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  • Is Business Hosting Right For You?

    Thursday, February 8, 2018 by
    is business hosting right for you

    Is Business Hosting Right For You?

    If you’re a small business owner, then you’ll need to find a host that’ll actually support your business. No doubt you’ve come across business hosting before, so you’re probably wondering what makes this style of hosting different from the rest? Below we examine what HostGator’s Business hosting plan actually is, so you can determine if it’s the right fit for your business.  

    What is Business Hosting?

    Most businesses require a hosting solution that’s not only powerful but also easy to use. Some business owners opt for a basic shared hosting plan, as it’s geared towards beginners and provides enough resources to get going. Other business owners might go for an even higher level hosting package, like VPS hosting, but quickly realize that managing a server can be a lot of work if you don’t have the right technical skills. Business hosting exists to fill the gap between basic shared hosting and higher level VPS, dedicated, or cloud hosting plans. The overarching goal of business hosting is to provide business owners with a high performing, easy to use hosting environment while offering additional tools that make running your business easier.  

    How Does Business Hosting Differ From Other Plans?

    This business hosting solution is an upgrade from the typical shared hosting plan. Shared hosting is a great place to start, as it’s very easy to use and will provide you with enough resources and tools to get your site off the ground. But, if you’re a small business that’s selling products or needs additional features, then Business hosting is probably the direction you’ll want to take. HostGator’s business hosting plan is similar to the basic shared hosting plan, but it comes with some serious upgrades like:
    •    Support for unlimited domains
    •    Additional built-in e-commerce features
    •    Included private SSL certificate
    •    Free toll-free support number
    It also all of the features of the upgraded shared hosting plan, so you’ll have things like unmetered bandwidth and disk space, cPanel server management, and email account creation too. hostgator business hosting plans

    How Can Business Hosting Benefit Your Business?

    Business hosting can be very advantageous, regardless of whether you run a physical storefront or a solely online business. If you run a physical store and are looking to quickly and easily create a website that supports your business, then you’ll be able to take advantage of the free website builder, and a toll-free number to get a beautiful site online that sends customers your way. While, if your goal is to build out an e-commerce store, then the free SSL certificate, dedicated IP address, and high-performance hosting will help you start selling products online in the shortest amount of time possible. For business owners who don’t want to spend time managing their hosting, but instead want a hosting environment that actually supports their business, then give business hosting a try.  

    Is Business Hosting Right for Your Business?

    Sure, your business may be able to get by with basic shared hosting. But, if you’re serious about growing your business, selling products online, and making it easy for your customers to contact you, then upgrading to business hosting is a great choice.
  • 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.
  • 7 Heartfelt Valentine’s Day Content Ideas Your Website Visitors Will Love

    Wednesday, January 31, 2018 by
    Valentine's Day Content Ideas for Blogs and Websites

    Valentine's Day Content Ideas for Blogs and Websites

    You may feel like you’re still recovering from the biggest shopping holiday of the year, but it’s already time to prepare for the next one. With Valentine’s Day coming up, your marketing team should switch back into full gear to capture some of the $18.9 billion people usually spend on the romantic holiday. One part of your marketing plan for Valentine’s Day should include creating seasonal content that helps your audience navigate the holiday successfully this year. Valentine’s Day can come with a lot of pressure for some people. Why not use your content to ease some of that stress and equip your customers with tips and ideas to make the holiday fun? Here are a few Valentine's Day content ideas to consider for your blog or website. Creating a blog

    1. Gift Guides

    This is an obvious and useful place to start. A lot of people struggle to figure out what to buy for a loved one for Valentine’s Day. A gift guide does the double work of helping you promote relevant products to your audience and helping them make a decision on what to buy. Keep in mind that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about flowers and chocolates. If your business sells something that isn’t conventionally associated with Valentine’s Day, it may still be exactly the right gift for someone a customer loves. And your gift guide doesn’t have to be focused on romantic couples either. Many people will buy Valentine’s Day gifts for friends, coworkers, maybe even their pets. Don’t feel stuck focusing on the obvious when creating a gift guide, anything that could make a good gift for anyone is fair game here. ecommerce content idea for Valentine's Day gift guide

