Web Hosting Tips – HostGator Blog https://www.hostgator.com/blog Web Hosting and Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs Mon, 17 Sep 2018 20:01:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 151369968 5 Best WordPress Security Plugins https://www.hostgator.com/blog/best-wordpress-security-plugins/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/best-wordpress-security-plugins/#respond Mon, 17 Sep 2018 19:59:52 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=20018 The post 5 Best WordPress Security Plugins appeared first on HostGator Blog.

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The post 5 Best WordPress Security Plugins appeared first on HostGator Blog.

If you’re wondering, “Do I need a WordPress security plugin?” The answer is yes. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. That popularity also makes it a popular choice for hackers.

Now, WordPress has regular updates to patch any new and existing security holes. But, security as a whole is a reactive process. Patches are only issued once a security vulnerability is known.

At its core, WordPress is incredibly secure. But the massive ecosystem of plugins and WordPress themes makes it more vulnerable to security holes.

To protect your WordPress website against these security risks, it’s always a good idea to use a WordPress security plugin. Below we look at five of the best WordPress security plugins and highlight both free and paid options.

best WordPress hosting

Why You Need a WordPress Security Plugin

WordPress has some pretty solid security measures in place, but if you’re looking to take that security even further you’ll want to utilize a security plugin.

By using a WordPress security plugin, you’ll get access to additional features that WordPress doesn’t have right out of the box, including:

  • Site, file, and malware scanning
  • Protection from brute force attacks
  • Regular security scans, monitoring, notifications
  • Site firewalls
  • Overall security hardening

Sure, you can get by without having these in place, but why would you risk it? Sadly, a lot of site owners don’t think about security for their WordPress website until it’s too late.

Once your WordPres site has been compromised, there’s not a lot you can do besides notify your visitors and try to clean up the mess. If only there was something you could’ve done to prevent this.

Good news: there is. It’s using a WordPress security plugin.

 

The Best WordPress Security Plugins

For anything related to WordPress you’ll find dozens of popular plugins to install. Going through every plugin yourself can be tedious, which is why we created this list.

Below you’ll find five of the top WordPress security plugins that are both free and paid that help to protect your site against security vulnerabilities.

 

1. All In One WP Security & Firewall

all in one security

All In One WP Security & Firewall is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins. It’s very easy to use and you can configure this plugin pretty easily, even if you don’t have any tech skills.

It’s equipped with a unique grading system, so you can see which areas of your WordPress site are protected, and what you need to improve upon. Since it’s visually based it’s easy to see and correct any areas of your site that might be weak.

The main ways this plugin will improve your security are by protecting against blue force login attempts, securing your user accounts, creating a website firewall, protecting your WordPress databases, and even allowing you to blacklist certain sites or IP addresses.

Plus, it has a built-in security scanner so you’ll know that your site is always protected against hackers.

All In One WP Security & Firewall is a completely free plugin that you can download here. You also won’t run into any annoying upsells, or having to upgrade to unlock more features.

 

2. iThemes Security

ithemes security plugin

iThemes security is a feature-packed WordPress security plugin. It’s available as both a free and paid plugin for WordPress sites. The paid version will unlock more detailed security measures.

The free version has some decent features, but if you really want to protect your site, you’ll want to consider the pro version. It will not only unlock some stellar security features but it’s also affordable, at only $80 per year.

The Pro version does a lot to enhance security, like providing strong password protection, backing up and securing your databases, protecting against brute force attacks, moving your login page, adding two-factor authentication, and a lot more.

Plus, you’ll get regular website monitoring and dedicated professional support.

You can download and give the free version of the plugin a test drive, or upgrade to the pro version here.

 

3. Wordfence Security

wordfence security plugin

WordFence Security is one of the top free WordPress security plugins on the market. It excels in protecting your site from brute force attacks, real-time security monitoring, login page protection, and IP blacklisting. Plus, it adds a firewall to your site.

WordFence also has an extensive database of offending websites and IP addresses, which are atomically blocked from accessing your site.

The premium version of the plugin is equipped with additional features to take your security to new heights. That includes real-time threat protection, an improved firewall, two-factor authentication, geographic protection, dedicated support, improved spam protection, and more.

