Tag Archives: analytics

The Best WordPress Plugins Every Blog Needs

The post The Best WordPress Plugins Every Blog Needs appeared first on HostGator Blog . When you build your blog with WordPress, it’s easy to customize it and add cool features with plugins. But which plugins? You can choose from more than 54,000, which is kind of a lot. To help you avoid choice overload, we’ve compiled what we think are the best must-have plugins for new and growing bloggers, especially bloggers who want to gain subscribers, raise their social media profile, ace SEO, and more. WordPress Mailing List Plugins for Blogs Building an audience is the main goal for most bloggers, whether they’re creating a community for fun or profit. The cornerstone of audience-building is building an email list, so you can let your fans know when you publish a new post, launch a contest, or have something else to offer them. E mail Subscribers & Newsletters by Icegram is a free WordPress plugin that gives you a shortcode snippet to paste into your posts and pages wherever you’d like an opt-in box. As you add subscribers, you can use the plugin’s dashboard to view, import, and export contacts, create welcome and update emails, send test emails, and integrate with a third-party email marketing service like Constant Contact. WordPress Social Sharing Plugins for Blogs Add to Any lets you add social share buttons to your blog that look good on any device, load fast, and connect your content to more than 100 social networks and messaging apps. Want to see what’s getting shared and who’s following those links? Add to Any also integrates with your Google Analytics and Bitly accounts. Add to Any is free, so you don’t need to upgrade to access all its features. Do you have an archive full of posts you’d like to share again to reach new readers and build your subscriber list? The free version of Revive Old Posts will automatically share your old posts to Facebook and Twitter so you can get more mileage from your content. You can choose the sharing schedule, the number of old posts you want to share, hashtags, and other elements. The Pro version adds sharing for LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Both versions of Revive Old Posts support link shortening services like Bitly and Rebrandly. WordPress SEO Plugins for Blogs When people search for the topics you blog about, can they find your blog? Even great content can be hard to find if it’s not formatted, indexed, and optimized for search engines to understand. That’s why bloggers who want to rank well in searches typically add a few plugins to make that happen. We’ve blogged before about how schema.org formatting can help you generate rich Google search results for your reviews, recipes, articles, and other content. You can do this manually with code, or you can add the All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets WordPress plugin to your blog. This free plugin supports 9 common schema formats, including articles, people, recipes, reviews, and videos. When you install All In One, you get a dashboard that walks you through choosing how your snippets will display, where you’ll add the snippets on your site, and how to test your snippets to make sure they look good. You’ll also want a plugin to help Google’s search engine crawlers understand what’s on your site. You can install the Google XML Sitemaps WordPress plugin to handle this. However, if you’re also going to install Yoast SEO , you may want to use its XML mapping tool instead. (It’s not a good idea to use both at the same time.) Yoast is one of the most popular SEO plugins out there, and the free version offers a lot of tools to help you optimize your blog. For instance, Yoast helps you optimize each post for a keyword or keyphrase that you want to rank for, shows you how the post will look in Google search results, tells you how readable your post is before you publish it, keeps you from accidentally duplicating content within your site, and updates regularly to keep pace with Google’s ongoing improvements. If you have a large or fast-growing blog, you can detect and fix site-indexing crawl errors by connecting Yoast to your Google Search Console account. WordPress Performance Plugins for Blogs Jetpack is the Swiss Army knife of WordPress plugins, and it can tackle a lot of tasks for you, like scheduled social media posting, statistics collection, and performance improvements. Jetpack also adds its own layers of security to your WordPress blog. When you’re ready to start making money from your blog through ads or direct sales, one of the paid versions of Jetpack can help you with those tasks, too. As your blog grows, it can take longer for your pages to load, especially if you include lots of images in your posts. To avoid this slowdown, which can raise your bounce rate and affect your search rank, compress your images. The Smush Image Compression and Optimization WordPress plugin can handle this for you. You can “smush” images in batches of up to 50 or smush them individually, without losing image quality. (And yeah, pushing the “smush” button is fun.) If you want detailed analytics of your site traffic, the Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights connects to your Google Analytics account and deploys your analytics tracking code for you so you don’t have to paste in the snippet yourself—all for free. Then you can see your Google analytics in your blog’s dashboard. A good backup program is insurance against blog catastrophes. Updraft Plus helps you automate site backups, store your backups in the cloud, and access them easily when you need to restore your site or move to a new host. The free version lets you automatically send your backups to Dropbox, Google Drive, your email, and other cloud services, and it makes it easy to restore your site even if you’re not tech-savvy. (Or, you can upgrade to an automated daily backup for your blog with CodeGuard . CodeGuard packs in additional security features with data backups for up to 5 websites.) Set Up Your WordPress Blog WordPress plugins can help you get the most out of your blog, but they can also impact your blog’s performance. Maximize your blog’s functionality and its performance with a managed WordPress hosting plan from HostGator. You’ll enjoy 2.5x faster load times, automated backups, and more. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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Why Your Online Store Needs Omnichannel Marketing

