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How to A/B Test Your Website [Step-by-Step Guide]

The post How to A/B Test Your Website [Step-by-Step Guide] appeared first on HostGator Blog . With over 181 million active websites on the internet, it may seem impossible to build a website that stands out in the crowd. But don’t let that big, generic number scare you off from taking your website seriously and giving it your all. Not only is it possible to run a successful website in a sea of other websites, but it’s possible to design your website in a way that pleases your target audience, increases conversions, and edges out your competitors. Does this like a secret you want in on? The big secret is simply A/B testing your website instead of making decisions based on a “feeling” or your own preferences. A/B testing is a powerful way to learn exactly what appeals to your customers and what small decisions boost conversions. Don’t believe it? Studies show that simple decisions (e.g. where to place your CTA button, what colors to use, what copy to include, etc.) can increase conversions significantly. For example, remember when a red CTA button beat a green one with a 21% increase in conversions ? A/B testing is the perfect way to build a high-performing website, and this guide will give you all the ins and outs of how to get started. What Is A/B Testing And How Does It Work? A/B testing is a randomized experiment that tests two variables, A and B. In plain English, and as it relates to websites, A/B testing is when you test two versions of your website to determine which one performs better.  This testing process takes the guesswork out of website creation and optimization. Rather than relying on your own preferences or your gut feeling, you can make data-based website decisions that generate winning results. So, how does A/B testing work? With A/B testing, you modify one element on your website and create a second version. Then, you randomly show the original version to 50 percent of your audience, and the modified version to the other 50 percent of your website visitors.  Once you’ve run your test long enough to determine statistical significance, you measure engagement results. Whichever version performs better provides you with your data-informed answer. Keep in mind, you should only change one element of your website at a time during an A/B test. For example, you may be interested in learning which call-to-action (CTA) button drives more conversions. Variations could include color, copy, and size.  If you tested color, copy, and button size all at the same time, you would have no clue as to which change is influencing engagement. When you test only one element at a time, you know exactly what had an effect on visitors’ engagement.  Why A/B Test Your Website? It’s kind of like this. Your dad is 100 percent sure it’s a good idea to go out wearing crew socks and open-toed sandals. When he walks out of his closet and asks the rest of the family if he looks okay, you do something he thinks is unfathomable. You tell him to march right around and put on some close-toed shoes, so he’s not the next subject of ridicule on the nearest teen’s SnapChat account. It’s similar with A/B testing a website. You may be absolutely sure you know what works best on your website, but chances are, you’re wrong. Similarly, what works well for you might not resonate well with your target audience, especially if there is a demographic difference between you and your website visitors. When you A/B test, you get the inside scoop from your audience to find out if your website is wearing metaphorical mom jeans and needs some adjustments. In short, A/B testing is a data-driven way to collect insightful feedback on your website. With this information, you can implement careful changes to your website all while collecting data on the results. And, here’s the best part. Not only does A/B testing help you make better design and messaging decisions, but it ensures you’re making business decisions that align properly with customer preferences from the get-go.  This is solid for business since 79% of US consumers say they only consider brands that show they understand and care about “me.” Not to mention, 56% of US consumers say they feel more loyal to brands that show a deep understanding of their priorities and preferences.  A/B testing your website is a surefire way to lean into audience preferences and show your visitors that you “get” them. What Should a Novice A/B Test? While it’s true that nearly everything on a website can be A/B tested, it doesn’t mean you have to, or even should, A/B test everything. After all, you want to get your website up and running sooner rather than later. A good rule of thumb is to test anything that can influence visitor behavior or directly affect conversion. For example, you could A/B test whether the “About” section should come before or after your “Services” section on the navigation menu. Since this element of your website doesn’t carry much weight over how your visitors interact with your site, it probably doesn’t matter too much, and you can stick with the standard. Here’s what to test instead. 