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  • 5 College Entrepreneurs Whose Online Businesses Paid For Their Education

    Wednesday, August 24, 2016 by
    College Entrepreneurs

    Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become household names in recent years, as they’ve enabled the launch of such products as the Pebble Watch and the Veronica Mars movie. According to Business Insider, now university students are cashing in on the trend, with “the number of GoFundMe campaigns specifically mentioning ‘tuition’ having risen 4,547% from 2011 to 2014.”

    With the increasing cost of university tuition, it should come as no surprise that students are unearthing whatever revenue streams they can.

    While some students turn to crowdfunding to help with tuition costs, others question why they should have to wait until graduation to start their own business. Five of these enterprising students shared with HostGator how their online businesses grew from ideas to cash cows.

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    1. Pandy Apparel

    Founded by Kate Delossantos, University of Maryland at College Park

    Pandy Apparel

    Kate hopped on the crowdfunding trend to test the viability of her business idea. “Back in the summer of 2015, I held a successful Kickstarter to print my very own line of clothing. After I sent out the clothing to my backers, I was really happy and excited that people liked the clothes I made. That's when I decided to start my own online clothing store, which I named pandy apparel.”

    In addition to designing the clothing, Kate creates all the graphics and photography for the site and codes the layout. She credits this experience for helping her decide her college major. “After putting so much work into it, I realized that this was the kind of thing I was really passionate about, and I changed from a computer science major to an art major.”


    2. Board Blazers

    Founded by Greg Rudolph, Arizona State University

    Board Blazers

    They say all it takes is one good idea, and in Greg’s case, that idea was based on something as simple as duct tape. Greg is now a graduate student pursuing his MBA, and he still marvels at how one innocuous observation grew into a worldwide business:

    “After I spotted a student who had duct-taped Christmas lights to his skateboard riding around the Arizona State University campus one night in 2011, I was inspired with the idea for Board Blazers LED Underglow Skateboard Lights. I risked most of my personal savings and started the company while an undergrad at ASU at age 20 in March 2012. Since then, the company has grown surprisingly to sales in all 50 states and 35 countries around the world. Our lights have been featured at SXSW, by celebrity Casey Niestat, and by pro skater Tech Na$ty.”


    3. MOVE

    Founded by Ashley Olafsen, University of Massachusetts Amherst

    MOVE Official

    When they were just teenagers, Ashley and her best friend Lexie Phipps founded MOVE, which stands for Motivate. Overcome. Value. Empower. The duo is “dedicated to working with middle and high school aged girls on body image, media, self esteem, mental health, and more.”

    Not only do they host workshops and summer programs, but Ashley has already achieved one of her life goals, giving a TED Talk. You can shop MOVE’s products or sign up for a workshop at their website.


    4. Ace Work Gear

    Founded by Max Robinson, Imperial College London

    Ace Work Gear

    Max had made a hobby out of building websites for fun, but it wasn’t until a friend introduced him to e-commerce that he considered doing something similar.

    Based in Fife, Scotland, Ace Work Gear sells and ships hardware tools and workwear to construction businesses worldwide. “It took me quite a while to build the site properly and I had to find a company that was willing to rent the website from me, but I'm very happy with how it turned out and continue to make updates and adjustments on a weekly basis. I've even been able to use the website as part of my college portfolio!”


    5. Game Learners

    Founded by Ravel Charles, Northeastern University

    Game Learners

    Game Learners serves as an online resource to help gamers and parents tap into the educational power and health benefits of video games. Not only did Ravel start Game Learners as a student, but he was also inspired by one of his classes.

    “I realized how similar one of my favorite video games was to the concepts I learned that day in my Project Management class. That day I learned about the project management life cycle and managing a project. As I was learning about it I realized that the concepts came easier to me because it was very similar to how I play Franchise Mode (Called MyGM Mode) in NBA 2K16 and manage my own sports team. In the video game, the owner of the team will give directions and I will have to make sure to complete them in a timely fashion, with goals that needed to be achieved along the way. This is similar to managing a project in real life. From there, I thought, how can other children benefit from this type of learning?”

    Ravel keeps the website open-source and free for members, making money off of advertising.

    Bonus Entrepreneur: HostGator


    HostGator was originally founded in a dorm room in Florida Atlantic University. We've since grown to be a global provider of web hosting and related services with over 500 employees working out of offices all over the world!

    Are you inspired by these student entrepreneurs? Start your online business today with your very own website from HostGator.

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  • Webinar: Optimize Your Landing Pages for Conversions and SEO!