The post Why Your Online Store Needs Omnichannel Marketing appeared first on HostGator Blog . Your online store is up and running. You’ve got a blog, an email list, and social media accounts on the platforms where your ideal customers spend the most time. You’re marketing your store through lots of channels, but are you coordinating those efforts or missing opportunities? Omnichannel marketing can help you connect all your marketing pathways for better results. Here’s a primer on what omnichannel marketing is, how it can help you grow your business, and how to begin. What Is Omnichannel Marketing? Despite the “omni” in the name, omnichannel doesn’t (and shouldn’t) mean marketing in every channel in existence. And it’s not the same thing as multichannel marketing, which is—you guessed it—marketing in multiple channels. Instead, omnichannel marketing creates a single, holistic view of customer behavior by collecting and analyzing data across channels to create customized offers and consistent customer experiences in every channel where they encounter your business. For businesses, the benefits are more and better data for more effective promotions, more conversions, and a greater likelihood of attracting the kinds of shoppers who make more purchases. SAS found that consumers who shop in more than one channel spend “ three to four times more than single-channel customers do .”     Imagining Omnichannel Marketing Here’s a simple way to think of the omnichannel approach to building customer relationships. Let’s say the owner of your favorite restaurant knows your name, your favorite table, and your partner’s favorite dessert order. When you see her in your neighborhood, she always says hi and asks how you’re doing. That’s roughly analogous to an omnichannel customer experience—the restaurant owner always recognizes you and keeps up with how you’re doing and what you like, even when she’s not actively trying to sell you dinner. You’re probably going to dine at her place often and enjoy it. But what if she only sometimes gave you a warm welcome at the restaurant and didn’t recognize you at other times, or made it weird at the grocery store by telling you about her restaurant like you’d never been there? How likely would you be to dine at her restaurant again? That’s the kind of awkwardness and lost business that omnichannel marketing can help avoid. Think about how your marketing channels work together and where you can improve.   How Can You Make Your Marketing Omnichannel? The first step is to gather all your data in one place, or as few places as possible, so you can get a good view of how people find your store and shop there. Using the same payment service provider across all your sales channels—web, social media, in-store—can go a long way toward setting up your omnichannel marketing situation. That’s because payment providers (like Square) collect data you can use in your marketing efforts. This omnichannel sales data can help you get started by providing the same types of data in the same format so you can easily track customers’ purchase behaviors in each channel. It can also streamline your loyalty program so customers can earn and use points online and in-store if you have brick-and-mortar or pop-up locations. Once you’ve got your sales data centralized, check in on your web and social media analytics. Google Analytics is the best-known tool for website traffic analysis , and you can use it to analyze your email and social media data, too. To keep things simple, you can use a WordPress plugin like MonsterInsights to bring your Google Analytics data into your WP dashboard . You can also use the Google Analytics tracking code for your site in your marketing emails. For example, Constant Contact walks its users through the process of adding the code , checking links for known issues, and gathering data from email campaigns to see who’s opening your emails, what they click, and what they buy. Google Analytics can track your social media traffic, too. Neil Patel’s walkthrough of Google Analytics’ social media reports is filled with details you can apply to your omnichannel marketing program. Maybe the most important thing is that Google Analytics can report on conversions sorted by your goals. And it breaks down conversions into last-interaction and assisted categories, so you can see whether a particular visitor from social media to your site bought during that visit or later on. With all of this traffic data and your sales data, you’ll have a better map of how all your channels work together (or don’t yet) to bring customers to your social media channels, your email list, and your store, and what those customers do along the way. Then it’s time to start refining and testing your efforts so that the journey from potential customer to loyal customer is as easy as possible. For example, you can use your data to improve your customer segmentation for more highly targeted and specific email and social media campaigns. You can also use this data to create more effective retargeting ads —another way to ensure that your customers and site visitors see the things that interest them and make them want to return to your store.   The Omnichannel Marketing Takeaway Discussions about digital marketing and data analytics can get very detailed and technical. If you’re interested in going down that path, there’s a world of information online for you. If you’d rather keep things simple, here’s the takeaway: Omnichannel marketing uses data from all your channels to show you where your customers go and what they do so you can get to know them and keep up with them. Omnichannel marketing uses data from all your channels to make your customers feel recognized and welcome through personalized and targeted email, social media, and other campaigns. Omnichannel marketing tools that collect and analyze your data are inexpensive or free. With good data and and a carefully thought-out omnichannel approach, you can give your customers what they want, earn their loyalty, and grow your business. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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Email Drip Campaigns for Blogs: 7 Best Practices to Follow

