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  • 10 Lessons From Top Athletes For Entrepreneurs

    Wednesday, August 10, 2016 by
    Top Athletes

    You may spend a lot of your time behind a desk devoting more of your efforts to exercising your brain than your body, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your work is incredibly dissimilar from that of top athletes. Many of the skills that make entrepreneurs successful have a lot in common with those that enable athletes to get the gold (or silver or bronze).

    You don’t need to get to a gym and start doing hours of physical training every day, but for entrepreneurial success, you should pay attention to these key takeaways from how the top athletes train and win.

     

    1. Set goals.

    Define what you want to achieve. To keep herself and her training on track every day, gold medalist Natalie Coughlin sets both short-term and long-term goals and commits to consistently achieving them.

    Setting goals turns ideas into something tangible and achievable, particularly when you have a mix of high-level, long-term goals that you break down into the smaller goals you need to achieve in order to get there. By sitting down to really work out what you want and what you need to accomplish to get to what you want, you create a clear path to success.

    The path may veer into different directions here and there, but as long as you create clearly defined goals and hold yourself to them, your chances of success greatly increase.

     

    2. Seek out help.

    Like entrepreneurs, superstar athletes are often independent and driven, but the most successful amongst them have the smarts to see that they need others to succeed. No athlete gets to the games entirely on their own.

    [bctt tweet="Just like professional athletes, entrepreneurs need a team for business success." username="hostgator"]

    Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin talks openly about how important her relationship with her coach is to her success. For Olympic runner Bob Schul, one of the most influential factors to his success was his coach and mentor Mihály Iglói.

    Between the coaches, doctors, and the loved ones that all support and encourage athletes, winning a medal even in an individual sport is something of a team effort.

    Running a business is no different. Finding mentors who know more than you and hiring people who specialize in all the things you don’t can make all the difference in going from being someone who just has a good idea to someone who runs a successful business.

     

    3. You have to be all in.

    Nobody makes it onto a professional team that just kind of sort of wants to be there. Everyone who gets picked decided a long time ago that this one thing was his or her number one goal and priority.

    Four-time gold medal winner Jesse Owens has been widely quoted as saying “we all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”

    [bctt tweet="Want to be an entrepreneur? Don't just fit in your dream around your day job; make it your day job." username="hostgator"]

    If you want to get a business off the ground and keep it successful in the long term, the odds are against you. To beat those odds, you have to make your business a top priority and commit fully to making it work.

     

    4. But also, learn how to pace yourself.

    Olympic training regimens are time consuming and brutal, for sure. What they also are though is carefully crafted to push the limits of what the human body can accomplish without ever going past what’s safe or healthy for the athlete. That’s a delicate balance.

    Too much training counter intuitively leads to a worse performance, if not injuries that take athletes out of the running entirely.

    Just as overtraining can lead to failure for athletes, overworking can cause burnout for entrepreneurs. Stress can have some pretty serious effects on our health. You have to work hard to succeed, but not too hard.

     

    5. Be willing to take risks.

    In response to critics who said he stayed in the ring for too long, Olympic gold medalist Muhammed Ali famously said, "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

    Many sports are dangerous and all of them come with the constant risk of losing – and if you get far enough, losing in a very public way. There’s a lot that’s scary about being a professional athlete, but the rewards are great.

    Anyone who’s pursued entrepreneurship knows the same applies. Whether it’s quitting your stable job to see if your business idea will work or taking out a big loan to finance your company, the risks are significant. But the end goal of being a successful business owner makes all those risks worth it.

     

    6. Focus on the long game.

    Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones recently announced that she wouldn’t be heading to Rio for this year’s Olympics due a recent hip injury, but added “See you in 2020 homies.”

    Knowing she couldn’t make her best showing this year without the potential of harming herself further for future competition, she made the smart move to hold off on going for a medal today to increase her chances of getting one later.

    Success in most things comes from playing the long game. Most Olympic athletes train for years in order to make the Olympic team. During that time, the rewards are virtually nonexistent. All the work is going toward a potential, future award (that not all will achieve). But the possibility of that gold medal makes the long years worth it.

    [bctt tweet="Just like pro athletes, entrepreneurs typically undergo years of planning to reach ultimate success." username="hostgator"]

    In most cases, running a business works the same way. Unless you’re abnormally lucky, your first few years will be demanding, difficult, and far more full of risk than reward. But only those who play the long game and stick it out make it to the finish line.

     

    7. Diversify your skill set.

    Every athlete has one sport they focus on. The runners are focused on improving their run times, the swimmers devote most of their training to swimming, and the gymnasts give their attention to perfecting gymnastics.

    Nonetheless, many of them benefit from mixing things up a bit. If you look at the exercise regimens of different Olympic athletes, you’ll see it’s not all one thing all the time. Skier Julia Mancuso does squats and free-diving, as well as keeping up with her ski practice. Luger Erin Hamlin does weight training, pull-ups, and yoga.

    Every Olympian focuses on one thing, but all of them do a mix of exercises in order to excel at their one specialty.

    Entrepreneurs have to wear many hats as well. You can’t just be an idea guy, you have to figure out how to make plans, execute a variety of tasks, hire and manage the right people, and attend to a wide number of other needs that will come up in the course of running your business.

    Be willing to hire and delegate when needed, but also make an effort to learn at least a little bit about most of the skills and knowledge areas needed to keep your business going.

