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  • 5 Google Analytics Metrics Every Small Business Should Monitor

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016 by
    Metrics To Use in Google Analytics The Internet has made marketing easier than ever before with the abundance of tools that exist online. These online tools allow us to connect directly with potential customers without ever having to leave home. Since marketing is defined by the action of promotion and adverting, it's very important to know what's working, and what efforts are eating your time and budget. This is where data comes into play, and despite the ease in which we can share content, knowing which data metrics are important can be much more challenging. Why is this? Well, because there are virtually hundreds of ways you can examine how your content is reaching customers, but only a few measurements actually tell you what's providing returns on your investments. In this article I'm going to discuss five Google Analytics reports that every small business owner should be monitoring.

    1. The Acquisition Overview

    To find this report in the Google Analytics dashboard select Acquisition > Overview. Reviewing Acquisition Overview in Google Analytics This report will break down how many people have visited your site within a given interval, and where they came from. The most important number within this report is search traffic, with a good rating being above 50%. This is because 'search traffic' is synonymous to how many people found your website using a search engine. If your website is optimized correctly, you should be appearing within the first couple pages of Google. 75% of people using a search engine won't look beyond the first page, and so if your search traffic is under 50% it might be time to work on improving your SEO.

    2. Social Reach and Engagement

    To find this report select Acquisition → Social → Landing Pages. How To See Social Reach in Google Analytics Social media metrics, while they're straightforward to get, can be difficult to correlate between reach, engagement, and action. However, the best figures to pay attention to are which Social Networks are sending you the most visits. If you're using more than five different platforms, this report will show you which platform deserves the most attention. If Facebook is driving the most traffic, you can then head to Facebook Insights and see what type of content is producing the best returns.

    3. Total Conversions

    One of the biggest mistakes most businesses make when reviewing their reports, is strictly looking at site averages, and not setting up any goals. Without setting up goals you won't be able to see whether or not your visitors are taking actions to complete conversions, i.e. making a purchase, subscribing to your newsletter, or signing up for a service. Setting Google Analytics Goals To start setting up your goals:
    1. Go to your Google Analytics standard reports
    2. Click on the “Admin” button in the top right.
    3. Click on “Goals”
    Here you can create a number of customized metrics to account for specific actions that take place on your website. Common goals include: Tracking specific URL's, visit durations, sign-ups from specific URLs, and conversions from social media advertising.

    4. Bounce & Exit Rates

    You've probably heard the statistic before, but for the emphasis of this metric, as it has been shown you only have three seconds to capture a visitors attention on your website. Therefore, it's highly important to trace which pages are bringing them in, and which are causing them to 'bounce' in search of more appealing content. Bounce Rate - Bounce rate measures the number of visitors who landed on a specific page and then left without visiting any other pages on your site. Exit Rates - Exit rates will show you visitors who landed on your site elsewhere, viewed two or more pages, and then decided to leave. This is equally important as it also indicates a page where your visitors tend to lose interest.

    5. Conversion Rate By Channel

    Measuring conversion rates by specific channels will assist you in determining your ROI. Google Analytics has a campaign tracking tool that monitors specific URLs attached to Ad campaigns. For example, by running a Facebook Ad campaign targeting a product, or landing page for a service, you'll be able to analyze meaningful data on how well that campaign is performing independent of other campaigns. If you have any questions on how to set-up any of these metrics, feel free to leave it in the comments!   Screenshots provided by Jeremy Jensen 
  • Uncle Carl Creates Blowerz As New Head of Product Development

    Friday, April 1, 2016 by
    HostGator  Blowerz Since we have introduced Uncle Carl to the world, he has become a smashing success. People have absolutely LOVED his unique inventions. For those that don't know Uncle Carl, he is the mastermind behind Waist Holders, Lady Fashion Wallets, Ear Bookz, and my personal favorite, Shabamazama. In fact, because we can't get enough of Uncle Carl's creativity, we have brought him on as HostGator's Head of Product Development! Uncle Carl hit the ground running and has already introduced some revolutionary new ideas! Blowerz, his initial offering, is an ingenious invention that will help keep our servers cool and running at maximum efficiency. He's designed a couple of prototypes thus far. The first was a setup of straws throughout the facility that cousin Jerry would blow into. Unfortunately, this didn't keep the servers cool for long and cousin Jerry started to get light headed more or less right away. Turns out, this was an inefficient prototype. So now we're happy to introduce the new design! HostGator April Fools This state of the art contraption (as Carl calls it) will reverse the flow of a vacuum and push the air right through an industrial pipe system. Our servers will be cool in no time. Currently we are calling many manufacturers about creating this product and nobody seems to be interested in this yet. Uncle Carl believes they just can't understand the nature of the system. However, Uncle Carl is optimistic in his efforts and we fully support his enthusiasm. We will have blowers on the back of all servers by the end of this year! Oh by the way, APRIL FOOLS!
  • HostGator’s New Cloud Hosting