The post Email Drip Campaigns for Blogs: 7 Best Practices to Follow appeared first on HostGator Blog . For your blog to succeed, you don’t just need people to stumble across it. You need them to keep coming back for more. To become a successful blogger, getting readers is step one. Building a community around your blog that keeps coming back for more and actively engages with your content is the long-term goal you should really aim for. To stay connected to your visitors and keep them more engaged, use email marketing . Even if a visitor really loves the first blog post they read on your site, hoping they’ll come back on their own is a long shot. There’s a lot of other content out there and most people will need a nudge to remember to come back to check out yours again. Promoting your email list gives new visitors a way to let you know they like your stuff enough to hear from you again. And once they take that step, it’s up to you to really seal the connection. The best way to do that: setting up a solid email drip campaign for your blog.   What is a Drip Campaign? A drip campaign is a series of automated emails you send to your blog subscribers. Drip campaigns are triggered by a specific event – most commonly, when a new subscriber signs up, but it could also be something like signing up for a course or downloading an ebook. Pretty much any email marketing software you use should have the option to set up a drip campaign, including Constant Contact , MailChimp, or Aweber. You can write and design the emails in advance and automate the process of getting them to subscribers at the right time to get and keep them engaged in your content.   4 Benefits of Setting Up a Drip Campaign for New Subscribers When someone chooses to sign up for your email list , it’s a big opportunity. They’re showing you they not only like your blog, but they like it enough to actively choose to hear from you about future posts. That’s a big deal and an opportunity you want to make sure you take advantage of. A drip campaign is a good way to make the most of it for a few main reasons.   1. You introduce subscribers to what your blog is all about. A new subscriber has probably read a post or two from your blog, but they’re still learning the basics of who you are and what your blog covers. Your drip campaign gives you a chance to provide an introduction to what your blog is all about that makes a case for why they should get on board and pay attention. It gives you the power to define your blog for them on your terms, which is valuable at this stage in the relationship.   2. You develop a relationship with your subscribers. If you meet someone once at a party and then don’t see them again until a year later, you’re much less likely to remember them than if you saw them again three or four times in the first couple months after you met them. In the same way, someone who signs up for your email list and doesn’t see anything from you for weeks is less likely to recognize you and remember their connection to you than someone who hears from you a few times in the weeks after signing up. If you give people time to forget you, then your emails will look like confusing spam, rather than something valuable they’ve asked for. A drip campaign gives them several opportunities to interact with you soon after they sign up, so you become someone they know and recognize when they hear from you again.   3. You can set it and forget it. Drip campaigns have the added benefit of being easy.  You put the work into creating some really solid introductory emails once, and you can automate the process of sending them to every new subscriber who signs up. Your subscribers get helpful emails that solidify their connection to your blog, while you can focus more on creating the new blog posts that keep your blog current. Since drip campaigns are automated, you can set it up once and use it for new subscribers for months to come.   4. It helps your most popular posts stay popular. Some of your blog posts are going to be higher quality and resonate more with your audience than others – that’s just the nature of blogging. You don’t want those to get buried over time as you keep adding new posts. Your drip campaign gives you a way to get the best content you have in front of your new subscribers so they get a solid first (and second and third) impression of what you can do that makes them more likely to stick around.   7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Blog’s Drip Campaign If you decide to set up a drip campaign for your blog, make sure you do it right. Here are some of the most important best practices to follow.   1. Make sure your email list is opt-in. First things first, good email marketing requires that you only contact people who have actively made the choice to join your email list. Buying emails or adding people you found online that you think might be interested will not only result in people deleting or ignoring the drip campaign emails you send, it will get them marked spam – something that could get you booted from your email marketing platform. Your drip campaign should only be triggered when a visitor to your blog knowingly signs up for your email list.   3. Use it to define your positioning and create camaraderie. What sets your blog apart from similar blogs out there and makes it worth following? That’s your unique positioning. Use your first emails to lay out your positioning and humanize yourself to your subscribers. They’ll be more likely to connect with a blogger they feel they can relate to. Don’t be afraid to show some personality.   