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  • 5 Ways to Add Social Media to Your WordPress Website or Blog

    Wednesday, February 7, 2018 by

    How to add social media to WordPressHow to Add Social Media to Your WordPress Website

    Making your site easily shareable across social media is pretty important. The last thing you want to do is make your readers go through a series of steps just to share your work across social media. Plus, including social media sharing buttons across your blog will help add social proof to your posts, especially if they’ve received a significant amount of social shares. Below you’ll learn five different ways you can incorporate social media sharing into your existing WordPress site. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. Adding Share Buttons to a Post

    One of the most common places to add social media sharing buttons to your site is on the left-hand side of your post. These buttons are very easy to access and typically scroll alongside your post as the user reads, encouraging them to share. One of the best plugins for accomplishing this is called Sumo. This plugin is equipped with tons of features that will help you improve your site’s traffic and grow your list. If you’re looking to get more traffic to your site and improve social sharing, this is a plugin you'll want by your side. sumo plugin for wordpress You can customize which buttons you'd like to appear. Plus, the buttons automatically adjust to different screen sizes.  

    2. Adding Share Buttons to the Top and Bottom of a Post

    If the sidebar social sharing icons aren’t for you, or you’d like to add social share buttons to even more locations throughout your site, then you’ll want to use a plugin called Social Warfare. social warfare wordpress plugin This plugin makes it easy to add social media sharing buttons to a wide range of locations across your site, including the top and bottom of each of your posts. The buttons look appealing. There's also a built-in shoe counter that will showcase the number of total shares and shares across each respective network.

    3. Adding Social Media Icons to Your Menu

    If you have extra space in your website’s menu, then maybe you’d like to maximize that real estate by adding select social media icons. To accomplish this you’ll want to install the Menu Social Icons plugin. This plugin will give you the option to include social media buttons as links within your navigation menus. menu social icons for wordpress After the plugin is installed you’ll be able to choose from the list of social media icons. This plugin handles each of the logos as a font, which makes it easy to add the logos to your navigation menu without any custom coding required.  

    4. Embedding an Instagram Gallery

    If you have a decent Instagram following or a pretty attractive feed, then you might want to showcase this on your website. There are a variety of plugins you can use to accomplish this, but one of the most popular is Instagram Feed by Smash Balloon. instagram feed for wordpress website This plugin will let you do things like include feeds from multiple Instagram accounts, display images in a responsive format, easily customize the layout of your feed, and embed your feed into your site wherever you desire with the included shortcode.  

    5. Making Your Site Images Easily Sharable

    If your site is image heavy, then you’ll probably want to encourage users to share your images on sites like Pinterest. You can accomplish this through a few different plugins. First, you can use the Sumo plugin that we used for social sharing buttons on the first point, or you can utilize a different plugin, like WWM Social Share On Image Hover. image hover for social sharing on wordpress When a users hover over your site’s images social media icons will appear. The social media networks can be customized as well as the alignment of the icons. Hopefully, the plugins above will help make it much easier for your readers to share your content on social media. You don’t have to utilize every social media plugin highlighted above, but instead the ones most in alignment with the type of user experience you’re offering your visitors.   Any plugins we failed to mention in the list above? Please share your favorites in the comments below.
  • The Top 15 Most Popular WordPress Plugins

    Friday, February 2, 2018 by
    top WordPress plugins you need to have

    What Are the Most Popular WordPress Plugins?

    WordPress plugins are a great way to increase the functionality of your website and easily add additional features. There are thousands of different plugins for you to choose from. In fact, the WordPress plugin repository has over 45,000 different plugins available. So, how do you know which ones you need? Luckily, a lot of those plugins perform the same functionality, so that will help narrow down your search. And some of those plugins are low quality, so it’s not recommended to install them on your site. Below you’ll find a list of the most popular WordPress plugins that you’ll want to consider installing on your WordPress site. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. Yoast SEO

    yoast seo Yoast SEO is a must-have WordPress plugin. If you’re looking for ways to improve your onsite SEO, then this plugin will help you do just that. It not only makes it easy for you to optimize your content for your target keywords but will educate you about SEO throughout the process.  

