The term is often used to describe opt-in email marketing. Personalized Marketing – Targeted marketing that uses behavioral or demographic data to deliver relevant messages to specific people. This can be as simple as including someone’s name in an email, or as complex as delivering emails about a product or topic someone’s shown an interest in on your website. Pinterest – An image-based social media website that many marketers have a presence on. Pop-up Ads – Any ad that pops up once you’re on a website, sometimes blocking the text of the page to get the reader’s attention. PPC (Pay Per Click) – Another term commonly used to describe paid search advertising, in which marketers only pay for their ads when a viewer clicks. Pay-per-click advertising produces the ads you see above and to the side of organic search results, as well throughout the rest of the Google Ad Network. Responsive Ads – Ads that adjust their size, shape, and appearance for optimum viewing no matter what device you view them on. These are increasingly popular and important as more people use mobile devices for much of their internet browsing. Retargeting – The option of targeting ads at someone that’s already been on your website to increase their chances of returning. When you see an ad seemingly following you around the web for a product your recently viewed, that’s retargeting. Search rankings – The order that websites appear in search results. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – The blanket term that describes any marketing focused on increasing visibility in the search engines, namely PPC, SEO, and some content marketing. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Online marketing tactics designed to improve a website’s rankings in the search engines. Some main components of SEO include keyword research, link building, and on-site optimization. SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – A common way of referring the page you get to in Google or another search engine after you perform a search. Snapchat – A mobile social media platform that allows people to post momentary photos, messages, and videos that only exist temporarily before disappearing. Social Media Analytics – The data provided by the main social media platforms that provide insights into how people are interacting with your social media posts and ads. Social Media Marketing – Any marketing you do that occurs on one of the main social media platforms. The main ones most businesses make use of are: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube. Stickiness – A term used to describe anything about a website that keeps visitors around longer or makes them more likely to come back. User generated content – Any content used in your marketing that’s submitted by your current customers or followers. Twitter – One of the main social media platforms, characterized by its fast-moving nature and 140-character limit. Video Marketing – Any marketing you do that involves videos, including video advertisements, live video, 360 videos, and branded webseries. Viral marketing – Any piece of marketing that “goes viral,” or spreads far and wide on the internet. Viral marketing isn’t usually something you can plan for (although people try). White hat SEO – Legitimate SEO tactics that are approved of by the search engines. The term is often used in opposition to black hat SEO. White paper – An authoritative piece of longform written content that’s often used as gated content to gain new information on leads. Yahoo – One of the main three search engines people use. YouTube – A widely used social media website focused on videos. There you have it. You now have definitions for most of the terms you could possibly need to know in online marketing. Now you just need to learn how to put your knowledge to use in the way that’s best for your business.
  • 7 Things You Need to Start a Website

    Monday, September 25, 2017 by

    What do I need to start a websiteWhat Do I Need to Start a Website?

    So you’re considering building a website, but you’re new to this whole thing. You don’t even really know where to start. It can be easy to find yourself frozen before you get started if you don’t have a clear list of steps to guide you. To help you out, here’s a step-by-step guide to what you need to start a website. HostGator Website Builder

    1. A Goal

    If you’re at the stage of thinking about starting a website, you may already have a good start on this one (most people don’t start out wanting a website without having an idea of what it would be for). Nonetheless, before you go any further, really clarify for yourself what you want your website to accomplish. If you’re starting a service-based business, the website should accurately communicate what you offer and why people should hire you. If you’re starting a product-based business, your goal is to get people to add those items to their shopping cart and check out. If you’re starting a blog to share your deep abiding love of spaghetti westerns, the goal could be as simple as finding a few like minds who enjoy reading your posts. Whatever your particular goal, all the other steps laid out here can play a role in helping you achieve it, which makes it important that you figure this step out before going any further.  

    2. A Name

    This deceptively simple step can be one of the hardest parts for many people. It doesn’t require a lot of tedious work, but it does require making a hard creative decision and it’s easy to get stuck at this step and have a hard time moving forward. When choosing a name for your website, you have to think about more than just what sounds good. Part of your brainstorming process should be to look up available domain names as you go. You don’t necessarily have to register the exact domain as the name you want your website to have, but it will make it much easier for repeat visitors to find you again if the names match, so it’s worth trying to come up with something original that you can grab the .com domain for without having to use weird spellings. You will almost certainly find this step difficult, but don’t let it take you forever. Give yourself a deadline and get it done. Having a name that’s not 100% perfect is better than not having a name or website at all.  

