5 Smart WordPress Tools for Modern Bloggers on the Go

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Blogging is the worst, right? You have to sit down at your computer for hours, figure out how WordPress works, and clack away at the keyboard until your wrists hurt.

Whoa! Wait a minute. If this is your experience with blogging in the year 2020, then you’re doing it wrong.

WordPress has come a long way over the years in terms of updates. Today, creating a blog post is as easy as talking. And, talk-to-text via the WordPress mobile app is not the only smart WordPress tool.

With the help of the sophisticated, yet uncomplicated, WordPress interface and other neat WordPress plugins, you can add rich media to your blog posts with the click of a button, or two. Let’s talk about how this all works.

This post will cover:

  • How to use talk-to-text in the WordPress mobile app
  • How to use the native functionality in WordPress to upload videos
  • The most common WordPress plugins for bloggers

Let’s get this party started!

best WordPress hosting

How to use talk-to-text in the WordPress app

One of the best things about WordPress is the ability to compose blog posts on the go using your phone. And, you don’t even have to type one word. You can use the talk-to-text mobile app feature to capture everything you want to say without writing one word.

Here’s how to use the talk-to-text feature in the WordPress app.

1. Download the WordPress app. If you don’t already have the WordPress app on your phone, you’ll need to download it to your iOS or Android device.

2. Login to your account. Once you’ve downloaded the app, use the same login credentials to access your account as you would use on your computer.

3. Click the pink icon. Navigate to the home page and click on the pink “create a post or page” icon at the bottom right of the screen.

how to create a new post in wordpress mobile app

4. Select blog post. The WordPress app will give you the option to create a blog post or create a page. Choose blog post.

create new blog post in wordpress mobile app

5. Press the microphone. At the bottom right of the screen, you will notice a little microphone. Click this microphone and start talking. Remember to dictate punctuation in your blog posts.

use microphone talk-to-text feature in wordpress mobile app

6. Talk. As soon as you press the button, WordPress will start recording your voice and translating what you say into text. If at any time you want to stop and type, you can press the keyboard button.

And, that’s it. That’s how you can create a blog post on the go by speaking instead of typing.

Keep in mind you can also add images and videos in the mobile app. Just remember to save your images and videos to your device for easy selection.

How to add videos to WordPress without a plugin

Bloggers are using audio and video content in their posts more than ever. Considering recent stats, it makes sense why video is so popular:

Internet users love blog content, and they want more of it. Thankfully, WordPress has made it easy for bloggers to add videos to blog posts without even needing to download a plugin. Here are the steps you need to take to upload a video right within WordPress.

1. Create a new blog post. Once you are in your WordPress account, direct your attention to the top navigation bar, click on the plus sign, and select “post” from the drop-down menu.

click plus sign to add new post in wordpress

2. Start writing. Once you are on the blog post page, you can start writing your content.

3. Create a video content blog. Once you are ready to insert your video, click on the little plus sign. It will appear to the right or the bottom of your text. 

click plus sign in WordPress to add video block

4. Search for video. As soon as you click the plus sign, a box will appear with various content options. Video doesn’t appear first, so to find it faster, I always quickly search “video” in the top bar.

add video block in WordPress gutenberg editor
video block in wordpress gutenberg editor

5. Select your file type. Once you select “video,” WordPress will offer three different upload options, including upload, media library, and insert from URL. If your video is on your desktop, choose “upload.” If you have already uploaded your video to your WordPress media library, press “media library.” If your video exists on the web (e.g., YouTube), then click on “insert from URL.”

upload video file to wordpress blog post

Once you follow the appropriate directions, WordPress will insert your video into the content, and give you the option to write a caption.

example of video upload in wordpress with ability to add caption

You can repeat this process anytime you need to insert a video into your content. You don’t need any fancy video plugins to add videos to WordPress.

If you want to add audio content to your blog (you do), then you can follow the exact same process, except you select “audio” as your content block, instead of video.

Top WordPress plugins for bloggers on the go

Now that you know how to dictate your blog posts on the go and how to add video and audio content to your WordPress blog posts, let’s talk about other WordPress blog plugins that will make your blogging life easier.

Here is a rundown of the WordPress plugins every blogger should add to their site.

1. Akismet

Let’s start this section out with a quick round of Jeopardy. 

I’ll take “Bloggers for $ 500, Alec.” 

“The least favorite thing bloggers come in contact with on their sites, and also a slice of questionable canned meat.”

“What is spam?”

Exactly! Cleaning spam out of your comments section is not only time-consuming, but it’s also annoying. 

Akismet is a WordPress plugin that scrolls through all of your comments and checks them for spam. Akismet uses a consistently growing database that removes any malicious, irrelevant, or inappropriate sales comments. And, Akismet does it BEFORE the comments get published on your site.

This plugin is essential for helping you save time and keeping your blog credible.

2. Jetpack

Jetpack is my personal second favorite WordPress plugin. It has robust functionality and keeps an eye on your account. 

Here are the benefits of Jetpack:

  • Site analytics. While it’s true you can (and should) add Google Analytics to your website, Jetpack also does the hard tracking work. Jetpack will tell you how many site visitors you have, and this great analytics information shows up right in your WordPress dashboard.
  • Downtime monitor. Jetpack will send you an email notification every time your site goes down. I cannot tell you how many times this feature has saved my blogging bacon. It will also tell you when your site goes back up.
  • Site speed. Another Jetpack benefit is enhanced site speed. With Jetpack, you can upload high-resolution photos and can count on Jetpack to deliver them to your website visitors at high resolutions with super-fast speeds.
  • Content back up. Jetpack also provides an automatic daily content backup and 30-day archive. This feature puts your mind at ease when it comes to making large website changes.
  • Spam filter and login protection. Akismet is not the only plugin that filters out spam. Jetpack also provides spam filtering as well as login protection.

Jetpack offers a free plan that is great for beginners and three other paid plans for bloggers that are interested in more features.

3. Yoast

If Jetpack is my second favorite WordPress plugin, guess what my first favorite is? That’s right! Yoast.

As you know, growing a successful blog takes more than just excellent writing skills. It also involves learning how to structure and optimize your content in a way that helps search engines read and rank your content.

Yoast is a WordPress SEO plugin that walks you through most of the steps you need to take to properly optimize your content for Google.

Once you download the Yoast SEO plugin, you’ll notice some additional information on the bottom of your new blog posts with the heading “Yoast SEO.”

yoast seo plugin

You’ll also see three tabs at the top, including SEO, readability, and social. Let’s talk about how each of these works.

SEO

The SEO tab prompts you to enter a keyword and write a snippet (meta description) where you include your target keyword. Yoast will also provide you with a quick SEO analysis to see what changes you need to make in your content to make your blog post more search engine friendly. 

Some SEO suggestions will include:

  • Inserting outbound links (links to credible websites that aren’t your own)
  • Adding internal links (adding links to other pages on your website)
  • Placing your keyword in your introduction
  • Keeping your meta description within a certain word length
  • Adding more text if your post is too short
  • And more!

You’ll also notice some premium Yoast features like adding related keyword phrases.

Readability

The next tab is the readability tab. This tab provides a quick analysis of your text and offers suggestions on what you can do to make your post easier to read. 

Here are some things you can expect in the readability analysis:

  • Use of transition words
  • Flesch Reading Ease score
  • Passive voice
  • Variety in sentences
  • Subheading distribution
  • Paragraph length
  • And more!

Google is more likely to rank your content in the search results if it’s easy to read. If you don’t have Yoast, you can use the Hemingway App to check your readability.

Social

The last heading in Yoast is the social heading. This section helps you optimize your blog post for social shares. 

You can include a title, a description, and an image that will appear on Facebook and Twitter when people share your post.

When your social share information matches the platform in question, your content is more likely to get shared.