    2. Contact Form 7

    contact form 7 Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular contact form plugins out there. This plugin will help you create simple contact forms very quickly. Even with little technical know-how or experience you can create an attractive contact form and embed it anywhere on your site.  

    3. Akismet

    akismet Akismet is typically installed with every new WordPress installation. All you have to do is activate it, and your site will be protected against comment spam. It’s quite a useful plugin, especially if you’ve had a problem with spam comments in the past.  

    4. W3 Total Cache

    w3 total cache If you’re looking to improve the speed of your website, then caching will help you do just that. W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins available. Activating this plugin will help to reduce the amount of time it takes your site to load, and improve overall performance.  

    5. Smush Image Compression

    smush If you want to grab your visitor’s attention, then you’re going to need to use compelling imagery. However, a lot of high-quality images can be quite large, which results in a slower loading site. To reduce the size of your images without sacrificing quality, then you’ll want to use a plugin like Smush Image Compression. This popular plugin also has paid upgrades to extend its functionality even further.  

    6. Google XML Sitemaps

    google xml Creating a sitemap will help the search engines better navigate through your website and understand its structure. Google XML Sitemaps will help to index your site with the search engines. All you have to do is activate the plugin and a sitemap will be automatically generated.  

    7. WordFence

    wordfence If you’re concerned about the security of your WordPress site, then you’ll want WordFence in your arsenal. WordFence is one of the most popular security plugins and it includes features like malware scans, login protection, firewall protection, and much more. This all-in-one security plugin is worth checking out.  

    8. NextGen Gallery

    nextgen NextGen Gallery is one of the most popular WordPress gallery plugins. This plugin is a very flexible gallery plugin for people looking to add multiple different images to their sites. It also includes a paid upgrade for those looking for even more gallery options.  

    9. Jetpack

    jetpack Jetpack was developed by the team behind WordPress, Automattic. Instead of being a single plugin it offers a wide range of different extensions, including site security, social sharing, improving site performance, optimizing your images, and a lot more.  

    10. Slider Revolution

    slider revolution Slider Revolution is a very versatile slider plugin. You can create simple slideshows, entire media galleries, and even newsletter sign up pages. With this plugin, you’ll have control over the final layout of each slide.  

    11. Redirection

    redirection Redirection is one of the most popular link redirection plugins. With this plugin, you’ll be able to change the permalinks of certain pages or posts, and easily redirect your users to the current version of the page. This plugin is also useful when you’re migrating pages or posts from an older site.  

    12. Page Builder by SiteOrigin

    page builder Sometimes you want to give your pages and posts a completely custom design. This is where you can use a plugin like Page Builder by SiteOrigin. This plugin is very easy to use and will let you create custom designs from within your WordPress page editor.  

    13. MailChimp for WordPress

    mailchimp This plugin will let you easily sync your WordPress site with your MailChimp list. You can also create opt-in forms to add to your site to encourage readers to join your list.  

    14. WooCommerce

    woocommerce WooCommerce is one of the most popular plugins for adding eCommerce functionality to your WordPress site. This plugin will work with most themes, however, keep in mind that some themes are better suited for WooCommerce functionality than others. Currently, this plugin powers 30% of online stores.  

    15. Limit Login Attempts

    limit login attempts Your WordPress backend is one of the most vulnerable points of access across your website. Limit Login Attempts does exactly what the name suggests. It will lock out users who have input a certain number of failed login attempts.   Hopefully, the list above will help to simplify your plugin selection. Remember, you don’t need to install every single plugin on the list above, but instead that plugins that have features your site requires. Are there any plugins we failed to mention on the list above? Please share your favorites in the comments below.
  • Does Shared Hosting Affect Your SEO?

    Monday, January 29, 2018 by
    is shared hosting bad for seo

    Is Shared Hosting Bad for SEO?

    Choosing the right web host is a very important decision in the life of your website. Choose the wrong host or the wrong hosting plan and you’ll make it that much more difficult for your website to succeed. Now, going with a shared hosting package isn’t necessarily going to be a poor choice for your rankings, but instead depends on a variety of other factors, as you’ll soon learn. Below we look into how a shared hosting plan can affect your search engine rankings. best WordPress hosting

    How Your Host Can Affect Your Rankings

    Your host will influence a few core ranking factors that will either make it easier or more difficult for your site to rank. That doesn’t mean you should choose a host based on SEO factors alone, but it’s important to think about, especially if search engine traffic is going to play a crucial role in the success of your website.  

