Industry Buzz

HostGator vs Bluehost

HostGator Blog -

The post HostGator vs Bluehost appeared first on HostGator Blog. One of the first and most important decisions you have to make when starting a website is which hosting provider to go with. And we get it, there are a lot! How are you supposed to determine which one is the best?  For individuals and small businesses, there are a few main hosting providers associated with the kind of affordable, simple web hosting services that make the most sense. To help you understand how your options stack up against one another, this is one part of an ongoing series on how the top small business web hosting providers compare.  In this installment, we look at: HostGator vs Bluehost. Here’s how they’re different in a few of the main categories that matter most to new website owners.  HostGator vs Bluehost on Hosting Plan Options Every web hosting provider offers an array of different plan types. Understanding what your plan options are is important to making sure you get as much web hosting space and bandwidth as you need, without overpaying for more than your website requires.  Knowing the different options included under one provider is valuable, because your website needs may well grow in years to come. Upgrading to a new plan with your initial provider will be easier than switching to  a new company at that point. While there’s some overlap in the kinds of plans offered by HostGator and Bluehost, the list of options isn’t the same. HostGator’s Web Hosting Plans HostGator offers six different types of web hosting services, with three plan levels available for each. The categories included are: Shared Web Hosting – For new website owners shared hosting services are usually the best place to start. HostGator offers three different plans at this level:Hatchling – The simplest, most affordable plan on the roster. The Hatchling is a good choice for new website owners with a limited budget and simple needs. Even so, it offers some of the most important basics, such as a free domain, SSL certificate, and unmetered bandwidth.Baby – Another simple, affordable shared web hosting plan. The baby plan is similar to the Hatchling, but allows for unlimited domains, instead of only one.Business – For small professional websites, the business plan provides the affordability of shared hosting, with the addition of key business features like a dedicated IP and a positive SSL.Cloud Web Hosting – Cloud hosting services allow for more flexibility and useful analytics to better manage your site. HostGator offers several cloud hosting options, that line up pretty similarly to their shared hosting options:Hatchling – For smaller, newer websites that want the flexibility of a cloud plan but don’t expect that much traffic, Hatchling plans come with 2GB memory, 2 cores CPU and the ability to support one domain. Baby – Baby is a step up from Hatchling to unlimited domains, 4 GB, and 4 cores CPU.Business – And business goes up to 6 GB and 6 cores CPU, and includes a positive SSL and dedicated IP. WordPress Hosting – Many of the world’s websites run on WordPress, and web hosting plans that specialize in WordPress ensure proper compatibility. HostGator has three levels of WordPress hosting plans:Starter – Supports one site and is good for up to 100k visits a month and 1GB backups.Standard – Supports up to two sites, 200k visits a month, and 2GB backups.Business  – Steps it up to three sites, 500k visits a month, and 3 GB backup.VPS Hosting – Virtual private server (VPS) hosting is a step up from shared hosting. While you still only rent part of the web server your website is hosted on, you lay claim to a larger portion of it, and your section is partitioned off from the rest so your website is unaffected by other sites on the server. HostGator offers three VPS plans:Snappy 2000 – Comes with 2 GB RAM, 2 cores CPU, and 1.5 TB bandwidth. Snappy 4000 – Offers 4 GB RAM, 2 cores CPU, and 2 TB bandwidth.Snappy 8000 – Scales up to 8 GB RAM, 4 cores CPU, and 3 TB bandwidthDedicated Server Hosting – For bigger websites and those that expect high traffic numbers, dedicated hosting plans ensure you get all the space you need for your website. HostGator offers three levels of dedicated hosting plans:Value server – You get a server with 4 core, 8 thread, and 8 GB RAMPower server – This server has 8 core, 16 thread, and 16 GB RAMEnterprise server – The highest-level plan has a server with 8 core, 16 thread, and 30 GB RAMReseller Hosting – For businesses that intend to offer web hosting to their clients, HostGator also has three levels of plans for resellers:Aluminum – Comes with 60 GB of space and 600 GB bandwidthCopper – 90 GB space and 900 GB bandwidthSilver – 140 GB space and 1400 GB bandwidth With so many options, HostGator’s plans will easily match the needs of most website owners. And they provide plenty of room to grow with you if your needs change in years to come.  Bluehost’s Web Hosting Plans Bluehost offers plans in some of the same categories as HostGator, as well as a couple of others focused on different types of WordPress sites. Here’s a rundown of their plans: Shared hosting – Bluehost also offers affordable shared hosting plans for smaller websites. They have four options at the shared plan level:Basic – Supports one website, one domain, and provides 5GB of storage spacePlus –  Has no limit on the number of websites and domains and adds access to their SpamExperts featureChoice Plus – Offers everything the other shared plans have, plus domain privacy and backups Pro – Has everything in the other plans, plus a dedicated IP addressVPS hosting – Bluehost has three VPS plans:Standard – Includes 2 cores, 2 GB RAM, and 1 TB bandwidth  Enhanced – Offers 2 cores, 4 GB RAM, and 2 TB bandwidthUltimate – Comes with 4 cores, 8 GB RAM, and 3 TB bandwidthDedicated hosting – Like HostGator, Bluehost also has three dedicated hosting plans:Standard – Offers 4 cores, 4 GB RAM, and 5 TB bandwidthEnhanced – Has 4 cores, 8 GB RAM, and 10 TB bandwidthPremium – 4 cores, 16 GB RAM, and 15 TB bandwidthShared WordPress hosting – Three of the categories of hosting Bluehost provides are focused on WordPress. Their first level of WordPress hosting is shared WordPress hosting, which they have three plans for:Basic – Supports one website and 50 GB of storagePlus – Supports unlimited websites with unmetered storageChoice Plus – Offers unlimited websites, unmetered storage, and adds in backupsManaged WordPress hosting – Their managed WordPress plans provide more resources for building and managing your WordPress site.Build – Comes with a basic Jetpack plan, marketing center, free WordPress themes, daily backups, virus detection, and domain privacy Grow – Comes with everything in Build, plus Jetpack premium, SEO tools, and 10 GB video compressionScale – Includes everything in the other managed plans, plus Jetpack Pro, unlimited backups, unlimited video compression, and chat supportWooCommerce hosting – For ecommerce websites built on WordPress using WooCommerce, Bluehost has three plan levels:Starter – Allows for one online store, 100 GB storage, and includes domain privacyPlus – Supports unlimited online stores, unmetered storage, and domain privacy and backupsPro – Offers everything Plus does, as well as SEO tools Like HostGator, Bluehost has a lot of different plan options. But the types of plans and the features that are included differ.  HostGator vs Bluehost: How Do They Compare on Web Hosting Costs? HostGator and Bluehost are both web hosting providers with a reputation for being affordable. For anyone starting a website on a budget, they both have a number of low-cost plans available. But for anyone with limited funds, seemingly small differences in price can make a big difference—especially for a recurring cost like web hosting. The price of Bluehost and HostGator web hosting varies based on the type of plan you buy, and any extras you decide to invest in. While most of their pricing is pretty similar, there are enough differences for those who are especially price conscious to take note. While you can find detailed pricing info for every plan type on each of the web hosting company’s websites, we’ve provided a comparison overview for the main plan types below.  