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  • Need a Business Loan? Compare the Top Online Lenders

    Wednesday, September 7, 2016 by

    Need a Business Loan

    If you’re a small business owner and you need an infusion of capital to grow your company, an online lender option could be the best fit.

    Unlike traditional banks, online lenders don’t use extensive applications requiring years of tax returns. By answering a few basic questions and linking your business accounts, you can get access to thousands of dollars in cash in just a few days, or in some cases, just a few minutes.

    There are lots of online lenders out there, and each has its own way of doing business. Some online lenders may be better suited to your needs than others.



    Kabbage offers qualified businesses access to lines of credit up to $100,000.Through their quick application process, Kabbage reviews your business accounts (business checking, PayPal, Square, QuickBooks) to get a full picture of your business.

    Rather than repeatedly applying for a loan every time you need extra capital, you withdraw from a line of credit as needed. For instance, you might be approved for up to $50,000, but only draw $5,000 to cover the payroll of two new part-time employees for a month. A few months later, you could borrow another $2,000 to do an emergency inventory restock.

    The funds are always available, and they're accessible online or right from your phone using Kabbage’s mobile app. 

    Each time you borrow against that line of credit, you get between six months and one year to pay it back. Rather than charging interest, Kabbage assesses a monthly fee, between 1 and 12% of your total principal, when you qualify.

    While there are no prepayment penalties, a borrower doesn’t save much by paying the loan off early, since the highest fees are paid in the first two months.

    Pros: Ease of use; generous borrowing standards even for businesses without an extensive credit history, plus you can find out if you qualify in just a few minutes. For a limited time, HostGator is giving away a $100 Amazon* gift card to those who qualify.

    Cons: High fees in the first couple of months; shorter loan terms.


    PayPal Working Capital

    PayPal Working Capital is ideal for businesses that already process their sales through PayPal. Once you confirm your data with PayPal, it uses your sales history to determine your creditworthiness and the total loan amount you qualify for. Like Kabbage, it takes only a few minutes, and applicants get a decision quickly.

    PayPal Working Capital differs from Kabbage in several ways:

    • They offer set loans, rather than access to a line of credit. Total loan amounts vary, but are capped at a percentage (usually 15%) of a business’s yearly sales, with a maximum of $85,000.
    • Instead of paying the loan back on a monthly basis, PayPal takes a certain percentage of your sales each day. If you have no sales, then no fees are deducted.
    • You can only apply for another loan once a previous loan is paid off. With Kabbage, you have access to a line of credit, and each withdrawal is considered a separate loan in terms of its repayment schedule.
    • Rather than assessing a monthly fee, PayPal Working Capital charges a set fee for the entire loan, calculated based on the loan amount, your repayment percentage, and your PayPal sales history. The higher your repayment percentage (i.e., the amount of your daily sales PPWC takes), the lower your fee.
    • While repayment is based on daily sales, every 90 days a minimum payment is due. If their cut of your sales over that 90-day period doesn’t equal at least 10% of your total loan amount (the loan itself plus the fixed loan fee), then you’ll have to pay the difference.

    PayPal Working Capital is great for someone who’s already using PayPal to process their payments, and who needs a bit more flexibility when it comes to repayment.

    Pros: Repayment based on sales, rather than on time. Seamless integration with existing PayPal sales data.

    Cons: Only available to businesses that use PayPal to process transactions; borrowers must reapply for each additional loan, and can’t take out another loan until the previous one has been repaid.



    LendingTree is a peer-to-peer lender, though many of its so-called “peers” are really institutional lenders — like banks or mortgage companies. It acts as a marketplace where prospective borrowers enter some basic information, and lenders then compete for their loan. LendingTree isn’t solely in the small business space, and it offers personal loans, mortgages, and auto loans, among others.

    It also offers four different types of business loans: long-term loans, short-term loans, business lines of credit, and alternative financing (including cash advances and startup financing). All of these loan types have different requirements, different repayment periods, and different interest rates. Unlike many other online lenders, some LendingTree loans require a credit score, and even collateral. They do, however, offer much bigger loans than either Kabbage or PayPal Working Capital, and are thus more suitable for businesses looking to fund serious capital projects. These larger loans also have longer terms.

    Since LendingTree acts primarily as a marketplace, a sort of matchmaker between borrowers and lenders, there’s less uniformity and more complexity. The application process has been streamlined, and borrowers should hear back within a few days’ time. But LendingTree lacks the simplicity of either Kabbage or PayPal Working Capital.

