Web Host Blogs

The Best Google Tools Under One Roof: Google’s Site Kit Plugin

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When Google launched its Site Kit plugin for WordPress last fall, WordPress users—particularly those who rely on their websites to drive revenue—rejoiced. The plugin effectively brings multiple Google services—including Analytics, AdSense, PageSpeed Insights, and Search Console—under one roof to offer users a comprehensive dashboard view of the way people are interacting with their sites.  Now… The post The Best Google Tools Under One Roof: Google’s Site Kit Plugin appeared first on WP Engine.

The June 2020 promo code is one of summer’s bounties

Name.com Blog -

You know what one of the best parts of summer is? The selection of tasty fruits that are in season June through July. The only thing that is nearly as satisfying is the savings you can get on your .com and .net renewals when you use this month’s promo code. Use the code CHERRY June […] The post The June 2020 promo code is one of summer’s bounties appeared first on Name.com Blog.

How To Make A Profit Buying & Selling Websites

HostGator Blog -

The post How To Make A Profit Buying & Selling Websites appeared first on HostGator Blog. Websites are the real estate of the virtual world. In the same way that some people choose to invest in houses, others treat buying and selling websites as a business investment. If you’re looking for a new career or side project that can be done entirely from home, buying and selling websites is worth considering.  That said, you should know it’s not easy money. As with real estate investment, there’s inherent risk involved and doing it effectively requires work and skill. A successful website flipper needs to know how to spot undervalued websites that can be improved with a minimal investment in time and money, then sold for a larger fee. Below you’ll learn the ins and outs of buying and selling websites, so you can start a new side hustle, or give yourself a leg up earning an income online. 1. Know Your Time and Money Limits Before you think about buying a website, take inventory of how much time and money you can afford to invest. Buying a website brings risks, so you should only spend what you can afford to lose. There are no guaranteed investments, no matter how attractive the website may seem. Once you have a budget in mind, think about how much time you have to work on your new site. If you find a website that’s already passively making money, you may not need to make that many changes. But you’ll still want to identify areas for improvement and implement the changes to increase the return on investment you get from a sale.  2. Look In The Right Niches When looking for sites to buy, the niche you choose is important. Don’t choose a site based on a passing fad. Look for sites that feature evergreen content. If you’re not familiar with the term, it means content that will remain useful and popular over the long-term. Some examples of evergreen niches include: Health and wellnessMoney and financesSports and hobbiesRelationships and personal growthFood and recipesSmall businesseCommerceEducationCurrent events and political commentary Entertainment coverage and analysis The above niches can expand out into multiple sub-niches as well. Don’t just think about the big overarching topics like health. Consider sub-topics like fitness for people over 40. Specialized niches are more useful and relevant to a subset of consumers and have less competition than websites covering broad topics, which can lead to a more loyal readership.  3. Find Websites to Buy When identifying sites worth buying, consider a few key performance indicators.  How much revenue the website generatesHow consistent the earnings are (e.g. Are they seasonal? Are there spikes and dips?)Whether the income is generally passive (meaning it’s not entirely ad-based)Does it have upside potential? Consider if you can identify ways to maximize the traffic, expand the revenue sources, and improve the existing content and design. Expect to pay a multiple of the monthly (or yearly) income the site brings in now. The current owner is giving up future earnings, so the price has to be worth it. On average, you can expect to pay a 12-18x multiple of the monthly income, although the figure varies. That said, if you’re willing to take on more risk and do more work, there are sites that won’t charge as much. If a website is newer, and thus doesn’t have the proven staying power of a site that’s been a long-term consistent earner, you can likely pay less.  Here are some of the most common places to find websites you can buy: FE InternationalWe Sell Your SiteFlippaBizBuySellWebsite BrokerEmpire Flippers 4. Do Your Due Diligence Once you’ve found a website you like it’s time to do your due diligence. This includes things like: Determining why they’re selling the site. Has it been flagged by Google? Has the interest in the niche been slowly declining? Or, are they simply tired of the site and want to move onto something new?Look for proof of revenue and traffic. Usually, you can verify traffic levels with Google Analytics and other tools.Do you trust the seller? Some sites have user profiles with feedback, ratings, and more.Examine their link profile. Are the links purchased, or are they white-hat links? If the site relies on SEO, can you keep both the link quantity and quality up? Speak to the seller and ask them these questions, along with evaluating things like traffic and income reports. Many of the platforms highlighted above offer broker services that can help you evaluate the site. Some also thoroughly vet every site before they even list it, so you can be sure it’s high quality. 5. Make an Offer If you’ve found a site you like and have done the proper background check, then it’s time to make an offer.  Some website listing sites will have a price listed. If this is the case, then you’ll want to start with a lower offer, but don’t low ball. Starting at 70% of the asking price gives you some wiggle room, especially if there are some negative things you were able to uncover about the site. If no price is listed, use what you learned in the last stage to come up with an amount to offer.  6. Improve the Website Once you’ve purchased the site and it’s been transferred to your name it’s time to get to work making it more valuable. You want to grow your monthly profit as high as possible. This may involve doing things like: Improving the content strategy and SEO to rank for more keywords and improve the trafficExploring affiliate opportunities, or negotiating better dealsIncreasing your investment in things like social media and paid advertising to further grow revenueCreating and nurturing an active email list Overall, you should try to optimize the traffic and income as much as possible, while removing yourself from the equation. A site that takes less time to run and maintain will go for more than a site that requires a lot of work to keep profitable.  7. Evaluate What Your Website is Worth Once you’ve spent some time building up the website’s value, do the math to figure out what the website is now worth. This step won’t be that different from what you did back when you were deciding how much to pay for it, you’ll just be on the other side of it now. Take into account: Your current traffic and any increases since you’ve been in chargeHow much revenue the site makes now, and how consistent it isHow many revenue streams there are and how likely they are to continueHow big your email list and social followings are—loyal followers are more valuable than one-time visitorsHow much work the website will require to stay at the current level of profitabilityThe value of the domain name—if it incorporates a popular keyword, that makes it more valuable to relevant buyers If you’re happy with the number you come up with, and confident you can make a solid case to a buyer, then you’re ready to sell.  8. Find Your Buyer You have two main methods to use for these last few steps: Use a website marketplaceHire a broker The website marketplaces we mentioned earlier (back in step 3) are all options for listing your website. The benefit of this method is that you let interested sellers come to you, rather than having to do the work of finding them. And with a website marketplace, you pay less in fees than with a broker. But for anyone who’s relatively new to selling websites, or that has a website they think could potentially be worth a lot, hiring a broker has its benefits as well. A broker has access to a broad network of contacts. They can discern the kind of buyers who are most likely to want your website and be able to afford it, and find them for you.  If you like the idea of hiring a broker, some of the website marketplaces also offer website brokering as a service, including Flippa and FE International. Some other businesses known for providing website brokerage services include: Digital ExitsFounders AdvisorsQuiet Light BrokerageWebsite Properties 9. Negotiate the Sale Once you’ve found someone who wants the site (or they find you), it’s time to get down to the business details. Figure out a price you both agree on, and work out the terms of the sale. If you hired a broker they’ll help with the negotiations and all the proper paperwork. If not, consider getting a lawyer to help make sure you do everything right in this stage.  When accepting payment, use an escrow service. This is a smart way to avoid scammers and provide confidence in the seller that you’re not a scammer yourself. Most of the marketplaces have built-in escrow services, but if you’re selling the site on your own it can be helpful to use a third-party service. 10. Make The Transfer This is another part of the process a broker will help with. But if you’re doing it on your own, reach out to your web hosting provider to make sure you take the proper technical steps to transfer your website to the new owner. They’ll need access to the web hosting account, the domain name, and any CMS or website builder you use. And all the assets that make up the website will need to be moved to their name.  Can You Make a Profit Buying and Selling Websites? If you’re considering online entrepreneurship, you have a lot of options. Buying and selling websites for profit isn’t for everyone. It requires a lot of work and skill to identify the right websites and increase their value. But if you know how to spot a good opportunity and have some expertise in increasing website traffic and online revenue, buying and selling websites can make for a valuable business model. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

