Every year the HostGator team strives to provide you with helpful information that is relevant to your challenges and goals for your website or your business presence online. Each month we package it up and deliver our “Snappy Tips” newsletter on a timely topic you need. (See the right sidebar to subscribe!)

For example, our January theme was “New Year, New Business Strategies” with everything you need from trendy business ideas, how to choose a unique business name, how to find your competitive edge, and why social media isn’t enough – you need a website too!

We’re excited about what we have coming up in 2019, but we also like to reflect back on what we helped you accomplish in 2018! Many of the top articles start with “how to,” and it appears that you wanted to know how to “level up” your website – secure your website from hackers, speed up your website, and build an eCommerce website.

In case you missed it, here are our top articles and the most important takeaways…

1. What the July 2018 Google Chrome Update Means for Your Website

Starting in July 2018, Google Chrome released a security update that alerts visitors if your website doesn’t have a SSL security certificate installed. This can severely hurt your search engine rankings.

The Big Takeaway:
HostGator offers a free SSL certificate on all web hosting plans! But you must complete a few steps to activate it on your website.

2. How to Secure a Website from Hackers

As we’ve seen from the July 2018 Google Chrome security update, website security is increasingly important and necessary. Our readers also know this because “how to secure a website from hackers” was #2 in most trafficked of our 2018 articles.

In this article, top security tips include:

  1. Install security plugins when possible.
  2. Use HTTPS.
  3. Keep your website platform and software up to date.
  4. Secure your passwords.

And for the more advanced web users, we covered how to use parameterized queries, CSP, and how to lock down your directory and file permissions.

The Big Takeaway:
Many website security procedures can be set up once and left alone. Others require ongoing maintenance and attention. Use this article to see which ones you need to add to your website. To make it even more simple, HostGator offers a website security bundle as an add-on to all packages, and a free SSL security certificate on all plans.

3. How to find out who the domain owner is

You came up with a great business idea and the perfect web address! But, someone else already owns your dream .com address. Now what? If the domain name is taken but the individual either hasn’t launched a website yet or appears to no longer update the website, ask the owner if they would consider selling the domain.

The Big Takeaway:
To find out who owns a domain, search for the web address on a website called WHOIS. As long as the domain owner isn’t using a proxy or domain privacy service, you can find their contact information and reach out to express interest in buying the domain.

4. How to design an eCommerce website

Our article on “how to design an eCommerce website” was trending because it seems that many of you have an idea for an online store or eCommerce type website. That’s great! There can be a lot of legwork involved before you’re ready to sell.

Here are our top tips:

  1. Organize your website categories based on how people shop.
  2. Make your eCommerce site responsive (also known as mobile friendly).
  3. Include wishlist functionality.
  4. Include product reviews.
  5. Invest in high-quality product photography.
  6. Offer a guest check out option.

The Big Takeaway:
Design your eCommerce website with quality in mind. You may feel like the process to launch is time-consuming, but your chances of success are greater if you take the time to build a thoughtful website that is easy for your target audience to navigate.

5. 10 Ways to speed up your website

There’s no doubt about it – website speed matters. 52% of mobile users will leave a website that takes longer than three seconds to load, and 10% of web users will leave if a website doesn’t load in two seconds.

Our top tips for how to speed up your website include:

  1.  Optimize your images.
  2. Do a plugin purge. (Note: We did this on the HostGator blog at the end of 2018!)
  3. Be sure your site scripts are up to date.
  4. Use CDNs.
  5. Enable browser caching.

For more advanced users, we recommend that you turn on Gzip compression, keep CSS files at the top and Javascript at the bottom, reduce HTTP requests, and minimize and optimize redirects.

The Big Takeaway:
Page speed is definitely a ranking factor in search engine results. Make sure your website is running at an optimal speed by implementing these 10 ways to speed up your website. Set aside time at the beginning of each year (and again mid-year) to review your site and look for opportunities to optimize the website for speed.

In Conclusion:
Quality web hosting is key to addressing many of these issues. Quality web hosting can come with security measures to help protect your website from hackers. Quality web hosting can help your website run more efficiently, whether it’s an eCommerce website or not. If you’re looking to upgrade your web hosting, check out the web hosting plans that HostGator offers. All packages come with free SSL security certificates, access to our 24/7/365 customer support, and 99.9% uptime guarantee.