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7 Best WordPress Caching Plugins

HostGator Blog -

The post 7 Best WordPress Caching Plugins appeared first on HostGator Blog. No one enjoys waiting for websites to load. And the longer your visitors wait, it’s more likely they will leave and go to your competitor’s website.  Caching helps alleviate excessive page load times. It’s the process of temporarily storing your website’s data, so it can load faster for your visitors. Rather than taking several steps to load your website, it speeds up the process.  Clearly, it’s important to clear the cache on your WordPress website. Fortunately, WordPress caching plugins make the entire operation easier. Take a look at the seven tools below. 1. WP Fastest Cache Sites that load in five seconds (compared to those that load in 19) see 70% longer average sessions. Your visitors want to engage with your content as soon as possible. However, each time a visitor lands on your webpage, the server creates a new page with PHP and MySQL. This process takes up critical space and memory. With several visitors coming to your website at one time, it can seriously slow down the rendering process. With WP Fastest Cache, it’s no longer a problem. This plugin renders the page one time and stores it in cache.  When someone wants to view the page, it serves the cached version. And because Google uses website speed in its algorithm, it can help improve your search engine rankings, too. 2. W3 Total Cache Caching is a critical part of optimizing your website speed. It significantly speeds up your page load times, while also decreasing the load on your server. W3 Total Cache keeps your visitors satisfied by reducing page load times. When fully configured, it can improve overall website performance by 10x.  The plugin compresses the size of your HTML files in cache. It also caches other page components, like Javascript files and database objects. It’s compatible with shared hosting, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers. With W3 Total Cache, the rendering and compression enhances the visitor experience, resulting in more conversions. Customer support is also available to answer your configuration questions or software issues. 3. Comet Cache Without caching, your small business gets deemed the “great brand, with the slow website.” It reflects poorly on your brand, and you miss the chance to delight customers and increase sales. So, don’t drive visitors away when a plugin can easily assist you. Comet Cache helps unburden servers. This WordPress caching plugin takes a real-time snapshot of your website, including pages and posts. You also can set an automatic expiration time for cache files. The pro version of the caching plugin includes additional features to improve your website performance.  You can clear your cache with a single click, auto-clear a list of custom URLs, and leverage domain sharing and multiple CDN hosts to allow browsers to download information simultaneously. Plus, you can preview these pro features in the free version. 4. Hummingbird As a small business owner, you have multiple responsibilities, ranging from marketing to accounting. So, it’s easy to overlook the importance of website optimization. Alex Landau, an engineer, on why you should make it a priority: “Caching makes things faster. When you want to grab some data that is expensive to look up (in terms of time or other resources), you cache it so that next time you want to look up that same data, it’s much less expensive.” Explore Hummingbird, a multi-purpose caching plugin that scans your WordPress website to find exactly what’s slowing it down. You don’t have to do any heavy lifting because the plugin is equipped with one-click fixes. Hummingbird also offers a caching suite to provide your visitors with a faster browsing experience.  5. Cache Enabler Research shows the vast majority of online shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again. So, speeding up your page speed just a few seconds can help your small business or eCommerce store retain visitors.  Cache Enabler helps improve your WordPress site’s performance. It creates static HTML files and stores them for you. Therefore, when a visitor views your page, the plugin sends the static HTML. This process avoids the slow load time to generate the page. It minimizes the use of HTML and inline JavaScript to speed up web page delivery.  You also can view the cache size on your WordPress dashboard. It’s advised that you don’t use this plugin if your website uses a mobile theme or plugin that shows different layouts for desktop and mobile users.  Overall, Cache Enabler involves minimal setup for non-technical users. You can install and configure it quickly. 6. Breeze Fashion retailer Nordstrom lost 11% of their online sales after its website response time slowed by half a second. In a competitive market, website performance becomes increasingly important. Breeze is a powerful caching plugin designed for non-technical users. Once installed, small business owners can see results with the recommended default settings. The plugin also provides file level caching, database cleanup, CDN integration, and minification. 7. WP Super Cache A Google study found that 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. With WP Super Cache, you can have more control over the caching of your website.  This WordPress caching plugin serves the majority of your visitors, including those who aren’t logged in, haven’t left a blog comment, and haven’t viewed a password-protected post. Your known visitors will be served a custom cached files tailored to their visit. Moreover, if you’re not comfortable with editing PHP files, you can use the plugin’s simple mode to setup your caching. If you have additional questions, you can contact the friendly support team. Improve Site Peformance with WordPress Caching Plugins Take advantage of caching plugins to speed up your WordPress website. By doing so, you’ll enhance the visitor experience and maintain people’s attention longer.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

6 Best WordPress Website Tips for 2020

InMotion Hosting Blog -

The world of WordPress is changing faster and faster each day. WordPress is no longer a one-time install set-it-and-forget-it operation. As more websites all over the world adopt WordPress a whole suite of external tools have emerged to support the WordPress ecosystem. This year, your work will be to navigate this sea of tools and options and features without getting lost and frustrated. Read on to find out how you can keep your operation on course this year: Attend a WordPress meetup Drop your plugins where you can Learn version control Consider using an offline editor Get your local version up and running Use your host as a resource These tips are tailor made for WordPress users of every variety. Continue reading 6 Best WordPress Website Tips for 2020 at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Tackling the Headache of Tedious Plugin Maintenance

WP Engine -

Plugins are arguably one of the best parts of WordPress. These uploadable bits of software allow users to easily add features and functionality to their websites, and with nearly 55,000 free plugins available for download in the WordPress Plugin Repository, the options for customizing WordPress sites have become almost limitless. But just like any piece… The post Tackling the Headache of Tedious Plugin Maintenance appeared first on WP Engine.

SEO for Real Estate Websites [12 Pro Tips]

