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  • Snappy is Turning 13 Years Old!

    Tuesday, October 20, 2015 by
    HostGator's 13th Birthday Celebration Snappy is officially a teenager! Our beloved gator is growing up so quickly. Many companies have entered our industry and only a few can say that they've been in business for 10+ year. We are excited to be able to celebrate our 13th year and it's all because of our AMAZING customers. Without you, none of this would be possible. So we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. In recognition of this big day, we're offering 50% OFF* all new hosting plans. Current customers can also take advantage of this deal by getting a new package as well. This could be your chance to upgrade to a new server type that you've been waiting for. Please check out our Sale FAQ to answer any questions you may have. For the first time ever... Most of the international HostGator brands will be celebrating with their own special offers, and you're invited to check them out: HostGator Brazil HostGator Mexico HostGator India Help us wish Snappy a very happy birthday, and launch your new website in celebration  

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    Offer ends October 22nd at 11:59PM CST Terms and conditions vary between sites. Please check them in the individual locations.
  • 9 Best Practices For Social Based Customer Care

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015 by
    9 best practices for social based customer care
    It is no question that social channels can be an extremely valuable tool for a business. It not only increases brand awareness and connects you to potential users, but gives you a direct channel to your current users as well. Yet, as the saying goes, ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’ Now that you are talking to your users, know that your users are talking to you, and it is not always positive. Using social media as a tool for customer care not only let users feel heard in a medium they feel comfortable with, but it also sends the right signals to potential customers about how you treat your users. Here are some best practices to doing this properly.  

    1. Don’t Disregard The Issue

    Everyone wants to be heard, and a generic, “take a look at our FAQ’s page for answers to most of your issues,” is just useless enough for your user to look elsewhere. Put a pinned comment at the top of your Facebook page, or in your twitter bio, that sends user to try your customer care channels first. Many may ignore it, but a number will listen and be dealt with there, only coming back if the problem persists. You may need to try harder to keep them happy after the process but at least it isn’t clogging up your social feed.  

    2. Treat Your Users As People Not Problems

    Don’t be afraid to banter and have an informal chat, as long as you don’t make it inappropriate or too personal for a public forum. Users respond to the human element and will have a more positive impression than if they receive generic, robotic answers. Look at your user’s basic information. The instructions you give to a tech-savvy teen, would not be appropriate for someone with less technology experience. Adapt your support accordingly.  

    3. Keep It Short And Sweet

    You need to keep you user engaged, the worst kind of service is one that is met by the sound of crickets because you have lost your audience 4 tweets ago. Make sure your answers are informative but do not drag on longer than necessary. If you can be as effective with three words as using a paragraph, opt for the three. You will maintain your audience’s attention span and not make them feel that their time has been wasted with superfluous information.  

    4. Don’t Be Afraid To Take It Elsewhere

    Some issues are universal and your reply could be of value to all users, if this is not the case, then you should carry on the conversation in a direct message or through email. If they have opened a support ticket before contacting you, take their ticket number and flag it up with your support staff to be prioritized.  

    5. Give Clear Answers

    Try to make your post, tweet or Facebook message as informative as possible. Be aware that talking on your Facebook homepage or through main twitter channels means that anyone can see your interaction. Both current and potential users can be listening, and your decorum can be a make or break for some of them. Make sure not only that you are patient and helpful, but also that you are using proper grammar and punctuation. When someone’s account is frozen, it is not the time to bombard them with emojis.  

    6. Look Out For The Little Guy

    There will always be that shy user that will post once, oftentimes as part of an unrelated thread that will get lost unless you are actively looking out for them. Signaling them out and answering their issues or concerns sets you apart from much of the competition, and lets the user feel important which could result in lifelong loyalty.  

    7. Deal With Complaints

    Some users are out for blood, ignoring a negative comment can be more disastrous than you realize. Be warned that some users may use their social following to bombard you page or ‘trash’ your brand. They can do this by creating inflammatory hashtags or posting multiple comments across all of your social channels. Early intervention is key here.  

    8. Separate The Wheat From The Chaff

    Not all users on your social channels are what they seem. Keep a sharp eye out for competitors looking to harm your brand, and destroy your service’s reputation. If you are sure a user is not what they seem, and they are becoming more hassle than their worth, don’t be afraid to block them from your account. You should only do this as a last resort! A perfect page looks fake, and will cause you to loose trust from potential users.  

    9. Manage Expectations

    If you are a small business, no one expects you to have a large social media support team. Be honest with your audience and don’t spread yourself too thin. If users know that it could take up to a few days to have their complaint attended to, their expectations will be better managed and they are less likely to be fed-up and leave. Just be sure to keep your promises, if you say it will be up to two days, make sure it is.  
    Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Twitter: @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.  
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  • 10 Beginner Website Mistakes You’re Probably Making

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015 by
    Top 10 Beginner Website Mistakes You're Probably Making
    If you run a business online or off then you understand the importance of having a website and online presence. However, if it’s your first website, or you designed your website yourself then you might have made mistakes. Luckily, a lot of these mistakes are easy to correct. If you’re relying on your website to drive traffic your way, then you’ll want your website to be a well-oiled machine. Below we highlight the ten mistakes that most beginners make, and what you can do to fix these issues.  