    Thursday, March 31, 2016 by
    In the hosting world, the word "cloud" has been thrown around quite a bit these past few years. It's been lauded as the future, and it's been party to scandal. But like any good celebrity tale, cloud has emerged from the rumors and scandals and immersed itself in such a way as to guarantee itself a long and fulfilling career.  

    What Exactly Is Cloud?

    Technically speaking, "cloud" is a catch-all term that describes the dynamic serving of data (generally a website, but also think service like Google Apps) - which is physically hosted on multiple devices - by utilization of any of a number of configuration possibilities. Sounds complicated, but basically it boils down to a faster and more efficient experience for the end user due to vastly eliminating the possibility of hardware (or other) failure.  

    What Makes HostGator's Cloud Product Special?

    Well, we're glad you asked! The magic and nuance of cloud comes into play with the backend management, which is to say how effectively potential issues are identified and the establishing of solutions to those issues well before they occur, such that the solution becomes automatic should the potential issue ever arise. It's a little bit like predicting the future. HostGator was not the first to market a cloud product by any means; we watched our competitors and the industry in general, and we learned from the mistakes that others made. Meanwhile, we were taking small, but sure-footed steps towards our own cloud offering, which we have now released.  

    But What Specifically Makes HostGator's Cloud Product Special?

    All other factors aside, there are four things that we feel sets our cloud product apart from everyone else:
    Reliability - As mentioned above, the very nature of Cloud involves your data being stored on multiple devices; as such your data remains available, and the uptime of your site is maximized. This is due to the intelligent backend, which is able to immediately serve your website from an alternate location should any issue arise with the current server. In other words, your visitors will never even know there was any issue.
    Speed - The same backend which provides our exceptional degree of reliability is also partly responsible for the blazing speeds we are able to achieve with our cloud hosting, largely due to our use of state-of-the-art SSD storage. Solid State Drives are hard drives that literally have no moving parts within them, the same as you'll find in a MacBook Air (as one example). No moving parts equals much faster and more reliable performance. On the front end we've incorporated a few more tactics, including Varnish caching, which results in your site responding up to 2x faster than a traditional hosting platform.
    Scalability - One of the downsides of traditional hosting platforms is the inability to absorb large increases in traffic to your website. Essentially the server would become overloaded and the result would be that error pages are displayed rather than your website (definitely not something you want your growing audience to experience when attempting to view your site). We have addressed this issue by allowing for the instantaneous scaling of up to 8CPU cores and 8GB of RAM; no downtime, reboots, or data migrations required. This is 4x the computer power available of another leading provider.
    Ease of Management - None of the above means anything unless you are able to interact and control these features in an intuitive and meaningful way. Our newly-designed cloud dashboard is a breath of fresh air for anyone who has historically been subject to dealing with less-than-ideal management panels or dashboards. Want to know how fast is your site loading? Or which pages are the most popular? How about your uptime, and even global reach? All of these metrics (and many more!) are literally right at your fingertips.  

    That All Sounds Pretty Excellent, But What Else?

