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  • Choosing Between Drupal vs Magento

    Friday, August 12, 2016 by

    Drupal vs Magento

    Drupal or Magento?

    Which platform should you choose for your e-commerce site? Good, robust website hosting companies can host either for you, so which is best for your business?

    There's no simple answer. You must examine both solutions and see how they fit with the needs of you and your e-commerce business.

    What is Magento?

    It's an open-source platform designed for e-commerce dating back to 2008. It's written in the PHP language, includes pieces of the Zend Framework and uses the MySQL relational database system.

    Ebay owned the company for four years, but spun it off in November 2015, and it's now backed by the Permira Funds. Permira is a global investment firm that makes long-term investments. Their support gives Magento stability, demonstrating they will remain in business for years to come.

    E-commerce sites and stores using Magento take in over $50 billion annually.

    Magento Suite of Products

    Community Edition

    This is their basic product, it's free, and over 250,000 online stores use it. If you're a small business owner who just wants to get up and running, this edition may satisfy you, especially if you're comfortable with learning to handle some of the technical details yourself. It comes with a shopping cart ready to take orders in nearly all languages, currencies and local tax rates.

    It's open source, so it has the support of an active community of developers. Shop for standard Magento modules in the Marketplace or hire a developer to create an extension or update customized just for your site.

    A good website hosting provider has Magento Community ready for you to install (happily, HostGator proudly falls in this category). You will have the default version up and running in a short time.

    Enterprise Edition, with 2.1 Release

    This is the Magento flagship. It comes with a large number of tools to show off your products, give customers speedy checkout service and let them access your site on every kind of device from desktops to mobile phones and tablets. It comes with built-in ways to increase shopper engagement, reward their loyalty and encourage repeat shoppers. It's still open source, and so integrates with third-party solutions. You hire developers, or use your own, to customize the site to your satisfaction.

    Other Editions

    Magento also has specialized solutions for small businesses in Germany, B2B companies and fashion stores.

    What if you need an omnichannel solution to take orders and manage customers across many platforms, from your website to drop-shipping orders to warehouses? Do you need to manage different multiple fulfillment centers? Check out their Commerce Order Management solution.

    Well-Known Brands Using Magento

    • Vizio
    • Rosetta Stone
    • Zumiez
    • Alex and Ani
    • Ghirardelli
    • Fun4Kids
     

    What is Drupal?

    Like Magento, it is open source. That means it is continually developed by many thousands of interested programmers. It started out as a content management system, but now is basically a framework. It can support any type of website from a small blog to a large government website to a discussion forum and an e-commerce store.

    Drupal is also written in PHP. It has a standard release known as the Core. Developers in the Drupal community have contributed over 30,000 modules that fit in with the Core to provide additional functionality.

    Every good web host should have Drupal ready for fast and easy installation (click here to learn more about our Drupal hosting plans). It's popular. At least a million websites use it, some of them quite large and well-known. 8.1.3 is the current version.

    Drupal Commerce

    This provides the Drupal Core with e-commerce functionality. It displays products, accepts orders, tracks invoices and monitors payments.

    There are many additional modules available for free for linking to shopping carts, payment gateways and shipping services.

    Drupal Commerce is a separate installation and configuration from installing Drupal Core using cPanel.

    Well-Known Brands Using Drupal Commerce

    • Time Warner Music
    • The United Kingdom Royal Mail
    • First4Numbers
    • Doctors of BC
    • Tech Coast Angels
    • SproutOnline
     

    Differences Between Drupal and Magento

    Magento was designed for e-commerce, whereas Drupal was designed for content management. As a result, you'll need to modify Magento in order to provide content.

    Both Magento Community and Drupal Core install easily from cPanel, but Drupal Core installs easily from Cpanel, but Drupal Commerce requires additional steps that some business owners may need to delegate or outsource.

    Both Magento and Drupal Core are highly scalable, but Drupal Commerce doesn't categorize products as deeply.

    Magento draws traffic, but Drupal has the edge at SEO.