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016 by
    Webinar Optimize Landing Pages for Conversions and SEO Landing pages are a key part of any online marketing strategy. They're the perfect spot to send customers to drive sales, generate leads, or build your subscriber list. With typical average conversion rates of 3%, it makes sense that less than a quarter of business owners are satisfied with their conversion rates. You don't have to settle for a 3% conversion rate, though, and you don't need to toil for months over your computer screen in order to improve it. Wishpond has made a science out of optimizing landing pages, and their methods work. They've been able to help their clients achieve average conversion rates from 9.87% (B2C) to over 13% (B2B). That's why we've partnered with them for a free webinar. Please join us for a half-hour where we'll show you just how easy it is to set up landing pages on your website, and how to optimize them for SEO and conversions. If you've ever found yourself asking any of the questions below, you'll want to join us Tuesday, September 20th, at 1pm Central.
    • What is a landing page?
    • How do I optimize my landing pages for SEO to reach more customers for free? 
    • How can I set up my website and create landing pages?
    • What are the best practices for a successful landing page that drives conversions?
    By the end of the webinar, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to set up a basic website, optimize your landing pages for SEO and conversions, and be excited to see the leads start rolling in. Presented by Bree Nakatani, Customer Success Manager for Wishpond and Amelia Willson, Content Marketing Manager for HostGator.

    Register Now!

    Once you register, be sure to enter our contest to win a year of free hosting from HostGator and a year of Wishpond's Pro Plan! Click here to enter.

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  • Happy Friendship Day! 7 Reasons Why Going Into Business With Your Friend Can Be Truly Great

    Tuesday, August 2, 2016 by
    Friendship Day

    Jobs and Wozniak, Hewlett and Packard, Procter and Gamble, Ben & Jerry… there’s a reason these famous business partnerships resonate with us. These companies (and many more) were founded by friends.

    And it makes sense. We hear of the inventor who single-handedly had the bright idea to do x or y and change the world, but when it comes to business, we often hear stories of friends experiencing something together, or waxing philosophically, when one of them says something along the lines of, “Hey, what if we did this?”

    With Friendship Day coming up this Sunday, we at HostGator reached out to entrepreneurs who had started businesses with their friends. We wanted to know: What’s unique about having a friend as a business partner? What are the pros and cons to running a business with your friend?

    Overwhelmingly, the entrepreneurs responded positively, eager to share the advantages that make co-founding a business with your friend an unparalleled experience.


    1. Your friendship defines the office culture

    When you’re working with friends, work simply becomes more fun. Shared laughter and inside jokes are invaluable as you’re working on the monumental task of building a business.

    [caption id="attachment_11716" align="alignright" width="240"]Mallory Musante and Anna Osgoodby Mallory Musante and Anna Osgoodby[/caption]

    Mallory Musante, co-founder of Bold & Pop with Anna Osgoodby, says it’s the best of both worlds. “Not only does having a friend/business partner make running a business easier with the support they provide but it also makes it fun! We may get stressed but we’re there to pull each other up and then celebrate with each other later!”

    Granted, there are those who tout the importance of having a work/life balance, but many co-founding friends embrace bringing their life to work.

    “[As] an entrepreneur, it is hard to balance work with a healthy social life as I am constantly trying to promote and develop my business. Having a friend as my business partner helps make the balance much easier,” shares Ravel Charles, who started Game Learners with friend and college classmate Samantha Gignac. “It makes for a fun working environment. The ‘office-culture’ is dictated directly by our friendship.”


    2. You have each other’s backs

    It’s not rocket science - of course it’s easier to trust your new business partner when it’s someone you’ve been friends with for years. This foundation of trust allows you to focus on the task at hand of building and growing your business.

    BonAppetour is a startup founded by Rinita Vanjre and Inez Wihardjo, who met at university and came up with their business idea when they were backpacking around Europe and couldn’t find a restaurant that was open. Having that trust established allowed them to move forward towards growing their business, rather than getting bogged down in some of the legal particulars of founding a company.

    “It’s easy to trust each other, and not doubt the other person, especially in the early stages of the business when the most important thing is the growth, rather than things like getting equity papers sorted out, and the shareholding structure… Of course, that is important, but when there is a comfortable friendship already, setting up those structures takes a backseat in the face of growth.”

    [caption id="attachment_11715" align="aligncenter" width="570"]Rinita Vanjre and Inez Wihardjo Rinita Vanjre and Inez Wihardjo[/caption]    

    3. You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses

    Part of what makes friendship great is that we are aware of our friends’ faults, but we love them anyway. Lifelong friends also know what their friends can do better than they can.

    Successful business partnerships often involve founders who complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You have this with Walt and Roy Disney. Walt was the unbridled creative, and Roy was the sensible financier.

    Aron Ezra and Keith Michel are childhood friends and have co-founded two businesses together, the most recent of which is OfferCraft, a software startup in the hospitality industry. Having worked together for nearly a decade, they can provide a unique perspective.

    Their advice for new entrepreneurs? Find a co-founder who loves doing the things you hate doing.