A Simplified Comparison by Plan Type: For shared website hosting plans: HostGator’s pricing starts at $2.75 for the basic plan, and goes up to $5.95 for the business plan.Bluehost’s rates start at $3.95 and go up to $5.95. For WordPress hosting plans: HostGator’s WordPress plans start at $5.95 a month, and go up to $9.95.Bluehost’s WordPress hosting starts at $3.95 a month for a shared plan, and their fully managed plans go up to $49.95 a month.  For VPS web hosting plans: HostGator’s VPS plans start at $29.95 a month and go up to $49.95 a month.Bluehost’s plans start at $19.99 a month and go up to $59.99 a month. For dedicated hosting plans: HostGator’s dedicated hosting starts at  $119 a month and goes up to $149 a month.Bluehost’s dedicated hosting starts at $79.99 a month and goes up to $119 a month. As you can see, there’s no pat answer to which of the two wins on price. It all depends on what you need and what plan you choose.  Money-back Guarantee Both companies do have a money-back guarantee policy, so you can try them for a certain amount of time before fully committing. For Bluehost, it’s 30 days. With HostGator, you have 45.   HostGator vs Bluehost on Hosting Features and Extras Both web hosts have a unique set of features they’ll include for some or all plans, and extras you can invest in as an add-on to your plan.  Common features for both: Secure socket layer (SSL) certificate – Both companies include an SSL certificate in all of their plans. SSL certificates are how you get an https for your website, which adds an extra layer of encryption to protect your visitors, and signals to them that the site is secure.Domain name – Both companies have plans that include free domain name registration for the first year, as well as the option to register a domain through the company as an add-on to any plan that doesn’t include it, and the ability to manage it within your web hosting account.Control panel – All of the plans from both web hosts include access to a control panel (commonly called cPanel), which makes it easy to manage your web hosting account.Backups – Both companies offer automated backups, sometimes included as part of a plan, and sometimes as an add on for extra money. Domain privacy – Domain privacy hides your personal information from the public directory when you register your domain. Both companies offer it as an extra you can invest in, and some plans come with it included. Dedicated IP – With shared hosting, you’re on the same server as other companies, which means you share their IP address by default. A dedicated IP can ensure you don’t end up on email spam lists because of something another website on the server does. Both companies provide it as an add on, and in some cases as part of a plan. Advertising credits – Creating and publishing your website is just the start. To get people to visit, you’ll need to do marketing. Both companies offer free credits on advertising platforms such as Google Ads and Bing to help you get started. Marketing services – And because marketing is a lot of work, both HostGator and Bluehost provide marketing services to customers for an additional fee.  HostGator’s Features and Extras: Website builder – Many of HostGator’s plans come with the basic version of their website builder included for free. The website builder includes over 100 templates and a drag-and-drop website editor, which makes it easy for anyone to use. Security software – Every day we hear about new data breaches and website hacks. HostGator also offers the security software CodeGuard as an easy add-on to their plans. Application hosting – HostGator’s web hosting is compatible with all the main applications website owners use, including Joomla, Drupal, and phpbb.  Bluehost’s Features and Extras: SpamExperts – Some Bluehost plans include their SpamExperts web filter that catches most of the spam that hits your email inbox before you have to deal with it. For those that don’t include it, you can purchase it as an add on.Jetpack plans – Bluehost’s managed WordPress hosting plans come with different levels of Jetpack plans included with them, which provides additional security and management features. Marketing dashboard – Some Bluehost plans comes with a marketing dashboard to help you manage and track your marketing activities. WordPress themes – Bluehost’s managed WordPress plans come with a number of free themes you can use to make creating your WordPress site easier. To find the right web hosting plan and provider for you, consider which features are most important to you. In some cases, you’ll save money by going with a plan that includes the main features you need, rather than having to purchase them separately. HostGator vs Bluehost on Customer Service Both companies offer 24/7 customer service. The moment you need help with your web hosting, you should have little problem getting ahold of someone with either provider. That said, the places you have to turn for help are slightly different with the two providers. Bluehost provides a phone number, live chat, and the option to open a customer support ticket. For those who prefer a self-service option, they also have a knowledge base with many support resources you can turn to. HostGator also offers phone and live chat support to reach someone quickly. In addition, they have customer support portals and video tutorials to provide self-service. And they offer a forum that allows HostGator customers to help each other, so you can lean on the expertise of hundreds of other website owners. HostGator vs Bluehost on Uptime If you look at the tests performed by third-party websites, HostGator and Bluehost both have strong reputations when it comes to uptime. But HostGator tends to have an edge in the results. On Down.com for example, HostGator’s uptime was gauged at 99.97%, with Bluehost at 99.94%. Neither provide much room for complaint, but HostGator’s performance is a bit above Bluehost’s. HostGator is also notably the only one of the two to provide a money-back uptime guarantee. If your website falls below the 99.9% uptime promised, they’ll credit your account. If uptime is a particular priority for you, HostGator’s the better choice.  HostGator vs Bluehost on Reputation As someone new to running a website and navigating the world of web hosting, it’s hard to know where to start learning a company’s reputation in the larger industry. Rest assured that both HostGator and Bluehost are well regarded in the larger world of web hosting. You can find any number of third-party reviews for each that prove most customers are satisfied with their performance. That said, Bluehost has the particular honor of being recommended by WordPress for those who choose to build their website with the popular content management system. And HostGator can boast a number of awards from third-party sites. In terms of reputation, either is a safe choice. But you can always dig into more of the details of what industry experts think by perusing reviews. Find the Best Web Hosting Provider for You At the end of the day, the right web hosting provider will depend on your particular needs and preferences. If you’ve determined HostGator is the best choice for you, getting started with one of our plans is easy. We’re pretty confident you won’t regret the choice.  Check out our other web hosting reviews: HostGator vs GoDaddyHostGator vs DreamHostHostGator vs SiteGroundA2 Hosting vs HostGator Find the post on the HostGator Blog

