Web and Hosting Tips
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.
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.
Written by Taylor Hawes
Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
Your email list is a very powerful sales tool. Emails and newsletters are an effective, easy way to engage with your prospects, current customers, and other interested parties. If you aren’t utilizing your website to help capture visitors’ information and grow your list, you are missing out on an important marketing opportunity. Here are four simple website add-ons that will help make the process easier.
1. Integration with Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/LinkedIn
Social media is an integral part of so many people’s days. You want to make your social media presence well-known on your site, while making it easy for your visitor to share your content with others.
Evaluate your business audience and pick the two most-used social media platforms and establish a strong presence there. Then, add the corresponding social media buttons in prominent places on your website.
The benefits to this technique are two fold. First, you can often capture your visitors information when they share your page via your own social media buttons. You will know what content they find interesting and then have a way to engage them in the future. Second, they are essentially endorsing your webpage to their friends and network, effectively garnering more visitors.
2. A pop-up email capture
When someone visits your site the hard work has already been done for you – they are already interested. One easy way to get their information is through a simple pop-up. Pop-ups can be fairly controversial and there are lots of people out there that don’t like them. However, there are multiple methods that are both unobtrusive and effective.
These tools include pop-down bars, splash pages, hover boxes, and more. Do your research and look at all the options available to determine which one will work best for your customers. Keep in mind that you don’t have to assault them with a pop up the second they visit your site. You can wait until the second or third pageview before displaying the pop-up in order to ensure that they are interested.
3. PDF downloads and premium content
Content is an excellent way to drive traffic to your website. Quality content will help engage your reader and develop your authority in your area of business.
One great strategy to further grow your list is to offer PDF downloads or premium content, but only after they sign up for your email list. The content would still be free, but you can request a certain amount of information from your customer before they receive it.
The added benefit of this route is that you are not just gathering their email address; you will also learn what topics interest them based on what content they clicked on or which PDF they downloaded. Make sure that the content is high-quality and useful though; tangible value is a boon for business.
4. Subscribe via comment form or checkout process
Consider all the places on your website where you’ve already requested your customer’s information. When customers are examining or commenting on your site, chances are they are required to provide their name and email address. Since they are already giving you their information this is a very simple place to add an opt in box.
Make it an obvious part of the form fields to increase the subscription rate. Consider having it say something interesting such as “subscribe to our awesome newsletter for discounts and exclusives” rather than just “subscribe.” The more information you provide your customer with, the more likely are to opt in.
Rather than growing your prospect list by buying names from a large company, you can start by looking at your own website to grow your list. These simple add-ons will help grow your list with very little effort on your behalf.
Written by Taylor Hawes
Friday, May 16th, 2014
Everyone knows that Google is a big deal. Each year, news of Google’s new acquisitions makes headlines across the world and across the web, stunning analysts and everyday consumers alike.
From little start-ups to longtime titans of industry, so many companies have been picked up that users often forget (or don’t realize) that their favorite app or software is now part of the Google machine.
For some, this just means better service, better quality, and better integration on mobile platforms; for others, watching a beloved site or service get stripped for parts and silently assimilated into the inner workings of Google’s infrastructure can be disappointing to say the least.
For better or worse, Google is making waves not just online, but in nearly every facet of our lives. Here are five companies you didn’t know Google owns and what that means for you:
Social networking, mapping, and up-to-date traffic, all rolled into one app? Sounds too good to be true, but that’s precisely what Waze is all about.
Waze helps drivers help themselves by providing an outlet for folks to warn other drivers of potential delays and hazards by means of tweet-like posts. This information then coalesces into a living map that shows drivers in the area just how long it will take to get from Point A to Point B, which roads to avoid, and even the location of speed traps.
It isn’t hard to see why Google would want to snatch these guys up. With close to a billion downloads of Google Maps from Google Play alone, adding the social networking power of Waze to the application gives users the unparalleled quality of Google’s navigation interface,
In addition, the benefit of sourcing information about travel times and level of traffic from drivers on location is hard to beat. And with the recent launch of Google Now, Waze data is seamlessly integrated into Google Maps’ auto-updates for an even more intuitive traffic alert system.
Home automation is still a relatively new concept for many consumers. The idea of sending a text message to your alarm system because you forgot to arm it on the way out the door—much less having your fridge text you when Timmy sneaks some cake in the middle of the night—still sounds like something from The Jetsons.
But Nest, founded by Tony Faddell and Matt Rogers, the same guys who brought us the iPod, is all about making your home smart, from thermostats to alarm systems. Nest was picked up in January 2014 by Google in its quest to branch outside the worldwide web and into your living room.
Acquiring Nest helps Google build their stockpile of resources for total home integration with Android devices that are already making everything from turning on the outdoor lights for a party to setting the timer on the sprinklers easier than updating your Facebook status. Expect big things from this merger: with Nest’s innovation and Google’s infrastructure, we are stepping into a brave new world.
Google almost acquired rival company Yelp back in 2011, but picked up Zagat instead after the deal fell through.
