HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing http://www.hostgator.com/blog The Official HostGator Company Blog Thu, 20 Aug 2015 17:08:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 How You’re Doing Branding Wrong, And What To Do About It http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/20/how-youre-doing-branding-wrong-and-what-to-do-about-it/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/20/how-youre-doing-branding-wrong-and-what-to-do-about-it/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 17:08:27 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9974 The post How You’re Doing Branding Wrong, And What To Do About It appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Having a consistent and clear brand will help you build a business that lasts for the long-term. At the core of your branding should be a connection between you and your customer. The role of your brand is to communicate your value to your customer in the clearest manner possible.
Only by understanding your customer can you truly create a brand that lasts. Most companies go about branding from the opposite approach and end up with a brand that speaks to no one. Below you’ll find some of the most common branding mistakes and what you can do to fix them.
 
1. Trusting Instinct Alone
It’s easy to fall in love with your business idea. But, if it isn’t serving anyone, or no one is going to buy what you’re offering. Then it’s better left as a hobby than an actual business.
Instead of focusing on building your brand identity and other activities to solidify your brand you should be talking with actual customers to verify your idea and uncover their needs. Only then does it make sense to invest more time into your project.
After all, by going of instinct alone you’re essentially flying blind and will have no idea if anyone even wants ...

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The post How You’re Doing Branding Wrong, And What To Do About It appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

How You’re Doing Branding Wrong, And What To Do About It

Having a consistent and clear brand will help you build a business that lasts for the long-term. At the core of your branding should be a connection between you and your customer. The role of your brand is to communicate your value to your customer in the clearest manner possible.

Only by understanding your customer can you truly create a brand that lasts. Most companies go about branding from the opposite approach and end up with a brand that speaks to no one. Below you’ll find some of the most common branding mistakes and what you can do to fix them.

 

1. Trusting Instinct Alone

It’s easy to fall in love with your business idea. But, if it isn’t serving anyone, or no one is going to buy what you’re offering. Then it’s better left as a hobby than an actual business.

Instead of focusing on building your brand identity and other activities to solidify your brand you should be talking with actual customers to verify your idea and uncover their needs. Only then does it make sense to invest more time into your project.

After all, by going of instinct alone you’re essentially flying blind and will have no idea if anyone even wants what you’re offering until it hits the market.

 

2. Little To No Engagement or Feedback

Like we mentioned above, if you’re relying directly on the assumptions you have about your target market you’re going to have a difficult time nurturing a brand over the long-run.

The best brands speak directly to their target market’s needs and nothing more. Acting on instinct alone puts you at risk for attempting to raise awareness around your brand for years, with nothing to show for it.

A better route is to find people in your target market, or people who already interact with your company and ask them some of the following questions:

  • How would you feel if your product or service ceased to exist?
  • What alternatives to your product or service would you use instead?
  • Why do you choose to work with us over our competitors?
  • How can we improve our offerings to serve you in deeper ways?

By working with these answers you’ll be able to better refine your brand (if you have an existing company), and figure out how to position your offers to your fans in a more compelling and attractive manner.

 

3. Being Consistent

When you have a stable brand it can be tempting to change up subtle elements of your brand just for fun.

Although most brands go through design overhauls and image shifts over time they’re usually structured and thought out.

However, even subtle inconsistencies within your logo, colors, and messaging can throw off your users and start to erode your trust. Make sure you keep an eye on brand consistency, once you’ve developed a strong brand and don’t stray from what you’ve created.

Brands aren’t built overnight. The take consistent time, effort, work and refinement. However, by taking the time to incorporate feedback, and consistently engineering your brand towards service you’ll build a brand that works for you, instead of against you.

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4 Tasks That Will Save Your Email Marketing Campaigns http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/18/4-tasks-that-will-save-your-email-marketing-campaigns/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/18/4-tasks-that-will-save-your-email-marketing-campaigns/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 15:24:35 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9967 The post 4 Tasks That Will Save Your Email Marketing Campaigns appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

On the internet, email is like having a mobile phone, with the difference that on the internet — you can almost always get anyone’s phone number, at any given time. Sometimes, you create something and ask users to enter their phone number (email) in for you, so that they can be notified when you share and publish more of the amazing stuff that got the interested in the first place. We now it by the name of email marketing.
The reasons for creating an email list have long been known and understood by expert marketers, and we recently published a post ourselves, about the reasons why a small business should invest in an email marketing strategy, and how rewarding it can be. It’s without question the leading way of staying in touch with your customers and peers of interest.
If you’r new to email marketing, or have done it a few times before, you will be familiar with email marketing campaigns — in simpler words, it simply means to send out a carefully crafted message and/or announcement to everyone who has signed up to be on your email list. And more often than not, we want these emails to be of highest ...

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The post 4 Tasks That Will Save Your Email Marketing Campaigns appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

4 Tasks That Will Save Your Email Marketing Campaigns

On the internet, email is like having a mobile phone, with the difference that on the internet — you can almost always get anyone’s phone number, at any given time. Sometimes, you create something and ask users to enter their phone number (email) in for you, so that they can be notified when you share and publish more of the amazing stuff that got the interested in the first place. We now it by the name of email marketing.