1. Copy Did you know that compelling copy draws 7.8 times more site traffic and produces brand recall, which leads to higher engagement rates? Top-notch copy is key to the success of your website, so it’s smart to find out what copy your target audience likes most. Here are some copy elements you should be A/B testing: Headlines and Subheadlines. Your headlines and subheadlines are what your visitors will see first. Test to find out which headlines are leading your visitors down the conversion funnel. Copy Length. Do your website visitors prefer short and snappy quips or do they need more information to help them engage? There is only one way to find out. You guessed it: A/B testing. Tone. Your copywriter can take several approaches when it comes to tone, but only your audience can tell you what tone works best. A/B testing will give you insight into what tonal direction your website needs. 2. Images & Videos If pictures are worth a thousand words, then you need to choose the right images and videos for your website. With the perfect imagery on your website, your visitors will only need a quick glance to understand what you’re trying to convey. And, A/B testing will tell you which images get the job done best. To give you a better idea of how image and video A/B testing works, let’s look at a recent split test from Zagg. Zagg wanted to know what type of images led to higher conversion rates, so they conducted A/B testing for a static image, a 360º product image, and a video on their product page, and the results were astounding. Zagg first tested the static image against the video. They found that the video yielded a 27% increase in revenue per visitor. This told the team that video yielded better results than a static default image. But, remember how they also wanted to test 360º product images? In a second A/B test, the team tested the video against the 360º image on their product pages . The results were interesting. They found the 360º image produced an additional 12% increase in revenue per visitor. Video Version of Zagg’s Image A/B Test 360º Variation of Zagg’s A/B Image Test Simple A/B testing of a static image, a 360º image, and a video provided Zagg with valuable insight into how to boost revenue based on customer preferences.  You can do the same. 3. Call To Action (CTA) The call to action button is arguably the most important thing to A/B test on your website. Your call to action button can make the difference between a conversion and a user clicking out of your site. When it comes to A/B testing your CTA, here are some things you can test: Copy length Copy phrasing Copy length Size of button Color of button Placement of button To give you an idea of how testing a CTA can work wonders, here are some interesting results from experts: Helzberg Diamonds saw a 26% increase in clicks by adding an arrow icon to their CTA buttons, according to Marketing Tech Blog . ContentVerve saw a 90% increase in click-through rate by using first-person phrasing: “Start my free 30 day trial” as opposed to “Start your free 30 day trial.” SAP found that orange CTAs boosted their conversion rate over 32.5%, according to QuickSprout . As you can see, A/B testing your CTA button makes a difference, and it’s a great place for beginners to start. What Is the A/B Testing Process? Now that you know what to test, let’s talk about the process of setting up your first A/B test. The first thing to remember is you don’t have to go it alone. There are several tools on the market that will guide you through the A/B testing process. Tools like Optimizely, VWO, and Omniconvert provide intuitive tools that help you create variations of your pages. The best part? You don’t need to know how to code. You just point-and-click. Once you have settled on an A/B testing tool, here is a basic framework that will guide you through the process. 1. Identify Conversion Goals.  Before you start testing, it’s imperative that you know what you want your website users to do. Subscribe to an email list? Sign up for a seminar? Buy a product? Your conversion goals will help you determine what you need to test. 2. Write Down Your Hypothesis. Congratulations! You officially have conversion goals. Now it’s time to generate A/B testing hypotheses for why you think specific changes will be better than what you already have on your website. Again, these ideas will help you know what modifications to make before you start your testing. 3. Create Your Variations. Now it’s time to make the desired changes to your website and get ready for testing. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone or strain yourself too hard to create your variations. There are several A/B testing software tools on the market with visual editors that will help you create changes and run your test. You can even use the drag and drop features in your website builder to help you easily modify your site. 4. Run Your Test. This is the exciting part. Once you initiate your test, website visitors will start to participate. A/B testing works at random, so you won’t know which website visitors will see which variation. All you need to know is 50 percent of your visitors will see one variation and 50 percent will see the other.  