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Startup & Small Business

Stand Out On Pinterest With Rich Pins

Written by Kyler Patterson

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014


If you haven’t started using Pinterest to share your products and blog posts yet, then you should start doing so. Especially if your target market happens to include a fair percentage of females. Although it may sound cliche, I will still say it: Go where your customers are. And Pinterest is definitely home to a lot of active users. But how do you stand out in the crowd of pins? The answer is actually pretty easy.


Rich Pins

If you’ve been following the HostGator blog and have implemented some of the suggested seo strategies, then you’ve likely already optimized content such as meta data and share buttons. If you’re using WordPress or another CMS, you may be able to find a plugin to add these if you haven’t already. For sites created without a Content Management System, you will need to manually add these tags onto your pages. For information on what is needed for Rich Pins and how to apply, please review the Rich Pin Documentation.


What Do Rich Pins Do?

Simple Answer: Make You Stand Out. Whether on the home page or within a board, there is a sea of pins. With Rich Pins, you will pop out in the crowd. Take a look at this picture of a Pinterest live feed:


You may have noticed that, unlike most of the other pins on the page, the HostGator pins display:

  • The title in bold
  • The associated Favicon
  • The title of the source blog

These extra cosmetic enhancements make these pins stand out in the crowd, drawing the audience’s attention. If you have physical products on your page with prices, it will even show the price! This shows the viewer that the product is for sale and if they like what they see, they’re just a click away. But the enhancements don’t just stop on the boards. Your actual pin has new features too. Taking a closer look:


Just like on the board, you’ll see some of the same features: bold title, blog title, favicon, but also the Author’s name. For products, you’ll also see the price. However, there’s one additional feature that is not just helpful for SEO, but will show even more content to your readers, enticing them to click your site’s link! This is your meta description data! For most blogs/product pages, this is the first few sentences of your content. But for those who know how to optimize their meta description, this can be your sales pitch! If used properly, you should start driving targeted leads to your page straight from Pinterest.


How To Get Rich Pins?

First you need to make sure your page is optimized for this. The link for tips on this is posted earlier in this article. After you’re optimized, you can validate the pin using the Rich Pin Validator. If successful, it will allow you to Apply. The turnaround time on this can vary from a single day up to several weeks.


Hopefully this helps you stand out on Pinterest! Good luck!


Do you have other Pinterest tips? Please share them in the comments below.

The Science Of Video Marketing For Small Businesses

Written by Jeremy Jensen

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The Science Of Video Marketing For Small Businesses

Nothing in the world of marketing can convey a message as dynamically as the combination of motion, sound and colorful graphic animation. While a picture is said to be worth 1,000 words, a one minute video is said to be valued at 1.8 million words, according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research. Due to our modernly low attention spans of 8 seconds, video promotion has been determined to be 600% more effective than print and direct mail combined.

It’s no wonder that as we shift into the future of content marketing, video remains at the forefront being used by 93% of marketers in their campaigns. Although it can be intimidating for small businesses to compete with the high-end production large corporations advertise with, independent production companies have never been more accessible. We’re here to show you how to make video marketing affordable, while also providing tips on how less can be more.


You Can Afford It

Ten years ago there were not 6,455 licensed video production companies in the United States. Since the advent of commercialized video equipment, film enthusiasts everywhere have been able to afford their own professional gear, and create start-ups independently.

Whether they attended a film school, educated themselves online, or went the DIY approach, the talent is out there and so is their competition. Just because a company is new, doesn’t mean they can’t provide you with exactly the standard of quality you’re seeking.

Things To Consider When Looking To Hire A Video Company:

  • Cost - Ask for a price quote up-front, every company will be different. Newly graduated and ambitious film students can often produce a much higher quality video than ‘professional’ companies at half the price or less.

  • Film Reel/Portfolio - Check out their work and see if their capabilities match what you’re looking for. While many aspects to film can take years and expensive software to produce, content marketing needs are usually relatively simple.

  • Turnaround - Whether you plan on making one video, or one a week, the turnaround for a finished video is an essential element to consider. Between planning, production, post-production and getting the video online, knowing your time frame is an important aspect to keeping your content consistent and your viewers engaged.


The Do-It-Yourself Approach

Perhaps hiring someone else just isn’t in the budget right now, and that’s alright. Making your own videos has never been easier, and can be done for under $50. Here are some tips to consider when getting started:

  • Pre-Production - Decide what you need, and have a definitive script/plan for what you want to shoot before looking into renting the gear.

  • Equipment - Many successful marketing videos have only required a web cam or an iPhone to get the companies message across. The bottom line is providing content your viewers want to engage with. If the look and sound are crucial to you, try renting from a reputable company like:


  • Editing and Post - There is an outstanding amount of free software that has everything you’ll need to create a final cut of your video. If you’re looking to invest in a professional program, we recommend tyring:


  • Uploading - Having your video seen is the whole point, but getting it online can be tricky for those of us less familiar with file sizes and formats.

    • File Size - Sometimes the file we export can be far too large to get online. If this is the case, try handbrake, a free conversion software to make your video file smaller but still retain the same qulaity in sound and resolution.

    • Format - Most programs will have ‘built in settings’ for where you’re attempting to upload a file. For instance, Adobe Premiere has built in YouTube and Vimeo settings to optimize how your video streams online.


Video Marketing Tips

With how popular video has become for marketing purposes, it’s a good idea to know what has been working:

  • Keep It Short - Even video has a tough time keeping our attention. Videos under 1-minute have shown to retain viewers 80% up to the 30 second mark, while those 2-3 minutes in length still see 60% retention.

  • Keep It Light - Humor and personality are not bad things when it comes to conveying professionalism. Culturally we’ve lost touch with the human aspect to business, and the greater connection you make with your viewers the more likely they’ll choose to engage with your service.

