Monday, October 9, 2017 by Shayla Price
Sunday, October 1, 2017 by Shayla Price
5 Ways Web Design Can Make or Break Your WebsiteIs it time for a website makeover? Your website is prime real estate online. It’s where you can showcase your unique talents and where future clients can learn about your services. Because your website is an integral part of your brand, it makes sense that it looks professional and impresses all your visitors. You want to immediately grab their attention. The right website design builds trust. It gives social proof and encourages people to inquire about products. The best sites attract people, not repel them. It’s time to strengthen your brand image. Keep reading to learn how a professional design makeover can improve your website.
1. Visitor ExperienceThe design of a website is a make-or-break moment for your business. An Adobe study noted that if “given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain.” A well-designed website enhances the visitor experience. It’s visually pleasing and captures people’s attention. You’ve probably landed on an unattractive website before, and your instincts automatically tell you to exit the screen. Instead, you want to draw people in. Here’s an example from Tatte Bakery & Cafe. The site is modern with two bold images, the brand’s logo, and lots of white space. Beyond eye-catching images, the visitor experience also includes the functionality of the site. Can visitors easily navigate your site without any hassle? Your website isn’t a static piece of art. It’s a dynamic tool for presenting your business to the world. So, you’ll want to insert strong calls to action within your site to lead visitors on a journey. Good design gives visitors a clear pathway to find what they need on your site. Set your design standards and observe how people use your site to make improvements.
2. Brand IdentityThe marketplace is crowded with businesses seeking to gain more customers. With so much competition, it’s easy for buyers to mistake your brand for another business. It’s vital that your website stand out from the rest, and it all starts with a solid brand identity—the consumers’ perception of your business. Itai Elizur, COO at InboundJunction, agrees: “It’s hard to overstate the importance of a solid brand look, no matter the size of your business or how long you’ve been around. From first impression to building engagement and growing solid relationships, your brand identity is crucial.” A modern website not only looks great and impresses your customers, but it also tells a story about your brand’s mission and values. To create a distinct and memorable brand identity, think about your customers’ expectations and the message you want to convey. Your identity is represented through the structure, the color palette, and the fonts of your site. Keep consistency as a guiding principle as you create your website. Visitors should recognize your brand within a few seconds—without having to see your logo. Moreover, finding the right balance between branding and design takes time. Don’t feel anxious if it takes you longer than expected to build your website.
3. Mobile LifestyleYour audience is exploring websites when they’re commuting from work, visiting a friend out of town, and waiting in line at the grocery store. Research found that “mobile devices now account for nearly 2 of every 3 minutes spent online.” Your goal is to develop a mobile-friendly design that works seamlessly on all devices, from smartphones to desktops. Sizing your site to fit each device makes it convenient for visitors to navigate your content. “Taking a mobile-first approach necessitates a lot of focus and attention on the needs of the user, and it requires the company to hone in on what is most essential about its message and its content. There’s no room for flashy widgets and vanity features,” states Forbes contributor Gabriel Shaoolian. Below is a mobile website from airline JetBlue. You’ll notice that the content fits in the screen without having to zoom in or out. Plus, a simple finger tap opens drop-down menus. You also want to consider the limitations of mobile devices. Not every task on a desktop website is suitable for a smartphone or tablet version. For instance, you might disable a live chat support feature or remove specific pop-up windows. You’ll have to make critical decisions on how you will engage with your mobile visitors.
4. Social ProofPeople trust websites that look professional. If you want customers to work with you, you need to fortify your brand site with social proof. When consumers visit your website, they need immediate indicators that you’re a reputable business. They want to know that you’re not engaged in phony transactions or attempting to sell their personal information. Social proof eases the tensions and gives credence to your brand. These trust elements include badges from the Better Business Bureau or logos from past mentions in publications. However, those types of social proof aren’t always the most effective. People believe their family and peers more than another business vouching for a brand. Fast Company reports that “70% of consumers say they look at product reviews before making a purchase.” Buyers want honest opinions from current consumers. Serial entrepreneur Neil Patel practices this strategy. On his consulting page, he provides testimonials from his past clients showing how he impacted their work. Experiment with different forms of social proof on your page. You can post a customer quote with a photo of the individual. Or you can upload a short video clip from a past client. The key is to illustrate the respect your brand receives in the industry. This is your chance to brag a little.
