HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing http://www.hostgator.com/blog The Official HostGator Company Blog Fri, 24 Apr 2015 19:10:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Time Management For Entrepreneurs http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/23/time-management-for-entrepreneurs/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/23/time-management-for-entrepreneurs/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:26:34 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9564 The post Time Management For Entrepreneurs appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

As an entrepreneur your time is sacred. You may marvel at those who seem to accomplish marvelous feats in the same 24 hours each day with which you both have to work. You might even start to believe that by some miracle they’ve been given an extra hour or two a day. There is no secret, it just requires taking an active approach to managing your time and seeing what needs to be changed.
In this post we’re going to explore a simple process that will help you get more from your time, so you can do more every single day.
 
1. Understand How You Spend Your Time
One of the most important elements of managing your time is understanding how your spend your time. Your time seems to either expand or contact based upon how you spend it, and chances are you waste a lot of your time with aimless activities you aren’t aware that you’re doing.
For a week bring around a notebook, or piece of paper and record how you spent the last hour of your time. Over a week this will help to give you a realistic picture of how your time is spent.
 
2. Know The Most Important Activities ...

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The post Time Management For Entrepreneurs appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Time Management For Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur your time is sacred. You may marvel at those who seem to accomplish marvelous feats in the same 24 hours each day with which you both have to work. You might even start to believe that by some miracle they’ve been given an extra hour or two a day. There is no secret, it just requires taking an active approach to managing your time and seeing what needs to be changed.

In this post we’re going to explore a simple process that will help you get more from your time, so you can do more every single day.

 

1. Understand How You Spend Your Time
One of the most important elements of managing your time is understanding how your spend your time. Your time seems to either expand or contact based upon how you spend it, and chances are you waste a lot of your time with aimless activities you aren’t aware that you’re doing.

For a week bring around a notebook, or piece of paper and record how you spent the last hour of your time. Over a week this will help to give you a realistic picture of how your time is spent.

 

2. Know The Most Important Activities For Your Business
Once you have an understanding of how you’ve been spending or wasting your time you need to be equipped with an understanding of what activities are important for your business. There’s an old adage that essentially states 20 percent of your activities will be responsible for 80 percent of your results.

It’s your job to uncover what these 20 percent activities are. Here’s a hint, usually they’re the ones you avoid the most. They’re the ones you could put off all day if you had to. Look where you have the most resistance and you’ll very often find the important activities.

 

3. Let Your Schedule Be Your Friend
Your schedule and your to-do lists will now become your best friend. Your schedule will be your holy grail of how you’re spending your time. If you’re not used to using a schedule, then your time estimates for certain activities might be off. But, never let anything cross your mind without scheduling it, or adding it to your to-do list.

To-do lists are effective in that they help clear your mind of precious mental space. This helps you to focus when you’re actually immersed in an activity, instead of trying to remember that thing you forgot to do.

Another way to schedule is to schedule based on certain activities and actions, instead of hours on a clock. This can be helpful if your work is more creatively based, or artistic and less dependent on the clock.

 

4. Focus Will Extend The Time You Have To Work With
As I’m sure you’re aware time seems to pass at different speeds depending on where we’re at and what we’re doing. If we’re waiting in line time seems to drag on forever, but if we’re focused and immersed in what we’re doing then time seems to stretch out a little.

The key to having this occur more often than not is mastering your ability to focus. This means you’ll need to take extra care in cutting out any distractions, and making sure you have everything you need for the task at hand. This means no more multitasking.

When you distract yourself from the task at hand you actually end up losing time, as it takes longer for your mind to get back to the task you were just doing.

 

5. Take Care Of Yourself
Lastly, you need to make sure you’re in peak condition. If your mind and body are healthy it’s going to be much easier to focus. You know what works for you, but make sure you’re exercising regularly and giving yourself time to unwind.

When you’re healthy and stress-free your mind works more efficiently, so you’ll be using less time for the same tasks. As the master of your time you’re going to be much more efficient getting things done if you actually feel good.

Managing your time properly doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, once you stick with it for a little bit, it’ll become second nature. What are your best tips for maximizing your time? Let us know in the comments!