These 6 Cybersecurity Myths Can Endanger Your Small Business

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The post These 6 Cybersecurity Myths Can Endanger Your Small Business appeared first on HostGator Blog. When you’re protecting your small business from digital threats, what you don’t know—and what you think you know—can hurt you. These common security misconceptions leave businesses open to attacks that can steal their data, drain their accounts and even cause them to fail. Let’s bust these myths and see what works instead. Myth #1: My Business Is Too Small to Be a Target Reality: Any business can be a target. In 2018, 43% of all data breaches hit small businesses, according to the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report. Why? First, a lot of small businesses don’t keep up with cybersecurity best practices. That makes them easy targets.  Second, hacking often looks different from what you might imagine. In many cases, it’s not a lone hacker targeting specific businesses one at a time. Cybercrime can also be big, organized conglomerates using botnets to search the web for vulnerable sites to infiltrate and exploit.  Most cybercrime is less like a guy with a fishing pole and more like a big ship that sweeps up unprotected businesses of all sizes in its net. So, it’s important to take cybersecurity seriously, even if you’re a solopreneur. Myth #2: I Don’t Sell Products on my Website, so I Don’t Need to Worry Reality: You still need website security, even if you run a service business or brick-and-mortar shop that doesn’t have an online store. There are two big reasons why.  First, without proper malware protection, your site could be hacked and vandalized by attackers so that when prospective customers arrive, they see random or offensive messages instead of information about your business.  Second, if your site lacks SSL protection, you’ll be penalized in two ways. Most browsers will warn visitors that your site is insecure and that their data could be at risk. That will prompt most people to leave. And Google uses SSL as a ranking signal, so sites that don’t have it get a lower spot on search engine results pages.  Myth #3: We don’t Have Anything Worth Stealing Reality: You might, though. Why would anyone go after your small business when there are multinational conglomerates and big banks sitting on much more valuable data? Here are a few reasons.  To hold your business hostage. Ransomware attacks make the news when they disrupt cities and big businesses, but small businesses are frequent targets, too. In 2018, an estimated 70% of ransomware attempts went after small businesses. The typical ransom for owners to get their data back and get their business up and running again? About $116,000. To use your checkout to test their stolen card data before going elsewhere to commit bigger fraud. “Card testing” fraudsters use bots to test batches of stolen credit card numbers by making small purchases on poorly secured websites—sites that don’t limit the number of times a shopper can try to enter the right CVV code for a card number, for example. When they manage to buy some small-ticket items, they can commit bigger fraud on better protected sites. And the small shops where they card-tested are stuck with chargeback fees. To use your business to go after someone you do business with. Remember, the Target data breach started with a vulnerability at one of the company’s HVAC vendors. To protect your business, your bottom line and your relationships with your customers: Make it a company policy never to click on links in emails from unknown senders and to keep your software and operating systems up to date. Ransomware attacks and data breaches often depend on phishing attacks and unpatched programs.  If you take payments on your website, limit the number of times a customer can try to match their card number to other data to prevent card testing fraud. Myth #4: Our Stuff Is Password-Protected, so We’re Good Reality: Passwords aren’t foolproof, as countless hacks and breaches show. Passwords work if they can’t be cracked. But most passwords are easy to figure out, either by guessing or with a bot that keeps trying combinations until it gets a match.  That means that if you and your employees are using weak passwords, it’s time to change them to something stronger.  It’s also important to use a different password for each account, instead of using one password for everything. Otherwise, your password becomes a skeleton key to your entire business if it ever ends up in the wrong hands. There’s one more password issue to consider: the default passwords on devices like your office wireless router, smart speakers and wireless cameras. Not everyone is aware that those devices have passwords, but they do, and hackers know the defaults.  Changing device passwords can be a bit of a hassle, because you need to look up instructions for each type of device. But having thieves or pranksters in your network is a bigger hassle. Read this to how to set a secure password. Myth #5: My Employees and I Know How to Spot a Phishing Email Reality: Phishing attempts are a lot harder to detect than a few years ago—and they don’t always use email.  Yesteryear’s badly written tall tales that blatantly asked for money have evolved into today’s email, text and voice messages that appear to come from your customers, utility providers or vendors. They may be asking for money, immediate “past due” bill payments, sensitive data, or for you to click on a link that lets ransomware into your system.  And while most of us are confident we can spot these kinds of scams, about half of 4,000 office workers surveyed by Webroot said they had clicked on links in emails from unknown senders.  We’ve already covered the importance of not clicking on links from random senders. It’s also important to double-check any unexpected requests for money or sensitive information that come from vendors, co-workers or clients. They could be legitimate requests—or they could be phishing attacks by imposters. Myth #6: Setting Up Your Cybersecurity Is a One-Time Event Reality: Criminals are always finding new ways to steal information, so cybersecurity best practices are always adapting. It’s good business to keep up with the latest security news and keep educating yourself. The National Cyber Awareness System has information on dozens of cybersecurity topics to keep you and your employees up to date.  It’s also critical to have security tools that are always on and monitoring your business data.  In the office that means using firewall and anti-virus software. For example, Windows Security comes with Windows 10 and according to PC World, it works as well as the top paid solutions. It also lets you layer a second anti-virus program on top for added coverage.  Security and Your Small Business Website Your website needs always-on protection, too. A good web host will provide security tools like automatic scans to detect and remove malware and viruses, an SSL certificate to encrypt information your customers enter on your site, and regular site backups so you always have a recent “good” version you can restore in case of a problem.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Full Site Editing: What You Need to Get Started

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As we detailed in the introductory installment of this blog series, full site editing is a coming change to WordPress core, which will broaden the use of blocks so they can be used in other places on a website, such as the header, the footer, or the sidebar. While the first post explained some of… The post Full Site Editing: What You Need to Get Started appeared first on WP Engine.

Join WP Engine at WordCamp Europe

WP Engine -

WordCamp Europe kicks off next week, and the three-day conference, which has moved online, will be a wonderful opportunity for the European WordPress community and beyond—everyone from casual WordPress users to Core developers—to discuss all things WordPress, share ideas, and network with one another.  Now in its eighth year, the conference offers a wide range… The post Join WP Engine at WordCamp Europe appeared first on WP Engine.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting your Reseller Hosting Business

Reseller Club Blog -

Businesses are all about generating revenue and the right business model can take your profits up a notch. In today’s digital age, almost everyone is online – be it on social media platforms, blogger websites, or online presence of their business. Web hosting is, therefore, becoming an increasingly popular business option and Reseller Hosting is one such business model that helps you with this. In this article, we will explain what Reseller Hosting is and how to start your own web hosting company. Let us start by understanding what reseller hosting is.   What is Reseller Hosting? Reseller Hosting is a type of web hosting that helps you run your Reseller business by way of renting out server space. In other words, as a reseller, you rent out server bandwidth, web hosting resources like CPU, RAM, disk space, etc. to different customers. In short, you allow customers to rent your resources, in turn, generating profit.  If you are a web developer or designer then adding web hosting to your services makes your online business a one-stop-shop for all things needed to set up a website. This way the needs of your customers are met and you also earn better revenue.  Let us now move on to understanding Reseller Hosting business startup guide. Reseller Hosting Business Startup Guide Step 1:  Figure out your target audience  You’ve already figured out the niche of your business, now is the time to find your target audience. Figure out who you wish to cater to – is it web developers, designers, online entrepreneurs, bloggers, etc. Once you figure out your target audience you can choose appropriate Reseller Hosting plans to cater to them. Once you’ve figured this out define your business goals as to how do you plan to grow your business and customer base. Depending on this you can select a Reseller Hosting package from a parent hosting company. Step 2: Choose a parent hosting company Choosing your parent hosting company is a vital part of your business goals. The features offered by your host company must align with what you want to offer to your customers. Pricing, software applications, customer support, order management are some of the features that you should consider when selecting your parent host.  One way to ensure you choose the right host is to do thorough research. You could start with reading reviews, calling up customer support, checking their social media channels, comparing pricing models and other review sources Step 3: Fix a Budget A big budget is not a precursor to a successful business. All you need to do is invest properly. Post selecting your parent host company, check out its Reseller Hosting plans and select the one that suits your budget. We at ResellerClub, cater to all irrespective of the budget – be it the simple starter plan to a pro Reseller Hosting plan for when your business expands. Step 4: Set your price Pricing is important. If your packages/products are priced at an exorbitantly high rate as compared to your competitors or you set very low prices, you’re at loss. Either you will lose your customers or you’ll be incurring losses instead of profit. Make sure to set your prices in this range so that you can get both customers, as well as, make a profit. And you can always increase your prices once you’ve established yourself in the industry.  Tip: Always make sure that you don’t charge more than necessary and keep a tab on your competitor pricing and offers.  Step 5: Promote your business  Last but not the least, promotion! Marketing your business is one of the most vital steps to finding customers. Once you have a website ready, add relevant information to it so that it is discoverable on search engines. Try taking the help of SEO based keywords to aid your indexing and search engine rankings.  Post this, set up your social media presence and invest in advertising. Once you have a sufficient customer base you can even start sending out emails and focus on email marketing campaigns, building a blog, how-to-videos and more.  Conclusion  Reseller Hosting is the most preferred business type especially if you’re already in the business of providing web design and development to your clients, as it can help you grow your business and help you be a one-stop-solution to all website needs. Nevertheless, even if you’re just starting out it is a great way to make money! We at ResellerClub provide numerous benefits like free cPanel dashboard to help you manage your customers easily, multi-channel 24//7 support via chats, calls, email, social media, unmatched speed, 99.99% uptime and more. Check out our Reseller Hosting plans today to start your own web hosting business. Hope this Reseller Hosting business startup guide helps you start your web hosting business today! To know more about the hosting and choosing the right option for your business, read more from our Hosting Blogs Category.   If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments section below! .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting your Reseller Hosting Business appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