5. Keep Your Test Running Long Enough. There is no magic set number for how long you should run your A/B test. The general rule of thumb is to run your test long enough to determine statistical significance. This will vary from website to website depending on how much traffic you get. Thankfully, most A/B testing software has a built-in calculator that will determine this time frame for you. 6. Analyze Your Results. Once the time frame is up, take a look at your results and see where there is statistical significance. Again, this process is automated with the help of an A/B testing software tool. All you’ll have to do is login to your dashboard and look at the results. Your dashboard will show you whether your control (option A) or your variant (option B) has greater statistical significance. And, that’s it. Rinse and repeat until you have a solid idea of what website design, copy, and engagement elements to implement. Make A/B Testing Work For You It’s true that A/B testing requires hard work and patience. However, when done correctly, it always pays off in the end. When you have a strong understanding of what your website visitors like, you’re one step closer to accomplishing your goals. For more information about starting your website, check the Gator Website Builder . The website builder makes it easy to drag and drop elements, so A/B testing is a cinch. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Email List in 10 Simple Steps

The post How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Email List in 10 Simple Steps appeared first on HostGator Blog . Email marketing is one of the most effective types of digital marketing. Two-thirds of consumers say they’ve made a purchase because of an email they received, and the average ROI of email marketing is $38 for every $1 spent. But for your business to see results like that, you need an email list. And not one you bought. Paying for an email list isn’t a good way to reach people who will actually care about what you have to say. And according to spam laws, it’s also illegal. What you need is an email list you built — one that’s made up of people who chose to opt in because they care about what you have to say. Email subscribers that chose you are extremely valuable, but hard to find. To build and grow a strong email list, you need a strategy for promoting it. There are a lot of smart techniques you can use to get more email subscribers . A good option that many overlook is using Facebook ads. 5 Benefits of Using Facebook Ads to Grow Your Email List Obviously Facebook ads have a cost in both time and money, so you want to be confident this is a tactic that makes sense for you. Facebook advertising has some strong benefits to offer. 1. It’s where your audience is. “Go where your audience is” is marketing 101. Today, that means Facebook. Even with recent scandals that put the social media network in the headlines, tons of people use Facebook.  The platform has over 2 billion monthly active users and many of those users are on there every day.  In the U.S., the average person spends 40 minutes a day on Facebook. Facebook is such a ubiquitous part of our lives at this point that no matter who your target audience is, you can trust that they’re hanging out on Facebook. 2. Facebook doesn’t offer much organic reach. Anyone can create a Facebook page for their business for free, so you may figure you should just work on reaching your audience on the platform that way.  But over the last couple of years, Facebook has made changes that make it increasingly difficult for business pages to gain followers and for the followers they have to see those updates. That doesn’t mean it’s a waste to create a Facebook page and work on building followers to it, but on its own, that won’t get you very far. To really gain traction on Facebook now, you have to pay for ads. 3. You can reach people in your target audience. If that’s the bad news, this is the good news. By paying for Facebook exposure, you tap into the company’s powerful targeting options. Your ad won’t show up indiscriminately for all of Facebook’s billions of users, you can specify who you want to see it based on factors like demographic categories, interests, and behaviors. 4. You can reach them at the right moment. The marketing ideal is reaching the right person with the right message at the right moment. Facebook’s targeting options include controlling the timing of when you reach people. If the items you sell would make great gifts, you can target your ads to people with an anniversary coming up. If your business blog provides travel tips, you can target people currently planning a vacation. While the goal of an email list is to build an ongoing relationship with potential customers, you can still increase sign ups by ensuring your promotion shows up right when people will most value what you offer. 5. Remarketing converts people who already showed an interest in your brand. A lot of people will interact with your brand multiple times before they make the decision to sign up for your email list. If someone visits your website and never sees mention of you again, they’re likely to forget you completely. But with remarketing, you can serve ads to the people that have already interacted with your brand in some capacity, increasing the chance that they’ll take the step of signing up for your email list before you slip from their memory. How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Email List in 10 Steps Now that you know the why, here are a few tips to help with the how. 1. Develop an email marketing plan. Before you get to the point of using Facebook advertising to grow your list, you need to figure out what you’re going to do with your email list . There’s no point in working to gain subscribers if you’re not ready to follow that up with work to keep them. Create a plan for the types of emails you’ll send out and the schedule you’ll send them out on. You may want to create an email newsletter that goes out every month, or plan on sending a weekly update that includes links to the new content on your site. You can send out more directly promotional emails as well, but don’t make that all you ever do.  