    [caption id="attachment_11714" align="alignleft" width="250"]Dan Grech Dan Grech[/caption]

    Dan Grech, VP of Marketing and Public Relations for OfferCraft, says this is why they work so well together. “Aron loves talking about the business to new people, whether it's reporters, sales prospects or recruits; Keith prefers working intensely with members of his team. Aron enjoys coming up with new ideas; Keith loves figuring out ways to turn those ideas into elegant pieces of code. When you are friends, you understand each other -- both your similar values and your different preferences. By understanding your differences, you never step on your co-founders' toes. In fact, Aron and Keith are always incredibly relieved (and a little incredulous) when the second person happily steps up to tackle the tasks that the first person is dreading.”


    4. You’re more accountable

    Going into business with a friend has a tendency to raise the stakes.

    When their best friendship turned long-distance, Michael Noker and Jessica Cadena launched the Get Two Fit fitness blog to stay in touch. Michael shared, “The emotional attachment you have to your business doubles, triples, explodes through the roof. It's not just your baby - it's the product of your relationship. The stakes are high because failure could mean fallout. We have to compartmentalize pretty much constantly, because it needs to be clear when we're talking business or friendship, work or play.”

    [caption id="attachment_11713" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Jessica Cadena and Michael Noker Jessica Cadena and Michael Noker[/caption]

    Michael attributes their productivity to their devotion to their friendship. “As an entrepreneur, you're married to your passion. You invest all your time, money, and energy - everything you need for a social life, health, and sanity. When you're going into business with a friend, you're married to your passion and to another person. You have someone to bounce ideas off of. You can cheer each other on. You're accountable to somebody. You each have strengths and weaknesses, so you can split the workload. You can't fail because you don't know what it would mean for the friendship, so you work that much harder. It's scary, it's precarious, and it's not for everybody, but when it works, it works perfectly.”


    5. You know how to support each other

    The saccharine phrase “that’s what friends are for” holds true in business, too. Friends can tell when you’re feeling down, and they know how to give you a boost when you need it most.

    [caption id="attachment_11711" align="alignright" width="210"]Dave and Olly Olly Mooney and Dave Hartshorne[/caption]

    Dave Hartshorne and Olly Mooney were friends for over a decade before they started the digital agency Dijitul. “We know when the other one is having a bad day, when to try and cheer them up, and when to stay well clear and let them have their moment! Basically, we know what makes each other tick,” they shared. “This has meant we've managed to work together for over ten years now and stay really good friends despite all the stresses that having a business brings.”

    [caption id="attachment_11712" align="alignleft" width="150"]Yuri Khlystov Yuri Khlystov[/caption]

    Yuri Khlystov, co-founder of Laowai Career job board, says the dynamic between business partners is more like a friendship than people may think. “Businesses run for years and require stable and trustworthy people to work side by side, just like a good friendship. To be an entrepreneur, you have to love what you do. Having a friend through thick and thin who is going through what you are going through provides stability (and is fun!).”


    6. You already have experience solving problems together.

    If you’ve been friends for some time, chances are you’ve already solved problems together, whether it’s as simple of a decision as deciding where to go out to eat, or assigning chores as roommates. When Felicia Schneiderhan founded 30SecondstoFly, she recruited her best friend and roommate of nearly five years to lead the marketing team. 

    [caption id="attachment_11710" align="alignright" width="280"]Felicia Schneiderhan Felicia Schneiderhan[/caption]

    “Now we are dividing our time between New York, Bangkok, and Berlin, and are balancing the friendship and roommate situation with a work relationship,” Schneiderhan shares. “I think it is important to consciously work on maintaining a healthy relationship, both in business and personally. In our case, we even entered into a hierarchical asymmetry, which complicates it further. Against all odds, I think this setup works so well for us, because we learned to develop a bulletproof conflict-solving mechanism early on as roommates, even before we started working together. Whenever we face a situation in which we disagree or misunderstand each other, we care a lot about understanding the other’s perspective. We then look for a way to avoid similar conflict in the future.”


    7. Your friendship will survive, even if the business doesn’t.

    It’s sad, but true: eighty percent of new businesses fail within the first eighteen months. With the deck seemingly stacked against new businesses, having a friend as a co-owner can help tip the scale a bit back in your favor, as the six points above demonstrate. You know how to work with your co-founder, you trust them, and best yet, you’ve solved problems together before. Unfortunately, though, sometimes businesses just don’t work out.

    The silver lining here is that if your business fails, you’ll have a friend to lean on who knows exactly what you’re going through.

    Ryan RobinsonRyan Robinson has written extensively about starting a business with a friend, having done it himself a few years ago. He now advises entrepreneurs on starting their own side business. Robinson and his best friend experienced rapid growth after starting their business, but eventually the revenue “began to flatten out at a level that would only provide either two people with a mediocre income or one person with the type of lifestyle we both aspired to obtain. Despite experimenting with new growth levers, it was becoming apparent that our business was really best-suited to be ran by one person, which created some tension around whether one of us should continue with the company or if it should be shuttered to avoid damaging our friendship,” Robinson shares.