Want Google’s Feedback on Your Store’s Website? Here’s How to Get It

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The post Want Google’s Feedback on Your Store’s Website? Here’s How to Get It appeared first on HostGator Blog. Does your store’s website have all the elements it needs to succeed? Can customers really find what they need on your site, or do they get frustrated and leave? What, exactly, could your online storefront be doing better? If user testing isn’t in your budget yet, no worries. You can get guidance on improving your customer experience (CX) with a free tool from Google. Grow My Store will scan your website and give you a CX report card you can use as a to-do list. (Why check your CX? Customer experience improvements can boost revenue by up to 15% and reduce business costs by as much as 20%.) Grow My Store debuted in 2019 and has been gradually rolling out support for multiple languages. Its goal? To help small and midsized retailers do a better job of giving customers what they want. Right now, Grow My Store is available in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, German and Swedish, plus a new Italian version that launched in April 2020. So, if you have a retail website in one of those languages and you want to see what you can do better, grab your store URL and follow along. What kinds of businesses can use Grow My Store? Google’s Grow My Store is built to evaluate retail websites only, including eCommerce sites, online stores run by businesses that also sell in-store, and websites for strictly brick-and-mortar retailers. That means you don’t have to sell products on your website in order to use the tool and get suggestions from Google. It also means that Grow My Store won’t be much help for non-retail businesses like accounting firms or freelance photographers. How do you use Grow My Store? Getting started with Grow My Store is super simple.  Visit the Grow My Store page and paste in your store’s URL. Click the privacy policy checkbox.Hit the send arrow. Then you wait for Grow My Store to scrape and analyze your site. This can take a bit.  When it’s done, you’ll need to sign in to read your report, which will list the steps you can take and link to information you can use to make your site more customer friendly and, ideally, earn you more traffic and more sales. What exactly is Grow My Store looking for? Google said when it launched the tool that Grow My Store rates each store on as many as 22 best practices for customer experience, based on studies conducted with its research partners.  How does it decide the ratings? The Grow My Store tool searches sites for keywords that correlate with those research-based best practices. Then it checks to see if those keywords appear on the site pages that make the most sense, and it checks to see how many pages those keywords are on.  For example, if your site doesn’t mention “return policy” anywhere, or only on one page, Grow My Store might flag your store’s return-policy practices for improvement, because the information is hard for your customers to find.  And while Google doesn’t specify all of the metrics it might use to evaluate a particular site, it’s reasonable to assume that they’re drawn from retail best practices Google has previously published, such as: Easy to find prices and product information on product pages, with the highlights visible “above the fold” so shoppers don’t have to scroll down to find them. Easy, intuitive site navigation, with the most popular categories at the top of the menu. Here, Barnes & Noble makes it easy for gift shoppers and people looking for entertainment while they’re stuck at home to find what they want. Live support options like chat so customers can find what they need without having to search through the site. A streamlined checkout process, to keep shoppers from abandoning their cart before they hit the “pay now” button. Google does spell out a few specific things that Grow My Store always looks for:  Page load speed, which is critical to keeping customers on your site. Fast is good, amazingly fast is better. After waiting three seconds for a page to load, the likelihood that visitors will bounce increases by 32%.Mobile friendliness, which matters to shoppers who are searching and buying on their phones. And that’s most shoppers—Google found that 94% of US smartphone owners do local searches on their phones, even when there’s a computer nearby.HTTPS, which means your site has an SSL certificate and encrypts traffic between your web server and your visitors’ browsers. (Need an SSL certificate? Find the best option for your store.) All three of these are also factors that Google uses to rank sites for display in search results, so optimizing them delivers both CX and SEO wins. If you need to make improvements, your Grow My Store report will connect you to the information you need to get it done. What if Grow My Store can’t check my store? Google says Grow My Store can’t scrape all retail sites, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of user-experience improvement options. Here are a couple more you can turn to—in fact, they’re worth checking out even if Grow My Store does work with your site.  UX Playbook for Retail Google wrote the book on digital retail user experience, and if you have time to study all 108 pages, it’s a very useful read. The UX Playbook walks site owners through six key areas of the ideal retail website, from homepage to checkout. For each area, there are quick lists of best practices and detailed explanations of what works and what doesn’t, with real-world examples. Product Coach Google’s “digital product coach” decision tree will steer you toward the Google resources that will be most helpful to your business, based on your business goals and where you sell your products: online, in-store, and/or on digital marketplaces. Manufacturers can also use this tool to learn how to set up and optimize direct-to-consumer sales.  Retail Trends Playbook 2020 Microsoft has its own guide to boosting retail CX with AI-driven product recommendations, stepped-up customer service and smarter use of customer data. All of these are things the average SMB can do by using apps, plugins and extensions on their e-commerce platform.  SCORE Small Business CX Resources The U.S. Small Business Administration’s SCORE mentoring partner has free information about improving customer experience, including a recorded webinar on customer journey mapping tools for CX improvements and an e-guide to SMB customer service.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Benefits of Managed Cloud Hosting For Your Business

HostGator India Blog -

As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate! From managing day-to-day operations, taking critical decisions, managing your employees, customers, clients, vendors, scaling your business — to a lot more! A good business owner understands the need to delegate, to be able to diversify and grow further. Just like you hire employees to […]