    Magento also has additional features, such as a "narrow down" search that allows customers to more easily find what they want, and promotional options to incentivize repeat shopping, reduce shopping cart abandonment and more. You can use coupons and add calls to action.

    General Conclusions

    Large e-commerce businesses that plan to sell hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in products can afford Magento Enterprise and the developers they'll need to hire to customize their store to their desired specifications.

    Small e-commerce businesses that plan to integrate a lot of content with their product offerings should go with Drupal Commerce.

    Small e-commerce businesses that simply want to list their products for sale and take orders will get the best value from Magento Community.

    Therefore, choosing between Magento and Drupal is not a contest, just a business decision.

    Start selling online today with HostGator! We offer both Magento and Drupal hosting.

    Get Started With HostGator!

  • Best WordPress Plugins and Themes for Sports Websites

    Tuesday, August 9, 2016 by
    Best WordPress Plugins for Sports Websites

    WordPress is a great tool for creating sports websites. With its flexibility and versatility you can truly create any kind of website under the sun.

    But, with the sheer amount of themes and plugins available it can be difficult to find the perfect theme and set of plugins for your site. For that reason we’ve decided to compile a few great ones below.

     

    WordPress Themes for Sports

    There are a lot of themes available for a variety of sports-oriented purposes. Whether you’re looking to build a site for your team, create a fan page, or even build a site for your fantasy league you’ll be able to find the perfect theme for your needs.

     

    1. Sportedge

    Sportedge

    Sportedge is a great theme for those looking to create a sports-oriented news site. It has a very high-profile design and is easily customizable to suit your needs. The theme also comes equipped with a home-page slider to easily showcase your latest stories.

    This theme can be built-out to cater to a variety of different sports. If you need a theme that will allow you to build a high-traffic sports magazine, then give Sportedge a try.

     

    2. Club Sports

    Club Sports theme

    Club Sports is a responsive sports magazine theme. This theme will look incredible no matter the screen size it’s displayed upon. If you want to highlight the latest sports news, scores, schedules, and more, then this theme might be a great choice.

    This theme also includes features like several color options, lightbox image rollers, pagination, and many more customization options right out of the box.

     

    3. Gameplan

    Gameplan theme

    Gameplan is designed for gyms, fitness clubs, and others sports clubs and events. This theme has a built in class planner, so people can easily sign up for your classes.

    This theme comes equipped with a drag and drop page builder, so you can easily customize your site to your liking. If you want to create a professional looking site for your sports club, or fitness events, then try out Gameplan.

     

    4. Sportsline

    Sportsline theme

    Sportsline was originally built for the FIFA 2014 World Cup. But, this theme can be used for a variety of sports beyond soccer. It has a number of features, which allow you to upload game stats, results, and other roster information.

    This theme is also compatible with WooCommerce, which can be great for people looking to bundle eCommerce functionality with their existing sites.

     

    5. WP FanZone

    WP Fan Zone

    We realize that not everyone will have the budget to invest in a premium theme. For that reason we wanted to showcase one of our favorite sports-related free themes, WP Fan Zone.

    If you’re a sports fan who is looking to create a high-quality sports blog or online magazine for your favorite team or sport, then give this theme a try. It isn’t as feature heavy as the themes mentioned above, but it can be a great starting point for some sports fans.

    Recommended WordPress Hosting

     

    WordPress Plugins for Sports

    Plugins are a great way to further customize your WordPress sports website. If the theme you want doesn’t have a certain feature, then you still might be able to add that feature with a plugin. If you’re looking to take the functionality of your sports site to the next level, then check out some of the plugins below.

     

    1. SportsPress

    SportsPress

    SportsPress is probably one of the most complete WordPress sports plugins out there. If you have a sports website and you’re looking to showcase your team, or even your entire league, then give this plugin a try.

    There are a number of options that allow you to create sports-specific team pages, player statistics, league standings, league calendar, and much more.

