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  • Easily Add Google Analytics To Your WordPress Website

    Monday, August 1, 2016 by

    Easily add Google Analytics to your WordPress website

    When you have a website, it’s important you know where your traffic is coming from and how much traffic you’re getting. This will help you continue to optimize your website and let you see if any of your traffic generation efforts are actually working.

    Below we illuminate a few different ways you can install Google Analytics on your website, including adding it to your existing theme, installing analytics in your website’s header or footer, or using a WordPress plugin to manage your data.

    Why You Need to Install Google Analytics

    Do you know where your traffic is coming from? Do you have a way to determine if any of your traffic generation strategies are actually working? Knowing how your audience interacts with your website, and understanding how they find your site is crucial for your success.

    Google Analytics will help you keep track of the following things (plus a lot more):

    • Who visits your site

    How well do you understand your target market? Although the data provided won’t give you a specific look into the head of your visitor it will give you information like where they’re from, the devices they’re using, the languages they speak, and much more.

    • Where they visit your site from

    It’s important to have an understanding of the sources that are sending your website the most traffic. For instance, were they referred from Facebook, or did they find your site from the search engines? The more you know about the specific location your users are visiting from the better you’ll be able to maximize traffic from that source.

    • How they interact with your site

    Installing analytics will enable you to track how your visitors are using and navigating your website, how long they stay on certain pages, and how frequently they’re leaving your website.

    This will help you to optimize your site to reduce your bounce rate, which will improve your user experience and be a boon to your SEO efforts.

    • What content and site pages they prefer

    Do you know which pages of your website visitors find the most valuable? Are you aware of which pages on your site tend to repel visitors? By mining your analytics data you’ll be able to slowly engineer a website that your visitors love.

    How to Install Google Analytics

    Now that you understand the importance of installing analytics on your site, it’s time to get everything up and running. You do need to have a Google account to setup for this tool to work, so if you don’t have an account, then set one up here.

    On the next screen you’ll add the website that you want to track.

    Sign Up for Google Analytics

    Just enter all of the required information, click ‘Get Tracking ID’ and you’re all set.

    Google Analytics Code

    Your tracking ID should look something like the image above. Don’t worry, you don’t need to edit any of this code. Just copy and paste it for the following steps.

    There are multiple methods of adding Google Analytics to your site, choose the method below that works best for you.

    Method 1: Manually Add Analytics to Your WordPress Site

    One of the simplest ways to add Google Analytics to your website is to simply insert the code into the header or footer of your site.

    Navigate to your WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance>Editor>header.php. Then paste the code you copied in the step above right after the <body> tag. That’s it!

    Method 2: Add the Analytics Code Into Your Theme

    Depending on your theme you might even be able to paste the code directly into your theme settings page. To do this navigate to your theme’s options page. This can be found by navigating to your “Theme Name”>Theme Settings. For this example we’re using a Genesis theme, so we’ll navigate to Genesis>Theme Settings.

    Towards the bottom there’s a place to insert Header and Footer scripts. Then we’ll just copy our code into the header section, as shown below.

    Setting up Google Analytics

    You can also enable easy access to the header and footer areas by using a plugin like Insert Headers and Footers. This plugin will create an area you can easily modify and insert your tracking code, like the example above.

    Method 3: Add Analytics Using a Plugin

    If the methods above don’t suit your fancy, then you can always install a plugin that’ll simplify the process for you. However, using a plugin to access your analytics data often won’t give you the same level of reporting information. There are a variety of plugins you can use including Google Analytics by MonsterInsights, Google Analyticator, and Google Analytics Dashboard for WP.

    For the sake of example we’re going to assume you went with Google Analytics by MonsterInsights (formerly Google Analytics by Yoast).

    To install the plugin, navigate to your WordPress dashboard. Then navigate to the plugin installation screen by going to Plugins>Add New. Then do a search for Google Analytics by MonsterInsights, and it should be the first plugin that comes up.

    Click install now and the plugin will download and install on your site. Click ‘Activate Plugin’ and you’re all set. Now all you have to do is configure the settings shown below.