4. Sumo

Sumo for WordPress is another Simply Can’t Live Without It WordPress Tool if you are looking to build an email list.

Sumo’s free tool is fairly comprehensive and provides the following lead capture tools:

  • Email opt-in forms
  • Fully customizable design
  • Social media sharing
  • Visitor targeting
  • Unlimited subscribers
  • 10,000 emails per month
  • Email integrations
  • Analytics
  • 1-on-1 onboarding
  • And several eCommerce tools

If email marketing is your main jam, you can opt for the paid pro plan. This plan includes everything in the free plan plus advanced visitor targeting, A/B testing, ability to remove Sumo branding, 50,000 emails per month, eCommerce design templates, and unlimited stats.

Remember, email marketing has the highest ROI out of any other digital marketing strategy. Some studies show an email marketing ROI of 4400% or $ 44 for every $ 1 spent. The more email subscribers you capture, the higher your chances of a stunning ROI will be.

Not only is Sumo a great lead capture tool, but it also helps with social shares. In your Sumo account, you can add a social share bar to your website for free. 

Here’s how:

  • Login to your Sumo account and click on “extras” on the top navigation bar.
  • Select “share” from the drop-down menu.
  • You’ll see a navigation bar including clicks, settings, layout, and more.
  • Start by clicking on “settings.”
  • From here, you can choose which social platforms you want to include in your share bar.
  • Continue through the navigational bar menu until you have fully customized your share bar.
  • When you are done with each section, remember to press “save.”

Once you are done telling Sumo what you want it to do, go to your WordPress website and refresh the page. You will see a share bar in the place where you indicated you wanted Sumo to add social share buttons.

Blogging Can Be Easier on WordPress

Blogging is constantly evolving. Every day, there are better platforms, tools, and plugins that make blogging easier. 

With all of the current tools on the market, there is no reason to remain loyal to a web hosting platform that is stuck in the dark ages. 

Check out WordPress hosting from HostGator where you get free migrations, advanced security, 2.5x the speed, and more.

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Cloud vs. Shared Hosting

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Cloud Hosting vs. Shared Hosting

To have a site live on the Internet you’re going to need web hosting. But, how do you choose the right kind of hosting for your business? And what is the difference between cloud hosting vs. shared hosting?

Web hosting can be complex and there are a lot of options. It’s easy to get lost, so don’t feel bad if you’re confused at the starting point.

Below we dive into the differences between cloud hosting and shared hosting. These are two of the most common hosting choices. Remember, there is no right choice for everyone; the right type for you depends upon the needs of your website.

Let’s jump in!

types of web hosting explained

What is shared hosting?

Shared web hosting is the cheapest, most popular and most widely available type of hosting solution. You’ll usually see it advertised for $ 9.99 or less a month.

With shared hosting a single server is divided up between multiple users. Each user will get a shared amount of bandwidth. However, each user can also put an unlimited amount of sites on their account. So the server that’s being split up between multiple accounts can sometimes end up hosting thousands of sites!

shared hosting infographic

This means that your site could perform poorly if another site on the server is taking up too many resources. However, web hosts usually do their best to mitigate these effects.

Cloud hosting is better for larger sites, while shared hosting can be a great choice for those with a very tight budget or for people who are planning on keeping their sites very small.

What is cloud hosting?

Curious about cloud hosting? Cloud hosting, or cloud VPS hosting, allows you to use the resources of multiple servers, rather than having your site confined to a single server location. This makes cloud services highly sought after.

The main benefit of cloud hosting is that it allows for unlimited expansion and is a must-have for heavy traffic sites. Cloud hosting also allows for greater protection from an overwhelmed server. If one server is overwhelmed, you’ll simply be switched to another cloud server. 

Cloud Hosting vs. Web Hosting: Which one should you choose?

Cloud hosting is widely seen as a better option to shared hosting because of its ability to handle large amounts of traffic, its improved security protection, and its reliability.

However, these extras do come at a cost, and most cloud hosting options are more expensive than shared hosting plans. But if you’re planning on growing your site and you need a site with a high performance rate, the advantages then cloud hosting will probably be the best option for your needs.

That being said, if you’re just getting started and have a very small or nonexistent budget, a shared hosting plan may be a good option for you then you until you have the cash to upgrade.

What hosting plan do you have? Let us know in the comments below.

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Web Hosting vs. WordPress Hosting

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Web hosting is an absolutely critical aspect of any online business. Without the proper hosting plan, you won’t have a website, it’s as simple as that. However, choosing the right kind of web hosting package for your needs is another thing entirely.

There are a variety of hosting options you’ll come across. The most common being basic shared hosting, VPS, WordPress hosting, and dedicated servers. To keep things simple we’re going to look at two of the most commonly used hosting providers and options for websites that utilize the WordPress CMS.

Below we dive deeper into the world of web hosting as we compare WordPress hosting vs. web hosting with shared hosting services.

Recommended WordPress Hosting

What is WordPress Hosting?

WordPress hosting is a hosting environment that’s specifically designed to cater to WordPress websites. Think of this web host as wearing a well-tailored suit, custom fitted to your body. WordPress hosting is tailor-made to work with WordPress sites.

Here are some of the WordPress hosting advantages:

It’s incredibly fast. Every aspect of the server has been tweaked to cater to WordPress’s setup and enable quick loading times. This level of hosting can often drop page loading speed and response time by a second or more.

It’s much more secure. This kind of web hosting service offers increased security protocols and more individualized attention. Plus, if you do get hacked you’ll have a support team who has experience with WordPress-specific attacks.

Your server is always up to date. The team who manages your hosting will always ensure the server is running the latest software, so your site will perform as efficiently as possible. Their goal is to keep you, and your website, happy.

Dedicated customer support. The support teams who run managed WordPress hosting accounts are generally WordPress experts. They offer support, troubleshooting and hosting problem solutions whenever needed. 

Increased uptime. Since your site will be sharing resources with less websites, and in some cases, none, your site is able to use a greater portion of the server resources.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

Since WordPress hosting is a more customized hosting solution, there are a few drawbacks that come with the upgraded service. For instance, the costs for this kind of web hosting are generally higher because of how customized it is. 

In addition, there are also limitations on the amount of customization you can do across your site. Some WordPress hosts won’t allow your site to use certain plugins. So, if your site requires certain plugins to function, and those plugins are on the host’s restricted list, you may need to find another hosting option. (HostGator customers on our managed WordPress plan can find the full list of disallowed plugins here.)

Lastly, you can only run a WordPress blog on WordPress hosting. Any other kinds of CMSs aren’t allowed.

Why Would I Use Shared Web Hosting?

The advantages of shared hosting can be great if you’re just getting started with building a website and are unsure if you want to commit all the way or not. However, if you’re looking to grow your website and are expecting to receive a very large amount of traffic, then you may want to consider upgrading to something more reliable than shared hosting. 

For context, when you use a shared hosting option your website is put on a server with hundreds, and sometimes thousands of others. You have no idea who these other websites are, and whether or not they have proper security measures in place, or if they are using a properly coded theme.

The resources on the shared server will get divided between every website using the server. This means that if a different website on the server experiences a large surge in traffic from a post going viral, then your site may load slowly as a result.

You can definitely use WordPress on our shared hosting plan, but you will be responsible for a little more management of the environment than you would if you choose our optimized WordPress hosting package.

There’s no “right” hosting choice for every kind of business out there. But, if you can afford the additional costs of WordPress managed hosting, and have plans to grow your website in the future, then utilizing the hosting services of managed WordPress hosting is generally the way to go.

If you’re unsure about the higher price point, then stick with the basic shared web hosting, you can always upgrade in time, as your site grows!

What kind of hosting do you prefer for your website? Please share in the comments below.