Promotional emails work best if the recipient is already familiar with your brand and has a reason to trust you. Your other emails will help build that trust. 2. Select “Lead Generation” as your campaign objective. One of the first steps to creating an ad in Facebook is choosing your campaign objective. After you click the Create button , you’ll see a few options you can choose from in a dropdown menu. Since your primary goal is building an email list, select “Lead Generation.” This ensures that the options Facebook provides as you go through the steps of creating your ads will match up with your goal of collecting email addresses from people in your target audience. 3. Clarify your target audience. One of the next steps is to set up your audience targeting. Facebook allows advertisers to narrow down who will see your ads based on wide variety of factors, including:      Geographic location      Age range      Gender      The language(s) they speak      Education level      Relationship status      The type of work they do      Their financial status      Whether they have kids or not      Their political preferences      Their interests      Their online behaviors      Whether they’ve interacted with you before Think about what your ideal customer looks like. Use this step to clarify who you want to reach with your ads so you get the most bang for your buck. 4. Choose what information to collect. You definitely want to collect email addresses — that’s the main goal here, after all. But Facebook will let you choose additional information to ask for in your ads, such as:   First name   Last name   City   Phone number   Date of birth   Job title   Company name On the one hand, the more information you ask for, the better you’ll be able to provide relevant emails to your new subscribers. On the other hand, adding more required fields for people to fill in before signing up may lose you some leads who decide it’s too much work. Most businesses should be fine sticking with name and email address, only add the others if they’ll help you create more useful, segmented lists. 5. Set your budget. Figure out what you can afford. You can set a maximum daily budget, and select whether to bid manually on your ads or let Facebook do automatic bidding for you. Automatic bidding is generally the best choice for anyone that’s not already an expert in PPC advertising . Keep in mind that the more you’re able to spend, the more people will see and interact with your ads. Try not to be too stingy here, while staying within a budget you can handle. 6. Create eye-catching images for your ads. Now it’s time to create the ads themselves. Social media is a visual medium, so make sure you include an image (or several) in your ad that will attract your audience’s attention, while still being relevant to what you’re offering. 7. Write copy that emphasizes the benefits of subscribing. An image can’t tell the whole story, so couple it with words that tell your audience what they’ll get out of subscribing to your email list. Make sure you focus on the benefits to them. It may be accurate that signing up means learning more about your brand and products, but that won’t convince most people. What problems will your emails help them solve? How will you make their lives easier or better? 8. Include a clear call to action (CTA). You want them to take an action, so tell them what to do. You can test out different language to use here, but be sure you explicitly ask people to “Sign up today” or “Subscribe now.” Facebook will provide some options for you to choose from here. 9. Set up a relevant email drip campaign for new subscribers. Every time someone subscribes, it’s a win! But it could quickly turn into a loss if you don’t manage to keep them. One of the best ways to convince new subscribers that you’re worth sticking with is to set up a series of welcome emails that automatically go out to new subscribers. Use these initial emails to explain to your subscribers what they can expect from your email list, make the case for why it’s worth sticking around, and provide them a reward of some sort for joining (such as a discount offer or exclusive content). Providing value right away while the decision to sign up is still fresh in their memory will give you the chance to establish the relationship and show them you’re worth their time. 10. Test and tweak. You won’t know what will get results until you get started. Pay attention to your analytics — both for Facebook and your emails — to learn what’s working. Test out different images, copy, and CTAs to see what your audience responds to best. Over time, you’ll learn more about your target audience — what they respond to and what they care about. That knowledge will enable you to run better ads, strengthen your email marketing campaigns, and provide better service to your customers. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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How To Convert Organic Traffic Into Loyal Customers