    Google Analytics WordPress

    Navigate to Insights>Settings. Then all you have to do is Authenticate your Google account, which will automatically link your Analytics account and the plugin. Then you’ll have to select which website you wan to collect data on.

    Then, just check the boxes for the data you’d like to track and you’re all set. Now, when you navigate to the Insights Dashboard you’ll be able to see your general analytics data.

    Setting up Google Analytics on your WordPress site doesn’t have to be difficult. Just use one of the methods above to easily enable analytics tracking across your site.

    Setting up WordPress doesn't have to be difficult, either. With HostGator one-click installs and free site transfers, we make web hosting easy and affordable.

    Get Started With HostGator!

  • Drupal vs WordPress – Choose the Best CMS for Your Business

    Monday, July 25, 2016 by

    Drupal vs WordPress

    There are several content management systems (CMS) to choose from when considering your business needs.  The two giants that spring to mind are Drupal and WordPress.  Each platform takes up a huge chunk in the market share of CMS and are perfectly reasonable choices for most websites.

    But what distinguishes one from the other?  Which one is better?  Easier?  More functional?  Efficient?  What are the advantages and disadvantages to using one versus the other?

    Although both systems allow users to create and manage content over one or multiple websites, there are major differences between the two. Understanding how these platforms work, what their strong points are and their unique benefits will help you to become confident in your final choice.  The goal here is to provide you with a complete overview giving you insight into the good, bad and the ugly so you can make an informed decision on which route to select for your website. 

    WordPress

    WordPress is perhaps the easiest and most powerful blogging and website CMS on the Internet.  It has 10 times the amount of users than Drupal strictly due to its popularity and simplicity.  Starting out simply as a blogging system, it’s evolution to a fully-functional content management system has positioned WordPress to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, currently powering more than a whopping 24% of the web!

    Using the WordPress platform is ideal for beginner blogger/website creators yet advanced techies and web developers can have lots of fun with all the creative ways to customize.

    Here are the benefits along with the disadvantages and ugly side to using WordPress:

    The Good

    • Highly flexible, with uses of websites, blogs, complex portals and enterprise websites, and even apps
    • Easy to learn without having to know HTML
    • Search engines love WordPress, making it great for SEO
    • Huge community support for Q&A
    • 100% customizable
    • Thousands of free (and paid) themes, plugins and tools
    • Upgrades completed automatically without owners having to do anything
    • Gives owners complete control of their site without having to wait for web developers
    • Manage your site from any computer/mobile device
    • Set up for multiple authors, each having their own access and capabilities
    • Feasible for any type of marketing content

    The Bad

    • Due to frequent updates, some plugins may not adapt as quickly, preventing them from working efficiently if at all
    • Graphic changes do require knowledge of CSS and HTML
    • Permalinks are numeric until user knowingly activates the SEO friendly feature
    • Slower experience at times when handling large volume of content

    Now…the Ugly

    • Extremely vulnerable to plugin viruses that can wipe content and pages (yikes…check out how to prevent these viruses from occurring here)

    Who Actually Uses WordPress?

    Here are some well-known brands that leverage the power of WordPress and its benefits…

    • The Official Star Wars Blog
    • SONY Music
    • MTV News
    • New York Times
    • Best Buy
    • eBay
    • Yahoo
    • CNN
    • Ford
    • Mozilla Firefox
    • Fortune
    • Wall Street Journal

    Drupal

    Drupal is favored amongst government, higher education institutions, NGO’s, and global enterprises proudly serving sites like The White House website.  It is an incredibly powerful framework that can serve as a solid foundation for virtually any type of website. 

    The beauty of Drupal is that it was especially designed for search engine optimization.  It also places high value in security, reliability, and flexibility.  Although not boasting as many users as WordPress, Drupal indeed has a large friendly community that is highly active and responsive to inquiries.

    This CMS is definitely for the advanced with developer expertise…it is not for all users like WordPress.  If you do not have an experienced web developer on staff, you may have to contract one for this project.  However, it is a webmaster's dream because of its unique customization features. 