    Pros: Lots of options, large loan amounts, and competitive rates from different lenders.

    Cons: Some major loans require collateral and use your personal credit score to determine your level of risk, which can eliminate businesses whose owners have a checkered credit history, even if their business is doing well. Many LendingTree loans require a personal guarantee, which makes the business owner personally liable for the loan should the business go under.


    Every small business is unique and has different financing needs. Before committing to an online lender, be sure to consider what’s most important to you, whether that be flexible repayment plans or easy access to funds.

    We hope this overview helped you decide on a lender for your small business loan. Remember, for a limited time, HostGator is giving away a $100 Amazon* gift card to those who qualify for Kabbage.

    *Customer will receive a $100 Amazon gift card upon submitting a qualified application to Kabbage by 11:59pm EST September 29, 2016 through the link provided in this post. The gift card promotion is being run by Endurance International Group. Gift cards will be delivered to qualified customers electronically October 29, 2016. Amazon is a trademark of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Amazon is in no way affiliated with or a sponsor of this promotion.
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  • Celebrate Programmers’ Day!

    Tuesday, September 6, 2016 by

    Programmers Day

    What do computer programmers do? Computer programmers spend a lot of time at their desks. They must be doing something, but most people have no idea what that something is. International Programmers' Day is a great time to learn what programmers do on a day-to-day basis, and to celebrate everything they do when they create software that assists us with numerous activities.

    The History of Programmers' Day

    The history of Programmers' Day begins in Russia in 2002. There, two men, Valentin Balt and Michael Cherviakov, worked for a computer software company called Parallel Technologies. In 2002, these two men decided to gather signatures on a petition to the government of Russia, proposing that there be an official holiday to honor computer programmers and everything they do. Approximately 7 years later, on July 24, 2009, the Ministry of Mass Media and Communications of Russia agreed to announce an official Russian holiday to honor computer programmers. This body of the government drafted an executive order hailing the new holiday.

    Finally, on September 11, 2009, the president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, signed the bill that made Programmers' Day happen. It took some time, but Balt and Cherviakov's idea finally became a reality. While Programmers' Day is not an official holiday in the US, it is none-the-less a day observed by programmers and non-programmers alike.

    When Does Programmers' Day Take Place?

    Programmers' Day is celebrated on the 256th day of each year, which is September 12th within a leap year and September 13th within a general year. This is significant for programmers, as Wikipedia explains:

    "The number 256 (2 to the eighth power) was chosen because it is the number of distinct values that can be represented with an eight-bit byte, a value well-known to programmers. 256 is also the highest power of two that is less than 365, the number of days in a common year." In binary code, the day is read as 1111 1111.

    If you are a programmer, you will notice that 1111 1111 is really 255 rather than 256. However, the code is correct because it is the 256th value. According to ProgrammerDay.info, "January 1st is 0000 0000 so if you celebrate Programmer Day on the 255th day you're guilty of an off by one error."

    What Kind of Work Do Computer Programmers Do?

    So what are we celebrating when we honor our programmers on International Programmers' Day? Well, we need to know what programmers do in order to celebrate everything they do. Sokanu.com tells us that "[a] computer programmer, or coder, is someone who writes computer software," and also that "[a] computer programmer figures out the process of designing, writing, testing, debugging/troubleshooting and maintaining the source code of computer programs. This source code is written in a programming language so the computer can 'understand' it. The code may be a modification of an existing source or something completely new." So let's take a closer looker at each of these jobs from the prospective of someone learning why we celebrate Programmers' Day.


    There is some debate regarding whether or not the design element of the work of a programmer is an art or a science. In reality, as Sokanu.com reminds us, it is both. An effective programmer must be able to see the aesthetic value of a design in order to properly engineer the code for the design. Then he/she must make sure the design makes sense to the average software user.


    Writing the code itself is the meat-and-potatoes of what the programmer does. Writing binary code can be challenging and grueling, so it takes a decent amount of stamina to look at and arrange those numbers all day long. But programmers' writing is what allows us to have all those phone apps and computer functions with which we interact daily.


    When writing, a programmer must constantly go back and test what he/she has written. The design, of course, is not worth much unless the program functions correctly.


    A programmer must know how to fix errors in a timely manner, often under the stress of tight deadlines, since many people wait for a new program to be debuted. People become impatient when things don't work properly, making the debugging/troubleshooting function a key part of what programmers do.

