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  • HostGator Holiday Weekend Giveaway

    Wednesday, November 23, 2016 by
    HostGator ThanksgivingHello, fellow gators and friends of gators! Are you ready for the yearly holiday shopping mania this weekend? It’s that wonderful time of year when we finally invest in that expensive item we’ve been drooling over (iPhone 7, anyone?), splurge on our favorite goodies, or buy gifts for our friends and loved ones. It’s also a time to take a step back and reflect on what we’re thankful for.  

    What HostGator Is Thankful For

    At HostGator, for instance, we have a lot to be thankful for this year: In January, we launched our cloud hosting, which includes lightning fast page load speeds (good for your SEO!), easy resource scaling, and an intuitive performance dashboard. In June, our employees rallied to donate resources and support to those affected by the floods in Houston. In September, we released our Website Builder, making it easier than ever for customers to design and build beautiful, professional-looking sites. Oh, and did we mention it comes free with all of our hosting plans? In October, our beloved blue alligator mascot Snappy turned 14 (and so did HostGator)! But most of all, we are thankful for YOU, our customers. Every one of you plays a role in making HostGator possible. Whether it’s helping you out in the middle of the night with your email configuration, answering your questions on social media, or seeing the final product of your brand new website… we’re humbled to be a part of your success. Thank you for trusting your website with us.  

    Announcing The HostGator Holiday Weekend Giveaway!

    To show our thanks, the HostGator team has been preparing some mega sales for this crazy holiday weekend ahead of us. From Friday through Tuesday, you can enjoy 65% off all hosting AND $5.99 domains! Plus, we’ll be hosting random flash sales where the savings are even greater! But that’s not all! We’re also giving away free HostGator goodies all weekend long! Whether it’s tweeting, commenting, or sharing - there will be plenty of opportunities for you to win a free Snappy stuffed animal, a HostGator shirt, exclusive free hosting deals or coupons, and even an Xbox or two! Just bookmark this blog post and check in throughout the weekend to be the first to know about our free giveaways. The legal stuff: You can read the HostGator Holiday Weekend Giveaway Official Rules here. From all of us at HostGator (and Snappy, too), Thank you!

    Holiday Weekend Giveaway #1

    Win A Free HostGator Shirt!

    THIS PROMO IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated!

    Free HostGator Shirt

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Want to win a free HostGator shirt? Awesome! Just scroll down to comment on this blog post sharing what you're most thankful for this year.  Ten (10) winners will be randomly selected and contacted via email on or before Wednesday 11/30 to receive their free HostGator shirt! This promo ended on 11/24/16 at 11:59pm Central time. Congratulations to our winners Nathan, Nino, Partha, Raphael, Doug, James, Purushottam, Frank, Richard, and Rahul!

    Black Friday Giveaway #2

    Follow our Snapchat for an Exclusive 70% Off Promo Code!

    THIS PROMO IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated!

    HostGator Snapchat

    It's Black Friday!

    Head over to Snapchat where you'll find Snappy sharing an exclusive 70% off promo code just for our Snapchat followers. It's valid on all new web hosting purchased TODAY ONLY. This promo ended on 11/25/16 at 11:59pm Central time.

    Black Friday Giveaway #3

    Win A Free Snappy Plush!

    THIS PROMO IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated!

    HostGator Snappy stuffed animal

    It's Black Friday!

    Have you always wanted a cuddly Snappy all your own? Today may be your lucky day... We're giving away 100 free Snappy stuffed animals! All you have to do is share a message on Facebook or Twitter to spread the word about our sale using the form below. But hurry - there are only 100 Snappys available. Once you share the message, you'll unlock a link to order your free Snappy. Don't forget to tweet or Facebook us a photo of you two hanging out once he arrives! This promo ended on 11/25/16.

    Black Friday Giveaway #4

    Win A HostGator Xbox!

    THIS PROMO IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated!

    HostGator Xbox

    It's Black Friday!