    Our cloud hosting platform can only be described in so many words, but as with most things it's by far better to simply try it out for yourself and see what you think. You can now take cloud for a test drive at 30% off. Simply use the following coupon code upon signup to receive your discount: CPN30NT
  • 5 Quick Optimization Tips That Will Skyrocket Your Website’s Conversion Rate

    Thursday, March 31, 2016 by
    Increase Conversion Rate On Website How well is your website working to turn casual visitors into browsers, browsers into engaged visitors and ultimately, into paying clients? If you’re like most professionals, you’re probably wondering how you can best maximize your website's potential. The good news is that even small tweaks to better optimize your website can help boost your conversion rates, increasing your profits exponentially. To get started, here are five quick tips to skyrocket your website’s optimization:

    1. Utilize A/B (Split) Testing

    There are very few “successful accidents” when it comes to web optimization, meaning you almost never just stumble upon something that works incredibly well the first time. Instead, professional web designers, SEO experts, and content developers preach the virtues of constant split testing, also called A/B testing. By pitting two different headlines, pages, graphics, emails or ads, etc. against each other, they can quickly determine which has maximum effectiveness with their audience – and will produce the highest conversion rate. For that reason, most businesses should have at least one A/B test running on their website (and with the rest of your marketing) at all times and carefully track the results. But setting up too many splits or A/B tests at the same time can get overwhelming and hard to follow – defeating the purpose of identifying which version is most effective and why. There’s plenty of expensive software that will manage your A/B testing, but you really should have to spend too much to get a great website conversion benefit. Try Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer or even Google Content Experiments, which is built into Google Analytics.

    2. Make sure your website is simple, clear, and distraction free

    One of the biggest mistakes you can make is crowding your website with too much information, graphics, flashy functions and bells and whistles. I know it’s tempting to try to impress the website visitor (prospective client) with a host of information and options that demonstrate your unique value, but in fact, it’s counter-productive. One exception to this rule is if you’re using an info graphic that provides value to your customers for free. A prime example of this is this Ultimate Guide To Google Penalties info graphic I came across. If you take a look at the websites of the best brands and businesses in the world and you’ll notice they are all simple, clean, and follow the viewer through a very intuitive and easy path, including one call-to-action. Studies show that the more cluttered and the more options available on your website, the less effective your conversion rates will be. Stay away from stock images, unnecessary features, any text that is not one or two sentences long or in a bullet point format, menu bars with more than 4 or 5 items, and more than one big, bold call-to-action.

    3. Create urgency with incentive

    In 2016 and beyond, one of the most powerful tools to boost website conversions and drive consumer behavior is ephemerality - which is a fancy way to say that an offer, giveaway, sale, attendance at an event, etc. is fleeting or limited. This concept works so well because people’s fear of losing out is far greater than their perceived benefit of gain. Think about it – when you are looking at hotels online and the display shows that there are only two rooms left at a certain price, and ten people have looked at it in the last hour, you feel your pulse quicken and an urge to book it immediately. That’s also the whole premise behind Snapchat, which sold for $3 billion 2013 after only a handful of months in existence and now has 100 million active users daily. There are two forms of scarcity you can exhibit to ignite urgency with your web audience: showing that an item or service is only available in limited supply, or that it is only for sale or at a certain price for a limited time. You can even use both of these tools together to create a palpable sense of scarcity. So if you want to double or even triple your website conversion rates and spark your ROI, create urgency with fleeting incentives and limited offers on your site.

    4. Compare to your competition before the consumer does

    There is a certain psychological process a consumer goes through before they commit to buying your product or service, including familiarity, a belief in the benefits it will provide or problems it will solve in their life, trust, credibility, perceived value, etc. One of the last items on that “checklist” - even when consumers want to click BUY NOW is the impulse to shop around with your competitors to make sure they are getting a fair deal. Too often, that means they will leave your website and start “Googling” other products, services, companies, and options. That also means there is a very high chance they will use your website as a foundation for information on the road to making a purchase – from someone else. But the good news is that YOU can provide a cost or service comparison right on your website, filtering and presenting the information as you wish. Setting up a simple graphic spreadsheet to demonstrate the superior price, benefit, features and value of your product or service – and the shortcomings inherent with your competitors – will keep a significant percentage of “shoppers” from ever leaving your website, therefore boosting your conversion rate and sales exponentially.