HostGator Blog -

The post SEO for Real Estate Websites [12 Pro Tips] appeared first on HostGator Blog. The real estate industry is competitive. To have any chance of being chosen by the people looking to buy or sell a home in your town, you have to find a way to stand out and get noticed. The most successful real estate agents aren’t constantly on the prowl trying to find new clients—they’re the ones who make it exceedingly easy for those clients to find them. In the age of the internet, the best method for doing that is search engine optimization (SEO). Research from the National Association of Realtors found that 57% of people turned to the internet as a first step in the home-buying process, either to start looking at listings or to research information on how to buy a home. The real estate websites that snag the top rankings in those searches have a good chance of winning that business. SEO requires a lot of work, but the good news for real estate agents is that you don’t have to compete with all the other agents out there. You only need to attract local business, so your SEO competition is restricted to the other agents working in your immediate area.  If you’re in a high-competition city like San Francisco or New York City, that may be cold comfort. But in smaller cities and towns across the country, getting a page one spot in the search engines is an attainable goal. You just need the right SEO strategy for your real estate website. Your 12-Step Real Estate SEO Strategy To make your real estate website more competitive on the search engine results page (SERP), these are the most important steps to take.  1. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. If you built your website a few years ago, mobile may not have been top of mind for you yet. But with every year, mobile use claims a greater share of all internet use (even surpassing desktop usage). And Google has been very clear about considering how well websites work on mobile when calculating rankings.  When was the last time you pulled up your website on a smartphone to see what the experience of using it on a small screen is like? Do it now. Does it load fast? Is it easy to use? If not, it’s past time for an update.  This doesn’t have to be a huge overwhelming project. Now that mobile use is ubiquitous, there are lots of easy options for building a responsive website that works as well on mobile as on desktop. With a website builder, you can get a mobile-friendly website up quickly and affordably.  2. Make sure your website loads fast. This is another key ranking factor Google’s been upfront about. People like websites that load fast, and Google likes to deliver results that people like. If your website takes more than a split second to load, you risk visitors clicking away and Google’s algorithm docking you for it.  A big part of having a fast website is choosing a web hosting provider that delivers reliable service. Beyond that, tips like using image compression, reducing the number of plugins you use, and enabling browser caching can help as well.  3. Do keyword research. A lot of your real estate SEO strategy will hinge on keywords. Keyword research is how you learn what the home buyers in your city are thinking about and searching for, so you know what search terms you want your website to show up for.  Make sure your keyword research prioritizes local terms. And not just obvious ones like “cincinnati real estate agent.” Get even more specific with neighborhood names and local landmarks. A good keyword strategy includes two types of keywords: Broad keywords – these will be the ones you optimize the main pages of your website for (your homepage and About page, for example). They’ll be straight to the point of what people are looking for, e.g. santa fe home selling, tampa home search, atlanta real estate agentLong-tail keywords – these are what you build a content strategy around. They usually include more words and answer questions related to buying and selling a home, e.g. best neighborhoods in charlotte, common home improvements san jose 4. Perform on-site optimization on your real estate website. For each page on your real estate website, choose a relevant primary keyword to optimize it for, and a couple of related secondary keywords. You want a unique primary keyword for every page, so you’re not competing with yourself.  Look for opportunities to naturally incorporate your keywords into, such as: The page’s title tagThe page’s headings and subheadings (h1, h2, h3, etc.)The copy on the webpageImage names and alt tagsThe meta description Also consider other pages on the site where it makes natural sense to link back to the page using your primary keyword as the anchor text.  Be careful in this step not to overdo it. Keyword stuffing—overusing a particular keyword to the point where your page doesn’t make sense for humans anymore—is actually bad for SEO. The algorithm penalizes websites that it registers keyword stuffing on. Don’t force it. But as long as you’ve chosen a keyword that’s actually relevant to the page, weaving it in naturally shouldn’t be too difficult.  5. Create and optimize a Google My Business listing. Google recognizes when a search has local intent. When location matters, it usually puts map results at the very top of the search engine results page (SERP). And a search term like “real estate” is definitely one where location matters. The results that show up under the map are all Google My Business listings. If you want a chance at winning one of those spots, you need to make sure you both have a Google My Business listing, and that you’ve optimized it.  Setting up your listing is pretty straightforward. Go here, and follow the steps the website walks you through. Fill out your profile as completely as possible, with contact information, hours, and an accurate category. Add any high-quality photographs you have to help your listing stand out for people who click through to learn more.  6. Add your real estate company to relevant directories and review sites. Make sure you have a profile on popular review sites like Yelp, Trust Pilot, and Angie’s List. Create profiles on the main real estate websites including Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin as well, and check and see if your city has any local sites with listings for real estate agents.  Research additional local organizations that have directories you can add your information to. That may include real estate professional organizations, local chambers of commerce, or other professional groups in your city.  These sites are both an opportunity to gain a link back to your website, and a way to make yourself easy for clients to find by showing up in one more place. Make sure you provide your information with the same spelling and formatting in each place you add a listing, so the algorithms can easily recognize them as representing the same business. For instance, if your office is located on Pretty Bird Lane, make sure you’re consistent in how you spell out Lane—don’t use Lane in some places and Ln in others.  7. Encourage reviews. Reviews are widely regarded by SEO professionals as an important ranking factor in local search. Obviously reviews on your Google My Business listing are important in this regard, but so are reviews on other sites across the web as well. If Google can see that you have a lot of 5-star ratings from clients around the web, you’re that much more likely to claim a top spot on the SERP. So don’t be afraid to ask your clients to leave you a review if they’re happy with their experience. You can include a link to your main review profiles in your email signature, add them to your website, and send a followup email to clients after each house sale asking them to take a few minutes to leave a review.  8. Create local content relevant to real estate. Any good SEO strategy will involve creating relevant content that provides value to your target audience. For real estate agents, that can include any topic that relates to living in your city, which should give you plenty to work with. Think about everything someone moving to your town would want to know, and create a list of ideas for content pieces to create that answer all their questions. As a starter list, this could include: Information about the local schoolsThe differences between local neighborhoodsThe best restaurants in townUpdates on big construction projects in townDetails about local electionsBest events and conferences in the cityCommon types of repairs or issues homeowners in the area deal withTrends in local real estate prices As a local, you know what people in your city care about. Package that knowledge into helpful blog posts, videos, or podcast episodes to help boost your SEO. 9. Use rich photos and videos. Buying a home is a visual experience. Sure, seeing written details like the number of rooms and square footage included in a home is an important part of it. But people will make more of their decisions based on an emotional response to the images they see.  Your real estate website will gain more traction if you include high-quality photos of the homes you represent. Even better if you also add video tours of them. To make sure these visual elements play an SEO role as well, optimize them by including the proper alt tags and adding detailed descriptions and/or transcripts of the video.   10. Promote your content. In a lot of cities, creating great content and making sure it’s optimized for search will already put you ahead of a lot of your competition. But if your city is more competitive, or if you want to go the extra mile to stake out a top spot on the SERPs, put some extra effort into getting your content in front of people. That could include sharing it on social media and sending it to your email list. It may even be worth promoting it with paid advertising on Google and the main social media platforms to give it an extra boost.  11. Partner with other local businesses and bloggers. All the steps you take on your real estate website are an important part of SEO, but they’re usually not enough on their own. You also have to work on the harder part of it: getting other websites to link back to yours. A good local link building strategy is to identify local businesses, bloggers, and publications that you can partner with in some way.  Can you guest post on a local website providing expertise on the current local market trends? Maybe you can join with a couple of other local businesses to sponsor a charity drive or put on an event together. Partnerships like this show you’re active in the community, raise your local profile, and therefore usually also lead to more links back to your website.  12. Sponsor local events. Event organizers are always looking for sponsors to help cover the costs of putting their events on. Start paying attention to the events that happen in your city: conferences, networking meetups, awards ceremonies, film festivals, music festivals, theater and dance performances, marathons. All of them likely need sponsors. Sponsoring an event often comes with a link to your site on the organizer’s website, along with other forms of promotion such as your name in the program. Sponsorship can be a good way to raise the profile of your real estate business, while building goodwill in the community at the same time.  Get Your Real Estate SEO Right Your life as a real estate agent will be much easier if you can count on people to find you, rather than having to go out of your way to find them. By building a strong website and making sure it’s optimized for the search engines, you’ll build a more successful real estate business that makes more with less work.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

10 Productivity Tips to Get Yourself Organized

The Domain.com Blog -

Did this year get away from you a bit? It’s ok, we’ve all been there. Now that we’re staring the new year in the face, it’s time to sit down and think about how you can be more productive in accomplishing your goals. There are only so many hours in a day, and as a small business owner or entrepreneur, we’re sure you can use every single one of them if not a few more. Let’s look at some popular productivity tips, tricks, and hacks so you can make the most of the upcoming year. Productivity tips for the New Year  Productivity is all about increasing your efficiency in getting things done. How many times have you hastily-scribbled a To-Do List on the back of an old receipt only to find that most of those tasks never get done? There could be a few issues at hand. Are you trying to tackle too much stuff in a day? A week? A month? Before reviewing popular productivity tips and tricks, make sure that you consider the time and resources you have available and how those could affect your plans. Even the most well-laid plans go awry when there isn’t the time or resources to see them through to fruition. Keep in mind that the productivity hack that works best for someone else might not be the best one for you. Maintain an open mind and understand that you may need to try a few tactics before you find what works for you. 10 productivity tips, tricks, and hacks you need to try. 1- Write it down. You’ve heard this before, we know. But if it hasn’t worked for you yet, consider this: You’re probably doing it wrong. The concept of the To-Do List is simple. Think of the tasks you need to accomplish, write them down, and cross them off when done. But that didn’t help when you scrawled your list across the back of scraps of paper, did it? When creating your To-Do List make sure you’re defining the tasks that need to get done with S.M.A.R.T. goals. These goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. By giving yourself S.M.A.R.T. goals and writing out exactly what you hope to accomplish and by when, you’re setting yourself up for success. They also help relieve some of the stress and anxiety you might feel when faced with a large task by breaking it into manageable chunks. The act of handwriting your list instead of typing it out will help you remember what needs to be done. The reason you can more easily remember something you’ve written is because of something called the “Generation Effect.” Thinking through what needs to be done and then generating a list based on those things helps to encode the information in your brain. “Encoding is the biological process by which the things we perceive travel to our brain’s hippocampus where they’re analyzed.” And that helps us humans remember our responsibilities. So write down what needs to get done, or risk forgetting your important tasks and brightest ideas. 2- Eat Your Frogs. Start the list (and your day) with your largest, most cumbersome tasks. If you put off the large tasks until the end of the day, odds are good you won’t get around to accomplishing them. Humans have a tendency to procrastinate, so get to the big tasks first instead of putting them off. Brian Tracy, an accomplished professional speaker, touches on this in his book, “Eat That Frog!” The title stems from a Mark Twain quote, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” What he’s really telling us is that if you get your biggest, most uncomfortable tasks done first then you can have the satisfaction of knowing they’re done the rest of the day. 3- Batch and break. Working non-stop for hours on end day in and day out is a great recipe for burnout. “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” So what can you do to avoid burnout and maintain your productivity levels? Batch and break. Group your routine tasks together and knock them off your To-Do List one after another. These could be tasks like checking and responding to emails or returning customer phone calls. Don’t waste time you don’t have by spreading these tasks throughout the day. Lump them together and get them done at once so you can move on to your other responsibilities that require more focus and thought. After you’ve finished a batch of tasks, take a break. By giving your brain and body a brief respite, you’re mentally preparing yourself to tackle the next thing on your list and you’re reducing your chances of getting burnt out. 4- There’s an app for that. Need to increase your productivity but can’t stay away from your cell phone? It’s ok, we understand the pull of technology. If you must keep your phone by you as you tackle your To-Do List, try putting it to work in your favor. Many apps exist for the sole purpose of helping to increase your productivity levels. They range from digital list makers to project management tools to social media publishing tools. Need some help staying focused while working on your tasks? Try an app based on the Pomodoro Technique. “The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method … [that] uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.” Some of these apps are complex and offer additional features, or you can use something like the Bear Focus Timer, a simple app to help you concentrate and stay focused. 5- Join the cloud. Is it distracting when you have to bounce from one program or software to another? Check your email here, write documents and blog posts there, and track inventory somewhere else entirely. While they’re not technically apps, G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 offer cloud-based solutions to help you stay on track. From a professional email address that matches your domain name to online meeting solutions, you can find what you need to take your productivity to the next level. 6- Turn off notifications. You might think that a minute here and a minute there don’t amount to much, but they really do add up. If you must have your phone accessible while you work then turn off all non-essential notifications. By turning off the notifications, you’ll remove the temptation to check them every time you see one. 7- The Eisenhower Method How do you decide what tasks are more important or urgent than others? If you’re struggling to determine what needs to be prioritized, try using the Eisenhower Method, designed by former U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower. “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower An example of how to identify your important and urgent tasks based on the Eisenhower method. 8- Learn to say “No.” “No” is a powerful word. You may not be comfortable saying no to tasks and requests, but you’ll never get it all done if you say yes to everything. Say no to distractions. Say no to non-urgent and unimportant requests. Say no to unnecessary meetings. Say no to preserve your sanity and leave time for your most important tasks and responsibilities. 9- Stop multitasking. Do you think you’re good at multitasking? Research says probably not. When you think you’re “multitasking” you’re likely just switching between tasks quickly, like checking your email and attending to a webinar. Odds are good that when you’re focused on one you aren’t truly attending to the other. David Strayer, PhD, is a professor of Cognition and Neural Science at the University of Utah; his research indicates that only 2% of the world’s population can truly multitask. These folks are called “supertaskers” and “the supertaskers are true outliers.“ 10- Fuel up appropriately. Everyone knows that sugar will give you a rush. That rush feels good as it happens, but everyone also knows that what follows is a crash. Instead of relying on sugary food and drink to give you quick but ineffective bursts of energy, try eating a balanced, healthy diet. Instead of energy drinks and candy, try a healthy meal. The Harvard Business Review writes that “Not all foods are processed by our bodies at the same rate. Some foods, like pasta, bread, cereal and soda, release their glucose quickly, leading to a burst of energy followed by a slump. Others, like high fat meals (think cheeseburgers and BLTs) provide more sustained energy, but require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making us groggy.” Get productive and stay productive in the new year.  We have faith that you’re going to accomplish what it is you set out to accomplish this year. Whether you’re starting your online presence by getting a domain name and website, to taking your business to the next level, all your goals will be easier to achieve when you’re productive. Remember, write down what you need to get done and don’t be vague about it. Batch similar tasks and take breaks after they’re complete or at regular intervals. And instead of letting technology distract you from your tasks, use it to your advantage. What other productivity tips and tricks do you rely on? Share them with us in the comments! The post 10 Productivity Tips to Get Yourself Organized appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Five Tips To Build A Sustainable WordPress Agency