How to Start a YouTube Channel

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Whether it’s funny cat videos, a repair how-to, a livestream on your favorite gaming channel, or the latest Carpool Karaoke, you’ve likely watched a YouTube video — or several — today. In fact, the site boasts a usership of more than two billion — almost one-third of the internet! Founded in 2005 in an office garage, YouTube has grown into a virtual behemoth, contending against contemporary social platforms and following Google as the second largest search engine and second most visited website. It is navigable in 80 languages and sees hundreds of hours of video content uploaded every minute. Even if you’re not Chewbacca Mom or Justin Bieber (who has YouTube to thank for his mega-success), the video-sharing platform can be a seriously smart way to create and utilize content that elevates and builds awareness of your brand. We’d go as far as to say that for businesses, YouTube is serious business. But before you hit record, consult this step-by-step guide to starting a YouTube channel; we cover everything from equipment to engagement to monetization. Ready to be a (video) star? Read on. Make DreamHost Your YouTube PartnerWe’ll ensure your website is fast, secure, and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan Why Create a YouTube Channel? We know you’ve got a lot of balls in the air right now, and creating and managing content on a YouTube channel seems like a lot to add to your already-full plate. So let’s talk about why a YouTube channel is so beneficial for your business. With its massive growth and powerful standing as one of the most trafficked websites, YouTube offers brands the opportunity to boost their visibility as they establish a presence on the site. The content shared there largely influences customer buying decisions: 68% of YouTube users watched a video to help them make a purchase decision, and a majority of them are doing it at the beginning of their shopping journey. Your content potentially wields a lot of influence. What’s more, YouTube can effectively access your audiences. YouTube reaches more 18–49 year olds than any broadcast or cable TV network and flaunts one billion video views per day.  Four times as many people prefer watching video on YouTube than on social media platforms, and they’re doing it for long periods of time — average mobile viewing sessions last more than 40 minutes. Related: Should You Partner With an Influencer to Promote Your Website? Even with the popularity of YouTube, only 9% of small businesses have started their own channels. As usage continues to grow, there remains a largely untapped opportunity for businesses to reach and engage audiences through YouTube videos. What’s more, there is potential for content creators to make money from YouTube, earning a living just by making engaging videos. YouTuber Ryan’s World has majorly monetized his channel — with 24.7 million subscribers and makes $26 million a year. Did we mention he’s eight years old? It’s time to get your business up and running on YouTube. Here are the steps. How to Start a YouTube Channel (12 Steps) 1. Identify Your Target Let’s take a moment to zero in on who (and what) your target is. Do some virtual people-watching in your niche and consider who you’re trying to attract. Think about the following questions when identifying the unique sphere your business operates in. What is your industry? What is your genre/niche within that industry? Who makes up your target audience(s)? Why them? What does your target audience want and need? What problem or pain point are you trying to alleviate? The answers to these questions can help you understand who you’ll want to tailor your content to — and what type of content you’ll want to create. Related: How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy 2. Establish Your Type of Content Creating a YouTube channel is an excellent opportunity for your business to increase visibility. So having the right type of content tailored to your audience is essential for engagement and brand-building. Once you’ve pinpointed who your target audience is, you can start identifying the type of content that will resonate with them and meet their needs. And don’t stress over having a Hollywood-level type of video production when creating content. We’ll discuss gear later (see Step 4), but for now, remember that for viewers, relevance to their personal interests is more important than production value. The most valuable content to audiences isn’t necessarily the content backed by a big budget or slick, expensive tech. In fact, YouTube says 60% of people who have watched videos on the site in the past day tuned into content related to their personal interests. Clearly, businesses that have identified their target audience — and pinpointed what their needs are — will be much more successful, not only in building a YouTube presence but also in achieving engagement and building their brand. Based on your own YouTube habits, you know that there are many different types of video content. Here’s a sample list to get the content juices flowing. Think about how you might adapt them to meet the needs of your audience, and above all, how you might offer value. How-Tos/Educational Content (these YouTube searches are growing by 70% year on year!) Interviews Sneak Peaks Unboxings Q&As Reviews Day-in-the-Life Videos Virtual Tours Travelogues Aspirational/Storytelling Tutorials (users are three times more likely to prefer watching a YouTube tutorial video than reading a product’s instructions) Comedy (“relaxing” and “feeling entertained” are the top two reasons visitors list for watching YouTube content) (And remember to keep your content aligned with updated COPPA guidelines.) Related: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest? Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Your Business 3. How to Set Up a Channel Now, let’s dig into the technical details — the how-to of creating a YouTube channel. First, set up a Google Account, if you don’t have one already. This is the account you’ll use to manage your various Brand Accounts — meaning, you can toggle between different channels from one YouTube account. When creating a new channel, you’ll be prompted to create a Brand Account. Give it a name. Your channel is set up! Easy, huh? Now, the fun part: customization. Edit and upload your channel icon, channel art, and custom thumbnails — these are important visual ways to display your brand. Click on the About tab to add a channel description. Take care when crafting your summary, making sure to give a brief but polished outline of your business, your mission, and your products or services. Utilize core keywords that will help YouTube searchers find you. Include relevant contact info and links to your social platforms. 4. Gathering Your Gear Even if you don’t have fancy, high-tech gear, you can still film good-looking YouTube videos. Here’s how to use your $$ to create polished content or DIY it based on your budget. What you’ll need: Camera. Depending on the type of content you’re creating, you’ll want to invest in a camera that is best suited to your needs. This could include a DSLR, an action camera (like a GoPro), or a webcam. You can, of course, use your phone if it’s able to record HQ video. Do your research to find your best tech fit. Before filming, make sure all cameras and batteries are charged and ready. Microphone. You need good audio in addition to good video. An external microphone can help provide rich audio quality to enhance the production of your video. If viewers can’t hear you, they’ll quickly ditch your content (likely for a competitor’s!) Tripod. A tripod is an affordable tool that helps keep your video footage steady (you don’t want viewers getting dizzy!) There are lots of different types that match your camera choice and activity, so do your research. Lighting. If you’re filming indoors or in poorly-lit areas, lighting tools can help provide a better environment for professional-looking videos that are aesthetically pleasing and clear. Video Editing Software. Once you’ve filmed your video, you need a computer program to help you edit and modify your video into an organized, well-composed package. Most computers come with a basic tool, but if you’ve got more experience and want fancier bells and whistles, consider upgrading to software like Adobe Elements. 5. Filming Your First Video Lights, camera, action! With all your gear set-up, it’s time to film. It might help to prepare a storyboard before you film, so you know what you want to cover in the video and the shots you might need. Give yourself plenty of time, and record more material than you think you need — it’ll be easier to sift through a lot of good footage than to have to go back and re-film if you’ve left something out. Once you’ve filmed your shots, upload to your computer, and edit using your software. When piecing together your video, a few editing tips: YouTube has an Audio Library, a fantastic resource for royalty-free music you can use in your videos. Give your opening a captivating hook. With an overabundance of content to choose from, visitors need an enticing — and sustaining — reason to watch your videos. 6. Uploading Your Video Ready to share your polished video with the world? To upload your video to YouTube, visit your channel and click the Upload Video button (you can’t miss it!). It may take some time to upload to the site, so while you wait, take a well-deserved break (you know, before you have to get back to work spreading the news about your brand-spankin’-new YouTube video). 7. Optimize for Search You’ve got a shiny new channel and some killer content. But if your video isn’t primed for search, you won’t be getting the traffic you need to build your brand and your business. To help position your content for better rankings in search engines, utilize keywords. Build your video titles around relevant keywords (no keyword-stuffing!) that will help visitors find you. Follow it with an informative and well-crafted description. Related: The Top SEO Tools to Optimize Your Website for Success 8. Establish a Schedule — and Stay Consistent Vlogging isn’t a one-and-done affair. Meaning, one good video shared on YouTube isn’t enough to boost your business. Sure, it’s a great start. But if you want to build a community and effectively market your products or services, you need to establish a consistent posting schedule so visitors can regularly engage with content from your channel. Create a content calendar and stick to it. It’s also vital to establish a structure on your channel. Instead of just uploading videos haphazardly, create an organization that’s easy and intuitive for visitors to navigate. Group relevant content into sections to create a guiding framework, and consider adding a channel trailer to give viewers an idea of what they’ll find on your page (and why they should follow you). 9. Integrate Your Channel To spread your reach, integrate your YouTube channel onto your website and social platforms, embedding videos and sharing links throughout your site and as a part of your marketing strategy. Rachael Kay Albers of RKA Ink features her business sketch comedy videos as a prominent part of her website, inviting visitors to engage with her content across platforms. 10. Engage With Your Community With so many users, YouTube really is becoming a social hub where visitors are coming to engage. In fact, 70% more users are interacting with creators and channels, making it essential for content creators to get involved with viewers. Casual, once-in-while watchers have the potential to become avid followers — if businesses can effectively connect with them. How to do this? A few ideas: Respond to comments Seek feedback from customers or followers on the type of content they want to see Share user-generated content Subscribe to and engage with other accounts Produce quality content on a consistent schedule 11. Invest in Advertising Even with killer keywords and optimized copy, you should consider YouTube advertising as a way to grow your YouTube channel and boost your business’ reach. We already discussed the opportunity that YouTube provides (remember those billions of per-day views?), so developing a budget-friendly campaign can help you find and connect with more of your target audiences through well-placed ads. YouTube marketing really is smart marketing. Wanna Make Money on YouTube?Join our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to monetize your online presence!Sign Me Up 12. Analyze, Optimize, Repeat Obviously, as you work to create a channel and build your community, you’re going to find things that work — and things that don’t. Hey, that’s part of the learning process! Adjust and tweak your operations as you grow, continuing to optimize not only your content, but your methods. YouTube Studio (formerly Creator Studio) is a valuable tool for helping you manage your channel and access personalized insights that will help you grow. Analyze data to learn the kinds of video titles, lengths, and content types that are most successful. Keep track of your YouTube analytics (watch time is especially important!) and always look for ways to improve. Rack Up Views on YouTube Forget the internet killing the video star. Through starting a YouTube channel, your business can utilize video sharing as a means of content creation and brand building. It’s time to get on board. We’ve covered the ins-and-outs of creating a YouTube channel, everything from brand accounts and analytics to tech gear and types of content. As you create killer videos and integrate them onto your website, consider our shared hosting plans. We even offer a free website migration plugin, so you can easily move to DreamHost and continue working on your YouTube engagement. The post How to Start a YouTube Channel appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

What Is cPanel?