    1. Site Speed and Performance

    If you want your site to rank it’s going to need to load quickly. Having a slow loading site will negatively impact your user experience, along with have negatively impacting your rankings. Plus, page speed is also a Google ranking factor. If you have a host that ends up slowing down your page loading speed, then you’ll definitely see a drop in your rankings.  

    2. Data Center Locations

    Another element that can affect the speed of your site is the data center location where your site’s files are actually stored. Some hosts will offer multiple data center locations that you can choose from. If you’re given this option you should choose the data center location that’s closest to the physical location of your visitors. Having a datacenter location that’s very far from your users may negatively impact your performance. However, you can get around this by using a CDN, which is covered in more detail below.  

    3. Site Downtime

    Site downtime is a normal process of hosting a site online. Even the most high-performance servers will have to do routine server maintenance. However, one thing you’ll want to look for is a host that offers very high uptime (99.9% or above), and is backed by a guarantee or historical data. Having a site that’s down a lot of the time will create a poor user experience. If you have a user who clicks through to your site from the search engines and sees your site is offline there’s a solid chance they won’t come back. Google continues to shift its ranking algorithm towards sites that value its users, so it’s important you place a focus on creating the best user experience possible.  

    4. Ability to Handle Traffic Surges

    Is your host ready for when your site receives a huge amount of traffic, or a post of yours goes viral? It’s natural for a site to go offline during a huge surge in traffic unless you’re using a very high performing host. But, this issue should be remedied very quickly. Plus, if this extended volume of traffic becomes normal, then you need a host that can scale up your server resources, or easily upgrade your site to a higher package. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    Will a Shared Host Negatively Impact My Rankings?

    This is a difficult question to answer with a straight yes or no answer. The impact your host has on your rankings will depend upon the hosting provider you choose and your site. For example, a site on a high-performance shared host with poor onsite optimization and SEO can still rank poorly. While, a site hosted on a less-than-stellar shared host with great onsite SEO like caching, image optimization, a solid theme, and a CDN can still have decent-enough performance and rankings. If you are using a shared host, then you can help to offset any negative consequences like slow loading speeds and lack of datacenter selection by using a CDN. Most shared hosts are equipped with their own CDNs or at least integrate with popular providers. However, if this isn’t the case you can always integrate your site with a third-party provider like CloudFlare. One tried and true method is to begin with a shared host and upgrade your plan if your site’s performance starts to decline. Regardless of the host you use, it’s important to properly optimize your site both for speed and rankings. Your hosting environment can help a lot, but you should still do everything in your power to improve your site as well.  

    Rely on Shared Hosting from HostGator

    Overall, shared hosting isn’t necessarily going to have a negative effect on your rankings. What's important is to choose a reputable host, period. A good host will offer a variety of hosting plans, including shared plans, that are built to support differing levels of website traffic. HostGator offers a variety of hosting plans that are designed to support your unique traffic and site needs. All of our plans come with a 99.9% uptime guarantee and unmetered bandwidth. Plus, we also offer SEO services! Learn more here. Read reviews about HostGator's award-winning shared hosting plans here.
  • Choose a Website Theme with HostGator

    Monday, January 29, 2018 by

    choose HostGator website themesIntroducing HostGator's Website Builder Themes and Templates

    When the time comes to build your website you’re going to have a lot of different options to choose from. If you currently use HostGator hosting, then one of those options is going to be using the HostGator website builder. This beginner-oriented tool will help you quickly and easily build a beautiful website and get it online as fast as possible. But, is this builder the right fit for your site? Below we look at the core features of the website builder and highlight a few of our favorite themes you can choose from. HostGator Website Builder

    What is the HostGator Website Builder?