    After much late-night discussions, he decided to sell his half to his friend. They’ve remained best friends through it all, Robinson notes, but it did take a few months for them to be able to move on and return to being just friends. Based on his experience, Robinson recommends that new entrepreneurs “have very candid conversations about what your course of action will be in the event the business fails, one of you needs to be bought out or in the event of other negative outcomes that you'll want to plan for ahead of time.”

    Are you thinking of starting a business with a friend? We hope these entrepreneurial insights have inspired you!

    You know if you’re going to be starting a business, you're going to need a website. HostGator can help with that.

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  • Starting an Online Business? Here’s What’s Popular In Your State, According To Google

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016 by
    So, you've decided you want to go into business for yourself. Good for you! Started is half-done, as they say. But perhaps you're struggling with what to sell. Whether you're planning to run a brick-and-mortar store, operate an e-commerce site, or monetize your blog, HostGator's latest investigation may help you decide on a path to business success. We recently reviewed the top Google autocompletes for "best [state] ..." to find out what consumers are looking for when they think of your state. This list is a viable starting place for selling something in which people are interested.  

    The Most Common #1 Autocomplete for Each State

    Wondering what your state is most known for? Check out the map below, which reveals the #1 most searched for "best" item in each state. Best State Google Autocompletes Map by HostGator As you can see, "beaches" claimed the most #1 spots with a total of 16 states. In fact, beach-related terms represented 9.5% of all the searches. Looking at the individual state images below, you can see the beach theme shows up a lot. Analyzing the data, we discovered trends among other related word groups. Below is a list of the most popular word groups:
    • Hotels/lodging-related = 11.6%
    • Liquor-related (beers, wineries, etc) = 10%
    • Food-related (crab cakes, restaurants, etc) = 8.4%
    • Spectator sports (best basketball players, running backs, etc.) = 8.0%
    • Educational = 6.5%
    • Hunting/fishing = 2.7%
    Can you guess what the most searched for item was? Golf courses! The term showed up in the 28 of the state searches, with a tie for runner-up between "resorts" and "colleges," which each showed up in 25 of the state searches. Apparently, Americans love their golf. (As does Snappy, as you may remember from a recent post)  

    What's "Best" In Your State?

    Are you from one of these states? Let us know in the comments if you were surprised by any of the autocompletes. We'd also love to hear your suggestions for the "best" your state has to offer. Note: This data was collected in late June 2016 and is subject to change due to search trends. If you perform the same search and find something different, please let us know in the comments! Scroll below to discover the top ten Google autocompletes for your state.  

    Best Alabama...

    Best Alabama Google Autocomplete Similar to Indiana, the state of Alabama's thunder is partially stolen by the popular band Alabama Shakes. Notwithstanding the band-related searches, people are interested in Alabama recreation, BBQ, and football. Write a blog about the best Alabama beach towns and destinations or the best Alabama football players, optimize your site for SEO, and you could likely make a pretty penny off of ad traffic. Queries unique to Alabama:
    • players in NFL
    • rig
    • shakes album
    • shakes songs

    Best Alaska...

    Best Alaska Google Autocomplete The autocomplete results make it abundantly clear: Everybody wants to go on an Alaskan cruise. Starting your own cruise line is quite audacious, but you can jump on the cruise bandwagon in a multitude of other, much more feasible ways: become a travel agent, blog about the different cruise lines, or sell vacation gear. Autocompletes unique to Alaska:
    • cruise 2016
    • cruise deals
    • cruise ship
    • cruises from seattle
    • excursions
    • itinerary
    • land tours

    Best Arizona...

    Best Arizona Google Autocomplete As expected, Arizona golf courses are much sought after. But the less expected result is the interest in breweries. Beer enthusiasts, take heart! Critique the local brews or develop your own craft beer. It should be easy enough to get friends to help you taste-test. The oddball one here is "best Arizona flavors." If anyone has any idea what that's about, we'd love to know. Autocompletes unique to Arizona:
    • flavors

    Best Arkansas...

    Best Arkansas Google Autocomplete Outdoorsmen and earth-lovers seek adventure in Arkansas. Help them find it with a tourist guide. Alternatively, tap into the motorcycle culture with a blog devoted to reviewing different models or their favorite haunts along the highways. When in doubt, you could always get into the stone sharpening business. Autocompletes unique to Arkansas:
    • cabins
    • hiking trails
    • motorcycle roads
    • stones

    Best California...

    Best California Google Autocomplete No surprises here: inquiring minds want to know about the best beaches, wines, and olive oil in California. Launch an online business selling wines or olive oil. If you do this, be sure to name your business "Best California Wines" for optimum SEO impact. You could also start a college advising business and break down the pros and cons of the different universities. Autocompletes unique to California:
    • king mattress
    • olive oil

    Best Colorado...

    Best Colorado Google Autocomplete Everyone knows Colorado is a go-to vacation spot for snowbirds in the winter, but people need help figuring out where to go in the summer. Create a travel blog documenting your summertime visits throughout the state. Photographers can capitalize on these interests by adding galleries to their sites of the best mountain vistas, skier action photos, or town skylines. Autocompletes unique to Colorado:
    • summer destinations
    • summer vacations
    • towns in summer
    • towns to visit in summer

    Best Connecticut...