You can download the free version of Wordfence here, or you can opt to purchase the premium version.  

 

4. Sucuri Security

sucuri wordpress plugin

The Sucuri Security plugin is created by a team of WordPress security experts. This plugin is entirely free and will help both will regular site monitoring, and strengthen your existing levels of security.

Once you install the plugin it will automatically scan your site to look for any infected files or known sources of security weakness. You can then restore or repair your site to ensure it’s in good working condition.

Beyond this initial scan and clean up this plugin will provide you with regular website monitoring and malware scanning. Plus, it will strengthen your existing security protocols to ensure that your site is protected against the biggest threats and vulnerabilities lurking online.

You can install this plugin for free here. There’s also an option to opt for a premium version of this plugin, which will add a website firewall and more security features to your site.

 

5. SecuPress

secupress

SecuPress is a relatively new addition to the WordPress security space. However, it’s seen very rapid growth. There are both free and premium versions of this plugin available.

One of the strongest features of SecuPress is its intuitive UI, which makes it incredibly easy to setup and use. Not only that it’s equipped with a built-in security scanner, which will scan your site for six main points of vulnerability.

If any points of weakness are revealed during this scan, then the plugin will actually fix them at the click of a button. Overall, this is a very solid and easy to use security plugin.

The premium version of the plugin will give you additional features like anti-spam protection, automated website backups in case a restore is needed, and automated website scans.

You can download the free version of the plugin here, or pick up the Pro version for $59.

 

Closing Thoughts

Website security is complex. It’s continually evolving, and what kept your site secure a year ago probably won’t do the trick today.

Instead of trying to understand all the security threats out there, the better course of action is taking the necessary steps to protect your site, and letting the experts handle and understand the risks they’re protecting you from.

All of the plugins above are great choices when it comes to protecting your website. If you have a smaller site and don’t get a ton of traffic, then you can probably get away with a free WordPress security plugin. But, as your site grows it’s probably a good idea to upgrade to one of the paid options above and look into implementing a website security checker.

Improve the security of your site without having to lift a finger. Upgrade to managed WordPress hosting now, and our WordPress experts monitor your site for threats and take care of security for you, so you never have to worry. 

Improve the security of your site without having to lift a finger. Upgrade to managed WordPress hosting now, and our WordPress experts monitor your site for threats and take care of security for you, so you never have to worry.

With your site’s security taken care of you can focus on the important things, running your online business, and growing your traffic.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.

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6 Mistakes That Trip Up Online Stores During Holiday Traffic Surges https://www.hostgator.com/blog/holiday-traffic-surges-mistakes-online-stores/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/holiday-traffic-surges-mistakes-online-stores/#respond Fri, 14 Sep 2018 17:42:41 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=20125 The post 6 Mistakes That Trip Up Online Stores During Holiday Traffic Surges appeared first on HostGator Blog.

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The holidays are the most wonderful eCommerce time of the year. They also can be the most stressful if you’re not ready to deal with extra customer traffic to your online store.

Site crashes, unhappy customers, and shipping slowdowns can wreck your holiday revenue projections and thoroughly stress you out.

For a more peaceful and productive holiday sales season no matter how many customers show up, plan now to avoid these common mistakes.

 

Mistake #1: A hosting plan that can’t handle holiday traffic spikes

Even big retailers struggle with crashes when shoppers overwhelm their sites during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. But that doesn’t mean that crashes are inevitable, and they’re certainly not good for business.

Big companies can cope with downtime because they offer deep-discount deals that customers will check back for. But most small online sellers don’t have that kind of drawing power. If your store has an outage on a major sale day, odds are shoppers will just take their money somewhere else.

online shoppers leave ecommerce websites if they take too long to load

Even if your site doesn’t crash, heavy traffic could make it slow to a crawl. When product pages take too long to load (say, longer than five seconds), your customers will likely move on.

Avoid this mistake: Head off crashes and site slowdowns this holiday season by looking over your hosting plan now. Is there a limit to how much bandwidth you can use or the number of site visits you can have in a given month? If so, is your holiday sales traffic likely to exceed those limits?

