Snappy | University Partners | Testimonials | Customer Service
By Taylor Hawes, Marketing Director
As a small business owner, deciding when to make the leap to website ownership can be challenging. After all, you’ve got dozens of other tasks on your “to do” list – why should you waste time building a website if you aren’t even sure that your customers will visit it?
Well, the answer to that question is pretty simple. Research conducted by marketing agency Hubspot indicates that as many as 78% of consumers conduct product research online before making purchases, meaning that if your business isn’t online, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with potential customers!
Of course, that isn’t the only reason to take your small business online. Consider all of the following issues before making the decision that’s right for your company:
In the past, building a new website required specialized knowledge and potentially even a sizeable budget. Considering the circumstance, it was reasonable for small businesses to weigh the costs of getting online with the advantages such a move would bring about.
However, the number of different web building technologies that have come out since the Internet’s early days have effectively negated this conversation. Now, small business owners have access to dozens of different tools that can have a professional-looking website up and running in just a few hours – including everything from our own BaseKit Sitebuilder (which offers more than 200 easy-to-use templates) to WordPress, which allows webmasters to form everything from blogs to fully-fledged e-commerce systems with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Put simply, the idea that website creation is complicated or expensive just hasn’t stood the test of time. If you’re still clinging to these ideas, take a few moments to learn about the many different tools and programs that can help you to create a business website quickly and affordably.|
Of course, as a business owner, you likely already know that just because something is cheap and easy to do doesn’t mean that it’s a necessity for your company! But the importance of taking your small business online goes far deeper…
Many small businesses opt-out of website creation because they fail to see how the time and resources needed to maintain a web presence can fit into their already-packed “to do” lists and cash-strapped budgets. Unfortunately, this is shortsighted. Even if you haven’t invested in the creation of a small business website, you have a web presence – but it’s your customers that are controlling the conversation.
Today, consumer interactions don’t occur in a bubble. If a customer is frustrated, he doesn’t just tell his close friends – he tells the entire world through review websites, social media networks and other varied web outlets. And if your company isn’t there to either refute claims or make amends, this feedback – whether positive or negative – is the only thing future customers will find when they look for your business using the search engines.
Obviously, simply having a website won’t prevent your business from receiving negative reviews or critical feedback online. But by being a part of the conversation, you demonstrate that your business is committed to its customers, preventing your company from losing clients that might otherwise go to your competitors on the basis of your minimal web presence.
Believe me – losing customers to your competitors is a valid concern if your company fails to maintain a web presence. Consumers today make it a habit to research companies online before they do business. If you don’t come up in this search because you don’t have an active website (or, if your pages convey a dated look that’s better suited to 1996), you miss out on even being included in this critical initial research process in the first place.
But it isn’t just potential customers using search engines that you risk alienating by failing to maintain a web presence. Many other consumer research tools – including GPS devices, local business aggregator sites and review platforms like Yelp and Google Local – all draw information from your company’s website. If this web property doesn’t exist, your business may not appear in consumer searches, leading to yet another loss of potential customers.
The bottom line is this: Your small business needs a website, and it needs one now. Fortunately, using any of the different website building tools that are available today makes the process as simple and painless as possible – so pick your favorite program and launch your company’s new website today!
(This article originally appeared in Gator Crossing, The Official HostGator Blog.)
By Sean Valant, PR Manager
Monetization of a website can be tricky business. Some individuals seem to have the golden touch, while others simply can’t manage to profit the proverbial two pennies to rub together.
Fundamentally, monetization is the process of converting website traffic into revenue. Theoretically, there are many ways in which to accomplish this; we’ll discuss a small number of them. Be aware that the stories of failure, on the whole, outweigh the stories of success. Without risk though, there is no reward; some people are able to make their living entirely by the means mentioned below. At the very least, perhaps you can end each month with a few more coins in your pocket.
Clearly one of the most popular means of generating revenue with your existing website it to sign up for a service like Google Adsense, whereby you add additional code to your website that facilitates the placement of contextual ads within your site, in hopes that your visitors will click on them. How much money you stand to make depends on how much traffic your site generates and how many of your visitors do actually click on any given ad.
Banners are essentially clickable graphics that you place on your website that advertise and link to another site, which then generally pays you for each visitor that clicks the banner. Conversely, some agreements are contingent upon the person not only clicking the banner, but then also making a purchase on the target website which could then potentially earn you a commission for that sale.
Essentially what affiliate programs do is to pay you to refer people to them. As an apt example, HostGator has a rather successful affiliate program whereby we pay you to refer Customers to us: http://www.hostgator.com/affiliates.shtml …you simply place a link on your website that someone then clicks on to sign up with HostGator, and we then pay you.
If you feel the quality of your website is worthy of people simply handing you money, then by all means you may certainly ask for donations. Paypal makes it incredibly easy for people to give you money with the simple click of a mouse.
There are numerous other means of generating revenue online, some more respected than others. For example, you could run pop-up/pop-under ads, but those are generally considered a more of a nuisance than anything else. You can offer memberships to premium content, if that is applicable. Offering something for sale is always an option; perhaps even an ebook on how to monetize websites.
(This article originally appeared in Gator Crossing, The Official HostGator Blog.)
It’s hard to argue against the fact that the internet has “put power in the hands of the people,” so to speak. There are countless things we used to rely on specialists to do that we can now do all on our own…thanks to information we find online, as well as the ease of sharing Web 2.0 has created. Take the music industry, for example. The days of giant corporate record companies are quickly fading. Now young upstarts can record their own albums (literally…with tools they can download online), promote them online, and sell them digitally. Suddenly relying on a record company who take a big chunk of the profits (with odds mirroring that of the lottery in respect to getting signed to a deal) doesn’t make much sense.