    The HostGator website builder is a free website builder for people who are currently using HostGator hosting. It’s feature-packed and caters to beginners who are looking to get their first sites online. Overall, the theme collection is quite expansive, offering you over 100 different mobile-friendly themes to choose from. Below we take a look at some of the overall features you’ll have access to when you build a site with this tool.
    • Easy to use drag and drop functionality with no development skills required.
    • Pre-built pages and sections, so you don’t have to be a professional designer.
    • Each theme is equipped with the 6 core pages every website needs.
    • Built-in SEO optimization so you can increase the chances of your site ranking.
    • Social media buttons to encourage your visitors to share your content.
    • Ability to customize things like your color scheme, font choice, images, and more.
    • PayPal integration to easily sell your products and services.
     

    Who Is the Website Builder Best Suited For?

    If you’re just getting started online and the thought of building your own website terrifies you, then let this builder greatly simplify the process for you. If you’re already using HostGator to host your site, then using this builder is a no-brainer. The Basic version is completely free and included with all hosting plans. You can quickly create a simple and attractive website. With the pre-built templates and extensive theme selection it’s very easy to build out your site, and all without any existing design or development knowledge.  

    Top HostGator Website Builder Themes

    hostgator website builder themes Now, there are over 100 different builder themes for you to choose from, so it would be impossible to highlight all of them here. Instead, you’ll find ten of our favorite themes broken down by various industries. If any of the themes below pique your interest, perfect, but if not, then feel free to explore the entire collection here.  

    Builder Themes for Real Estate Websites

    Luxury Apartments

    website builder for real estate This theme is perfect for those who run apartments complexes and are looking for a way to show off the highlights of their building. You’ll notice the beautiful background image that’ll immediately grab your visitors. The customizable sections make it easy to showcase your main benefits, any neighborhood highlights, complex images, and of course your company information and location.  

    Personal Realtor

    website template for personal realtor If you’re looking for the perfect way to make yourself stand out as a realtor, then check out this theme. You’ll be able to offer visitors a brief intro about who you are and why they should work with you before jumping into the details about the properties you have for sale. It’s simple but includes all the features you need to help you sell more homes.  

    Builder Themes for Restaurant Websites

    Classy Restaurant

    restaurant website template This minimalist theme will encourage visitors to come by your restaurant while providing them with all the information they need. Your visitors will be able to easily access your menu, learn about your restaurant, and even book reservations online. The enticing homepage image will help you represent your restaurant in a positive light.  

    Coffee Shop

    website template for coffee shop This clean theme is perfect for a modern coffee shop or cafe. The eye-catching homepage image is the perfect place to highlight what makes your business unique. The single-page scrolling feature makes it easy to highlight your menu, tell your story, and showcase your location.  

    Builder Themes For Business Websites

    Elegant Storefront

    website builder for small business This elegant theme is perfect for retail spaces that want to expand into the online space. You’ll be able to highlight your current inventory and what makes your store unique. Plus, with the e-commerce functionality, you can quickly begin selling your own products.  

    Online Business

    online business website builder Whether your company is awesome or not, you still deserve an awesome website template. If you run a creative agency or online business of any kind, this minimalist theme will let you highlight what you do in the cleanest manner possible. Showcase your portfolio, your services, and your USP with ease.   Builder Themes for Photographer Websites

    Professional Photographer

    photography website builder If photography is your bread and butter then consider using this theme to showcase your work. This theme is perfect for giving life to your portfolio and making your work more accessible. It’s clean and simple, so the design of the site won’t distract from your beautiful photos.  

    Artistic Side

    artistic website template If you’re a more creative photographer or want to showcase your other work, such as paintings or drawings, then consider using this bright and enticing theme. The sample theme is geared towards running an art gallery or exhibit, but can easily be adapted to showcasing your personal work as well.  

    For Creative Portfolios

    Multifaceted

    template for artist websites If you’re a creative who works across multiple different mediums and formats, then utilize this theme to highlight your best work. It’s clean and simple, so there won’t be any distractions from your unique set of projects. The home page image is the perfect place to highlight what makes you unique, while the portfolio page will let you feature the diverse set of products you’ve completed.  

    Art

    art website template Are you looking for a way to showcase and sell your art? Then try out this attractive theme. This minimalist theme makes your art the central point of focus. You’ll be able to easily educate visitors about yourself and your art along with highlighting your most recent work.  