New Facebook Group Tools: What Group Admins Need to Know

Social Media Examiner -

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore new management tools for Facebook Groups admins and moderators and how they can leverage the growth of […] The post New Facebook Group Tools: What Group Admins Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

3 Powerful Chatbot Plugins for WordPress

HostGator Blog -

The post 3 Powerful Chatbot Plugins for WordPress appeared first on HostGator Blog. In a previous post, we looked at some tasks a chatbot can automate for small businesses. Today, we’ll look at three popular chatbot options. Two are WordPress plugins and the other is one of the most widely used chat tools – Facebook Messenger. All three can help your business in different ways. We’ll evaluate each of these options based on the tasks we talked about in our last chatbot post: Instant customer serviceMarketing data collectionPersonalized product recommendationsHelp customers find what they’re looking forRemind customers about items in their cartSend campaigns via chat, email, text Read on to find the right chatbot for your small business.  1. Facebook Messenger bots Facebook Messenger for Business is the chat tool with the biggest reach, and it’s easy to get started. To add a full range of bot capabilities, it’s easiest to use a WordPress- and Messenger-compatible plugin, unless you have a Facebook developer to customize things for you. Instant customer service Some businesses use Messenger for live chat on their Facebook pages. You can also integrate a third-party chatbot template (more on that below) so your customers never have to wait for answers to their questions.  This one-woman custom embroidery business saves time with a Facebook Messenger bot that answers FAQs. Marketing data collection You can view Messenger data in Facebook’s Analytics dashboard. If you integrate your Messenger bot with Facebook ads, you’ll also get access to metrics for those campaigns. Personalized product recommendations You can use your customer chat data to create individual offers based on their interests. Help customers find what they’re looking for With a third-party bot tool (more on that below), your chatbot can act as a personal shopper for customers who’d rather buy something fast than browse your inventory. Astrid is Lego’s 2019 gift bot on Facebook Messenger.  Remind customers about items in their cart Reminders can boost your store’s conversion rate. You may find it easiest to use a paid WooCommerce plugin like CartBack or Abandoned Cart Pro for WooCommerce to send cart reminders through Messenger.  Send campaigns You can combine your Facebook Messenger chatbot with Facebook Ads to target custom audiences. “Click to Messenger” ads can get your audience to engage with your chatbot, find products and make purchases.  For most small businesses, Facebook Messenger is the easiest way to get started with chatbots. Facebook’s free online Messenger for Business courses can help you get over the learning curve fast.  All this is great, but what about reaching visitors to your website? With the right plugin, you can extend your Facebook Messenger chatbot to your site, too.  2. WP-Chatbot MobileMonkey’s WP-Chatbot is one of several that are Facebook-approved for Messenger integration. It can enable or enhance the six tasks we’re interested in.  WP-Chatbot also lets you add Facebook Messenger to your website so anyone with a Messenger account can use your chat without having to go to Facebook. Instant customer service You can build menu-based chatbots to answer common questions. Marketing data collection MobileMonkey’s marketing platform collects all your chat data from all sources for analysis. You can use this for several types of campaigns—more on that below. Personalized product recommendations MobileMonkey’s suite of chatbot tools includes a customized landing page builder, so you can tailor your audience’s experience to their interests.  Because WP-Chatbot integrates with WooCommerce, your chatbot can offer your customers product recommendations with links to those pages.  Help customers find what they’re looking for WP-Chatbot lets you share category menus in your customer chats. This can increase conversions by helping shoppers find what they want fast, without having to navigate your entire site. Remind customers about items in their cart Conversion form tools in WP-Chatbot let you automate follow-ups with customers. For example, if shoppers add items from chat to their carts but then leave, your chatbot can follow up with a reminder or offer to answer any questions they have about those products.  Send campaigns The plugin lets you create and send several types of campaigns, including chat blasts, drip campaigns and Messenger ads. It also integrates with several email marketing platforms so you can use your chat data to support newsletter and drip campaigns via email.  Many WP-Chatbot features are free. Some of the advanced marketing features require a subscription. You can see MobileMonkey pricing here.  What if your business isn’t on Facebook and you don’t want to join? You still have options. We’ll look at one of the best-rated WordPress chatbot plugins that’s also WooCommerce compatible. 3. Acobot AI Chatbot This virtual shop assistant chatbot is designed to help WooCommerce stores increase conversions and build stronger customer relationships.  Instant customer service Aco introduces itself as your personal shopping assistant and tailors its welcome messages to the page visitors land on.  Marketing data collection Aco integrates with WooCommerce sales and marketing tools but doesn’t offer the same kind of one-stop data aggregation and analysis as Facebook Messenger and WP-Chatbot.  Personalized product recommendations Because Acobot is AI-driven, it learns over time what your visitors are looking for. This allows the chatbot to provide a better experience for your customers. When it’s integrated with other WooCommerce tools, it can make upsell and cross-sell recommendations.  Help customers find what they’re looking for Most of us don’t like using the search tools online stores provide. Acobot lets customers skip that process.  The chatbot asks customers what they want, shows them what’s in stock and opens the product pages they’re interested in. Remind customers about items in their cart Acobot emphasizes its abandoned cart recovery feature. The chatbot can send reminders to shoppers when they’ve left something in their cart.  Send campaigns Acobot doesn’t handle marketing campaigns on its own the way WP-Chatbot does. But it can offer coupons to customers as they shop, to encourage them to buy. The basic version of Acobot is free. Other plans range from $9 to $29 per month. Add a Chatbot to Your Online Store Today Adding a chatbot can keep customers around, encourage them to buy and bring them back to your shop. Want to learn more about using technology to drive sales in your online store? Read our step-by-step guide to setting up sales funnels in Google Analytics. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Messaging Matters: How to Attract Your Ideal Customers

Social Media Examiner -

Want to attract more of your ideal customers? Do you know which words and phrases resonate most with your prospects? To explore how to come up with the right messages to attract your preferred customers, I interview Jeffrey Shaw on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Jeffrey is a brand message consultant who helps businesses attract […] The post Messaging Matters: How to Attract Your Ideal Customers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

How To Create a Movie Review Site

InMotion Hosting Blog -

When was the last time you saw a movie and instantly desired to share your opinion of it? If you know the difference between a smash cut and a jump cut, and you can spot the difference between a wide angle lens in The Shining and telephoto lens in The Graduate, then you’re a film critic and you need a website to start posting your articles on the web. If you work hard at it, pretty soon you may find yourself contributing to the Rotten Tomatoes score. Continue reading How To Create a Movie Review Site at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Pop-Up Livestream on February 22

WordPress.org News -

As mentioned in this post, Matt will host a livestream on February 22 during Bangkok daylight hours. He opened an invitation to any speaker who was affected by the cancellation, and the livestream will include the following fine people: Imran Sayed, Md Saif Hassan, Muhammad Muhsin, Nirav Mehta, Piccia Neri, Umar Draz, and Francesca Marano as well as a Fireside Chat and Q&A with Matt Mullenweg & Monisha Varadan. Join the stream This should be a great way to get to hear from some speakers who have yet to share their knowledge on a global stage. WordPress is enriched by a multitude of experiences and perspectives, and I hope you are as excited as I am to hear new voices from a part of the world that is frequently underrepresented in the WordPress open source project.  Also exciting, the WordCamp Asia team has announced that they’re aiming for January 2021, so please mark your calendars now! This small but mighty team of trailblazing organizers has shown great resilience over the years they’ve spent, building toward this event. I am personally grateful for the hard work they’ve done and have yet to do, and can’t wait to thank them in Bangkok next year.

Internet Explorer 11 End of Support in cPanel Version 88

cPanel Blog -

cPanel continues to move towards a more modern user interface framework to provide the best product experience possible. That’s why we are going to start shifting away from Internet Explorer 11, starting with Version 88. This change not only offers a better user experience, but it also allows us to be more efficient in our development process. We are encouraging cPanel Partners and users to discontinue the use of IE11 as their primary web browser ...