Talk to your web host about whether you should upgrade to a hosting plan that includes flexible scalability to handle whatever site traffic your sales bring in.

best dedicated server hosting

Mistake #2: No automated site backups

Traffic isn’t the only thing that can take your site offline. Malware that gets past your site’s security measures, updates that go awry, hackers, and user errors can crash your site or cause problems so severe that it’s better to take the site down until you can restore a previous, uncorrupted version.

That’s easy enough to do if a previous, uncorrupted version of your site exists.

If it doesn’t? You could lose a lot of holiday business while you figure out what’s wrong with your site, fix it, and bring it back online.

Avoid this mistake: If your hosting plan doesn’t provide automated site backups, it’s time to switch to one that does. With an auto-backup plan, you don’t have to remember to manually back up your site and you can easily restore previous versions through your hosting dashboard, so you can get your site back online for holiday shoppers.

 

Mistake #3: Not enough protection against hackers and malware

Not every holiday visitor to your site may be there to shop. Malware can come from many sources, and people try to hack all kinds of sites for all types of reasons, from data theft to boredom.

You can and should follow best practices on your end like using strong passwords, being suspicious of strange emails, and keeping your hardware secure and your software up to date and patched. Even so, extra layers of protection can reduce the risk of malicious mischief, even when your store is swarmed with visitors.

Avoid this mistake: Find out what security measures your web host takes to protect your data and keep your site online. Look for features like regular scans to detect and remove malware, free SSL certificates, updated server firewalls, and physical security of server sites. Ask your host about upgrades to make your site more secure.

 

Mistake #4: No extra fraud-screening capacity

Holiday shoppers want their orders approved fast, and there are a lot of orders to approve, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That means the pace of order decisions can be overwhelming, and fraudsters count on that to slip bad orders through.

LexisNexis reported in 2017 that during holiday sales peaks, up to 43% of orders may be attempted fraud. Without advance planning, you may be forced to choose between more fraud losses due to rapid approvals or more lost sales due to slow approval times.

Avoid this mistake: Talk to your fraud prevention team or third-party service now to make a plan. Will you need to hire seasonal analysts and customer service reps? Do you need to update your internal negative and positive files for faster decisions? What will it cost to scale up your fraud screening capacity during the holidays? Find out now.

 

Mistake #5: Not enough customer service options

Online shoppers already expect immediate customer service via live chat, chatbots, social media messaging, or a real person on the phone.

Responsive customer service is important year-round and especially during the holiday shopping season, because customers are often looking for specific items and are in a hurry to move on to the next sale or item on their gift list. Answer their questions in real time and you’re likely to make more sales.

If all you offer is an email address, you may not be able to keep up with inquiries or answer them fast enough, which means you could lose sales to competitors with better support.

Avoid this mistake: Now’s the time to audit your customer service offerings and plan for an increase in demand during holiday sales. If you only have email support, consider adding Facebook Customer Chat (in beta, but there’s already a WordPress plugin) or a chatbot extension tailored to your eCommerce platform to handle common questions.

 

Mistake #6: No plan for handling all those extra orders

Making lots of sales is one of the highlights of the holiday eCommerce season. Getting those purchases out the door can be one of the headaches.

When the orders are pouring in—especially when customers are paying for rush shipping—packing and shipping can become a bottleneck that leads to delayed shipments and unhappy customers. If you want those customers to come back after the holidays, make sure you have a plan to supercharge your normal shipping routine.

Avoid this mistake: Order extra shipping supplies now. Running out of labels, boxes, tape, or ink in the middle of a peak sales period can slow you down and cost you extra if you have to place a rush order of your own so you can get back to work.

 

Fired Up for the Holiday Sales Season?

Use these tips to improve your store before Black Friday shoppers arrive, and get some holiday marketing campaign inspiration.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelancer who enjoys writing about business development and marketing, e-commerce payments and fraud prevention, and travel.

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How to Install a WordPress SEO Plugin https://www.hostgator.com/blog/install-wordpress-seo-plugin/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/install-wordpress-seo-plugin/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 19:59:18 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=19930 The post How to Install a WordPress SEO Plugin appeared first on HostGator Blog.

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Ranking in the search engines can be a powerful way to grow your site. By using a WordPress hosting plan you’re already giving yourself a head start, as it’s pretty well optimized.

However, if you want to take your onsite search engine optimization even further, then you’ll want to use an SEO plugin for WordPress.