    Best Connecticut Google Autocomplete Who needs Cuba when you have Connecticut? Sell Connecticut cigars online or open up a humidor in your town. People love to dine in Connecticut, so review the restaurants and breweries on your local blog (or open up your own). Autocompletes unique to Connecticut:
    • cigars
    • towns to visit
    • wrapper cigars

    Best Delaware...

    Best Delaware Google Autocomplete In Delaware, it's all about the beaches, the schools, and... starting your own business! Offer freelance web development or design services to local schools to help give them a boost in the search engines. If you start a business, be sure to get a Delaware registered agent - every LLC and corporation operating in Denver needs one. Better yet, you could become one yourself. Autocompletes unique to Delaware:
    • beach for families

    Best Florida...

    Best Florida Google Autocomplete Unsurprisingly, Florida's autocomplete searches are dominated by visions of beaches. Find a popular beach near you, and zero in on a business opportunity that's clearly missing. If you don't want to run a beach-based business, or you live inland, start almost anything else. The competition should be much less steep. Autocompletes unique to Florida:
    • beaches near orlando
    • gulf beaches
    • key
    • keys beaches
    • keys resorts

    Best Georgia...

    Best Georgia Google Autocomplete People in Georgia are balanced. They care about having fun and drinking beer during their leisure time, just as much as they care about their education. Maybe the key to making money online in Georgia is by having ads on your site that appeal to whichever thing you're not selling - beer on a golf course site, beach resorts on a beer distributor site, beer on a school site... wait a minute. Never mind that last one.  

    Best Hawaii...

    Best Hawaii Google Autocomplete There's a reason those "Just Maui'd" shirts are popular. Hawaii is the only state to be a top honeymoon spot, according to Google's autocompletes. Enterprising business owners can create deals catered towards newlyweds, and new entrepreneurs could find ways to attract tourists towards their business by associating it with the beach, vacations, and resorts. Autocompletes unique to Hawaii:
    • deals
    • honeymoon
    • island
    • vacation
    • vacation packages
    • vacation spots

    Best Idaho...

    Best Idaho Google Autocomplete Whether it's fishing, camping, hunting, golfing, skiing, or hiking, there is a wide variety of outdoorsy activities for nature lovers to enjoy in Idaho, which means there are a lot of different niche business opportunities for you to explore! In fact, Idaho is the only state that has ten completely different auto-completes listed. Bravo! Autocompletes unique to Idaho:
    • fly fishing rivers

    Best Illinois...

    Best Illinois Google Autocomplete Illinois threw us for a loop. The state can't seem to decide whether it wants to focus on getting a good education, or simply getting wasted by any means possible (even if it takes a fake ID!). Tutors can grow their business by blogging about or advising on the top schools in the state. Realtors should be sure to know about the suburbs in their area. Sports fans could make a good living with a football website. Take all the fun of having a brewery, without the work, and devote yourself to reviewing state-crafted beers. Autocompletes unique to Illinois:
    • fake id

    Best Indiana...

    Best Indiana Google Autocomplete Indiana has a similar experience to Alabama, with some of its autocompletes getting outshined by the Indiana Jones franchise. Besides that, Indiana is all about basketball. Set up a basketball blog, forum, or fantasy team business, and you'll be well on your way to success. Autocompletes unique to Indiana:
    • hoosiers basketball players
    • jones game
    • jones movie
    • jones quotes
    • pacers players

    Best Iowa...

    Best Iowa Google Autocomplete Iowa loves its sports. Create a fan site devoted to the comings and goings of famous players, and you might just become the Perez Hilton of the Iowa sports world! If they're not watching sports, Iowans are hunting (and they're hunting whitetail in particular), so you could create a business catered to that crowd. Autocompletes unique to Iowa:
    • whitetail outfitters
    • wrestlers

    Best Kansas...

    Best Kansas Google Autocomplete What's better than eating meat and watching basketball? Combine those together and you'll have a successful business plan for the state of Kansas. Autocompletes unique to Kansas:
    • album
    • city bbq
    • city neighborhoods

    Best Kentucky...

    Best Kentucky Google Autocomplete It's all about the Kentucky Derby! Craft a fashion or interior design line inspired by the Kentucky Derby. Open up a event planning business and develop a Kentucky Derby-themed party. If you're not interested in the Kentucky Derby, basketball and whiskey are safe bets, too. Autocompletes unique to Kentucky:
    • bluegrass seed
    • derby dresses
    • derby hats
    • derby outfits
    • derby parties
    • derby times

    Best Louisiana...