5. More SalesLet’s be honest. When visitors land on your site, you don’t want them leaving without purchasing your product or at least inquiring about your services. It’s important to work with your designer to create a natural flow from interested buyers to new customers. This means anticipating how visitors will interact with your website as it relates to the sales funnel. Obed Richman, an experienced web designer, offers his perspective: “It isn’t enough to state explicitly in your written content that you can solve someone’s problem—not if that message is drowning in so much poor design that your customer doesn’t read it. Every element of your website needs to be designed to point towards that one end goal: attracting your customer, and solving their problem.” What pages will people visit first? How easy is it for visitors to shop in your eCommerce store? Can they contact you directly? For example, the checkout process should be streamlined for the buyer. Focus on reducing the number of clicks it takes to complete a transaction. Normally, businesses implement a three-step process: the add-to-cart page, the payment page, and the confirmation page. Designing a sales-ready website is less about the product and more about the consumer. You’re crafting an experience that promotes shopping.
It’s Makeover Time!Is your website lacking pizazz? Take the leap and get a professional design makeover. A new website look enhances the visitor experience by improving functionality. It displays your brand identity with visual storytelling. Also, you can update your site to fit your audience’s mobile lifestyle. Don't wait another second! Check out HostGator's web design services for more details.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 by Shayla Price
Your 5-Step Roadmap to Instagram SuccessIt’s time for your talents to get recognized. You’ve spent years behind the scenes working hard to perfect your craft. No one knows you exist. However, you can use Instagram to reach and cultivate your audience. “If you aren’t already on the network in some capacity, now’s the time to join. So long as you keep your users’ interests and needs in mind, refine your photography skills, and stay active, you’ll reap the rewards of a more active, engaged following,” says Jayson DeMers, a Forbes contributor. The roadmap from unknown to famous takes a strategic effort. Here are five tips to earn stardom on Instagram.
1. Create an Unforgettable ProfileFirst impressions matter. Whether you’re meeting someone in real life or online, you want to instantly capture people’s attention. On Instagram, those first impressions begin with your profile. You only have a couple of seconds to convince visitors you’re worth following. For starters, upload a professional photo of yourself. People gravitate toward faces, so stay away from full body shots or brand logos. A plain background works well, too. You don’t want to distract fans with odd objects in the background. What’s next? Your bio. It should tell an amazing story about who you are and what fans can expect from your Instagram account. Adding emojis also will give your profile a playful feel. And of course, don’t forget to include a call to action in your bio that directs people to your website or landing page. Shirley Braha adopted a very cute dog from a shelter. Her family and friends thought her new Shih Tzu could be an Internet sensation. Reluctant at first, Shirley finally started posting pictures of her dog Marnie online. The first month she got 400 followers. And after finding out what fans liked, Shirley managed to grow her adopted pet’s Instagram to more than two million followers. Take some pointers from Marnie The Dog’s profile above. It’s possible to encourage people to follow you in just a few seconds.
2. Take Advantage of Visual StorytellingA story is good, but a story with pictures is even better. With social media bursting at the seams, visual storytelling has become a necessity in social networks. It’s not enough to use only text to convey a compelling message. You need images, GIFs, memes, and videos to pull people to your work. “Great images and videos engage. Think about it like a billboard campaign. You wouldn’t choose an ugly or mundane billboard to catch drivers’ eyes on the highway. The same can be said about your Instagram,” states Alex York, a writer and SEO specialist. On Instagram, you can share a beautiful photo and then caption it with a short story. Maybe it’s a picture of you in the park. Describe to your followers what you saw and how you felt in the moment. You also might try creating a 30-second or 60-second video showing off your skills. If you like cooking, share your favorite ingredients. If you’re a fitness trainer, demonstrate a quick exercise. But remember, nothing beats a captivating photo that expresses creativity. Instagram star Taylor Alesia inspires her fans with fashion and lifestyle posts. Below is an example of her posing in front of art. There are multiple ways to tell your stories. So, experiment with visual storytelling to highlight your awesomeness.
3. Expand Your Reach with HashtagsExposure is key to getting people to learn that you exist. Hashtagging is a useful technique to get noticed on Instagram. Did you know that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement? You can use hashtags to attract new followers and get more likes. Plus, it’s a good way for potential brand sponsors to discover you. There’s no perfect hashtag formula to get people to your account. However, you can research your competitors to find out which hashtags engage this similar audience. You might follow industry influencers to check out their hashtag usage. Also, pay attention to what hashtags your current followers add in the comments of your posts. For hashtags to work, they must be relevant. Avoid using hashtags that don’t accurately represent your post. You might get new visitors, but people will get annoyed and not follow you. Lita Lewis used Instagram as an open diary to highlight her fitness journey. As her follower count grew, she transformed her social media success into a business. Now, she’s signed with an ad agency, launched an apparel brand, and partnered with brands like Reebok. Do you notice any relevant hashtags in Lita’s post above? From #thinkathletics to #bodyweight, she is expanding her reach. Find hashtags that work for your brand.