     

    2. SportsPress TV

    SportsPress TV

    SportsPress TV is a great addition for those looking to add tons of high-quality content to their sports websites. This plugin lets you embed posts content from over 400 different channels.

    No need to scour the web trying to find the perfect content for your sports website. This plugin will do it for you.

     

    3. Team Rosters

    Team Rosters plugin

    If you’re looking for a way to easily manage team rosters, then give this plugin a try. Team Rosters has built-in templates for high school, college, and professional teams.

    Don’t try to create roster pages yourself. Use this plugin to easily create team rosters that look good and are easy to update and maintain.

     

    4. WP Club Manager

    WP Club Manager

    If you run a sports club, then let this plugin make team management easy. With WP Club Manager you can manage multiple team profiles, create player profiles and stats. You can also showcase things like, club staff, league sponsors, and even rankings.

    This plugin makes customization easy and is a great addition to any sports website.

    The sports website of your dreams is just a few clicks away. You can get a great WordPress hosting plan with HostGator, and use the theme and plugin recommendations above to help you create the perfect sports website. 

    Get Started With HostGator!

    Do you manage a sports website? Tell us about it in the comments!

  • The Art of Charm’s Jordan Harbinger Shares His Advice for New Podcasters

    Monday, August 8, 2016 by

    The Art of Charm Jordan Harbinger

    Jordan Harbinger was podcasting before podcasting with a thing. He and his friend AJ (who also uses the last name Harbinger) debuted The Art of Charm podcast in 2006 to talk about social skills, meeting people, and building relationships. The Art of Charm now has more than 530 episodes and gets two million downloads per month by listeners eager to hear “the Charlie Rose of podcasting” talk with high-profile leaders in fields ranging from law and business to medicine and journalism about the social skills and mindset they use to succeed in their relationships at work and off the clock.

    HostGator is a proud sponsor of The Art of Charm, and Jordan recently took the time to answer questions from our team about starting the podcast, why podcast producers must have a good website, and the steps new podcasters and site owners must take to succeed. The discussion has been edited and condensed.

    HostGator: Did The Art of Charm start as a podcast, a website, or something else?

    Jordan: It did start as a podcast. We started this as a hobby because AJ and I were having conversations about eye contact, vocal tonality, body language, persuasion, influence, and non-verbal communication. People were saying, ‘You should write a book.’

    I was studying for the bar exam, and AJ was a cancer biologist. We weren’t about to write anything because we didn’t have time, but we thought we could record our conversations and let those fly somewhere on the Internet. There wasn’t such a thing as podcasting when we initially envisioned this, or at least we didn’t know about it yet. AJ figured out that we could record things and put them in iTunes.

    HostGator: What made you decide to get a website?

    Jordan: Originally, you had to have a website for your podcast. You had to host it on a web server, because iTunes doesn’t host. We also needed a website so we could point people to it, especially since most people didn’t know how to use iTunes back then, and most people probably still don’t now.

    HostGator: What happened once you got the website? Did it help you expand your business?

    Jordan: Once we got the website, we found that a lot of people were emailing us. It was easier to contact us. People started to hire us for coaching services. People started finding our show because they were Googling the things we were talking about. It was really interesting to see how things kind of exploded once we got that online presence.

    HostGator: How do you encourage people to visit The Art of Charm website and build your site traffic?

    Jordan: We encourage people to visit the website through word of mouth. We also talk about the website on the show so that people will go back to the web site and use that to email us or to find other episodes of the show. You can’t tell people, ‘First, go download iTunes, then do this, then do this, then do this.’ You just tell people about websites because everybody knows how to use them.

    HostGator: Which of your website features has had the most impact on your business?

    Jordan: In the beginning, it was the ability to host files. We had a blog where we were able to discuss what we were talking about briefly, and then we’d create the MP3 and host it there. People could click and download it or click and play it on our site if they weren’t playing the show through iTunes.

    That was huge. The website wasn’t just a web presence, it gave us the ability to host files for download and the ability to point people to those files directly.

    HostGator: What advice do you have for future podcasters and new website owners?