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How To Create Engaging Content For Your Small Business http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/21/how-to-create-engaging-content-for-your-small-business/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/21/how-to-create-engaging-content-for-your-small-business/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 15:07:08 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9531 The post How To Create Engaging Content For Your Small Business appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

As a small business owner you might already know about the importance of creating content for your online strategy. You may have tried to blog for a while, or post via social media and saw little to no growth in traffic. There are a variety of reasons this could have occurred, but one of the biggest problems business owners face is having little to no engagement with their content.
Creating engaging content is an art in and of itself. I hope that in this post I can illuminate some of the finer points for you to implement today. Engaging content begins with understanding your customer and creating content that excites, educates, and encourages them to come back for more.
 
Don’t Think Viral For The Sake Of Going Viral
Going viral has its benefits, but a lot of business owners think that going viral will solve all of their traffic problems for the rest of their lives. Sadly, writing an article about the top 50 cat GIFs won’t bring the right kind of traffic to your website.
Instead of thinking about massive traffic numbers you’ll want to think about relevant traffic numbers. This means that creating a unique and fresh piece of content for the ...

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The post How To Create Engaging Content For Your Small Business appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

How To Create Engaging Content For Your Small Business

As a small business owner you might already know about the importance of creating content for your online strategy. You may have tried to blog for a while, or post via social media and saw little to no growth in traffic. There are a variety of reasons this could have occurred, but one of the biggest problems business owners face is having little to no engagement with their content.

Creating engaging content is an art in and of itself. I hope that in this post I can illuminate some of the finer points for you to implement today. Engaging content begins with understanding your customer and creating content that excites, educates, and encourages them to come back for more.

 

Don’t Think Viral For The Sake Of Going Viral

Going viral has its benefits, but a lot of business owners think that going viral will solve all of their traffic problems for the rest of their lives. Sadly, writing an article about the top 50 cat GIFs won’t bring the right kind of traffic to your website.

Instead of thinking about massive traffic numbers you’ll want to think about relevant traffic numbers. This means that creating a unique and fresh piece of content for the right group of people has much more value than a random piece of content that gets shared around the web.

1. Go Beyond The Boundaries
When you think about your business see if you can think about its content strategy the same way a publisher would. Spend some time examining the content that surrounds your niche and see if you can create content on similar topics.

Of course, you don’t want to copy word for word, or just re-hash what everyone else has to say, but if you can put a unique spin or offer a unique take on the same topics you’ll start to set yourself apart.

When people see you as the person in your niche who’s not afraid to be honest, or take a slightly separate viewpoint you’ll start to stand out and actually craft engaging content.

2. Think Inside Your Customer’s Head
Instead of thinking from inside your business, or your own mind it’s time to think as if you were your customer. Identify certain types of content that they would love to share, read, and comment on.

This might cause you to come up with topics that are a little different, but at least they’re topics your ideal customer is going to be interested in. After all, the more you can cater to your customer’s needs the more you’re going to build trust and the more likely they’re going to help spread your message.

3. Try Something Crazy
Have you ever had a weird idea for your content, but were too afraid to run with it? I know it’s happened on multiple occasions for me. However, with all of the content being created and shared every single day, something a little strange might actually stand out.

See if you can relate it back to your business. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and be unique, after all this is what attracts people in the first place. Too much of the content online is simply a regurgitation of what someone else said. Being different works.

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Infographic: Small Business Attitudes On Taxes http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/14/infographic-small-business-attitudes-on-taxes/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/14/infographic-small-business-attitudes-on-taxes/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 18:19:43 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9522 The post Infographic: Small Business Attitudes On Taxes appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

HostGator’s parent company, The Endurance International Group, recently surveyed over 800 small businesses and found that a vast majority are in favor of tax reform. The infographic below contains the results of this survey, some of which are quite interesting. To read the entire related press release, please click here:

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The post Infographic: Small Business Attitudes On Taxes appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

HostGator’s parent company, The Endurance International Group, recently surveyed over 800 small businesses and found that a vast majority are in favor of tax reform. The infographic below contains the results of this survey, some of which are quite interesting. To read the entire related press release, please click here:

2015 Small Business and Taxes

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Are Distributors Employees Or Customers? http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/09/are-distributors-employees-or-customers/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/09/are-distributors-employees-or-customers/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 16:37:04 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9513 The post Are Distributors Employees Or Customers? appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Distributors are the companies or individuals that you use in order to get your inventory to your clients. They are designed specifically around the logistics of getting your materials to the people who have ordered your products or services. Your suppliers may even be distributors for other companies. These people and companies have a responsibility to you to make sure that your customers get what they have ordered within the agreed upon time frame. The question becomes how exactly should you treat these companies and individuals.
 
