Can Your Web Hosting Plan Affect SEO?When it comes to SEO, the details matter a lot. One of those details that’s commonly neglected is your choice of web host. Usually, it’s the last thing that people think about. However, the type of hosting you’re using can have a big impact on your rankings. The extent of the impact will depend on the size of your site and its overall traffic levels, but your host is either supporting or damaging your rankings. Obviously, you want a host that does the former. Below you’ll learn how your host affects your search engine rankings, and how to choose a hosting environment that will actually support your rankings.
5 Ways Your Web Host Affects Your RankingsThe type of web hosting you choose can either help or hurt your rankings. Below we cover five different ways your choice of host can affect your SEO.
1. Site Speed Is a Ranking FactorThe faster your site loads the better your site will rank in the search engines. Now, just having a fast loading site isn’t enough to push your site to page one. But, if you already have solid onsite and offsite SEO and you boost your site speed you will start to see your rankings climb. Having a slow loading host will lead to a poor user experience since they’ll be sitting and staring at a blank screen. Poor user experience leads to poor metrics, like a high bounce rate, and a very low time on site, both of which will push your rankings down.
2. Data Loss = Rankings LossNo one likes to think about it, but there is a chance that your site will face a disaster. Whether it’s getting your site hacked, a catastrophe at your host’s datacenter, or unintended site data loss, it can happen. To protect your site and your rankings from data loss you need to have some kind of backup system. A high-quality host will have a backup system in place that will help you quickly recover from any of the above scenarios. HostGator customers, learn more about protecting your site with CodeGuard.
3. SSL Certificate Improves RankingsTrust is huge online. If your site doesn’t seem trustworthy, then Google won’t trust you and you’ll have a hard time ranking. The same goes for your visitors. If your visitors don’t trust you, then they probably won’t purchase anything from you, or stay with your brand over the long-term. One easy way to improve your trust is to install an SSL certificate on your site. An SSL certificate will encrypt the connection between your server and your user’s web browser. This will allow for the secure exchange of personal information. But beyond making your visitors feel safe an SSL certificate will also help your site improve its rankings. Since 2014 Google has acknowledged that SSL certificates are a ranking factor.
4. Uptime MattersNo host can guarantee 100% uptime, but the better your host, the higher uptime your site will have. If you’ve been experiencing high levels of downtime, then it’s probably time to think about switching your hosting environment. Learn more about HostGator's 99.9% uptime guarantee! Having your site down shouldn’t affect rankings too much, but it can have a negative impact on your user experience. If a person tries to visit your site time and time again and your site is offline, they simply won’t come back. This can have a negative impact on your bounce rate and your CTR from the search engines.
5. Server Location and PerformanceAnother factor that influences the performance of your site is the location of your physical server. Now this will depend on what kind of hosting you’re actually using. For example, if you’re using cloud hosting it won’t be a factor. But, if you’re using shared, VPS, or a dedicated server, then the farther your visitors are from the physical location of your server the slower your site will load. However, if you have a high-quality host this will be offset through an integrated CDN and a high performing server environment.
How to Choose an SEO Friendly HostAn SEO-friendly host will look different depending on the kind of site you run and how much traffic you receive. There is no perfect hosting choice for every style of website. For example, if you have a small site that doesn’t receive a lot of traffic, then a solid shared host will be enough to support your site. But, if you receive hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, then using a shared host will probably have a negative impact on your site’s performance and rankings. In that case upgrading to a VPS, cloud, or dedicated host would be the best course of action. In order to find the best SEO-friendly host, evaluate your hosting choices with the factors below:
- Does the host have a high benchmark of performance? If you’re unsure, spend some time checking out user reviews online.
- Does your host include an automated backup system or use a third-party plugin?
- Do you have the ability to install or purchase an SSL certificate for your site?
- Does your host guarantee a high site uptime? Is there data, or a guarantee to back it up?
- Can you choose your datacenter location? Or, does you hosting include an integrated or third-party CDN?