The reasons for creating an email list have long been known and understood by expert marketers, and we recently published a post ourselves, about the reasons why a small business should invest in an email marketing strategy, and how rewarding it can be. It’s without question the leading way of staying in touch with your customers and peers of interest.

If you’r new to email marketing, or have done it a few times before, you will be familiar with email marketing campaigns — in simpler words, it simply means to send out a carefully crafted message and/or announcement to everyone who has signed up to be on your email list. And more often than not, we want these emails to be of highest quality so as to retain the subscribers, but also to convert leads where possible.

 

1. Talk to Your Customers

Marketing always was and always will be about the customer, there is no denying that. These days there are countless ways of connecting with your customers, social media and content marketing being a few of them, but email is usually the one that plays on the more personal level. And there is nothing more dissatisfying than a corporate email that only wants to sell you something.

When sending a new campaign:

  • Always greet your customers by their first name, which means you have to find a way to collect their name as well. It’s a nice and personal touch.
  • Don’t drag the email for too long only to try and sell something at the end. Bring value to the table.
  • Give them a good initiative to continue reading the email at the top, rather than the bottom.

 

2. Optimize the Email Experience

The mobile experience can now provide just as many features and possibilities as a full-blown desktop computer, and with that in mind, the usage of mobile devices for business and personal needs has increased dramatically over the last few years, even months some would say. And with that in mind, we need to make sure we’re catering to our mobile users the same way we are to desktop users.

A mobile device is usually going to require a responsive email design that can naturally adapt to the needs of the mobile device. The impact of responsive emails in terms of open rates, and conversion rates, is too huge to miss out on.

 

3. Test What Works

In development, programmers test their applications against common errors and performance optimization, in email — we can use testing to test what works best for us and our subscribers, including the email design, the titles we choose to have, and the overall email experience we provide. It’s easy to get started.

Testing allows you to compare and contrast different elements of your email campaigns to see how they impact your subscribers’ reactions to them. You can form a hypothesis about what you think will occur, and then formulate a test and find out what really happens.

 

4. Email Campaign Frequency

The last task on our list is actually less a task, but more of a reminder to those who are eager to build their email list quickly. It’s easy to get carried away with having access to so many people at any given time, and sometimes we may feel that sending out a few emails a week is going to increase our conversion rates significantly, that simply is not true.

Email Campaigns

Even before you begin sending out your first emails, you should get clear about the email marketing strategy that you’re going to be using, and whether sending out multiple emails on weekly basis is going to yield you the best result. It’s possible to ask your new subscribers to select the frequency of emails they’d like to receive, but then you’ve to be completely clear about the message you’re trying to convey over your email campaigns.

Sometimes as frequently as twice a month is enough to capture the attention of your customers, and customers-soon-to-be. MailChimp fully agrees that more is not always better.

 

*****

Alex Ivanovs is an online entrepreneur who has been writing about technology, business and developer topics for over a decade. He currently manages CodeCondo — an aspiring community for designers and developers.

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How To Use Split-Testing To Improve Your Website http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/12/how-to-use-split-testing-to-improve-your-website/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/12/how-to-use-split-testing-to-improve-your-website/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 15:38:06 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9962 The post How To Use Split-Testing To Improve Your Website appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Optimizing your website could be the missing factor in making your website a success. Split-testing allows you to truly unlock the power of your website. Imagine being able to test every aspect of your website, so it’s perfectly catered to your ideal visitor.
When you’re building your website right out of the gate you’re actually making an educated guess about what you think your visitors are going to like. Split-testing allows you to morph your website into something that speaks to the heart of your visitors.
To get started with the split testing process you’re going to need to install a split-testing tool, such as, Visual Website Optimizer, Google Analytics, Optimizely, Unbounce, or Crazy Egg. Once you have the tool installed, begin by testing some of the page elements we highlight below.
 
Headlines
If your headlines are too complex, or not clear, they’re not going to do a good job at conveying to the user what your page is actually about. Changing and simplifying your headlines can have a huge impact on your conversion rates.
Common elements to test include: your value proposition, headline length, and the color and size of the headline.
 
Call-To-Action
Your call-to-action is one of the most important elements of your landing page. ...

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The post How To Use Split-Testing To Improve Your Website appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Split testing

Optimizing your website could be the missing factor in making your website a success. Split-testing allows you to truly unlock the power of your website. Imagine being able to test every aspect of your website, so it’s perfectly catered to your ideal visitor.

When you’re building your website right out of the gate you’re actually making an educated guess about what you think your visitors are going to like. Split-testing allows you to morph your website into something that speaks to the heart of your visitors.

To get started with the split testing process you’re going to need to install a split-testing tool, such as, Visual Website Optimizer, Google Analytics, Optimizely, Unbounce, or Crazy Egg. Once you have the tool installed, begin by testing some of the page elements we highlight below.

 

Headlines

If your headlines are too complex, or not clear, they’re not going to do a good job at conveying to the user what your page is actually about. Changing and simplifying your headlines can have a huge impact on your conversion rates.

Common elements to test include: your value proposition, headline length, and the color and size of the headline.

 

Call-To-Action

Your call-to-action is one of the most important elements of your landing page. Without having this central piece of your page fully optimized you’ll be losing out on potential customers and subscribers.