    3. Web Hosting

    You can usually register your domain name and buy web hosting in one fell swoop, since most hosting plans include at least one domain name as part of the package (and sometimes more). Picking the right hosting plan can be a bit overwhelming, but a little basic information on how types of web hosting differ should give you a pretty clear idea of what to go with. If you’re just starting out and your website will be on the smaller side without a devoted following, an affordable shared plan will probably work just fine and you can get one for just a few bucks a month.  

    4. A Design

    Every website you see on the web has a basic web design that someone had to create. When a website’s design is intuitive and doing its job, you don’t necessarily think much about it, but that’s because someone else did the thinking for you during the design process to make sure the site easily meets visitor needs. You’ve got a few options to design your website. You can hire someone that’s experienced in web design to build you something unique that suits your needs. You can use a website builder to build it yourself using templates and an intuitive design interface. Or you can try to learn web design yourself and build a website from scratch. Be warned that the latter option won’t be easy if you don’t have prior experience (and really isn’t necessary in this era of easy-to-use website builders), but if web design is a skillset you’d like to have, building your first website is good practice.  

    5. Content

    As with web design, you probably never put much thought into the work that goes into crafting all the words on the pages of websites you visit. But someone put that time and work in and it’s a step you have to take as well. This is another step where it may be worth hiring a professional to help you out, especially if your website’s goal is to sell something. Professional website copywriters know how to develop positioning for businesses and figure out the language most likely to drive visitors to action. And if writing’s not your forte, you’ll probably spend lots of time and mental energy on worse results than if you hired someone who really knows what they’re doing. If you decide to write the content yourself, take some time to read up on online copywriting best practices. Websites like Copyblogger and Copyhackers can provide some tips to help you learn the ropes.  

    6. Digital Marketing Plan

    You may have thought creating your website was the hard part (and it’s not easy), but once your website launches you’ll quickly realize how hard it can be to get people to check it out. For that, you need online marketing. Consider the types of online marketing tactics that make the most sense for your website and work up a plan to help raise awareness of your website and drive traffic your way. No one will buy your products or read your content without being able to find your website first.  To achieve the goal you established in step one, you’ll need to commit to ongoing marketing efforts that bring your audience to you.  

    7. Google Analytics

    One of the most valuable tools every website owner needs is conveniently entirely free. Setting up Google Analytics is easy and one of the first things you should do once your website is ready to launch. The tool provides rich insights into how many people are coming to your website, how they found you, whether they came back again, and who they are (demographically speaking). The information you get from Google Analytics will tell you if your marketing is working and which tactics are working best. It will let you know which types of visitors are most likely to take action like a purchase or email signup, and which are most likely to leave the site within a few seconds without ever coming back. It will guide you in the types of changes you should make to your website and marketing efforts over time to better achieve your overarching goal. Building a website comes with its challenges, but once you know the basic steps you need to take it’s easier to work out a plan to move forward. Once it’s up and running you’ll face a whole new set of challenges, of course, but it’s rewarding to see your traffic grow and your website take off.  If you’ve been waiting to get started because you don’t know what to do, just take it one step at a time and get it done. Good luck!
  • 6 Ways to Get More Out of Your Dedicated Server Hosting

    Monday, September 25, 2017 by

    Get More Out Of Dedicated ServerHow to Choose the Right Dedicated Server — 6 Tips to Maximize Performance Without Maxing Out Your Budget

    Your baby is all grown up—just like a newborn starts sleeping in a bassinet before moving to the crib and finally graduates to his or her own bed, your website will experience growing pains as it’s ready to move to larger and more powerful servers. Now that you’ve successfully raised your website to become a full-fledged traffic magnet, it’s time to see how far it can fly. Dedicated servers provide the most power of all the hosting options, with all the processors, memory, and bandwidth concentrated solely on serving up your content. Because you are the sole tenant of a dedicated server, you have the opportunity to find a hosting provider and infrastructure perfectly tailored to your needs—especially your budget. Naturally, the pinnacle of web hosting is also the most expensive. Here are some of the things to look for to avoid the sticker shock and make your transition from VPS hosting as smooth as possible. Dedicated Server