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The post What Is cPanel? appeared first on HostGator Blog. Put simply, cPanel is a dashboard that’ll help you manage your hosting account. It operates similar to the desktop on your computer, where you’ll find icons and a variety of programs you can use to accomplish certain tasks. Without cPanel, managing your hosting environment would be very technical. But, by using a dashboard like cPanel doing complex tasks only takes a couple of clicks. This unique software makes it possible so complete beginners can manage their own hosting accounts.  A lot of web hosts use cPanel (including HostGator), so it’s a good idea to understand how it works if you want to get the most out of your hosting. Below you’ll learn what cPanel is, the benefits to having access to a cPanel dashboard, and the types of hosting tasks you can accomplish via cPanel. What Is cPanel? As mentioned in the introduction, cPanel is a control panel that helps you manage the backend of your hosting dashboard. It simplifies the hosting management process and lets you accomplish tasks with a couple of clicks. The beauty of cPanel is that it’s built for complete beginners. Even though you can accomplish complex tasks, it’s a very straightforward and easy tool to use. Here’s a quick example of the cPanel you’ll get access to when you sign up for HostGator hosting: As you can see there’s an intuitive navigation bar, along with a number of different applications you can use to effectively manage your hosting account. For example, here are a few tasks you can accomplish in cPanel: Install WordPress, or another CMS with a couple clicksOrganize your server and manage files via a visual interfaceCreate domain-specific email accountsCheck your current server usage statisticsInstall new applications and software onto your serverManage any security toolsRun or schedule website backups Of course, this is just the beginning. There’s a whole bunch more you can do from within cPanel. It seems there’s a near endless array of features and tools you have access to. But, don’t let this be intimidating. You don’t need to understand how every feature works to use cPanel effectively. Instead there are just a few core tasks you’ll need to know how to do. The rest you can learn in time, or just leave it as is. Why Would You Want to Use cPanel? Without cPanel it would be pretty difficult to actually manage your server. You’d need advanced technical knowledge to accomplish pretty simple tasks. Unless you were willing to put in the time to understand how the command line works, you’d have a very hard time managing your server, or even launching a website. cPanel is one of the most widely used control panels in the hosting space. It’s commonly used across shared hosting plans, but you’ll find it on a variety of other hosting styles as well. However, when you get up to more advanced forms of hosting like WordPress managed hosting, VPS, and cloud hosting you’ll typically find a custom control panel. cPanel helps beginners manage their server environments without too much of a learning curve. The feature set can be a little overwhelming for beginners, but accomplishing certain tasks to get your site launched are pretty straightforward.  The Benefits to Using HostGator cPanel When you’re trying to get started online, you want it to be a straightforward process. Sadly, a lot of hosts make managing your server and setting up your website more complicated than it needs to be. Luckily, HostGator is equipped with a beginner-friendly cPanel. It’s very easy to get started with, but also equipped with more advanced features for total server control and customization. Here are some of the biggest benefits to using the HostGator cPanel: 1. It’s Easy to Use and Learn Trying to manage your own server and launch your website would be a near impossible task if you don’t have the right programming skills and experience. But, with cPanel, you literally just have to find the right application, click it, and let the software do its thing. Running the basic applications to get your website live, online, and built only require a couple of clicks. Managing your server files and installing additional server scripts will take more work, but no task is too difficult to accomplish in cPanel. 2. It Can Save You Time and Money Managing, updating, and running your own server takes time and money. With cPanel, doing all of these tasks is as simple as a couple clicks, but without this tool your only option would be to pay a developer. Or, invest a ton of time into learning these skills yourself. Instead of having to hire technical staff to maintain your website, you can handle all of these technical tasks yourself and rely on the bundled software installers.  3. It Includes Tons of Bundled Software Installers With cPanel you get access to hundreds of different software applications–instantly: For example, there are software installers that’ll enable you to do things like: Manage your files on your server visually (no command line needed)Create and manage new email accounts associated with your websiteRun or schedule automated website backupsInstall a variety of CMS on your site Basically anything you want to do with your server or website, you’ll find software that’ll allow you to accomplish the task.  4. It Has a Variety of Support and Tutorials Available Finally, because cPanel is one of the most widely used control panels, you’ll be able to find a wealth of different tutorials and support articles that’ll help you master using this tool. For example, the HostGator Knowledge Base has hundreds of support articles that’ll help you work through any issues you might be experiencing with cPanel. Now that you understand the power of cPanel and the benefits it can bring you and your website, let’s get into how you can actually use the tool.  How to Use cPanel When you sign up for a hosting account with HostGator, cPanel will already be installed. You don’t have to do a single thing to activate it. Once you complete the signup process you’ll receive an email that contains your cPanel URL, along with your username and password. Once you login you’ll be taken to your cPanel dashboard, it will look like the image below. If this is your first time using cPanel, then you might be a little overwhelmed with all the applications. But, once you spend some time in cPanel it starts to make sense pretty quickly. When you sign up for hosting you should automatically receive your cPanel login. If not, get in touch with your hosting provider to send over your login details.  For most users the top panel labelled ‘Popular Links’ will give you access to the programs you’ll use the most. These apps will allow you to do things like access the website builder, install WordPress, manage files and folders on your server, add website-specific email addresses, install subdomains and more.  As you scroll further through cPanel you’ll find additional applications for in-depth server and domain management, database management features, security tools, and much more.  What You Can Accomplish in cPanel As you can see, cPanel lets you accomplish a ton of different hosting-related tasks. We won’t go into everything you can do with cPanel below, but instead some of the most common tasks you’ll find yourself doing in cPanel. 1. Add and Manage Domain Names Depending on your hosting plan you can host multiple domain names and websites on a single account. This can be useful for users who manage multiple websites they want to run, or even to test out new projects and ideas without having to create an entirely new hosting account. Here’s how you can add new domains to your server. Keep in mind that you’ll need to own and have your domains registered before you can add them to your account. Once you’re in cPanel you’ll look for an icon titled ‘Addon Domains’. This will either be at the top section under ‘Popular Links’ or under the ‘Domains’ section. Click ‘Addon Domains’, then on the next screen enter your new domain name. You can also create a subdomain, or create a new folder. However, most users will simply enter the domain name in the ‘New Domain Name’ box and click ‘Add Domain’. Once you’ve added the domain you can start building a new website.  2. Create and Manage Email Accounts One great feature of cPanel is the ability to create email accounts that are associated with your domain name. This gives you a professional email account, instead of using your traditional Gmail email address.  Most hosting plans also give you the ability to create multiple email accounts so you can create email addresses for every member of your team. To create new email accounts find the application titled ‘Email Accounts’. On the next screen you’ll be creating your email handle and selecting the domain name that you want the account to be associated with. You can also set your mailbox quota (how many emails this account can have in the inbox). One you’re satisfied click ‘Create Account’ and your new email will automatically be created. You can even check, manage and send emails directly from your cPanel account as well. Just click on ‘Webmail’, select the application you want to use, and you’ll be able to use your email account as you would any other email client. 3. Access and Manage Server Files Not every user will need to manage files on your server, but it can be helpful to know how to do it. We’ll be using the visual file manager named ‘File Manager’. Whenever you use one of the cPanel applications to install software on your server or create a new website, a series of files will be created for you. When you open up File Manager in cPanel, you’ll be able to view these files, make changes, and even delete old website files you’re no longer using. It operates similar to your file system on your desktop or laptop, so you should have no trouble. 4. Manage and Create Website Databases Most modern websites use databases to manage content and keep things running behind the scenes. This is especially true for WordPress websites and sites that have a lot of content or user data. Usually, these databases will get created automatically. However, it’s still helpful to know how to create or manage your existing databases.  To create a new database click on the ‘MySQL Database Wizard’. This will bring up a tool that’ll walk you through the process of creating a new database, all you need to do is answer a few questions and the software wizard will create it for you. 5. Use the One-Click CMS Installation Software One of the most often used pieces of software in cPanel is called ‘QuickInstall’, this useful application is a bundled software installer and lets you quickly install all kinds of different software on your website.  Virtually any kind of software you need to install on your website can be done with a few clicks from this tool. You’ll be able to install WordPress or another popular CMS, eCommerce software, built-in chat, forum software, and on and on. To access this application search for ‘QuickInstall’. On the next screen you can choose WordPress, Website Builder, or click on One-Click Installs to view the entire library of applications you can install. Every application you can install is equipped with a helpful setup wizard, so you’ll only have to enter a few fields and the software installer will do the rest.  In Closing By now you should have an in-depth understanding of the cPanel control panel, why you’ll want to support your website with this unique software, and the kinds of hosting-related tasks you can do with ease. Here’s the great news: to manage your website effectively, you don’t have to become an expert at using cPanel. With just beginner-level knowledge you can take care of all the tasks required to launch your website, create an email address, actually build your site, and even schedule backups. Get started today by reading up on these cPanel best practices. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Understanding Top Website Migration Factors