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7 Reasons Why You Should Choose WordPress For Your Website

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Why Choose WordPress for Your Website?

Have you ever wanted to start a side business but hesitated because you knew you’d need a website? Or missed out on customers because your small business doesn’t have a site yet?

If you’re not a tech-minded person, setting up a site can seen confusing and time-consuming if you do it yourself–or expensive if you hire someone else to do it.

Those worries are understandable. However, it’s 2018.

A website is a must if you want to reach your target market, and setting up a website is a lot easier than you may realize, especially if you use WordPress to set it up. 

best WordPress hosting

What Exactly Is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system (CMS), which means it’s designed to help you organize and display the content on your site.

What counts as content? Everything that appears on your site, from the header with your business name to your contact information to your blog posts and tutorial videos. If it’s on your site, it’s content.

(A note about WordPress.com versus WordPress.org, because you’ll see both online: WordPress.org offers the free CMS we’re talking about. WordPress.com offers a free, WordPress-CMS-powered platform for non-commercial blogs which can’t be customized with plugins or custom themes. If you’re running a business, WordPress.com is not a workable option.)

7 Reasons to Choose WordPress for Your Business Website

It may help to think of your website as an empty retail space. Your CMS is the shelving and racks you set up to make sure the contents of your store are organized logically, easy to reach, and displayed attractively.

When you’re choosing a CMS, just as when you pick out store fixtures, you have lots of options—and they’re not all equal in terms of cost, function, and aesthetics.

Here’s why WordPress is the busy, non-techie, small-business owner’s friend.

1. WordPress is free.

Free is good when you’re operating on a small-business budget. You’ll still have to pay for web hosting, and you may want to buy a theme instead of using a free one to change the way your site looks (more about that in a moment), but the WordPress CMS costs nothing to download.

2. WordPress is easy to use.

WordPress prides itself on its five-minute installation and support guides to walk you through the process.

I’m not a technical savant but I’ve set up several WordPress sites, and it really is that easy to get a basic site running and looking respectable. Doing something complex may require some reading and conversations in the support forums, but for most new site owners, going from zero to website in a few minutes is more than enough.

The topic of support forums brings us to the next thing WordPress has going for it.

3. WordPress has a vast support community.

Thirty percent of all websites run on WordPress, and it has a 60% share of the CMS market. The number of people using WordPress means that if you have a problem or a question, odds are there’s an answer waiting for you in one of the WordPress support or developer forums.

It also means that if you ever want to outsource your site maintenance, content, or design, there are plenty of developers, writers, editors, and designers who know how your site’s CMS works.

4. It’s easy to make your WordPress site look unique.

Because WordPress’s code is open source, hobby and professional developers are always finding ways to improve it. There are thousands of free and paid themes you can choose from to make your site look the way you want it to.

Think of your theme as similar to the interior decor of a brick-and-mortar store. Your theme will take care of your virtual color scheme, signage, and the details of your site layout. You can search by keyword to find themes that fit your business best, and if you ever get tired of your theme, it’s usually pretty easy to switch to a new theme, although there are some steps you’ll want to take first to keep your site working the way you want after the switch.

5. Create your dream functionality with WordPress plugins.

Once you’ve chosen a web host and a theme and set up your basic site, there are thousands of plugins you can use to make the site work exactly the way you want it to. Whether you want it to load faster, backup automatically, or optimize your blog posts for search results, there’s a plugin (or five) for that.

And because WordPress supports multimedia content, you’re not limited to blog posts and photos. You can embed videos, podcasts, and slideshows on your site with the right plugins.

6. WordPress takes security seriously.

WordPress also makes it easy to keep your site’s software up to date, which is critical to keeping hackers and data thieves out of your site. Some WordPress software updates are automatic, to prevent security vulnerabilities, and you can choose whether you want your plugins to update automatically or whether you’ll handle those updates yourself.

To update plugins and themes, all you have to do is click the checkboxes next to the items you want to update and then hit the update button. The trick is remembering to check for updates, which is why the auto-update option is so useful.

7. WordPress plays well with others.

Even the coolest looking website needs to interact seamlessly with other platforms and with people, so you can get found and make sales.

First, getting found: WordPress is structured to be easy for search engine crawlers to navigate, which means your site will perform better in search results, especially if you add an SEO plugin like Yoast. WordPress also plays well with Google’s new criteria for mobile-friendly websites. You can make your site easier for mobile users to navigate by choosing a mobile-optimized or responsive theme from the start, or by installing a plugin to make your site work better on mobile devices.

As for making sales, if you intend to sell directly from your site, WordPress plugin Woo Commerce makes it easy to sell products, digital downloads, subscriptions, and membership access to your site.

And if you ever want to change web hosting services, you can migrate your entire WordPress site to a new host easily, with fewer steps and in less time than it would take you to migrate a free site builder-hosted site.

WordPress: The Right Choice for Your Website

The bottom line is that if you want a site that looks professional, gets results, and is easy to set up and maintain, WordPress is almost always going to be your best bet, especially if you’re not code-savvy and want to get on with running your business.

Have more questions about how to install and use WordPress? We’ve got answers.

Ready to get started with WordPress? See why customers trust HostGator’s WordPress hosting.

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How To Choose The Perfect Domain Name For Your Business

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Choose A Domain Name for Your Business

Choosing the right domain name for your business is a big decision. Your domain name is more than the words you type into the browser, it’s the foundation for your online identity.

Choose the wrong domain name and you’ll end up doing your business a disservice. But, choose the right domain name and you’ll make your online success that much easier.

But, how exactly do you choose a good domain name for your blog or business?

We’ve got you covered. Below you’ll learn how to choose a domain name for your business, and the most important factors in getting your domain name right

1. Go with “.com”

When it comes to choosing your domain extension you’re going to have a lot of different options available. It can be tempting to go with a TLD that’s innovative and creative. However, if you can it’s always a good idea to go with .com.

The .com TLD is by far the most commonly used and recognized TLD. So, people already have a built-in association with .com being the primary TLD. You can use this to your advantage and build a higher-quality brand by choosing .com

You can also think of it this way. If your website does become very successful and you decided to start with something like .co, then you’d probably need to eventually purchase the .com too

2. Scoop up other domain extensions, too

When you register your .com domain name, pick up top-level domain variations like .biz and .net if you can. Redirect them to your .com site so visitors who type in the wrong domain will still find your site.

For example, sephora.biz, sephora.net and sephora.info all take you straight to Sephora.com.

Sephora TLDs redirects

As the number of domain registrations continues to increase, good names are becoming more and more competitive.  For this reason, it’s possible to have a competitor snatch up the “.net” or “.biz” version of your URL – even if you’ve secured the “.com” version.

Because this can lead to lost traffic – especially if your competitors wind up outranking you in the search engine results pages – consider buying up popular TLDs (top-level domains) for your chosen domain, if they’re available.

3. Keep it short

When in doubt, make your domain as short as possible. This will help with making your brand more memorable. The fewer characters your domain has the easier it’ll be to type, say, and share with friends.

Now it might be hard to find a single word domain that’s related to your business, especially today. However, consider combining two or three shorter words together to make something memorable.

Plus, since more internet users today use their smartphones to browse the web, you need to make it easy for them to type your domain into their browser

4. Avoid “cutesy” names and abbreviations

Don’t use cute shorteners like 4U and 2U in your domain names because:

  • They’re hard to remember.
  • They look unprofessional.
  • Only Prince could get away with that, and 4 real UR not Prince.

If you think people might have trouble remembering long URLs, know that they’ll have a field day trying to remember your text-speak domain name!  Steer clear and look for alternative domain names that convey your company’s brand messaging without resorting to tricks like these.

Domain Name

5. Don’t make it awkward

Domain names don’t include spaces, and using hyphens in domain names is a terrible idea, so whatever you choose shouldn’t look awkward written as one word. 