    Jordan: Make sure your files are not only playable but also downloadable so listeners can export them onto their smartphone or other device.

    Also, there should be an easy way to contact you. Visitors shouldn’t have to dig for it. Your number should be on the front page, or your contact form or email. Make sure your contact forms are working. Your email should be there for people who don’t want to use the form. I think that’s obvious, but I see most sites still don’t have that.

    A lot of times, companies make it tough to contact them because they don’t want to deal with that, but if I’m trying to hire you, if I have to figure out how to contact you, I don’t want to do that. It means you’re purposely difficult to reach or you’re ignorant of how people should be reaching you. That’s not somebody I want to give money to. I want to be able to reach them quickly and easily.

    For podcasters, you need to make sure you’ve got a description of your content as well as a way to download that content. Stream it online, too, so if people want to listen at their computer or on their smartphone they can make it work.

    Last but not least, it has to work on mobile. Most visitors come from mobile, especially if they’re listening to podcasts, so you can’t have a janky website that doesn’t work well on mobile or it’s just a huge fail. You’re going to lose more than half your business. 

    You can subscribe to The Art of Charm podcast here and pick up their coupon code for new HostGator web hosting packages here. Learn more about HostGator’s easy to use web hosting services and plans here.

  • 5 Ways to Make Your Website More Eco-Friendly

    Friday, August 5, 2016 by

    Green Website

    It’s easy to assume that all websites are eco-friendly because they use pixels instead of paper. Online information distribution is much less resource-intensive than “dead tree” publishing, but websites do have an environmental impact, and it’s growing. US data centers, which store and distribute web site data, used 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2014. That’s not quite 2% of the country’s total electricity use for that year. The good news is that data centers and individual site owners are looking for ways to cut power consumption. Here are a few ways you can green your site to save resources.

    Look for an eco-conscious hosting service

    If you’re already a HostGator customer, your hosting service is already green. HostGator switched to wind power in 2008 with the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits equal to 130% of the power needed to run and cool our shared and reseller servers. The move allowed us to reduce our carbon emissions and provide green hosting services to more than 1.3 million customers without raising rates.

    [bctt tweet="I have a #green website because it's powered by Texas winds! Thanks @HostGator!" via="no"]

    Green your electrical power

    The equipment you use to create and maintain your site runs on electricity that may be produced by burning coal. Why not make that power green, too? Most utility customers in the US now have at least one green option available through their local electricity provider, according to the Department of Energy. (A clickable US map makes it easy to see what’s available in your area.) Depending on where you live, you may be able to opt in to wind, hydroelectric, solar, geothermal, or biomass electrical generation.

    You may also want to buy carbon offsets to counterbalance your power consumption, especially if green electricity isn’t yet available through your utility company. Carbon offsets were trendy a few years back and there were questions about how effective they are. Now, the National Resources Defense Council has a detailed guide to choosing high-quality offset programs.

    Run a lighter site

    Besides your hosting service and your hardware, you’ll want to look at your site elements, such as your code, your graphics and animations, and even your palette. Sites that are slow to load due to inefficient code or heavy graphics are essentially idling during the wait time. Frequent or large server requests draw power, too. Mashable points out that dark colors in your site design, such as a black background, require LCD monitors to use more electricity to display them. The ideal “green website” is optimized for fast loading and has a color scheme that doesn’t send visitors’ monitors into overdrive.

    [bctt tweet="#Green your website by using a light color scheme that doesn't send visitors' monitors into overdrive." username="hostgator"]

    Offer print-optimized content options

    If you’ve ever tried to print a web page and ended up with a multi-page, multicolor, poorly formatted mess, you know why this matters. Check out this printer-friendly page tutorial from Jennifer Kyrnin at About.com. Streamline your content so it prints right the first time, using as few pieces of paper as possible.

    Spread the word about green web hosting and design

    Share your eco-upgrade news with your readers. They may have other resources to share with you, and your efforts might inspire some of them to green their own site design, hosting, and electricity sources, too. ClimateCare UK has an infographic explaining more about the Internet’s carbon footprint.