Part of on-page SEO success is adhering to best practices to help your WordPress website rank. This includes optimizing your pages and other content the right way. The other aspect is offsite SEO, which involves things like building strong and relevant backlinks to your site.

This post will focus on the first part of that equation, optimizing your site’s content for relevant keywords to help you rank.

Luckily, this process can be simplified by using a WordPress SEO plugin.

Below you’ll learn why you’ll want to use a WordPress SEO plugin, which plugins for WordPress are worth using, and finally, how to install a WordPress SEO plugin on your site.

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Why You Need a WordPress SEO Plugin

As we mentioned, choosing WordPress as your CMS already puts you ahead in the SEO game.

But, optimizing your WordPress site the right way still takes time and skill. So, if you don’t want to spend months learning the ins and outs of on-page SEO, you can rely on an SEO plugin for WordPress to guide the way.

There are dozens of little tweaks you’ll need to make to properly optimize your siteBy using an SEO plugin you’ll save time and make your life a lot easier.

Plus, if you want to rank in the search engines, then there are a lot of other, offsite SEO tasks you’ll need to be doing. Spending all your time on onsite SEO just doesn’t make sense.

With the help of an SEO plugin you’ll be able to quickly optimize your content, so you can focus on the quality of your content, and other offsite factors that’ll really help your WordPress website rank.

 

Which WordPress SEO Plugin Should You Choose?

Hopefully, by now, you understand why using a WordPress SEO plugin is essential. Now, it’s time to choose the best SEO plugin for your site.

There are dozens of different SEO plugins for WordPress you can use. However, instead of diving into every plugin here, we’ll focus on the best one you can use: Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO is one of the most useful and comprehensive SEO plugins for WordPress on the market. Plus, it’s entirely free.

With Yoast, you’ll get access to features like:

  • Post title and meta optimization
  • Keyword analysis and expert SEO recommendations
  • XML sitemap creation and integration
  • Taxonomy creation
  • Google Webmaster Tools validation
  • And more!

It’s a feature-packed free plugin that will actually educate you about SEO-friendly practices as you spend time optimizing your site and your content.

 

How to Install a WordPress SEO Plugin

Below you’ll learn how to install and configure Yoast SEO on your WordPress blog or site.

For the sake of this tutorial, we’re assuming you already have WordPress installed on your site.

If you don’t then follow this tutorial and do that first. For those who are already rocking WordPress, let’s dive in!

 

1. Install and Activate the Plugin

First, you’ll need to install and activate the Yoast plugin to make your site more SEO friendly. To do this navigate to Plugins>Add New on your sidebar.

Next, search for Yoast SEO and install the free plugin that looks like the one below.

yoast seo

Now, click ‘Activate’ and the Yoast plugin will be installed on your site.

With the plugin installed it’s time to start configuring the settings. You’ll probably notice that there are a ton of different settings you can play around with.

Instead of focusing on every aspect of the tool, we’ll only focus on tweaking the settings that are most relevant towards improving your rankings.

With that being said, click on the new ‘SEO’ tab on the left-hand sidebar of your WordPress dashboard. This will open up Yoast SEO.

 

2. Using the Configuration Wizard

The easiest way to set up WordPress Yoast SEO is by using the configuration wizard. Click on the link that looks like the picture below to get started.

yoast generalSelect Your Environment.

The first step is easy. Click the box that says ‘Option A’. Unless you’re building a site that isn’t quite ready to launch to the world.

yoast environment

Select Your Site Type

Next, you’ll select the type of site that best matches your site.

yoast site type

Choose Company or Person.

Next, you’ll choose whether this site will represent a person or a company. This will help when ranking and displaying your site in the Google Knowledge Graph. If you choose ‘Company’ you can also add your logo during this step.

yoast company

Add Your Social Profiles.

If you have any existing social media profiles, then you’ll want to enter those URLs now. This will help the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin provide more details about your site to Google. You don’t have to enter every single profile you have, just the ones you use most often and are actually related to your website.

yoast social profiles

Select How You Want Your Site to Appear in the Search Engines.

Now, you’ll decide if you want both your posts and pages to show up in the search engines. You’ll probably want to leave these default settings and allow the search engines to index your entire site.

yoast search engine visibility

Determine Authorship.