    2. Advice Videos

    Valentine’s Day isn’t just about shopping and gifts (although that’s a big part of it for some people). It also involves figuring out how to create memorable moments and meaningful celebrations. For some people, that can feel challenging. Help them out by creating video content designed to answer questions they have and give them ideas for how to get Valentine’s Day right this year. Blue Apron hosted a video Q&A last year on Facebook Live about good wines to consider for Valentine’s Day. They provided information on how to pick the right wines that pair well with common Valentine’s Day foods like chocolate, and answered questions that viewers asked in the comments. valentine's day facebook live For anyone trying to create a perfect dinner and worried about how to pick the right wine, Blue Apron provided the answer (and included some recommendations from their own wine club).  

    3. Recipes

    Food is going to be a big part of Valentine’s Day for many people that celebrate. Some people will eat out for the big day, but others will want to try out special recipes that are a little fancier or more ambitious than usual. If your brand sells any type of food or ingredient that can be used in a great Valentine’s Day recipe, then this is a great type of content to make use of this Valentine’s Day. Pillsbury goes all out for Valentine’s Day recipe content with suggestions for sweet recipes, savory recipes, recipes for different times of day, and tips on how to make the food you cook look the part for Valentine’s Day.
    valentine's day content idea recipe hubvalentine's day recipe ideas
    Make sure you provide clear instructions and take great pictures that show off how good your recipes will look. And use schema markup to make your recipe content more attention grabbing in the search results.  

    4. Creative Date Ideas

    Dinner and flowers are obvious. Some people are happy enough with the old standards, but some will want to find ways to make the night special in more creative and interesting ways. If you can help inspire an idea outside of the ordinary, your audience may be grateful for it. Barnes and Noble does a great job with this idea with their post on the Best Valentine’s Day Dates for Book Nerds. It includes ideas like re-creating your favorite romantic scenes or going on a literary scavenger hunt. valentine's day blog post ideas Think about what your audience loves and use that information to come up with activities that can inspire an unconventional Valentine’s Day celebration.  

    5. Video Stories

    Great content often involves telling a good story and video can be a great format for it. For Valentine’s Day, you can use video tell any number of types of stories. You could create a comical take on someone falling in love with your products. You could tell a story of the way your products help bring people together. Or you could find customers with a compelling love story and feature their tale in a marketing video. Sweethearts candy went the latter route by telling the story of Jack and George, a couple that was finally able to get married in 2016 after 55 years together. The video includes them picking out candy messages for each other from a box of Sweethearts: “me and you” and “soulmates.” It’s touching. It’s a sweet story for Valentine’s Day, and it ties the video back to the product in a way that feels natural. video content ideas for brands on valentine's day

    6. Love List

    Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating love. In the spirit of celebrating love, you can create content around things you love about your customers, or that highlights things they love. Round up a list of your 10-best selling products or the products with the highest reviews to create a list of products your customers love the most (and offer a special holiday discount on all them to show some love back). valentine's day email marketing ideas Join the holiday love fest by celebrating how much your customers mean to your brand and the love they’ve expressed for you.  

    7. Valentine’s Business Tips

    Admittedly, this one’s a little meta ­– you’re reading a post on Valentine’s Day ideas for businesses as we speak! If you’ve been reading along so far wondering what content ideas make the most sense this time of year for B2B businesses, then here we are. Write content that will help your business clients make the most of the holiday this time of year. That could include marketing tips, ideas for special events to offer, or ways to make your customers feel special when they’re in your store this year. If you’ve got ideas that can help your clients make more money this Valentine’s Day, then get to work sharing them. valentine's day marketing tips blog post ideas People want to feel special on Valentine’s Day and buying things often becomes a part of that. If your content can help provide real value to your audience as they’re working out their Valentine’s Day plans, there’s a good chance they’ll turn to you when making their purchases for the holiday as well.
  • 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.