    1. Find Cost-Effective Technology Configurations That Meet Your Needs

    When you shop for a new car, you don’t automatically start looking at Ferraris and Lamborghinis, do you? The same applies to looking for dedicated servers. Don’t get wrapped up in finding the newest, latest, and greatest. Take a look at your current hosting configuration and estimate how much reasonable growth you can expect over the next year or two. Use those specifications and projections when comparing servers. Some of the factors you’ll want to consider:
    • Operating system
    • CPU cores and processors
    • Memory
    • Bandwidth
    • Disk space
    • Type of storage (HDD or SSD)
    Each component comes with associated costs. For example, solid-state drives are noticeably faster than hard-disk drives—but they can cost up to six times more than HDDs and come with smaller capacities. Similarly, open-source Linux distributions are cheaper than Windows Server licenses.  

    2. Save Money by Taking More Responsibility Over Your Server

    As you’ve probably experienced with VPS hosting, many hosts pride themselves on giving customers a hands-free hosting experience. Managed services can mean different things to different hosting providers, but can include some combination or all of the following:
    • System monitoring
    • Software and operating system updates
    • Security patching
    • Automated backups
    • Load balancing
    • Automatic scaling configuration
    • Disaster recovery
    • Compliance with regulations
    • Performance optimizations
    • Antivirus and malware scans
    • Dedicated SysAdmin time
    For example, HostGator includes several premium services as part of its managed support plan: system monitoring, security patches, a control panel, and offsite backups. Although server management can take quite a bit of time, patience, and expertise, you could easily choose a cheap dedicated server and manage it yourself to save a bit of money. IT teams and experienced developers will still enjoy semi-managed plans, which often assume responsibility for basic monitoring, security, and updating tasks.  

    3. Reliable Hosts and Strong SLAs Help You Avoid Costly Downtime

    The cost of downtime is prohibitive—companies lose upward of $26 billion in revenue each year because of unplanned IT downtime, and a datacenter outage alone can cost $5,600 per minute. When the Amazon Web Services storage platform was offline for three hours earlier in 2017, major enterprises lost $150 million. Just as moving to a dedicated server can unlock new levels of speed and performance, many hosts reserve their best uptime guarantees and service level agreements for their highest-tier customers. Some hosts will go as far as guaranteeing 100% reliability, but we’ve honestly found that HostGator's uptime guarantee of 99.9% represents the standard worth searching for. Customers can expect to see fewer than 45 minutes of downtime each month, which is quite miniscule.  

    4. Protect Your Brand by Not Scrimping on Security

    Ultimate control over your dedicated hosting can be a double-edged sword: You can optimize and configure your server in a way that supports your business, but the added responsibility can expose organizations to risk if the server isn’t sufficiently protected. Companies lose an estimated $400 billion each year from hacks, with a significant portion of cybercrime going undetected or unreported. Criminals can steal data or hold sensitive information hostage until a ransom is paid. Beyond money, data breaches can cost a company customer confidence. When trying to save money with dedicated servers, don’t cut corners on security. Look for hosting providers that include DDoS protection, firewalls, and SSL certificates. Robust monitoring and backup tools will help you identify an attack and restore your data quickly.  

    5. Methodical Scalability Ensures Predictable Pricing

    Although cloud hosting holds the edge for flexibility and scalability, costs can quickly skyrocket. The threshold for provisioning new computing resources is much smaller in the cloud, meaning modest traffic increases can bring about a higher invoice. We actually prefer scaling dedicated environments. By carefully selecting your server from the start, you can allow your site a comfortable space to grow. You can more predictably prepare to add more resources or servers as your traffic grows to specific thresholds. Each element comes with fixed costs, allowing administrators to keep total control over their environment.  

    6. 24/7 Support is Usually Free—And Can Make All the Difference

    Any host worth your business will offer 24/7/365 support through phone, chat, and email tickets, with some giving premium attention to their highest-paying customers. Especially if you opt out of managed services, you’ll want the peace of mind in knowing that experts will always be available to help you in times of crisis. When consulting with prospective hosts, ask for their average support response times or how long it typically takes to resolve an issue. Also, keep an eye out for resources beyond the typical technical support: A knowledgebase, video tutorials, and community forums can show a host’s dedication to customer success.  