3. Highlight your best work to get your subscribers on board. This is your chance to win subscribers over and hopefully turn them into followers for the long term. Break out your best work to show them what you’re capable of. This helps you impress your new subscribers, as well as a way to drive new traffic to some of the blog posts you’re most proud of.   4. Make it one part of a larger email marketing strategy. Your drip campaign shouldn’t be the last thing you send your subscribers. Develop an ongoing email marketing plan to keep communicating with your subscribers long after they first sign up. You can email them to alert them to new blog posts, start a monthly e-newsletter, or create unique content just for your email list. Whatever route you choose; just make sure you stay in touch. That’s the whole point of an email list.   5. Pay attention to your email analytics. While a drip campaign technically only has to be created once and will keep working for as long as you want it to, you’ll want to revisit it at least once or twice a year to look for ways to improve. Check your analytics to see which emails people open, which they respond to, and which they click on the links in. You may want to tweak the wording, change subject lines, or update your drip campaign with new content and links based on what the analytics show you.   6. Ask your readers to take action. Ideally, you don’t just want your subscribers to read, you want them to engage. One way to get them more actively involved is to directly ask for feedback. You can make a survey part of your drip campaign, or include a CTA in your emails asking for subscribers to reply with their input or add comments to your blog posts. Subscribers that provide feedback are valuable because they clearly care about the direction your blog goes in. And their responses can help you improve your blog and make sure you provide what your audience is looking for moving forward.   7. Personalize your emails. If your blog covers an array of topics, then you may have some subscribers more interested in one subject area than others. In that case, it could pay to set up different drip campaigns that each emphasize specific topic areas. That way you can be sure that everyone who signs up is getting information relevant to their interests, which makes them more likely to stick around and stay a subscriber.   Connect with Your Blog Readers Drip campaigns provide a low-effort way to make a connection with every new subscriber you get. A good drip campaign can sell new subscribers on your content and make them feel like part of your blog community. You probably can’t manually contact every person that reads your blog to show them you appreciate them, so this is the next best thing. Are you a HostGator customer? Learn more about how you can get started with Constant Contact email marketing . Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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Your 7 Step Guide To Website Maintenance

The post Your 7 Step Guide To Website Maintenance appeared first on HostGator Blog . Your 7 Step Guide To Website Maintenance Websites aren’t something you create once and then you’re done. You need to continue caring for them and do ongoing website maintenance to ensure they continue to do the job you need them to do. Once you’ve built your website and it’s up and running, make note of a few main web maintenance tasks that you need to remember to do moving forward. To help you out, we’ve organized these tasks by how often you should perform them: yearly, quarterly, monthly, or weekly. Annual Website Maintenance Tasks 1. Perform User Testing. You worked hard to build a website that’s intuitive to users and drives the kind of actions you want them to take. Frustratingly, the way people use the web frequently changes. A website design that felt natural and intuitive in 1998 wouldn’t work for users today. To make sure that your website continues to make intuitive sense for users and work well on all devices people view it on (including those you can’t anticipate now – who knows what people will be using in 2-3 years), mark a time on the calendar to set usability testing once a year. Bring in people that aren’t associated with your business or brand who can give fresh eyes to browsing your website. Make sure your testing includes all browsers and device types visitors may use so you get the full picture. And create a maintenance schedule for making any updates your testing determines are necessary – it’s not worth much if you don’t turn the insights you learn into action.   Quarterly Website Maintenance Tasks 2. Make Test Purchases. As far as eCommerce website features go, the most important type of functionality on your website is the purchasing function. If it stops working, or even if it’s glitchy for any reason, you could lose out big on profits until you catch the problem and fix it. So at least once every couple of months, have someone in the company make a few test purchases to see how the process works. Have them do this on different devices and in different browsers so you can figure out if there are any snags in the process that only happen in some cases and not others. If there’s anything about the process that isn’t seamless, you’ll want to find out and update it ASAP.   3. Test Out All the Forms on Your Website. If your website includes any contact form plugins you want visitors to fill out, you want to be confident these all work properly as well. At the same time that you make your test purchases, go through the process of filling out all the forms on the website. In this case too, make sure you try them on all the devices and browsers your visitors might use. If any of your forms aren’t working right, you could be missing out on valuable leads, so make sure you catch the problem sooner rather than later.   4. Fix Any Broken Links. Every time someone clicks on a link that leads to a 404 page , it’s disappointing. When that dead link is on your website, it makes your business look bad and leads people away from the page you want them to be on, which is why you need to perform preventative maintenance.  No matter what you do, you’ll end up with broken links on your website from time to time as other websites you link to move or die or change domains. You may not be able to avoid them completely, but you can make sure they don’t stay on your website long by making it part of your regular website maintenance. Every few months, check for broken links and either remove them or replace them with updated links. Finding broken links is actually easier than you might think. There are a lot of free tools available that automatically check websites for broken links, such as Google Search Console (which offers plenty of other useful features to boot). Because these tools make the process so simple, you should easily be able to fix any broken links you find quickly. Monthly Website Maintenance Tasks 5. Check for Security Updates. You hear about high-profile security breaches all the time and you can only assume that there are even more low-profile ones you never hear about. Securing your website from hackers   has to be a major priority for anyone that runs a website – and it’s even more important for eCommerce businesses who deal with customer’s private data.  