If you’re going to be the only author for your blog, then you’ll want to select ‘No’. This will help you avoid any duplicate content issues that can reflect negatively on your rankings.

However, if you will have multiple authors on your site then choose ’Yes’. This will create individual archive pages, so people can access posts written solely by that author.

yoast multiple authors

Integrate Google Search Console.

Google Search Tool is a valuable tool that will provide you with relevant search information about your site. To configure this you’ll need to have an existing Google Search Console profile.

If you don’t have it set up already, then this post will show you how to do it.

You can always set this up later if you don’t want to go through the process at this time. It isn’t necessary for the proper functioning of Yoast SEO.

yoast google search console

Choose Your Title Settings.

Your title is the main headline that will appear in the search results. Here you’ll choose your website name and the separator you want to use.

yoast title settings

There are a few more sections to click through, which will ask you to sign up for their newsletter and upgrade to the premium version of Yoast. However, you don’t have to do either of these if you don’t want to.

Just keep clicking through until you get to the ‘Success!’ page.

Congratulations! You’ve now properly configured the Yoast WordPress plugin for your site.

 

Optimizing Your Pages and Posts

One of the coolest features of the Yoast plugin is how easy it is to optimize your pages and posts.

To do this open up one of your existing posts or pages. Towards the bottom of the page (underneath your content), you’ll see a box labeled Yoast SEO.

yoast post setup

Here you can change your title, meta description, URL, and enter your focus keyword. Then, you’ll get a score and recommendations for how you can improve that score based on search engine optimization best practices.

For every page and post on your site, you should aim for ‘Green’, which means that your content is properly optimized for your chosen keyword.

If for some reason Yoast WordPress SEO plugin isn’t the right one for you, then spend some time finding an SEO plugin that works better for you. The installation process will be the same as the first few steps above.

 

Start Optimizing Your On-Site SEO

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how to install a WordPress SEO plugin on your site and set it up the right way. Finally, it’s important to note that your host can actually have an influence on your rankings, so make sure you choose a quality hosting environment.

If you have any more questions about how to install a WordPress SEO plugin, please contact us at HostGator today!

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.

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Use Your Website Analytics to Prepare for Holiday Traffic https://www.hostgator.com/blog/use-your-website-analytics-to-prepare-for-holiday-traffic/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/use-your-website-analytics-to-prepare-for-holiday-traffic/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 19:19:33 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=20174 The post Use Your Website Analytics to Prepare for Holiday Traffic appeared first on HostGator Blog.

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If you run an eCommerce store, it’s already time to be thinking about the holidays.

The holiday season is exciting for online stores because it means an influx of sales. But it’s also stressful, because it’s the most important time of year to be on your A-game so you don’t miss out on the profit opportunities of all that gift giving.

For the next couple of months, you want to make your website and holiday marketing strategy do as much for you as absolutely possible.

One of the best ways make the right movies to get those holiday dollars is by making your analytics a key part of your planning for the holiday season.

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8 Ways Website Analytics Can Prepare You for Holiday Shoppers

Here are eight ways your analytics can help you craft a more successful holiday marketing campaign this year.

 

1. Revisit last year’s analytics.

Start by looking at the analytics for October through early January of last year. Pull up all the different data sources you have so you can get the big picture of what worked during last year’s holiday season.

This likely includes:

In addition, you may have analytics from your SEO, CRM, audience listening tools, and any other piece of marketing technology you use.

Identify all the different sources of analytics you have so you can bring them together to do your analysis. You want to be able to spot how different analytics tell a larger story – was that boost in traffic for a particular blog post in December because you emailed it to your list or promoted it on social media? Did the gift guide you put together drive sales to the products you highlighted?

The most important data to analyze here is that from the holiday season, but don’t stop there.

Take a high-level view of all your analytics from the past year. This will help you spot trends in what your audience responded to throughout the year and if there have been any changes to the channels they care about between last year and now. If the past few months saw an uptick in results from Instagram, for example, you don’t want to leave that out of your holiday marketing planning.

The overall trends from the past year will help you gain a better understanding of who your audience is and what they respond to, while your data from this time last year provides insights into how they behave during the holiday season. Looking at both will help you gain a clear picture of what works for your target audience so you can craft your holiday marketing strategy accordingly.