    Playing video games is a lot more fun when you've got Snappy rooting for you, which is why today we are giving away a custom HostGator Xbox! To enter for your chance to win, follow us on Facebook or TwitterThen complete the form below to verify your entry. One (1) winner will be randomly selected and contacted via email on or before Wednesday 11/30 to receive their free HostGator Xbox!
    This promo ended on 11/25/16 at 11:59pm Central time. Congratulations to our winner Kristin!

    Small Business Saturday Giveaway #5

    Win A Free Year of Business Hosting!

    THIS PROMO IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated!

    HostGator Shared Business Hosting Discount

    Happy Small Business Saturday!

    Today is all about supporting small and local business. In that spirit, we're giving away a year of our shared business hosting (valued at $203.40) to five lucky Instagrammers. For your chance to win, tag @HostGator on Instagram with a photo of you supporting small business, whether you're the owner, an employee, or a customer. Use the hashtag #HostGatorSale. Five (5) winners will be randomly selected and contacted via email on or before Wednesday 11/30 to receive their free year of shared business hosting from HostGator! This promo ended on 11/26/16 at 11:59pm Central time. Congratulations to our winners Jerry and Tom!

    Small Business Saturday Giveaway #6

    Win A Free HostGator Shirt!

    THIS PROMO IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated!

    Free HostGator Shirt

    Happy Small Business Saturday!

    What's the best cure for Black Friday hangover? Supporting small business! For your chance to win a HostGator t-shirt, scroll down to leave a comment on this blog post to share which small business(es) you're supporting this year. Twenty (20) winners will be randomly selected and contacted via email on or before Wednesday 11/30 to receive their free HostGator shirt! This promo ended on 11/26/16 at 11:59pm Central time. Congratulations to our winners Sand, Jean, David, Jason, Atila, Jonas, Michelle, Md.Zehadul, Hansell, Kelly, Tony, Jessica, and Cat!

    Cyber Monday Giveaway #7

    Win A HostGator Xbox!

    THIS PROMO IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated!

    HostGator Xbox

    It's Cyber Monday!

    The weekend may be over, but the deals aren't! Today we are giving away a custom HostGator Xbox! To enter for your chance to win, share a message on Facebook or Twitter to spread the word about our sale using the form below. Once you share the message, the form will unlock an entry form where you'll need to enter a few details to verify your entry. One (1) winner will be randomly selected and contacted via email on or before Wednesday 11/30 to receive their free HostGator Xbox! This promo ended on 11/28/16 at 11:59pm Central time. Congratulations to our winner Vivan!

    Cyber Monday Giveaway #8

    Win A Free Snappy Plush!

    THIS PROMO IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated!

    HostGator Snappy stuffed animal

    It's Cyber Monday!

    Sure, you probably loaded up on all kinds of holiday gifts this weekend, but... What's that? You weren't able to find that stuffed blue alligator you had on your wish list? No problem, we're about to fix that! Today we're giving away 25 free Snappy stuffed animals! Just scroll down to comment on this blog post and share the best deal you scored this weekend.  Twenty-five (25) winners will be randomly selected and contacted via email on or before Wednesday 11/30 to receive their free Snappy plush! This promo ended on 11/28/16 at 11:59pm Central time. Congratulations to our winners Charchit, Kamran, Dennis, Malcolm, Hakan, Vivan, Stephen, Eduardo, Luke, Scott, Satwik, Patricia, Nina, Michelle, Pei, Tom, Debbie, and An!

    Cyber Tuesday Giveaway #9

    Two Giveaways in One!

    Enter To Win A Free Snappy PLUS Exclusive 70% Off Discount!

    THIS PROMO IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated!

    HostGator Shared Business Hosting Discount

    It's Cyber Monday Reloaded!