Prior to merging with Google, Zagat.com was a subscription-based service, offering its vast cache of knowledge only to those who paid a premium. Zagat membership is now free—as long as you sign up with Google+, that is.
But whether you subscribe to Zagat or not, Google has tightly and seamlessly integrated Zagat reviews and information into its standard Google search, so even casual users benefit. The novelty and prestige may have taken a backseat, but picking a restaurant for that special occasion has just become much easier.
A short-lived but popular gesture recognition program, Flutter was acquired by Google in October 2013. Due to its native integration with applications like YouTube, Chrome, Netflix and Pandora, Flutter was a prime candidate to springboard Google’s gesture recognition ventures moving forward.
Users of the original Flutter app need not worry that it’s merely been stripped for parts—the download can still be found here.
As with a few other apps, merging with Google bodes well for both Flutter veterans and newcomers alike. As Google engineers hone and develop gesture recognition for more and more programs, it will become a smoother, more universal experience across the board.
This is actually just one of about a half dozen or more robotics companies bought up by Google in early December 2013, along with Redwood Robotics, Meka Robotics, Holomni and others. Boston Dynamics is best known for the DARPA-funded BigDog, essentially an automated four-legged pack mule designed to carry gear for soldiers over terrain too rough for vehicles.
What does Google intend for these companies? It isn’t too clear yet, but whether they are planning on putting these firms to use in vamping up their manufacturing capital in preparation for the Google Car, or if they have bigger plans in mind (humanoid robots?), picking up so many robotics companies suggests that Google is gearing up for some big, exciting things.
Whether it results in overall better quality or if an app or service is simply assimilated into the infrastructure, Google’s acquisitions are taking tech in bold new directions. As its influence pervades every aspect of our lives, more and more companies are sure to follow. And whether we embrace it or not, this snowball-effect is pushing the boundaries of what we thought possible, and that’s a very exciting thing.
Written by Brandi Bennett
Monday, May 12th, 2014
Everyone makes mistakes. We all know it, and sometimes we recognize it as soon as we have done it that we have screwed up. Sometimes these mistakes can be avoided, other times they’re made when we’re not in our right minds, and sometimes we have no way of knowing they are mistakes until later. There are thousands of clichés and sayings that talk about mistakes just for these reasons. One way of making sure that mistakes aren’t made is to pay attention to what you’re doing, but another, perhaps more important, method is to pay attention to the mistakes of others. The trick is not just learning from your mistakes, but learning from the mistakes of others as well.
An entrepreneurial friend of mine has started companies around the world. One thing he always tells up and coming entrepreneurs is that they should do as he says, not as he does (or did). He turns all of the mistakes that he has made in business into teaching opportunities, showing others how not to make the same mistakes that he has made. While I cannot, and would not, want to go around telling you all of his mistakes, after all, those are his to tell, I can tell you from personal experience that there are certain things that don’t work, and hopefully you’ll be able to learn from the following:
Choose something you are passionate about
Just because you know an idea can be a successful one, don’t choose it just for that, choose it because it is something that you enjoy.
Look, just because an idea is a great one doesn’t mean that it’s worth the hassle. If it’s not something that you enjoy, don’t do it. If and when it takes off, you’re going to be stuck with that business. You’re going to live it and breathe it as you work to make your company successful. If you hate the concept, don’t bother starting. You’ll waste your own time and burn out quickly.
Just because you know you can make something work, you shouldn’t expect it to happen overnight. Sometimes companies take years to become fully solvent. Know that it will take a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of hard work to make your business take off. Once it does, you’ll have relatively smooth sailing, but it’s not instant.
Get out there and do it
Don’t just talk about it. All the talk in the world won’t help you succeed; you’ve gotta work to bring it into existence – whatever “it” is. A book wasn’t ever written by talking about finding time to sit down and write a book, it was written because someone actually did sit down and write the book. Businesses are the same way. You can talk the talk all day long, but until you take that first, second, and third step, it makes no difference. Get to work!
Always treat what you do as a business
It doesn’t matter what your product or service is; once you decide to start offering it to others, for money, you must always treat it as a business, for that’s what it is. It’s your new source of income. Don’t blow it because you used to just do “it” for fun. If an individual decides to start making prints and selling them on Etsy because all their friends wanted one, once that first order comes in, you get it done, get it shipped and move on to the next one. It’s fun, sure, but it is work too, and it needs to be treated as such. Make a home office if you’re working from home. Use it for only work related stuff. That will become your new place of business, going to that room or area as opposed to leaving for an office. It will put you in the right mindset and ensure that you are able to successfully dedicate your time to what you do. (For example, I used to love MMORPGs, but my computer is my work area, so I’ve gone back to console gaming, ensuring that I’m not distracted from work by anything other than the occasional website, academic journal, or the biggest time killer of all – Facebook.
By working to avoid these mistakes, you can work to make your business a success. Just remember, there are thousands of people online who can tell you what not to do, but only you can find out the winning combination that works best for you!