The post How To Convert Organic Traffic Into Loyal Customers appeared first on HostGator Blog . You’re getting quality traffic to your e-commerce store. Now what? As a small business owner, you’re tasked with turning those visitors into customers. It’s up to you to woo consumers into purchasing your latest products. While it may sound difficult, don’t panic. Matt Ackerson , founder of AutoGrow, offers sage advice: “Once you understand that traffic is just like energy or water and you just need to create pathways to direct it where you want it to go, the rest is easy. Don’t make the mistake of over complicating it though. So many business people think success has to be complicated when it doesn’t.” Let’s make the process simple for you and the consumer. Here are five ways to convert your traffic into loyal customers. 1. Write Creative Product Descriptions When it comes to selling products online , storytelling really does matter. It only takes one click for a consumer to exit your site and visit a competitor. You can keep your customers’ attention and sell more items by crafting creative product descriptions. Descriptive text is an opportunity to highlight your products and showcase your brand’s personality. You want the product description to breathe life into the item. To achieve this objective, set the scene for the buyer. You want the shopper to imagine themselves using the product. It’s also helpful to skip the corporate jargon. Aim to use the everyday language of the typical consumer. Online women’s clothing retailer ModCloth uses expressive words to persuade its consumers into purchasing their inventory. Each product description digs into the emotional state of the shopper’s mind. Not only do you learn about the product’s physical dimensions, but you also understand how it will make you feel. When writing product descriptions, focus on turning features into benefits. How will the item improve consumers’ lives? What will the product help them achieve? Dig deep and touch their pain points. Stand out from the competition with unique product descriptions. You’ll appeal to your audience’s imagination and increase their desire for your products.   2. Create a Sense of Urgency With a jam-packed schedule of work assignments and family responsibilities, it’s easy for your consumers to delay buying products at this very moment. That’s why your team must nudge them to the checkout cart sooner than later. Creating a sense of urgency isn’t about causing a state of panic for your audience. Instead, you want to help them make a speedy decision about the products they already want. “Urgency can be blocked by your customers’ minds if you don’t give them specific instructions on how to solve the problem. Rather than giving vague instructions, tell people exactly what to do when the time comes and don’t be afraid to drive them toward specific actions,” says Gregory Ciotti , former senior content marketing manager at Help Scout. A few urgency tactics include adding a countdown clock to your sales page, showing the limited number of items in stock, and offering discounts on abandoned cart items.   You may want to spotlight product demand, too. For instance, you can show how many people have already purchased a particular item— using FOMO as a marketing strategy . A small dose of urgency is helpful for getting your customers across the purchasing threshold. Product value mixed with persistence means more sales for your business.   3. Offer Top-Notch Customer Support Research shows that “on average happy customers tell nine people about their experiences with a company.” If you’re delivering superb customer support, that’s an opportunity to generate more revenue for your e-commerce store. While online support varies from the traditional in-person experience, some of the same principles apply. Your purpose is to offer immediate, accurate help with a touch of kindness ( live chat is excellent for this). When speaking with your support reps, consumers should feel special. Begin with a warm-hearted, concerned tone when talking to customers. Your team will want to approach each conversation as if the consumer is talking to a friend, not stranger. Also, it’s important to train your support reps to solve customers’ concerns as quickly as possible. Shoppers respect business efficiency because it doesn’t waste their precious time. BaubleBar values its shoppers and makes offering customer service a priority. The accessories retailer allows customers to email and call their staff members. Plus, the company posts their availability along with the normal response time. And don’t be afraid to apologize to your customers. If you make a mistake, acknowledge your error and continue to provide high-caliber service. Quality service is the key to ensuring casual shoppers turn into loyal customers . Give your audience different support channels to connect with your team.   4. Build an Exclusive Community The desire to belong is part of your consumer’s humanity. In one way or another, we’re all seeking a chance to be part of a specific group, team, or club. Your e-commerce store can satisfy that consumer need by establishing a brand community. “We have an inherent need to be a part of a social community and to feel connected to others. It not only makes us feel secure and comfortable, it