 

2. Identify your top marketing channels.

With all your data in front of you, start figuring out which tactics and channels most consistently lead to sales and, more importantly, which provide the highest ROI.

Google Analytics will show you where traffic is coming from and allows you to set up conversion tracking (so you can connect website behavior to eventual sales). Your other analytics sources can help you dig deeper into the data for each visitor —your email marketing data can reveal which email drove a specific visit, and your social analytics show which specific posts contributed to your social traffic.

view top traffic sources in google analytics

Keep in mind here that some of your tactics that don’t lead to conversions right away may help drive people to the channels that eventually pay off, so don’t discount those social media posts that got people to your website even if the visitor didn’t convert to a sale on the first visit. This is why you’re working to see the bigger picture — so you can draw connections between how everything fits into your larger strategy.

With this information, you can begin to rule out the tactics that aren’t leading to sales and determine the ones you should definitely invest time and money into this year.

 

3. Analyze the timing of purchases.

Conventional wisdom about holiday shopping may be that most shoppers will buy gifts on Black Friday or last minute in the weeks leading up to the holidays, but research from CPC Strategy found instead that over a third start shopping before Thanksgiving.

when do people start shopping for holiday gifts

This is why you should trust data over conventional wisdom! But don’t just assume CPC Strategy’s averages apply to your customers. Sit down and figure out for yourself when your audience does their shopping.

Analyze your purchase data from last year to figure out what portion of your customers did their shopping well in advance and which tended to be last-minute shoppers. You may well have a mix of both, but if your audience tends to buy within a particular time period, then that should be when you do the biggest push in your marketing. Send out persuasive promotions to your email list, increase your PPC maximum budget, and do a big social media push.

This data can also help you figure it out if it will pay to offer faster shipping options when it gets closer to Hanukkah and Christmas day. If a majority of your customers are last-minute rush shoppers, then you can make the decision to buy from you easier with guarantees that the products will get there in time.

 

4. Figure out which keywords lead to conversions.

This is key for both your PPC and SEO strategies over the next couple of months. You don’t just want to track which of the keywords you targeted led to increased traffic, you want to figure out which of those visitors turned into customers.

Based on what your analytics show, you can craft a PPC strategy for the holiday season that targets the types of keywords most likely to lead to actual revenue. And you can create a content plan that incorporates the keywords that bring in your most high-value visitors to improve your holiday SEO.

HostGator’s expert team of PPC pros can help you spin up a lucrative holiday campaign quickly. Contact us to learn more.

 

5. Repurpose your best content from past seasons.

Content marketing may be a long game, but that doesn’t mean that seasonal content can’t pay off big if you do it right.

Look at the holiday content you created over the past few years and which pieces brought in new visitors and purchases. This can not only help you generate new ideas for content to create this year based on what you know resonates with your audience, but you can take the concepts you know pay off and rework them to replicate those results.

Was your gift guide a hit last year? Create a new one for this year, or make a few different versions for different audiences. Did people really respond to your blog posts about holiday giving? Create a video tackling the same topic. Repurposing is a tried and true tactic for making the successful content you’ve created go further.

 

6. Highlight your best products on your most popular pages.

In the Behavior > Site Content section of Google Analytics, you can see which pages on your website get the most visits.

find most popular pages on website using Google Analytics

Each of these is an opportunity to drive more conversions. Look at the products and promotions that performed the best during the holiday season last year and use your popular pages to promote them. By getting the items your visitors are most likely to buy in front of more of them on those pages, you increase the chances of turning visitors into conversions.

You have to make sure that your products don’t feel shoehorned in here, but an attractive image that links your visitors back to the product page can likely be worked into the design of the page without it distracting from what your visitors came to the page for to begin with.

 

7. Send personalized emails to your list.

Your email marketing analytics provide a wealth of data on what your subscribers have opened and clicked on in the past.

And unlike the rest of your data, most email marketing software providers let you break down the data in terms of the behavior of specific people. That means you don’t just see that 1000 people opened your email, you can see who those specific people are.

Use the data you have on what individual subscribers like to create a personalized email campaign during the holiday season. Put together emails that highlight the kind of content and products that were popular during the holidays last year and create segmented email lists to get the most relevant holiday emails to the right people on your list.