    Maintaining the source code

    Since elements change so rapidly in the world of computer programming, a programmer must keep his/her software up-to-the-minute. It is particularly important to keep software up to date within the competitive world of computers, where everyone is constantly racing to stay ahead of the game.

    Ways You Can Celebrate Programmers' Day

    So, we can see that there are many reasons to honor your favorite computer programmers on Programmers' Day. And what can we do to celebrate? ProgrammerDay.info has some suggestions:

    • Speak in code (or pseudocode) all day. Okay, this might be tough if you are not a programmer. Come to think of it, this might be tough even if you are a programmer. Certainly, very few people would understand you.
    • Decorate a tree with zeros and ones to make a binary tree. This could be fun. At least this is something the whole family can do together.
    • Make Happy Programmer Day cards using ASCII Art. This takes a bit of knowledge about ASCII Art, but one could use a different application if necessary.
    • Have a contest for the best binary pun/programming joke. This could be great for a bunch of programmers at a party. "A programmer walks into a bar…"
    • Have a programmer-themed cocktail. Binary punch, anyone?

    Thus, Programmers' Day is definitely a day to be celebrated. All over the world, we should show our appreciation for programmers this September.

    Are you a computer programmer? Let us know in the comments how you'd like to be honored on this special day.

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  • Airbnb, Uber — Now: The Rise of Online Lending

    Tuesday, August 23, 2016 by

    Online Lending

    Cash flow. It’s the #1 priority for any business owner.

    We can (and should) talk about passion, leadership, and full-stack/content/social marketing, but at the end of the day (and Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful would concur), cash is king.

    In the past, if you needed a loan for your business, you had to go to a bank. You had to dress up in your best suit, provide a ton of records, and go through an arduous application process.

    And after all that, there was no guarantee you'd be approved. It was stressful, tedious, and frustrating. Now there’s a faster, easier way to get the funding your small business needs. In a sense, it's an Uber for lending.


    Wait, There’s an Uber for Borrowing Funds?

    With online lending, you not only don’t have to go to a bank to get a loan, you don’t even need to leave your house! Instead of putting on your best suit, you can apply for a loan in your footie pajamas. (We don’t judge.) And your chances of approval are based on the health of your business rather than just your personal credit score.


    How Does Online Lending Work?

    Online lending lets you apply for a small business loan in just a few minutes with a few keystrokes (or taps on your phone). You’ll be spared the long wait to see if you’ve been approved, as most applicants hear back within minutes to just a couple of days. You could have access to the money your business needs as soon as the same day.

    Online lending has exploded in the last decade as nimble upstarts, armed with the insights of data and unburdened by the capital requirements of traditional banks, aim to disrupt lending the same way Uber has disrupted transportation and Airbnb has given hotels a run for their money.


    But What’s Wrong with Traditional Banks?

    Following the financial crisis, many risk-shy banks seriously cut back on their small business loans. Regulations designed to rein in the excesses of the subprime mortgage bubble further contributed to the crunch. According to Biz2Credit, only about 17% of small business loan applications are approved by big banks.

    That’s less than a one-in-five shot for any business owner needing an infusion of cash.


    Online Lenders Save Small Businesses

    Enter online lending, which, as an industry, has doubled in size every year since 2010. By 2014, it accounted for more than $12 billion in loans. While that’s just a growing slice of the lending pie, these new lenders are eager to expand to serve increasing numbers of customers.

    The loans (and lines of credit) given out by these companies can range from as little as $2,000 to as much as $100,000 and beyond. The terms of the loans can range from six months to several years. Interest rates vary, and some companies, like Kabbage, don’t charge interest in the traditional sense; rather, they assess a monthly fee, usually a small percentage of your principal, when you qualify.

    The application and approval process is also different for online lenders. Rather than require stacks of financial records, they review your business accounts, like PayPal QuickBooks, or a business checking account. They use technology to analyze your cash flow and give you a decision in just minutes. 

    Like with any source of funding, there are risks to online lending: Any business should be careful to invest funds in things that will provide a return and should only borrow what they can pay back. But used wisely, they can be an indispensable tool as you build your business from the ground up.

    Find out how much working capital you qualify for at Kabbage. HostGator is currently giving away $100 Amazon* gift cards to those with approved applications.


    *Customer will receive a $100 Amazon gift card upon submitting a qualified application to Kabbage by 11:59pm EST September 6, 2016 through the link provided in this post. The gift card promotion is being run by Endurance International Group. Gift cards will be delivered to qualified customers electronically October 6, 2016. Amazon is a trademark of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Amazon is in no way affiliated with or a sponsor of this promotion.