    Best Louisiana Google Autocomplete Chefs, Louisiana may be just the place for you. Open your own restaurant, devise your own special hot sauce recipe, or start your own foodie blog devoted to crawfish, gumbo, and Creole food. Autocompletes unique to Louisiana:
    • casinos
    • crawfish boil recipe
    • food
    • gumbo recipe
    • hot sauce
    • plantations
    • swamp tours

    Best Maine...

    Best Maine Google Autocomplete Maine is another vacation destination. Plan your business around attracting tourists and helping them enjoy the best seaside experience. Autocompletes unique to Maine:
    • lobster

    Best Maryland...

    Best Maryland Google Autocomplete In Maryland, crabs are where it's at. Review the best crab restaurants and recipes the state has to offer, or create your own to share on your blog. Autocompletes unique to Maryland:
    • crab cake recipe
    • crab cakes
    • crab dip recipe
    • crabs

    Best Massachusetts...

    Best Massachusetts Google Autocomplete Cape Cod, anyone? When they're not focused on getting into the best schools, people want to know how the fastest way to the beach! Autocompletes unique to Massachusetts:
    • high schools

    Best Michigan...

    Best Michigan Google Autocomplete When they're not busy giving directions using the palms of their hands, Michiganders are drinking beer, watching sports, and enjoying their leisure time. A sports blog or beer review site should do well here.  

    Best Minnesota...

    Best Minnesota Google Autocomplete It's not called the Land of 10,000 Lakes for no reason. Help people find all 10,000 with map guides, tours, online reviews, or blogs about the lakes.  Better yet, open up a resort or brewery nearby. Autocompletes unique to Minnesota:
    • lake resorts

    Best Mississippi...

    Best Mississippi Google Autocomplete While Minnesota's all about its lakes, Mississippi is all about the river. If you don't want to open up a recreation or travel business, why not a dance studio to help people with their half-step or a cooking school to make the best Mississippi mud pie? You can film instructional videos to play on your website. Autocompletes unique to Mississippi:
    • half step
    • mud cake
    • mud cake recipe
    • mud pie recipe
    • river cruises
    • river towns
    • roast recipe

    Best Missouri...

    Best Missouri Google Autocomplete Missouri is a great place to spend time outdoors, exploring caves, camping, and hiking. The standout on this list is "small towns" - create an online road trip guide where you provide driving directions to hit all the quaint spots. Autocompletes unique to Missouri:
    • caves
    • float trips
    • small towns

    Best Montana...

    Best Montana Google Autocomplete With dude ranches and elk units in the top ten, it's clear Montana has retained some of its Wild West roots. Here you can live the cowboy dream with your very own ranch, or start an online outfitters' store to sell hunting, hiking, and skiing gear. Autocompletes unique to Montana:
    • dude ranches
    • of 300 lyrics
    • of 300 songs

    Best Nebraska...

    Best Nebraska Google Autocomplete Who says Napa Valley owns the market on wine? Sure, there are a lot of beer-drinking football aficionados in the state, but there's plenty of vinos too. Use YouTube to offer virtual wine-tasting classes, or to realize their dreams of being a sports commentator - all you have to do is create a channel. Autocompletes unique to Nebraska:
    • football team
    • wide receivers

    Best Nevada...

    Best Nevada Google Autocomplete Nevadans know there's much more to their state than Las Vegas. Happily, so do Google searchers. Create a virtual ghost town experience, or partner with local breweries to develop a ghost-themed draft. Got online marketing experience? Offer SEO services to the smaller cities to help them compete online with the Vegas tourist trap. Autocompletes unique to Nevada:
    • barr book
    • ghost towns

    Best New Hampshire...

    Best New Hampshire Google Autocomplete "Live Free or Die" is the state motto of New Hampshire, and it shows in their recreation. People come to this state to explore the wild and free outdoors, whether it's hiking, camping, skiing, or swimming. If you're outdoorsy, start your own business guiding people through your wilderness. More comfortable indoors? Develop online marketing campaigns for the businesses near you to help them show up in the Google search results.  

    Best New Jersey...

    Best New Jersey Google Autocomplete People are looking for the best cities, towns, and suburbs in New Jersey. There's a good chance these searches are from people looking to move there, so get your realtor license and make sure you have an online presence.  

    Best New Mexico...

    Best New Mexico Google Autocomplete There is a wide variety of tourist interests in New Mexico, and there's a business opportunity for any kind of entrepreneur. Like the cold? Do something for skiers. Prefer the heat? Focus on golfers. Like to stay active? Cater to camping and hunting enthusiasts? Prefer to lay low? Kick back and relax with the wine drinkers.  

    Best New York...

    Best New York Google Autocomplete And we thought Louisiana was the place to go for foodies! Calling all chefs, food bloggers, and restaurateurs - step right up and claim your food of choice. Autocompletes unique to New York:
    • bagels
    • cheesecake
    • cheesecake recipe
    • movies
    • pizza
    • style pizza

    Best North Carolina...