    Green your website with HostGator green web hosting!

    Get Started With HostGator!

  • 8 Best WordPress Plugins for Video

    Wednesday, August 3, 2016 by

    WordPress Plugins for Video

    If you want to add videos from YouTube, Vimeo, or another video platform to your WordPress site, you can copy and paste the embed code and customize it to suit your needs. However, that is not the most efficient way to do it. If you want to save time and have more advanced features, such as video galleries or lightboxes, you are going to need to install a WordPress video plugin.

    In this article, we will share the 8 best WordPress plugins for video so that you can quickly and easily customize the way your videos are displayed on your website.

    Don’t have a website yet? No problem. Get your site published in minutes with HostGator's one-click WordPress installs. Learn more here.

    1. Envira Gallery

    Envira Gallery

    Envira Gallery is the best WordPress gallery plugin with video capability.

    It comes with a Videos Addon that allows you to create galleries from your YouTube, Wistia, and self-hosted WordPress videos. It includes lots of advanced options, including displaying the videos in galleries, open them in lightbox, and more.

    Simply drag and drop the widget into any widget ready area to display a gallery there, or you can use the shortcode to display videos wherever you want.

    Cost: Free and premium licenses available. Premium licenses start at $19.

    2. YouTube Showcase

    Youtube Showcase

    YouTube Showcase is a simple to use YouTube plugin for WordPress that creates custom post types for videos.

    You can easily add categories and tags to your videos and make certain videos “featured.” It will even set up a video gallery page for you upon installation.

    Cost: Free and pro versions available. Pro starts at $49.99.

    3. YouTube Simple Gallery

    YouTube Simple Gallery

    YouTube Simple Gallery allows you to use custom post types to add videos and categorize them. It also comes with a shortcode that you can put anywhere in the post editor screen to insert your YouTube galleries.

    It opens videos in a lightbox popup. You can also customize the video and thumbnail size.

    Cost: Free

    4. WordPress Video Gallery

    WordPress Video Gallery

    WordPress Video Gallery has advanced features and a built-in HD .flv player for displaying your videos with HD quality. You can also display recent videos, popular videos and featured videos.

    It includes customized skins and plenty of other customization options, making this a very versatile plugin.

    Cost: Free

    5. YourChannel: YouTube Channel on Your Website

    YourChannel

    YourChannel is perfect if you manage a YouTube channel or if you like curating videos.

    With this plugin, you can turn your website into a video platform without needing any extra storage or bandwidth, because your visitors can watch your YouTube channel without ever having to leave your website.

    Cost: Free

    6. uTubeVideo Gallery

    uTubeVideo Gallery

    uTubeVideo Gallery allows you to display your YouTube video galleries on any post or page of your website.

    This plugin also automatically fetches thumbnails for your videos and caches them on your WordPress site so that your page loads quicker.

    7. Workbox Video from Vimeo & YouTube Plugin

    Workbox Video

    Workbox Video from Vimeo & YouTube Plugin allows you to create a video gallery on any page simply by pasting the video URL. It works with YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia.

    You can sort the order of your videos any way you want, and you can display your galleries anywhere you want by using shortcodes. (Note that this plugin is designed for more advanced users.)

    Cost: Free

    8. Ultimate Video Gallery

    Ultimate Video Gallery

    Ultimate Video Gallery adds galleries to your WordPress site quickly and easily; all you have to do is copy and paste the video URL and it will automatically fetch the details from YouTube.

    You can create multiple, unlimited galleries with this plugin. It also includes support for mobile devices.

    Cost: Free

    Conclusion

    There is a much better way to add videos to your site other than copying and pasting the embed code. These WordPress plugins allow you to efficiently add video galleries to your site, with tons of customization options, without touching a single line of code. Choose one of the above that suits your particular needs, and you’ll see what a big difference it makes.

    HostGator offers an easy-to-use control panel and free site transfers. Host your WordPress site with us!

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