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Twitter Cards, What Are They?

Written by Kyler Patterson

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Twitter’s advertising platform is still young, but it’s setting itself up to be really strong.  It still has plenty of areas for improvement, but if I had to describe Twitter Cards in one word, it would be FANTASTIC!

In my personal experiments, Cost Per Engagement is down from $0.50-$1 to $0.05-$0.20.  For those of you who don’t know what an engagement is, it’s every-single-action on your ad. This means a click on a link, picture, your profile, retweet, favorite, or reply. With all those ways for people to engage, you unfortunately do sometimes pay for things you don’t want; in the advertising world, that’s lost money! With Twitter cards, you can create a clear Call to Action(CTA) with less characters and less channels to engage. I’ll explain each of these cards below:


LeadGen Twitter Card

This is geared towards email marketers. If you build your list or are just thinking about building your list, then these are an easy way to do so. You can set it up where you can download email data or have it sent to your CRM such as Mailchimp or Salesforce. There’s a small list of CRMs that Twitter says are compatible with Twitter Cards, but if your CRM can receive POST data, then you “should” be fine. Don’t quote me on that, though.

These LeadGen cards can be used in many ways. You can capture their email and send them to a page to download an ebook or a special landing page on your site. If you have an autoresponder setup with your CRM, you can automatically send them a coupon code or digital product via email as soon as they click your call to action and agree to give you their email address. Either way, you now have their email address to be able to market to them later. But DON’T SPAM!

NOTE: You will need to have a privacy policy on your site that you can link to. Almost every email marketer should know this and have one on their site. If not, you can review HostGator’s Privacy Policy as an example.


Website Twitter Cards

These are quickly becoming my favorite. You know those links you have in your tweet for either your website / landing page or picture? GONE! You can now insert a picture and that becomes the link. Granted, it’s probably a lot smaller of a picture than you want, and the dimensions are a pain to work with, but if I can decrease character space and increase effectiveness, then I’m all for it. I’ve seen campaign engagement go up from 1%-3% to 10-20% and I couldn’t believe it! I certainly recommend trying these out in your strategy if you haven’t already.

Personally, I think they need to add some more CTAs other than “Read More” because people won’t just use this for website views. They’ll want more strong signals to buy or download. Hopefully this feature will come soon enough.


While I’ve been impressed with the results I’ve seen thus far, it’s always worth noting that early adopters usually see better numbers than those that begin to use it after the first wave of users. And as with all marketing efforts, a large part of it is simply finding your niche.

Have you started to use the Twitter Cards? If so, tell us about your results in the comments below.

How to Effectively Integrate Your Marketing Efforts

Written by Taylor Hawes

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014


As the Internet becomes a more commonly used tool for consumers to locate companies and products they are interested in, it is becoming more and more important for companies to effectively integrate their marketing efforts into the online arena.

Many companies are still operating as if their online marketing efforts are entirely separate from the rest of their advertising campaigns. In fact, in the 21 essential for your company to integrate all of your marketing campaigns in order to ensure one cohesive message.

Potential consumers are easily turned off by a lack of continuity across varying advertising platforms. Being promised one thing and receiving another proves frustrating for everyone involved.

As a marketer, you should take steps to make sure that your efforts are helping your company realize its maximum potential. Organizing an effective and cohesive marketing strategy that includes both online and offline marketing doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult.

Here are a few easy tips designed to help you effectively integrate your marketing efforts:

Define Your Focus

A vast majority of marketing efforts today fail to focus on the big picture. A company that fails to inspire their employees to concentrate their marketing efforts will most likely encounter a lack of success when it comes to attracting potential customers.

Today, the most effective integrated marketing campaigns usually come down to how well companies can brand themselves. Every company should take time to research how they want to shape their own brand, what is important to their customers when making a purchase, and what makes their company unique from their competitors.


Identify Marketing Channels

Many people think about integrated marketing as a wide range of marketing messages that reach consumers on every channel possible. In reality, trying to reach every channel can actually result in fragmentation of your desired marketing message.

The advertising arena today is incredibly saturated with messages from millions of companies around the world. Fragmented messages can actually limit the effectiveness of your communications in the channels that are most important to your company.

Limiting your company’s message by trying to disperse it across every possible medium will simply result in your message becoming subject to the ‘needle­in­a­haystack’ syndrome. Identifying the marketing channels that will have the most impact on the customers you are targeting is essential to any successful integrated marketing effort.


Sync Your Efforts

Once you have successfully identified the channels you believe will be most effective to capture customers, you need to take time to organize and coordinate all forms of your marketing communications.

As mentioned above, companies who do not present a coordinated, cohesive message across all of their marketing platforms can easily discourage their customers. Every channel should have a message that focuses on the same positive aspects of your business.


Think Global, Act Local

Companies in the 21st Century have a much greater potential to reach customers on a global level than ever before. The Internet provides companies with a simple platform that allows them to reach international consumers quickly and efficiently.