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The following post was written by Kris Hadlock, President and CTO, at website migration specialist WordHerd. Migrating a website from one platform to another may seem like a straightforward process, but there are many factors to take into consideration. You may be thinking that it simply involves a copy and paste of content, downloading and… The post Understanding Top Website Migration Factors appeared first on WP Engine.

Make Your Own WordPress CRM System

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Business relationships need to be cultivated. You wouldn’t leave a friend stranded without any contact. Why treat your business contacts with any less respect? There’s a plethora of tools designed specifically for customer relationship management (CRM). This is how important contacts are for businesses. A monomaniacal interest in crafting perfect customer communications is not a bad habit to develop, and the antecedent is good contacts. A good CRM system gives you a single source of truth for all of your contacts and their unique information. Continue reading Make Your Own WordPress CRM System at InMotion Hosting Blog.

What’s Domain Pointing? How to Link an Existing Domain to a New Web Host

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The post What’s Domain Pointing? How to Link an Existing Domain to a New Web Host appeared first on HostGator Blog. This article is part of HostGator’s Web Pros Series. In this series, we feature articles from our team of experts here at HostGator. Our Product Managers, Linux Administrators, Marketers, and Tech Support engineers share their best tips for getting the most out of your website.  Here at HostGator, one of our goals is to make it as easy as possible for customers to transfer domains they’ve registered somewhere else to us for hosting, or to host sites whose domains are registered with another company. For the most part, the process is simple enough.  But there’s one small and important aspect of using an existing domain with a new host that can trip up domain owners if they’re not expecting it. That’s domain pointing.  When your domain points to the server your host has assigned to you, people see your website when they type in your URL. If your domain doesn’t point to your hosting service, they’ll get some variation on a “this site can’t be reached” error message—and you’ll miss out on those visitors. Some site owners never need to worry about domain pointing. For example, if you register a domain with HostGator when you sign up for hosting, that domain will automatically point to the name server addresses assigned to you by your host. But what if you registered your domain name with another provider and you want to set up your website with HostGator or another web hosting service? That’s when domain pointing matters, because something has to bridge the gap between your registered domain and your web host—to “point” the domain name to the server where your website data lives.  This may be unfamiliar, so let’s walk through it.  The Basics of Domain Pointing To understand domain pointing, it’s helpful to keep in mind the key elements you need to set up your website:  a domain name that you bought from a registrarIP addresses for your website that are provided by your web host To connect these two elements, you’ll need to share some information with your domain registrar. You’ll need to tell your registrar who does your domain name resolution, which is your web host. Your registrar will also need your name server records from your webhost. This is the information they’ll use to point your domain to your new hosting service.  What (and Where) Are My Name Server Records? Your host will assign name servers to store your DNS zone files—files that contain information about your website’s IP address. The quickest way to find your name server records is to look up your welcome email from HostGator, which includes them.  Can’t find your email? No problem. You can look up your name servers online. If you have a shared hosting plan, you can log in to your cPanel to find your name server information. On the lower left column of your Account Information panel, you’ll see two URLs that end with hostgator.com.  Your name servers won’t be redacted like our example.  If you have optimized WordPress hosting, log in to your HostGator control panel, select Domains from the left sidebar, and click More for the domain whose name servers you need. When the Domain Overview panel opens, you’ll see your name server addresses in the upper right corner.  Copy both name server addresses, because you’ll need to share both of them with your domain registrar. But before we do that, let’s talk about the possibility that your site may be offline while the domain pointing actually happens. Factor in DNS Propagation Time Before You Make Your Changes Just as it takes time to send change-of-address details when you move to a new office or home, it takes time to update your website’s name server information across the web. This is called DNS propagation time, and it can last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours in most cases.  During DNS propagation, visitors to your site may see the old version or the new version, or your website and site-based email might be unavailable. Because of this, it’s a good idea to post a notice on your site before you point your name servers to your new host. This notice should let visitors know that you’ll be making changes, when they’ll happen, and when you expect the site to be fully operational again. It’s also a smart plan to time your name server switch for a time when you typically have the least amount of traffic. Once you’ve let your visitors know to expect a bit of digital remodeling dust and planned your switch for minimal disruption, it’s time to move ahead. Share Your Name Server Records With Your Domain Registrar Now it’s time to change your name server information with your current registrar, and you have to do it yourself for security reasons. Otherwise, anyone could point your domain name anywhere.  To help you out, HostGator has a list that includes step-by-step instructions for changing your name servers at more than a dozen popular registrars.  For example, if you registered your domain with BlueHost, you’ll log in, select Domain Manager, select the domain you want to point, and then click the Name Servers tab.  Bluehost’s name server change fields On that panel, you’ll select Use Custom Nameservers, enter the name servers you copied from your hosting control panel, and then save the new name server settings. Then you just wait for the DNS propagation process to happen, and within 24 to 48 hours your domain will point to your new host.  That’s all you have to do in most cases. But… What if you want to transfer your domain to a new registrar? Maybe you’d rather have your registration and hosting handled by the same provider, or maybe your web host offers better domain registration pricing and support. Maybe you’ve sold a domain to someone and need to give them control of it. In these cases, you can transfer your domain to your web host or your buyer’s registrar. This is a multistep process that requires some preparation and takes a few days to complete, but it doesn’t usually involve downtime.  If you’re transferring a domain you’ve sold, you’ll need to change the name servers with your current registrar to the ones your buyer shares with you, so the domain points to their website. If you’re transferring a domain registration to HostGator, first check that The domain is valid and registered with another registrar.The domain has been registered somewhere for at least 60 days.The domain is unlocked. (You can unlock it through your current registrar’s control panel.)You have an authorization code from your current registrar.  Then you can enter your domain into HostGator’s Domain Transfer tool and we’ll handle the rest.  Want to learn more about getting the most from your HostGator account? Check out our Web Pros Series post on 5 cPanel Mistakes to Avoid with Your Website.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog

WP Engine Summit/2020 Kicks Off June 10th

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WP Engine Summit/2020 is just around the corner, and if you still haven’t registered for our signature, Digital Breakthrough event, make sure and sign up now— registration is free! Like so many events that have moved online due to concerns surrounding Covid-19, this year’s conference was designed as a completely virtual event, full of informative… The post WP Engine Summit/2020 Kicks Off June 10th appeared first on WP Engine.