To see what we mean, consider the real-life URLs for the following legitimate company names:

  • Pen Island – “www.penisland.net”
  • IT Scrap – “www.itscrap.com”
  • Who Represents – “www.whorepresents.com”
  • Experts Exchange – “www.expertsexchange.com”
  • Speed of Art – “www.speedofart.com”

Clearly, carefully reviewing your final selection before hitting the “Register” button is always a good idea!

6. Make it brandable

Brandable means that when you see or hear your domain it sounds like a brand. By looking at your domain name your visitors should be able to intuit what your website is going to be about. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to spell out exactly what your business does with a list of keywords but instead try to capture the essence of what you do.

When a customer sees a name like billreducer.com, they have one expectation in mind: this website is going to help me save money by reducing my bills in some way.

Choose a name that is going to let customers know what they are in for from the moment they read it. Your site should deliver what it says on the label, and your domain name is the label.

For example, if you sell pet supplies in Tulsa, www.tulsapetsupplies.com makes that clear to visitors in a way that, say, www.treatsandtoys.com does not.

Don’t make it confusing for your visitors to figure out what your business does. Say it all with a great domain name.

7. Choose a domain that’s easy to remember

Customers will find your website URL on flyers, newsletters, search queries, and other websites so making the address stick is key.

Memorable domain names are often short, clever, and avoid trendy humor, hyphens or numbers. The longer or more complicated the domain name, the less likely it is to stick. A good rule of thumb is if you saw the domain name on a delivery-truck sign, could you remember it later?

Think obvious, catchy, unique, and memorable.

Do a quick analysis of your favorite domain names and see what makes them stand out, and incorporate those elements you like into your own business domain name.

8. Stay clear of copyright issues

If you’re pretty much settled on a domain name, then you need to spend some time looking into the past of your domain.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have there been any associated domain names that have a negative public opinion?
  • Does your domain name contain any words that have a double meaning?
  • Are there any existing trademark issues with the words used in your domain?

The last thing you want is to find and register the perfect domain name, only to realize that your domain is creating brand confusion, or that you’re accidentally stepping on someone’s trademark.

Double-check social media, too. You want to make sure any relevant social media handles are still available. This will help you build brand consistency and make it that much easier for your visitors to find your business on social media.

9. Unlock the power of keywords

Internet search is based on a framework of keywords and phrases when indexing addresses and sites, so why not take advantage of this when choosing your domain name?

Brainstorm keywords related to your organization and use these in shaping your chosen name. For example, your butcher’s shop might name meat, butcher, smoked, cured, savory, friendly, and service as descriptive keywords for your business. An appropriate name might then be SavoryService.com or TheSmilingButcher.com. Either domain respects the fact that search engines work off of such keywords when indexing and fetching information for users, while providing a description of what customers can expect in the process.

What keywords do people use to search for businesses like yours? Use them in your domain name if you can.

10. Protect your privacy

When you register your domain, the rules of the internet require that you give your

  • real name
  • home or business address
  • email address
  • phone number

Anyone online can find that information through the global WHOIS database. When you can register a domain, your information becomes public knowledge and anyone can do a domain lookup to see who owns the domain. Don’t want randos looking up your contact info? Sign up for HostGator’s WHOIS privacy service when you register. We’ll replace your private information with ours.

HostGator Domain Privacy Protection

Ready to register?

It only takes one click to check if your dream domain name is available. Once you’ve found the right name and made sure it’s available, it takes just a few minutes to buy and register it. 

Check now to see if your domain name is available today.

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How to Test a New WordPress Theme Without Crashing Your Current Site [4-Step Guide]

The post How to Test a New WordPress Theme Without Crashing Your Current Site [4-Step Guide] appeared first on HostGator Blog.

Wanna try out a new WordPress theme, but are afraid of how it will impact your current site? How do you ensure that while you’re testing out new theme ideas, you don’t crash your current site, lose precious copy, or mess up your website?

Speaking as someone who accidentally erased her entire website back in 2015 (massive oops), it’s a valid concern. 

To help you avoid losing your website to a cyber black hole, here are some practical ways to test your new WordPress theme without crashing your current site.

best WordPress hosting

How to test a WordPress theme for your current website without going live

If you’re ready to make changes to your current site and try a new WordPress theme, here are the steps to follow. 

Step 1: Back it up (Just like Prince Royce and J-Lo recommend)

Remember when I said I accidentally deleted my entire WordPress website back in my novice freelance writing days? I don’t know how I deleted it. All I know is that my site was gone forever. It was particularly upsetting since I paid a chunk of change to a designer to create my site for me, and I had to pay someone AGAIN to get my new freelance writing website up and running.

Had I followed a few simple steps and backed up my website, I could have saved myself a headache and some cash. Oh well. We live, we learn. 

Here’s how to back up your website:

Yep, two steps. That’s it. Oh, how I wish the older, wiser version of myself could go back in time and tell my younger self to back up her website.

Step 2: Choose your WordPress theme testing option

When testing a WordPress theme, you have three options:

  • Create a coming soon page
  • Download a staging plugin
  • Download and test in a local WordPress testing environment.

We’ll review each of these below.

Option A: Create a coming soon page

Let’s say you’re making changes to your website, but you’re not quite set on what new theme you want to use. You don’t want your visitors to see you changing back and forth between multiple theme options for obvious reasons.

Instead of trying to make changes for everyone to see, you can activate what’s called a coming soon plugin.

A WordPress coming soon plugin allows you to create a page with a custom message that says you’re making exciting changes to your site, and you’ll be back online as soon as your updates are complete. 

Here are some things to include on your coming soon page:

  • A compelling headline of what is coming soon
  • A brief description of upcoming changes and why it’s exciting
  • A timeline of when your new site will launch
  • A way to get in touch with you in the meantime (e.g., social media, phone, email, etc.)
  • A sign-up form for your email list

Option B: Download a staging plugin

If you don’t want to take your website down, but still want to test new designs or a new WordPress theme, you have an alternative.

You can install a WordPress staging plugin.

Plugins like WP Staging, Duplicator, and WP Stagecoach clone a version of your site where you can make changes behind the scenes.

With the help of a staging plugin, you can make any changes you want without any fear of erasing or breaking your current website. You also don’t have to take your website down while you’re experimenting, as your staging website is not visible to the public.

Here is how to build a staging site with a plugin (e.g., WP Staging):

  1. Download your preferred WordPress staging plugin
  2. Install and activate your preferred staging plugin
  3. Navigate to the staging plugin on the left navigation bar in your WordPress dashboard
  4. Follow the prompts to start and create your staged website
  5. Name your staged website
  6. Wait for the plugin to clone your website 
  7. Open your new staged/cloned website
  8. Click login
  9. Use your WordPress login credentials
  10. Notice the URL will include the staging website URL (e.g., wp-staging.com), followed by what you named your site.
  11. Make your changes

Directions may vary slightly depending on which plugin you use, but all the plugins listed above are fairly intuitive to navigate.

Option C: Download and test in a local WordPress testing environment

Let’s say you don’t dare mess around in WordPress at all, and you want your changes to stay as free and as clear from your current site as possible.

There is an answer for you as well. It’s installing a local WordPress testing environment app on your computer.

A local testing environment is like having a server on your own computer where you can make changes to your site and preview them without it ever touching your site. In short, it’s just like a staging site, but not a WordPress plugin. It works on your computer instead.

Popular WordPress testing environments include DesktopServer by ServerPress and Local by Flywheel. 

To set up local testing of your WordPress site, you’ll need to download a WordPress migration app, export your production site to a file, save it to your computer, and follow the steps your local testing software requires. 

Consider using the All-in-One WP Migration plugin to export your site.