4. Host an Instagram TakeoverAudiences are always seeking fresh perspectives. That’s why brands seek out influencers to engage their fan base with unique content. An Instagram takeover is one way to drive engagement and brand awareness. Brands receive a fresh voice on their account, while the influencer gets exposure to a new audience. Moreover, the fans get to experience something totally different. The first step is to set goals for your takeover. Since you’re the influencer, you want to map out the benefits for you and the company involved. “The first and arguably most important step in creating and executing a successful Instagram takeover is figuring out what goals you want to achieve. Understanding what you’d like the end result of the takeover to be will help you to construct a solid plan for getting the most out of your campaign,” writes Dhariana Lozano, social media and digital engagement professional. When working with the brand, set clear expectations for the takeover. Determine when it will happen, the content theme, the types of content, and the promotion of the takeover. In the image below, Courtney Kerr, editor of KERRently, announces to her followers that she will be taking over the Instagram account of fashion jewelry company BaubleBar. Connect with brands and pitch an Instagram takeover. With a vision and lots of preparation, you can become your industry’s next star.
5. Send Fans to Your WebsiteSocial media is an effective tool to draw crowds of people to your brand. But it isn’t always the best channel to showcase your full story. To solve this issue, you can direct followers to a personal website. That’s where you can host your own blog, get people to sign up for an email list, or even nudge folks to buy your merchandise. A website is another extension of your brand. So, remain consistent and give your fans a memorable experience. Model Janice Joostema racks up thousands of dollars for her sponsored Instagram posts. She also receives free clothing from designer brands. Besides social media, Janice also has a website where fans can read her blog and purchase her favorite items. Instagram is only one part of your brand. Grow your brand and create an affordable website with HostGator.
Now, It’s Your TurnStop waiting for others to find you. Instead, use Instagram as a tool to get recognized for your amazing work. Start by creating a profile that stands out from the crowd. Remember to use hashtags to expand your reach. Also, build a website to engage followers beyond the social media platform. It’s your turn. Go achieve Instagram stardom!
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 by Shayla Price
The Essential Online Toolkit for Affiliate MarketersIt’s time to load up your toolkit! From several Google searches, you already know that affiliate marketing is a promising route to earn a few extra bucks or even start an entirely new career. Affiliate marketing gives you the freedom to be an entrepreneur without the inventory. With all your excitement to jump into this field, it’s unlikely anyone told you what tools you need to succeed. Like any profession, the right tools give you the opportunity to do your job effectively (and make more money). That’s why I’ve compiled a list of seven tools to move you toward success. Ready to get started? Read on...
1. Keyword PlannerContent marketing is the go-to approach to attracting and maintaining consumers. Meaningful content informs people about their challenges and offers several solutions. As an affiliate marketer, you can implement content marketing to nurture your audience and establish a trustworthy relationship. Then, you can recommend products that will solve their problems. Nevertheless, your first step is to get visitors to your site. For your content to rank high in search engines, you will need to perform keyword research. This is the process of identifying the keywords your audience uses when searching for information online. Google’s Keyword Planner is a powerful tool to find keywords relevant to your affiliate marketing business. You can discover new keywords and get search volume data. User intent is part of doing effective keyword research. You want to put yourself in the shoes of your potential visitors. The more you know about your audience the more you can niche down the specific keywords to attract people to your content.
2. WebinarJamFor consumers, seeing is believing. Demonstrating a product is one of the best ways to persuade people to purchase. That’s where webinars provide the most value. Webinars offer you a chance to talk directly with your audience. “An affiliate marketer could easily add webinars to drive new sales to large groups of attendees. Imagine a weekly webinar where she hosts affiliate partners on a content-rich webinar and then offers the product at the end of the webinar,” writes Mike Capuzzi, speaker, author, and marketing consultant. WebinarJam is a tool for delivering live cast presentations. You can create webinars on the spot, share your desktop screen, and highlight attendee responses. Before you jump on camera, practice your presentation to get rid of any public speaking jitters. Carve out time in your live broadcast to answer attendees’ questions. You also may want to create free handouts with additional product details.
3. HostGatorYou’ve completed your keyword research and created meaningful content for your affiliate products. Now, you need somewhere to post that content. A website is a simple tool to elevate your brand and encourage people to click on your affiliate links. It’s your professional space in the marketplace. Of course, when shopping for web hosting, we suggest the HostGator platform. Our tool offers a drag-and-drop feature to create a website in minutes. Also, we provide 24/7/365 support to help you with any technical issues. To build a killer website, begin with a strategy in mind. Make sure your affiliate links are visible and easily accessible for visitors. You also want to be transparent about your affiliate marketing efforts. So, always provide a clear disclaimer on your site.