Nexcess Blog -

Success and income posturing are a constant throughout social media. Across the Internet, freelancers and agency owners tout their high-dollar contracts and big money months. The hustle, grind, and slay lifestyle is glorified through staged luxury lifestyle photos. But eventually, these same people making a big splash, and even bigger claims, slowly fade away or disappear. Their tactics, while initially impressive, aren’t sustainable. To build a sustainable WordPress agency, you need to dispense with the gimmicks and posturing and take aim at developing a strategy that maintains your agency’s momentum. Success isn’t built overnight, but it’s also not an impossible climb when you know what to pay attention to.  By realigning your agency processes, you’ll be able to build on your core objectives to turn your WordPress agency into a business that is both sustainable, profitable, and that drives growth. Constant And Consistent Marketing When you become a business owner, you also become a marketer whether you like it or not.  For a services business to thrive, it needs a pipeline full of qualified clients. That means you need to be investing in lead generation and marketing efforts — and it can’t be sporadic. Marketing efforts can – and should – begin as soon as your business and its brand have been established. The right marketing techniques place you front-of-mind and help to bring you long term business. Consider this: The best time to market your WordPress services is when you’re booked solid because those efforts create leads that will become future clients. This is the key to ending the feast or famine roller coaster. Clients decide to hire you when they are ready, not when you’re ready. You need constant and consistent marketing to stay top of mind. Dependable Baseline Income Earning a dependable base income every month eliminates the tremendous stress that comes from living project to project.  A stable base income also provides more flexibility and opportunity in future projects, growth planning, and hiring. It is critical for your budding agency to not only offer single website builds and one-off projects, but services that provide reliable recurring revenue.  Consider offering monthly website support, ongoing retainers, and other long-term services. WordPress is used by 35% of global websites. These site owners know the value of upkeep and you’re in the perfect position to deliver on that.  Consider this: To get started, set a goal to earn enough recurring revenue to cover 50% of all business expenses. When achieved, extend your goal to cover 100% of all business expenses. If you’re building an agency, aim to secure enough recurring revenue to cover all of your team salaries. Documented Systems And Processes Systems and processes are the keys to sustainable business growth.  When you’re freelancing and working solo, it’s okay to have all of your business systems and processes in your head. If you want to grow an agency, however, you need to document each and every system and process step-by-step.  Process documentation can start with just a simple spreadsheet. As your agency grows and your client base expands, you can start to build this out, covering each area of your business in more detail.  As you build out your processes, keep future goals top of mind. What are your plans for 6 months from now? What does your forecast look like in 12 months? Having insight into how your processes may have to change in the future is key to being able to provide clients with the right expectations. Consider this: Process documentation creates clear instructions that enable delegation and set new employees up for success. Without it, you become a bottleneck that prevents forward progress. Documenting systems allows you to leverage software automation for repetitive tasks to save time, reduce resources, and increase profits. Crystal Clear Communication Ambiguity leads to confusion and uncertainty, which in turn, leads to doubt and procrastination, which in turn leads to inaction and delays.  When it comes to communication, there can’t be too much and you can never be too clear. Whether you’re guiding your internal team, working with paying clients, or engaged in sales conversations with prospects, clear communication is critical to your success. Consider this: No matter what you’re doing, all stakeholders need to be on the same page, understand the goals, and know the expectations—and they must be aware of their role, what needs to be done, and when it must be done by. When providing instructions of any kind, provide them in writing, review them verbally, and ask them to be repeated back to you so there is zero confusion. Strong Administrative Practices You’re great at what you do—you wouldn’t have started a business if you weren’t—but as a business owner, you now also have to be great at managing your business. Without a foundational understanding of critical business concepts and the tactical ability to execute on them, your business will suffer and you will struggle to stay afloat. As the owner, you need to learn about bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes, estimating and invoicing, project management, client management, marketing, and sales.  Consider this: Business owners must create responsible, consistent administrative habits. Without them, it becomes easy to ignore the “paperwork” side of the business when swamped with client work. The problem with this, however, is that the unsexy administrative side of the business is what makes sure you get paid. Grow Your Agency With Managed WordPress Focusing on the development of your agency is a time-intensive task. Besides the everyday hustle and bustle of client requests, you’re also dealing with the continued management of existing projects. Very quickly, this can cause growth goals to fall to the wayside as maintenance tasks take over.  By following the five tips above, you’ll be able to better align your business practices with those growth goals and strategies. Instead of finding yourself on the receiving end of an impossible workflow or uncertain project, you’ll be able to proceed quickly and efficiently; optimizing both you and your client’s time.  At Nexcess, we’ve created a solution designed to help you build a sustainable WordPress agency without worrying about the basics. Managed WordPress solutions from Nexcess take care of the infrastructure, plugin updates, image compression, and more, leaving you with the time you need to develop a winning business strategy and focus on finding new clients. Get started with Managed WordPress today.  The post Five Tips To Build A Sustainable WordPress Agency appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

Personalisation in a WordPress World

WP Engine -

Personalisation has jumped out as a major buzzword in recent years. One of the biggest reasons for this rise in popularity is the sheer demand consumers now have for personalised digital experiences.  According to Epsilon Marketing, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalised experiences. Furthermore, in a… The post Personalisation in a WordPress World appeared first on WP Engine.

What Is My Domain Worth?