You can customize and test your call-to-action in a myriad of ways, but the most common elements to look further into are: size, colors, the text, the placement, and the spacing surrounding your call-to-action.

 

Testimonials

Testimonials act as social proof for your services and offerings. They help to build trust with your potential customer or subscriber. If you have several testimonials you can actually rotate them and change their appearance until you find one that helps your website convert the best.

Some people will resonate with some testimonials more than others.

 

Forms

If you use your website to gather useful user information, then you’re going to be using certain form elements more than others. If you make your form needlessly complicated chances are the user won’t actually stick around to complete the form.

You can test out different form styles and elements until you find the form that converts the highest. You can even add hidden elements into your form, or gather other user information at a later stage in the process.

 

Media Elements

Elements such as photos and video will help to increase the power and emotional resonance of your page. When it comes to using images and videos you need to think about quality over quantity at all times.

One well-placed image, or a short high-quality video, will say much more than over-stuffing your page with added media.

 

Copy and Content

Often, the shorter your content the better it will convert. If you copy is overly wordy and doesn’t get to the core of what you’re trying to say it will turn people off.

You can experiment with testing different versions of your content that conveys your message in slightly different formats. This can be done through using different formatting, or even writing entirely different versions of your copy.

However, be careful not to test too many different elements at once, as it will be harder to tell which small element was the cause for the increase in conversions.

Split-testing can truly help your website realize its potential. The process may take a while, but when you see your conversion rates start to grow it will be well worth it.

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The Power Of Native Advertising With Instagram http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/11/the-power-of-native-advertising-with-instagram/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/11/the-power-of-native-advertising-with-instagram/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 17:04:47 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9952 The post The Power Of Native Advertising With Instagram appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

The term ‘native advertising’ has been criticized in some ways as unethical, due to the disguise in which businesses and corporations present their products. Most recently, Al Jazeera America highlighted a questionable innovation by CNN, under which they’ll be broadcasting corporate propaganda disguised as news, a move that looks very bad for the integrity of journalism.
However, the good news within this article is that native advertising doesn’t have to be deceptive, nor does it require your business buy editorial content from CNN. Nowadays we have unlimited reach and marketing potential right at our finger tips, the tool of choice here being Instagram.
Instagram is currently the fastest growing Social Media platform in the United States, with a user base that increased by nearly 60% in 2014. The go-to strategy with online marketing has always been to get it while it’s good. Here’s why Instagram is currently one of the most powerful marketing tools on the planet, completely free of charge.
 
Visibility
Algorithms are basically a fancy word for saying “we filter everything how we see fit.” Naturally, algorithms are put in place to level the playing field based on valuable and quality content, but it doesn’t always seem that way.
For instance, anything that ...

web hosting

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The post The Power Of Native Advertising With Instagram appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Native Advertising With Instagram
The term ‘native advertising’ has been criticized in some ways as unethical, due to the disguise in which businesses and corporations present their products. Most recently, Al Jazeera America highlighted a questionable innovation by CNN, under which they’ll be broadcasting corporate propaganda disguised as news, a move that looks very bad for the integrity of journalism.

However, the good news within this article is that native advertising doesn’t have to be deceptive, nor does it require your business buy editorial content from CNN. Nowadays we have unlimited reach and marketing potential right at our finger tips, the tool of choice here being Instagram.

Instagram is currently the fastest growing Social Media platform in the United States, with a user base that increased by nearly 60% in 2014. The go-to strategy with online marketing has always been to get it while it’s good. Here’s why Instagram is currently one of the most powerful marketing tools on the planet, completely free of charge.

 

Visibility

Algorithms are basically a fancy word for saying “we filter everything how we see fit.” Naturally, algorithms are put in place to level the playing field based on valuable and quality content, but it doesn’t always seem that way.

For instance, anything that gets posted on Facebook is subject to innumerable placement filters that determine how visible your post will be to a given audience. Even if you have 10,000 people who “Like” your business page, as of January 2015 Facebook made adjustments that greatly decreased how many people will see your posts. Yet, they continue to offer “Boosted Posts” where they’ll gladly accept funding for your audience to see your content. Seems a bit ironic doesn’t it?

Instagram on the other hand operates on 100% visibility. If you post something it will be seen chronologically no matter what. This greatly improves how people choose to follow accounts in the first place, and adds up to a much higher ROI for those who put significant effort into what they post.

 

#Keywords

Hashtagging is now a cultural phenomenon by which we base casual references to everyday life. Although you can use them across most platforms (Facebook, Twitter), Instagram has the most useful interface for turning hashtags into prominent keywords that allow anyone in the world to discover your content based on common interests.

  • How Many Can Be Used – Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags per post that will take the photo and place it chronologically with every other post with the same hashtag. This greatly extends the number of people viewing and liking your posts.
  • Where To Put Them – Many people build hash-tags into the description of their post making them visible for everyone to see, which is a great way to create a trending tag. However, many people see hashtagging as cluttered and unattractive to a posts simplicity. By putting all the tags in the first comment, they will eventually be unnoticeable after 5 comments. Part of having a successful native strategy is hiding the hashtags since their primary use for businesses should be to get them in the categories your audience will see them. (See photo below)

hashtags

 

  • What Tags To Use –The more popular a tag is, the more likely people will want to browse it to find interesting posts. Only select hashtags people will find relevant to the post. In addition to using hashtags, you can also tag other Instagram profiles to make connections with those in your network. (See photo above)
  • How To Find Popular Hashtags – While there are many websites that keep updated tallies on which hashtags are trending, or the most popular, Instagram also allows you to browse hashtags directly in their interface. (See photo below)

popular hashtags

 

Creating Native Content

The whole point behind native advertising is to create content that doesn’t stick out to your followers as something being sold to them. We’re over commercials, our heads are full, and social media is supposed to be where we look for interesting media.