Employees Or Customers
Distributors may seem like they are your employees, in a sense, as you are paying them to provide a service for your company. On the other hand, your distributors, like your customers, have their own lists of demands. These demands must be met in order for these distributors to do anything for you.
If you are a small business, your distributor may simply be the post office, yet even the post office has its own set of demands regarding what and how you must ship certain objects. If you’re shipping lotions, for example, you must declare the lotions and follow specific protocols in order to ensure that they are shipped properly. Any liquid ...

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The post Are Distributors Employees Or Customers? appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

distributors

Distributors are the companies or individuals that you use in order to get your inventory to your clients. They are designed specifically around the logistics of getting your materials to the people who have ordered your products or services. Your suppliers may even be distributors for other companies. These people and companies have a responsibility to you to make sure that your customers get what they have ordered within the agreed upon time frame. The question becomes how exactly should you treat these companies and individuals.

 

Employees Or Customers

Distributors may seem like they are your employees, in a sense, as you are paying them to provide a service for your company. On the other hand, your distributors, like your customers, have their own lists of demands. These demands must be met in order for these distributors to do anything for you.

If you are a small business, your distributor may simply be the post office, yet even the post office has its own set of demands regarding what and how you must ship certain objects. If you’re shipping lotions, for example, you must declare the lotions and follow specific protocols in order to ensure that they are shipped properly. Any liquid must be declared, as must anything flammable. The list goes on and on.

Are they working for you? Yes, they are delivering your goods to your clients. Are they your customers? Yes, they have demands that you must meet. Are you their customer? Yes again, without their services, you would have a difficult time getting your product distributed, and as such you have certain demands that they must meet as well.

 

If The Answer Is Yes To All, How Do I Act?

The answer is of course quite simple. Treat them as you would like to be treated. Explain your situation, explain what you are looking for, and determine if your distributor can meet your expectations. If not, thank them and move on to a different distributor.

The important thing is working to ensure that all needs are met, and the only way to do so is to act like a thinking, rational, and respectful adult. If all the relationships do not work smoothly, they will not work. You wouldn’t yell at your customer for asking something to be shipped next day when you offer next day shipping, nor should you yell at the person or company you are attempting to use to get that done.

Treat all distributors like both customers and employees. If you need something done within X amount of time, state this, like an employer would, but do so respectfully, in the same manner that you would use when you would talk to a customer. In return you will be treated like you want to be treated in a customer capacity. Supplier chains work the best when all aspects of the relationship are addressed and all are taken into account.

 

Image Source: Powered Play. (2014). Distributors. Retrieved from http://poweredplay.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/distributors.jpg

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Does Your Business Really Need A Social Media Presence? http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/07/does-your-business-really-need-a-social-media-presence/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/07/does-your-business-really-need-a-social-media-presence/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:44:01 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9499 The post Does Your Business Really Need A Social Media Presence? appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Social media is one of the most talked about topics in the online world today. Soon we may even have children with social media accounts before they even begin to walk. With all the hoopla around social media and all the social media “experts” telling you which strategy you should employ it can be difficult to make a decision.
After all, social media is a huge investment of time and spending too much time going in the wrong direction can be deadly for your business. In this post we’re going to explore the benefits of social media to see if you even need to be active on social media for your business to succeed.
 
Understanding The Current Social Media Landscape
Social media seems to have transcended the trend status and all signs are suggesting it’s going to be around for good. The real reason social media gets confusing is because there are so many different channels to be on and be effective on.
The ways of communication across each channel differs greatly, and your core group of customers may not even be using the network that you’re trying to build an audience on.
The landscape is very diverse and requires that you pay attention to ...

web hosting

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The post Does Your Business Really Need A Social Media Presence? appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Does Your Business Really NEED A Social Media Presence

Social media is one of the most talked about topics in the online world today. Soon we may even have children with social media accounts before they even begin to walk. With all the hoopla around social media and all the social media “experts” telling you which strategy you should employ it can be difficult to make a decision.

After all, social media is a huge investment of time and spending too much time going in the wrong direction can be deadly for your business. In this post we’re going to explore the benefits of social media to see if you even need to be active on social media for your business to succeed.