HostGator Blog -

The post What Is My Domain Worth? appeared first on HostGator Blog. A lot of us wish we could travel back in time and buy up domain names like apple.com, hotels.com, google.com, bank.com, and more.  But, even without access to a time machine, there are still ways to make money by selling domain names. Even though 99% of short and valuable domains are already taken, there are still a ton of valuable domain names out there.  Maybe years ago you decided to purchase a random domain name on a whim, only to find out years later that your domain, was worth thousands of dollars. This scenario is more common than you might think.  It’s easy to purchase all kinds of domain names, hoping that one day, a brand new startup wants to buy your domain. But, spending hundreds of dollars on random domains and sitting with your fingers crossed isn’t the best or most lucrative approach, but rather find out what goes into a domain appraisal and how to actually make domain flipping profitable.  A better approach is to learn about the factors that make a domain valuable and purchase domain names that have a decent chance of turning a profit down the line. In this post, you’ll learn the ins and outs of what makes a domain valuable and how to properly appraise a domain so you can answer the question, “What is my domain worth?” with a high level of confidence. Understanding Domain Name Valuation Domain valuation is the process of determining the value of a given domain. It’s a similar process to when companies are valued, but much less intensive.  Before we jump into how to do a domain appraisal, let’s have a quick overview of how domain names work. If you already have the basics down, such as how to register a domain, feel free to skip to the next section. If you’re just getting started building websites online, this section is for you. Domain names are synonymous with URLs (although they aren’t exactly the same thing), but essentially it’s what a user types into their browser address bar on their search engine to access your site — things like HostGator.com, Facebook.com, Google.com, etc. There are two primary parts that make up a domain, the second level domain and the top level domain. These two factors will also contribute to a domain valuation,, but more on this below. Here’s how top-level and second-level domains work together: Top-level domain. Even though it’s called top-level, this portion of the domain name is what comes at the end. It can also be referred to as a domain name extension. This is the .com, .org, .net portion of a domain name. Second-level domain. This portion of the domain name is the central portion of a domain and often refers to the name of the website, in “hostgator.com,” “hostgator” is the second-level domain and also the name of the company.  If you want to actually sell a domain you’ll need to own one first. To do this you’ll need to head over to a domain name registrar and buy a domain. Usually, you’ll have to renew your ownership of a domain on a yearly basis, but you can also buy a domain for multiple years as well. Whether you’re purchasing a domain name for a new project, or simply to hold onto and sell one day, the process remains the same.  Here’s how you do it: 1. Go to a Domain Name Registrar There are dozens of different domain name registrars out there, including one right here at HostGator, which we will be using for our example. First, head over to HostGator.com, and input the domain name you’d like to register.  2. Search for Your Domain Name The domain registration tool will then search through every single registered domain name to see if it’s available. Unless you spent some serious time researching your domain name, there’s a good chance it’ll already be taken. However, you can input different combinations of words and try different top-level domains until you find an available domain.  3. Choose Your Terms and Register Once you’ve found a domain name that you like and that’s available, all you have to do is choose your purchase terms and register the domain. If you’re planning on holding onto the domain for a while it can be helpful to register the domain for multiple years at once, so you don’t accidentally let the domain lapse.  Once you’ve registered a domain, you can either: Leave it alone, if you’re planning on selling it one day, or reserving it for a future website project of your ownForward it to your host by changing the nameservers. (If you registered your domain name at the same time you purchased your hosting, you won’t need to take any additional steps here.) What Factors Make a Domain Name Valuable? Knowing whether you have a valuable domain on your hands doesn’t require a ton of work, but it does require that you understand the factors that lead to a domain being valuable.  Often, the value that a domain holds will be determined by how desirable the domain name is. The list of factors below can help to illuminate whether or not your domain is valuable, but it’s not a science or always right. There’s always the chance that your strange and unique domain could align with a phrase from another country, or be the ideal name for a new startup.  Overall, the conditions below will be a good indicator of how valuable a domain actually is.  1. The Associated Top-Level Domain Having a domain name with a trustworthy top-level domain (TLD) will go a long way towards making a domain name desirable. For example, the domain “getmail.com” will have much more value than the domain “getmail.xyz.” Typically, more standard and popular TLDs will always be a better bet. Some of the most popular TLDs include .com, .org, .net, and .co. However, other combinations could hold value, providing they make sense. For instance, the domain “get.mail” could be valuable to some businesses. 2. Any Keywords Present If your domain name has a popular keyword in it, this could also help to improve its value. For example, “bookflights.com” would be a valuable domain for the travel industry. Exact match domain names don’t hold as much value as they used to, but having the right keywords in a domain can increase how desirable your domain name is.   3. The Length of the Domain Generally, the shorter a domain name, the more valuable it will be. Now, this won’t always be true. For example, the domain “r4dxf3.com” won’t be very valuable. But, taken as a whole, domains with few words or short phrases will hold more value. Shorter domains are much easier to remember and more straightforward to market overall. You can easily build a business around a shorter domain, while it may be more difficult with a longer domain.  4. The Overall Brandability of the Domain The brandability of a domain can be hard to define. But, it’s still a significant factor when people are choosing a domain name. Essentially, good brand names are memorable, unique, and catchy. Think of brands and domains like instagram.com, twitter.com, grammarly.com. 5. Existing Site and Traffic If you’re selling a domain name and the site is already getting traffic, or has an existing backlink profile, then you can typically get much more for the domain. An interested buyer could be purchasing the domain for the name and the SEO power alone. They could be interested in taking over your website. Or, they could be using it for the sheer SEO power alone and forwarding your domain to their existing site.  Older domains also tend to be more valuable than a brand new domain. So, if you have an old domain, even if you haven’t done anything with the domain, it can still be more valuable than a domain you registered a few months ago.  How to Determine What Your Domain is Worth If your domain currently satisfies a bunch of the requirements in the above section, then you might have a valuable domain on your hands.  Below we’ll walk you through some practical steps on how you can determine the value of your domain name. 1. Get a Valuation of Similar Domains A good place to start with domain name valuation is getting an idea of the current landscape of domain name sales.  There are a few different sites you can look through which will give you a general idea of what kind of domains have currently sold, and for how much. Some popular sites include ShortNames, Domain Name Wire, and Sedo. Here’s a quick look at some of the recent domains that have sold from the Domain Name Wire archives: This will give you a general understanding of the types of domains that are sold, the domains that bring in the most money, and more valuable information that you can compare to your current domain to see how you stack up.  2. Use a Domain Estimation Tool  There are a variety of estimation tools out there that’ll give you an accurate idea of what your domain is worth. These tools do a lot of the difficult estimation work for you. In general, what they do is compare your domain to similar domains and estimate the value based upon what other domains have sold for.  The most widely used domain name estimator is EstiBot. Just enter your domain name into the tool and you’ll get an accurate report of how much your domain name is worth.  Beyond the general valuation, these reports will give you all kinds of valuable data like the value of other related domains that just sold, along with search volume, keywords, and more.  3. Consider Selling Your Domain You can get a lot of useful information from the tools above. But, if you want some practical information on how much your domain is worth, then consider listing your domain for sale. Even if you aren’t ready to sell your domain, you can create a high enough reserve price, where if someone does buy it you’ll be happy.  For example, you can create a domain listing on Flippa. Enter all the relevant details about your domain, and set a high reserve price. The higher the reserve price, the less likely people will buy your domain.  Your goal here is to get actual bids from real people to see what they’ll pay for it. Who knows, someone might even purchase your domain for the super high reserve price! How Much Is Your Domain Worth? Hopefully, you have a better idea of the different factors that make a domain name valuable, along with how you can determine the value of your own domain. By using the tips and tools highlighted in this post, you should be able to pretty accurately determine how much you can sell your domain for.  You can also use the guidelines above to help you when you’re considering purchasing new domains. As a business buying and selling domains can be tough, but buying domains for your personal projects that check the boxes above can help to improve the sale price down the road. Here’s a quick recap of the biggest factors that influence domain name price: The popularity of the top-level domain you useThe keywords present in the domain nameThe brandability of the domain name (i.e. does it make sense as a company name?)The length of the domain name (shorter is better, commonly-used phrases or words are even better)If there’s any existing traffic or backlinks to the domain name Knowing what your domain name is worth can help you decide whether it’s time to sell your domain for a quick influx of cash, or purchase a brand new domain you just came across. Remember, if you want to quickly and easily register a new domain name, you can do so right here at HostGator.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Launch a Website for Your Etsy Shop

