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More Gator Art

Written by Sean Valant

Friday, July 19th, 2013

It’s been a little while since we shared some good ol’ gator art with you.

We received this drawing from a customer following us having assisted them with a support issue.  They were so pleased with the resolution that they emailed us this one-of-a-kind, hand-drawn image of a gator apparently drinking a cocktail on an island.  Of note are the nice boat there in the background, which likely served the cocktail to the gator, as well as the beautiful sunset that really brings the whole image together.  The artist did not sign their piece of art, so we can only thank them anonymously:

island_gator

 

From time to time, as seen in our Office Art series, some of our own staff will get a creative inclination and produce some impressive HostGator-themed art.  One of our support staff created the following shirt, featuring a blinged-out Snappy!

bling_snappy

 

Let’s take a closer look at this shirt, as it truly is a remarkable piece of bedazzle-y craftsmanship:

bling_snappy02

We would love to see any HostGator-themed art that you produce!  If you’re feeling gator-art inspired, please send us your creations at feedback@hostgator.com ATTN: Blog and we can share your art with the world!

The New & Improved Snappy

Written by Sean Valant

Monday, July 1st, 2013

It has been historically noted that Snappy hasn’t always been in the best of shape.  To be fair, eating up the competition can create a caloric surplus, resulting in excessive weight gain.  Also, those long hours sitting in front of a computer can negatively impact one’s physique.  Snappy was once even compared to a blue salamander, which is clearly an insult to a proud gator.  At any rate, Snappy has been in the gym, working on his fitness.  It’s likely that you’ve gotten a glimpse of the new and improved Snappy in recent weeks on this very blog, but let’s revisit Snappy’s look over the years, and touch on some of the highlights.

It is a rarely-known fact that Snappy threw out the first pitch at a Houston Astros game a few years ago:

 

Every now and again, we’d see Snappy roaming around the HostGator offices and rubbing elbows with his colleagues:

 

Truth be told, Snappy has even been spotted on the roof of the Houston office:

 

As Snappy began to see more and more pictures of himself, he began to really consider getting into better shape. The HostGator Austin building has a pretty stellar gym, Snappy was seen hitting the treadmill in there more and more. It seems like all that hard work has finally paid off, because this is what Snappy looks like today!

snappy_today

 

Clearly this is a far more fit gator, ready to take on the world! Snappy has never felt better, and with summer now upon us, Snappy intends to take his fitness to the next level, perhaps even participating in an Ironman triathlon… assuming there’s no Irongator triathlons he can enter. Snappy would also like to get out and about. Maybe you know of some location or function at which Snappy could appear, if so be sure to let us know by emailing feedback@hostgator.com ATTN: Blog

Memoirs of a Gator, part II

Written by Sean Valant

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Please see Part I, right here.  As our story continues, I am now on the chat floor speaking primarily on the phone with Customers, though also taking random chats as well between calls.  Starting to get into the swing of things, but still not completely at ease.  I’ve managed to not break anything or anger anyone, so I figure I’m doing well enough. Many of our Customers are familiar with the feedback@hostgator.com email address, which is directly read by Management and is intended for use any time anyone has any complaints or praise about anything at all related to their HostGator account or the related support they’ve received.  Thus far, I have assisted a few Customers who took the time to email in to let my Supervisor know about the quality of my work.  It’s always nice to have nice things said about you by strangers.

Having never provided technical support to the general public in any capacity before, those first few days were interesting and full of constant learning.  I wanted to do the best I could and maintain HostGator’s stellar level of support, but at the same time I lacked the actual experience which is what ultimately leads to complete confidence.  Time would solve this circumstance, but time takes time.  I can honestly say that working on the chat floor was fast-paced and exciting and there was truly never a dull moment.

I decided to query some veteran Gators on their initial impressions from when they were brand new Hatchlings, fresh out of training.  The consensus seems to be pretty similar to my own experience.  Presenting, in alphabetical order, some initial impressions from my fellow Gators:

Cody (presently a Linux Admin): “When I first started as a Chat Tech, I was kind of overwhelmed by the huge amount of information, but very excited by the huge learning opportunity in front of me.  I did all I could every day,  studied the KnowledgeBase, and life got easier and easier each day.”