  • Make Sure Your Customers Can Find You - Just because you captivated their attention, doesn’t mean you mentioned how to get to your location. Include your address, phone number, website, and e-mail either in the video or somewhere noticeable on the page the video is hosted on.

  • Make It Seen - Most videos will never go viral, but taking the time to share it yourself can guarantee additional views. Promote your video by:

    • Investing in an online ad campaign

    • Share it with your e-mail contacts

    • Post it on Social Media

    • Post it publicly on YouTube

    • Embed it on your own website

    • Front a small cost for online services that can promote it for you


It may seem like an awful lot of work, but there’s no doubt that to remain competitive you need video. Soon you’ll come to realize how fun creating one can be, as well as how beneficial having a face your customers can recognize will be to your business.


Image Source:

Alternatives To Traditional Business Start-Ups

Written by Brandi Bennett

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Be Different

So You Want to Start an Online Business

You’ve heard the tales about how much money can be made online, and how it’s just there for the taking. You’ve decided that you want to get a piece of that pie, and who wouldn’t? Humans have always looked for the next big thing that will allow them to advance in their personal lives, giving them the availability of taking more time to do the things that they desire, or the activities that they enjoy.

There are many different concepts that a person thinks of when the image of making money online comes to mind: some think of the crypto-currencies that have been in the news in recent months, others think of the concept of setting up a storefront, while others still think of the various types of online trading that may be done, from penny stocks to the stock market to foreign exchange. The fact of the matter is that if you can dream it, you can do it (as long as it’s not illegal, of course).


Alternatives to the Traditional Online Business

Freelancing – Just because you’ve decided to switch over to making your money online, it doesn’t mean that you have to either start your own company or work for someone else’s company. There’s the option of being an independent agent, either setting up your own website to promote your services, signing up on a website designed to connect freelancers to those looking for freelancing services (careful – not all of these are legitimate), or some combination thereof.

Crafts and Other Made Goods – Perhaps you really like making something. Whether it’s sitting down after a long day and crocheting blankets as you watch a movie, making jewelry while you wait for the timer to let you know that your meal is done, or perhaps you like to sit in the yard, watching the sun go down, drinking a beer as you whittle animals out of pieces of wood. All of those little things that you’ve been making over the years, the items that are now sitting around your house, or in boxes in the attic or the garage, can be cleaned off and sold online for a pretty penny. You can either make your own site or use one of the many different forms of online medium available to do so.

Services – Maybe you have a talent, one that people come to you about all the time, asking for your help in decorating, begging you to help them pick out an outfit, requesting that you tell them how to fix their lawnmower, how to trim their trees, or how to get rid of weeds. Heck, maybe you dabble in graphic design in your spare time or really enjoy correcting people (and you’re telling them constructively and not giving them false corrections). All of these and more may be bartered and traded online. There are those who make their money simply sitting around all day and playing video games, streaming the games they are playing to their audiences; people pay money to watch them play just to have something to do. If you can dream it, chances are, you can do it.

How Do I Get Started? This Sounds Great!

For starters, don’t quit your day job. Though making money online can be far easier than the traditional nine to five, and it does have the benefit of allowing you to do the things that you enjoy as opposed to things that feel like “work,” remember that it will take work to get you to the point of being able to do the things you love online as your job, thus allowing you to feel as though you won’t be working another day in your life. You’ve got to get out there and make a name for yourself, build up your client base, and promote yourself and your products or services. It can take anywhere from six months to a year, sometimes longer, before you are able to comfortably step back and say that what you do online is what you now do for a living. It’s possible, and it’s worth it, but it’s not an easy path, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Just remember – if you can dream it, you can do it – and we’ve got the hosting that can help you on your way!


Image Source: (2011). Different. Retrieved from

Footloose: Or Why A Good Environment Makes All The Difference

Written by Brandi Bennett

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014


Kevin Bacon fans and film buffs (as well as pretty much anyone of a certain age) are all familiar with the ever-popular Kenny Loggins song “Footloose,” originally released in 1984. This classic image of Kevin Bacon in his beat up Nike’s is instantly recognizable and immediately associated with the song. It isn’t so much the song itself that we’re going to discuss here, but what it is that the song actually offers. With its upbeat, dance-inspiring tempo, this particular song affords far more than just entertainment; it actually serves as a means of creating an ideal environment, believe it or not.


Tap Those Toes!

What this song does is makes those who want to hear it move about, getting stuff done, and it is that motivation that becomes key. When working, many people find that music helps them to accomplish the tasks that they have set for themselves, regardless of whether or not they are still consciously listening to the music at all. The music serves as a means of providing a method for the brain to tune out all other distractions, allowing the individual to concentrate on the task at hand.


Why Does It Matter?

By working to distract one’s brain, the individual is working to ensure that they are able to get their assigned tasks completed within a reasonable amount of time. In serving to provide an environment that is conducive to working, individuals are able to accomplish far more than they would otherwise, and are able to do so in less time than normal.


What Does This Mean For You?

This doesn’t mean that you need to turn your workplace into an 80’s montage video, (though if you do, I’d love to see it!), but what it does mean is that the environment in which individuals are working is just as important as matching up the right individuals to the right tasks. While Mr. Bacon’s shoes may not particularly motivate you to tap your toes, chances are that there’s a song out there that does, and that when you have that song playing, you’re able to really get in your groove, knocking out tasks quicker than before. Your employees have songs like that as well. Find the right mix, get things moving forward, and maybe you too can have the time of your life while working, getting things done while enjoying yourself and increasing office productivity all in one fell swoop!


Image Source: (2014). Footloose. Retrieved from

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