     

    8. Push yourself out of your comfort zone.

    Comfort is nice. We all like being comfortable, but it’s not where the people who find the most success in life live.

    Many athletes train at high altitudes to push their bodies further while doing the same amount of exercise. Since high altitudes have less oxygen, the body compensates with extra red blood cells and the athlete can return to lower altitudes better prepared to take on their sport.

    Many Olympians who compete in outdoor events make a point of training on difficult terrain, so they’re that much more prepared for whatever challenges the Olympics courses throw their way.

    The lesson is clear, there’s a benefit to pushing yourself beyond what’s comfortable. That’s true in business as well. The most obvious, comfortable route is not always the one that will lead to the most reward. Try things that fall outside of your typical wheelhouse and consider routes that wouldn’t be your first choice.

     

    9. Be persistent.

    It’s easy to come up with excuses not to do something. What’s harder is facing down those excuses – even good, persuasive ones – and continuing in your efforts in spite of them.

    Olympic kayaker Carrie Johnson had a great excuse to stop kayaking competitively in 2003 when she learned she had Crohn’s disease. Battling a disease and competing in the Olympics is a lot for one person to deal with. But as you can guess, based on the fact that we’re writing about her here, she not only went on to compete in the 2004 Olympics, but then again in 2008 and 2012.

    Not every athlete deals with a health issue like Crohn’s disease, but almost every athlete will deal with an injury at some point. An injury’s a perfectly good reason to stop training and focus your efforts on something that doesn’t push your body so hard. But at some point, every athlete has faced that easy excuse to stop and made a choice to keep going.

    When you run a business you will face difficulties and challenges. It’s not a question of if, but of when. You can easily turn those challenges into excuses to stop, or you can take the more difficult path and keep going. Persistence is a necessary ingredient in every entrepreneurial success, just as it is for every medal an athlete wins.

    [bctt tweet="Persistence is a necessary ingredient for entrepreneurial success, just as it is for top athlete." username="hostgator"]

     

    10. Take care of yourself.

    Athletic training is hard. Entrepreneurship is hard. Most of the lessons on the list drive that idea home. Success in both arenas takes a lot of work, a lot of risk, and some falls along the way.

    But one of the things most successful athletes and entrepreneurs do that people don’t talk about as much is find little indulgences that help balance out the work.

    Most Olympic athletes have a routine, a particular hobby, or a number of non-sports interests that help them take a break and relax in between bouts of training. Speed skater J.R. Celski takes trips to the sauna after his workouts. Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler meditates every day. And skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender likes to go fishing.

    Make sure that, somewhere in your to-do list, you make sure to fit in whatever your version of fishing or meditation is. The culture of entrepreneurship is so focused on hard work, there’s a risk of feeling guilty anytime you set aside a night for watching Netflix or take a week off to go on a well-earned vacation, but we all need that time.

    You might be a persistent, risk-taking, hard-working entrepreneur, but you’re still a human being. If Olympic athletes can make room in their schedule to relax, then you can too. 

    A key part of entrepreneurial success is having a great website. Enjoy gold medal web hosting with HostGator!

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  • Best WordPress Plugins and Themes for Sports Websites

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

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

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

     

    WordPress Themes for Sports

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

     

    1. Sportedge

    Sportedge

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

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

     

    2. Club Sports

    Club Sports theme

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

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

     

    3. Gameplan

    Gameplan theme

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

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

     

    4. Sportsline

    Sportsline theme

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

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

     

    5. WP FanZone

    WP Fan Zone

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

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

     

    WordPress Plugins for Sports

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

     

    1. SportsPress

    SportsPress

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

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

     

    2. SportsPress TV

    SportsPress TV

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

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

     

    3. Team Rosters

    Team Rosters plugin

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

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

     

    4. WP Club Manager

    WP Club Manager

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

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

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

    Get Started With HostGator!

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

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

    Monday, August 8, 2016 by

    The Art of Charm Jordan Harbinger

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

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

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

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

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

    HostGator: What made you decide to get a website?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 5 Ways to Make Your Website More Eco-Friendly

    Friday, August 5, 2016 by

    Green Website

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

    Look for an eco-conscious hosting service

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

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

    Green your electrical power

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

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

    Run a lighter site

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

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

    Offer print-optimized content options

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

    Spread the word about green web hosting and design

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

    Green your website with HostGator green web hosting!

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  • 8 Best WordPress Plugins for Video

    Wednesday, August 3, 2016 by

    WordPress Plugins for Video

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

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

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

    1. Envira Gallery

    Envira Gallery

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

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

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

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

    2. YouTube Showcase

    Youtube Showcase

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

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

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

    3. YouTube Simple Gallery

    YouTube Simple Gallery

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

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

    Cost: Free

    4. WordPress Video Gallery

    WordPress Video Gallery

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

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

    Cost: Free

    5. YourChannel: YouTube Channel on Your Website

    YourChannel

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

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

    Cost: Free

    6. uTubeVideo Gallery

    uTubeVideo Gallery

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

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

    7. Workbox Video from Vimeo & YouTube Plugin

    Workbox Video

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

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

    Cost: Free

    8. Ultimate Video Gallery

    Ultimate Video Gallery

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

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

    Cost: Free

    Conclusion

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

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

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