  • Post Beautiful Images- Instagram is built to scroll, and photos that don’t catch your eye will be passed right over.
  • Create Mini Videos- Instagram allows 15 second videos or less. Create one that shows your product or service in action to instill curiosity in your followers
  • Create A Call-to-Action- By asking your followers to post pictures using your product, or by referencing your company, you’ll attract followers based on social correlations.
  • Be An Awesome Company, and Show It- Part of why so many large companies have millions of followers is they advocate for environmental stewardship, express their values in their posts, and share their customers photos that show their brand in action. REI is an excellent example of a company meeting those standards, see below.

rei

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Top Productivity Apps For Small Business Owners http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/06/top-productivity-apps-for-small-business-owners/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/06/top-productivity-apps-for-small-business-owners/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 12:55:07 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9944 The post Top Productivity Apps For Small Business Owners appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

As a small business owner you’re going to have a ton of tasks to manage and keep track of every single day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and this is where the power of apps can come in. By managing your workflow and reducing the time spent doing aimless things you’ll be better able to advance your business.
In this post we’re going to cover the top productivity apps for small business owners, and how they can be used to transform your business. Most of the apps below will work across any smartphone or tablet-like device.
 
Asana
Asana is shared task-management software that helps you track every moving piece of large-scale projects. When working on projects with multiple people it’s easy for emails, conversations and ideas to get lost in the shuffle.
Asana makes sure every piece is accounted for, and you can track the progress of each project. You can set due dates and assign tasks to specific team members as well.
 
Dropbox
Dropbox is an extremely popular could storage app. It allows you to store backups of your website, copies of documents and anything you need really. It makes it easy to share documents with multiple team members, and syncs easily across multiple devices.
Whether ...

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The post Top Productivity Apps For Small Business Owners appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

top productivity apps

As a small business owner you’re going to have a ton of tasks to manage and keep track of every single day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and this is where the power of apps can come in. By managing your workflow and reducing the time spent doing aimless things you’ll be better able to advance your business.

In this post we’re going to cover the top productivity apps for small business owners, and how they can be used to transform your business. Most of the apps below will work across any smartphone or tablet-like device.

 
Asana

Asana is shared task-management software that helps you track every moving piece of large-scale projects. When working on projects with multiple people it’s easy for emails, conversations and ideas to get lost in the shuffle.

Asana makes sure every piece is accounted for, and you can track the progress of each project. You can set due dates and assign tasks to specific team members as well.

 
Dropbox

Dropbox is an extremely popular could storage app. It allows you to store backups of your website, copies of documents and anything you need really. It makes it easy to share documents with multiple team members, and syncs easily across multiple devices.

Whether you’re collaborating with multiple team members, or looking for a place to backup your files Dropbox will be able to help.

 
DocuSign

If you need to sign digital documents, then DocuSign makes it easy. All it takes is a number of clicks and you’ll be able to sign a document and forward it on to the right party.

If you’re constantly on the go, then you can sign documents from whatever device you’re opening the document on.

 
Evernote

Evernote is a very useful note taking app that sync seamlessly across all of your devices. It makes it easy to manage to-do lists, take random notes and have a place to store random digital media items.

There is also a paid version of the app, which gives you a greater suite of tools, including more admin features, a higher storage capacity, and the ability to easily collaborate with other app users.

 
Doodle

Doodle is a great scheduling tool, which will help you keep track of your schedule across multiple platforms. If you already use Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo calendars, then this app will help you keep track of your meetings and appointments across all three.

 
CloudOn

If your business relies on working within the suite of Microsoft Word tools, then CloudOn makes it easy to edit these files when you’re on the go. If you need to make quick edits to a PowerPoint presentation, but only have your iPad, then this app has you covered.

 
Managing your time as a small business owner doesn’t have to be stressful. Any of the apps above will help you to manage your to-do lists, collaborate with team members, and keep track of the day-to-day. Take control of your time and take control of your business with a suite of helpful apps.

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Why You Should Regularly Backup Your WordPress Site http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/04/why-you-should-regularly-backup-your-wordpress-site/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/08/04/why-you-should-regularly-backup-your-wordpress-site/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 16:54:07 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9936 The post Why You Should Regularly Backup Your WordPress Site appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Editor’s Note: the information in this post, while incredibly valuable, is simply non-applicable to those who use owr

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The post Why You Should Regularly Backup Your WordPress Site appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Why You Should Regularly Backup Your WordPress Site

Editor’s Note: the information in this post, while incredibly valuable, is simply non-applicable to those who use owr Optimized WordPress Hosting, as HostGator manages all aspects of backups and security. Having said that, please enjoy the information contained herein, and do apply the same logic to non-WordPress sites as well:”
 

WordPress is the most popular content management system on the planet. And for good reason. It’s easy to use, and offers an incredible wealth of functionality through plugins.

