Kristen Hicks, Author at HostGator Blog

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  • 23 Resources for Side Hustlers

    Monday, September 11, 2017 by
    Resources for Side Hustlers

    23 Blogs and Podcasts to Help You with Your Side Hustle

    Side hustles aren’t anything new. People have always looked for (and found) ways to make a little money on the side to supplement whatever they made at their main job. But the rise of the gig economy and the development of new technology platforms that match people wanting to make money with people willing to pay for a wide range of services has made side hustling into a significant part of the economy. About 10% of people in the United States participate in the gig economy in some form or another. If you’re considering joining the fray and starting a side hustle to pay off those loans faster or make some extra spending money, here are a few good resources to help you get started. HostGator Website Builder

    Resources for Finding Your Side Hustle

    If you’re at the stage of figuring out exactly what you want to do and how this whole side hustle thing even works, there are a number of resources that tackle the general subject of having a side hustle.  

    1. Side Hustle School

    Side Hustle School consists of a daily podcast, in-person workshops, and a book that’s coming out soon. It’s a comprehensive, multi-format project to help people figure out how to develop a successful side hustle.  

    2. Side Hustle Nation

    Side Hustle Nation is a podcast and blog filled with advice on how to build a side hustle. The site offers side hustle business ideas, information on how to get a side hustle business set up, and tips on how to promote and manage your side hustle to make more.  

    3. Side Hustle Pro

    Side Hustle Pro is a podcast focused on black women entrepreneurs that started a side hustle and turned it into a profitable business. For those who could use some inspiration by hearing stories of people that have already developed a successful side hustle, this podcast is a good resource.  

    4. Side Hustle Show

    The Side Hustle Show is a podcast that covers tips and actionable advice about starting a part-time business. The topics on the podcast are fairly wide ranging, covering information on passive income, freelancing, self-publishing and more.  

    5. Ryan Robinson

    Ryan Robinson has a podcast and blog devoted to advice on building a side hustle and interviews with people have that have done so successfully. You can learn tips on getting started, advice on how to market your business, and insights from side hustle success stories.  

    Side Hustle Resources for Managing Your Time and Money

    6. Penny Hoarder

    Penny Hoarder is another personal finance site that includes a section devoted to Side Gigs. Their posts can help you figure out new ways to make money and advice on how to keep more of the money you make from your side hustles.  

    7. Believe in a Budget

    Kristen Larsen has a blog and guide that provide useful information on how to start and maintain a side hustle. She collects ideas for different side hustles people can try and provides tips from her own experience building a side hustle business.  

    8. Two Inboxes

    Two Inboxes is a podcast produced by Forbes featuring interviews with people who manage multiple roles at once (hence the need for more than one inbox). The interviews get into the different types of work that guests do, as well as learning how to balance multiple types of work at one time.  

    9. Budgets are Sexy

    Budgets are Sexy is a blog that covers a range of personal finance topics. What makes them especially relevant to this post is their Side Hustle Series, which covers a wide range of ways people can make money on the side.  

    Side Hustle Resources for Rideshare Drivers

    10. The Rideshare Guy

    Harry, the Rideshare Guy, got into rideshare driving early and started his site as a way to provide useful information to other drivers. He’s become one of the foremost experts on learning the ropes and making money as a rideshare driver.  

    11. Rideshare Apps

    Rideshare Apps is a site and community that covers industry news and promotions, and provides training resources to help new rideshare drivers learn how to maximize their profits.  

    12. Ridester

    Ridester is a blog that answers common rideshare questions and covers promotions from rideshare companies.  

    13. Rideshare Report

    Rideshare Report is another site with a blog that covers industry news and promotions. It also includes a forum where rideshare drivers can learn from and interact with each other.  

    Side Hustle Resources for House Sitters

    14. We Love House Sitting

    We Love House Sitting provides articles with tips on how to be a successful house sitter, which networks help you find clients, and advice on skills you may need when working as a house sitter – like taking care of dogs and landscaping.  

    15. Hecktic Travels

    Hecktic Travels is a travel website with a lot of information on how to find and take advantage of house sitting opportunities while you travel. The couple behind the site promote good house sitting opportunities they come across and sell an ebook on how to become a house sitter.  

    16. Housesitting Magazine

    Housesitting Magazine is both a print magazine and a website with information about house sitting. They provide comparisons of different house sitting platforms, recommendations for books about house sitting, advice on creating a good house sitting profile and more.  