If you have a simple blog or website, it’s sufficient to test with a staging website. If you have a robust website with lots of content and an online store, for example, it’s a good idea to look into a local WordPress testing software.

Step 3: Install your new theme into WordPress

To change the current design of your WordPress site to a new WordPress theme, you first have to select your new WordPress theme and install it into WordPress.

There are several free WordPress themes, and many of them are gorgeous. If you are working on a budget, browse the free WordPress themes and pick something you like.

If you want more options, you can purchase a WordPress theme and install it on your WordPress account. Here are some popular places to find a paid WordPress theme:

If you’d rather support a small business, many talented designers create awesome WordPress themes you can purchase. You can look into Etsy or your favorite independent designer.

Regardless of what you choose, make sure the theme is well-designed and mobile-responsive.

Once you have purchased your theme, here’s how to install it:

  1. Download the .zip file of the new theme you purchased and save it to your desktop.
  2. Login to your WordPress site.
  3. Navigate to the “Appearance” section on the left navigation bar of your WordPress dashboard.
  4. Click on “themes.”
  5. At the top of the screen, you’ll see “Add New” next to the heading “Themes.” Click on “Add New.”
  6. Next to the heading “Add New,” you’ll see “Upload Theme.” Click on it.
  7. Either drag and drop the .zip file or click “choose file” and select the .zip file.
  8. Click “install now.”
  9. WordPress will return a result that your theme has been installed.

From here, you can either activate your new theme or press live preview. You can also add as many themes as you want using this same method and then preview them in the next step.

If you want to see how your site would look in the theme you just downloaded, select live preview. Just don’t hit “activate and publish,” unless you are one-hundred percent sure you want this to be the new look of your website.

Step 4: Browse theme options and preview them live

WordPress has an awesome feature for its themes. With every theme you install, you can either “customize it,” or “live preview” it. Let’s talk about how.

If you navigate to “Appearance” in your dashboard and click on “Themes,” WordPress will show you all the available themes you have uploaded.

Here is what my dashboard looks like:

how to live preview a wordpress theme

If you hover over the theme in interest, you’ll see two options: activate and live preview.

Activate will activate that theme for your website. Live preview will simply show you what your site would look like dressed up in that particular store. It’s like taking your website shopping for a new outfit!

Here is what my travel website looks like in its current theme:

travel website with wordpress theme

I know. Hold the applause.

If I want to test out a new theme, I follow the process above and click “live preview.”

live preview new theme in wordpress

Here is what my website would look like in that particular theme. Remember, I haven’t copied any of my custom code or tweaked anything yet. This just gives me a general idea.

live preview wordpress theme before activating it

What do you think? Should I change my theme? Either way, I can follow this process continually, rinse and repeat, until I have settled on a theme.

If I don’t press “activate and publish,” WordPress won’t save any of my changes. This is a great way to test a new WordPress theme without making changes.

Once you are finally ready to switch over to a new theme, you can activate it, customize it, and publish it.

Check out HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting plan

If you plan on making changes to your website, or just want the security that your website will have backups, then look into HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting plan.

A managed WordPress hosting plan from HostGator includes 2.5X faster load times, an easy control panel for simple navigation, free website migration (so you don’t have to do the scary work yourself), 1GB-3GB of backups (depending on your plan), and more.

Check out HostGator today, and get your website set up with a new, gorgeous, mobile-responsive WordPress theme.

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7 Tools That Make Mobile-Friendly Web Design Easy 

The post 7 Tools That Make Mobile-Friendly Web Design Easy  appeared first on HostGator Blog.

As of 2019, mobile website traffic (not including tablet traffic) generated over 52% of all global internet traffic. To capture and keep the attention of the growing number of mobile searchers, you need to invest in mobile-friendly site design.

While it’s true that mobile-friendly website design helps you provide excellent user experience, it also presents a slew of other benefits. A mobile-friendly website also translates to:

  • Better Google search rankings
  • Boosted mobile conversion rates
  • Faster load speeds
  • Cohesive user experience across devices
  • Increased average visitor time on site
  • Competitive edge over non-mobile sites in your niche
  • More social media shares
  • And more!

Now that you’re convinced of the power of a mobile-friendly website, let’s talk about seven of the top tools that will make your website more mobile-friendly.

1. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

If you don’t know whether or not your website is mobile-friendly, don’t despair. A lot of people are in the same boat. That’s why Google offers a free mobile-friendliness testing tool.

To check your site, click on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test URL, input your website info, and click “test URL.”

google mobile-friendly website test

Once you’ve submitted your website URL, Google will analyze it for mobile-friendliness.

Google will quickly return a report to you. The report is easy to read and provides additional resources to help you learn more about mobile-friendly websites.

google mobile friendly website test results

In the event your test indicates that your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you know it’s time for a website overhaul.

2. Gator Website Builder

If you’re not interested in building your own website, consider Gator Website Builder. HostGator has over 200 templates that are already mobile-responsive, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your website will pass Google’s mobile-friendliness test. It will.

With the Gator Website Builder, you can pick a template with the perfect design for your website. Then, all you have to do is customize the design with the drag and drop builder to create a gorgeous and fully responsive site.

gator website builder design templates

3. WordPress Themes

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, powering over one-third of all websites on the internet.

When you set up a WordPress website, you don’t have to do any website coding yourself (although, you can). WordPress offers a wide range of free and paid themes. 

WordPress themes are getting more beautiful and easier to customize every day. Additionally, like HostGator’s templates, nearly all WordPress website templates are mobile-friendly.

When browsing through the templates, WordPress will allow you to install various free templates and conduct a live preview. 

wordpress twenty fifteen mobile-friendly theme description

When you press “live preview,” WordPress will show you exactly what your website would look like dressed up in that particular theme.

To double-check for mobile responsiveness, read the theme description. The description will usually tell you the WordPress team designed it using a “mobile-first approach.” This means it’s mobile-friendly.

3. FitVids

Video content goes a long way when it comes to increasing time spent on your site, boosting conversion rates, and increasing customer engagement levels. But, this only applies if your video actually fits on your visitors’ mobile screens. 

FitVids is an easy-to-use JQuery plugin that makes all your video embeds mobile-responsive. In other words, this tool ensures that when a mobile viewer visits your website, the video’s aspect ratio will automatically adapt to the screen size of the viewer, no matter what mobile device someone is using. 

4. Adaptive Images

Images are another powerful mobile-design tool you can use to capture the eye of your visitors. If you’re a novice website builder with no previous design experience, it can be difficult to size your images correctly. 

Enter Adaptive Images.

Adaptive Images is a tool that detects your visitor’s screen size and does the hard resizing work for you. The tool will automatically create, cache, and deliver the re-scaled versions of your HTML images to match the viewer’s device size. Additionally, Adaptive Images speeds up the load time of images, decreasing UI lag.

The tool will work on your existing site, and all you have to do to set the tool up is add .htaccess and adaptive-images.php to your document-root folder. Then, add one line of JavaScript into the <head> of your site. Finally, add your CSS Media Query values into $ resolutions in the PHP file.

5. FitText

When it comes to website copywriting and design trends, there are a few widely-accepted and standard rules. These rules include:

  • Headlines and company names will appear first and be the largest.
  • Subheadlines and slogans will appear second and be slightly smaller.
  • Paragraph text will appear under the subheadlines and will be standard paragraph size.

FitText is a tool that makes large text font-sizes flexible. In other words, you can design your headlines and subheadlines to appear larger than paragraph text but still count on a fluid and responsive layout.

Here is an example of how your headlines would scale appropriately across different devices when using FitText.

fittext tool automatically scales headlines for mobile-friendly website design

6. Resizer

Once you’ve used tools like FitVids, Adaptive Images, and FitText, how do you test whether or not everything is working correctly and looks good? It’s true you could pull out a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, and your mobile phone, and test on each device, but that’s not exactly practical or efficient.