How to Launch a Website for Your Dog Walking or Pet-Sitting Side Hustle

HostGator Blog -

The post How to Launch a Website for Your Dog Walking or Pet-Sitting Side Hustle appeared first on HostGator Blog. The world is your oyster when it comes to the type of side hustle you can start. You can do anything from freelance design to registering with a ride-sharing app, and everything in between. While there are several different ways to make extra cash with a side hustle, it’s critical to remember one thing. Your side hustle could eat up several hours of your week, so it should involve an element of passion. After all, the more you enjoy your side hustle, the less it will feel like work, and the more time you’ll put into growing your business. Now here’s some good news. If you’re a lover of our furry friends, then a viable option for earning extra cash is to start a dog walking or pet-sitting side hustle. There are several pet parents that are looking for someone to treat their dog well while they are on vacation, or to take their adorable dog on a walk when life gets busy. However, business isn’t going to come out of thin air. To find pet parents in your neighborhood, it’s vital to set up a website for your pet-sitting side hustle. This article will review why you need a website as well as how you can start a website in just six easy steps. Let’s get started! Why Do Pet-Sitters and Dog Walkers Need a Website? The number one place people look for local services is online. In fact, 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else, and “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. While it’s true you can (and should) register your pet-sitting and dog walking services on apps like Rover, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your own website, too. Why? There are several reasons, including: Rover is loaded with the competition, and there is no guarantee a pet parent will find your information amid all the other dog walkers.You can compete for coveted spots in the local search results (think the top of Google’s search page) when you have your own website.You can design your website however you want, including adding all the content you want.A website gives you credibility and helps establish yourself as a real professional. When it comes right down to it, owning your own website for your dog walking or pet-sitting side hustle is a must.  Now let’s talk about how you can start your own website with HostGator today. How to Build Your Dog Walking or Pet-Sitting Website with HostGator in 6 Simple Steps Building a website might not be your jam, and that’s okay. HostGator knows that everyone needs a website. HostGator also understands that not everyone is a web designer. That’s why HostGator has already done the hard work for you. The developers at HostGator have made it easy for any website novice to get a website up in less than a day.  All you have to do is follow six easy steps. Here’s how to get started. Step 1: Pick a hosting plan for your dog walking or pet-sitting side hustle website The Gator Website Builder has three hosting plans available, but which one should you choose? Pet-sitters and dog walkers don’t typically sell services online, which means you don’t need the eCommerce plan. You just have to choose between the starter plan and the premium plan. The starter plan includes a free domain, 200+ customizable templates, a drag-and-drop editor, cloud hosting, and website analytics. The premium plan includes everything the starter plan has, but also includes priority support. If you know you’ll need priority support while creating and maintaining your website, opt for the premium package.  Once you’ve picked either the starter plan or premium plan, click “buy now” and you can set up your account. Step 2: Pick a domain name for your dog walking or pet-sitting website Every website needs a domain name. As a pet-sitter or dog walker, it would be fun to brainstorm a creative domain name related to dogs, dog walking, or pet-sitting. If you already have a business name, then pick the name of your dog walking business. To choose your free domain name, all you have to do is type something in the “get domain” box. If your top choice for your website isn’t available, then select another until you find one that is available. If you already have a domain name, then you can connect it to your HostGator account by clicking “connect it here.”  Step 3: Create your HostGator account Once you have selected a domain name, it’s time to connect your HostGator account. Enter your email address or connect via Facebook, enter your payment information, and you’re all set. Step 4: Pick a template for your dog walking or pet-sitting website Another advantage of HostGator is it comes with more than 200 professionally-designed templates. This means you don’t have to design your website.  All you have to do is pick a template that you like and customize it with your unique content. Step 5: Add pages and content to your pet-sitting website. Once you have selected the perfect template for your side hustle website, you can start customizing your pages. Clicking “start editing” will send you to your dashboard where you can add, edit, and delete pages. For a dog walking or pet-sitting side hustle website, you may want to include the following pages: Home. The home page provides an overview of who you as a pet-sitter or a dog walker. You may want to include information about your experience, your values, and your approach to caring for dogs. About. The about page offers insight into who you are, the experience you have, and any qualifications you may have. If you’ve been a dog walker or pet-sitter in the past, include that information on this page. Services. The services page includes a list of what dog walking or pet-sitting services you offer. You can include prices on this page, or discuss them later over the phone. Testimonials. When it comes to hiring a pet-sitter, dog parents want to know they are getting someone who will care for their dog. Consider collecting testimonials about how awesome you are from previous families you’ve helped. Contact. A contact page helps potential customers reach out to you via email, phone, or contact form. Gator Website Builder is a drag and drop builder that makes it easy to design your pages and add content. All you have to do is point and click. However, if you have any questions, it also includes a free and easy step-by-step guide for reference that you can access at any time. To access this guide, click the “menu” icon next to the Gator by HostGator logo and select the “getting started tour.”   Step 6: Review your content and launch your dog walking or pet-sitting website. The last step is to review your website, make any changes, and then publish your dog walking or pet-sitting website. By clicking “preview,” you can see your site in full, and make sure it looks perfect.  During your preview, review your website and make sure everything is correct. If everything looks great, then click the “finish preview” button at the top and then “publish website” at the top of the dashboard.  Build Your Pet Side Hustle Website Today If you sit around dreaming that you were walking a dog or pet-sitting a pup, then it’s time to start your side hustle. You may as well get paid for doing something you want to do anyway, right? Get started building your side hustle website with HostGator today! Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Top 5 Must-have Chrome Extensions for Developers and Designers

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Enterprise software seems to get more complicated every day. Larger systems require special training or the dispatch of special consultants. Meanwhile, smaller pieces of software often win the day. Smaller software, like browser extensions, can provide a lot of value even in a smaller package. The extensions represented here emphasize simplicity. They don’t promise a lot, but they deliver big-time on a specific, important action. Wappalyzer JSON Formatter Colorzilla TextExpander Clear Cache These extensions provide a nice array of features that will appeal to developers and designers. Continue reading Top 5 Must-have Chrome Extensions for Developers and Designers at InMotion Hosting Blog.

Don’t Settle for Just Any Port in the Storm

Nexcess Blog -

Nexcess Safe Harbor is the Haven Magento Stores Need The currents and undercurrents of Magento’s strategy are ever changing. One day it’s smooth sailing with technology that simply performs, propelling sales and service; the next day they are raising the anchor, and creating a wake of disruption that the entire ecosystem must brace themselves to withstand.  Every ecommerce based solution relies on understanding what lies beneath the surface, so it’s vital that your platform delivers the speed, security, scalability and service demanded by today’s pace of online business. These tenets are the four points of our operational compass here at Nexcess – relied upon and trusted by our customers as they navigate their best paths forward.  Recognizing that Magento’s (M1) platform end of life (EOL) is now just a few months away, we’re excited to offer Nexcess Safe Harbor designed especially for those who can’t afford to – or need more time to strategize – or don’t wish to migrate to M2. As the leading hosting provider for M1 stores for more than ten years, we come to this changing tide with deep experience to accommodate whichever direction keeps you afloat  and ensures your online stores remain uninterrupted. All buoyed by the expertise that is embodied in every single one of our amazing people who stand by ready to assist you today and support you tomorrow.  Nexcess Safe Harbor is designed to align with your long-term growth plans because it’s optimized by open source efficiencies – to include costs and community-based expertise. This is a stark differentiator for us compared to closed (SaaS) platforms like Shopify which can cost you more time and money, while limiting your options and future innovation  opportunities.   There are three core options to consider over the coming weeks:  Stay the course on M1 with Nexcess Safe Harbor via a simple dev supported free migration that comes with regular updates, patches, scans, modules, and extensions; Migrate from M1 to M2 with support from us at every turn as you implement your migration plan to a new platform that will accommodate your increase in customers and inventories.  Connect with us about alternative platforms that can meet the needs of ecommerce enterprises large and small, from high-paced to mid-level to newly launched. You are never without resources and expertise when working with the Nexcess team. As you explore what steps to take in the coming months, I hope you will call on our team to help answer any questions you have to make the most informed decision for your business. We can show you the pros and cons of a particular path, and help you decide which platform best meets your needs for near and long-term growth. Your business journey is never-ending and ideally always enjoys smooth sailing. But we know that rough waters are unavoidable – so don’t settle for just any port. Your livelihood relies on keeping a vigilant eye on the horizon, and Nexcess Safe Harbor will see you through the storm.  The post Don’t Settle for Just Any Port in the Storm appeared first on Nexcess Blog.