    Using Drupal is indeed a great choice with the ability to create fantastic looking sites. Let’s examine the advantages as well as the not so good features of Drupal:

    The Good

    • Advanced control over URL structure
    • Top notch enterprise-level security
    • Features countless modules, themes, and extensions.
    • Ideal for community platform sites that require complex data organization with multiple users
    • Great ability to handle large amounts of content
    • Supports multiple site stakeholders (admin, editors, logged in users requiring customized content, private groups, etc.)
    • Clean look, built for high performance
    • More robust features for complex jobs
    • Pages tend to load faster due to its defaulting caching features
    • Flexible with lots of versatility

    The Bad

    • Requires technical expertise
    • Hiring a web developer to install is more expensive than WordPress installation
    • Upgrades need to be completed with developer knowledge
    • Premium themes and plugins (modules) cost a lot more than WordPress

    And…the Ugly

    • It is difficult to install

    Who Actually Uses Drupal?

    • The White House
    • The Weather Channel
    • Turner Broadcasting
    • Australian Government
    • Verizon
    • Popular Science
    • Fox
    • Dallas Cowboys
    • NBC
    • Pinterest
    • Twitter
    • Warner Music Group
    • BBC
    • University of Oxford
    • gov.uk
    • Forbes

    How to Choose the Best CMS for Your Business

    The first step towards choosing which CMS will work better for you is to assess your current and future business goals and how can your website take you there.  If you foresee your site growing to hold lots of data (especially sensitive information), Drupal is a better choice because of it’s security and page load speeds.  If you plan to have multiple authors and want a platform that is simple to use (particularly for a team that may not be as tech savvy), WordPress is it.

    Knowing which CMS is right for your business will ultimately save you time and money…both now and in the future! 

    HostGator offers web hosting for both WordPress and Drupal. Learn more about the features of the two platforms and build your website today.

    Get Started With HostGator!

  • 6 Best WordPress Plugins for Travel Blogs

    Monday, July 11, 2016 by

    Best WordPress plugins for travel blogs

    There are countless tools you can use to promote your blog across the Internet. Getting traffic back to your site is important. But, even more important than having swarms of traffic is turning that traffic into dedicated readers and customers.

    As a travel blogger you probably have a lot of different business goals, but a well functioning site will play a role in all of those. Below we highlight seven different plugins you can use to get the most from your travel blog.

    1. Yoast SEO

    This plugin should be used no matter the style of blog you’re running. This plugin simplifies the SEO process, so it’s much easier to optimize each post for keywords you’re trying to rank for.

    Trying to do SEO without the help of Yoast is much more difficult. Download Yoast SEO to simplify your SEO efforts and have your site ranking faster.

    2. Geo Mashup

    Since you run a travel blog, chances are you want to give people as much information about your destination as possible. One great way to do this is to provide a map of your recent visits. You can do this by using the plugin Geo Mashup.

    This plugin allows you to insert a customizable map using the Google Maps API anywhere into your site. A must have for those looking to create in-depth destination posts.

    3. W3 Total Cache

    Your website needs to be fast. But, spending time trying to optimize your codebase and do all the necessary tweaks will do nothing more than give you a headache. Luckily, there’s a plugin that can handle all of the technical stuff for you.

    It’s called W3 Total Cache. Essentially, this plugin will minify your codebase, so it loads quickly and performs much better.

    If you want your travel blog to compete, then you’re going to need to provide a great user experience. This plugin will help you get there.

    4. Revive Old Post

    What happens when you have a lot of older content you want to share and promote, but don’t want to spend a ton of time searching through your archives?

    You use the plugin called Revive Old Post. This plugin will automatically connect to a variety of your social media profiles and promote your older content for you. You can automate the tweet/share messages, as well as, how often your content is promoted.

    This is a great time saver and allows you to work smarter, not harder.

    5. Photo Dropper

    Flickr Creative Commons can be a great source of images to spice up your blog posts. But, searching though the database, finding the perfect image, downloading it, re-sizing it, and uploading it again with proper accreditation takes a lot of time.