 

Understanding The Current Social Media Landscape

Social media seems to have transcended the trend status and all signs are suggesting it’s going to be around for good. The real reason social media gets confusing is because there are so many different channels to be on and be effective on.

The ways of communication across each channel differs greatly, and your core group of customers may not even be using the network that you’re trying to build an audience on.

The landscape is very diverse and requires that you pay attention to the networks you’re using and the reasons you’re using them. If you’re not aware of the time you’re spending chances are you’re going to be wasting it.

However, just because a lot of brands are using social media doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. For starters, if you’re just going to mimic the same strategy that everyone else is, then you’re better off not going on social media in the first place.

Fortune favors the bold and your social media strategy is no different.

 

Some Businesses Don’t Need To Use Social Media

Before we continue it’s important to dive into the reason your business might not need a social media strategy. Think of social media as a means to deliver your message. If it doesn’t align with your customer base, then don’t use it.

For instance, if you run a personal sailing school and most of your students tend to live in the local community you might be better off leaving flyers around town, or hanging out at the local docks. Sometimes offline marketing can be better for your specific business.

Social media is a means of marketing for your business, but if the people you’re marketing to don’t hang out there, then it doesn’t make sense being on social media.

However, for the vast majority of businesses who should be considering moving forward with a strategy there are a few things you should take into account.

 

Constructing An Effective Social Media Strategy

At the heart of any good social media strategy is a good business. If your business doesn’t inspire your customers, or communicate your business in a clear manner, then your social media strategy isn’t going to make your business an overnight success.

Think of social media as an amplifier of your business. So, if you have a captivating business, then executing your social media strategy will be much easier.

1. Maintain Consistency
Think of your business as a friend that you trust. This person is always honest and tries to be as clear as possible, and they do their best to not send you mixed messages.

You want your business to be the same way. When you’re communicating across social media platforms make sure your message and tone stays the same, and make sure you’re always honest and open. That way people are more likely to trust you and be open with you.

2. Speak To Your Market
We alluded to this earlier, but you need to be on the social media platforms where your audience hangs out; that’s the only way to reach them.

On some social media platforms you can be more friendly and down-to-earth, while others are more geared towards business-speak. Make sure you’re in line with the communication standards of the platform, while still being honest with yourself.

3. Be Unique
Face it, no one wants to read a boring post on social media. There’s enough garbage to scroll through most of the time anyways, and you don’t want to continue adding to the noise.

You don’t have to be sensational, but you can be honest and show what makes your business unique from your competitors.

 

Make sure you emphasize these traits and at the end of the day remember, you’re speaking to humans, so act like it.

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Easy to Implement Local SEO Tactics For Small Business Owners http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/02/easy-to-implement-local-seo-tactics-for-small-business-owners/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/04/02/easy-to-implement-local-seo-tactics-for-small-business-owners/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 16:06:26 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9477 The post Easy to Implement Local SEO Tactics For Small Business Owners appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

If you operate a local small business that is dependent on sales from customers in close vicinity, then implementing a local SEO campaign is extremely helpful to your business.
Benefits include:

Increase your local brand awareness
Target highly qualified traffic
Drives more store visits
Less competition than organic SEO

All of these factors lead to an increase in sales and have an impact on your bottom line. Here’s a basic checklist for a successful local SEO campaign.
 
Your Checklist To Local SEO Success
1. Optimize Your Website

Page Title Tags should:

Include your business name, keyword, and your city.
Not have the same title tag on every page.
Not be keyword stuffed.
Not be longer than 60 characters.

Enhance/Update homepage content.
Have separate product and/or service pages.
Add a customized location page. One for each location if you have more than one.

 
2. Implement Schema On Your Website

Add Schema Mark-Up to your website. Schema code helps search engines understand more quickly what your business does and where it does it. For example, make it easy for search engines to understand that you’re a lawyer in Chicago who deals in criminal law. Chances are you’re indexed faster and show up higher in the results.
 
3. Get a Google+ Local Listing & Optimize it

Have you claimed your listing? Great! No ...

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The post Easy to Implement Local SEO Tactics For Small Business Owners appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

If you operate a local small business that is dependent on sales from customers in close vicinity, then implementing a local SEO campaign is extremely helpful to your business.

Benefits include:

  • Increase your local brand awareness
  • Target highly qualified traffic
  • Drives more store visits
  • Less competition than organic SEO

All of these factors lead to an increase in sales and have an impact on your bottom line. Here’s a basic checklist for a successful local SEO campaign.