What Is a Managed WordPress Site?A managed WordPress site is one that’s hosted on a managed WordPress host. Essentially, you’ll be outsourcing the hosting of your site to a team of WordPress experts. If you run a high-traffic WordPress site, then going with a WordPress managed host could be a great option for you. Below we explore what managed WordPress hosting is, and the benefits it can offer your site, so you can determine if it’s time for you to switch up to WordPress managed hosting.
What Is Managed WordPress Hosting?Managed WordPress hosting is a streamlined hosting environment that’s optimized to help you build and run WordPress websites. The goal of this style of hosting is to ensure your site is running at peak performance, with high levels of security. A managed host will also take care of general administrative tasks like updating your site, maintaining security, and monitoring traffic levels. By hosting your site on a managed WordPress host you’re effectively outsourcing your hosting to a third-party of experts, so you can focus on growing your site instead.
The Benefits of WordPress Managed HostingHaving a managed WordPress site just requires a switch to managed WordPress hosting. Below we explore the main benefits your site will receive when you make the jump to a managed hosting environment.
1. Improved Speed and PerformanceWhen you utilize a WordPress managed server everything to do with the server environment will be optimized to get the most out of WordPress. That includes the server configuration, the hardware, the software, and the databases. Your WordPress site can become slow for a variety of reasons, whether onsite or having to do with your server environment. With regular monitoring, the team behind your site will be able to diagnose and solve any performance issues before they become a problem.
2. Easier to Scale Your SiteIf your site prepared for when an post goes viral, or you get featured by a major media outlet? Most sites will fail when they receive a large spike in traffic. Instead of visitors seeing the article or homepage, they’ll get nothing more than an error message. Managed WordPress hosts are built to scale. With traffic monitoring features the team behind your site will be able to scale your site’s resources at a moments notice to handle the flood of traffic.
3. Greater Levels of SecurityMost people don’t want to admit it, but there’s a chance your site could be hacked. Security is typically the farthest thing from people’s minds. Why would somebody want to hack my site? The last thing you want is to wake up one morning and realize your site’s been hacked. Then, you have to go through the process of fixing your site, which can be a real headache if you don’t have solid technical skills. With a managed WordPress host your server environment will be much more secure. Plus, since they’re WordPress experts they’ll be well aware of any common security holes and vulnerabilities and be able to patch the issues effectively.
4. An Expert Support Team Behind YouA lot of support teams will only be able to help you with the actual server hardware when something goes wrong. So, if the issue is with your site, then you’re left on your own, having to search through Google looking for the magic fix. A managed WordPress host will not only be able to diagnose and solve server and hardware issues for you. But, they’re also staffed by a team of WordPress experts that will be able to help you troubleshoot any issues that might arise. And of course, the goal of a solid managed WordPress host is to help you avoid experiencing any site issues in the first place.
5. Automated Website Backups and UpdatesBacking up your website is incredibly important, but usually, it falls by the wayside if you have to figure it out yourself. However, with a WordPress managed host your site will be backed up automatically. The frequency of the backup will depend upon your host, but usually, it’s on a daily or weekly basis. Beyond backups the other task you’ll have to take care of yourself is updating your WordPress core, themes, and plugins. Failing to update these in a timely manner will make your site more vulnerable to attacks. Luckily, with WordPress managed hosting all of your updates will be handled automatically. Whether or not your plugins will be updated as well depends on the host.
Is Managed WordPress Hosting Right For Your Site?Managed WordPress hosting gives you the freedom and time to focus on growing your site, not managing your hosting. If you’re running a high traffic WordPress site and you want to improve its performance and security without any added work on your end, then WordPress managed hosting is an option worth considering.
Thursday, April 12, 2018 by Kevin Wood
What's The Best Type of Web Hosting for Online Stores?Choosing the right kind of hosting for your online store isn’t a decision you’ll want to rush into. In order to run a successful online store, you need to offer a streamlined and intuitive customer experience. By choosing the wrong kind of host you could end up slowing down your site’s performance to the point where people end up leaving your site. Your job as a store owner is to make it as easy as possible for people to buy from you. Your choice of host will influence your site’s loading speeds, performance, and uptime - all of which contribute to a solid customer experience. Below we look into how you can find the best type of web hosting for your new online store.