    Luckily, there’s a plugin that can greatly speed up this process for you. It’s called Photo Dropper and it lets you search their database and upload an image in a number of clicks.

    6. Ewww Image Optimizer

    There are dozens of image optimizers you can use to reduce the file size of your images, without compromising quality. This is very important if you want your blog to feature high quality images, but you don’t want your loading time to be impacted.

    Slow loading sites don’t rank as high in Google as their fast loading counterparts, and having images that take too long to load tend to turn off your readers.

    Ewww Image Optimizer will easily optimize every image that you upload to your media library. This saves you time from having to do it manually and will definitely please your readers.

    There are probably hundreds of plugins you can use to grow your travel blog. However, we’ve found the plugins above to be very effective. Try them out and let us know what you think.

    If you don't want to deal with downloading your own plugins and monitoring your traffic, consider optimized WordPress hosting from HostGator - we'll take care of the heavy lifting so you can focus on your travel! Click here to get started.

    Any plugins we missed in the collection above? Share your favorites in the comments below. Happy travels!

  • Drupal vs Joomla: In Search of the Best CMS

    Wednesday, July 6, 2016 by

    Drupal vs Joomla

    While WordPress powers a whopping 24% of all websites on the Internet, it’s certainly not the only open source content management system (CMS) available. In fact, there are two highly effective software platforms, Joomla and Drupal, that warrant great attention when considering a CMS for your website. 

    With Joomla raking in over nearly 50 million downloads and Drupal housing more than 1,000,000 elite websites, these powerhouses are worth investing the time to see which platform will best serve your business and site goals.

    Although each CMS provides the basic functions of adding, deleting, publishing, and storing various types of content, each tool has different strong points and weaknesses which should be explored prior to making your final decision.  The purpose here is to provide a comprehensive overview of Drupal vs Joomla to give you clarity for your next (or current) business website.   

    Joomla

    Joomla is becoming an increasingly popular content management system.   Actually, after WordPress, it’s considered the world’s most accepted CMS, currently supporting over 3 million websites.  Joomla has the power of being extended to provide state of the art functionalities. It has been presented with the Packt Open Source Awards multiple years in a row, making it highly credible to be used as a CMS for your web application.

    When it comes to complexity, Joomla places somewhere between simple WordPress and comprehensive and advanced Drupal.  Using Joomla means that there may be a slight learning curve particularly for beginners, yet webmasters are usually very happy with the features it incorporates. 

    There are many advantages including better architecture as compared to other content management systems.

    The Advantages:

    • Simple to install
    • Knowledge of CSS, PHP, or HTML is not required
    • Manage users with various permission levels without switching tabs
    • E-commerce made easy
    • Several thousands of free extensions available for increased functionality and interaction for your site
    • Amazing support with programmer tools and tutorials for users
    • Advanced administration panel offers many functions for complete optimization
    • URLs generated are SEO friendly thus better positioning in search
    • Update installs are easily done through web browser
    • Application framework makes it effortless for developers to create sophisticated add-ons
    • Highly strong and active community support

    The Disadvantages:

    • Although simple to use, beginners may initially be intimidated by the multitude of functions and possibilities…there is some learning involved
    • Some of the plugins and modules are paid
    • Limited adjustment options particularly for advanced users
    • May experience compatibility issues with some of the plugins, requiring some PHP knowledge to get the functions to work properly
    • Limited access control list (ACL) support

    The Challenge:

    The structure may seem complicated and you may have to go through a learning curve before you master the layout system.

    Brands that Use Joomla:

    • IKEA
    • Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs
    • IHOP
    • Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
    • University of Notre Dame - Alliance for Catholic Education

    If you have some experience with CMS systems and you're looking for something more than WordPress, but you're still intimidated by Drupal, Joomla might be a solid option.

    Drupal

    Currently over 1 million websites run on Drupal, widely known to service entities like governments, higher education institutions, NGO’s, and global enterprises.  This CMS proudly services The White House and prides itself on its top-notch security element.  Its incredibly powerful and comprehensive framework is suitable to house virtually any type of website.