Black Hat SEO Tactics Your Small Business Should Avoid

HostGator Blog -

The post Black Hat SEO Tactics Your Small Business Should Avoid appeared first on HostGator Blog. You know you should be thinking about search engine optimization (SEO)—you see recommendations for it everywhere you look. But wow, does it look difficult and expensive. For a small business, investing that much in something that takes so long to show results can be a hard sell. You may be tempted to figure out shortcuts. The problem is, with SEO, shortcuts can really hurt you. Some of the more affordable so-called SEO experts you come across may steer you toward outdated and scammy tactics. These have earned a bad name for themselves among SEO experts. They’re known as “black hat SEO. We definitely don’t recommend following these tactics for your website—unless you want to earn a penalty from Google. However, it’s important to understand what these tactics are for two reasons. First, you’ll be able to recognize them if a shady SEO company ever pitches them to you. Second, you’ll be able to create a more informed SEO strategy for your website that steers clear of them. What Is Black Hat SEO? Black hat SEO describes any tactic used to increase a website’s search engine rankings by trying to game the system. Black hat SEO exists for a reason: SEO is hard. And it’s slow. And doing it well is either expensive, time consuming, or both.  Black hat SEO practitioners try to speed up results by finding shortcuts that trick the search engines by appealing to the way the algorithms work, rather than what makes sense for humans. And at certain points in internet history, some black hat tactics have worked—for a time.  How Black Hat SEO Hurts Business Every day, the search engine algorithms get more sophisticated. The goal is always the same: to get better at providing results to people that are genuinely useful. That means many of the big Google updates in recent years have specifically targeted the kind of black hat tactics we’ve described here. Attempts to game the system and get websites ranking higher based on tricks rather than providing genuine utility can provide temporary gains. But once an algorithm update goes into effect, those websites risk seeing penalties that hurt far more than the momentary gains ever helped. Google doesn’t look kindly on websites that try to trick the algorithms. Why would they? They’ve long told SEO professionals and website owners the right way to increase rankings: create great content that’s relevant to what your audience cares about. And make sure all the technical stuff— like website speed and the mobile experience—works right to create a solid user experience. If you focus on tactics related to providing a consistently valuable experience to your visitors, you’ll stay on the right side of Google. It’s harder. But it’s the only way to build the kind of website authority that delivers long-term SEO results.  10 Black Hat SEO Tactics to Avoid If you encounter someone suggesting any of these black hat SEO tactics, steer clear. 1. Keyword stuffing To determine what a web page is about, search engine algorithms pay attention to what words are used on the page. The reason so much of SEO is based on keyword research is because the words you use are directly related to what terms a page on your website will rank for (although it’s just one of many ranking signals). In the early days of search engines, when the algorithms were much less sophisticated, keyword frequency played a big role in SEO. Using your keyword as many times as possible on the page made it extremely clear to the search engine—without any room for doubt—that your page was about that keyword. And that made it more likely to rank.  But pretty quickly, the search engines learned that spammy websites were awkwardly stuffing keywords onto their pages in ways that made no sense in order to game the system. To ensure they provided actually useful results to their users, they updated the algorithms to not only give keyword frequency less priority in the rankings, but to penalize the websites guilty of keyword stuffing.  Nonetheless, keyword stuffing is still one of the most common black hat SEO tactics employed by disreputable SEO practitioners. While it’s still true that strategically using keywords in your copy can be good for SEO, overdoing it definitely isn’t. You want every web page to make sense to human visitors, not just search engines. If anyone recommends cramming more keywords onto a page on your website than makes sense, don’t listen.  2. Paying for backlinks Building backlinks is arguably the hardest part of SEO. You have to convince other people that your website is worth linking to, even when there’s usually not much in it for them. That’s why it’s a part of SEO that’s frequently abused.  Black hat SEO firms will offer to sell you links for affordable prices. But with SEO (as in much of life), if sounds too good to be true, it usually is. This type of “link building” usually involves link farms or spam websites created for nothing other than to link back to their client’s sites. And Google doesn’t just care how many backlinks you have, the search engine pays careful attention to the authority of the sites they’re hosted on. As with keyword stuffing, paying for links still happens because at one time it did work. But as the search engines have wised up and refined their algorithms over the years, low-quality links will now hurt your website authority. Quantity of backlinks is less important than quality. So focus your strategy on building links legitimately and avoid anyone that offers to sell you backlinks.   3. Hiring content mills Content marketing is an important part of SEO. But it requires a ton of time and resources to do well. Many small businesses therefore start their search for content creators with companies that promise cheap content, in the range of $10 to $50 a blog post. The companies that charge those kinds of rates are known in the business as content mills. Hiring one early on is a common and understandable mistake to make, but you’ll usually realize quickly that the work you get is barely readable, or filled with awkward keyword stuffing. A lot of small businesses that use content mills end up rewriting or heavily editing the pieces they get, so that the money saved still costs big in time.  The fact is, writing content that your audience will actually want to read takes time and skill. For content marketing to actually be worth your while, you need to be willing to make a real investment in it, not go for the cheapest option.  4. Using hidden text Sometimes called “cloaking,” this tactic has mostly gone out of style, but is still worth knowing to avoid. Some sneaky SEOs in the past would squeeze more keywords onto a page for search engines without stuffing them into the copy for humans by making the text the same color as the page’s background, or by hiding them in the page’s code.  Either way, if it means the page shows up in rankings for keywords that aren’t what the page is actually about, your human visitors won’t be satisfied. And Google and the other search engines want to provide their users with content that matches what they’re looking for. Websites that do this are unlikely to make it into the rankings for competitive terms to begin with, but if they do and the algorithm quickly registers that visitors aren’t sticking around on the site after the click, they’ll fall back down in the rankings because of it.  5. Duplicate content We’ve established that creating high-quality content is hard, so one tactic many a small business has been tempted to try is essentially self-plagiarizing—take the copy you wrote for one page of the site, change it slightly to focus on a new keyword, and voila, you have a new page. But duplicate content is one of the things Google penalizes. Even if you’re only copying yourself—not plagiarizing someone else (which would be worse!)—it still looks bad in the eyes of the search engines. They prefer original content and are unlikely to rank multiple pages that provide essentially the same information. So make sure each page on your website is entirely original. 6. Gateway pages Now and then when you’re browsing the web, you may come across a page that’s little more than a list of links that may or may not be related to your original search. These are called gateway pages. Their entire purpose is to try to gain rankings for a popular keyword, in order to drive more traffic to their other sites or pages. As an internet user, you probably find these obnoxious. You were looking for actual content or answers, not a collection of links. Knowing that pages like this don’t create a good experience for their users, the search engines don’t like them either. This is another spammy tactic that may have once worked, but is unlikely to get you very far with the way the algorithms work today.  7. Bait and switch You wrote a piece of content that’s getting a lot of traction. Finally! Other sites are linking to it and it’s starting to rank for one of your target keywords. A very black hat thing to do at this point would be to change up what’s on the page to something more directly about your products or services.  Don’t do it! That tactic is called the bait and switch. You write about something that’s clickbait or more general interest to get that initial boost, then change what’s on the page to try to drive more conversions. Obviously, visitors won’t like it and neither will Google. At best, you might keep your ranking for a few days, but over time, the search engines will pick up on the trick and your rankings will drop.  8. Comment spam If you have a blog open to comments, then you’re probably all too familiar with this one. People (or bots) that leave a comment on your site can include a link. At one time, those links could deliver authority back to the site, thus making it an easy way to build new links. Now, the vast majority of websites have any links in the comments set up to be nofollow, meaning they don’t deliver any SEO authority. And many sites have disabled comment sections entirely because of how tedious dealing with comment spam became. In short, this is a tactic that is both a total waste of time, and one that will make you enemies of anyone annoyed to see your comment spam pop up on their website.   9. Sneaky redirects There are plenty of valid reasons to set up redirects on your website. If you’ve combined old pages into one or if you’ve changed domains completely and want to direct traffic from your old website to your new, for instance. Redirects exist for good reason. But as with so many things, they can be abused by bad SEO actors. Some black hat consultants will set up redirects that send search engines to a different page than humans, or redirect a high-performing page to an unrelated page to get more traffic to the new one. Either way, it’s the kind of thing the search engines will pick up on, so any benefit you may get from it in the moment won’t last.   10. Private blog networks Private blog networks are a more sophisticated technique than many on this list, which can make them seem like a more legitimate option to try if someone pitches you on it. The idea is to buy up sites that already have some authority, continue publishing new content on them, and use that content to include links back to your own site.  You get backlinks from websites that look authoritative, because you now run the websites they’re on. And if you buy up a few of these, it starts to look like a number of authoritative sites are suddenly impressed with your content enough to link to it. It may take Google longer to catch on to this tactic than some of the other more obvious ones, but it’s unlikely to pay off in the long term. Anything that’s not about providing content your audience will truly benefit from and building real authority in your larger industry isn’t going to yield the kind of long-term results you want from SEO. Instead of gaming the system, set your website up for long-term success with a solid SEO strategy created by experts and driven by best practices. Get your free SEO review from the SEO pros at HostGator. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