 

8. Do A/B testing to collect better data for next year.

Everything you do for the next few months will create the analytics you use to repeat this process next year. Use the opportunity to establish even better data to shape next year’s plan with A/B testing.

See what happens when you offer free shipping on some days and not others, or pit a free gift-wrapping option against faster delivery to see which gets more people to buy. Try A/B testing emails with different subject lines or CTAs to see which get people to open and click. And try promoting different products and packages to see if some lead to higher conversions than others.

 

Don’t Forget Your Site Analytics This Holiday Season

This is the most important time of year to get things right. Use the analytics you have now to create a strategy likely to increase sales and revenue throughout the holiday season, and generate more useful analytics at the same time to take things even further next year.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.

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Is WordPress Right for Your Business? https://www.hostgator.com/blog/wordpress-right-business/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/wordpress-right-business/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 19:00:34 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=20019 The post Is WordPress Right for Your Business? appeared first on HostGator Blog.

You’re here because you’re trying to decide if WordPress is the right tool to build your business website. It’s a...

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You’re here because you’re trying to decide if WordPress is the right tool to build your business website.

It’s a common concern to have, after all, there are dozens of different website builders, platforms, and content management systems to choose from. And you want what’s best for your business.

WordPress currently powers around 30% of the internet. This might not seem like a lot, but when compared to the hundreds of different ways people can build a website, it’s pretty impressive.

Is WordPress good for a business website? The short answer is yes.

Below we’ll go into greater depth behind that answer. You’ll learn what WordPress is, why it’s a great choice for your business, and finally, we’ll highlight a few themes that will be perfect for your new business website.

best WordPress hosting

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system. At its core, a content management system will allow you to build your site, and create, edit, and manage content all without knowing how to code.

It originally started as a blogging platform, but since it’s early days WordPress has gone on to power some of the largest sites in the world, like BBC America, The New Yorker, and Tech Crunch.

With WordPress for business, you build your business website with themes, add new features with plugins, and use the built-in key features to create and manage your content.

 

Why WordPress is a Great Choice for Your Business

When you’re choosing a platform to support your business, you have different needs than someone who’s just building out a simple site for personal use.

As a business owner, your website needs to offer you flexibility and control. It should be easy to use, and the platform should scale to meet the growing demands of your business.

As you’ll soon learn below, WordPress does all of these things and more.

 

1. WordPress Is Affordable

As a business owner, you probably want to cut costs whenever possible. Now, you don’t want to sacrifice quality, but you’re probably looking for the best possible deal.

Luckily, WordPress satisfies those requirements.

Right out of the box, the CMS is completely free and open source. Your only investments will be in your domain name and WordPress hosting plans, and whether you decide to use a free WordPress theme or a premium theme to build out your site.

You will have some initial upfront costs, but the lower ongoing costs will make it a better investment for years to come.

 

2. WordPress Is Infinitely Flexible

With WordPress, you can build any kind of site you desire, from advanced eCommerce sites to thousand page content machines, and every kind of site in between.

You not only have thousands of different theme options to choose from, but you also have a  massive marketplace of the most popular WordPress plugins you can choose from to add more features to your site.

The near-infinite flexibility of WordPress is part of the reason it’s so popular. No matter what kind of business site you want to build, WordPress can help you build it.

 

3. WordPress Is Easy to Use

One of the reasons behind the widespread adoption of WordPress is that it’s very easy to use.

Plus you’ll have infinitely more control over the end result of your site, and you’ll always have complete ownership over your data.

There are a wide range of WordPress tutorials out there that will help you do everything you need to get started, such as installing WordPress on your site, building out your theme, installing plugins, and even troubleshooting different issues.

 

4. WordPress Has a Large Online Community

If you run into any issues with your site there’s always a large community you can lean on. You’ll find a wealth of support materials from your theme and plugin providers, and everything else you need is just a Google search away.

Since WordPress is so popular, a dedicated and genuinely helpful community has sprung up. There are dozens of blogs and sites dedicated entirely to teaching you the ins and outs of WordPress and helping you overcome any issues you might run into.