4. Constant ContactCommunication is key for affiliate marketers. You want the ability to connect with your audience about new product offers or special giveaways. Email marketing is your answer for building quality relationships. It’s an opportunity to provide subscribers relevant content and ask for feedback. However, don’t feel obligated to add every detail in your email. Daniel Cassady, a freelance writer, agrees: “If you have a lot of information you are trying to get across to your readers, it’s best to give that information to them in easy to handle nuggets instead of long paragraphs. Use bullet points to make the content of your newsletter easy to glance over and then link to a more in depth article on your website.” Constant Contact makes it easy to create professional emails with their customizable templates. Plus, you can send automated messages to specific subscriber groups—giving each subscriber a personalized experience.
5. YouTubeResearch shows that “online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020.” More than ever, people are watching video to learn and to entertain themselves. This is your moment to seize the attention of the consumer. By creating fun-filled videos, you can build a connection with your viewers. But what exactly will you discuss? Affiliate marketers possess a unique expertise. You know about the best products in your industry, and you can use that knowledge to your advantage. For example, you can produce videos giving honest, research-backed product reviews. You can create a series of videos showing consumers unconventional ways to use a specific product. Or you can highlight how a product changed your lifestyle. YouTube can host all your video content. Just upload your video and share the link with your audience. Creative entrepreneur Roberto Blake offers tips to improve your YouTube videos. Check out the resource below:
6. HootsuiteFrom Facebook to Pinterest, social media is the spot for everyone to hang out online. It’s where consumers get their news, learn about events, and explore different interests. Social media centers around storytelling. For affiliate marketers, it’s not enough to tell your followers about a product. That’s boring, and people ignore those messages. “When it comes to selling on social media, it is a great idea to offer unique, interesting, and even diverse information about your product rather than push for a hard sell. No one likes to feel they are being sold something, but everyone likes to buy something they truly want,” states Sarah Arrow, a marketing coach. When promoting products on social channels, add your personality to your posts. Tell a funny story on Facebook or add a quirky GIF to a tweet. You can manage your social media with Hootsuite. The platform helps you engage with your audience efficiently and you can see your analytics in real-time.
7. ZipBooksIt’s important to remember that as an affiliate marketer you’re running a small business. You have revenue and expenses to track on your success journey. Maximizing profit is one of your primary goals. You’re constantly searching for ways to add more money to your bottom line, while reducing your costs. Recordkeeping is a helpful skill for all affiliate marketers. You can quickly interpret what’s an asset for your business and what’s a liability. Now, it’s even easier to manage your accounting with software like ZipBooks. This tool organizes your work into projects and tasks. You can input your expenses and generate monthly reports. When starting any business, it’s essential that you talk with financial and legal professionals. These experts can provide specifics on opening a business bank account, applying for a business license, and determining your tax obligations. So, take the time to get the necessary advice.
Tools for SuccessAffiliate marketing is similar to other side hustles or career paths. You need the best tools to ensure your success. Don’t worry about starting from scratch. You can use the seven tools above to demonstrate products, send emails, and track expenses. Grab your tools, and sign up for HostGator’s affiliate program!
Monday, July 31, 2017 by Shayla Price
Be a YouTube Star! Follow These 5 StepsLights, Camera, Action! Business Insider reports that YouTube users watch more than 500 million hours of videos every day. So, it makes sense that this video platform is ripe for gaining social media stardom. “The reach and power of YouTube has been demonstrated by the many artists, celebrities and comedians that have launched their careers through YouTube videos. From celebrities like singer Justin Bieber to actress/model Kate Upton, the effectiveness of video marketing cannot be denied,” writes Eric Baum, CEO and founder of Bluleadz. You can begin building your brand right now. Here are five ways to reach superstar status on YouTube.
1. Find Your Unique LaneIf you’ve done your research, you already know that competition exists on YouTube. There are thousands of channels that demonstrate cooking, perform comedy sketches, and even talk about celebrity news. You’re probably thinking: Why should I try? Every topic has been discussed. Well, it’s not about covering the same topic over and over again. It’s about bringing your unique talent to a subject and showcasing it differently to an audience. Creativity will separate you from the competition. Let’s say you’re a professional dancer. Rather than showing off your moves in a studio, try dancing in different settings, like a park or a museum. In 2011, YouTube star Luzu launched his channel called LuzuVlogs. His Spanish vlogging channel has more than 2.5 million subscribers. Luzu offers his perspective on producing worthwhile content: “The greatest thing about this is we are defining a lot of things. The way people consume content is changing, and this way of doing content responds to the needs that they have rather than telling them how they should do it.” Luzu doesn’t just talk the talk. He actually takes action. You can watch one of his many adventures below.