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  • 6 Surprising Ways You Can Use Snapchat For Business

    Monday, August 15, 2016 by

    Use Snapchat for Business

    Here’s an important stat: There are over 100 million daily active Snapchat users.

    One-hundred million (that’s a really BIG number) of people making weird little doodles, creating snaps, chats, and stories to share with friends, customers, and the world.

    [bctt tweet="There are over 100 million daily active Snapchat users, according to a report by @craigpsmith." username="hostgator"]

    With a growing number like this, it’s no wonder that many top corporate brands are working hard to monetize a piece of this Snapchat activity.

    Big brand names like Amazon, General Electric, The New York Times, and Taco Bell are among the most popular accounts. Plus celebrity personalities ranging from Kylie Jenner to Arnold Schwarzenegger have harnessed an abundance of followers.

    You might be thinking to yourself, “Self, you are not Justin Bieber or Marriott Hotels. Maybe there’s no place for you on Snapchat.”

    A reasonable question might be: Is Snapchat a real source of income, brand awareness, and customer engagement for smaller brands or individuals?

    Let’s take a closer look to find out how the average Jane and Joe business owner can use Snapchat.


    1. Qualify your audience.

    Be logical. Make sure that your target audience is on Snapchat before investing time in a social channel that can’t deliver. If you’re catering to the 55+ crowd, move along. Snapchat is a predominantly millennial platform with ages 18-24 being the highest user demographic in 2016.

    Snapchat users


    2. Watch & learn.

    One of these social media platforms is not like the others, and that’s Snapchat. Because it’s different from the Facebooks and the Twitters, the learning curve might be a little more steep, so get the app, set up an account, look around, and add your favorite brands and icons. Watch their stories; marvel at their artwork and creativity. Learn from the best.

    Here’s a few top accounts you can add when getting started:

    • Gary Vaynerchuk (garyvee)

    Vaynerchuk, a down and dirty roll-up-your-sleeves business mogul is fond of recording even the most seemingly mundane moments of his day. His snaps present him as a real entrepreneur struggling through his workday like the rest of us. He offers inspiration through his tough love, no nonsense approach and authentically raw messaging.

    • Mike Platco (mplatco)

    Platco started out by creating what he dubs snapterpieces. By following his artistic bliss (often referencing Harry Potter, Star Wars, and The Hunger Games) he’s now a top influencer who’s partnered up with GrubHub, Disney, Marriott Hotels, T-Mobile, and more.


    Want to follow more? Here’s a seriously comprehensive list of top user accounts.


    3. Add nearby friends.

    If you’re a brick and mortar store owner, a cool way to grab snapchat followers is to encourage them to open their Snapchat app and click on “Add Friends” followed by “Add Nearby.” As long as your business’ Snapchat app is open you’ll be automatically added to their feed. This means they can see whatever stories you post. (Hint: a Snapchat story is any blend of quick images and videos you put together with or without additional text/fonts/colors/drawings).

    Snapchat Add Nearby


    4. Encourage user-generated content. 

    Ask your users to snap themselves with your product or in a particular location (at the office, on vacation). This will depend upon what it is you’re selling, but the idea is that content begets content and the more of it you have out in the ether about your brand, the better.

    For more on this idea, check out our article on influencer marketing for small business.


    5. Show ‘em how the sausage is made.

    Snapchat provides and cool and casual way to show your audience a behind-the-scenes look at what your company and team are up to. Some ideas to share may include company outings, happy customers, new products, conferences -- really any goofy thing that humanizes you and your business.


    6. Add a geofilter.

    If you’re aiming to reach a target audience in a specific location, you can pay to add a geofilter that uses a pre-made image/text template to your messaging. This is useful if you’re working to get the word out about a new product launch, sale, or big event.

    The HostGator team was recently in New York City for a marketing conference. We set up a geofilter in Times Square to run for two days from 8am to 8pm. It was used 131 times!

    HostGator Snapchat

    Is your business using Snapchat? Let us know in the comments!

  • Choosing Between Drupal vs Magento

    Friday, August 12, 2016 by

    Drupal vs Magento

    Drupal or Magento?

    Which platform should you choose for your e-commerce site? Good, robust website hosting companies can host either for you, so which is best for your business?