Instead, check out Resizer by Material Design. Resizer is a free mobile-friendly design tool that will show you how your website looks across various devices. The tool fleshes out the screens quickly and displays your website on the main screen sizes next to each other. Here’s what it looks like.

resizer mobile-friendly web design tool

If you want to take a deeper look into how your website will look on devices of different sizes, you can click on either the desktop or the mobile icon on the top right side of the screen.

Then, look at the bar on the top of the screen. You’ll see an adjustable slide that allows you to view how your website looks on different sized tablet, mobile, and desktop screens in horizontal and landscape views.

resizer shows how website appears on different devices

This functionality is a quick way to ensure all your design elements look good across all devices, be they mobile or desktop.

7. Bootstrap

Do you have experience designing websites and want to put your own creativity into the process? If so, you can look into a tool like Bootstrap.

Bootstrap is one of the most popular front-end open toolkits for designing mobile-first websites. Bootstrap features SaaS variables and mixins, includes a responsive grid system, and provides extensive prebuilt components to help you create your website quickly.

Quickly Build a Mobile-Responsive Website with HostGator

There are several responsive design tools on the market that will help you with DIY mobile-friendly website building. However, if you’re new to building websites, you’ll want to do everything to ensure your website’s design is outstanding and mobile-responsive.

For novices, it makes sense to purchase an affordable hosting package from HostGator, and then select a free, customizable Gator Website Builder theme or a WordPress theme.

Both HostGator and WordPress themes are easy to customize, mobile-responsive, and robust in their functionality. To get started with HostGator, check out Gator Website Builder now.

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6 Best WordPress Plugins for Freelance Consultants

The post 6 Best WordPress Plugins for Freelance Consultants appeared first on HostGator Blog.

Freelancing is more than just independently doing client work on a sunny beach as you listen to the waves crash. Freelance consultants actually own and operate small businesses that require project management skills, financial acumen, and marketing knowledge.

However, it’s impossible (and unreasonable) for freelancers to have expertise in every aspect of their business. That’s where WordPress plugins can step in to help freelancers with their invoicing, social media, and websites.

Ready to improve your business? Check out these six WordPress plugins for freelance consultants. 

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1. WP Project Manager

Research shows that the majority of freelancers work on multiple projects at a time. As a freelance consultant, you’re juggling multiple tasks at once. You’re helping various clients design logos, write articles, and solve complex issues. So, it makes sense to organize your responsibilities with a project management tool. 

WP Project Manager helps you self-manage your clients and tasks without the hassle. It comes with a built-in time tracker for you to keep a log of when you start and stop projects. You can even calculate the hourly fee to invoice your clients. The interactive task calendar provides daily, weekly, and monthly views of your task timelines with a drag-and-drop feature.

wp project manager wordpress plugin for freelancers

With this plugin, you’ll work and deliver projects in a timely manner. No more missing deadlines because you forgot to add it to your to-do list. Instead, you can use WP Project Manager to create and assign tasks faster.

2. Yoast SEO

An online presence is essential for freelancers to attract new clients. So, you’ll want to build a website to educate potential clients about your small business. However, for your site to appear in Google or Bing results, you need to implement search engine optimization best practices.

Yoast SEO helps freelancers rank on the top pages of search engines. This plugin offers title tag and meta description templating, a content readability analysis, and complete control of your website’s breadcrumbs. You’ll know how to improve your site before you hit publish. 

yoast seo plugin

3. Constant Contact Forms

A study found that over one-third of freelancers use an online portfolio to market themselves. Online portfolios are an effective tool for helping freelancers showcase their work. You can maximize your marketing efforts by adding a signup form to your site.  

Constant Contact Forms makes it simple to capture your potential clients’ contact information. You can customize the forms to collect details relevant to your industry. For instance, if you’re a freelance graphic designer, you may include form fields for the type of color, size, or design of an image.

constant contact wordpress plugin

This plugin optimizes forms to fit the mobile screens of your visitors. Plus, you can add all the new email addresses to your Constant Contact lists.

4. WordPress to Buffer

Social media still reigns as a powerful channel to market products and services. Major well-known brands like Wendy’s and Nike use their social media accounts to spread product messages and listen to customers. In a similar way, freelancers can get on Facebook to discuss their new services and learn from potential clients. 

“Having an authentic voice on social media is important, but not as easy as it sounds. It’s important because it humanizes your brand – whether that’s a company big or small, or a personal brand – and encourages people to respond and talk about you positively,” writes Mike Eckstein, a product marketer at Buffer.

With the WordPress to Buffer plugin, you can save a few hours in your work schedule. This tool automatically posts your social media content to your Buffer account for scheduled publishing to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you upgrade, you also get full image control and bulk publishing of old posts. 

wp to buffer social media scheduling plugin for wordpress

5. Testimonials Slider

Word-of-mouth marketing is a key part of bringing new clients to your business. Nearly a third of freelancers find work through referrals. Once a referral lands on your site, the next step is to showcase your satisfied previous clients. 

Testimonials offer an honest perspective of how your work has made an impact on your clients. Your testimonials should provide a quote from the client and the person’s name and title. A pro tip is to use quotes that explicitly state how your product or service improved your client’s business or life. 

testimonials plugin for freelancers

You can display your testimonials on your site using the Testimonials Slider plugin. Choose from multiple layouts, like columns, sliders, and grids, to arrange your testimonials. You also can select one of the six ready-to-use templates if you’re short on time. 

6. Sprout Invoices

Freelancers don’t have a regular payday, like salaried employees. They must invoice their clients for work to get paid. 

Sprout Invoices allows you to create invoices for your clients in minutes, rather than hours. In the plugin’s dashboard, you can customize the invoice template to match your brand by changing the logo and header background. You also can set pre-defined line items for each client. 

sprout invoices plugin for wordpress

“There is no exact format that you should use for your invoice, but certain items are expected. By law, you must include your name, address and VAT number (if registered) plus the name and postal address of the client in question. It’s also helpful to add other items, such as your bank details and terms of payment,” states Katy Cowan, the editor of Creative Boom.

For some freelance consultants, it’s a frustrating process that takes up a lot of time in their day. This WordPress plugin is available to streamline your accounting approach. 

Essential WordPress Plugins for Freelancers

Not only do freelance consultants manage their client work, but they also must run every part of their small business. WordPress plugins make the process easier for freelancers by keeping track of their projects, adding testimonials to their websites, and posting social media content.

For more help building out your freelance website on WordPress, check out our review of the Best WordPress Themes for Freelancers.

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Divi vs. Elementor: Which WordPress Page Builder Is Right for Your Site?

The post Divi vs. Elementor: Which WordPress Page Builder Is Right for Your Site? appeared first on HostGator Blog.

If you’re interested in getting a website up and running and want to do it yourself, then WordPress is an excellent bet.

WordPress is the most popular content management system and powers 35.2% of all websites. WordPress also gets increasingly easier to self-navigate as the days and years progress, and there are several excellent WordPress page builder software programs that will help you through the process of building your website.

With all of the different website builders on the market, though, how is a novice to know which one is the best? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for, how much you already know about website building and your budget.

To help you make an informed decision, here is an in-depth review of two of the most popular WordPress page builders on the market, Divi vs. Elementor.

best WordPress hosting

What is Divi?

You may already know Divi as one of the most popular WordPress themes, but it’s more than that. Divi is also a website building platform that makes building a WordPress website significantly easier. Divi also includes several visual features that help you make your website more visually appealing.

divi wordpress theme page builder

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most impressive features of the Divi WordPress builder. 

Features of DIVI

Here is what you can expect feature-wise when you select Divi as your WordPress page builder.