5 Online Store Hosting Factors to ConsiderWhen choosing a host for your online store there are a lot of factors you’ll want to consider. Below we look at some of the main features you’ll want to look for in a potential host.
1. High Performance and TrafficAs your e-commerce site grows, you’ll need a host that can keep up. Chances are you’ll probably outgrow a shared host rather quickly. Look for a host that can support your existing traffic and resource needs, without experiencing a dip in performance. Depending on the size of your store and how much traffic you receive you might have to opt for a VPS, dedicated, cloud, or managed server from the start.
2. Solid UptimeWhen your store is offline it won’t be earning you any money. Even worse, is if your store experiences high uptime, then you’ll end up creating a poor customer experience. Some hosts will offer uptime guarantees, which give you some form of money back for the time your site was offline. But, this amount will probably pale to what your site would be earning if it wasn’t offline at all. So, instead of looking for cash-back uptime guarantees, make sure you find a host that has the highest uptime possible and can demonstrate a track record of those figures. Learn more about HostGator's 99.9% uptime guarantee!
3. SSL Support and Security FeaturesKeeping your customer’s data secure should be at the top of your list in terms of priorities. Your customer’s data and sensitive information, like credit card details, should be encrypted every step of the way. The most effective way to do this is to install an SSL certificate on your site. Depending on your host you may have a bundled SSL certificate with your hosting plan. But, at the very least the use of SSL certificates need to be supported by your host. Other nice features to have are additional layers of security via tools like SiteLock, along with regular server monitoring.
4. An Awesome Support TeamWhen you’re experiencing issues with your server you’ll want to get these resolved as soon as possible. After all, any dip in performance or uptime will lead to a poor user experience and potentially lost revenue. Having a support team might not seem like a big deal until you’re experiencing a server issue right in the middle of a big sale. Support is something you’ll want, even though you hopefully won’t need their assistance very often. Read rave reviews from HostGator customers!
5. Regular Automated BackupsCan you imagine waking up one morning only to see all of your site’s product listings gone? You’d hate to think that issues like this occur, but they do. The last thing you want is to not be prepared if data loss or hacking occurs. The best plan of protection is having regular, automated site backups. Depending on your host you may have regular backups as part of your hosting plan. However, it’s also a good idea to create your own backups as well, via a plugin or other software.
Finding the Best Hosting Option for Your StoreNow that you have a better idea of what features to look for in a host for your online store, it’s time to examine a few different hosting types, so you can find the best fit.
Shared HostingMost people come to shared hosting due to its price and easy setup for beginners. The downside, however, is that you’re sharing those server resources with hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of other sites. A shared host can work if you don’t receive much traffic, but as your e-commerce site starts to grow you may run into performance, uptime, and security issues. If you plan to scale your site, then you’ll probably need to upgrade to a cloud or dedicated host.
Cloud HostingCloud hosting is similar to a VPS, but instead of having a single server environment it draws from multiple servers, which creates a huge network of resources you can draw upon. The nature of cloud hosting makes it incredibly easy to scale with your site. With cloud hosting, you’ll get very high levels of performance, security, and you won’t have to worry about your site going offline due to a traffic surge. Cloud hosting also offers you a flexible pricing structure, where you only pay for the resources you use.
Dedicated HostingUsing a dedicated server means that you won’t be sharing server resources with anyone. You have the entire server at your disposal. This means that your site won’t experience any issues with loading speeds, performance, or uptime, due to other sites on the server. Dedicated hosting will be more expensive. However, it will offer your online store incredible performance, along with very high levels of security. For most dedicated servers you’ll also need some technical skills in order to manage your server effectively.
ConclusionIf you’re serious about your eCommerce site, then you’ll probably want to start with a cloud or dedicated host from the beginning, if your budget allows. However, you can also start on a shared host and upgrade plans if you choose a host that offers multiple styles of hosting. Finally, you’ll want to be sure that your host actually supports the e-commerce platform you’d like to use. For example, some hosts offer WordPress tailored hosting or WooCommerce tailored hosting where the server environment is optimized for that platform. While others simply have multiple types of eCommerce software you can install like Magento, BigCommerce, PrestaShop, and OpenCart. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the features you should look for in an e-commerce host, as well as some of the hosting options you can explore. Get started with HostGator now!