Let’s consider just one aspect of managing a site: performing backups. There are many reliable, easy-to-use plugins available for backing up a WordPress site. That’s why you regularly backup your business WordPress site.

Right?

 

No? You’re Not Alone…

A recent survey revealed that nearly half of WordPress users do not perform regular backups.

So if you don’t frequently backup your WordPress site, you’ve got lots of company. Perhaps that will offer you some measure of consolation. After all, according to the old saying, misery loves company.

And if you continue to be lax about backing up your site, it’s quite possible that you will end up miserable – but with lots of company.

That’s because bad things can happen to any website – even WordPress-powered sites.

 

Updates, Break-Ins and Blunders

According to a Small Business Trends report, regularly backing up your WordPress site may save you from one (or more) of three common occurrences that regularly vex website owners:

  1. Update Problems: Like any other well-maintained piece of software, WordPress code is frequently updated. That means that your WordPress site should be frequently updated. But with each update, there’s a risk – a possibility that one of the plugins you use won’t be in sync with the code update. And that can cause major problems, up to and including the complete failure of your website.

If that happens, it’s really not a major problem. You identify the problem plugin, replace or update it, and restore your site with the most recent backup.

You say your backup is months old? Or you don’t even have a backup? Umm, OK…now you have a major problem on your hands. And lots of miserable company.

  1. Attacks and Hacks: Your site is under constant threat of a cyber attack. In fact, the cyber security company Symantec recently reported that nearly a third of all cyber attacks target small businesses. There’s much you can do to defend your site against cyber criminals. But alas, there’s no way to assure that your site is absolutely invulnerable.

So if the worst happens and your site does get hacked, having a very recent backup will go far towards minimizing the downtime – and the pain.

  1. Oopsies: Accidental file deletions happen with great regularity. In fact, there are really only two types of people: those who have accidentally deleted files, and those that will. So if an accidental deletion hasn’t yet occurred at your business, it will. It’s only a matter of time.

And when it happens, it’s not a big deal. Not if you have a recent backup. But if you don’t have a backup? Well, you have our sympathies.

 

 

So How Frequently Should You Perform Backups?

For most businesses, daily backups are best. Particularly active businesses may even wish to perform backups multiple times per day. But certainly no business should go more than a week without performing a backup.

Backups, after all, are easy. They can be automated to occur seamlessly and behind the scenes. There are lots of options for WordPress users, ranging from free plugins to paid third-party services.

And cloud-based backup options can even protect your business data from calamities such as natural disasters and fires.

 

Just Do It…

As the old Nike commercial recommends, when it comes to backing up your WordPress site – just do it. Choose your preferred backup method, and just do it. And do it frequently.

After all, misery may indeed love company. But your company doesn’t love misery, does it?

 

*****

Chris Delker is a freelance copywriter based in Dallas, Texas.

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Small Business Tips For Improving Customer Loyalty http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/30/small-business-tips-for-improving-customer-loyalty/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/30/small-business-tips-for-improving-customer-loyalty/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:43:35 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9932 The post Small Business Tips For Improving Customer Loyalty appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Living in a city built around a tourism based economy has shown me the businesses who survive aren’t those with the best marketing strategy, but those who have managed to retain loyal customers, both local and returning visitors, throughout every season of the year.
The feeling a customer gets coming back to the business often means more than the quality of the service being offered. For instance, one of the most popular coffee shops in my town thrives due largely in part to offering a location in which people want to be seen. As a self-proclaimed coffee critique I can tell you the difference in product would not be enough to create this much separation in popularity. The trick is in the x-factor, in this case providing a hub in which people can see friends, come to get work done, and really gain a secondary experience through visiting the business altogether.
However, earning the adoration of customers is easier said than done. Like any metric in business it involves a variety of factors, a lot of which boil down to good customer service and unique products of high quality. Small businesses are making a come back, and if yours is to contend ...

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The post Small Business Tips For Improving Customer Loyalty appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Small Business Tips For Improving Customer Loyalty

Living in a city built around a tourism based economy has shown me the businesses who survive aren’t those with the best marketing strategy, but those who have managed to retain loyal customers, both local and returning visitors, throughout every season of the year.

The feeling a customer gets coming back to the business often means more than the quality of the service being offered. For instance, one of the most popular coffee shops in my town thrives due largely in part to offering a location in which people want to be seen. As a self-proclaimed coffee critique I can tell you the difference in product would not be enough to create this much separation in popularity. The trick is in the x-factor, in this case providing a hub in which people can see friends, come to get work done, and really gain a secondary experience through visiting the business altogether.

However, earning the adoration of customers is easier said than done. Like any metric in business it involves a variety of factors, a lot of which boil down to good customer service and unique products of high quality. Small businesses are making a come back, and if yours is to contend in the realm of people defining themselves through brands and products it’s important to start gaining customer loyalty right now.

Here are some great tips to get you started.

 

Focus On Your Most Valuable Customers

Value can be a subjective term, but in this regard a valuable customer should be measured strictly on what they offer your business financially. Think of those who have recurrent faces first, the ones that are consistently coming back to your business and providing regular revenue. I like to think of these customers as ‘buffers’ because in times when business is slow they provide the difference between a strong month or just barely making it.