Drag & drop building. Divi makes it easy to add, delete, and move elements around as you’re building your website. The best part is you don’t have to know how to code. All of the design is done on the front end of your site, not the back-end.

Real-time visual editing. You can design your page and see how it looks as you go. Divi provides many intuitive visual features that help you make your page look how you want it to without having to know anything technical about web design.

Custom CSS controls. If you do have custom CSS, you can combine it with Divi’s visual editing controls. If you don’t know what this means, no worries. You can stick to a theme or the drag and drop builder.

Responsive editing. You don’t have to worry about whether or not your website will be mobile responsive. It will be. Plus, you can edit how your website will look on a mobile device with Divi’s various responsive editing tools.

Robust design options. Many WordPress builders have only a few design options. Divi allows you full design control over your website.

divi wordpress page builder full design editing options

Inline text editing. All you have to do to edit your copy is click on the place where you want your text to appear and start typing.

Save multiple designs. If you’re not sure exactly how you want your website to look before you publish it, you can create multiple custom designs, save them, and decide later. You can also save your designs to use as templates for future pages. This helps your website stay consistent and speed up the website creation process.

Global elements and styles. Divi allows you to manage your design with website-wide design settings, allowing you to build a whole website, not just a page.

Easy revisions. You can quickly undo, redo, and make revisions as you design.

Pros of Divi

Why would you want to choose Divi vs. Elementor? Here are the top advantages of Divi to consider as you make your decision.

More templates. Divi has over 800 predesigned templates and they are free to use. If you don’t want to design your own website, simply pick one of the templates that best matches your style.

divi website templates

Full website packs. Not only does Divi have a wide range of pre-designed templates, but they also offer entire website packs, based on various industries and types of websites (e.g., business, e-commerce, health, beauty, services, etc.).  This makes it easy to quickly design a website that matches your needs.

In-line text editing. The in-line text editing feature is an excellent feature. All you have to do is point and click and you can edit any block of text.

Lots of content modules. Divi has over 30 customizable content modules. You can insert these modules (e.g., CTA buttons, email opt-in forms, maps, testimonials, video sliders, countdown timers, etc.) in your row and column layouts.

Creative freedom. You really have a lot of different options when it comes to designing your website. If you can learn how to use all of the various features, you’ll be able to build a nice website without having to know anything about coding.

Cons of Divi

Before you decide to hop on the Divi bandwagon, it’s essential to consider potential drawbacks. Here are the cons of the Divi WordPress website builder to help you make a more informed decision.

No pop-up builder. Unfortunately, Divi doesn’t include a pop-up builder. Pop-ups are a great way to draw attention to announcements, promotions, and a solid way to capture email subscribers. 

Too many options. While Divi has so many builder options that you can do nearly anything, some reviewers believe that all of the options are too many options. This can distract from the simplicity of use.

Learning curve. Since there are so many features with Divi, it can take some extra time to learn how to effectively use them all.

The Divi theme is basic. It’s critical to remember that the Divi theme and the Divi WordPress builder are two different things. You can use the Divi WordPress builder with any WordPress theme, including the Divi theme. However, if you opt for the Divi theme, it’s nice to know that some reviewers think the Divi theme is a bit basic. You may want to branch out and find a more suitable theme.

Glitchy with longer pages. Some reviewers also say that Divi can get glitchy when trying to build longer pages. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you’re only looking for a basic website.

What is Elementor?

Elementor is an all-in-one WordPress website builder solution where you can control every piece of your website design from one platform.

Like Divi, Elementor also provides a flexible and simple visual editor that makes it easy to create a gorgeous website, even if you have no design experience.

Elementor also touts their ability to help you build a website that loads faster and that you can build quickly.

Features of Elementor

You already know what Divi can do. Here is what you can expect feature-wise when you sign up with Elementor vs. Divi.

Drag and drop builder. Elementor also includes a drag and drop website builder, so you can create your website without knowing how to code. It also provides live editing so you can see how your site looks as you go. 

elementor drag and drop wordpress page builder

All design elements together. With Elementor, you don’t have to switch between various screens to design and to make changes and updates. All your content, including your header, footer, and website content, are editable from the same page.

Save and reuse elements and widgets. You can save design elements and widgets in your account and reuse them on other pages. This helps you save time and keep your pages consistent across your website.

300+ templates. Elementor has a pre-designed template for every possible website need and industry. If you don’t trust your drag and drop design skills, then simply pick one of the pre-designed templates. Of course, you can customize the theme with the drag and drop feature, but there is no need to start from scratch.

Responsive mobile editor. It’s no longer an option to have a website that isn’t mobile responsive. Elementor makes it a point to help you customize the way your website looks on a desktop and a mobile device, so you are catering to all your website visitors, not just those visiting from a desktop computer.

Pop-up builder. The use of pop-ups is a strategic way to draw attention to a promotion, an announcement, or your email list. Elementor’s pro plan helps you make pixel-perfect popups, including advanced targeting options.

elementor popup builder for wordpress

Over 90 widgets. You can choose from over 90 widgets that will help you quickly create the design elements you need to incorporate into your website. These widgets help you add things like buttons, forms, headlines, and more to your web pages.

Pros of Elementor

Here is a quick overview of the pros of the Elementor. If these advantages are important to you, Elementor may be the perfect fit for you.

Rich in features. Elementor is one of the best WordPress builders on the market and has tons of different features to help you create a quality website.

Maximum layout control. Elementor’s interface is extremely intuitive, and the design features are easy to use. You don’t have to train yourself on how to use Elementor. You just login, and start working.

Easy to use. For the most part, Elementor’s drag and drop interface is easy to use. You can choose from different premade blocks, templates, and widgets.

Finder search tool. In the event you can’t find something easily with Elementor, you can turn your attention to the search window, type in the feature or page you’re looking for, and Elementor will direct you to it.

Always growing. Elementor’s team is always working to stay ahead of the curve by pushing out new features often.

WooCommerce builder. Elementor has a nice WooCommerce Builder in their pro package. It’s easy to design your eCommerce website without having to know how to code. Widgets you can use on your product page include an add to cart button, product price, product title, product description, product image, upsells, product rating, related products, product stock, and more.

Integrations. Elementor provides various marketing integrations that most website owners use on their sites. Integrations include AWeber, Mailchimp, Drip, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, HubSpot, Zapier, GetResponse, MailerLite, and MailPoet. WordPress plugins include WooCommerce, Yoast, ACF, Toolset, and PODS. Social integrations include Slack, Discord, Facebook SDK, YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, SoundCloud, and Google Maps. Other integrations include Adobe Fonts, Google Fonts, Font Awesome 5, Font Awesome Pro, Custom Icon Libraries, and reCAPTCHA. There are also many 3rd party add-ons and you can build your own integrations.

Cons of Elementor

As with any website builder, there are advantages and disadvantages. Here are the cons of Elementor to consider when making your choice between Divi vs. Elementor.

Less templates than Divi. Elementor only has 300+ templates as opposed to Divi’s 800+. While there are fewer templates, however, they are still well-designed and will help you build a beautiful website. Some people may actually consider this an advantage, because there are fewer templates to sort through, and it doesn’t take up as much of your time to choose a template.

Outdated UI. Some reviewers say the Elementor user interface is outdated, making some features more difficult to find and use. It will be interesting to see if and how Elementor innovates its user interface in the future.

Issues with editing mode. Sometimes the website will look different when in editing mode. This can be frustrating for some users.

Margin and padding adjustability issue. When using the drag and drop builder, you can’t adjust the margin and padding, according to some reviewers.

Customer support. It can be difficult to quickly get in touch with a customer support team member and to quickly get custom solutions to your issues.

No white label. Elementor doesn’t come with a white label option.

Problems with third-party add-ons. While Elementor allows for a lot of third-party add-ons, these add-ons often cause issues.