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by Kevin Wood
How To Register A Domain NameEvery business needs a website, the first step towards getting your site online is registering a domain name. Hopefully, you’ve already spent some time brainstorming some potential domain names. Now, it’s time to take your favorite, register it, and get started building your website. Below you’ll learn how to register a domain name, some domain registration mistakes you’ll want to avoid, and how to choose the best domain name possible.
Choosing a Solid Domain NameChoosing the right domain name is important. After all, it’s going to act as the foundation for your brand online. It’ll be what your visitors remember you by. Pick something too difficult to remember and it’ll be hard to establish a strong brand. Keep the tips below in mind when choosing the perfect domain to register for your new website.
1. Have a Few Different Options in MindThe last thing you want is to give up in frustration because your dream domain isn’t available. To avoid this make sure you have a list of different domains to choose from. After you’ve gone through the brainstorming phase you’ll probably have a ton of options to choose from. Narrow this down to your top five and head over to your domain registrar of choice.
2. Choose the Right TLDIf you have your heart set on a domain, and the .com is taken, then you might think about compromising for a different domain name extension. Although this can be tempting, it’s important not to choose a domain name extension that will reflect negatively on your website. In terms of popularity, .com is the most popular, followed by .net, and .org. You can get away with choosing another domain name extension, but make sure that a competitor site isn’t using another more popular domain name extension. When people are typing in your domain name, they might end up typing in the .com and be taken to a totally different website.
3. Keep it Short, Readable, and MemorableYour domain name should be as short as possible and easy to remember, while being related to your business. Think of companies like Apple and Google, or websites like Smart Passive Income and Zen Habits. Their domains are short, memorable, and in some cases give you an idea of what the company is about. Think about domains that you remember and company names you like and take those as inspiration when choosing your domain.
How to Register a Domain NameWhen registering a domain name you’ll have a few different routes to take:
- Register a domain alongside your hosting
- Register a domain name without purchasing hosting
Option 1: How to register a domain and hostingRegistering a domain name with a hosting account couldn’t be easier. If you’re signing up for hosting with HostGator, then you’ll just follow the steps below:
- Choose your HostGator web hosting package.
- On the next page, you’ll be able to register a new domain. Just enter your domain name, choose the domain name extension, and HostGator will tell you if the domain is available.
- Once you’ve found a domain you like that’s available you’ll complete your order and your domain will be ready.
Option 2: How to register a domain without additional hostingIf you already have a hosting account somewhere and just want to purchase a domain, then you’ll have multiple options to choose from. There are dozens of different domain name registrars you can use, but for the sake of example let’s assume you want to register your domain at HostGator.
- Navigate to the HostGator domain name registrar.
- Enter your desired domain name. The tool will show you if it’s available, along with the domain name extensions are available.
- Choose your desired domain combination and complete the checkout.
Domain Registration Mistakes to AvoidBeyond keeping the points from the first section in mind, it’s also important to avoid common pitfalls when purchasing a domain name. Avoid the mistakes below and you’ll be on your way towards making a higher-quality long-term investment.
1. Do Your Research FirstMake sure you aren’t using any trademarked words or phrases. This is an innocent enough of a mistake, but it can really come back to bite you. There are multiple entrances where webmasters have been sued, or forced to turn over the domain that includes a trademarked phrase.
2. Double-Check Your SpellingIn a rush to register your domain name, it’s common to misspell your domain and click purchase before you realize your mistake. If you’re surprised that a certain domain is still available, then double-check the spelling before you end up wasting your money.
3. Look for Multiple MeaningsSome words have more than one meaning. You’d hate to register your domain and build out your site only to realize that your domain doesn’t mean what you think it means. If the words in your domain translate over to other languages then make sure that meaning of the word or phrases checks out as well. Hopefully, by now you can answer the question, "how do I register a domain name?" with total confidence.