Financial value may be variant depending on what you’re selling, also. A coffee house may have valued customers based on them appearing most mornings for a cheap cup of coffee; a painting business on the other hand may have a most valued customer just by getting a couple gigs a year. In either circumstance both add up to lifetime value and your energy and attention needs to cater to those already serving your success.

Taking the time to show appreciation and remembrance for their regular support also turns into referrals as word of mouth, which is the most valuable form of marketing.

 

Invest In Your Customers Loyalty

While this is an old trick, providing reward incentives has proven to be one of the most effective ways to bring customers back in times when they have options for products. Large companies like Safeway have advanced rewards programs by offering discounts on gasoline when you spend money in their grocery outlets.

Many unit based businesses will offer frequent shopper cards, on which you’ll receive a free product after so many purchases. I know when I’m hungry I’ll tend to see if I have any punch cards in my wallet knowing my purchase will be even more valuable later.

 

Listen To Their Feedback and Actually Make Changes

This one can be tricky depending on how you’re choosing to receive feedback. Less than 5% of customers will respond to surveys when sent out via email, or posted on Social Media. Rather, take the time to scour sites on the Internet where reviews have already been posted, and take action to improve areas that seem to have recurring complaints or suggestions. Not every gripe has to do with the integrity of your business, but more often than not there’s areas of your regular operation that go unnoticed to staff and employees.

What I like to call a two-for-one is putting a survey on the receipt and offering a small discount on the customers next purchase just for returning the survey. Let the customer know you want to hear from them personally and that their return is extremely valuable, because it is!

 

Meaningful Customer Service

Do you ever feel like certain customer service requirements are a little overboard? Perhaps less genuine even?

Part of gaining a customers loyalty is making them feel a sense of personal connection to your business and that their time spent there is with recognition. Many small businesses put emphasis on employees learning their frequent customer’s names, along with encouraging conversations that contain more depth than just asking how their day is going. Humans crave attention, even if that’s coming from someone who only knows them in one environment.

As your business becomes more well known, try employing these tactics to ensure your product or service means more than just business as usual. Working to gain your customers loyalty will add up to more than just dollar signs for you, it will make your business meaningful to the lives of others which is a great feeling.

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How To Use Landing Pages To Increase Your Website’s Conversions http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/28/how-to-use-landing-pages-to-increase-your-websites-conversions/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/28/how-to-use-landing-pages-to-increase-your-websites-conversions/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:51:11 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9926 The post How To Use Landing Pages To Increase Your Website’s Conversions appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Creating a landing page that works is easy, but creating a landing page that converts is going to take a little bit more work.
In this post we’re going to examine what a landing page actually is, and how to build one that speaks to your customers and converts.
 
What Is A Landing Page?
A landing page is a page that your users are going to land on from some traffic source across the internet. This could either be from a social media post, a guest blog, or an ad.
Landing pages are specialized pages that are designed to get your users to take action. Most unnecessary elements are cut out and the focus is appealing to the user so they’ll act on your call-to-action.
Landing pages will help to educate your customers and turn them from window-shoppers to potentially paying customers.
 
Building A High Converting Landing Page
Creating a landing page is simple. Most website templates have the ability to select a ‘landing page’ layout which will create a very simple page for you.
The layout is easy; the real work comes from the copy, the media, and any other page elements.
 
1. Enticing Headline
Right from the get go, you need to capture the essence ...

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The post How To Use Landing Pages To Increase Your Website’s Conversions appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

landing pages

Creating a landing page that works is easy, but creating a landing page that converts is going to take a little bit more work.

In this post we’re going to examine what a landing page actually is, and how to build one that speaks to your customers and converts.

 

What Is A Landing Page?

A landing page is a page that your users are going to land on from some traffic source across the internet. This could either be from a social media post, a guest blog, or an ad.
Landing pages are specialized pages that are designed to get your users to take action. Most unnecessary elements are cut out and the focus is appealing to the user so they’ll act on your call-to-action.

Landing pages will help to educate your customers and turn them from window-shoppers to potentially paying customers.

 

Building A High Converting Landing Page

Creating a landing page is simple. Most website templates have the ability to select a ‘landing page’ layout which will create a very simple page for you.

The layout is easy; the real work comes from the copy, the media, and any other page elements.

 
1. Enticing Headline
Right from the get go, you need to capture the essence of your landing page with a headline that gets users to keep on reading. Your headline needs to sum up what your page is about, as well as create some emotional tension so the visitor will continue to read to the bottom of the page.

 
2. Create A Sense Of Urgency
You can create landing page urgency through a variety of methods. One way is by having a countdown timer, or having your offer expire after a set amount of time. Another method is to limited your downloads or sign-ups to a certain number.

This sense of urgency will encourage the user to act quickly.

 
3. Build Trust Through Credibility
You can showcase your credibility in many ways. One of the most common is through showcasing testimonials from past clients and customers. Another common means is to highlight endorsements from other business-owners in your niche.

You can even highlight your credibility by displaying your number of social media followers, or subscribers if the number is high enough.

 
4. Inspiring Call-to-Action
If people make it to the bottom of your website then you need a call-to-action that inspires them to take action. Most calls-to-action are displayed as buttons, so you’ll want this button to stand out, and be clear and action-oriented.