The Rise of Multi-CMS in the Enterprise

WP Engine -

As consumers evolve in the ways they interact with new technology, building engaging, dynamic digital experiences has never been more important for businesses of all sizes.  Today’s digital consumers expect the digital experiences they interact with to be fast and engaging, and in this new digital paradigm, speed and agility are necessary to meet market… The post The Rise of Multi-CMS in the Enterprise appeared first on WP Engine.

The Rise of Multiple CMSs: International Study Shows WordPress Dominates the Enterprise

WP Engine -

AUSTIN, Texas — Feb. 19, 2020 –  New international research conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), shows WordPress is a top content management system (CMS) among enterprise businesses using two or more CMSs, and it is the dominant CMS for headless technology applications. The report, titled… The post The Rise of Multiple CMSs: International Study Shows WordPress Dominates the Enterprise appeared first on WP Engine.

How to Increase Your LinkedIn Engagement: 4 Tips

Social Media Examiner -

Want a highly engaged LinkedIn following? Looking for tips to spur engagement? In this article, you’ll discover how to cultivate a following on LinkedIn. #1: Prepare Key LinkedIn Profile Components to Make a Good First Impression People see your LinkedIn headline when you share a post, comment on someone else’s post, or send an invitation […] The post How to Increase Your LinkedIn Engagement: 4 Tips appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Announcing the new Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing's Webmaster Blog -

Over the last few months, we have heard from the webmaster ecosystem that Bing Webmaster Tools user interface is slow and outdated. With our user first focus, we have taken your feedback and have been working on modernizing the tools.  We are delighted to announce the first iteration of refreshed Bing Webmaster Tools portal. The refreshed portal is being built with key principles of - keeping the design simple with the tools being Faster, Cleaner, more Responsive and Actionable. We have updated the backend datastore to improve the data extraction and redesigned the user experience to make it more user friendly and intuitive. Keeping the need of users in mind, the portal is also device responsive so that it provides the flexibility to the users to access it across devices. In the first iteration, the new portal will have 3 key features, Backlinks - The Inbound Links report in the current portal is integrated with the Disavow links tool to become the new Backlinks report in the refreshed portal. Search Performance - Page Traffic and Search Keywords reports are also integrated as one and are a part of the new Search Performance report. Sitemaps - The Sitemaps page is the refreshed Sitemaps page of the current portal We are releasing the new portal to a select set of users this week and will be rolling out to all users by 1st week of march. To access the new portal, sign-in to Bing Webmaster Tools and navigate to Sitemaps, Inbound Links, Page Traffic or Search Keywords reports and click on the links to open the new portal. Over the next few months, we will focus on moving all the functionalities to the new portal. During the transition, the users will be able to use the current and new pages simultaneously for a short period. We will be deprecating the functionality from the old portal in a few weeks immediately after its inclusion in the new portal. We will strive to make this transition seamless and exciting for our users. The Bing Webmaster APIs will stay the same so users using our webmaster API to get their data programmatically do not have to make any changes. Reach out to us and share feedback on Twitter and Facebook and let us know how you feel about the new Bing Webmaster Tools. If you encounter any issues, please raise a service ticket with our support team. Regards, The Bing Webmaster Tools team  

WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

WordPress.org News -

WordPress 5.4 Beta 2 is now available! This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend running it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version. You can test WordPress 5.4 beta 2 in two ways: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the beta here (zip). WordPress 5.4 is slated for release on March 31, 2020, and we need your help to get there! Thank you to all of the contributors that tested the beta 1 development release and provided feedback. Testing for bugs is an important part of polishing each release and a great way to contribute to WordPress. Some highlights Since beta 1, 27 bugs have been fixed. Here is a summary of a few changes included in beta 2: Block editor: Columns in the Block Library that have unassigned-width will now grow equally.Block editor: The custom gradient picker now works in languages other than English.Block editor: When choosing colors is not possible, the color formatter no longer shows.Privacy: The privacy request form fields have been adjusted to be more consistent on mobile.Privacy: The notice offering help when editing the privacy policy page will no longer show at the top of All Pages in the admin area.Site Health: The error codes for failed REST API tests now display correctly. Developer notes WordPress 5.4 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developers’ notes for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products. How to Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs. UPDATE – 20 Feb, 2020: This post was originally misattributed to Francesca Marano. The proper authorship has been corrected.

