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The Importance of Conveying Professionalism through Your Website

Written by Brandi Bennett

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

 

professionalism

Many people have seen demotivational posters before. They are treated as slightly humorous distractions from an otherwise busy day, serving to provide a reminder of what to avoid or what not to do.
 
In spite of the fact that these demotivational posters have a dual purpose, many people only see the amusing side of things and move on without ever truly paying attention to the other side of the coin. Take for example the Professionalism demotivational poster above; the image is not a new one, and many people have seen either this image or other similar images before. We look at them, shake our heads, and wonder to ourselves how someone could be so lazy, and then move on with our days. What we fail to realize is that in some aspect of our jobs, no matter what they are, we have painted around the fallen branch instead of moving it.
 

Are You Wearing Shoes, Does It Matter?

In some instances the lack of professionalism that is displayed doesn’t really affect the workplace. No one can really see the fact that you have taken off your shoes under your desk, after all. The trick is just remembering to slip them back on before you get up, and BAM! Professionalism has been restored.

The issue arises when everyone is able to see the lack of professionalism that you present; think of it as greeting clients wearing mismatched socks and no shoes, or having them step over a fallen branch in order to get to your office, where the real professionalism is. I’m not going to suggest that you work to convey perfect adherence to the standards of professional conduct; let’s face it, we are all human and we all make mistakes sometimes. What I do suggest, however, is working to ensure that the face that your customers see is always professional, and the first step in that process is your website.

 

Be Sure Don’t Accidently The Wrong Grammars

Typos and formatting do matter. If your text overlaps, if you have misspellings, poor grammar, improperly used words (they’re instead of their, or where instead of wear), poor navigation, and even improper features all serve to convey the idea that your site is unprofessional. While there may be simple reasons for these things to occur, like an update that was not compatible with your theme (if you use WordPress), or an old version of Magento that was upgraded, for example, there is no excuse for not double checking yourself.

Your site is the first experience that your customers have with your company. It is how you are reaching out to introduce yourself to your target market through the internet. While there are instances where a consumer may overlook one issue, such as one improperly spelled word out of the entire site, you want to make sure that your customers do not see your company as one that is prone to mistakes.

 

Think Like A Customer

As a consumer myself, I know that I personally will not spend money with a company if their site isn’t professional. How do I know that they will address any issues with my order in the appropriate manner if they cannot even manage to ensure that their site is error free? This is the mindset that you will need to have when reviewing your site in order to ensure that it maintains the appropriate level of professionalism all the way through. This does not mean your site cannot be fun! There are a host of highly professional websites that are fun. (We like to think Hostgator’s site is not just professional, it is fun too!) It simply means that your site needs to convey the tone that you want it to, contain the appropriate information, and work to present the appropriate image to your customers. It doesn’t matter what you are selling, it simply matters that it conveys the right message, a message that cannot be present if your site is less than professional.

 

If you are unsure as to whether or not your site looks professional enough, ask a friend, or find an online editing service that can review the site for you to double check and give you pointers. Take the extra time to double check anything you post, and in doing so, you will make sure that your customers aren’t being asked to step over any branches, giving them the confidence in you that they need in order to purchase your products or services.

 

Image Source:
Professionalism Demotivational Poster. (2014). [image online] Available at: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_MIqc0txxDNM/SvfBIqftprI/AAAAAAAAAA4/S63X2RMUECo/s320/professional.jpg [Accessed: 20 Mar 2014].

American Red Cross And The Tour Du Rouge

Written by Sean Valant

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

We are happy to announce HostGator is celebrating our 5th year sponsoring the Tour du Rouge, benefiting the American Red Cross.  The Tour du Rouge is a 533 mile bicycle ride from Houston to New Orleans, spanning 6 days (May 4th – 9th, 2014).

Tour du Rouge Snappy

In recognition of not only the overall cause, but the dedication of the riders and volunteers that make this event possible, we wanted to do something a little bit extra this year.  Today only, all new hosting accounts are 50% off and new domains are starting at just $4 per year; on top of that, we are donating $1 to the American Red Cross for every new hosting package signed up for as part of this promotion.

The American Red Cross provides a myriad of services, from disaster relief assistance to emergency contact for military personnel with their families, as well as community outreach programs such as CPR/First Aid training and swimming lessons.  Ultimately, what the Red Cross does is help people and save lives.

The Tour du Rouge directly benefits the Red Cross chapters in the Gulf Coast, essentially the region directly through which the cyclists travel on their journey.

What began in 2009 with sixty-three riders, has now grown to 200 riders and hundreds of additional volunteers.  This event is about real people helping real people overcome challenges and otherwise preparing individuals to act appropriately in emergency situations.  HostGator is so proud to be involved with such an event.  We invite you to become involved as well.