inspires us to take action to achieve our desired results as well,” writes entrepreneur Akshay Nanavati . Brand communities take many shapes and forms. There’s the VIP rewards programs with die-hard fans seeking exclusive perks. Or you can develop an advisory panel where consumers can give you insight on their interests and tastes. Fostering a community requires time and patience. You’ll want to create rules and expectations for your consumers. That way, you’re building trust early in the relationship. Go beyond the usual benefits of a community. Ask your brand advocates for their honest feedback in exchange for unique product discounts. And be mindful not to bog down your loyal members with excessive emails and push notifications. Communities ensure regular contact between your business and buyers. Elevate your e-commerce store with brand advocates championing your mission.   5. Present an Irresistible Exit Pop-Up Offer Believe it or not, your consumers aren’t excited to buy your products every time they land on your site. They may visit your store to just do price comparisons, or they might have a few minutes to spare during lunch and occupy their time by browsing your website. While consumer intent may concentrate on another purpose, your goal is to reel shoppers in and persuade them to purchase. And one of the best ways to do so is with exit pop-up offers. An exit popup is a message that appears when a visitor tries to leave your site. It helps your team refocus the consumer’s attention back to your store. This popup is a prime location for you to give visitors a special deal, offer an instant promotion, or add them to a particular email newsletter. Behappy.me knows how to capture the attention of visitors attempting to leave its site. The store offers first-time buyers an extra 10% discount to influence their buying decision. There’s always one last chance to entice your consumers. With exit pop-up offers, you can grab hesitant shoppers who need extra motivation to buy your products.   Turning Traffic Into Trust Persuading visitors to become customers isn’t an easy task. However, with a sound strategy and patience, you can get shoppers to the checkout cart. Start with drafting creative product descriptions to get visitors excited about your items. Then, create a sense of urgency with limited-time sales. And always offer five-star customer support to show consumers you truly care. Build trust to convert your traffic into loyal customers. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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How to Write Blog Posts for Your Buyer Personas

The post How to Write Blog Posts for Your Buyer Personas appeared first on HostGator Blog . Quick quiz for business bloggers: In one sentence, describe the audience for your blog. If you had your answer ready, you’re ready to write must-read content for your customers. If you had to stop and think about who your audience is, or if you said “everybody,” it’s time to get a clear picture of your readers so you can create more effective content. In both cases, the key is to research, build, and use buyer personas. Write for a Specific Persona If you aced the quiz, it’s because you have a customer persona . Personas are like character sketches for marketers and bloggers. They define types of audience members by their interests, age range, online behaviors, and shopping habits. You create personas based on data from your site analytics, social media monitoring, site-visitor surveys, and interviews with your readers and customers. If you’re just starting out, research the types of people you’d like to have in your audience. Start with the persona that represents the largest part of your audience. Let’s say you have a blog for your hobby farming supply business. Your primary persona might be a retired banking executive (let’s call her Daisy) in her early 60s whose partner is also retired. She recently bought a vintage farmhouse on a small acreage. Her interests are raising flowers and herbs for market and she’d also like to set up a duck pond and a rental cottage on her property. Daisy likes to carefully research purchases and she prioritizes quality over price. Here’s a sample persona template you can use to create your own website personas: Speak the Same Language as Your Customers Whoever your persona is, write in a voice that they’ll understand. Let’s stick with the hobby farm supply example for a bit. Maybe your background is in agribusiness. Daisy, your retired banking-executive persona, won’t know the ag jargon that you do. She searches for terms like “how much to feed ducks,” not “how to formulate balanced poultry rations.” Include the keywords she’s likely to use in your posts to show her you’re speaking to her, so she’ll stick around. Bonus: Better SEO is a natural outcome of using the phrases your personas use. Not sure how your persona talks about or searches for their interests? Look at your blog and social media comments and email messages from your customers. Monitor your Google Search Console data to see which keyphrases bring readers to your blog. And check out other blogs, vlogs, and podcasts in your niche. The goal isn’t to copy anyone else’s voice but to connect with prospective customers by speaking their language. Tailor Post Length to Your Audience and Your Goals How long should your business blog posts