One of the most important website maintenance practices you should plan on for security is checking that all your platforms, plug-ins, and scripts are up to date . Usually when developers release updates for these, it’s to improve the security or patch up a vulnerability they’ve found. Don’t procrastinate making those updates, or you could be putting your website and visitors needlessly at risk.   6. Regularly Back Up Your Site. It’s happened to all of us: you work on a project all day long, and then something goes wrong with your computer and you lose your entire project. If this has happened to you, you probably got really good at staying on top of your computer backups to save you from future trouble. If you’re not careful though, the same thing could happen to your website. If a hacker does somehow get through, they could wipe you out in one fell swoop. But if you have a current backup solution, fixing the problem will be much easier. You can invest in a backup system like Codeguard ,  to save you the work of treating this as a separate website maintenance step. If you don’t though, make sure you put it on the calendar to create an updated backup of your website at least once a month.   Weekly Website Maintenance Tasks 7. Review Your Key Metrics. Google Analytics provides a ton of useful information about how people are finding and using your website. Make sure your website is accomplishing what you want it to and figure out what about it’s working well and what still needs improvements by logging in to check your analytics at least once a week. Some businesses will benefit from checking it more often than that, and brand new businesses can expect traffic to be slow to start, but it’s important to keep an eye on your website’s growth and success as you go. Google Analytics is the best place to do that and a crucial resource for finding ways to improve.   Don’t Skimp on Website Maintenance Just like car or home maintenance, website maintenance is crucial. But it’s important and can save you time, money, and unnecessary trouble in the long run. Get these website maintenance steps on your calendar and stick with them. Your website will thank you! Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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Introduction to Social Analytics [FREE Ebook]

The post Introduction to Social Analytics [FREE Ebook] appeared first on HostGator Blog . Free Ebook: Introduction to Social Analytics You know it’s important for your business to have a presence on social media, but figuring out what you’re doing on there is an ongoing challenge. Each social media platform is unique and requires its own approach and strategy. And no matter what you do when you’re just starting out, there will be room for improvement. The only way to learn how to get better as you go is to pay attention to what works . The way to do that is with social analytics. If you’re just starting to venture into social media marketing for your business, our ebook on social analytics provides all the information you need on how to access social media analytics and what to do with them.  Click here to download now or keep reading to learn more about what you’ll learn in this FREE ebook.   What Are Social Analytics? All of the major social media platforms offer data on how people interact with the posts and content you share. Some of the information they provide is fairly basic, like showing you how many people viewed or liked a post you published. Some of it goes deeper, providing demographic data on the people who interact with your posts or details about their behavior on the platform. All of this information can be put to use to strengthen your social media strategy and get better results for the time you spend on social media, but only if you know where to find it, and how to use it.   Why Social Analytics Matter There are thousands of blog posts and articles out there about how to do social media marketing well. And they’re a good place to start. Knowing the best practices and seeing examples of what has worked for other brands does help in establishing a solid plan when getting started. But ultimately, you don’t need to know what works on social media for another brand or media property – you need to know what works for your audience . The best way to figure that out will never be someone else’s blog post; you have to turn to your own social analytics for that.   What You’ll Learn When You Download the Ebook This ebook delves into how to access social analytics data for the five main social media platforms:      Facebook      Twitter      Instagram      LinkedIn      YouTube While there’s a lot of overlap in the kind of information each platform provides, each one supplies a different dashboard and layout for finding the analytics they make available. Once you’ve found the analytics, you’ll need to understand what you’re looking at. Our Social Analytics Ebook also covers the most important categories of data the platforms offer and why each one is valuable to users.   Download Now You know from running your website how important analytics are to analyzing what’s working and what’s not. You’d never know if your website was doing its job or not without useful metrics that show you how people find and interact with your pages. Social analytics do the same job for your social media profiles. With their help, you can optimize your social media efforts to make sure you’re reaching the right people, at the right times, with messaging and content they’re likely to appreciate. Download the Social Analytics for Business ebook to learn all the basics you need for success on social media. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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