How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-By-Step Guide

DreamHost Blog -

1997: the year the Pathfinder landed on Mars, Madeleine Albright was sworn in as Secretary of State, and Titanic demolished box office records. It’s also the year the term “weblog” was officially coined (even though the first blog is said to have existed in 1994, at the near genesis of the internet). For two decades, starting a blog has been a powerful way to connect with internet audiences and share creative content. Yet, with blogging’s established rep as a powerhouse (and dominant) form of web content, it’s easy to witness the ever-changing and ephemeral landscape of the internet. Blink and virtual crowds have abandoned one novelty social media platform for another. Viral memes and web fads frequently give internet audiences virtual whiplash. Content creators are fighting to garner the ever-depleting attention spans of web users. So are the web’s 31.7 million blogs losing relevance anytime soon? Not at all. It turns out 77% of internet users read blogs regularly. What’s more, 61% of Americans spend three times the amount of time-consuming blog content than they do email content. Blogging is still very much a crucial part of a thriving brand and a next-level content marketing strategy in 2020. Whether you’re a brand or a business, you want to attract traffic and offer something of value to visitors. Blogging is a major key to that engagement — having a blog on your website increases your chances of ranking higher in search engines by a massive 434%. Plus, bloggers wield immense influence on the web — giving your brand the opportunity to grow in a big way. So do you have everything you need to be a blogging success? Let’s find out. Passion? Check. Website? Check. Fueled by a great *ahem* web hosting company *ahem*? Double-check. You’re ready to share your own unique content with the world wide web. Power Your Blog with DreamHostWe’ll make sure your blog is fast, secure and always up so your visitors can engage with you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.Choose Your Plan OK, wait. How do you write a blog post? If you want to create value for readers and attract traffic to your site, it’s not as easy as typing up a few sentences in haste and clicking Publish. No, writing a great blog post requires creativity and smart crafting. And with the abundance of bloggers and the influx of ideas out there, you need to be at the top of your blogging game to cut through the noise and get eyes on your content. But don’t worry! We’re here to help. This everything-you-need guide covers it all: the reality behind blogging (aka vital stats to know), the ins-and-outs of crafting a great blog, and what handy resources are available to help with every aspect of writing your article. Dig in and study it word-for-word or just jump to the sections you need: Why Does Writing a Great Blog Post Matter? What Makes a Good Blog Post? How to Write a Blog Post (In 6 Steps) Helpful Blog Post Resources Before we dive in too deep, let’s address something really fundamental: Why is writing a good blog post so important? Why does it even matter? So glad you asked (we love this topic)! Related: How to Start a Website in 5 Minutes with WordPress Why Does Writing a Great Blog Post Matter? So what difference does a quality blog post make anyway? Well, the difference between a so-so blog post and a can’t-stop-reading blog post is a matter of only a handful of factors, but they’re crucial. An exceptional blog post not only helps attract your target audience to your site, but it helps establish you as an authority in your field and motivates visitors to continue engaging with you. In fact, 30% of people rank quality content as the top factor that adds credibility to a blog, so not only do you need to start a blog, you need excellent blog content. As you provide valuable content, readers will be more likely to develop loyalty to your brand. They’ll share your content with their friends, and trust us, social shares are the virtual word of mouth you need to flourish online. If you want authentic growth, you need killer blog posts. What Makes a Good Blog Post? So let’s break it down. What makes a perfect blog article? Here are the nine key ingredients. 1. Targeted Message Or, in other words, Know Thy Audience. Ideally, you already know who you’re trying to reach with your brand or business. Similarly, your blog posts should be geared toward reaching and influencing a particular target audience — your specific niche — and addressing their needs. With a focused target, you are more likely to connect with audiences and build your brand. Casting an overly-wide net with your message will cause you to miss out on the key audiences that are most important for the growth of your brand. Brittany Jepsen of House That Lars Built knows her audience — creative DIY crafters — and tailors content for them. 2. Clever Headline Your headline is often the make-it-or-break-it factor between someone clicking on your blog post or passing it by for some other site (likely a competitor’s content!) Your headline should grab readers, make them want more — tease and tantalize! — while still giving them a roadmap for the journey you’re going to take them on as well as an idea of what prize they’ll earn by adventuring. Invest the time to craft a good headline — it makes a big difference. Choose each word carefully. Pro-tip: Use a headline analyzer tool to get insight into the efficacy of your title and ways to improve. The author of this Disney Food Blog post entices readers with a behind-the-scenes look at Disneyland happenings. At One Good Thing by Jillee, this headline explains that the post will address a very common pain point — needing room-temperature ingredients in a pinch. Using numbers is a solid way to quantify what value you’re offering to readers, like this post on author K.M. Weiland’s writing blog. 3. Interesting Intro Kudos! You got a reader to click on your post, interested in finding more about your topic. Now — how to keep them reading (and keep your bounce rate steady)? You need a hook. You need to start your blog post with a captivating intro to draw the reader into your post. Whether you lead with a shocking stat, an engaging anecdote, a thought-provoking question, or an innovative idea, make your intro so compelling that your visitors can’t stop reading. Lure them in and hook ‘em. But take note — the introduction needs to satisfy the intent you hinted at in the headline or your audiences (and search engines) will punish you with lower traffic and rankings. This post from Greatist hooks readers with an unexpected, intriguing intro. 4. Valuable Content What does your blog post offer audiences? Readers are more likely to read and engage with your blog content if it offers them something of value, addresses a burning question, or solves a particularly deep pain point. Are you providing them with info they can’t find anywhere else? Is your content exclusive, comprehensive beyond your competitors, or outfitted with freebies or rich resources? Does it solve a problem? If so, then you’re on the right track. Let’s spend some time on this. Great blog posts are really all about understanding your audience — what they need, what they care about, how they behave. This type of research is crucial. Get to know them by reaching out to them, soliciting feedback, and asking questions. Get to know them and show you care. Related: From Bounce Rate to Conversions — The 4 Metrics Bloggers Need to Track Next, do some internet research. Look at what people are searching for, what types of questions they’re asking (Google Auto-Complete anyone?). Browse Reddit, scout out competitor sites, and read comments. Simply put: Do your homework. Based on the intel you gather, develop a list of blog posts and content ideas that address the needs of your audience. You can start out with broad topics and then narrow the scope as you hone in on your niche. Plan what you need to distinguish your blog and beat out competitors in what you’re offering audiences. The blog at CSS-Tricks clues readers into popular content and entices with the promise of answering a burning question. Need ideas on what kind of content to offer? Here are some well-received examples: Listicles Roundups How-Tos/Tutorials Exclusive Insights/Behind-the-Scenes 5. Captivating Stories Visitors are more likely to connect with content that is relatable, human, and engaging, so gather your readers around the campfire (metaphorically, of course) and share relevant, captivating tales. This post from Expert Vagabond hooks readers immediately with a captivating story. 6. Easy-to-Scan Text Here’s an important stat for you. The average person spends only 37 seconds reading a blog post. If your text is long and clunky, it could be even less. Make your content easy to consume, organizing your snackable text in bite-sized pieces that’s easy to digest. Break up text into short paragraphs often, guided by informative subheads, emphasized text, and bullet points. Vary the length of your sentences, and utilize white space to provide visual breaks for readers’ eyes. Making text easier to read with consistent and organized formatting will help keep eyes on your content. Related: How to Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rate with Typography 7. Thoughtful Design It’s not just the content of your blog post that matters. Design (and blog structure) plays a big part in getting audiences to consume your content and engage with your brand. Pairing strong content with aesthetically-pleasing design makes your blog post that much more impactful. Thoughtful design includes smart use of white space, an attractive color scheme, easy-to-use navigation and menus, and other guiding design elements like leading lines and composition. It should also take into account the typical f-shaped scanning pattern when laying out design elements. The blog at Joi Knows How is united by a cohesive color scheme and engaging design elements, and thoughtful navigation. 