Divi vs. Elementor: Which Will You Choose?

Regardless of which website builder you select, Divi or Elementor, you’ll need a web hosting company to park your WordPress website. 

HostGator provides a secure and affordable managed WordPress hosting plans that start at only $ 5.95 a month. Advantages include 2.5x the speed, advanced security, free migrations, a free domain, a free SSL certificate, and more.

Check out HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting now, and start building your WordPress website.

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How to Create a Great Blog Post in 5 Smart Steps

The post How to Create a Great Blog Post in 5 Smart Steps appeared first on HostGator Blog.

When blogging platforms first launched, they became a popular way for people to journal about the details of their lives to an anonymous audience.

We all know how quickly “mommy blogging” took off, and what a hit it was (and is even today). I still regularly read blogs like Scary Mommy and Rockin Mama. Who doesn’t?

Since the early days, blogging has evolved to become, not only a way to connect with an audience (be they moms or business owners), but also a crucial element for any business to survive. 

There are several reasons why blogging is essential to the success of your large or small business, but here are three big reasons:

  • Blogs drive traffic to your website. The more blog posts you publish, the more traffic your website receives. Once you publish 21-54 blog posts, your traffic can soar by as much as 30%, according to Traffic Generation Cafe.
  • Your audience engages in meaningful ways with your brand via blog posts. 77% of Internet users regularly read blog posts, according to research by Impact. And, internet users in the US spend 3x more time on blogs than they do on email.
  • Blogs help establish you as a thought leader and help people find you. 71% of business bloggers say their blogs have increased their visibility within their industries. And, 56% of business bloggers report their blog has helped their company establish a position as a thought leader.

Blogging helps you establish credibility, drive traffic to your website, and acts as a marketing tool to help you make sales.

But, blogging is more than just hopping online every so often and jotting down your thoughts. Writing a genuinely excellent blog post—a post that gets results—is an art and a science. This post will cover exactly what you need to do to write a blog post that knocks it out of the park.

Creating a blog

The Ultimate Checklist for Creating a Terrific Blog Post

1. Identify your audience

Before you even start writing, it’s integral that you know everything you can about your audience. Ask the following questions:

  • What are their basic demographics?
  • What are their preferences?
  • What are their interests?
  • How do they like to consume content? 

If you have robust data capabilities, you can leverage data for insights. If not, you can brainstorm ideas, talk to a few people that represent your target consumer, and create a customer profile.

Understanding your audience will give you insight into what you should write about, what tone and voice your blogs should take, and even how often you should post.

2. Conduct basic keyword research and optimize your blog post for search (SEO) accordingly

Don’t let the idea of keyword research scare you off if you’re a beginner. While there are plenty of high-tech paid tools to help large corporations identify keywords and optimal strategy to stand out in the search results (e.g., Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz Pro), there are also several free tools and tactics smaller businesses and bloggers can use. Let’s start with the basics.

When an internet user types a keyword into Google, Google uses an algorithm that searches through all web pages and ranks them based on relevancy. Google’s goal is to show internet searchers the most relevant results based on their search terms.

The first bit of good news is this. Every blog post doesn’t have to rank for every single keyword that is relevant to your business. It only needs to rank for the most relevant keyword to that particular blog post. The second bit of good news is Google’s algorithm mostly works on sentiment. This means if you’re writing helpful content on just one topic, you’re probably already hitting the mark.

Here are some basic SEO strategies to follow every time you write a blog post:

1. Choose a keyword. You can use a free keyword difficulty tool to identify the best keyword. Choose something that has some search volume, relates to your website, and isn’t too difficult to rank for. The Google Keyword Planner is free, and there are a handful of other free tools that will tell you what you need to know.

google keyword planner for blog research

2. Put your keyword in your title and headlines. If your keyword is “unicorns on the loose,” then make sure your title (H1 tag) is something like “7 Reasons Unicorns are on the Loose,” or something. You’ll also want to include your keyword in some of your subheadings (H2 tags).

3. Insert your keyword naturally in your text a few times. Google’s algorithm won’t know what your post is about unless you stay consistent. You don’t want to use your keyword too many times, but use your primary keyword in context when it makes sense. For example, say “unicorns on the loose,” instead of creatively switching it up and saying “horned wonders running around.”

4. Include an alt text tag in your images. Hate to break it to you, but Google’s algorithms don’t have eyes. If you want Google to know what your picture is, you have to label it with text. In other words, name the picture your primary keyword. 

optimize alt tag to help blog posts rank

5. Include a few internal and external links in your text. Backing up your claims with links to other credible external sources is a great SEO strategy. Adding internal links is another surefire way to help keep people on your website, provide valuable content, and improve your search engine ranking.

6. Write over 300 words. 300 words is the bare minimum amount of words you should write in a blog post. When it comes to blog posts, it’s like Thanksgiving dinner…the more, the merrier.

The most important thing you can do for SEO is to write on the topic and provide helpful content that sounds natural. Google’s algorithms are smart, will comb through your text, and if you’ve done the SEO basics, you’ll be in good shape.

Here’s a little insider secret for WordPress users: You don’t have to remember any of this, because WordPress has an incredible SEO plugin called Yoast that does all the hard work for you. If you download this plugin, Yoast will guide you through the proper SEO steps.

3. Write how internet users like to read

Think about the last blog post you read. Did it read like a novel or more like a quick, scannable document? Chances are if you paid attention to the blog post, it was easy to scan and read zero percent like a novel.

Successfully writing for the internet means forgetting everything your high school and college English teachers taught you about writing. You don’t write five structured paragraphs to get your point across.

Instead, it’s critical that you break up your text into scannable bits, written at an 8th-grade reading level. Shorten your sentences and paragraphs. It’s also vital to include headings, subheadings, and bullet points. This makes it easy for your audience to consume your content quickly. Don’t think it’s important? Consider this: 37 seconds is the average time a reader spends reading a blog post, according to NewsCred.

It’s also wise to put the most important information first, because of the whole 37 seconds thing mentioned above.

4. Include images and videos

It’s said that pictures are worth a thousand words, and it’s true. What would take hundreds of words to explain, your brain can understand in less than a second when presented in image form. 

Need extra convincing? Open up James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of The Mohicans and read one of his daunting description passages. Then, time how long it takes you to visualize the scenery. Next, turn on the movie and take a quick glance at the screen. You’ll be able to understand exactly what the scenery is based on images alone. 

I’m not saying movies are better than books (except for the example mentioned above, IMO). I’m just saying images are one more opportunity to get your message across to your audience. 

If you want to go the extra mile, include a video as well.

5. Write to benefit your audience

There is a reason why “how-to” content, data-driven stories, and well-researched insightful blog posts are some of the highest performing articles on the internet. 

People take to the internet when they want to learn something. This means you don’t want to just write about anything. You want to write answers to the questions that people are seeking.

If you are an expert in a particular field or industry and can write a post that makes a complex topic digestible and easy to understand, your posts will get read, shared, and you’ll see conversions. 

Allow me to toot my own horn for a minute. I’ve been optimizing blog posts for SEO for over 10 years. I’ve read hundreds of books and blogs on SEO, conducted hours of research, and used various SEO tools. With all that knowledge, I can confidently tell you what the six most powerful things you can do to optimize your blog posts for search are (above), and you don’t have to do any hard work. There is value in that. TOOT TOOT!

Similarly, if I want to learn how to make my grass green, make a quiche, or change a tire (things I don’t know how to do), I consult the expert bloggers on Google. 

Start your blog with HostGator today!

If you’ve already purchased your web hosting from HostGator and created your website, it’s time to write your first post. Follow the checklist items above, and you can rest assured you’re doing a fine job.

To start your blog, sign up with HostGator today. HostGator provides an easy drag-and-drop website builder to get you up and running in no time.

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