    Side Hustle Resources for Vacation Rentals

    17. The Abundant Host

    The Abundant Host is a blog that’s all about how to be a successful host on Airbnb. The blog covers best practices, mistakes to avoid, and tools Airbnb hosts can take advantage of to get more from the site.  

    18. Get Paid for Your Pad

    Get Paid for Your Pad is a book, blog, and podcast all about making money by renting out your property. They provide information on things like getting your listing just right, how to handle cancellations, and how to encourage good reviews.  

    19. Pillow

    Pillow is a blog that provides advice for people who offer vacation rentals. They cover topics like hiring a cleaning service for your rental, security tips, and vacation rental trends it’s good to be aware of.  

    20. Laptop Landlord

    Laptop Landlord provides a guide that covers Airbnb tips and best practices. It covers both the basics that newbies need to know and tips for getting more out of your listing once you’re established.  

    Side Hustle Resources for Dog Sitters

    21. Rover

    One of the main platforms for matching pet sitters with pet owners, Rover is also one of the best sources of useful information for pet sitters. They provide guides on getting started, training tips, and knowledge on keeping dogs in your care safe.  

    22. 101Petsitting

    101Petsitting offers a blog with pet sitting tips, resources that cover important topics like pet sitting insurance and first aid, and a community of pet sitters you can join to learn from other people’s experiences.  

    23. Petsit.com

    The Pet Sitters International blog provides information on home pet care, pet safety, and how to run a pet sitting business. Starting a side hustle requires work and knowledge, but it provides more freedom in how you earn your money and what kind of options you have in life. And many people who start side hustles manage to turn them into their main job over time. If you’re ready to become a side hustler, take advantage of the knowledge of people who have been there and spend some time learning before you get started.
  • Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Analytics

    Monday, September 11, 2017 by
    Facebook Analytics Tips for Beginners

    A Guide to Facebook Analytics for Beginners

    For many businesses, Facebook is one of the most important marketing channels you have. It’s one of the most used social media sites for all age groups, the most commonly used app on mobile devices, and Facebook usage accounts for about one minute out of every six spent online. It’s not just a platform that your audience is on; it’s one where they spend a LOT of their time. The way people use Facebook and interact with content and ads on the channel isn’t always intuitive for businesses. As with every other marketing channel, to use Facebook well you have to pay close attention to what works and refine your efforts over time. Luckily, Facebook provides extensive analytics to help you track your progress on the platform. If you use Facebook, but aren’t making use of their analytics yet to improve your campaigns, here’s what you need to know to get started. Create Your Blog  

    How to Access Your Facebook Analytics

    Facebook calls their main analytics platform Facebook Insights. You don’t have to do anything special to set up a Facebook Insights account. As long as you have a page, you can easily access the analytics the platform collects. When you’re logged into your page, simply look for the Insights tab along the top of the page. With one click, you’ll access a significant amount of information that tells you something about how well your Facebook activity is performing. HostGator Facebook Analytics  

    8 Facebook Analytics Metrics to Follow

    Now that you’re in, here are some of the most important metrics to pay attention to.  

    1. Reach

    The way Facebook’s feed works means you can’t take for granted that everyone who likes your Page will see all your posts. On the other hand, sometimes people who haven’t liked your page yet could see your posts, either because you paid Facebook to show your content to more people, or because your fans liked or shared your updates. Reach is arguably the most important Facebook metric there is, because every interaction people have with your content depends on them first seeing it. There are a few different metrics for reach:
    • Your post reach tells you how many people viewed any of the content or updates you shared on your page for a particular time period. 
    • Your ad reach tells you how many people saw your ads.
    Facebook Post Reach Analytics You won’t get much out of Facebook if no one sees anything you share. If your analytics show a more limited reach then you were hoping for, it may be worth paying to promote your page and posts.  

    2. Number of Likes

    Likes are the most common form of engagement you’ll see on Facebook. Page likes are especially important, since they amount to a person saying they’d actively like to see your updates in their feed. Post likes are important because they give you insight into what kind of content your followers like. Facebook Net Likes Analytics Under the same tab as your likes, you’ll also be able to see how many unlikes you have. This is an important metric for alerting you to members of your audience your content isn’t working for. People could unlike your page for a variety of reasons, the most common being:
    • You post too often
    • You post content they don't find relevant
    • You post content they found offensive
    An unlike here and there probably isn’t something to get too concerned about, but if you see an sudden uptick in unlikes, analyze what about your recent page activity may have turned your followers off.  