    The beauty about Drupal is that it was designed especially for search engine optimization.  Placing high value in security, reliability, and flexibility, this CMS is indeed the cream of the crop.  Its large robust community is also highly responsive to inquiries and concerns.

    This CMS is definitely for the advanced with developer expertise…it is not for all users like Joomla.  Installing Drupal for your next project will require an experienced web developer on staff (or a contracted one).  Using Drupal is indeed a great choice with the ability to create amazing looking sites.

    Here are the advantages, the disadvantages as well as the challenges users may experience with Drupal:

    The Advantages:

    • Top notch enterprise-level security
    • Great ability to handle large amounts of content and data
    • Lots of functionalities including advanced menu management, polls management, graphics modification tool, and users management
    • Built for high performance
    • Advanced control over URL structure
    • Pages load faster because of its defaulting caching features
    • Features countless modules, themes, and extensions
    • Ideal for community platform sites that require complex data organization with multiple users
    • Supports multiple site stakeholders (admin, editors, logged in users requiring customized content, private groups, etc.)
    • Very clean, professional look
    • Flexible with lots of versatility
    • Stable and scalable
    • Downright powerful platform!

    The Disadvantages:

    • Upgrades need to be completed with developer knowledge
    • Not user friendly
    • High learning curve
    • Requires technical expertise
    • Hiring a web developer to install is more expensive than a Joomla installation
    • Premium themes and plugins (modules) cost a lot more than WordPress

    The Challenge:

    It is very difficult to install…you will likely need an expert.

    Brands that Use Drupal:

    • The White House
    • University of Oxford
    • The Weather Channel
    • Bruno Mars
    • Verizon
    • The Economist
    • Fox
    • Forbes
    • New England Patriots
    • NBC
    • Rutgers University
    • Twitter
    • Australian Government

    Drupal is an advanced CMS system offering plenty of functions that make it possible to create simple or advanced websites, blogs, discussion boards, social networking pages, etc. However, it does require experienced knowledge of PHP and HTML languages as well as CSS.  For those with at least basic knowledge of these languages, there's a very good technical support to guide them through the process.

    How to Choose the BEST CMS for Your Business

    Being clear on your business goals, objectives, and intentions is the first step towards selecting a CMS that is optimal for your business.  This clarity will guide you as to what type of website is congruent to your needs while better serving your unique target audience. 

    Joomla is also a good option for small to mid-tier e-commerce stores or for building a community or a network with a membership features, newsroom, forums, articles, input from external authors. If you want something more powerful for large projects in which stability, scalability, and power are essential, or for more enterprise use, then consider Drupal.

    Choosing the right CMS for your project will save you a great deal of headaches later.  A reliable web host also saves you from headaches. Fortunately, with HostGator you can get both reliable hosting and the CMS of your choice, be it Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, or Magento.

    Get Started With HostGator!

  • Do You Need a Website for Your Podcast?

    Tuesday, July 5, 2016 by
    Podcast Website

    Podcasting is becoming increasingly popular among marketers and experts looking to share their insights with their audience. Podcasts like Serial have pushed the medium into the spotlight, as almost one third of the American population listened to at least one podcast in 2014. From major brands to individuals with niche interest, podcasts are now available on almost every topic imaginable.

    [bctt tweet="One-third of Americans listen to at least 1 podcast. #BusinessOpportunity" username="hostgator"]

    But as a podcaster, chances are you already know that. You're more concerned with increasing the reach of your podcast, ensuring that as many people as possible can listen to your musing. And in that context, you may be wondering whether you need a website for your podcast. Keep reading to find out the answer.

    You Don't Need a Website - Technically

    Taking the above question literally has a straightforward answer: no, you don't need a website to host and publish your podcast. But of course, reality is quite a bit more nuanced. While it's true that you can post episodes of your podcast on your favorite outlets, such as iTunes and SoundCloud, without a website, having one comes with a variety of undeniable benefits.