Today you can get a great deal on a new hosting package and help us to help so many more people: sign up now!

HostGator Proudly Sponsors 2014 Tour Du Rouge

Written by Sean Valant

Monday, March 24th, 2014

HG_tour_du_rouge

The Tour du Rogue is a 533 mile bicycle ride, from Houston to New Orleans, benefiting The American Red Cross. HostGator is proudly celebrating it’s fifth year sponsoring the ride. From May 4th – 9th this year, the riders (including some HostGator employees) will brave the elements, and possibly even some real alligators throughout the swamps of Louisiana, in order to raise money for the Red Cross.

The Tour du Rouge is something that is very close to HostGator’s collective heart. From disaster relief to blood donation, and a myriad of services in-between, The American Red Cross provides valuable service to our friends and neighbors in the Gulf Coast region and beyond. Many HostGator employees are cycling enthusiasts and enjoy the challenge of this annual ride, you may have seen our past coverage of the event: http://blog.hostgator.com/2012/06/11/tour-du-rouge-2012/

We are doing something extra special this year in support of the cause as well, and we wanted to go ahead and make the announcement here on our blog. For one day only, tomorrow March 25th, not only are we having a special sale on all new hosting accounts and domains, but we’re also donating an additional $1 from every account signed up for via this promotion to The American Red Cross.

Full details will be announced at midnight tonight, but if you’ve been thinking about signing up for a new hosting account, or registering a new domain, then you can do so while also helping out a great cause all day tomorrow!

Inexpensive Tools To Help You Increase Online Sales

Written by Taylor Hawes

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Inexpensive Tools To Help You Increase Online Sales

Fostering additional sales is a priority of virtually every business on the planet. After all,
growth requires additional revenue, allowing you to reinforce your offerings to better serve your customers. However if you are a startup, or simply cash-strapped, you probably don’t have the capital to pour thousands into sales lead services. Thankfully there are several tools available to help increase online sales that are both efficient and inexpensive.

 

Lead Generation

ZoomInfo Community Edition – ZoomInfo offers several paid plans but has a free database with over 60 million contacts available under its community edition license. The caveats are two-fold: you have to share your business contacts with ZoomInfo and you are limited to 100 contacts per month. If you are just starting out, it is an excellent tool for leveraging a community of aspiring businesses to the success of all involved.

Lead411 – Another searchable database, Lead411 offers great detailed information including email addresses and phone numbers for contacts. It is not free, but is a reasonable $29.95 per month and offers you access to over 100,000 company profiles and 700,000 executives. If you decide to upgrade to the $39.95 plan, you are permitted access to nearly three times that many contacts. The one drawback with this particular service is the sometimes questionable quality of the information therein, so tread with caution.

Jigsaw – Jigsaw is part of the prolific and ubiquitous Salesforce.com. You earn points for adding or updating any of their contacts and can then use those points on free contacts. They offer paid plans but if you are cash strapped you can start out by earning free credits and building your address book in the process. All listings include name, title, email, phone number and address.

 

Pipeline and Contact Management

Zoho – Zoho is a customer relationship management (CRM) program unlike any other. The basic level is free and allows you to have up to three users and 5,000 records. With mobile access and a usable interface, the app sets itself apart from competitors, to your benefit. In addition, it can scale with your business and the upgraded plan is only $12 per month.

Streak – if you are using Gmail as your email client then you Streak is a must-have. It is a simple plugin that integrates your CRM directly into your inbox, enabling management of multiple contact conduits simultaneously. You can designate your contacts as leads, prospects, customers, etc all within Gmail. Furthermore, sharing data with co-workers is easy, allowing the ability to share part of your inbox with others. For the busy or forgetful business-person, it can even schedule emails to send later.

Contact Monkey – Another powerful free add-on is Contact Monkey. This tool lets you know who opens the emails you have sent, how they opened it (mobile or desktop), and if they clicked on any links. When working to tailor your communications for best reception, this data is invaluable.

Rapportive – When dealing with clients, context is crucial. Also an add-on to Gmail, this tool integrates all the data about your contact next to their emails for easy viewing and consideration. You will see their picture, pertinent data, and any public social networking info, giving you a comprehensive picture of their online presence.

Newsle – If your contact appears in the news, it is always a great reason to touch base with them. Newsle tracks anyone you know with your social media network and notifies you if they appear in the news. It is a great way to have an excuse to get in touch with a prospect, either to capitalize on a financial success, or wish them well in the event of difficult times.

 

While this list is certainly not comprehensive, it is a great place to start. These inexpensive and free sales tools will help you generate some new sales leads and manage those leads more effectively to increase your online sales, synergizing to assist your business in one of its primary goals: revenue through efficient outreach.

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