    3. Sources of Likes

    Another important metric included in the Likes section is where your likes came from. If you care about growing the audience for your Facebook page, then you’re likely putting work into promoting it. This metric helps you see which of your efforts are working. Sources of Facebook Likes If you’ve invested in Facebook advertising, then it’s important to see if your promoted posts and ads increase the number of people following your page to determine if your investment is paying off. People who come to your page by searching on Facebook for your brand or through a link somewhere outside of Facebook are already familiar with your brand and can be a sign that your off-Facebook marketing is working. An analysis of where your likes are coming from can help you funnel your marketing investment to the efforts that are paying off the most in bringing your social media updates to a larger audience.  

    4. Page Views

    While your page views matter, they’re less important on Facebook than with some other channels. The nature of Facebook’s feed means that people can see and interact with your content without visiting your page. It’s entirely possible for someone to regularly like, share, and comment on your posts without ever directly visiting your page. Facebook Page Views Don’t let this metric hold too much weight when you’re analyzing the success of your Facebook page, but do give it a look. An uptick in page views can alert you that something you shared or a promotion you did got results.  

    5. Demographic Details of Your Fans

    Facebook knows a lot about the people on the platform, because it’s one of the few places online where people freely provide information about things like gender, relationship status, job, and education level. All of that adds up to brands getting access to a large amount of demographic data about who’s interacting with your page and content. This can help you figure out if you’re reaching the people you intend to reach – if your target audience is middle aged men, then getting a lot of response from teenage girls on your Facebook page could mean your efforts aren’t actually going to help you make more sales and you need to make some changes to your approach.   On the other hand, if women are your main audience and the ones who like and share your posts the most are married women, then you can assume that targeting more content that’s relevant to married women could pay off. Analyzing the demographic trends in how people respond to your page and content can help you craft a more targeted campaign that does well with the audience that’s most important to your brand’s success.  

    6. When Your Fans Are Online

    Social media moves fast. If your post goes up at a time of day when no one’s online to see it, it can quickly get buried in your followers’ feeds by posts from their friends, and other media outlets and brands they follow. It’s therefore important to pay attention to when the people you most want to reach are active on Facebook. In the Posts tab in Facebook Insights, you can get a glimpse of the days and times of days your followers are usually looking at their Facebook profiles. Scheduling your posts to show up when you know people will be paying attention to their feeds increases your chances of being seen, which is the first step to engagement. See when Facebook fans are online  

    7. Top Types of Content

    Also in the Posts section is a breakdown of how different types of posts perform. You can see an easy snapshot of how well your video posts do in comparison to posts that just have text, those that have photos, and those that include links. If your audience disproportionately interacts with a certain type of post, then it makes sense to focus more of your Facebook efforts on that format in the future. See my top posts on Facebook  

    8. Competitor’s Performance

    Lastly, Facebook makes it easy to keep an eye on your competitors in Insights with the Top Posts From Pages You Watch section, which is located under the Posts tab. You can add the Facebook pages of a number of different brands and media outlets in your space in order to stay on top of the types of topics and posts people in your audience respond to most on all of Facebook. The metrics for your own page can tell you a lot, but this option expands your sample set to a much larger audience so you can see the larger trends behind what’s working.   Facebook Insights can show you when to post, the types of content that work best with your audience, and the types of topics that have traction with the people you most want to reach. With the help of the analytics Facebook provides to brands, you can take a more informed approach to your Facebook marketing over time and increasingly focus your efforts on the tactics that are paying off.   Read More Like This:
  • 5 Ways You Can Make Money Blogging

    Monday, September 11, 2017 by
    Ways to Make Money with a Blog

    How To Make Money With Your Blog

    You’ve heard it’s possible to make money blogging, but you can’t seem to figure out how it works. Creating a blog and writing posts is doable, you can work out that part well enough. But how do you turn that into income? The first thing you should understand is that it’s competitive. There are a lot of blogs and making money blogging isn’t easy. And even before you get to the point of monetizing your blogging, just keeping up with producing regular content is hard – no matter how much you love what you’re writing about. But if you’re still with us now that the warnings are out of the way, making money blogging is possible. You should expect it to take some time and a lot of work, but here’s how other people do it. Create Your Blog

    1. Be an affiliate marketer.

    Affiliate marketing is when someone who produces popular content (often on a blog, but it can also be on YouTube or another social media platform) includes references and links in their content to products from relevant companies. When those links lead to purchases, the content creator gets a portion of the profits. A few things have to fall into place for affiliate marketing to work:
    • You have to have a following – if no one’s reading your stuff, then there’s no one to click on your affiliate links.
    • Your readers have to trust you – if they think you’re just making recommendations for the money, they’re unlikely to follow the links and make a purchase.
    • You have to find relevant companies with affiliate marketing programs – If you write about movies and try to shoehorn links for fitness products into your blog posts, you’re unlikely to find much success. The products you promote have to be a good fit for your audience.
    Building a following isn’t easy. You’ll need to create great content consistently, promote your blog to people in your target audience to get on their radar, and engage with your audience enough to build trust. And even if you do all that, a certain amount of success falls to luck. But if you can get to that point, affiliate marketing can start to net you some extra income. Learn more about HostGator's affiliate program here!  