    Control Your Server Customizations to Leave Room for Upgrades

    By only paying for what you actually need, you can invest some money in features that improve your performance and security:
    • Supercharged DNS
    • DDoS protection and mitigation
    • Load balancing
    • Caching tools
    • Content delivery network
    • Dedicated IP addresses
    • Firewalls and VPN access
    • High availability and disaster recovery
    The dedicated server market grows by $237 million each year, and hosting customers come to appreciate the reliability, speed, flexibility, and isolation of their own hardware. Understanding that you don’t need to automatically look for the most bandwidth, storage, and computing power, decide which features are worth prioritizing and splurging on for your website’s success.
  • Want To Make Your Own Website? Here Are 3 Options

    Monday, September 18, 2017 by

    Make Your Own Website3 Ways You Can Make Your Own Website

    You made it! You're officially the proud owner of a shiny new domain name and web hosting package. Now you've reached the part of building a website that most of us get most excited about: setting up your header and homepage, designing your online portfolio, formatting your blog, setting up your online shop. It's time to furnish your online home – your domain – with things you want your visitors to see, explore, and maybe buy. Sounds great, right? But how do you actually put together a website? There are 3 ways you can do this.  

    1. Build Your Website from Scratch

    build your website from scratchWith this option, you start with your domain and a bunch of ideas and code them into reality. This is the website equivalent of hiring an interior designer, a decorator and a bunch of subcontractors to fill in the empty shell of your new home – or doing it all yourself. How do you know if you should build your site this way? Answer these two questions:
    1. Do you have great technical and coding skills?
    2. Do you have a big budget for hiring a web designer?
    If you answered yes, go for it! Check out HostGator's professional design services. If you answered no, keep reading for better options.  

    2. Use WordPress

    use wordpress to build a websiteWith this option, you install the world's most popular content management tool to put together your website with ready-made tools, themes, and a dashboard that make it easy to update or change your site. Using WordPress is like making a big IKEA run to get everything you need to set up your new place. You only have to make one stop. Because the furniture you get is modular and easy to build, you can change or add pieces when you need to, using only the online equivalent of an allen wrench. Should you build your site this way? Yes, if you're comfortable using these tools to build and maintain your site:
    • Themes: In technical terms, WordPress themes are “files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog.” Whoa! That’s a whole lotta jargon. In allen-wrench terms, themes are file packages you can buy or get for free that give your site a particular look, just like you might decide to furnish your whole living room in Ektorp seating. You can find thousands of free and paid themes on WordPress.com, MOJO Marketplace, and HostGator.
    • Templates: Templates are “the building blocks of WordPress themes.” Your theme will have templates for your site's header, sidebars, blog posts, links and more. You can use the templates as is or customize them to look exactly the way you want them to. (Think IKEA hacks.)
    • Plugins: Plugins are the extras you can easily add on, but only if you need them. In IKEA terms, they're the glass doors for your Billy bookcases. There are plugins for everything from contact forms to search engine optimization to site security.
    • Page tools: You can use these to create new pages for your site, like a homepage, portfolio, about you, contact, and an online store.
    • Post tools: Use these to write, edit, and add images to blog posts and publish them on your site's blog page.
    • Updates: Because theme and plugin developers are always making improvements, fixing bugs and boosting security, sometimes you'll need to update your theme, plugins, and version of WordPress. This is a click-and-go task that takes just seconds, but it's important to keep your site running smoothly and securely.
    Ready to get started with WordPress? You can do it now. Don't have time for this level of DIY? Read on.  

    3. Use a Web Builder

    use a website builder to create websiteSite builders, like the one HostGator includes for free with all of its hosting plans, have been winning fans over the past few years because they're fast and easy to use, don't require manual updates, and integrate seamlessly with your hosting service and domain name. If you're the type of shopper who buys flat-pack furniture to save money and has it delivered and assembled for you to save time, you'll like the site builder approach. Should you build your site this way? Yes, if you want:
    • Templates that give your site a design without the expense of hiring a web designer
    • A no-code-required drag-and-drop way to customize your site template
    • Set-it-and-forget-it site functions that update without you having to lift a finger
    • Built-in tools for sharing your site content on social media
    • Easy SEO tools for getting your site found in online searches
    • Quick PayPal integration to get your shop up and selling
    • Round-the-clock professional support for your site-building questions.
    Depending on the hosting plan you choose, your site builder tools may also include inventory management for your shop, the ability to include high-definition videos on your pages, and tools to create coupon codes for your customers. Ready to get started? Use HostGator's Website Builder now.  