Dominic (presently a Sales Representative): “It felt like my first time swimming.  I was scared, splashing around trying to quickly find answers to questions I just learned.  As I was flailing wildly, I held on to whomever was there: Quality Assurance, Level 2 Chat Agents, Supervisors… whoever didn’t mind that I had a deathgrip on their arm”

Kristi (presently a Retention Specialist): “I was so nervous.  Fortunately the resources, tools and overall assistance provided allowed me to quickly grow to where I became much more confident and comfortable working directly with the Customers.”

Russell (presently a Linux Admin): “I felt overwhelmed at first, but the more I worked with customers, the more knowledgeable I became and the easier and more enjoyable the job became to me.”

Zach (presently a Linux Admin): “It was like playing that lightening reaction game: each time you start a new chat it’s panic until the Customer describes the problem… and then you realize that yes, you can actually fix this.”

It seems that almost all of us start out with a certain degree of cold feet, but ultimately we have all risen to other positions within the company and made room for dozens and dozens of new Hatchlings that will follow in our paths. Speaking of new Hatchlings, this is a picture of our Austin Training room on the day this post was written. Behold, the future generation of HostGator, likely presently feeling that initial nervousness of which we’re speaking:

atx_training_room

 

It should truly go without saying that most of our interactions with our Customers are overwhelmingly pleasant, but  anyone providing front-line support will always have an interesting or unusual interaction.  One of the Customers that sticks out for me was an individual who initially took a shine to me and began requesting me each time time they called.  This particular Customer wound up calling up to discuss a myriad of topics, including their recent doctor appointments and on-going health issues.  Another call was to request my assistance in repairing a hardware issue on their home computer.  We have a very soft “scope of support” here at HostGator, but troubleshooting home PCs (or doctor appointment visits) is simply not a service we can really provide, with our apologies.

Before too long, I would be promoted to a position where I no longer actively accepted telephone calls, thus was the end of my interactions with that particular Customer… at least as of this writing, but one never knows.  As for the position to which I was promoted, we will certainly come to that as we further speak on this topic.

Once again, if you have any questions at all about our front-line Agents, or anything at all that has been discussed up to this point, please leave your question in the comments section and I’ll be happy to elaborate.

A Question of Monetization

Written by Sean Valant

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Monetization of a website can be tricky business.  Some individuals seem to have the golden touch, while others simply can’t manage to profit the proverbial two pennies to rub together.

Fundamentally, monetization is the process of converting website traffic into revenue.  Theoretically, there are many ways in which to accomplish this; we’ll discuss a small number of them.  Be aware that the stories of failure, on the whole, outweigh the stories of success.  Without risk though, there is no reward; some people are able to make their living entirely by the means mentioned below.  At the very least, perhaps you can end each month with a few more coins in your pocket.

 

Google Adsense:

Clearly one of the most popular means of generating revenue with your existing website it to sign up for a service like Google Adsense, whereby you add additional code to your website that facilitates the placement of contextual ads within your site, in hopes that your visitors will click on them.  How much money you stand to make depends on how much traffic your site generates and how many of your visitors do actually click on any given ad.

 

Banner Advertising:

Banners are essentially clickable graphics that you place on your website that advertise and link to another site, which then generally pays you for each visitor that clicks the banner.  Conversely, some agreements are contingent upon the person not only clicking the banner, but then also making a purchase on the target website which could then potentially earn you a commission for that sale.

 

Affiliate Programs:

Essentially what affiliate programs do is to pay you to refer people to them.  As an apt example, HostGator has a rather successful affiliate program whereby we pay you to refer Customers to us: http://www.hostgator.com/affiliates.shtml  …you simply place a link on your website that someone then clicks on to sign up with HostGator, and we then pay you.

 

Donations:

If you feel the quality of your website is worthy of people simply handing you money, then by all means you may certainly ask for donations.  Paypal makes it incredibly easy for people to give you money with the simple click of a mouse.

***

There are numerous other means of generating revenue online, some more respected than others.  For example, you could run pop-up/pop-under ads, but those are generally considered a more of a nuisance than anything else.   You can offer memberships to premium content, if that is applicable.  Offering something for sale is always an option; perhaps even an ebook on how to monetize websites.

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