    5. Focus on creating an airtight sales funnel

    Do you have a well defined and efficient sales funnel? Research shows that nothing plummets website conversion rates faster than not leading your audience through the logical sequence of the sales process or funnel. Of course, all sales funnels differ depending on what product/service you are offering, your audience, the cost and commitment you are asking for, and myriad other factors. But no matter what business you’re in, a well-planned sales funnel will lead the website visitor and potential client through the stages of familiarity, establishing trust, comfort, answering objections or questions, a demonstration or trial offer – all precursors to the sale. Generally people who practice SEO implement an airtight funnel as being crucial to their overall business. An efficient sales funnel needs to include a drip system of information, value, and problem-solving offers for those who don’t purchase right away, whether via email, social media, social affirmation, short video demonstrations, or other special offers. Consumer behavior studies show that most people need seven positive interactions with a brand, product, or service before they are psychologically ready to commit. But that can happen much more quickly - or all in one sitting, ideally, if you plan your sales funnel and integrate it into your website correctly.
  • 7 Best Free & Paid WordPress Plugins to Get More Email Subscribers

    Tuesday, March 29, 2016 by
    Building Your Email List of Subscribers Building an email list is important for every online business. Often business owners get overwhelmed when trying to pick the best WordPress lead generation plugins. Why? Because there are hundreds of lead capture plugins available. But you don't have to worry about those. In this article, we will share the 7 best WordPress plugins to get more email subscribers and grow your email list.


    Use optinmonster to capture more emails OptinMonster is the most powerful lead generation plugin for WordPress. It allows you to convert abandoning website visitors into subscribers by giving you the ability to create and A/B test beautiful lead capture forms without hiring a developer or learning how to code. You can choose from a variety of form types including: lightbox popups, floating header and footer bars, scroll triggered slide-in boxes, full screen welcome gates, after post forms, inline-content forms, and sidebar forms, OptinMonster allows you to create highly targeted optin forms based on user behavior. You can show different forms based on specific posts, categories, tags, and even the traffic referrer source. Once you have created your forms, you can integrate with all popular email marketing services including Constant Contact, MailChimp, AWeber, and 20 others. Cost: Starting at $9 / mo. or $49 / yr


    Use WPFroms To Increase Your Email List WPForms is a drag & drop online form builder for WordPress. It allows you to create contact forms, subscription forms, payment forms, and all other type of online forms with just a few clicks. You can manage all entries from a single screen. You also have the option to connect your contact forms to your email newsletter. Lastly, you have the ability to redirect users to a thank you page where you can encourage people to join your email list. Cost: Free with paid upgrades starting at $39 / yr

    PlugMatter Feature Box

    Plug Matter Email Popup PlugMatter allows you to create a beautiful optin feature boxes for your site. A feature box is a high converting email subscription box that is placed right under the header of your WordPress site, but before the main content. This allows you get maximum subscribers. PlugMatter integrates with all popular email marketing service including ConstantContact, MailChimp, AWeber, and dozen others. Cost: Starting at $37 / year

    DreamGrow Scroll Triggered Box

    More subscribers with Scroll Triggered box DreamGrow Scroll Triggered Box is a simple WordPress plugin that allows you to add a slide-in optin box on your site. You can select the position of where the box displays on a page and how far the user has to scroll for them to see the slide-in box. If the user closes the box, then it stays hidden for a desired number of days. Scroll boxes are a great way to increase your subscribers. Cost: Free

    SeedProd Coming Soon & Maintenance Pages

    Seedprod Coming Soon Image SeedProd is the #1 coming soon, under construction, and maintenance mode plugin. Often people miss out on the opportunity to build email list from these key pages. When you're about to launch a new product, you should utilize the coming soon page to build your list. If your website is going through maintenance, then use the maintenance page to grow your email list and keep your subscribers updated. SeedProd works with any WordPress theme and is by far the best of it's kind. Cost: Free with paid upgrades starting at $29 / year


    Get more emails with Instapage Instapage is a premium landing page software that helps make your marketing better. Landing pages are crucial for any lead generation campaign. While there are several WordPress specific landing page builders, often it's better to use a more comprehensive solution like Instapage that's not limited to WordPress but works well with WordPress. You can choose from over 100 landing pages to get started with and connect Instapage to all popular email marketing services like Constant Contact, MailChimp, AWeber, and several others. Cost: Free to try, various pricing tiers.

    Comment Redirect

    Comment Redirect is a little known technique that you can use to grow your email list. This plugin allows you to redirect people who left a comment to a thank you page. On this page, you can encourage this already engaged user to subscribe to your email list by giving them a coupon, eBook, or another incentive. Building an email list is a long-term strategy, but the sooner you implement the better off you'll be in the future. The plugins mentioned in this article are the most popular amongst smart marketers and business owners.
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