    There's no simple answer. You must examine both solutions and see how they fit with the needs of you and your e-commerce business.

    What is Magento?

    It's an open-source platform designed for e-commerce dating back to 2008. It's written in the PHP language, includes pieces of the Zend Framework and uses the MySQL relational database system.

    Ebay owned the company for four years, but spun it off in November 2015, and it's now backed by the Permira Funds. Permira is a global investment firm that makes long-term investments. Their support gives Magento stability, demonstrating they will remain in business for years to come.

    E-commerce sites and stores using Magento take in over $50 billion annually.

    Magento Suite of Products

    Community Edition

    This is their basic product, it's free, and over 250,000 online stores use it. If you're a small business owner who just wants to get up and running, this edition may satisfy you, especially if you're comfortable with learning to handle some of the technical details yourself. It comes with a shopping cart ready to take orders in nearly all languages, currencies and local tax rates.

    It's open source, so it has the support of an active community of developers. Shop for standard Magento modules in the Marketplace or hire a developer to create an extension or update customized just for your site.

    A good website hosting provider has Magento Community ready for you to install (happily, HostGator proudly falls in this category). You will have the default version up and running in a short time.

    Enterprise Edition, with 2.1 Release

    This is the Magento flagship. It comes with a large number of tools to show off your products, give customers speedy checkout service and let them access your site on every kind of device from desktops to mobile phones and tablets. It comes with built-in ways to increase shopper engagement, reward their loyalty and encourage repeat shoppers. It's still open source, and so integrates with third-party solutions. You hire developers, or use your own, to customize the site to your satisfaction.

    Other Editions

    Magento also has specialized solutions for small businesses in Germany, B2B companies and fashion stores.

    What if you need an omnichannel solution to take orders and manage customers across many platforms, from your website to drop-shipping orders to warehouses? Do you need to manage different multiple fulfillment centers? Check out their Commerce Order Management solution.

    Well-Known Brands Using Magento

    • Vizio
    • Rosetta Stone
    • Zumiez
    • Alex and Ani
    • Ghirardelli
    • Fun4Kids

    What is Drupal?

    Like Magento, it is open source. That means it is continually developed by many thousands of interested programmers. It started out as a content management system, but now is basically a framework. It can support any type of website from a small blog to a large government website to a discussion forum and an e-commerce store.

    Drupal is also written in PHP. It has a standard release known as the Core. Developers in the Drupal community have contributed over 30,000 modules that fit in with the Core to provide additional functionality.

    Every good web host should have Drupal ready for fast and easy installation (click here to learn more about our Drupal hosting plans). It's popular. At least a million websites use it, some of them quite large and well-known. 8.1.3 is the current version.

    Drupal Commerce

    This provides the Drupal Core with e-commerce functionality. It displays products, accepts orders, tracks invoices and monitors payments.

    There are many additional modules available for free for linking to shopping carts, payment gateways and shipping services.

    Drupal Commerce is a separate installation and configuration from installing Drupal Core using cPanel.

    Well-Known Brands Using Drupal Commerce

    • Time Warner Music
    • The United Kingdom Royal Mail
    • First4Numbers
    • Doctors of BC
    • Tech Coast Angels
    • SproutOnline

    Differences Between Drupal and Magento

    Magento was designed for e-commerce, whereas Drupal was designed for content management. As a result, you'll need to modify Magento in order to provide content.

    Both Magento Community and Drupal Core install easily from cPanel, but Drupal Core installs easily from Cpanel, but Drupal Commerce requires additional steps that some business owners may need to delegate or outsource.

    Both Magento and Drupal Core are highly scalable, but Drupal Commerce doesn't categorize products as deeply.

    Magento draws traffic, but Drupal has the edge at SEO.

    Magento also has additional features, such as a "narrow down" search that allows customers to more easily find what they want, and promotional options to incentivize repeat shopping, reduce shopping cart abandonment and more. You can use coupons and add calls to action.

    General Conclusions

    Large e-commerce businesses that plan to sell hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in products can afford Magento Enterprise and the developers they'll need to hire to customize their store to their desired specifications.

    Small e-commerce businesses that plan to integrate a lot of content with their product offerings should go with Drupal Commerce.

    Small e-commerce businesses that simply want to list their products for sale and take orders will get the best value from Magento Community.

    Therefore, choosing between Magento and Drupal is not a contest, just a business decision.

    Start selling online today with HostGator! We offer both Magento and Drupal hosting.

    Get Started With HostGator!