 

Your Checklist To Local SEO Success

1. Optimize Your Website
Optimized Local Landing Page

  • Page Title Tags should:
    • Include your business name, keyword, and your city.
    • Not have the same title tag on every page.
    • Not be keyword stuffed.
    • Not be longer than 60 characters.
  • Enhance/Update homepage content.
  • Have separate product and/or service pages.
  • Add a customized location page. One for each location if you have more than one.

 
2. Implement Schema On Your Website
Schema Mark-Up Example

Add Schema Mark-Up to your website. Schema code helps search engines understand more quickly what your business does and where it does it. For example, make it easy for search engines to understand that you’re a lawyer in Chicago who deals in criminal law. Chances are you’re indexed faster and show up higher in the results.

 
3. Get a Google+ Local Listing & Optimize it
Google Local Listing Example

Have you claimed your listing? Great! No listing = No local ranking results in Google so go get listed now. An optimized Google+ local page entices potential clients and stands out against competitors.

Here are some best practices to follow for your Google+ listing:

Business Name – Add your official ‘doing business as’ (DBA) name.
Address – Format with U.S.P.S. guidelines.
Contact Info – Primary phone number should be your main landline.
Description – Create a unique and easy to read description of your business.
Photos – Add a profile photo, cover photo, and a few unique images of your business.

 
4. Get Local Business Listings (Citations)
Top 50 US Citations

Business directories (citations) are essential to your local SEO success. Make sure your NAP – Business Name, Address, and Phone Number – are consistent on all your listings. Search for citations in your industry and city, for instance join your local chamber of commerce.

Incorrect citations have a negative impact on your ability to rank locally. Search for any old/outdated citations, duplicates, or incorrect business listings that require updates or removal.

 
5. Get Reviews!
Get Reviews

Positive online reviews not only help your business establish trust and standout from the competition, but reviews also help you connect with your clients, improve your services and build your reputation. Review sites available to consumers are Google+, Yelp, Facebook, and industry specific sites like UrbanSpoon and Avvo.

Request customer feedback through: follow up emails, after you complete your service, on your receipts and invoices, or through a review management platform, place review site stickers in your store like, Find Us on Yelp, or Like Us on Facebook.

Respond to reviews, both positive and negative reviews. This shows your customers you’re listening and value their feedback.

 
6. Create Local Content
Create Local Content

Create local content that is relevant to your business and the city you live in. For example, talk about local events you’re involved in or review local events. If you are part of a local charity, tell your customers about it, use images, and link to the charity.

There’s endless opportunities when you use creative thinking about the events and businesses in your area of town.

 
7. Find Local Link Opportunities
Local Link Building

Positive local links that point to your website impacts your sites ability to rank well geographically. It may seem challenging at first, but there are many ways to acquire links.

Not sure where to start? Brainstorm and evaluate what you already do as a company, for example:

  • Do you have any local partnerships or business relationships?
  • Are you a member of any business communities?
  • Have you hosted an industry meet-up?

Still stuck in the brainstorming department? Review this guide to local link building.

 

Finishing Up

This checklist is intended to help you successfully implement a local SEO campaign for your business. This is a great starting point for any business owner looking to enhance their current online marketing strategy from a local standpoint.

 

*****

Whitespark is an online marketing company that builds specialized software and provides services to help businesses manage their local search. We constantly develop and grow our business to ensure our clients receive intelligent and viable marketing solutions.

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T-Shirt Giveaway & 60% Off, Today Only! http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/03/31/t-shirt-giveaway-60-off-today-only/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/03/31/t-shirt-giveaway-60-off-today-only/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:29:07 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9471 The post T-Shirt Giveaway & 60% Off, Today Only! appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

.button {
display: block;
margin: 0 auto;
width: 370px;
height: 55px;
font: 700 24px/50px "Trebuchet MS", Arial;
text-align: center;
color: #1f1f1f;
background: url(http://www.hostgator.com/blog/~/tmp/wp-uploads/2015/02/button.png);
}
.button:hover {
background-position: 0 -55px;
}

We’ve decided to do a good, ol’ fashioned t-shirt giveaway! Today only, we will randomly choose a handful of new signups that use the coupon code SWAGGY to receive a free HostGator t-shirt. Not only does each signup have a chance to win a t-shirt, but all uses of the coupon code SWAGGY will receive 60% off the hosting package.
Winners will be chosen at random and emailed a link to the primary email address on their hosting account that can then be used to redeem their free t-shirt.
This offer is valid today only: March 31st, 2015. We will also be choosing some additional winners who share this offer out via their personal networks using the hashtag #SWAGGY …everyone has a chance to win one of these fashionable and comfortable HostGator t-shirts! Good luck!!
 