    Best North Carolina Google Autocomplete People love their North Carolina beach resorts, don't they? Open up a beach-related tourism business, and create suggested itineraries, hotels, and transportation options for the different beach towns. You could add a travel blog where you review all of your itineraries and the different accommodations and restaurants you visited.  

    Best North Dakota...

    Best North Dakota Google Autocomplete Sadly, what's notable about North Dakota is that it was the only state that inspired less than a full list of ten autocompletes. With a search query as vague as "attractions," people are clearing looking for things to do, which means any kind of recreational or leisure activity should be met with a warm welcome. Create a kooky roadside landmark or a business focused on fun! Autocompletes unique to North Dakota:
    • hockey players
    • mule deer unit

    Best Ohio...

    Best Ohio Google Autocomplete Ohio is big on sports, beer, and higher education. Start an online forum for high school students to interact with Ohio college students and alumni to get their questions answered. Launch a blog or podcast reviewing Ohio State's sports teams. Autocompletes unique to Ohio:
    • state football players
    • state running backs
    • universities

    Best Oklahoma...

    Best Oklahoma Google Autocomplete Similar to Ohio, there's a lot of interest in Oklahoma about the state university's sports teams. Develop a fan site dedicated to bios and stats of the individual players, or share your commentary about each game with a live blog. If you're not so into sports, you can always do your part to let people know that Minnesota's not the only state with great lakes. Autocompletes unique to Oklahoma:
    • casino

    Best Oregon...

    Best Oregon Google Autocomplete Vintners and winos, Oregon is your state! Review all of the state wines, or make your own to ship online from your very own e-commerce store. Advise people on the best local wines along the coast, or the best wine to drink while playing Oregon Trail. Autocompletes unique to Oregon:
    • coast hotels
    • coast towns
    • pinot noir
    • trail game

    Best Pennsylvania...

    Best Pennsylvania Google Autocomplete Who knew Pennsylvania was the place to be for flea markets? After "best Arizona flavors," this may be the oddest autocomplete yet. Get in on this trend by blogging about the best flea markets, what shoppers can expect with each one, and providing tips and tricks for scoring the best deals. Autocompletes unique to Pennsylvania:
    • flea markets

    Best Rhode Island...

    Best Rhode Island Google Autocomplete Many outsiders feel Rhode Island is quaint because it's so small, but this small state packs a big punch! Whether it's breweries, restaurants, golf courses, or beaches, there's a lot to do in Rhode Island, and it all goes well with clam chowder. Set up a reviews site dedicated to one of these search queries in particular, or share your own experiences by blogging about any of these. Autocompletes unique to Rhode Island:
    • clam chowder

    Best South Carolina...

    Best South Carolina Google Autocomplete South Carolina is a wonderful vacation destination, known in particular for its islands (it's the only state to have this search query). You could capitalize on all of these search queries by blogging about the best islands, and then the best beaches, BBQ, and golf available on those islands. Autocompletes unique to South Carolina:
    • islands
    • vacation spots

    Best South Dakota...

    Best South Dakota Google Autocomplete What's unique about South Dakota? Pheasant hunting. Use your website to sell gear, blog about the best pheasant hunting spots, or answer FAQs from out-of-towners. Provide tutorials on hunting and camping to post on YouTube and embed on your site. Create a recipe forum devoted to pheasants, and invite other users to post their creations. Autocompletes unique to South Dakota:
    • pheasant hunting
    • pheasant hunting lodge

    Best Tennessee...

    Best Tennessee Google Autocomplete What goes better with a camping trip than whiskey? Bourbon or BBQ, maybe. Tennessee has a rich culture for distilled beverages. Partner with local distilleries to help them distribute and sell their whiskeys online, or set up a reviews site that rates the best liquors Tennessee has to offer. Tennessee also has a lot to offer in terms of the great outdoors, so attract online visitors and ad traffic with a travel blog.  

    Best Texas...

    Best Texas Google Autocomplete Texans love to drink, and they're not particular about what they're drinking. This means you can zero in on your favorite type of drink, or you can use them all in your online business! Create an online blog about the best Texas wines, beers, and whiskey, and invite people to submit their own reviews or upload their favorite cocktail recipes. Send an email newsletter that announces the newcomers on the market each month. You could also sell ad space to the individual wineries and breweries. The unique one here is "country songs" - how many country songs can you name that are about Texas or by Texan singers? Tell us in the comments! As a Texas-based company, we at HostGator were shocked and dismayed that "best texas web hosts" was not a search result, but one can dream... Autocompletes unique to Texas:
    • country songs
    • travel

    Best Utah...

    Best Utah Google Autocomplete If you love exploring the great outdoors, Utah is the place to go. Guide tourists to the coolest parks, hikes, and resorts with a travel blog, forum, or reviews site. Set up a Utah Jazz fan site with profiles of all the players, the latest gossip, and a guide to the best seats. Autocompletes unique to Utah:
    • jazz players of all time
    • national parks

    Best Vermont...