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The post How to Launch a Website for Your Etsy Shop appeared first on HostGator Blog. You’ve heard of Etsy. You know, it’s the place you go to when you need an adorable print of your favorite quote. It’s the hub for gorgeous, unique, hand-made jewelry of all sorts. It’s the perfect eCommerce website to find organic products, vintage items, and craft supplies. You may even already have an Etsy side hustle of your own, and know everything that is involved with selling your own hand-crafted items online. What you may not know about Etsy, however, are the exact numbers that prove just how successful Etsy is.  To fill you in, reports show that Etsy generated revenues worth 603.7 million U.S. dollars last year alone, according to Statista. Not to mention, in July 2019, the company had a market capitalization of 7.46 billion U.S. dollars, and Etsy is projected to grow its revenue at a 22 percent CAGR between 2019 and 2021. What this means in regular people speak is this: Etsy is the perfect place for crafty individuals to start a successful side hustle.  While using Etsy is an awesome way to list and sell your products online, it’s only half the battle of growing a successful online store side hustle. The other half lies in running, operating, and integrating your Etsy products into your own website. This article will cover why you need your own website along with your Etsy store, how to build your website, and how to integrate your Etsy store into your website. Why Every Etsy Shop Needs Its Own Website Etsy is an excellent eCommerce platform for listing and selling your products. However, that’s where Etsy starts and stops. If you are looking to grow your side hustle into a revenue making machine, then it’s necessary to have a website. Let’s look into some of the reasons how a website helps you grow your side hustle. 1. You can increase the sales of your products The first reason to start your own website is so you can take complete control of the sales of your products. To illustrate this point, let’s meet a successful side hustler, Rebekah Welch. Rebekah Welch is the owner and operator of Cherish Bath + Body. Welch describes what she does in her own words. She says, “I make bath products and skin care from scratch using natural, organic, plant based ingredients.”  While Welch started out selling products with only an Etsy store, she soon recognized that she lacked complete control of her sales. As a result, she used HostGator to build her own website, and boost her revenues. Welch says, “I just recently finished building my own website. Previously, I relied on Etsy for sales. Now, having my own site, I can sell my products on my own terms.” Now that Welch has complete control of her online sales, she has plans for future growth. About her future plans, she says, “I am going to grow my business into a full time income. I would like to set up a few wholesale accounts and see my products in boutiques as well as building a brick and mortar store.”  Key Takeaway: Building your own website will allow you to sell your products on your own terms. 2. You can gain complete control of your business Since Etsy is its own company with investors, pressures from stakeholders to grow rapidly, and a list of terms and conditions you agree to, Etsy often works on a different agenda as its sellers. For example, at any time Etsy can raise their transaction fees to boost profits, make design changes as desired, and change its search algorithm, which may result in dips in your Etsy store traffic. These potential changes can negatively impact the sales and overall success of your Etsy store, and there is nothing you can do about it. The best way to ensure your business isn’t subject to the “Big Wig Decision Makers” at Etsy is to create a website—a website you control fully. Key Takeaway: When your store only exists on Etsy, Etsy is the boss. When you build your own website and sell your products in your own online store, you’re the boss. 3. You can invest in robust online marketing Another benefit of having your own website is the ability to invest in online marketing, content marketing through your blog, and to grow at your own pace. When you have your own website, you have full control to optimize it for search, invest in paid advertising, and build a content marketing plan.  All of these endeavors will help you grow your fan base, boost your clientele, and make more sales. Key Takeaway: Operating your own website allows you to participate in online marketing to grow your traffic and boost sales. Grow Your Etsy Business by Building Your Own Website with HostGator One of the benefits of Etsy is how easy it is to get your store up and running. The good news is setting up your website with HostGator is also an intuitive process, especially if you’ve already set up an Etsy store. To set up your own website, you don’t need to know how to code, or be an expert on web design. You also don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to hire a professional to help you. All you need to do is follow six easy steps, and you can get your website up in less than a day. Here is a quick overview of each of the six steps. Step 1: Pick a hosting plan for your website. Every website needs hosting. Buying a hosting package essentially means you are renting space on a third-party company server to store your web files. HostGator is a web hosting company that offers three website builder plans you can choose from for your online store. You can pick your plan depending on your needs and how much functionality you need for your site. The Starter plan includes a free domain, 200+ templates that will work well for someone looking to promote a book, cloud hosting, a drag-and-drop editor, and website analytics.  The Premium plan includes everything the Start plan includes plus access to priority support when you need it. Since you are running an online store and will be selling products, the best package for you is the eCommerce plan. This package includes everything the Premium plan provides plus full eCommerce functionality. In other words, you can sell your products online with this plan. Once you’ve picked the eCommerce plan for your online store, click “buy now” and you can set up your account. Step 2: Pick a domain name for your website. Every Gator Website Builder package includes a free domain. This means you don’t have to purchase a domain from a separate domain hosting company. To pick your domain, simply type something in the “get domain” box.  Since you already have an Etsy shop, the best thing to do would be to choose the name of your Etsy store as your domain. For example, Rebekah Welch picked cherishbathandbody.com, the same name of her Etsy shop. If you are just getting started and don’t have an Etsy store yet or a domain name, here is a helpful article on how to choose the perfect domain name. If you already have a domain name you’ve been saving for when you launch your own website, then you can connect it to your HostGator account by clicking “connect it here.”  Step 3: Create your account. Once you have a domain name, it’s easy to connect your HostGator account. All you need is a Facebook account or an email address to connect. Then, enter your payment information for the package you selected, and you’ll be ready to pick a template for your website. Step 4: Pick a template for your eCommerce website. As mentioned above, you don’t have to build your website on your own. The Gator Website Builder comes with templates, and all you have to do is pick the one that matches the style of your Etsy store. Once you create your account, HostGator will direct you to the “choose a template” page.  You can scroll through more than 200 professionally-designed templates, and select the template that you love. The next step is to customize it as you please with the drag and drop builder. Step 5: Add content to your online store. After you have selected a template, it’s time to start customizing your website with content. Click “start editing.” This step will send you to your dashboard where you can add, edit, and delete pages like your homepage, about page, online store, product pages, blog, and any other page you want to include. With the drag and drop builder, you can make your website look how you want it to look by pointing, clicking, dragging, and dropping the elements you want to include. It’s an intuitive process, but if you have any questions, HostGator provides a free and easy step-by-step guide for reference that you can access at any time.  To access this helpful guide, click the “menu” icon next to the Gator by HostGator logo and select the “getting started tour.”   Additionally, since you signed up for the eCommerce plan, you have access to priority support whenever you have questions. Step 6: Review your content and launch your website. The last step is to review your website, make any desired changes, and publish your website. By clicking “preview,” you can see your website in full. If everything looks perfect, then click the “finish preview” button at the top and then “publish website” at the top of the dashboard. Gator Website Builder will present a series of quick steps to help you go live. How to Integrate Your Etsy Shop into Your Website Do you already have your own website? Then, you’ve already done the hard part! All that’s left is for you to integrate your Etsy shop into your website.  Etsy used to offer a service called Etsy Mini where you could copy and paste a unique code into your website, and the code would pull your products into your website. Unfortunately, Etsy no longer offers this service, and without some deep digging and intense work arounds, it’s difficult to integrate products with an Etsy code. However, even if Etsy Mini is no longer an option, you’re not out of luck. You can still add your Etsy store into your WordPress account. Here’s how. 1. Add the Etsy plugin The first step to getting integrating your Etsy store into WordPress is to install and activate the Etsy plugin Upon activation, remember to go to Settings and then the Etsy Shop page and enter your Etsy API key to connect your shop. 2. Copy your API key Once you have connected your shop, you will see your Etsy API key. Copy this key for the next step. 3. Paste your API key Next, return to your WordPress admin area and paste the Etsy API key, and save changes.  4. Create a page or edit an existing page Once you have saved your changes, you’re ready to sell products from your Etsy shop on your WordPress site. You’ll just need to create a new page in WordPress or edit an existing page, and add your shortcode.  And, that’s it! It’s worth mentioning that since Etsy is its own eCommerce platform, and won’t have the same functionality as WooCommerce. As your side hustle begins getting traction, and when you are ready to grow your side hustle into a full-fledged business, you may want to consider ditching your Etsy shop entirely and building out your own eCommerce platform on your website. Grow Your Etsy Shop with Your Own Website If you have an Etsy side hustle and are looking to gain more control, make more sales, and market your products online with more freedom, now is the time to set up your own website. For more information on how to get started with building your own website, visit HostGator and check out the Gator Website Builder. With the help of the Gator Website Builder, you can get your own website up and running in less than a day. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

A “Movember” Focus on Men’s Health at WP Engine

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If you felt like you saw an influx of mustaches throughout the month of  November, you weren’t going crazy—chances are it had something to do with Movember. Founded in 2003, Movember is an annual fundraiser that encourages men to “change the face of men’s health” by ditching their razors for 30 days to raise money… The post A “Movember” Focus on Men’s Health at WP Engine appeared first on WP Engine.