    2. Run ads on your blog.

    Another option you have is to make money the way major online media properties do: with ads. You’ve probably noticed a lot of the blogs you visit show ads show alongside the content. blog with ads Those ads make the blog owners money based on the number of impressions and/or clicks they get. You can pretty easily get started making money on your own blog by setting up an account with Google AdSense. Fill out their application, tell them the type of ads you’re interested in, and add the HTML code they provide to your website. The amount you can make with ads depends on how many visitors you get and how many of them click on the ads. You shouldn’t expect the payoff to be big – you need a lot of traffic and clicks for it to add up to much and Google won’t cut you a check until your account reaches $100, which will take a while. A lot of bloggers don’t recommend using ads at all since they can distract people from your content and, if you use too many, they can make your website look less authoritative and clutter your design. But, if you’re careful about how you incorporate them into the design and don’t set your expectations too high for the amount you expect them to make you, ads can be a good way to make a little extra cash from blogging.  

    3. Accept donations.

    Another option you have once you’ve started to build up a following is to make it easy for your readers to provide donations. You can include a subtle (but noticeable) donation link at the top of your page and a virtual tip jar at the bottom of each post: blog patron requestask for donations on blog As with the other options we’ve mentioned, this isn’t a sure way to a solid income, but if your readers really appreciate your content, you may get a few extra bucks here and there this way. You could also consider setting up a Patreon account that provides rewards or exclusive content to readers that commit to donating a set amount (even if just $1) each month. Many content creators have found success with Patreon and it brings the added benefit of providing you with an idea of how much you can expect to make on a monthly basis. patreon acount for blog

    4. Create information products.

    One way bloggers make money is by using the blog as a marketing tool to sell products. The type of product that often feels like the most natural extension of what you do as a blogger is information products like ebooks, courses, or tutorials. If you have enough knowledge on the topic you write about and know learning more about it can be valuable enough to your audience to pay for that knowledge, then consider becoming an infopreneur. For this to work, you have to put the work in to create really strong information products that are worth charging for. Like any business, starting an infopreneur business takes a lot of time and work. But if you choose to go this route, your blog can become a valuable tool to attract people to the knowledge products you have to sell.  

    5. Become a freelance blogger.

    Content marketing has become big business in recent years and lots of companies need a constant stream of fresh blog content. The downside to becoming a freelance blogger is that you can’t be too picky about what you write about – you probably can’t get businesses to pay you for blog posts about your passion for romance novels or video games. But the good news is that it’s one of the best ways on this list for blogging to actually make you a living, rather than just a few bucks here and there. Working as a freelancer isn’t for everyone, but if you want to make a living as a blogger for hire, it may be a good fit for you. Start reading up on content marketing and get to work building a website and looking for your first clients. Like the other options on this list, this isn’t an easy way to make money, but it’s one more likely to lead to bigger returns than depending on the pennies you generate from ads or the dollar here and there from donations. If writing is your dream and you’re prepared to put in the work, you can make money blogging. But you’ll have an easier time building to the point where you’re earning an income if you have realistic expectations going in. Don’t expect a sustainable income overnight and know you may not be able to stick with subjects you’re most passionate about if you want to get paid. But with the right approach, blogging can pay off in real cash.
  • Top Tech Trends to Watch in September 2017

    Monday, September 4, 2017 by
    September tech news

    Top Tech News for September 2017

    As summer winds down, the tech world keeps moving. A number of tech companies are announcing new product releases, features to come, and social initiatives this month. Here are a few of the top stories to be on the lookout for. Create Your Blog

    New iPhones Soon to Be Released

    While it’s hard to imagine a world without smartphones, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone going on sale. And as is typical for September, Apple is expected to roll out its new iPhone models this month. Early talk suggests that the company will be releasing three new phone models. Tech journalists anticipate that this year’s phones will continue to make waves in the tech world, as the iPhone has done ever since day one.  