Facebook and Instagram Stories: Why Your Business Needs Them and How to Make Them

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The post Facebook and Instagram Stories: Why Your Business Needs Them and How to Make Them appeared first on HostGator Blog. By Emily Hill and Jana Thibodeaux This article is part of HostGator’s Web Pros Series. In this series, we feature articles from our team of experts here at HostGator. Our Product Managers, Linux Administrators, Marketers, and Tech Support engineers share their best tips for getting the most from your website.  Even if you don’t use Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories, you’ve probably seen them – those short photo and video snippet displays that appear at the top of your feed. Maybe you’re a fan, maybe you’re already Story-proficient, but maybe you’re wondering what the point of Stories is when you can already post videos and photos in your feed. Why should your business use Stories? Here are our top 5 reasons. There are several big reasons why we recommend Stories to businesses.  1. Your Story appears at the top of your followers’ feeds. When you do a normal Instagram or Facebook post, it’s up to the algorithm who sees it, and as new content gets published, your post moves farther and farther down where people are less likely to see it. Our No. 1 reason to use Stories is because they automatically show up at the top of users’ home feeds the entire time it’s available (usually 24 hours). You get optimized placement without having to pay for it just by doing an Instagram or Facebook story.  On Instagram, you can keep your Stories visible even after they expire by adding them to your Highlights. Then they’ll live at the top of your profile page, just beneath your profile image.  2. Stories can take your followers behind the scenes.  Maybe it’s a (safely socially distanced) event, maybe it’s the server room at your business, or the kitchen where your restaurant crew is turning out to-go orders. Showing your followers something that they wouldn’t otherwise get to see can build interest for your business.  3. Stories can get more people engaged with your brand.  So, your followers can find your Stories easily—right at the top of their feeds—and they can feel like they’re right there with you doing something interesting. That leads to reason #3 to market with Stories: more audience engagement.  What we’ve found is that people engage more with our Stories on Instagram than they do with regular posts. There are more comments and more responses to polls, for example. That’s probably because there are more interactive Story elements, like stickers.  4. Stories can raise your click-through rates. When people interact more with your brand, they often want to learn more. You may find that you’re getting more clicks through the link in your profile as you build up Story content.  As you grow your followers, you can unlock more features that can boost click-throughs. For example, once you have 5,000 Instagram followers, you can include a link in your Story posts, something you can’t do with in a standard Instagram post.  At 10,000 followers, Instagram lets you add its Swipe Up feature on your Stories. That lets followers go straight from your Story to your store or your blog.  For example, followers can swipe up on this Story to learn more about website updates and then read our blog post. 5. Stories let you market on a shoestring audio/video budget. Unlike most promotional videos, product portfolios and podcasts, a Story can succeed even with lo-fi production values. The idea is that your Story is something that’s happening in the moment, shot on your phone. You don’t need to invest in a graphic designer and video producer, which makes Stories fast to create and easy on your budget. How to create Stories for your business: 11 smart ideas When you’re ready to start using Stories in your marketing, you may wonder how long they should be and how often you should post them. Here’s what we recommend for most new Stories users. 1. Tell an actual story. Even a fifteen-second story should have a beginning, a middle and an end. For an artist, a Story about a mural project could be three images: the sketch, halfway point and finished product.  2. Keep your Stories brief. In each Story, you can create individual pages that display for up to five seconds for an image and up to 15 seconds for a video. We recommend including anywhere from three to six pages in each Story.  3. Mix your media. Mix and match video and still images in your Stories. A little bit of a both in each Story can boost views and get your audience more engaged. 4. Go vertical.  Instagram and Facebook posts have a square format. Stories use a portrait (vertical) format that fills the screen. When you’re taking photos and videos for your feed and Stories, remember to take a couple of different sizes so you have content for both formats.  5. Use content you already have. When there’s something timely from your feed that you can include in your Stories, do it. For example, you might have past holiday posts you can build into a Story for the upcoming holiday season. Or maybe you’ve got a series of related product photos you can string together into a Story. 6. Brand your Stories Branding always matters! You can create Story backgrounds in another platform like Canva to include your brand’s colors and fonts, instead of relying on the fonts and colors available in Stories. That’s a good way to help make sure all your content looks and feels like your brand. 7. Use #hashtags in your Stories. Some marketers put hashtags front and center on their Stories, while others shrink them so they’re unobtrusive. The important thing is to use at least one hashtag on every post, because they make your posts findable in hashtag searches.  8. Get brave and do some live posts. Maybe you’re at an event, maybe you’re in your workshop or office—show your followers what’s happening right now. If there’s something really cool going on, you can make a quick video for your Story.  You can also stream live video for up to an hour on Instagram and up to 90 minutes on Facebook. Then you can leverage the replay. On Instagram, you can save your video to IGTV if it meets the length and format requirements. You may also be able to include your IGTV video in your Stories, although Instagram doesn’t give every user that option. 9. Add your best Stories to your Highlights. Instagram will display them near the top of your profile page, long after they’ve left the Stories feed. 10. Start small with Stories. It’s tempting to try to be everywhere at once with Stories, but it’s best to take baby steps when you’re starting. If most of your audience is on Facebook, focus your Story efforts there. If they’re on Instagram, start there. If you have followers on both, you can set up Instagram to share your Stories to Facebook automatically. How often should you post? Again, baby steps are best. One to two Stories per week is a good place to start. However, don’t feel like you have to hit that target every single week.  Remember, Stories are part of a conversation with your audience. Maybe there’s a week when you’re out or don’t really have anything to talk about with your audience. That’s okay. Maybe the next week there are three cool things you want to turn into Stories. That’s good, too! Don’t avoid Stories just because you’re not sticking to a schedule.  11. Engage with your Stories audience. Stories are great for getting more engagement from your followers. They’re also great for getting more insights from them. Use those Story conversations and polls to get feedback from your customers and have actual conversations that can build those relationships and strengthen your brand. Read more from HostGator’s Web Pro Series. Check out these articles for growing your business: How to Create a Successful Online Community on FacebookQuick Website Updates You Can Do in 30 Minutes or LessWeb Hosting Hot Topics: Caching, Themes & Customer Service Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! Find the post on the HostGator Blog

How to Create a Successful Online Community (and How We Did It on Facebook)