Best WordPress Plugins for Amazon Affiliates

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The post Best WordPress Plugins for Amazon Affiliates appeared first on HostGator Blog. If you’re looking to monetize your WordPress site there are a lot of approaches you can take. However, one of the most effective routes, especially for beginners, is affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing you recommend products to your readers, and if they purchase a product through your link, then you’ll receive a commission. Succeeding with affiliate marketing is a lot more complex than that, but the basic idea remains the same.  One of the most popular ways to earn money as an affiliate is via the Amazon affiliate program. Luckily WordPress and the Amazon affiliate program work really well together. There’s tons of plugins that’ll help you maximize your earnings and optimize your affiliate pages. Below we dive into how the Amazon affiliate program works, and highlight the best WordPress affiliate marketing plugins that’ll help you generate more revenue and making your life as an affiliate much easier.  The Amazon Affiliate Marketing Program If you’re running a WordPress site that’s getting decent traffic, then you’ll have a multitude of ways to start generating an income. You could start selling your own products via an eCommerce store, sell your services as a freelancer, utilize display ads via a network like AdSense, or add affiliate links to your site and start making income via affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is one of the easier ways to start generating revenue from your website. Essentially, you sign up for an affiliate program. In this case, you’d be signing up for the Amazon Affiliate program called Amazon Associates.  Once you’re approved, you’ll be able to start promoting products via Amazon and generating what is known as affiliate sales. Whenever you mention a product on your site, you’ll include a link to Amazon of the product you’re highlighting or reviewing. These links will contain your unique tracking code, so whenever someone clicks the link from your site and purchases a product from Amazon you’ll get a percentage of the sale. Entire websites are built around reviewing Amazon products, or you can add a link whenever it makes sense within your content. The links that you’ll generate will be completely unique to you, so Amazon will be able to determine that it was you that sent that visitor to their site.  Benefits of Adding Affiliate Links to Your WordPress Site There are tons of different affiliate programs you can sign up for. For example, if you want to become a hosting affiliate, you can sign up for the affiliate program right here at HostGator. No matter what niche your website is in, you can find an affiliate program that matches up. However, Amazon is one of the most widely used affiliate programs in the world for a good reason. Here are the most significant benefits you’ll receive when you start adding Amazon affiliate links to your WordPress site:  1. They’re a Trusted Marketplace Amazon is one of the most trusted retailers on the planet. Making good money as an affiliate is all about trust, and Amazon already has that.  To make money as an affiliate people are going to need to buy the products you’re recommending. Just clicking the link and browsing through the site isn’t enough. They need to either buy the product you’re suggesting, or in the case of Amazon, but something from the store while the cookie window is still active. One of the biggest reasons people don’t follow through with their purchases is because they don’t trust the site. The typical scenario goes like this: A visitor comes to your website and likes the product you’re recommending, so they click your link and head over to the site. However, when they get there, they don’t fully trust the site with their valuable credit card information, so they end up not buying.  But, when you’re recommending Amazon products, you never have to worry about this. Most people already have their credit card information on file and have bought things from Amazon in the past. All they have to do is click a button.  2. The Amazon Marketplace is Massive Amazon sells products in virtually every niche in the world. So, no matter the topic of your site, you can probably find a handful of products on Amazon that are worth promoting. Whether you’re running a site about dog training, aerial drones, stress relief, meditation, kayaking, or any other topic you’ll be able to find a few highly rated products your readers are likely to buy. This makes it easy to make money as an affiliate, no matter your niche.  3. Revenue From Total Sales Unlike a lot of other affiliate programs, when someone heads over to Amazon via your affiliate link, you’ll receive a commission for any products they order for a 24 hour period.  So, if someone heads over to Amazon to check out a new blender from your affiliate link, but they also end up buying a new dishwasher, diapers, and some supplements, then you’ll receive a commission for that too. This window also lasts for 24 hours, even if the person ends up leaving the site and coming back later that day to make a purchase.  There’s also an extended 90-day window for any products added to the cart, but aren’t immediately purchased. So, if someone visits Amazon via your link and adds a product to their cart, then they still have 90 days to buy that product–and you’ll still receive a commission.  Why You’ll Want to Use an Amazon Affiliate Plugin If you have a WordPress site, you can get away without using an Amazon affiliate WordPress plugin. But using one will make your life a lot easier. When you’re just starting, and you only include a single affiliate link here and there in your blog posts, you might not see the value in using a WordPress plugin. It’s easy enough to find the product on Amazon and copy and paste your link from your affiliate dashboard. But, as you begin recommending more and more products, it can be difficult to decipher which links are making you money and which links are a total waste of time. By using some of the WordPress plugins,we’re going to highlight in the list below, you can better manage your Amazon affiliate links and even generate more revenue. When you first start adding Amazon affiliate links to your WordPress site, it can be thrilling to get that first sale. But as your affiliate income grows, you’ll want measurable data that you can work from. This will help you better optimize your site and your content so that you can increase your affiliate income even further.  Using an Amazon affiliate plugin offers you all kinds of benefits like: Saving time by searching for products within your WordPress editorCreate product comparison tables, so visitors can quickly see how products stack upTrack your links and see what products are generating you the most revenueAutomatically direct links to the correct Amazon storefrontKeep your product listings up to date with automated updates 5 Best WordPress Plugins for Amazon Affiliates As you start to search for Amazon affiliate plugins you’ll notice that there are a ton of different plugins available.  Below we highlight five of the best Amazon affiliate plugins for WordPress:  1. EasyAzon EasyAzon helps you quickly create Amazon affiliate links from within your WordPress dashboard. This will save you a ton of time, since you don’t have to login to your Amazon Associates account and manually create an affiliate link. You also have the ability to create image affiliate links, product blocks which showcase the features of your products, and call to action buttons. If you want even more features, then you can upgrade to the premium version of the plugin, which gives you access to features like: Link cloaking, so your affiliate links don’t look like affiliate linksLink localization, so your affiliate links will automatically send to the correct store, i.e., amazon.co.uk, instead of amazon.com.The ability to create and track multiple affiliate IDs, so you can see which links convert the best 2. AAWP (Amazon Affiliate WordPress Plugin) AAWP is one of the most popular Amazon affiliate WordPress plugins. The goal of this plugin is to help you increase the total value of your Amazon affiliate pages. This plugin achieves its goal by offering you different options to display your products, so they’re more enticing to your readers. For example, you’ll be able to display your recommended products in the following ways: Comparison tables that show how different products stack upProduct boxes that highlight product features and benefitsBestseller lists to showcase popular productsWidgetized sections to add products throughout your site Plus, all of the product information will be updated automatically to reflect the latest pricing and product information, because it pulls directly from Amazon. 3. Amazon Link Engine Amazon Link Engine was created by the team behind the popular service, GeniusLink, the same link tracking and management service that’s used by writers like Ryan Holiday and companies like BMW and NBC.  The goal of this plugin is to help boost your sales and commissions by localizing all of your links. So, whenever someone clicks a link on your site they’ll be brought to the proper Amazon storefront.  This plugin takes care of the heavy lifting for you and all of your links are localized automatically. All you have to do is install and activate the plugin, then sync your Amazon Associates IDs. This plugin functions differently than other link localization plugins, because it looks at more than just the product ID. This ensures that the traffic gets sent to the product they’re most likely to buy.  Here’s a quick run down of its feature set: Automatic link localization for all of your Amazon affiliate linksRevenue maximization, since visitors won’t be sent to blank product pagesFast setup and configuration, just a couple of clicks 4. AmaLinks Pro AmaLinks Pro is a relatively new WordPress plugin. It was built because the creators felt that the existing plugins weren’t delivering what they needed in a plugin. So, they built their own plugin that meets all their needs. It’s since been endorsed by sites like Niche Pursuits and Human Proof Designs. The goal of this plugin is to make integrating your WordPress site with Amazon as simple as possible. It’s equipped with features that allow you to: Search for products within your WordPress editor, so there’s no need to move back and forth between Amazon and your site.Quickly insert links into your content with a few clicks.Insert image links, so that your product pictures link out to Amazon too.Create a showcase box to highlight all the unique features of the product you’re promoting.Build comparison tables to help readers compare the differences between products.  5. AzonPress AzonPress is an intuitive all-in-one plugin to integrate WordPress with Amazon. A lot of plugins equipped with a ton of different features can get overwhelming to use, but not this plugin. Think of it like a combination of all the above plugins highlighted on this list. With this WordPress plugin you can do a lot of things. For example, you can create Amazon affiliate stores that function as if they were an eCommerce store. Let users browse through different products you’re highlighting and send them over to Amazon via an attractive “buy button”. There are a variety of other different ways you can showcase your affiliate products as well, like: Product comparison tables, so your visitors can compare products quicklyResponsive product tables that look good on every screen sizeAutomated product updates, so you always have the latest product info It’s also equipped with a built-in affiliate management dashboard, so you can easily see your earnings, view historical affiliate data, track which links are bringing you the most revenue, and a lot more.  By now you should have a better understanding of how the Amazon affiliate program works, and how you can best integrate it into your WordPress site. You don’t have to install every plugin from the list above, but instead choose one or two that’ll help you achieve your goals. Ready to optimize your WordPress site for affiliate earnings? Check out these top WordPress themes for affiliate websites. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Use a Business Loan to Finance Your Side Hustle