You have something special to offer on YouTube. Start brainstorming and posting your videos.
2. Produce High-Quality VideosNew technology is making it easier for you to spread your message. It’s important to produce high-quality video to keep your fans engaged. The first step is to invest in the right equipment. Do your homework and find the perfect gear that fits your needs. Your must-have list may include a video camera, lighting kit, tripod, and editing software. Next, you want to create a storyboard or a script for each video. This preparation will keep your content focused. You’ll know exactly what you want to convey and how to present the content. Don’t get discouraged during this time-consuming process. Research shows that “70 percent of creators with at least 100,000 subscribers spend at least six hours working on each video they upload to YouTube, and one-third of those YouTube stars spend at least eight hours on each video.” Award-winning YouTube personality Rosanna Pansino hosts the well-known online baking show Nerdy Nummies. Her channel touts 8.3 million subscribers with over 2 billion total video views. In 2015, Rosanna produced and hosted two-60 minute TV specials on the Cooking Channel and released her first cookbook. Here’s one of her delicious videos:
It’s time to build your very own studio. For high-quality videos, purchase the right gear and create a plan before pressing record.
3. Engage with Your AudienceEngagement is a critical factor in any social media network. On YouTube, it’s a major part of building your fan base. Many first-time YouTubers post their videos and never read the comment section. However, people like sparking conversations with influencers. Keep your fans happy by talking with them and giving their responses a thumbs up. You also may want to ask your audience questions. Get to know more about them: Where do they live? What other channels do they watch? Do they have video content requests? Beauty vlogger Tati Westbrook of GlamLifeGuru gives tutorials and offers product reviews to her 2.8 million subscribers. In her videos, you’ll see her testing out new lipsticks and adding her creative thoughts.
Tati also engages with her audience in the comments. In the image below, she drops a reminder about an upcoming video. Your fans want to interact with you one-on-one. So, make an effort to respond to their comments and to thank them for watching.
4. Collaborate with InfluencersBecoming a star isn’t a one-person endeavor. By collaborating with influencers, you can speed up your path to success. Current YouTube stars are your best resources if you want to become an influencer yourself. Reach out to influencers you admire and start building quality relationships. “Begin interacting with them, by friending, favoriting and commenting on their videos. In this way you can develop relationships with YouTube stars who can offer advice and encouragement (and access to their networks) for building your own YouTube star power,” writes Gretchen Siegchrist, founder and creative director of Video4Good. Collaboration takes many shapes and forms. You may ask the influencer for mentorship, or you could barter services with the person. For instance, if you’re a great video editor, ask to edit the YouTube star’s next project in exchange for 15 minutes of advice. As you grow, you’ll want to invite influencers to star in your videos. YouTube megastar Lilly Singh has done collaborations with Ryan Higa, Miranda Sings, and Anthony Padilla. Lilly’s social media success earned her roles in Bad Moms and Ice Age: Collision Course. Her upcoming role in Fahrenheit 451 will mark her first major acting gig. Ready to learn? Start collaborating with others to carve out your path to stardom.
5. Grow Your Email ListFocusing on the growth of your YouTube channel is vital in the beginning. But as your brand expands, you want the flexibility to interact with your fans beyond social media. YouTube is considered rented land. This means if the platform stops existing tomorrow you won’t be able to connect with your fans. You’re stuck starting from scratch. Instead, you want to own land. In the online world, you’ll want to purchase a domain and build a personal website. On your website, you can post blooper videos, add your full bio, and even highlight your next appearances. What’s also cool is that you can include a form to get fans on your email list. Email lists are an opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. You can send exclusive videos or ask for their feedback. Plus, you own the list and your communication isn’t dependent on a social channel. Justine Ezarik, known as iJustine, is a popular YouTuber who vlogs about life, tech, and cooking. On the television show New Celebrity Apprentice, she coached contestants on how to create viral videos. Justine is no stranger to email lists. She includes a sign-up form on her site. Take your success to the next level. Build a website and encourage people to join your email list.
Start Your Journey TodayAre you ready for your close-up? With the right concept and camera angle, you can draw thousands, maybe millions, of people to your brand. Create a unique YouTube channel that entertains and informs your watchers. You can engage your audience to generate ideas for future videos. And of course, send people to your website where they can join your email list. Get your camera ready. Start your YouTube journey now.