be? That depends on your goals for each post and the time your persona has to read it. Daisy is retired and has time to focus on her interests, but an audience of mid-career professionals with small children will have less time to read. Short and long posts both have their place on your posting schedule, but you’ll want to skew toward what your audience prefers. The Case for Short Blog Posts Short blog posts of at least 300 words are a great way to tackle niche topics. That’s good for readers who want specific information. It’s also good for SEO, because narrowly focused posts can help you rank well for longtail search phrases . For example, if the persona you’re writing for is a pet rabbit owner, it’s going to be hard to rank well for “rabbit care,” which generates more than 443 million results. By going into more detail with posts on “elderly rabbit grooming,” “safe chew toys for rabbits,” “how to build a rabbit castle” and so on, you’re more likely to reach readers searching for those topics. You can later compile all your short posts on one topic into a PDF to give away to readers who join your list. The Case for Long Blog Posts Long posts —1,000 words and more—are more challenging to write and require a bigger time commitment from you and your customers. Long content typically does well in search results, so it’s worth your time to create at least a few. These can be mega-posts that combine and expand on previous short posts. They can also be new content, like a list or a how-to guide, to promote an upcoming launch or new product. For example, if you’re preparing to start selling an online course , a long post that includes a sample of the class material can help prospective students decide to register. Take your time writing and editing long posts to make sure they deliver what your personas want to know, using the same language they do. And if you’re planning a product launch, review your current site hosting plan to make sure it can handle launch-related spikes in traffic. You may want to upgrade to a more powerful plan like HostGator Cloud Hosting for more speed and bandwidth, and add on CodeGuard daily backup service to easily restore your site if your launch-prep site changes temporarily break things. Pace Your Blog Posts Properly Ask your readers how often they want to hear from you, then build a calendar to match your persona’s preferences. If you don’t have a big audience yet, remember that most people are happy to read one or two new posts a week from a blog they value. Less than that is probably okay, too. Too-frequent posts may overwhelm subscribers and lead them to drop your blog. Save daily posting for when you can hire help, have a large audience, and have specific marketing goals that require lots of new content. Keep an eye on your blog, email, and sales metrics. Over time, you should see how your publishing schedule affects page views, time on the site, email opens and clickthroughs, unsubscribes, and conversions. Tweak the schedule if you need to so your readers stick around. Close with a Call to Action What separates good bloggers from great bloggers? Great bloggers who build thriving online communities and businesses have a clear goal for each blog post before they write it. Before you write, decide what you want your readers to do when they reach the end of your post. Do you want them to join your email list ? Share your post? Buy your duck brooders? Once you know, ask them to do it. Don’t assume it’s obvious. Life is filled with distractions, so make your calls to action clear: Join the list. Get the book. Register now. Reserve your appointment. There’s one other benefit to building personas before you blog. It helps to make your posts more conversational and builds rapport with your audience. So, whenever you’re ready to write, think about your persona, what they want to know, how much time they have to read, and the keywords they search for. Then you’re ready to write posts that will connect. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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5 Fresh Ideas for Ongoing Content Generation

The post 5 Fresh Ideas for Ongoing Content Generation appeared first on HostGator Blog . Content generation can feel like an uphill battle in an online space filled with so much content. It’s your responsibility to bring new, engaging content to your audience. By offering a fresh perspective, your website stands out from the crowd and spotlights your business as an industry leader. Unique ideas can come from anywhere. Whether it’s videos or blog posts, take control of your content generation. Here are five resources to spark your imagination today. 