    Cyber Monday may be over, but at HostGator we're still celebrating! Today we have an exclusive 70% off discount just for you. Thanks for reading our blog! We're also giving away fifty (50) free Snappy stuffed animals! Just share a message on Facebook or Twitter to spread the word about our sale using the form below.  Once you've shared the message, the 70% off code will be revealed and you can complete a short form for your chance to win a free Snappy! This promo ended on 11/29/16 at 11:59pm Central time. Congratulations to our winners Dennis, Jason, Luke, Samantha, Tom, Luka, Ray, Andy, Nat, Tom, Anthony, Megan, Eliza, Cindy, Calvin, Kamran, Cat, Ernesto, Rafael, Scott, Fernanda, Russell, Nat, Richard, Don, Steven, Aline, Linda, Debbie, Jeff, Kelly, Christian, Kristine, and Muhammed!
  • Clever Ways to Network and Drive Traffic to Your Website

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016 by
    Drive Traffic To Your Website It’s a simple formula: The more website traffic your business has, the more likely you are to make a sale. Here are some bonus tips that will keep ‘em coming.  

    1. Gamify the user experience with a poll or survey.

    Invite people at a networking event or readers of your blog to take a quick poll or survey. Some platforms like InstantSurvey will enable you to automatically send participants directly back to your website upon completion of the survey. Share your survey on social media. Include it in an email newsletter. Just be sure that all roads point back to your website. InstantSurvey   SurveyMonkey defaults to sending all of its survey participants back to surveymonkey.com (smart), but this is your business, not theirs! Luckily you can configure your own destination URL under advanced settings in the Collect Responses section. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for extra traffic. SurveyMonkey  

    2. Use content marketing to shout out to influencers.

    If you have a good handle on who your audience is then you can strategically begin to create content surrounding the people they follow. Reach out to these influencers to let them know you’ve highlighted their work and they’ll often share your posts resulting in big website engagement gains. Here’s an example from a recent blog post at MySocialSuite called 9 Twitter Influencers to Follow and Learn From. There are mentions of long-time power pros like Tim Ferriss and even Kim Kardashian, but the the target of this piece was BrokeAssStuart whose pic is up front and personal. After the MySocialSuite team published their post, they tagged BrokeAssStuart in a tweet. He immediately responded... Social Influencer Marketing   He later even reached out directly to the author of the of the post, with a marriage proposal! Social Influencers   Here’s a guy with over 60K social media followers tweeting about a blog post published by a social media automation startup. This is the kind of organic engagement (and fun banter) that highlights the best of what social media marketing has to offer. Everyone gets more site traffic: the influencer, the company, and the writer -- who may have also gotten a spouse as a bonus.  

    3. Don’t forget the obvious!

    Remember that without your basics covered, influencer reach, text marketing and the like, will go to waste. Consider getting each of these website marketing ducks in a row before doing anything else:
    • Social media: Ensure that all of your social media pages point back to your website. This can usually be done in a bio or about section.
    • Email marketing: Regardless of your message, have a link back to your site in every email you send.
    • Email signature: Every single email you send from your personal or business account should have an email signature that includes a link back to your site.
    • Business cards: Yes, they’re still relevant, but make sure you remember to include your correct web address.
    • Blog posts: Keep writing and sharing fresh content. Include a call to action that brings traffic back to your site. Discover guest blogging opportunities to boost links back to your site.
    What method works best for driving traffic back to your site? Let us know in the comments! HostGator WordPress Hosting
  • 7 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts to Follow

    Monday, November 21, 2016 by

    Email Marketing Dos and Donts

    How impressive are your emails?

    It’s time to build a personal connection with your customers in their inboxes.

    According to MarketingSherpa, “72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.”

    Email is an effective medium to send timely messages to customers. Your team can communicate promotions, new product releases, and even show some customer appreciation.

    “Week in week out, you have to prove your value to your email subscribers. Know your readers so well that you can empathize with their struggles. Ask questions. And offer help,” writes Henneke Duistermaat, an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach.

    Let’s make your next email marketing campaign worthwhile. Explore the do’s and don’ts below.

    HostGator Website Builder

     

    Email Marketing Do's

    Yes, email marketing varies from company to company. But there are underlying guidelines that exist to make every campaign better.

    Work with your team to find your best practices. That means analyzing data and monitoring customer behavior. In the meantime, use the following tactics to begin your journey.

     

    1. DO Create A Strategy

    Like any business function, you need a plan.