    1. Lack Of Vision

    Your website needs to exist for a definite reason, not simply because you think you should have an online presence. You need to decide upon the purpose of your website before you even begin building. Your website must have a definite purpose, as every page on your website will work to fulfill this purpose. For example, your website could be used to build authority, source new leads, sell a product or service, give information about your business, and much more. You’ll want your user to land on your website and immediately know what your website is all about.  

    2. Rushing To Market

    Instead of getting your website up as soon as possible it’s important you take time to research your market first. For example, if you have an older target market you’ll need to make sure your website is easy to read, digest, and navigate. By having an understanding of your market first you’ll be able to build a website that actually serves them, instead of simply taking up space.  

    3. Complicated Design

    In order to have a successful website it needs to be simple, not flashy. Having an overcomplicated design will only lead to confusion. The goal of your design should be to create the best possible user experience across your website.  

    4. Design Is Too Trendy

    Trends come and go, but timeless design lasts forever. By building your website on the back of solid design principles you’ll be able to create a website that outlasts certain trends and fads. Websites that rely on trends will become outdated very quickly.  

    5. Out-Of-Date Content

    If you haven’t updated your content in years then chances are it’s not up to date with your current business, or the latest web standards. If you have older content your site your visitors may assume you’re out of business, or aren’t as innovative as your competition. If you have a blog make sure you update it on a regular basis, as nothing looks worse than a vacant blog.  

    6. Poor Quality Photography

    Low-quality photography, or outdated stock photography gives your website an amateur feel and won’t do a lot to draw your visitor into your website. Images can help you build a connection with your audience, but only if they’re aligned with your message and business. Make sure you either hire a professional photographer, or use high-quality stock photos that aren’t cheesy.  

    7. Having Broken Elements/Links

    Every element of your website needs to be working. This means you need to test all of your links and pages, so your users don’t end up with the dreaded 404 page. You’ll also want to check all of your internal links to make sure you’re not leading your users to a dead end.  

    8. Poorly Designed Logo

    Your logo is a central piece of your branding. By designing your logo yourself, or getting a cheap logo designed, you won’t do much to further your branding or website. Although your logo is a subtle part of your design it can communicate a lot about your business.  

    9. Poor Font Choice

    Font choice is another subtle element that most business owners neglect. The font you choose needs to compliment your design and increase the readability of your content. This is when it can be helpful to consult the opinion of a professional designer. But, if you’re choosing your own font choice the simpler font is often the better choice.  

    10. No Call-To-Action

    You must lead your visitors somewhere. A website without a call-to-action is akin to nothing more than a virtual business card. Once you’ve proven yourself valuable to your visitors you need to direct them to take action. That action can be signing up for your email list, giving your business a call, or a multitude of other options. Getting your website into tip top shape can take a lot of work. But, it’s time well spent because a well functioning website will help your business grow for the long-term.
  • How To Successfully Pitch A Guest Post

    Wednesday, September 30, 2015 by
    How To Successfully Pitch A Guest Post
      If you’re planning on using guest posting as a part of your content marketing strategy, it’s important to get it right. A lot of popular bloggers and high-traffic websites receive a ton of guest post pitches every single day. Luckily for you, most of them are pretty terrible. If you spend time crafting the perfect guest post pitch you’ll increase your chances of your post being accepted and hopefully build a long-term relationship with the blogger. Below you’ll find our tips that will increase your chances of landing a guest post on your dream blog or website.  

    1. Build Rapport And Show That You Care

    Often, people simply ask to write a guest post without taking the time to build up any kind of relationship. Before you pitch, especially if it’s a single author blog, it’s important you take the time to email them, comment on a blog post, or purchase one of their products. This helps to highlight that you’re an active member of their community and you actually care about the work of the author. You can even build rapport within your email by mentioning how long you’ve been a fan by referencing a few of your favorite posts. Some people have even had success by mentioning a shared interest. For example, maybe both of you are very interested in windsurfing. Building a connection that’s outside of the business space can be very valuable and will help you stand out.  

    2. Be A Case Study

    Have you implemented one of their strategies, or frameworks, and found success in your business and life? If so, then mention it. This can even be the topic of your blog post. A successful case study not only provides value to their readers, but it also provides massive social proof that what the author is sharing actually works.  

    3. Illustrate Your Value

    When designing your guest post pitch make sure you gear your post towards the audience of the blog you’re writing for. It can be useful to take a look through their most popular posts, as these resonate highly with the audience. When you’re crafting potential titles for your blog posts make sure they mimic past successful post formats. It can be helpful to mention your background and any other posts you might have written, but make the topic of your email geared towards the value you can bring to them and their audience, not your accolades alone.  

    4. Give Multiple Options

    When pitching potential posts it can be helpful to give them more than one option to choose from. Don’t overwhelm them with post ideas. You can always pitch them again, but give them at least three post topics to choose from. Never write the post first, unless the blog demands it. Always ensure your idea is approved before diving into the writing process. This will save you valuable time.  

    5. Realize You’re Dealing With People

    In the end, it’s always important to remember there’s another person on the end of your email exchange. It can be all too easy to distance ourselves across the digital landscape. Think about what kind of emails you love to receive and reply to and structure your pitch accordingly. Give them the needed information and nothing more. By following the tips above you’ll increase your chances of landing a guest post on a blog or website that has the potential to grow your authority and send traffic back to your website.