Along those same lines, becoming an author has changed too. It’s possible that the days of receiving piles of rejection letters may soon be over too. Instead, any average Joe can write a book and sell it online digitally in eBook format. And if you have the itch to get your book idea out there, this might be a viable option for you.
However, let’s not jump too far ahead of ourselves here. Most people who put their eBooks out there won’t see a dime off of it. The reality of it is that it takes a lot of hard work to generate enough buzz to make a profit off of your words. In fact, you might want to rethink the idea of your eBook altogether. Instead of trying to make money off of it, perhaps you should use it as a marketing tool to draw people in and make money off of related business products or services.
That’s right. I’m saying you should…GIVE YOUR EBOOK AWAY FOR FREE!
Now, I know you’re probably cringing at the idea. All of your heart and soul, poured out onto paper for what? To give away and get no credit for? Well, not exactly. But there are plenty of good reasons you should give it out on your site for free, such as…
Have you ever given away an eBook on your website? What sort of results did it yield? Tell us in the Comments!
(This article originally appeared in our sister company SEO Hosting’s blog.)
Additional commentary by Christopher Wallace, Social Media Coordinator:
Whether you plan to sell your eBook, or give it away for free (and make money from related business products or services, of course), OR if you’re the aspiring musician he mentioned earlier, you’ll want an easy-to-implement shopping cart that processes electronic downloads, such as MP3s, e-books, and hi-res photos. More information at our Tumblr article Ecommerce & Shopping Cart Tips.
By Christopher Wallace, Social Media Coordinator
A shopping cart is an essential element of your ecommerce website. However, a well designed site will facilitate sales and maximize profits. Check out this article for some great guidelines to follow –
For most ecommerce sites, I recommend using the Ecwid Shopping Cart, which is totally FREE and integrates seamlessly withanywebsite that uses HTML.
ATTN: Musicians, authors, and photographers — Ecwid even processes electronic downloads, such as MP3s, e-books, and hi-res photos! Learn more at:
I wanted to thank you for helping me get up and running!
I was stressing and you showed me the way.
BaseKit and Ecwid was an easy way to go.
I am making sales and things seem to be working fine!
Thank you so much,
Manhattan Beach Centennial Coin
For payment gateways, Ecwid supports PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.Net/Cybersource SIM, 2Checkout, HSBC CPI, Network Merchants, e-Path, Robokassa, eSelect Plus (Hosted Paypage), Beanstream (Hosted Payment Form), eWAY (Shared Payments CVN / Hosted Payment page), Sage Pay (Form), iDeal, iPay88, PayJunction, Suomen Verkkomaksut Oy, Virtual Card Services, PayOnline System.
Although Ecwid is compatible with WordPress, you may also choose to use a plugin designed specifically to be utilized with WordPress. There are several good ones to consider:
For customers who have many items to sell (100+), or who have specialized needs, HostGator provides easy installation of full-featured ecommerce software. These are third-party software platforms that provide a host of features with many options. Of course, the downside is a learning curve. For many small businesses, and customers with fewer than 100 products to sell, Ecwid or a WordPress plugin should more than suffice. If you require a more robust solution, however, we provide the following installations through either QuickInstall or Fantastico Deluxe, located in your cPanel in the Software/Services section of icons:
Although setting up an ecommerce site can appear daunting at first, HostGator strives to make it as intuitive as possible, and we are happy to help should you run into any bumps along the way!
With smartphone use soaring, mobile marketing offers an almost guaranteed way for small business owners to attract more customers—and more sales. In the Small Business Mobile Survey released in May 2012, 69 percent of small businesses say they believe mobile marketing will be critical to their growth over the next five years.
But as every busy business owner will admit, knowing that something is important and actually acting on it are two different things. For example, only 60 percent of small businesses that responded to the survey say they have websites. Of that 60 percent, just 26 percent have a mobile-friendly website (which is optimized for a smartphone screen), and a paltry 14 percent have a stand-alone mobile website.
Seeing a Mobile Bump
If you need further convincing of the benefits that going mobile can bring, consider this: A whopping 84 percent of the small-business owners with stand-alone mobile sites say they have seen an increase in new business activity as a result of their mobile marketing strategies. I don’t know about you, but 84 percent is close enough to “all” to persuade us that mobile marketing is pretty much a guaranteed way to increase your sales.
(The information above is condensed from http://www.openforum.com/articles/a-mobile-strategy-is-a-sales-no-brainer May 29, 2012.)
The amount of time and money people are spending on mobile devices is growing rapidly, yet many businesses don’t have a website optimized for mobile—and it’s costing them.
Mobile traffic currently makes up 10 percent of global Internet traffic, and next year more people will use mobile phones than PCs to get online, according to Gartner. Purchases made on mobile devices amounted to $6.7 billion in the U.S. last year—about 8 percent of total online sales—and are expected to nearly double to $11.6 billion this year. By 2015, U.S. mobile sales are forecast to reach $31 billion.
Despite this trend, many businesses have not optimized their websites for mobile, frustrating visitors with tricky navigation and slow loading times.
A recent Google survey underlines the damage you might also be doing to your brand by not having your site optimized for mobile.
The survey, which tallied responses from 1,088 U.S. adult smartphone owners, found that:
(The information above is condensed from http://www.openforum.com/articles/take-your-site-mobile October 5, 2012.)
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goMobi helps you address the rapidly growing number of mobile web users, and provides you with an easy and welcoming way to grow your business. goMobi is the perfect solution for any business looking to capture more business from mobile users: it is easy to set up and maintain, helps you increase your business’ visibility and maximizes every lead.
Find out what successful companies are doing and why they think mobile is important.