    It’s not in your best interest to conduct email marketing blindly. If you do, your small business will lose money and time.

    Gather your team to discuss the purpose of your campaign, the likely outcomes, and what success looks like.

    Setting definite goals ensures everyone is on the same page. Plus, if during the campaign the results don’t match your desired outcome, it offers proof to adjust your strategy.

    Also, be mindful of how you represent your brand in every email.

    Forbes contributor Kate Kiefer Lee says,“Your email campaigns should match your brand’s look and feel. If you’re using a template, you might want to customize it to include your company’s colors and logo in the header.”

    Start developing your email campaign strategy. It will guide you throughout the entire process.

     

    2. DO Segment Your List

    Mass marketing is useless in our economy today. Shoppers desire personalized experiences that cater to their individual needs.

    The same holds true when sending an email. Customers are different. And they don’t want to learn about tennis shoes when their interests only include tank tops.

    Therefore, email a customized message to specific consumer groups.

    “Segment your emails strategically. For each one of your marketing campaigns, the key is to create messages that support your unique business and marketing objectives,” writes Krista Bunskoek, former director of public relations at Wishpond.

    Below is an example of how a small business may segment customer groups by interests. It starts with what the target audience likes. Then, it’s adjusted based on their habits in the sales funnel.

    Customer Segments

    Segmentation works to provide customization. Take advantage of the benefits.

     

    3. DO Use Automation

    The days of sending one email at a time are gone.

    It was time-consuming and mentally exhausting. Thanks to technology, email automation tools make small business teams efficient.

    Create email drip campaigns to automate your interaction with consumers. You can develop specific workflows to keep customers engaged with your brand.

    For example, when someone signs up for your email list, set up a welcome workflow that automatically sends them a message thanking them for joining. You could even include a promotional discount to encourage sales.

    Email Welcome Workflow

    The diagram above from Marketing Cloud shows a more complex workflow. However, it streamlines how you engage with webinar attendees. Here’s the email series:

    1. The lead signs up for webinar through a form.
    2. The lead immediately receives an automated confirmation email.
    3. Three days prior to the webinar, the lead gets a reminder message.
    4. Three days after the webinar, the lead receives a follow-up survey.

    Automation takes the guesswork out of email marketing. Save your team time.

     

    4. DO Be Mobile-Friendly

    A Litmus report found that 55% of email is now opened on a mobile device.

    While desktops still offer consumer value, mobile devices are a way of life. Most people carry their phones with them 24/7 — to a business meeting, dinner outing, and even the restroom.

    Mobile devices are an extension of us. And that’s an opportunity for your small business.

    Optimize your emails to be mobile-friendly. That involves ensuring the design fits the screen, the word length is manageable, and the loading time doesn’t take forever.

    Moreover, include a single column layout and add a call-to-action at the top of the email.

    [bctt tweet="55% of email is opened on a mobile device. How do your emails look?" username="hostgator"]

    Mobile users are constantly moving. They juggle multiple tasks at once. And they don’t have the time to read a 10,000-word email. Grab their attention fast and offer worthwhile content.

     

    Email Marketing Don'ts

    Now, you know what to implement. But what about the tactics to avoid?

    As you begin executing multiple email marketing campaigns, you’ll learn what not to do. Keep a running list available for your team.

    You don’t want to make the same mistake twice. Here are a few techniques to stay away from:

     

    1. DON'T Spam

    This rule is simple: Don’t spam. It’s unprofessional and illegal.

    The CAN-SPAM Act is an United States law that establishes the rules for commercial email. It gives recipients the right to not receive unwanted emails from companies.

    Email spam fits the following three criteria:

    • Anonymity: The address and identity of the sender are concealed
    • Mass Mailing: The email is sent to large groups of people
    • Unsolicited: The email is not requested by the recipients

    “Make sure your own spam filter doesn’t stop the opt-out requests coming through. Once you’ve received them, make sure you honor the request within 10 business days. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message,” says professional writer Brenda Barron.