    Particularly if you are looking to increase the audience and reach of your podcast, a website is strongly encouraged. Here are 5 specific benefits of building a website to host, publish, and promote your podcasts.

    1. You Don't Have to Rely on RSS Feeds

    As you probably know, publishing your podcast can be a hassle. If you don't host the file on your website, you have to create a podcast-specific RSS feed that publishes individual episodes to your platform of choice. iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and other popular podcast hosts all require RSS feeds for upload.

    Creating that RSS feed is often complicated. The more elegant solution is to upload the podcast to your website, which can help create the RSS feed for you and automatically move it into your publishing platforms of choice. Doing so enables you to more easily create that RSS feed, particularly if you use a tool like feedburner to convert your new episodes for you. The result is less time needed to worry about technical issues related to publishing, and more time to work on creating new episodes.

    2. You Can Post an Archive of Past Episodes

    A website also enables you to create a comprehensive archive of past episodes. Podcasts have remarkable longevity, particularly if you cover evergreen content - track the analytics, and you may find new listeners even from episodes that are years old.

    The easier it is for potential listeners to find your content, the more likely they will be to turn into subscribers. An archive helps you showcase the entirety of your work, moving away from a recency bias toward a more comprehensive depiction of your past musings on your topics of choice.

    3. You Can Attract New Listeners Through Google

    Making a website part of your podcasting endeavor also unlocks a tool that is perhaps the single most successful way to increase awareness of your content: search engine optimization. No less than 93% of Internet experiences begin with a search engine like Google or Bing, meaning that the single most common way to find out about new topics of interest is simply entering a search query.

    An SEO-optimized website ensures that when members of your audience look for topics covered in your podcasts, they can find you easily through their search engine of choice. You can even create summaries and partial scripts of individual episodes, optimized for keywords and phrases that potential listeners may search for, to increase the likelihood of being found and gaining subscribers through search engines.

    4. Your Listeners Can Connect With You

    Podcasting is, at its core, a social experience. Listeners value the medium because they feel like they are being included in a personal conversation, and often form a bond with the hosts of their favorite podcasts without even knowing it. But the increasing ubiquity of social media has made clear that without true interactivity, no content can survive and thrive in the digital environment.

    [bctt tweet="#Podcasts are a social experience. Listeners feel they're being included in a personal conversation." username="hostgator"]

    A website offers your listeners a chance to interact with you, and spread the word about your podcast organically.

    On your website, you can add contact forms that enable your listeners to send in feedback and questions, which you can answer in 'mailbag' editions of your podcast. A comment function under posts related to specific episodes allow you to interact directly with your audience, while a poll can help you crowdsource potential topics and guests for future episodes. The more your audience feels included, the more likely they will be to become loyal listeners - and share your episodes with their friends or colleagues.

    5. You Can Be More Efficient at Promotion

    Finally, a website can act as the central hub for promoting your podcast. Because you are likely publishing on more than one platform, linking from Facebook or Twitter to the website (and its individual subscription and listen links) rather than a single platform is more successful. You can even use simple links to share your podcasts offline, which is impossible when merely promoting your podcast through the platforms themselves.

    In addition, your website can help you collect the email addresses of your listeners. A simple form like the contact forms mentioned above help you gather that information, which you can then use for further promotions and notifications aimed at improving your listeners' experience with the medium.

    Sports journalist Bill Simmons, who recently left ESPN to form his own media network, has exemplified this process: his new website, TheRinger.com, consists of nothing but a sign up form for the new outlet's newsletter and a list and archive of its podcast network. But all affiliated social media networks link directly to the website, which has become the central hub for individual podcasts and episodes.

    In short, a website for your podcast may not be technically necessary. But considering the wide range of advantages listed above, it's highly recommended to increase the reach and effectiveness of your podcast. Ultimately, if your goal is to reach as many interested listeners as possible, a website will be the central tool needed to achieve it.

    What are you waiting for? Get your website up and running today and share your podcast with the world. HostGator offers a variety of web hosting plans that make it easy and affordable to build your website.

    Get Started With HostGator!

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