Many businesses fall into the trap of excessively tailoring their messages to the local consumers that are interested in their products. Too much local focus can actually compromise a company’s ability to maintain consistent messages across various channels.


While tailoring niche messages will certainly allow companies to capture larger segments of the local market, companies must be careful to maintain consistent and reliable messages.

Keeping your key marketing elements in mind throughout your integrated marketing efforts will allow you to remain consistent, and maximize your potential.

Find Your Niche

Written by Brandi Bennett

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

What Is Your Niche
Niche is a great word. It’s a shallow recess within a wall, used as a display tool for a really nifty object, it’s a cranny (another great word), and it’s a nook. It can be the ecological role of an organism in a community (especially the role of said object in relation to food consumption), and it’s a habitat that supplies the factors that are necessary for the existence of an organism or a species. The original definitions of the word had absolutely nothing to do with the business world, but, like the Internet, just because something originates as one thing it doesn’t mean that it cannot turn into something completely different through alternative usages. Niche, in more recent history, has come to also be used to describe either a job or activity that is suitable for someone or to describe the situation by which a business’s products or services are able to succeed by being sold to a particular group or type of people.

As fascinating as the evolution of a word can be, we’re not here for an etymology lesson. (Though if you have some free time while surfing, I do recommend looking into the origins of your favorite words – it can be quite illuminating!) Speaking of surfing, this lovely little side lesson in definitions does have a purpose.


In The Interest Of Finding Your Market

The thing is, no matter how cool you may think your product is, the fact of the matter is that you may have trouble finding someone else who thinks that it’s a cool concept as well. You know that your idea is a good one, but you’re not seeing your business go anywhere. Does this mean that you have failed? No! What this means is that you just haven’t found your niche yet. It’s possible that you just need more advertising than you’re currently using, that you haven’t found the right way to convey what it is your product does in a manner that appeals to the public at large, or that you’re looking in the wrong target market.


No Matter How Absurd The Idea May Be (dot dot dot)

If nothing else, the Internet has shown us that products that one might think are absolutely ridiculous can sell, and can become huge successes, while others that are quite useful may not do so well because of a poor choice in marketing; still others are fantastic ideas, but haven’t really taken off due to a lack of exposure. Let’s take a look at a few examples (please note that we’re not affiliated with any of these companies or products, they’re just being used for example purposes!)

A Ridiculous Idea That’s Doing Well: – The url says it all. This site was created solely for the purpose of sending people poo through the mail. For this month the specials are “cow dung, elephant crap, gorilla poop” and a special three types of poop for one combo pack. Not only is this just plain silly, but you have to think about the logistics of the operation. Someone sat down and thought about how great it would be to send poo to people, determined the types they wanted to send, and created a whole… ahem… production process, getting them straight from the animals, so to speak, to the door of the person its being shipped to. In spite of the ethical and moral issues associated with this type of business, the mind boggling process of actually creating such a business, and the sheer ridiculousness of the idea, the company is doing fantastically well. Turns out, humans love shipping poo to people; the site’s been around since 2008 and shows no signs of slowing down.


Or How Reasonable The Idea May Be

A Useful Product That Failed Due to Poor Marketing: Bic Cristal for Her – Yes, Bic goofed big time. As one Forbes writer states, Bic made “lady-pens.”  The reviews on Amazon tell it all. The product has become a huge joke. The sad thing is, it didn’t need to be. The pens are just like every other Bic pen in existence – their only difference? The fact that they’re in pretty colors. The ink isn’t – it’s still basic black, it’s just the outer clear tube that Bic changed. For those of us who still use pens (yes, I know we seem to be a dying breed), there’s nothing wrong with a pretty pen. I happen to grab them by the ton, different roller ball thicknesses, different kinds of ink, different casings. I like the variety when taking the time to write by hand. If Bic had just called them “Bic Cristal” the company would have been fine, had a new product, and people like me would have happily added to their pen collection, but alas, that “For Her” served to imply a whole host of sexist connotations (really, check out the reviews – they’re hilarious), and caused Bic to appear as though they had real mud in their eye.

A Great Product With Limited Exposure: Loot Crate – They send a grab box of goodies to your house each month. These boxes are filled with all things Geeky. March’s box was Titanfall themed (for you Xbox lovers out there), and we have no clue yet as to what April may bring. It’s a product filled with goodies for those who like mail and goodies, it’s a surprise, and it’s geeky happiness in a box, working to target a variety of different markets. They’re not big yet, but if they advertise more they will be!

Anyone with any business model can become successful online; that’s one of the beauties of the Internet. Chances are that if you like the concept as a good idea for a product or service, someone else will too and you shouldn’t give up just because you’re not an overnight success. Instead, take a careful look at how you are marketing your product (Don’t be like Bic!), whom the product is being marketed for, whether or not there is enough exposure for your product or service, and whether or not you can punch it up a notch by simply changing the wording. Three years ago I never would have bought clothes online for a tortoise; in six weeks the household tortoise will have a stegosaurus costume. It just goes to show you that the Internet is a wonderful and mysterious place where anyone may find their niche!