1. Read Industry Reports A content idea doesn’t have to appear out of thin air (or endless original research). You can find what you need by downloading the latest industry report. Industry reports are usually long, dense documents that no one likes reading. However, they are goldmines of valuable information. You can transform those insights into an email marketing series to bolster your brand and thought leadership. For instance, explain a key point in the report, add your critical perspective as a business owner, and then send it to your subscribers in multiple emails. Don’t know where to find in-depth research? Start your search with Think with Google . This website uncovers digital trends with data reports, guides, and infographics. When using industry reports, it’s important to avoid regurgitating the information to your visitors. Your goal is to engage people with a different viewpoint. Don’t be afraid of controversial stances if your brand truly believes in an ideal. Take advantage of the resources available to your small business. An industry report could ignite your next great content piece that your readers will love.   2. Ask Your Audience In the hustle and bustle of work, we often forget the obvious when generating content ideas. Asking your audience is an effective way to add fresh insight to your content. Ross Simmonds , a marketer, strategist, and founder of Hustle & Grind, agrees: “So many people create content without talking to their actual target audience…But if you’re trying to grow a brand, you need to start with your audience in mind. So pick up the phone, open up the inbox or queue up the DM and get in touch with your audience.” Explore different methods of approaching your audience for content suggestions. You can send a three-question survey via email to a segmented group of subscribers. Or you can run a simple Facebook poll. You also may want to incentivize responses with free swag. Showing your appreciation will earn your brand quality feedback. User-generated content can work well for your content, too. You can do an open call for quotes or photos for a specific topic. People love seeing their names in print or hearing it on a podcast episode.   3. Scan Twitter Hashtags Twitter serves as the pulse of the latest trends in consumer behavior. From funny threads to serious news, the social platform gives your brand an inside peek at what your customers discuss and their daily activities. This social network is an oasis of content ideas that can fill your entire calendar. Use specific hashtags to search through recent tweets from your audience. For example, if your online store specializes in beauty products, you might do research with #beautytips or #beautyproducts. With a brand presence on Twitter, it’s possible to receive ideas directly from your customers. Every week make a conscious effort to read responses from your followers. You also should be replying back to them to express your gratitude. Broaden your research by checking out your audience’s responses to competitor brands. You’ll get a sense of what excites and bores customers about the competition. Regularly review your own your Twitter Analytics , too. This social intelligence is enough to build better content for your site. Use it to develop an amazing e-course or vlog.   4. Review Conference Agendas Every year, conferences get flooded with smart participants and charismatic speakers. If you desire remarkable ideas, the conference agenda holds the key to your content generation woes. When examining the agenda, the goal isn’t to swipe someone’s entire presentation. Instead, use it as inspiration to initiate adjacent content ideas. Carro Ford , a marketer and author, says: “Study the agenda and session tracks to get a sense of trending user problems and concerns.
 Conference keynotes and sessions highlight trending topics in your market that you can cover in your blog. You’ll also get ideas for keywords to use in your writing.” As a sign of appreciation, you should mention the speaker’s name and include a link to their work, if possible. These little actions provide an avenue to foster future content relationships. You also could use agendas as a syllabus for your content calendar. You might highlight a specific topic each month or create a quarterly infographic from the title of a talk. It’s not necessary to start from scratch with your content generation. Take the time to scour through conference agendas to find unconventional topics.   5. Connect with Influencers The content generation process shouldn’t operate in a silo. To produce your best content, you’ll want to collaborate with experts, thought leaders, and influencers . Working with others alleviates the ongoing demands of content production. Plus, it also gives your audience an opportunity to hear from other leading voices in your industry. Be selective when working with influencers. Don’t compromise your brand’s integrity just to earn popularity. You can vet thought leaders by analyzing their past content and asking for professional references. Moreover, expand your reach to lesser-known individuals. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) can assist you in developing relationships with experts in a variety of fields. It’s a free resource, and you’ll receive quality quotes for your upcoming stories. Think outside of the box with influencer content. Rather than the same old blog post, get industry leaders to take over your social media accounts for a day. Or ask them to record five three-minute video clips about an interesting topic. These content pieces will be more meaningful to your visitors. Step up your content game with the help of others. You can do more through collaboration.   Fresh Ideas, New Content Generating content is an ongoing process. For fresh ideas, read the industry reports or sift through your Twitter timeline. Be creative and craft extraordinary content for your audience. Need help brainstorming blog topics? Read this post. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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