    Spam negatively impacts your email campaigns. Don’t do it. (Check out our post on 7 tips to avoid complaints of email abuse.)

     

    2. DON'T Write Boring Subject Lines

    Research shows that “63% of retailer subject lines are generic, and they're losing brand value—and sales—as a result.”

    Customers receive lots of emails per day—messages from coworkers, friends, and your competitors. Therefore, they’ve read thousands of subject lines. And they instantly know if they want to open an email or not.

    Your team only has a few seconds to make a good first impression. So, do it right.

    Aim for simple, concise subject lines. Try something controversial. Numbered lists provoke consumers to open emails. And use action verbs.

    Action Verbs for Subject Lines

     

    3. DON'T Forget to Track Emails

    When running an email marketing campaign, don’t forget to track the progress of your success. By analyzing the data, your team can gain valuable insight on how to improve.

    Are customers opening your emails? Is your bounce rate significantly high? Do certain consumer segments prefer Campaign A over Campaign B?

    Click-to-Open-Rate is one important metric to monitor. It’s the percentage of subscribers who clicked a link in the email as related to the total number who opened it.

    “Successful email marketing campaigns are more of a marathon than a sprint. That means you should be constantly fine-tuning your message to elicit a more engaged response, and CTOR rates are instrumental in judging and making course corrections in that process,” states Andrea Fryrear, founder and chief content officer at Fox Content, Ltd.

    Draw conclusions from your observations. And keep track of your email stats.

     

    Follow the Guidelines

    Upgrade your email marketing campaigns. But before you start strategizing, know what to do and not to do.

    Segment your list to personalize the experience. Create mobile-friendly emails. Avoid spamming people. And drop the boring subject lines.

    Follow these guidelines. Send better emails.

  • How To Run A Successful Facebook Contest In 5 Steps

    Friday, November 18, 2016 by
    how to run a facebook contest Chances are you’ve seen or been involved in some sort of Facebook contest. They are fun for the participants, but why do businesses host them? Not only are they great for branding, but they can also be an integral part of your social media strategy. HostGator Website Builder  

    Step 1: Determine your goals

    Before you make any other moves, you will want to figure out what you hope to get from the contest. Are you hoping to get more likes? Make sales? Improve engagement levels? Gather content for future use? Depending on the goals you set for yourself you will want to approach the setup of the contest differently:

    More likes:

    Ensure contest participants like your page for their entry to be valid. You can also make a play on this by having participants like your page and tag their friends in hopes of them also liking your page.

    Make sales:

    Generally speaking, just by putting out active and engaging material on Facebook you will be encouraging people to purchase your product. The idea is to drive people to your website to buy your product. A great option for this is to create your contest form using Survey Gizmo. After participants complete the form, you can set it to send these potential customers directly to your website. You’ll be surprised how many people end up purchasing! Alternatively, if they don’t purchase right then, you can use one of Facebook’s pixels in your survey to create an audience of these participants for future retargeting ads.

    Improved engagement levels:

    Engagement levels improve the more people click and interact with your social content. A contest is the perfect medium to engage with your customers and increase your engagement. Bonus engagement points if your contest involves commenting on your post as part of their entry.

    Free content:

    Contests are the perfect way to get user-generated content. Think photos of your customers with your product, customer testimonials, and blog posts. A contest is the perfect incentive for customers to send in their content for you to use in the future on your site and social.        

    Step 2: Think of a Theme

    Try to be as creative as you can. Customers, followers and potential customers will be more likely to interact with your contest if it has a unique and creative theme. Tie the prize into the theme of the contest. For example, our latest HostGator contest was a video game-themed contest. Our creative and copy were video game-themed and our prize was a HostGator branded xBox One. Contests are not only more fun and engaging this way, but they are easier to keep track of. HostGator Facebook Contest  

    Step 3: Choose your prize

    When deciding on a prize determine how much work a participant must do to enter. A good rule of thumb is the larger the prize, the more work you should expect them to do. A good place to start is by giving away one of your business’ products or services. This creates a great gateway for new potential customers to fall in love with your business. [bctt tweet="Rule of thumb for contests: the larger the prize, the more work you can expect participants to do." username="hostgator"]  