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The post How to Use a Business Loan to Finance Your Side Hustle appeared first on HostGator Blog. The nice thing about a side hustle is that you can put as much or as little effort into it as you’d like. It can be a robust source of extra income for you, or a fun hobby that generates a little spending money. Let’s say that your side hustle starts to pick up steam, and you’re starting to see it as a legitimate small business play. Maybe it’s time to put more money behind your side hustle operations—to pay for more marketing, improved material quality, or whatever else you need to bring your side hustle to the next level. Where can you get the funding? It’s tempting to use your personal savings—few options are more convenient than going to the ATM—but if you’re not prepared to make that kind of investment in a side hustle, what are your alternatives? If donations or loans from your personal network aren’t an option, it’s time to explore how you can use business loan products to finance your side hustle. How to lay the groundwork for a side hustle loan Getting a loan for your side hustle is going to be difficult if you don’t prepare first. You’ll need to treat your side hustle as a legitimate business first—otherwise, why would a business loan lender treat it any differently? Here’s a quick business loan requirements checklist: Write up a business plan: For some lenders, this is a requirement. Regardless, it’s still good to have a written document outlining where your business stands and where you want it to go—especially with an influx of new funding.  Separate your business and personal finances: If you’re using your personal credit card and/or bank accounts to run your side hustle, you’re asking for a paperwork headache. You’ll also fail to build crucial business credit. Prepare financial documents: Get ready to bring any documents that show how you and your business are doing—bank statements, balance sheets, tax returns, A/R and A/P aging—to the table.Provide collateral: There are few unsecured business loans out there. Be prepared to offer personal collateral to secure the loan. Improve your credit scores: Lenders often look at both your business and personal credit scores, so clean up your credit (or learn about what goes into building it) before you apply. Different lenders, whether they’re traditional banks or online lenders, will have different loan requirements and expectations. Getting the above things in order, however, is a good place to start for any loan. Your side hustle loan options The longer you’ve been “in business” with your side hustle and the better you’ve done, the better your loan options will be. For example, most traditional bank loans won’t be available to any small business unless that business has been in operation for at least a few years. Online lenders more readily deal with newer businesses, but charge higher interest rates over shorter repayment periods as a result. You’ll have to crunch the numbers to see which kind of business loan makes sense for you. That said, here’s a general roundup of the best side hustle loan options that you might qualify for: SBA Microloans The Small Business Administration’s loan program is the crown jewel of the small business financing world. While most SBA loans are for well-established businesses, the Microloan program (which delivers loans ranging from $500-$50,000 for new businesses) is a great first step for turning a side hustle into a bigger business. Online short-term loans or lines of credit A variety of online lenders have entered the lending space, and are willing to grant short-term loans or revolving lines of credit to eligible businesses. For a major investment, a short-term loan could work well for a side hustle; a line of credit is best if you see yourself with ongoing costs you’ll need to cover, such as taking advantage of seasonal discounts to boost your inventory. Many lenders have time-in-business requirements: for some, it’s as little as three months, but more often it’s at least 12 months. Equipment financing If your side hustle needs help purchasing a new piece of major equipment, such as a vehicle or piece of kitchen equipment, equipment financiers can extend the exact amount you’ll need to cover the expense, which you’ll repay plus interest. Inventory financing Similar to equipment financing, inventory financing is when you use a loan to cover the exact amount you’ll need for a big inventory purchase. If you need the money to get a great deal now on inventory, this options works well. You won’t need additional collateral for inventory or equipment financing, as the inventory or equipment itself secures the loan. Personal loans It’s worth mentioning that you can absolutely use a personal loan to finance a side hustle. Personal loans may be easier to qualify for than business loans (especially if you are just getting your side hustle off the ground), and often come with lower interest rates and no collateral requirements. The total amount you can borrow with a personal loan is lower than with a business loan (many personal loans max out at around $30,000), and you won’t build business credit. But for your purposes, for now, that might work fine. Business credit cards Business credit cards are also an excellent financing tool for side hustlers. Some elite cards come with a 0% introductory APR, or other benefits that you can use to reinvest in your business. When financing larger purchases that you might not have the cash on hand for right away, a credit card is a good choice that helps you build business credit as well. How you can use your loan Every business loan and every lender can have different restrictions or requirements around loans. For example, you can’t use SBA loans to pay off existing debt or to purchase real estate. You are allowed to use them for working capital needs or the purchase of inventory, equipment, and other assets. Some forms of financing will be for specific use cases, such as the equipment or inventory financing. Some credit cards, on the other hand, allow you to perform balance transfers—which is helpful if your new card has a low or 0% interest rate for a certain amount of time, helping you manage what would otherwise be ballooning business debt. If you’re looking for a loan that can help you build out your side hustle in every way possible—perhaps you have an eye on investing in software to improve operations, in marketing to gain more leads, or even hiring an employee or two—then consider a personal loan, a microloan, or even crowdfunding via a platform like Kickstarter. You’ll have more latitude. Just remember, you need to make a business case for your loan—a real reason for taking out the loan, with an expected return on investment—or you’ll struggle to repay it. The bottom line on side hustle loans Financing a side hustle isn’t unlike financing any other small business endeavor. Maybe your ambitions for a side hustle are a little less grand; but if you’re taking out money to finance its growth, that’s still a serious investment. Take this process seriously, and you’re much more likely to see success—and to set yourself up to make this a full-time gig, if that’s what you’re building towards.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

New cPanel Licensing Structure and Tips for Managing Your Licenses

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Making news in the hosting world, cPanel has changed its pricing structure. Now, instead of being able to create unlimited cPanel accounts, users will be billed based on usage. InMotion Hosting is doing everything in its power to make this an easy transition. Read on to find out how you can reduce the amount and cost of your cPanel usage. Find out how many cPanels you have Review the new pricing guide Consolidate your cPanel accounts View frequently asked questions While the new pricing system went into effect on December 3, 2019, we at InMotion understand the impact of sudden changes, and want to allow you time to adjust. Continue reading New cPanel Licensing Structure and Tips for Managing Your Licenses at The Official InMotion Hosting Blog.

How Domain Names Play a Role in Voice Search

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Are you ready for what it takes to survive in a voice-first world? With a few smart and effective strategies, you can manage to boost your website’s rank in the new era of voice searches. Domain Names and Voice Search Search engines are evolving at a constant pace making their user experience as simple and hassle-free as possible. The introduction of voice search has, in many cases, eliminated the need to type your queries. Every phone and computer is now powered by a voice assistant (such as Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and more). The presence of voice-first devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are now highly common. Voice search is all set to be the next big thing, and for good reason. Conducting a search through voice takes a lot less time than typing out a query and it even offers faster results. A user doesn’t even need to look at the phone or the device in order to get the answer. A revolution in the way people use search engines also requires a revamp of SEO strategies. Since users are asking questions differently, experts need to find better ways to be able to give what search engines will see as the best possible answer. Apart from SEO, there’s also a need for Voice Engine Optimization. What is Voice Engine Optimization (VEO)? Voice Engine Optimization is essentially the process of optimizing your webpage content, business listings, and brand information in order to improve your ranking in the search results. VEO is, in a lot of ways, similar to SEO. Users are widely using search engines to find on-the-go answers for everything from “Best restaurants that serve sushi” to “Will there be snow tomorrow?”. You may think that it’s too early to get into voice search but this is the perfect time to prepare for it. In fact, the sooner you get your VEO right, the better its benefits will be for your business. How can voice search benefit your business? Voice search optimization is a phenomenal way for small and medium businesses to attract potential customers to their website. This is especially true for local businesses. The more you strengthen your brand presence locally, the better you’ll fare in voice search. A lot of voice search queries are local such as “Where can I get the best burrito in Los Angeles?” Or “Best hair salons near Sunset Boulevard.” Therefore, highlighting the details of your local business such as the location, office hours, pictures, etc. can help increase the number of visits to your local store, office or working space. By properly implementing voice engine optimization, both B2B and B2C businesses can enjoy a variety of business benefits. Some of those are: ●      More website traffic. ●      Better brand awareness and visibility. ●      More foot traffic to your stores. ●      Stronger, more relevant connection with the users. ●      Enhanced user engagement. ●      Better chances of conversion and sales. How can your domain name help you win at voice search? A meaningful keyword-rich domain name can go a long way in ensuring that you win at voice search. Mentioned below are a few tips that can help you get the right domain name that is a perfect fit for this new search era. 1. Get voice-search-friendly domain names The right domain name can be a huge aid in performing well in voice search results. A domain name that is clear in its intent and incorporates the right keywords can enhance the chances of your website being picked up by the voice search assistant. To ensure you have the most voice search-friendly domain name, ensure it has the following characteristics: ●      It is short and simple. ●      It is devoid of hyphens, numbers, or creative and incorrect spellings. ●      It is keyword-rich. For example, let’s assume someone wants to visit your website. Between www.gothicskullz-stuff.com and www.gothicstuff.store, which website do you think will be more easily comprehended by a voice search assistant? A domain name can be your secret weapon in fighting the competition and ranking well in voice search. In fact, the use of new domain extensions such as .tech, .store, .online, .space, and more is on the rise and for good reason. They help optimize your domain name voice search. 2. Use natural speech patterns Text based searches are very different from voice searches. When people type their search query, they prefer to use as few words as possible. However, when they use voice search, they will phrase their query as if they were asking another person. Let’s imagine that you’re using voice search to look for websites that sell Batman posters. Here, a domain name such as www.batmanposters.online has a stronger chance to beat the other competing websites. That’s the benefit of having keyword-rich domain names. Just remember, instead of only using single, to-the-point keywords that sound robotic, ensure that the sentences and phrases used on your site and in your content are more conversational. According to a study by Backlinko, Google tends to answer voice search queries with short, 29-word results. This means that it is important that you keep your answers short, simple, and crisp and avoid any super technical jargon. 3. Optimize for local searches According to research, 58% of consumers use voice search to find local business information. Just think about the number of times you’ve searched for things that include the words “near me”. While the content on your website plays a crucial role in optimizing for local searches, your domain name can also be of great help. Domain names such as www.miamioxfordshirts.store or www.floridatacos.online are direct and to the point; they’re optimized for city-based voice search queries such as “Order tacos in Florida” or “Buy oxford shirts in Miami”. Localized searches are no longer just about the city or state, but also about particular neighborhoods or localities. Local businesses would do well to factor this into their decision making process when choosing a domain name. For example, www.queensapparel.store is a good, local VEO-optimized domain name for anyone looking for apparel in Queens, New York. With relevant domain extensions such as .store, .tech, .online, .press, and others, you can pick a short and definitive name that clearly highlights the nature of your business and where you are located. A relevant domain name coupled with your business listings on search engines will make it easier for customers to find you. Conclusion In many ways, the era of voice search is already upon us. Marketers, business owners, and entrepreneurs must identify this enormous opportunity to power such searches and take the necessary steps to optimize their content for a voice-first future. Author profile and bio: https://radix.press/alishabio The post How Domain Names Play a Role in Voice Search appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How Much Does Domain Registration Cost?