    More Website Builder Themes

    If we didn’t cover your niche above, don’t worry, there’s a huge theme selection that caters to almost every type of website out there, including:
    •    Beauty and Fashion
    •    Design
    •    Technology Industries
    •    Hotels and Travel
    •    Lifestyle Sites
    •    Music and Nightlife
    •    Simple One-Page Sites
    •    Weddings
    •    Simple Online Stores
    •    Sports-Related Sites
    •    Pets and Animals
    •    Construction and Other Trades
    •    Simple Blogs
    •    Business Consultant
    Hopefully, you have a greater understanding about what kind of themes you’ll have to choose from when using the HostGator website builder. Ready to start building your site? Click here!
  • 7 Top WordPress Hosting FAQ Answered

    Monday, December 18, 2017 by
    wordpress hosting faq

    Top WordPress Hosting FAQ

    If your site currently runs on WordPress, then you’re probably in the market for a hosting environment that caters to WordPress. Managed WordPress hosting is a relatively new development and caters to sites that only run on WordPress. Still, this kind of hosting isn’t going to be the best fit for every style of website out there. Below we answer your most common questions related to WordPress hosting, so you can decide if it’s going to be the right fit for your website. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. What is WordPress hosting?

    WordPress hosting is a style of hosting that’s completely configured to WordPress sites. Most hosting environments, unless you opt for a dedicated or VPS server, have more general configurations. This setup won’t be optimized to your individual site. Since WordPress is a pretty lean framework, WordPress hosting helps you to make the most out of this.  

    2. What are the benefits of WordPress hosting?

    If you’re a WordPress user, then opting for WordPress hosting can be incredibly advantageous for your website. Below we look at some of the biggest benefits.
    • Improved performance as every aspect of the server environment is optimized for a WordPress installation.
    • Better security as the server is optimized to the unique security configuration of WordPress, instead of just running basic security protocols.
    • Most WordPress hosting environments have dedicated teams of WordPress experts managing the servers, so it will always be up to date.
    • With the dedicated team of WordPress experts behind you, you’ll have a team that understands the ins and outs of your site and server, so customer support will be a breeze.
    Managed WordPress Hosting

    3. What are the negatives of WordPress hosting?

    WordPress hosting isn’t the perfect solution for every site owner, even if you’re running WordPress. For starters, it’s going to be more expensive since it’s a customized hosting solution. If your site is small and doesn’t receive a lot of traffic, then you probably won’t see that big of an improvement in performance. Also, some WordPress hosts limit the number of customizations you can do to your site and even limit which plugins you can install. So, if your site requires a plugin that’s on the host’s restricted list, then you may need to look elsewhere for hosting or choose a different type of hosting plan.  

    4. Who would benefit from using WordPress hosting?

    If you currently run a mid to high traffic WordPress site and are seeing a decline in your performance, then you could definitely benefit from WordPress specific hosting. Most high-traffic WordPress sites that switch over to WordPress hosting will see an overall improvement in their performance and loading speeds.  

    5. What’s the difference between shared and managed WordPress hosting?

    Shared WordPress hosting is basically a hosting environment that has a few WordPress-specific optimizations and offers easy WordPress installations. Most shared hosting environments offer some form of WordPress optimization since it’s such a popular CMS. Managed WordPress hosting is the next level of WordPress hosting. This style of hosting essentially takes care of everything related to your WordPress site. It commonly includes features like site upgrades, improved WordPress performance, virus scans, backups, and more. With managed WordPress hosting everything related to your hosting environment is done for you.  

    6. How does WordPress hosting differ from other forms of hosting?

    WordPress hosting, particularly managed WordPress hosting, is completely engineered to provide the optimum hosting environment for WordPress sites. Mostly, it differs from other hosting environments by the setup and software configurations.  

    7. Can I use WordPress hosting without a WordPress site?

    Managed WordPress hosting is only available to WordPress site owners, while shared WordPress hosting is generally more variable, depending on your host. Most shared WordPress hosting environments are generally basic shared hosting with WordPress add-ons. So, you could technically be using a shared host that also hosts other WordPress sites. Hopefully, the answers above have helped to answer the most common questions you have related to WordPress hosting.   Any questions we didn’t answer above? Please share in the comments below or learn more about HostGator managed WordPress hosting plans here.