Sign Up Now!

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The post T-Shirt Giveaway & 60% Off, Today Only! appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

We’ve decided to do a good, ol’ fashioned t-shirt giveaway! Today only, we will randomly choose a handful of new signups that use the coupon code SWAGGY to receive a free HostGator t-shirt. Not only does each signup have a chance to win a t-shirt, but all uses of the coupon code SWAGGY will receive 60% off the hosting package.

Winners will be chosen at random and emailed a link to the primary email address on their hosting account that can then be used to redeem their free t-shirt.

This offer is valid today only: March 31st, 2015. We will also be choosing some additional winners who share this offer out via their personal networks using the hashtag #SWAGGY …everyone has a chance to win one of these fashionable and comfortable HostGator t-shirts! Good luck!!

 

Sign Up Now!

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Determining When To Enact Change http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/03/31/determining-when-to-enact-change/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/03/31/determining-when-to-enact-change/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:10:30 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9454 The post Determining When To Enact Change appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Nothing stays the same forever, and neither should your website. It’s important to constantly work to improve the content and quality of your website, but how do you determine when change is necessary? What changes should you make? These are both valid questions, and while we cannot provide you with all the answers, as some of that will depend on your client base, profit margins, and the like, we can offer you some tips as to when you should start looking to change things up.

 
Updates
This is huge. When you receive a notification that your site or any of the different programs, applications, widgets, templates, etc. that you use has an update available, do it. These updates are typically designed to address vulnerabilities. Your site needs to stay up to date. Make the change. Update your site. Your customers, your tech support, your staff, and your pocketbook will all thank you. It can be disastrous to fail to do this one simple step.
Granted, these changes will likely not bear any visible changes to your site, but they will keep the back-end safe which is just as important.
 
What About The Rest of It?
If you’re blogging, try to update at least two ...

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The post Determining When To Enact Change appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Nothing stays the same forever, and neither should your website. It’s important to constantly work to improve the content and quality of your website, but how do you determine when change is necessary? What changes should you make? These are both valid questions, and while we cannot provide you with all the answers, as some of that will depend on your client base, profit margins, and the like, we can offer you some tips as to when you should start looking to change things up.

 

Updates

This is huge. When you receive a notification that your site or any of the different programs, applications, widgets, templates, etc. that you use has an update available, do it. These updates are typically designed to address vulnerabilities. Your site needs to stay up to date. Make the change. Update your site. Your customers, your tech support, your staff, and your pocketbook will all thank you. It can be disastrous to fail to do this one simple step.

Granted, these changes will likely not bear any visible changes to your site, but they will keep the back-end safe which is just as important.

 

What About The Rest of It?

If you’re blogging, try to update at least two to three times per week. More if you like, but at least weekly updates are ideal. Keep new content coming and you will have repeat readers. If you have an e-commerce site, keep it constantly flowing – add new products or services. Change product descriptions to make them sound catchier if you notice a particular item isn’t selling.

You can even poll your customers regarding changes that they would like to see on your site and then determine how you would like to go from there. Not all the ideas are going to be ones that you will implement, but if half a dozen people tell you that they want the search options updated, there’s a good chance you should get on that. If you have no suggestions, go look at your site from a customer’s point of view. See the site as they would see it, try to see it as if you are seeing it for the first time. See where it looks cumbersome, see what you did well. Try to remove the clunky and the cumbersome and try to work to ensure that what you did well is done well everywhere. If you really like the way one item page looks and flows, try to replicate it on the others.

 

It’s Natural

It’s natural to not want to update your site (the “set it and forget it” mentality), and you don’t have to update everything. If you like your background color or the template you’re using, keep it. If you’re using a black background and neon pink text, you may want to consider changing it to something easier to read, however. The Internet is constantly evolving, and your site should be as well. In working to determine the different things you like about other sites, you may find things you want to change about your own site. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Change is not a bad thing. Keep things fresh and your content up to date and attention grabbing and your website will flourish!