HostGator Blog -

The post How Much Does Domain Registration Cost? appeared first on HostGator Blog. You’re trying to figure out how to budget for your new website and need an answer to the question of how much a website costs per month. Along with factors like web design and web hosting costs, an important consideration is how much you need to spend on domain registration. How Much Does Domain Registration Cost? For most website owners, domain registration will cost in the range of $10-$20 a year.  That’s what most of the people reading this right now can expect, but it’s not the whole answer to what domain registration costs. On the low end, you may be able to register a domain for free (generally as an add-on to another service like web hosting). On the high end, popular domain names have sold for as high as tens of millions of dollars.  That’s a pretty huge range in cost. To figure out what accounts for the difference between the extremes and what you can expect, this post will share the most important information you need to know about what domain registration costs.   What is a Domain Name?  Before you spend money on something, you need to understand what you’re actually paying for. A domain name is the address you type into a web browser to bring up a specific web page. It’s the thing that starts with https or www and ends with something like .com or .org. Some high-profile examples of domain names include www.google.com and www.nytimes.com. While every website technically has another address—the IP address that machines use to recognize it—as far as humans are concerned, the domain name is a website’s address on the web.  Why Do I Need a Domain Name? Nobody wants to spend money on something if they don’t have to. But for many people, registering a domain name is downright necessary. For others, it can be a smart decision. There are three main instances where someone would want to buy a domain name: 1. You’re starting a website. A domain name is one of the expenses required in starting and running a website. It’s non-negotiable. If you want people to be able to see your website, you need a domain name.  2. You’re considering a business or website idea. If you’ve got a great idea for a business or website you want to start and a name you like in mind, nabbing the domain name sooner rather than later is a smart idea. If you register a domain name before someone else thinks of it, you’ll stake your claim on it in advance while it’s still available.  3. You want to use it as an investment. Buying domain names for investment purposes was more common in the early days of the internet, when there were more .coms with popular keywords still available to claim. Now that most are taken, it’s hard to find domains at a good price that make a solid investment. Nonetheless, if you think you have the skill spot a domain name likely to go up in value, you can buy it now in the hopes of selling it later.  6 Factors That Influence the Cost of a Domain Name How much you spend on domain registration depends on a few main choices you make.  1. The domain registrar you choose A domain registrar is a business that sells domain names and handles the business of registering them. There are hundreds of domain registrars, and each can set their own pricing for the domain names they sell. If any registrar you consider seems overly expensive or untrustworthy, don’t worry, you have other choices.  The best domain registrar to go with is one that’s registered with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has a strong reputation within the industry, and sells domains at reasonable prices based on industry standards. Even better if your registrar packages the domain name with other services you need, like a website builder. Then you can save on additional costs of WordPress hosting and other services.  2. Your top-level domain A top-level domain (TLD) is the extension you see at the end of a domain name. The most popular option is .com, but you’ve probably also seen websites that use .net, .org, .gov or .co, just to name a few of the most popular.  Top-level domains often communicate something about a website. In particular: Country top-level domains tell you where a website is basedWebsites with .org are non-profitsWebsites with .gov are governmental organizations or departmentsWebsites with .edu are associated with educational institutions  In addition, many of the newer TLDs like .biz or .co signal that a website is for a business. And some like .io or .tv say something about the specific industry a business is in.   TLDs are one of the main factors in what registering your domain will cost. Those that aren’t as well-known or popular, like .xyz or .site will tend to be cheaper than the common options that are more in demand.  3. Length of contract Many domain registrars will offer different annual rates based on how long you register a domain for. You may be able to save money by committing to a few years upfront, versus paying annually.  For any website owner certain they intend to keep the website running for the long term, this is a good deal. If you’re registering a domain because you have an idea for a possible future business that may or may not get off the ground, it might make sense to stick with a shorter contract to start.  4. Domain name privacy Everyone who registers a domain is required to provide personal information, including their name, email, and physical address. That information goes into the ICANN WHOIS database to ensure that if a website owner breaks any laws, authorities have a way to find and hold them accountable.  While there’s a practical reason for the database, having your personal data listed means giving up more privacy than many website owners are comfortable with. For that reason, many domain registrars offer domain name privacy as an add-on for an additional cost. You provide your information to the registrar, and they pass theirs along to the directory to publish instead. You keep your privacy, but still manage to stay within all the rules. Domain name privacy will typically add $10-40 a year or so to the cost of your domain registration.  5. Domain name availability Most of the factors we’ve discussed so far can cause a difference of a few bucks here and there to your domain registration. This one is where the differences can get big. If you register a domain name that’s already available, your costs will be relatively low. If you decide you really want one that someone already owns, you’ll probably be paying much higher prices. That’s where the multi-million dollar domain name sales we mentioned earlier start to come into play.  Most of the domain names that someone already owns won’t cost in the millions. Although you should know, many of them won’t even be for sale. If you set your sights on a domain name someone’s actively using, don’t get your hopes up. They’ll probably want to keep it.  But a portion of the domain names already owned were bought by investors with the specific intention of selling them. If the domain you want belongs to an investor, they’ll be interested in selling, as long as you can agree on a price.   6. Keyword popularity If you’re buying a domain off an investor, a big factor in how they set their price will be keyword popularity. URLs are one factor in search engine optimization (SEO). Having a domain name that incorporates valuable keywords can therefore make your website easier for people to find in the search engines. If the domain you want consists of a keyword phrase that gets a lot of searches on Google, be prepared to spend more because of it. How Much Should I Pay for a Domain Name? All of that information may be good to know, but what you really care about is how it applies to you and the domain name you want. If you can come up with a good domain name for your business that someone hasn’t already bought the .com for, then you can register your preferred option for less than $15 a year. If you’re okay with considering a less common TLD, you can potentially get your domain for less than $10 or, in some cases, less than $2 a year (at least to start). If you’ll be buying your domain name from an investor though, it will all depend on who owns it now and how valuable they believe it is. As the owner, they get the set the price and you’ll have to decide what it’s worth to you.   How to Buy a Domain from an Investor Registering a domain name that’s available is easy enough, you just search for it at HostGator and check out. But buying a domain name from an investor is more complicated.  If you’re lucky and the domain owner is actively trying to sell it, you can easily find out how to buy by simply visiting the URL. If that doesn’t work, then you need to figure out who owns the domain. You can try the WHOIS directory for this. If they’ve opted for domain name privacy, the information listed should still go to the domain registrar who can pass it along.  Once you’ve found contact information for the owner, reach out with an offer. You can do this directly, or consider going through a domain name broker. A broker can help manage the negotiations and provide you some protections when it comes time to pay for your domain name. Once you and the owner come to an agreement, pay for your domain name through a secure site (ideally a third-party site that provides you both some level of protection), and get your domain name.  How to Find an Available Domain Buying a domain name from an investor is both more complicated and inevitably more expensive than finding one that’s already available. If your heart is set on a specific name, the owner has all the power to set the price and you have to accept it or be willing to move on. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you’re willing to come up with a new domain idea that no one’s bought yet. And by getting a little creative, you can probably figure something out you like nearly as much as your original idea.  Do some brainstorming. Think about keywords, synonyms, and words in other languages that mean something similar to what you have in mind. Consider animals or characters you can add to your domain name to give it some more personality (hey, it worked for this gator-loving website).  Plug lots of ideas into our domain search tool, and then look at the available suggestions the tool generates.  By opening your mind to new ideas, you may come up with a domain name that’s not only available (and thus affordable), but also more unique and memorable than the one you thought you wanted.  How to Find the Best Domain Registrar for Your Money Domain registrars are not all created equal. To make sure you choose the best domain registrar for your needs, consider the following: Do they have the proper accreditation? All legitimate domain registrars will be accredited by the ICANN. You can double-check a company’s accreditation by seeing if they’re listed here.  In some cases though, the name listed may be different than the name of the company you register your domain with. For example, HostGator’s domain registrations go through the registrars LaunchPad and eNom. Are their prices fair? Check and see if what a registrar is charging is in line with what’s typical from other companies. You don’t want to end up paying considerably more because you didn’t compare your options.Do they offer other services you need? This isn’t required for a registrar to be worth considering, but it can make your life easier. If you can manage your domain name in the same place that you manage your web hosting, website builder, or other website services, it’s one less account you have to deal with. HostGator’s domain registration is easy, the prices are fair, and you can take care of your domain management and renewals in the same place you manage your web hosting services and website updates.  Domain registration doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Simply use our domain search tool to find the domain you want, and it can be yours within minutes. Still looking for a hosting provider to help you build your online presence? HostGator is a leading hosting provider that offers a number of different hosting packages so you can build your perfect website.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

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