    Best Vermont Google Autocomplete Mmm... Vermont maple syrup. We all saw that coming. Besides maple syrup, people come to Vermont for its coziness - it's the only state with searches for "bed and breakfast" and "inns" in the top ten autocompletes. Help them find the coziest place possible with an online reviews site or travel blog. Equip people with instructions on how to make their own maple syrup, or dishes that taste even better with maple syrup. Autocompletes unique to Vermont:
    • bed and breakfast
    • inns
    • maple syrup

    Best Virginia...

    Best Virginia Google Autocomplete Virginia Beach dominates the autocomplete results for Virginia. Review the best beach destinations and develop a travel guide to help beachgoers find restaurants, resorts, and seaside attractions. Alternately, you could take on the country ham craze and sell Virginia ham online, share recipes on a foodie blog, or review the sellers. Autocompletes unique to Virginia:
    • ham
    • woolf novel

    Best Washington...

    Best Washington Google Autocomplete So when we searched for Washington, the only thing that was able to hold its own among results for the nation's capital was "wines." No judgments. To give the state its due, we performed another search. Best Washington State Google Autocomplete While wine ranks #1, there is a nice variety of interests for Washington state. Open an advising business to help future undergrads find the right college for them, or create a travel blog to review the best beaches, resorts, parks, and other attractions in the state.  

    Best West Virginia...

    Best West Virginia Google Autocomplete West Virginia's top results are all completely different.  Start your own travel blog or basketball fan site. Help the ski resorts and golf courses stand out online by providing marketing or web development services.  

    Best Wisconsin...

    Best Wisconsin Google Autocomplete Like Vermont's maple syrup, it shouldn't come as a surprise that "cheese" appears in Wisconsin's search results. Blog about the best cheeses and incorporate online reviews to build your site content. Discuss the top dairies and farmers, and provide recipes and serving suggestions. Autocompletes unique to Wisconsin:
    • cheese
    • cheese curds
    • dells resorts
    • dells water parks

    Best Wyoming...

    Best Wyoming Google Autocomplete Hunters flock to Wisconsin for the antelope, the elk, and the fly fishing. Help them get more out of their trip by offering guides on nearby hotels and campgrounds, explaining state regulations, and revealing the best spots and times of year. Autocompletes unique to Wyoming:
    • antelope unit
    • fly fishing

    And In Conclusion...

    No matter where you live in these United States, opportunities abound for those possessing the entrepreneurial spirit. Do some quick research, locate your niche, and launch your new online business today!

    Get Started With HostGator!

  • Support Austin Pets Alive with HostGator!

    Thursday, July 7, 2016 by
    Austin Pets Alive Did you know July 16th is Love Your Rescue Pet Day? HostGator has been a long-time sponsor of local pet rescue organization Austin Pets Alive! (if you love cute puppies, be sure to check out this post). We are so excited to be a part of this year's fourth annual Love Your Rescue Pet Day, which benefits Austin Pets Alive! At HostGator, we're all about supporting local businesses and helping them get online. We also happen to love puppies, and so does our mascot Snappy. If you don't believe us, just check out the clip below:

    What is Love Your Rescue Pet Day?

    Love Your Rescue Pet Day is an Austin, TX-wide fundraising event that celebrates the love Austinites have for their rescue pets. Austin has been a no-kill city for 5 years now, and Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) plays a big role in keeping that trend alive. On Love Your Rescue Pet Day, local businesses show their support by donating 10% of the day's sales back to APA! You can find the full list of participating businesses here. HostGator's Austin office is the proud sponsor of the day's official adoption event at Town Lake Animal Center. Austin Pets Alive! has hundreds of adorable dogs and cats waiting to meet you. Don't miss out on the chance to cuddle with furry friends and find your new FURever friend!

    Support Austin Pets Alive with HostGator!

    If you stop by on Saturday, be sure to say "hi" to one of our Austin team members! Our trusty mascot Snappy will be there, and he'll be handing out exclusive gator-shaped treats for all the new dog owners. The homemade treats are baked right here in the U.S. and are sold by local Austin business, Grand Dog Bakery. The day is set to be a fun- and fur-filled event! Happy new pet owners will get the chance to post with their pet and Snappy. During your Snappy meet-and-greet, our team will be asking you all sorts of questions like, "What's your new pet's name?" or "How'd you guys meet?" or "Let's say your pet had a website. What would it be about?" Admittedly, the last question is kind of kooky, but we ARE a web hosting company, after all. Inquiring minds want to know! If you won't be able to make the event, we still want to hear from you! Share your rescue pet's story in the comments below and let us know what kind of website she or he would have. You can email me a photo at We'll choose our favorites to highlight on HostGator's social media channels. See you on July 16th! 7/18/16 Update: Love Your Rescue Pet Day was a success! Austin Pets Alive reported 41 adoptions for the day. Congratulations to all of the new pet owners! Snappy was so happy to share delicious dog treats with his new furry friends. Snappy Austin Pets Alive HostGator Free Dog Treats