 

Image Source: Jelly Ranger. (2014). Future Self. Retrieved from http://jellyranger.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/futureself.jpg

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Are You Making These 5 Common Website Mistakes? http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/03/24/are-you-making-these-5-common-website-mistakes/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/03/24/are-you-making-these-5-common-website-mistakes/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 18:37:09 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9448 The post Are You Making These 5 Common Website Mistakes? appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

As a website owner you’ll want to do everything in your power to ensure your website is doing as much as it can to convert new visitors into subscribers and potential customers. A lot of websites try to do too much and as a result they end up doing nothing at all. Your website should be elegant, purposeful, and directed towards your core group of users.
It’s easy to make mistakes. We all do. However, some common website mistakes are avoidable, or can be fixed with a little more hard work. In this we’re going to explore the five most common website mistakes a lot of website owners make.
 
1. Lack Of Direction And No Coherent Focus
I’m sure you’ve been to websites in the past that are very confusing and leave you in a frazzled state. On a sad note, most of the web is like this and it leads to information overwhelm and downright confusion. Our minds aren’t meant for the dizzying pace of the web and a lot of websites actually make this worse.
There are many ways to do this, but some of the most common mistakes include:

Weird or cluttered navigation
A site that aims to please everyone in ...

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The post Are You Making These 5 Common Website Mistakes? appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Are You Making These 5 Common Website Mistakes

As a website owner you’ll want to do everything in your power to ensure your website is doing as much as it can to convert new visitors into subscribers and potential customers. A lot of websites try to do too much and as a result they end up doing nothing at all. Your website should be elegant, purposeful, and directed towards your core group of users.

It’s easy to make mistakes. We all do. However, some common website mistakes are avoidable, or can be fixed with a little more hard work. In this we’re going to explore the five most common website mistakes a lot of website owners make.

 

1. Lack Of Direction And No Coherent Focus

I’m sure you’ve been to websites in the past that are very confusing and leave you in a frazzled state. On a sad note, most of the web is like this and it leads to information overwhelm and downright confusion. Our minds aren’t meant for the dizzying pace of the web and a lot of websites actually make this worse.

There are many ways to do this, but some of the most common mistakes include:

  • Weird or cluttered navigation
  • A site that aims to please everyone in the world
  • Strange color scheme
  • No coherent direction or sequence of steps for the user to take
  • Design that is out of alignment with the message of the company

When a person lands on your website you’ll want them to be able to determine, in a matter of seconds, if you’re going to be able to help them or not. This is done through purposeful design and an understanding of who your customer actually is.

Nailing down your focus has to do with simplifying your offering as a business and communicating it in a simple manner to your core group of customers. When in doubt choose one element to be the highlight of your business and do it well.

 

2. Too Much Focus On The Company, Not The User

No one wants to land on your website and hear about how great your business is, at least not at first. The first thing a person landing on your website wants to know is if you can help them.
Once they’ve determined you can help them reach the magical land where their problem is solved, then they’ll start to look deeper into your company. However, this can still be done strategically to make sure you’re not bragging.

The number one page people go to after the home page is the about page. This means you have another chance to convince the visitor you’re the right person for the job.

The best way to do this is by adjusting your copy to show you deeply sympathize with the user and their problem. Next, make sure to bring in relevant experience that shows you actually know what you’re talking about. You can even bring in testimonials and other forms of social proof, so people know they’re not alone in working with you.

 

3. No Incentives To Draw In Customers

A lot of website owners try to get people to opt-in without providing an incentive to do so. As inboxes are becoming more and more sacred you’ll need to do something special for the visitor to get them to part with their information.

One of the best ways to do this is by creating a free download that solves a portion of the visitors problem. This should be enough to get the visitor to opt in. From that point on you can work on building the relationship and converting them into a long-term customer.

 

4. Looking Good Across One Device And One Device Only

Mobile is becoming more and more prevalent. It isn’t going anywhere. All trends and statistics suggest that mobile is the future. It’s a smart idea to make sure your website works across every device your customers are going to be using.

That doesn’t mean you have to upgrade your design right away, but if your website looks funky or doesn’t function properly across the most common screen sizes then you may want to consider a change.
Responsive websites are slowly becoming the new norm, so it would be a good idea to switch over sooner rather than later.