    Step 4: Advertise

    Facebook ads are the perfect place to start the advertising for your Facebook contest. If you’re planning on advertising your contest or boosting it in any sort of monetary way, you will want to make sure it’s running for at least two weeks. This gives ample time for the ads to reach their target audience and gives your participants time to participate. HostGator Facebook Advertising  

    Step 5: Analyze your results

    Facebook has a lot of really great tools in their “Insights” section that can tell you information like post engagement, page clicks, and page likes. You can also see your top posts based on engagement level, date or reach. These are great ways to determine the success of your Facebook contest, but you’re not limited to just these factors. Check your survey to see how many people entered. Was the content they submitted good? Take a look at the Facebook ads you ran in Ads Manager and see how many sales were a result of the contest. Determine if the cost of the prize and the ads is worth the likes, engagement, or sales. If the contest resulted in more revenue than money spent the decision is obvious. Other times you have to put a value on likes and engagement and weigh it against the money you spent on the contest.   There you have it - your five step guide to running a successful Facebook contest. To participate in future HostGator contests, be sure to follow us on Facebook! What are your tips for running a Facebook contest? Please share in the comments!
  • Konami Code Websites: HostGator Joins In On The Fun

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 by
    HostGator Easter Egg Have you ever been typing away, had your fingers slip on your keyboard, and stumbled upon a new trick or keyboard shortcut? These happy accidents are one way people find easter eggs in websites, software, or video games. Now Easter eggs have become so well-known, that people regularly look for them. One of the most popular ways to find them is by using the Konami Code.  

    What Is The Konami Code?

    In case you don’t know, the Konami Code made its debut in the 1985 Nintendo arcade game Gradius. Entering the code, which is up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, gives the player a boost of power-ups or some kind of bonus. The guy who invented it, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, was in charge of developing and testing the game. The only problem was, he wasn’t any good at playing it. So he created something that would be easy to remember and give him power-ups so he could continue playing and testing. The Konami Code is legendary even today, and the fun has extended from the video game console to the desktop computer, with many websites revealing a song, a free download, or a funny redesign of the page upon entering the code. Mashable has a list of their favorites, and you can view a complete list of all websites that feature the code on KonamiCodeSites.com.  

    HostGator Hides An Easter Egg

    We know a lot of you love digging into code and are experienced gamers, so we at HostGator felt it was about time we hid an easter egg on our own site. Kyler Patterson from our Marketing team joined up with Isaac Acuna from our Customer Experience team and they hid an easter egg on the registration page of our site. They figure it would be fun to have the Konami Code activate a surprise 80% discount for one lucky visitor. You may have seen Snappy in his Easter Bunny garb before… so we knew he’d approve of us hiding some eggs on the site. HostGator Easter Snappy They deployed the code on June 21st and started to wait. When would someone discover it?  

    The Egg Is Found

    One day in early August, Andrew Bonar, founder of EmailExpert.org, was looking to purchase a reseller hosting package. How did he know to look for it? Andrew explains, “I found it as a result of poring over your code. I was trying to identify how you verified and applied your discount vouchers quickly and seamlessly without a page refresh and how that then got applied to the package choices.” After he selected his hosting package and added it to his cart, he continued playing around. Finally, he decided to try the Konami Code. The next thing he knew, this popped up on his screen: HostGator Konami Code Bonar admits he was surprised it wasn’t a gimmick. “I was not certain it would be honored and half expected an email advising the offer was not applicable due to whatever series of terms and conditions. Had I been more confident I may well have taken the offer up on a multiyear basis!” [bctt tweet="Congratulations to @AndrewBonar on finding the @HostGator Konami Code Easter Egg!" username="hostgator"]  

    The Hunt Continues… Will You Find The Next Easter Egg?

    Where will the next Easter Egg be?  Will it be on our checkout page again? Or maybe hiding on our dedicated server page? Maybe it will only be accessible to current customers in cPanel. It is up to you to find out... Create Your Blog