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The post How to Create a Successful Online Community (and How We Did It on Facebook) appeared first on HostGator Blog. This article is part of HostGator’s Web Pros Series. In this series, we feature articles from our team of experts here at HostGator. Our Product Managers, Linux Administrators, Marketers, and Tech Support engineers share their best tips for getting the most of your website.  As human beings, we have an innate need to belong and that sense of belonging is what connects us to the other people. There is a ton of research available that proves why we need community.   We are all part of many different communities, some purposefully and some by circumstance. Communities can take on many forms and can be organized groups or a loose knit group of people with whom we share interests. Some examples of communities are: your colleagues at work, sports teams you play on, special interest groups you’re a part of, or your church. Community can be an effective way to share ideas, get help, build relationships and so much more.  So let’s talk about online communities, how to build them, and what you need to know.  Things to consider before you start a community: What is the purpose of the community?What will the guidelines for your community be?How do you plan to grow your community?How do you plan to moderate your community? I’m going to use our “Website Owners Helping Website Owners” Facebook community as an example.  1. What is the purpose of your community? We created this community during the COVID-19 crisis when support resources were overloaded and customers needed to create websites quickly.  But our guiding principle was this – the purpose of our Website Owners Helping Website Owners is to provide an online forum for ALL website owners to seek and give help to each other.  We wanted to provide a safe space where knowledge sharing is encouraged, where web pros could share their expertise in a time of crisis, and where people could ask for help without having to contact a web host’s support team.   We kept this purpose in mind to create the description for our community group. Our stated  description is as follows:  This group is for website owners & web pros, who are in need of help or want to help. Share Qs, struggles, tips, tricks and helpful solutions. We’re stronger when we help and support each other through trying times. After all, the world wide web is best when we keep it spinning together.  Things to think about: Is there interest in the topic at hand?Does a group for this topic already exist, and if so, what are you going to provide that is different from the other group? 2. What will the guidelines for your community be? I cannot stress enough how important guidelines are when forming an online community.  You must have good strong guidelines that cover many different areas and you MUST enforce them equally and honestly.  If you don’t have guidelines your community could quickly stray from its purpose and comments can get out of hand. It’s easy to hide behind a screen and be nasty; you will want to stop that before it starts and nip any bad actors in the bud.  Things to think about: What will you allow to be posted?Are you going to allow off-topic comments or conversations?Are you going to allow self-promotion or soliciting?What’s your stance on behavior? Are bullying, rude comments, and heated arguments okay?What’s your stance on lurking? How will you encourage everyone to participate?What’s your stance on swearing? Okay or not? Be prepared to give examples.Adds for other companies, services, sites? Yes or no?Privacy – This is SO important. You need to state outright that sharing personal information publicly is not okay and dangerous.What are the consequences of breaking rules? How many strikes until people are removed? This is by no means a comprehensive list and your rules will vary depending on the purpose of your community. Read our group guidelines here. 3. How do you plan to grow your community? This topic is hugely important because the last thing you want to do is put all the thought and effort into starting a community only to be hanging out with a couple of your close friends who joined out of pity. You want people who care about this topic and who will engage in the conversation! Things to think about: Ask your friends to join, but only if they have interest in the group too. Ask them to invite their friends. This is an easy win and a great way to get started.Do you have employees? Ask them to join and invite their friends, but set expectations on their participation.Do you have customers or followers? Send out an email push sharing the group and asking them to join.Incentivize participation: Offer swag (like free t-shirts, if you have any) to the most active members. If your forum platform has gamification – like getting extra perks for hitting a certain point level – use it. But make it meaningful.  Send another email push to those who haven’t joined after the first 30-60 days.Promote your community. Build your community on a forum that allows advertising (e.g. Facebook) and consider spending a little bit to promote your community 4. How do you plan to moderate your community? I want to caution you, do NOT try to do it all yourself.  You are not available 24/7/365 to monitor and moderate your community.  “But Erinn, I’m a staff of one.” Don’t worry. There’s still a way to get help moderating your community… In the beginning, you’re going to have to be the only moderator, but pretty quickly you’re going to notice members of the community who are highly active and providing great, valuable information, responses, and original posts to your community. These are YOUR people!  Private message these engaged community members and ask if they’d be interested in being a moderator so that the load is shared across multiple people. I recommend one moderator for every 200 people in your community. This will of course vary depending on just how active your community becomes. Things to think about: You will want to set clear and easy to follow expectations for your moderators. If your moderators can’t or aren’t following your expectations and the community’s posted guidelines, show them the door.Show your moderators some love: think swag, shout outs, thank you posts, and free product.Trust your moderators. If you don’t trust their judgement, then they shouldn’t be a moderator.Ensure that the moderators are applying the guidelines equally. To begin with, have them ask for approval before removing a post or blocking a user, once you know they’ve got it, let them know and let them do their job. Lessons learned from HostGator’s “Website Owners Helping Website Owners” Facebook community We spent one day focused on setting the purpose, guidelines, and future plans for our Facebook community group (steps 1-3 above). Then we sent an email invite to let it loose on the world!  The response was overwhelming! People flocked to this group and instantly started asking questions and providing help.  Below are a few more secrets to our success: Use your coworkers as a sounding board. We have three staff moderators for our community group, and we will bounce ideas off of each other in a private chat whenever in doubt. Active community members that become moderators can quickly turn into self promoters. Stick to your community guidelines and remove their moderator privilege before it gets out of hand. Create a weekly post that welcomes and tags new members to introduce themselves. This is a great way to create ongoing engagement. Email your current customers inviting them to join the group. This was our most successful way to grow our group quickly. And it worked! Wrapping it up… Community is really such a wonderful thing. There is so much to think about and do when you’re first getting started, but once it’s live and out there and you see the group growing, meshing and thriving, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Now get out there and get your community rolling!   Find the post on the HostGator Blog

What Is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

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The post What Is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)? appeared first on HostGator Blog. You’ve heard the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare and their illustrious race, right? If not, spoiler alert! In the end, the tortoise’s slow and steady pace wins the race. And, the hare is left feeling foolish for running most of the race fast as can be, and then piddling around while the tortoise crosses the finish line. While this is a great anecdote to motivate people to take one step at a time toward their weight loss or career goals, it’s not a great anecdote for how users want the internet to run. No one wants to sit around and wait for days for a website to load, even if it is making that tortoise-like slowwwww as tar progress. Cue throbber icon followed by a frustrated yell into a pillow. When people search for your website on the internet, they want sprint of the hare website speed. In fact, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% of consumers will wait no more than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site. Now, what does this reworked fable have to do with the question you Googled? Google search: What is a content delivery network? Content delivery networks (CDN) are the hares of the internet (but they are 100 percent reliable when it comes to finishing the race, as opposed to the hare in Aesop’s fable, just to get that out of the way). In more technical terms, a CDN is a group of servers that reduce website latency time and provides speedy delivery of internet content. How Does a Content Delivery Network (CDN) Work? The more you want your website to do, the more power it will need to load quickly. Think about some of the world’s favorite websites: Netflix, Facebook, and Amazon. All of these industry giants use a CDN to speed things up. These websites have billions of daily searches and a lot going on behind the scenes to make their websites the obsessions that they are, and that means they need more power and speed. A CDN works by placing servers at exchange points (IXPs) between different networks, offering an opportunity for different internet provides to link to each other and give each other access to resources on their respective networks.  Additionally, a CDN places physical servers in data centers across the globe to help move traffic as quickly as possible. These CDNs provide speed and connectivity securely, cheaply, and reliably (again, a better hare than the one in Aesop’s fable).  With the help of a CDN, these top websites can deliver content effectively and quickly, no matter what browser they are using, what internet service provider they use, and regardless of where they are located. Can Smaller Website Benefit from Using a CDN? It’s a given that huge companies like Facebook will use a CDN, but what about smaller websites?  Do you really need to invest in a CDN? Well, it depends on how much you are doing on your website, and what your current website load times are. If you use assets like HTML pages, javascript files, stylesheets, images, and videos, then you’re asking your website to do a lot of hard work, and it may need additional help.  If you use all these assets and notice your website isn’t loading quickly, then a CDN is an easy and affordable answer. What Are the Top Benefits of a CDN? It’s already been stated that main benefit of CDN services is they help with latency and improves website load times. But, how? Here are some primary ways CDN services reduce load times: Since CDN servers are distributed globally, it reduces the distance between users and website resources. This means less cyber travel and faster service.CDNs help reduce the amount of data transferred by compressing file sizes. Smaller files = faster load times.CDNs boost the speed of sites that use TLS/SSL certificates through an optimized connection.CDNs also come with hardware and software optimizations that transfer data quickly. Let’s look at some additional benefits of a CDN. CDNs boost reliability  The last thing you want is for your website to go offline. When your website is down, you lose potential sales and/or the interest of your audience members. A CDN works to help you deal with things that could potentially cause your website to go offline, such as hardware failures, spikes in traffic, malicious attacks, and boosts in your website’s popularity. Here’s how a good CDN helps protect your site: Load balancing distributes traffic evenly across several services. This makes it possible to manage boosts in traffic. If one or more of the CDN servicers go offline, there are still other CDN servers working. Your traffic will be redistributed to other servers that are still working.  Similarly, if one data center has technical problems, another data center can pick up the slack. But, that’s not all! Content delivery networks also help keep your site secure. Let’s take a closer look. CDNs improve data security The more you can do to protect your site from hackers and security breaches, the better.  Here’s how a CDN will help: A CDN keeps your site secured with current TLS/SSL certificates.  These certificates ensure the ability to verify provided identifications, the ability to encrypt info sent from one host to another, and the ability to detect forgery and tampering. It provides DDoS mitigation, which means it protects a targeted server of a network from a specific type of attack and mitigates incoming threats. If you’re looking to increase the security of your website, a CDN is a helpful tool. CDNs reduce bandwidth costs It’s no secret that websites can get expensive. The more bandwidth your website consumes, the more you’ll have to pay. CDNs are capable of reducing the amount of data an origin server provides. This helps reduce hosting costs for website owners. If you know your website will require more bandwidth, then look into a CDN now. Wrap Up Investing in a content delivery network is a sure-fire way to speed up your website, especially if your company operates globally. As with any other outstanding product, when you opt to use a CDN, other critical elements of owning and operating a website won’t suffer. In other words, you’ll still be able to ensure reliability, data security, and keep your operating costs down. For more information about web hosting or to learn more about CDNs, visit HostGator today. Find the post on the HostGator Blog


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