    Galaxy Note 8 Also Gets a Release

    galaxy note 8 september release Sharing the spotlight with the new iPhones, the Galaxy Note 8 is set to be released this month as well. The phone is faced with the lofty task of satisfying customers whose view of the brand was tarnished by the last model famously bursting into flames for many owners. The new phone provides a bigger screen, new camera features, and animated messaging.  

    Tech Companies Find Ways to Help Harvey’s Victims

    One of the biggest world news stories of the past month was Hurricane Harvey. Texas is still reeling from one of the biggest storms the country has ever seen as people scramble to find ways to help. Tech companies have also joined the efforts to help those victimized by the storm. Many are providing matching donations and AirBnb is helping match rental properties with people in need of shelter. And notably, social media apps played a key role in helping rescue teams find the people most in need of their help. Not all important tech stories are about product releases and IPOs. Sometimes we get a reminder of the ways tech can be a public good.  

    Chrome to Allow Permanent Mute Feature

    Autoplay videos are one of those things that pretty much every internet user hates, but websites just keep using. Google has a long history of siding with user experience over business interests and is once again making a move in that direction with their decision to release a mute option that allows people to set a website as silent permanently in their browser. If you normally use autoplay on your website, know that your visitors will soon be able to easily tune you out. Google chrome mute setting

    AR Apps About to Take Off

    Both Google and Apple have recently released technology that makes it easier for developers to create augmented reality apps for Android and iOS devices. Consumers can expect an influx of AR apps to become available on their smartphones in the coming months, and businesses have easier access to a technology that can be used for clever marketing concepts.  

    Tech Companies Decry White Supremacist Groups

    Before Harvey began to dominate the news cycle, one of the biggest stories of August was the violence of white supremacist groups at a rally in Charlottesville. A number of tech companies were disturbed by the incidents and took a stand against white supremacy. Both Stormfront and The Daily Stormer, well known white supremacist websites, have faced difficulties staying online as hosting providers refuse them service. A number of other tech sites have started to boot members from their platforms based on hate speech, including PayPal, OkCupid, Spotify, and most of the main social media platforms. Technology has played a role in allowing people to disseminate hateful views. Many of the tech industry’s main players are hoping to show that it can play a role in helping silence the hate as well.  

    Spotify Preparing to Go Public

    Spotify has started to make moves that make clear their intention to go public in the near future. Most notably, they signed a new licensing deal with Warner Music to increase the site’s offerings to users and hopefully make it more attractive to both subscribers and investors.  

    IFA Conference Meets in Berlin

    The oldest and largest technology show in Europe takes over Berlin this week. The biggest technology companies from around the world will display new and upcoming technologies from phones to computers to smart home devices. Techies converge to get a glimpse of what tech companies are working on, and you can expect to see a stream of tech journalism covering what shows up at the event.  

    TechCrunch Puts on Disrupt Conference

    Meanwhile, TechCrunch is preparing their own conference in San Francisco on September 18-20 focused on startups. The Disrupt Conference attracts startup companies and thought leaders who come together to talk and learn about startup culture, raising funds, and the main issues facing the tech industry in today’s culture.  

    Microsoft Ignite Conference Meets in Orlando

    It must be conference season, because in addition to those two, the Microsoft Ignite conference will also meet this month in Orlando from September 25-29.  Windows users from around the world meet to attend learning sessions, learn about new products to come, and network with other professionals.  

    Walmart and Google Join to Offer Voice Shopping

    Most months, the posts in this series include big moves and acquisitions by Amazon aimed at taking over a bigger and bigger portion of the country’s commerce. This month, two huge players, Walmart and Google, teamed up to stay competitive against the online giant. The partnership is focused on enabling easier voice-activated shopping to entice more online customers to consider Walmart as an alternative to Amazon.   And you thought you were busy with back-to-school efforts this month. The tech industry looks set to go into the fall at full speed, barely pausing to take a breath. As always, there are likely to be trends and stories we couldn’t foresee this month. Check back next month for a look at the trends yet to come.
  • Signs You Need SEO Help, and Where to Get It

    Tuesday, August 29, 2017 by

    signs you need seo services

    4 Signs You Need SEO Help

    When you run a business, it can feel like you never stop hearing about some important service or product you need to invest in. You can’t just go around throwing your money at one thing after another, so figuring out which investments are actually important to the success of your business is crucial. If you’ve been unsure about whether or not SEO belongs on the list of services worth investing in, then you’re already late to the game. 81% of consumers say they do online research before making a big purchase, and over a third start the buying process with a search on one of the three main search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing). To reach those people where they’re looking, you have to show up in the search results. If people have a hard time finding you online, you’re losing out on customers to the businesses that claim those top spots in Google. If you’re still on the fence, here are four signs that it’s time to invest in SEO services.  