    Whichever path you choose, HostGator is here to help you along the way. Enjoy 24/7 award-winning US-based expert support and web hosting that grows with you as your traffic grows.

    Get Started with HostGator!

  • 6 Steps to Creating Your Church Website

    Monday, September 18, 2017 by

    Create Church WebsiteHow Do I Create a Website For My Church?

    If you run a church, then you need a website to both attract new members, and give your current members any information they require. But, what if you have a small budget? Most churches don’t have a ton of money to invest into a website. Luckily, with tools like WordPress, you can quickly build a high-quality site that will become your virtual home on the Internet. Below we’ll walk you through the process of creating a website for your church using WordPress. There are other options out there, but WordPress will give you the most freedom and customization abilities. HostGator Website Builder

    1. Choose a Host and Domain

    The first thing you’ll need to do is purchase hosting and a domain name. There are a ton of beginner friendly hosts out there like HostGator. Plus, all of the hosts mentioned have a one-click install of WordPress, so all it takes is a few minutes to get WordPress installed on your site. You’ll also need a domain name to go along with your hosting package. The domain you choose will be part of your overall branding, so make sure you choose wisely. You may be able to get your church’s name, or if it’s common, then you might have to add your location to the end of it.  

    2. Install Your CMS

    If you choose a beginner friendly host, then this will make installing WordPress on your site much easier. All you have to do is go to your cPanel and find an application that is named something like one-click install. Then, follow the directions on the screen and it will automatically install WordPress on your site. If you’re having trouble finding your cPanel or figuring out how to install WordPress, then make sure you look through your host’s documentation and tutorials.  

    3. Pick a Theme

    Luckily there are dozens of existing WordPress themes that are designed specifically for the functionality that churches require. Below we highlight some of the most popular church themes. Any of the following would be a great choice for your organization. Most of the themes below are premium themes, which means they’ll cost a little money, but we also highlight one free theme that could work for your church as well.  

    4. Choose Your Plugins

    You don’t technically need any plugins for your WordPress site to function, but they can offer additional features you might enjoy. Two plugins almost every site should install are Yoast SEO for search engine optimization and Akismet for spam blocking. Below we offer a few church-specific plugins you might want to try out:  

    1. Sermon Manager

    sermon manager Sermon manager allows you to publish any recorded sermons online. This can help encourage people to check out your sermons and help people catch up if they couldn’t attend a sermon.  

    2. Give

    give You may want to offer additional ways for your congregation to give back to your church. One way to do this is by opening up donations on your website as well. Give will make collecting donations a breeze.  

    3. Events Calendar

    events calendar Most churches have events like bible study, fundraisers, and much more. By having a portion of your website dedicated to events you can encourage more people to show up.  

    5. Customize Your Site

    Planning out your website is an important step of the website building process. This will help you determine what content needs to be written, how users will navigate your site, and the overall functionality you require. For your church site, you’ll need to cater to your current congregation, new members, as well as any groups like youth groups or Bible study. With your site planned out, you can begin customizing the visual appearance of your site. Depending on the theme you chose, you might be able to upload the theme’s demo content, which will mirror the demo theme. Then, all you have to do is swap out your own content and images and you’re all set. You may also have a separate customization panel, or you can use the built-in theme customizer by navigating to Appearance>Customize.  

    6. Launch Your Site

    With your site built-out and your content uploaded it’s time to launch your site. You may not need to do a big launch, but if you have any existing social media profiles you can share the link there. Also, make sure current members of your congregation are aware that your site exists, and you’ll be posting events and sermons there on a regular basis. Building your church website doesn’t have to be a difficult task. By using WordPress to build out your church website you’ll simplify the building process and end up with an attractive and functional website.   Any questions related to building out your church website? Please ask away in the comments below or contact our support team.