Image Source: Make Income on the Side. (2013). What is your niche?. [image online] Available at: [Accessed: 26 Mar 2014].

How To Take The Headache Out Of Keyword Research

Written by Anthony Sills

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Let’s admit it:  keyword research can be difficult, and we all wonder sometimes whether it’s worth all the effort.

Can you really figure out what people are searching for and use that knowledge to drive quality traffic to your website?  Can you rank for that keyword and show up on the first page of search results?  What’s the best keyword research tool to use?


It’s enough to give anyone a migraine.

Choosing the proper keywords and using them to build a profitable business may sound like an impossible task. But it doesn’t need to be. You can do basic keyword research using a simple 4-step process.

Follow these keyword research tips and you may find yourself attracting more search traffic than you can deal with.


Smart People Do Keyword Research

OK. You might be asking why you should even bother with keyword research.

The short answer: Search engines are the largest source of web traffic.

Did you know that 92% of people on the Internet use search engines and 59% say they do so at least once a day? There are over 175 billion searches conducted each month worldwide.

The fact is when people are looking for something online they go to a search engine first.

Keyword research helps you identify the exact language the people you’re looking for use when they surf the web.


Keyword research is just discovering the most popular, and most often searched terms in your industry or niche. Customers can find your website easier when you rank highly for these keywords on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

In other words, keyword research is the first step to cutting through the noise and driving qualified leads to your website.

Keyword research is good for more than developing a good keyword list for SEO and PPC. Content marketers use keyword research to identify topics and determine what phrases to use when writing.

So hang on while I explain what to do…


When You Don’t Know Where to Start

People describe things in different ways. The words you use to talk about your business may be different from the words your customers use. That’s why it’s important to use keyword research to determine the actual language people use when they search the web.

Lots of people aren’t doing keyword research or they’re not doing it effectively.

Most people who avoid keyword research do so because they’re confused or overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin.

The answer to both of these problems is to approach the problem strategically.


You Don’t Have To Be A Rocket Scientist To Do Keyword Research

Keyword research isn’t just to get more traffic or better SERP position. It’s about understanding your customer and knowing your niche. You can use your research to help you figure out:

  • A profitable niche for your business
  • Content ideas people are interested in
  • Similar markets you can tap into
  • Products and services to promote on your website
  • Keywords with the highest cost per click (CPC)

I’d like to emphasize something here. If you’re not a techie, but you need to do keyword research break your keyword research down into a manageable 4-step process.

What this all boils down to is: You’re looking for targeted keyword phrases that have a high search volume and low competition. Ideally, your keywords should accurately describe what you do. You don’t want too many competitors ranking for that exact phrase but you do want lots of people searching for the exact phrase.

Now the specifics:

  1. Brainstorm and come up with list of keyword ideas. Take your best guess how your prospects describe your content, products, and services. This is just a starting point.
  2. Expand your list using keyword research tools. You use a keyword research tool to check out the possible keywords or keyword phrases and see how they perform. You want to see how much competition you have for each of your keywords and how hard it will be to rank for them.
  3. Fine-tune your list by doing some research. Check out the search volume and traffic estimates for keywords you’re considering. This will help you determine consumer demand. You should also add some of the suggested keyword phrases from your analysis tool to your list.
  4. Don’t ignore long tail keywords. In most cases, longer-tail keywords are less-competitive. People who search using long tail keywords are more likely to buy because they know exactly what they want. They’re usually searching for a place to buy it.

Remember, don’t obsess over the details and don’t let what you don’t know stop you from getting started.

To knock one more barrier out of your way, I’ll even show you how to pick a keyword research tool.


Here’s a Quick Way to Use Keyword Research Tools

Now, you’re probably wondering, “What is a keyword research tool?” and “Which keyword research tool is the best?

A keyword research tool is just a tool for creating a keyword list and viewing the historical popularity of keywords. Keyword research tools allow you to see what people are searching for on the web, guess what else they might search for, and then optimize for those keywords.

Don’t get hung up searching for the perfect keyword research tool. That’s a waste of time since the good tools provide the same basic service with only a few minor differences.

That said, here are a few you may want to try.

  • Wordze
  • Keyword Discovery
  • Wordtracker
  • Google Adwords Keyword Planner
  • Bing’s keyword research tool
  • SEO Book’s Keyword Research Tool
  • Wordpot
  • YouTube Keyword Tools
  • Keyword Spy
  • Google Trends

Use these keyword tools to get keyword ideas and traffic. Remember, you’re learning how your customer thinks, not trying to outmaneuver the search engines.

If you’re serious about your website ranking and getting quality traffic, use this process to make life easier.

Leave a comment and share your best keyword research tip.


About the Author

Anthony Sills’ work can be found at American Express OPEN Forum, Copyblogger, Infusionsoft’s Big Ideas blog, Hostgator’s Gator Crossing blog, and elsewhere. He writes about HR & employment, marketing, and business.You can always reach Anthony via social media, email, or by leaving a comment below…

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