    1. You have a website.

    You already put money into building a website for your business, but it can’t do its job if people can’t find it. Whatever the primary goal of your website is – whether it’s selling products on the site itself or driving people to your store location – it’s not going to meet that goal without visitors. SEO is one of the most effective and important ways to drive the traffic you need to make your website worth it. HostGator Website Builder

    2. Your website isn’t getting much traffic.

    Website traffic is one of the main indicators of whether or not your online marketing efforts are working. If you have Google Analytics set up for your site (and you should), then you can quickly and easily see how many people have visited your website in a set amount of time. If that number looks pretty low to you (and determining what counts as low will be different for different types of businesses and industries), then you need SEO to bump it up. If you’re a local brick and mortar business thinking that online traffic shouldn’t matter as much to you, think again. Over half of consumers say they use Google every month to find a new local business and 71% value the information they find in local search results. Even for businesses that are primarily offline, SEO is important.  

    3. When you look for businesses of your type on Google, you can’t find yourself.

    Have you ever done a search on Google for the type of product or services you sell? Take a few seconds to try it right now. Is your website there in the results? If you have to click through to the next page to try to find it – how many pages deep do you go before your website shows up? Now repeat the experiment for any other terms you can think of related to your business. If your business was hard to find in your searches – really, if it was anywhere other than on page one for them – then you can be sure that other people looking for what you’re selling aren’t finding you.  

    4. You’re ready to commit.

    Sorry – here’s the bad news. SEO is competitive. It takes time, effort, and money. Investing in SEO is important for businesses of many types and sizes, but it won’t be worth much to you if you try to just do a little bit. Successful SEO is a long-term process and you won’t see results right away. If you’re going to do it at all, you have to be prepared to do it for real.  

    How to Find the Right SEO Help

    Unfortunately, the SEO industry includes some bad players. SEO professionals that practice what industry insiders call “black hat” techniques can actually do a lot of harm to your business. When you’re ready to invest in SEO, it’s important to find a legitimate company or consultant to work with.  

    1. Take time to understand the basics first.

    Before you start researching SEO firms, take the time to read up on the SEO basics yourself. If you know at least the 101-level stuff, you’ll be a lot better at recognizing if a SEO agency you talk to seems to know what they’re doing, or if they’re trying to con you.  

    2. Avoid anyone promising a #1 spot.

    You’ve probably gotten spam emails before from SEO consultants promising to get you to spot #1 in Google. As with most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are so many different, complicated factors that determine search engine rankings, that no one person or firm can have that much control over the results. Legitimate SEO providers know that promising those kinds of results would be foolish and will give you a more realistic idea of what to expect.  

    3. Ask about their process.

    This is where the knowledge you learn in the first step should come in handy. A good SEO professional will talk about things like performing keyword and competitor research, doing on-site optimization, and building backlinks. If instead they talk about buying links, keyword stuffing, or anything else that sounds like it’s trying to game the system, steer clear. Google pays attention to the tricks black hat SEO professionals try and continually updates their algorithm to penalize the sites that try to cheat their way to the top. You don’t want to end up in the crossfires because you hired the wrong firm. If your business is local, pay attention to whether or not they mention local-specific tactics. Local SEO is a little different than national or global SEO and you want to find someone who understands the differences and knows how to help you optimize for Google Places as well as Google’s organic results.  

    4. Ask about their reporting.

    While you understand now that progress can be slow in SEO, you still need some way to measure success over time to figure out if your investment is paying off. This is part of the service SEO professionals should provide. Ask what kind of reporting they provide, how frequently, and how they measure success. Good SEO professionals will promise regular updates that include metrics like your change in ranking for target keywords and differences in website traffic.

    5. Ask about results they’ve achieved for other clients.

    SEO professionals can’t create the same kind of portfolio to show their work that a graphic designer or copywriter can, but they can point you toward examples of times their work for past or current clients resulted in higher rankings and more traffic. Ask for any case studies or testimonials they have to help you gain an idea of how their clients have liked working with them. HostGator has a number of SEO professionals on staff that help website owners improve their rankings. We only hire proven SEO experts that know how to get results with white hat tactics.  To talk to one of our experts to see if our SEO services are right for you, simply set up a consultation.