 

5. WordPress Can Grow With You

WordPress powers everything from small blogs, all the way up to some of the largest websites online, like Thought Catalog, CNN, the New York Post, and more. What explains this varied demand?

First, it has endless customization options. 

Second, it’s built to scale and manage even the largest websites that have thousands of posts and get millions of visitors per month.

Another bonus? No major upgrades are required to meet this growth. You’ll have everything you need to scale your website right from the very beginning.

 

6. WordPress Is Secure

As a business owner, your site needs to be secure. Getting your site hacked, or having a security breach can lead to a loss of trust in the eyes of your visitors. In some cases, their personal data can even become comprised, which can be difficult to recover from.

Almost every system is vulnerable to hacking. Since WordPress is such a popular platform it’s more likely to be the subject of an attack. Securing your website will protect your WordPress site against many different types of cybersecurity threats.

But, this also means you have even more people working to prevent those attacks and create patches when any security vulnerabilities might arise.

You have an extensive set of security plugin options you can install to greatly improve the security of your site. You also have the ability to choose a WordPress managed host, which will take your site security to ultimate heights.

 

7. You Have Control Over Your Data

WordPress is open source, and you’ll be self-hosting your own website. This means that you own everything regarding your website: your files, content, media, and even where you want to host your site.

That means you can effectively pack up and bring your site elsewhere whenever you’d like.

Using closed systems like Squarespace means that you’re never in full ownership of your site. It is possible to migrate away from platforms like that, but you’ll typically have to leave a lot of your site behind – and spend time building a new site from scratch.

Just like all business owners, you want to know who’s in control of your site’s data, and you want that person to be you.

 

Top WordPress Themes for Business

Hopefully, by now, you have a greater understanding of why you should choose WordPress for your new business website.

The next challenge you’ll face is choosing the right WordPress themes for your business.

Here are five of the best WordPress business themes we’ve come across for business owners:

 

1. Divi

divi theme

Divi is a very clean, mobile responsive, and flexible theme. You can effectively use this theme to build any kind of website you desire.

It’s built on a drag and drop builder, so all your site’s customization is just handled by dragging, dropping, and rearranging certain content blocks.

There are also dozens of pre-built page layout options, so you don’t have to create every single page from scratch.

 

2.Digital Pro

digital pro theme

Digital Pro is a great eCommerce business theme that sits on top of the Genesis framework. It’s very clean and elegant and packed with features.

You’ll be able to easily customize your eCommerce site through the customization panel, adding text, changing color schemes, responsive layout options, and a lot more.

Like most theme options in the StudioPress library, this makes use of a lot of whitespace and offers clean typography. The end result provides your visitors with a very comfortable browsing experience.

 

3. Navy

navy theme

Navy is a clean and versatile theme. It emphasizes large images along with clear and bold typography to help get your message across.

If you’re a cutting-edge company or want to give off a sleek and professional appearance, then this theme is a great choice.

Once you install the theme you’ll have the option of choosing between one of 12 different homepage templates, as well as a variety of templates for the rest of your site content. 

Plus, there’s a drag and drop builder built-in, so you can easily rearrange your pages to give them a unique look.

 

4. Corporate

corporate theme

Corporate will give your eCommerce site a very sleek and professional appearance. It offers you a very clean and spacious mobile responsive design so you can put the focus on your words and business.

This theme works great for companies who also have a physical business, as you’ll be able to integrate your phone number, team page, and address.

It even includes cool features like an animated experience display (to highlight your skills), pricing tables, the parallax scaling effect, and more.

 

5. Foundry

foundry theme

Foundry offers a cutting-edge and minimalist theme for businesses that want a responsive design for mobile devices. This theme presents you with a simple display, while still offering you all the customization options you require.

It’s equipped with 25 different concepts that are designed for specific niches or e-commerce business verticals. Each of these essentially acts as a skin on top of the existing theme.

Since it’s bundled with Visual Composer, you can drag and drop your way to building out your site.

It’s a great theme for businesses that want to project their message loud and clear.

 

WordPress: The Right Choice for Your Business Site

Hopefully, you see now that choosing WordPress to build your new business site is basically a no-brainer. Its flexibility, affordability, scalability, and ease of use are just a few of the reasons it should be your top choice.

Build your WordPress business website today.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.

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