Also, make sure your call-to-action only has a singular course of action.

 
5. Test And Refine
The first time you build your landing page you’re going to be guessing based upon past interactions with clients, and your own intuition. By tracking and testing small variables on your landing page you’ll start to build a higher-converting landing page over time.

When you’re testing make sure to only isolate and test a single element at time. It may take longer this way, but it’s the only way to ensure you know what is and isn’t working.

Over time, with the data you collect it will be much easier to design a high-converting landing page the first go-around.

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3 Ways To Acquire Funding For Your Next Business Idea http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/23/3-ways-to-acquire-funding-for-your-next-business-idea/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/23/3-ways-to-acquire-funding-for-your-next-business-idea/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:10:09 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9916 The post 3 Ways To Acquire Funding For Your Next Business Idea appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Starting a business based on an idea that you think could improve the lives of others is a very exciting, yet difficult, task to embark on. With several hundred million companies already built by enthusiastic people such as yourself, the question of whether my idea is good enough is definitely a burning one.
All questions aside, there is still the need to decide upon the business strategy, and more importantly — how the new business is going to be funded. Will you have to sell your car? Get a mortgage loan? Invest all your life’s savings? None of these would be a first for many other people, but thanks to the rapid growth of industries such as startups, small business, and crowdfunding — there’s now an opportunity for anyone to become a business owner, given that their ideas is good, and could potentially stick.
It certainly can save you from a potential disaster, and there are several other advantages of reaching out to other establishments for an investment plan that could get your idea off from the paper and out in the real world.
 
1. Bootstrapping
This is a classic technique for raising money for a new business idea, and is considered one of ...

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The post 3 Ways To Acquire Funding For Your Next Business Idea appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

3 Ways to Acquire Funding for Your Next Business Idea

Starting a business based on an idea that you think could improve the lives of others is a very exciting, yet difficult, task to embark on. With several hundred million companies already built by enthusiastic people such as yourself, the question of whether my idea is good enough is definitely a burning one.

All questions aside, there is still the need to decide upon the business strategy, and more importantly — how the new business is going to be funded. Will you have to sell your car? Get a mortgage loan? Invest all your life’s savings? None of these would be a first for many other people, but thanks to the rapid growth of industries such as startups, small business, and crowdfunding — there’s now an opportunity for anyone to become a business owner, given that their ideas is good, and could potentially stick.

It certainly can save you from a potential disaster, and there are several other advantages of reaching out to other establishments for an investment plan that could get your idea off from the paper and out in the real world.

 

1. Bootstrapping

This is a classic technique for raising money for a new business idea, and is considered one of the safest ones. The way bootstrapping works is that you mostly do all of the work yourself, so this is the one way of acquriing funding where you actually have to put your skills and knowledge to work for you. Some of these may include:

  • Writing technical content for sites that resonate with your idea.
  • Using your design skills to freelance, help out other businesses.
  • Establishing an early online merchandise store to sell items like shirts, stickers, etc,.
  • Getting heavily involved in social media around the networks that resonate with your idea.

It’s all the basic stuff, it certainly is going to be a lot tougher, but in the end you call feel good about yourself — knowing that all the funding was acquiring thanks to your own set of skills, and you don’t have to answer to anyone about losing some here and there.

We recommend that you check out Jon Yongfook’s story of bootstrapping his startup, and how he was able to do it. Getting the initial funds is only half the battle, not paying yourself for several months is something completely different. Jon explains that in his report beautifully.

 

2. Crowdfunding

The second best way of getting that initial funding is by launching your business through a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe, or Indiegogo. A crowdfunding platform takes away all of the strain of having to raise money through your own skillset, and instead you can focus on promotional and marketing campaigns to make sure that your project does get funded in the end. The biggest advantage here is that you also build a community around the business you’re trying to launch, giving you the initial customers without having to do much else — and we have seen some great success stories with this type of funding before.

Kickstarter constantly update their data and the amount of completed projects would scare most banks. They are upfront about their fee, it is 5 percent if you are successful.There are many other crowd funding options now that Kickstarter have blazed a trail. They include crowdcube and Seedrs. Transparency and building a community are the main benefits the negatives are that you might have a large number of investors. — Elaine Thompson

 

3. Angel Investors

These are the guys who have several decades (most often) of experience in a particular field, they’ve made their money from creating their own businesses in the past, and have moved on to helping others to do the same by funding their projects. Ideally, you want to reach out to an Angel Investor once you’ve exhausted all your personal resources, such as friends, relatives and other connections.

Getting funding from angel investors isn’t easy, but it can be done if you take the right approach and are a good match with their interests. And the benefits can beyond the money for your business, but their expertise in both in business operations and your industry niche. — WSJ

However, no Angel Investor is going to write you a check just because you ask. You have to come prepared, and by prepared we mean full market research, a strategic business plan, and already established progress on trying to get the business off the ground. And because an Angel Investor is giving you his own money from his own pocket — expect this process to take several weeks, up to several months to get a clearance for the check; nobody wants to invest in something that won’t turn profit at some point of its development.

 

What else?