 

5. No Relevance

Relevance has to do with how valuable you are to your visitors. This is the test your should be running for every element of your website.

If it doesn’t provide value to your readers, then cut it. Being ruthless with what’s useful and what isn’t may feel a little harsh, but it will allow you to have a website that’s more streamlined to serve your customers.

 

By avoiding the mistakes above you’ll be on your way towards having an efficient website that is geared towards the only people that matter, your customers.

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Equipping Your Business With Google+ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/03/19/equipping-your-business-with-google/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/03/19/equipping-your-business-with-google/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 16:08:00 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9432 The post Equipping Your Business With Google+ appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

I may be the first blogger to admit it, but I didn’t use Google+ very frequently as my preferred Social Media outlet. Having Facebook, Twitter, and several other mediums for connection felt like enough, right? But when you consider Google+ has only been around for three years, 1 Billion enabled accounts is quite the accomplishment.
Like any new and similar service, people are slow to adopt something they already have. What everyone has been missing, including myself, is the unique and powerful features Google+ possesses that many other networks cannot compare with.
Even if you’re not on Google+ socially, your business will greatly benefit from all the integral features Google+ provides. Here’s a few reasons to ignite your interest:
 
Virtually Everyone Uses Google’s Products
Whether it’s Gmail, Maps, Play, Drive, YouTube or just an old fashioned web search, we’re all on Google to one degree or another. Having one account makes it possible to utilize all these amazing services, and before you know it Google+ may just become as popular as Facebook.
As of 2014 Google+ boasted 359 million active users, a number that has increased at a rate of 33% annually.
What’s more, is that everything you post integrates with every other Google platform under ...

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The post Equipping Your Business With Google+ appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Google+ Benefits For Your Business
I may be the first blogger to admit it, but I didn’t use Google+ very frequently as my preferred Social Media outlet. Having Facebook, Twitter, and several other mediums for connection felt like enough, right? But when you consider Google+ has only been around for three years, 1 Billion enabled accounts is quite the accomplishment.

Like any new and similar service, people are slow to adopt something they already have. What everyone has been missing, including myself, is the unique and powerful features Google+ possesses that many other networks cannot compare with.

Even if you’re not on Google+ socially, your business will greatly benefit from all the integral features Google+ provides. Here’s a few reasons to ignite your interest:

 

Virtually Everyone Uses Google’s Products

Whether it’s Gmail, Maps, Play, Drive, YouTube or just an old fashioned web search, we’re all on Google to one degree or another. Having one account makes it possible to utilize all these amazing services, and before you know it Google+ may just become as popular as Facebook.

As of 2014 Google+ boasted 359 million active users, a number that has increased at a rate of 33% annually.

What’s more, is that everything you post integrates with every other Google platform under one identity. For example, if you post a video to YouTube (The 2nd Largest search engine in the world) users will be able to click on your profile taking them directly to your G+ account. Here, many marketing wizards have begun creating engaging/brand oriented videos that make it incredibly easy to steer potential customers back to a page equipped with all of your contact info and a link to your website.

Having someone add your business page to their circles will begin to optimize your Google+ page, thus increasing your visibility performed for local searches.

 

Deeper Brand Engagement With Google+ Hangouts and Communities

One of the best techniques for securing loyal customers involves getting to know them on a personal level. In Hangouts your business can get in touch with anyone in the world by hosting a meeting using video chat. Most commonly, pioneers of the customer/business relationship have hosted live video conferences to allow customers to contribute feedback and work towards providing a better service in the future.

Using Google+ communities is also a great way to stimulate conversations over shared interests associated with your brand or service. Personally, I actively engage with my followers who are interested in learning photography techniques, and simultaneously receive feedback on more of what they’d like to see. Giving your time to a customer extends a bond that will help when they choose to recommend a service to a friend.

 

We Are Talking About Google Here, After All

Google isn’t just a search engine anymore, it’s practically a way of life. We’re communicating, sharing and building businesses through it’s services, most of which are offered to us free of charge. But because they’re still a business, it’s easy to see why they provide incentives for partaking in a their social medium instead of others.

These incentives only serve to help your business, and you’d be extremely wise to start taking advantage of them.

 

Image Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EDln3g_Fzyg/T5XrXBhRE-I/AAAAAAAAFnI/w10FfYL7Qnc/s1600/Google-+-your-Business.png

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