8. Authentic Writing The quickest way to turn off your audiences? Write content for them in an inauthentic voice. Visitors to your site don’t want salesperson speak, overly-technical jargon, academic mumbo-jumbo, or an unapproachable narrator — they want YOU. Your real, one-of-a-kind voice will keep them coming back for more. Jessica of How Sweet Eats brings appeal to her blog posts not just by sharing delicious recipes and food photos — her writing feels real, relatable, and fun. 9. Mobile-Responsiveness Mobile is king. Mobile internet usage has grown exponentially in the last few years, now dominating its share of traffic over desktop usage. Plus, more than five million people have smartphones, meaning that if audiences can’t access your blog post on mobile (or if your post isn’t responsive or attractive on their phone or tablet), they’re likely to hop to a competitor’s site. Prioritize a mobile-friendly blog to grow your brand. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to test out your site for possible responsiveness issues (this includes keeping things speedy!). Be Awesome on the InternetJoin our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!Sign Me Up How to Write a Blog Post (In 6 Steps) Now, it’s time to write that blog post! Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and do this step by step. 1. Plan First, you need to sit down and prep your post. Planning is imperative to crafting a home-run blog post, especially if you want to stand out amongst your competitors and garner the attention you need. First off, you need to get yourself organized. Keep a running list of post ideas based on the research you’ve conducted on your audience and on valuable keywords. Brainstorm and mind map your thoughts. When planning your content calendar, consult your ideas and choose what would be the most useful for your target audience. Once you’ve settled on a winner, use a blog planner (like this one) and map out your topic. Create an outline with basic points and conduct the necessary research to flesh out important details. Visitors can get fake news anywhere on the web, so you owe it to your audience (and your brand) to only plan and create well-researched, high-value posts. And remember, it’s great to have a lot of content — more blog posts will draw more traffic. BUT. Make sure you’re prioritizing quality content over mere quantity and that you’re passionate about what you’re writing about. If you are, it will be evident — and contagious. 2. Craft a Headline Your headline is crucial, remember? It’s got to be strong, or it’s not going to draw readers in. Remember: you want to entice and hint at what readers are going to get out of clicking on your article instead of someone else’s. A few headline pointers: Optimal headline length is 11-14 words, both for social shares and search engine efficacy. You need a captivating hook, plus enough info that your readers know what to expect and what value you’re offering them. Don’t just use throwaway clickbait phrases or pack in keywords. Trim the fat and use each word with intention. 3. Write Your Post Time to start tickling those virtual ivories — meaning, it’s time to start writing your blog post. The average time spent writing a blog post has been increasing, so give yourself enough time (at least a few hours) to get your thoughts down and fully engage the writing process. The optimal length for blog posts is 2200-2500 words, so keep an eye on word count as you write. For now, don’t worry about making it perfect on the first go-around. Just keep those fingers moving and get the words down. Make sure to include a CTA (Call to Action) as you wrap up your post — you want your readers to be motivated to do something. And if they’ve stuck with you through a whole blog post, there’s a good chance they will. 4. Find Images A blog post without images earns a big whomp, whomp, whomp — and gets little interest from readers and higher bounce rates. Blog articles with images get 94% more views. This means images — relevant, good quality ones — are absolutely necessary for your posts. DIY some of your own photography, get proper photo permissions for others’ work you want to share, or use a royalty-free site like Pexels or Unsplash to add images to your post and edit as necessary. You can also consider including alternative elements like infographics, charts, and graphics to create unique visual interest. Eye-catching images are a hallmark of the Our Travel Passport blog, drawing readers in with visual interest. 5. Edit Your Post Wait! Before clicking Publish, you need to edit your post. And no, a simple run of your standard-issue spell check isn’t enough. Here are some editing best practices: Take a Break. Polish your post by stepping away from your keyboard for a time, then returning later with a fresh pair of eyes. The break will help you see errors you might have missed before. Play Editor. Proofread your post with a fine-tooth comb and correct any grammar and spelling errors. Also take the opportunity to edit your text for clarity. Think Syntax. The same type and length of sentences can get really boring — and difficult — to read. Vary your sentence length to keep things interesting. Pack a Punch. Flimsy, weak-sounding copy turns off readers and leaves them unsatiated. Eliminate weak verbs and passive voice. You want your words to be strong and meaningful. Get a Sounding Board. Read your text aloud to ensure it flows smoothly and sounds authentic and on-brand. Have a friend or colleague read over it and give feedback for an outsider’s perspective. Fix Formatting. Make sure your text isn’t wonky when published. Preview it to ensure that it looks the way it’s supposed to — professional and well laid-out — providing plenty of visual space for eye breaks. Your blog content is a representation of your brand, so make sure it reflects a professional and polished image. 6. Promote Your Post If you’ve followed the steps above, you’ve likely got a great blog post on your hands. That’s all fine and good, but if no one sees it, all your hard work is for naught! You’ll need to put in the content marketing legwork to get your post in front of your audience. Whether you use social media promotion, email marketing, paid advertising, or search engine optimization — ideally, a balance of all of these tactics — work to promote your post in ways that make sense for your target audiences. Related: 10 Social Marketing Tips for Your Small Business Helpful Blog Post Resources Don’t worry. We’re not done yet! We’ve got a handy-dandy toolbox of resources to help you make writing blog posts easy (and fun) — and above all, to help you build a successful blog and grow your brand. We know starting and maintaining a blog isn’t easy, but we’re here to help. Here are some super useful tools for each step of the writing process. Building a Website If this is your first website rodeo, check out Website Building 101 for a step-by-step tutorial. Identify your blog’s niche with this comprehensive guide to starting a blog. Need a specific setup? We’ve got walkthroughs for food blogs, fitness blogs, and photography blogs. Planning Before you begin, learn from the pros. Review these expert blogging tips. Do your homework and don’t skimp on keyword research. Use an online, printable, or plugin content calendar template to keep blog content organized. Utilize mind map templates for creative blog content brainstorming. Schedule blog posts so you don’t have to be glued to your screen 24/7. Writing Block distractions while working from home (or the coffee shop) with the SelfControl or Freedom apps. Add Calmly Writer to your browser to simplify the user interface so you can focus on writing. If you don’t work well in silence, turn on Coffitivity to enjoy some ambient coffee-shop noise without leaving the house. Remember that not everything you write has to be brand new — reworking old content is a great strategy! Editing Don’t miss any details by using our WordPress Blogger Checklist before you hit Publish. Let Grammarly edit all the content you write in real time. Improve the clarity — and boldness — of your writing with The Hemingway App. Heads up! Avoid these common blogging blunders. Promotion New to social strategy? Start with this guide to promoting your blog on social media. Learn the marketing tactics that will drive organic traffic to your website Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) helps your posts appear higher in search results. Ready yourself for criticism from internet trolls. Email marketing is essential for creating a following, so build that subscriber list. The Final Word on Starting a Blog Ready to craft some kick-butt blog posts? You’ve got everything you need to write great posts; now you need to team up with a great web host. We’ve got you covered. We’re experts at making things easy with top-tier tech support and resources for any SOS moments. Plus, we’re your biggest fans. Go you! Our Shared Hosting plans + your epic blogging skills = the perfect pair. The post How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-By-Step Guide appeared first on Website Guides, Tips and Knowledge.

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