Other than what we have looked at already, there are government grants, banking loans, even startup incubators — which are usually aimed at people who are really up to par with the latest development in their industry, and are willing to invest the next few years of their life in building an idea. Entrepreneur magazine has a special sub-section of their site where they talk all about raising funds, and we highly recommend to indulge in that content as it will be invaluable to getting your idea funded.

 

*****

Alex Ivanovs is an online entrepreneur who has been writing about technology, business and developer topics for over a decade. He currently manages CodeCondo — an aspiring community for designers and developers.

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The One Thing You Should Do to Get More Out of Your Email List http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/22/the-one-thing-you-should-do-to-get-more-out-of-your-email-list/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/22/the-one-thing-you-should-do-to-get-more-out-of-your-email-list/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 06:30:30 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9815 The post The One Thing You Should Do to Get More Out of Your Email List appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Let’s start off with a tough reality — most business owners aren’t getting as much as they could be from their email list.
It’s not that they’re not working hard or seeing good results. In fact, for many, email is already their biggest driver of new and repeat business.
But there’s one thing that many small businesses aren’t doing that could help take things to the next level.
Luckily, adding that one thing to your email marketing strategy is a lot easier than you might think.
It starts with understanding a term you may have heard before — segmentation.
Segmentation is the process of organizing your contacts into different groups, so you can target them with content or offers that are relevant to their needs or interests.
Rather than sending the same message to your entire list and hoping the right people see it, segmentation makes it easy to create emails that you know specific groups of contacts will be interested in — improving the chances of them opening, clicking, and acting on the content and offers you send out.
 
Why Is Segmentation Important?
One of the biggest reasons people ignore emails or unsubscribe from email lists is because the content they receive isn’t relevant to them.
While you ...

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The post The One Thing You Should Do to Get More Out of Your Email List appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

How to Get More from Your Email List

Let’s start off with a tough reality — most business owners aren’t getting as much as they could be from their email list.

It’s not that they’re not working hard or seeing good results. In fact, for many, email is already their biggest driver of new and repeat business.

But there’s one thing that many small businesses aren’t doing that could help take things to the next level.

Luckily, adding that one thing to your email marketing strategy is a lot easier than you might think.

It starts with understanding a term you may have heard before — segmentation.

Segmentation is the process of organizing your contacts into different groups, so you can target them with content or offers that are relevant to their needs or interests.

Rather than sending the same message to your entire list and hoping the right people see it, segmentation makes it easy to create emails that you know specific groups of contacts will be interested in — improving the chances of them opening, clicking, and acting on the content and offers you send out.

 

Why Is Segmentation Important?

One of the biggest reasons people ignore emails or unsubscribe from email lists is because the content they receive isn’t relevant to them.

While you may have people who read and act on every email you send out, if you’re not taking the appropriate steps to segment your audience, it’s likely that you already have potential customers or donors who are tuning you out.

Plenty of small businesses and organizations are already using segmentations and have seen some impressive results. See for yourself.

 
If you’ve never segmented your list — one of the questions you may be asking is “how can I get started?”

 
Using an email marketing provider like Constant Contact makes it super easy to segment your contacts.

You can create separate lists for different groups of contacts, or use a feature called Tags that makes organizing your master list a lot easier.

But before you can start organizing contacts into different groups, you’re going to need some information to work with.

If you’re like a lot of businesses, the amount of information you have available may be limited to name and email address.

But there are also details like: job title, company, address, birthday, interests, and purchase history, which could be used to your advantage.

How can you find the information you need? Here are a few quick ideas:

  • Use what you know: Even if you don’t have a ton of information about your contacts, you should be able to quickly scan your list and recognize a handful of names. You can add a tag for VIPs, or create a separate list and send them exclusive offers to reward them for their loyalty.
  • Update your sign-up process: While you may only want to require people to give their name and email address, you can also add optional fields like address or company name.
  • Use a survey: An online surveyis a quick and efficient way to collect information from your email contacts. You can provide multiple choice questions to help gauge people’s interest around a particular product or service, and can also provide open-ended questions for people to fill out their own information.
  • Host an event: Collect information when interacting with attendees face-to-face, and also use an online registration toolto collect important details before the event.
  • Use your reports: Use your email reports to see which contacts are opening your emails each month, and export a list of people who have clicked on a particular link. This is a great way to identify your most active readers, and can also be used to learn more about the content or products your audience is most interested in.

 
With the right information, you’ll be ready to start segmenting your list!

Take some time to think about the different groups of contacts you have on your list.

Consider things like:

  • Location: Do you have groups of contacts that live locally and others that visit from out of state?
  • Customer Status: A lot of the people on your list will be customers, but you may also have a sizeable audience of potential or new customers, as well.
  • Interests: Use your click-through data to create interest-based lists.
  • Questions/Needs: Use survey data or questions you’ve received in-person to group contacts, and follow up with more information.
  • Length of time on your list: Creating a separate list for new contacts, and sending them a few introductory messages, is a great way to engage people right from the start.

 
There are plenty of ways you can use segmentation to get more from your list.

Remember that growing an effective email list isn’t just about adding names and email addresses to your database.

These are people who have opted-in to receive updates from your business. It’s your responsibility to offer an experience that meets their needs and inspires them to take action.

Get started today! Constant Contact has the tools you need to manage your growing contact list.

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