Tag: Website

How Long Does It Take to Build a Website?

One of the most common questions we get here at HostGator is, “How long does it take to build a website?” It’s a great question, but it also doesn’t have a super straightforward answer.

The most basic answer to that question is, it depends. For a majority of websites, it takes 12 to 16 weeks. But, it depends on how much experience you have building websites, what you want your website to do, how much planning you do in advance, and what training tools you use.

If you want to build a super basic website with no bells and whistles, you can build it in a few hours (seriously). If you want a fully-functional, highly-customized website, it can take weeks to months.

This article will focus on the average website owner at HostGator and how it’s possible to launch a nice website in a week (seriously!). Here is an overview of the steps you need to follow to get your website up and running in 7 days.

For more detailed, daily instruction on building your website, make sure to sign up for HostGator’s free 7-day email course.

1. Get in the zone

Do you remember back to elementary school when you read the Shel Silverstein poem, Melinda Mae? If not, here’s a quick review. Melinda Mae wants to eat a huge whale and everyone says it’s impossible. So, she sits at the table and takes tiny bites, and finishes the whole whale in 89 years.

How to Eat a Whale - Charity Mika
Illustration of Melinda Mae

Thankfully, it won’t take you 89 years to eat this particular whale (aka build your entire website), but the sentiment of Melinda Mae could not apply more to creating a site.

It’s true. You have quite a task at hand. But, if you get in the zone, stay motivated, and take the project one tiny bite at a time, you’ll move through the process swiftly and have a beautiful website up in no time.

Moving on.

2. Create a plan

Creating a website without a plan in mind is kind of like baking a cake without a recipe. You’ll end up skipping steps, leaving out important ingredients, and you’ll end up with a huge mess on your hands and a gross final product.

Before you get started with your website, you need a recipe. Make sure you have an answer to all of the following questions:

  • What do you want to name your website?
  • Will your website have a tagline?
  • What header image do you want to use?
  • Do you want to put your logo on your website?
  • What color scheme do you want to use?
  • What font do you like?
  • Do you have a gallery of images to supplement your website copy?
  • What do you want the basic layout of your website to be?
  • How many pages do you want on your website?
  • Which pages do you want on your website?
  • Where do you want the navigation menu to appear?
  • How will website users get in touch with you (e.g. phone, chat, contact form)?
  • Will your website include a blog?
  • Do you know the basics of SEO?
  • What do you want each page of your website to say?

Take the time to write down the answers to each of these questions. You’ll be glad you did.

2. Conduct market research

Before you even start researching domain names or sign up for web hosting, it’s essential to conduct market research. This includes learning as much as you can about your target audience and your competitors.

When you know who your audience is and what your competitors are doing, it’s easier to create a website that engages your audience and differentiates you from other websites like yours.

Website market research can be an involved process, and it’s wise to consult additional resources for how to conduct effective audience and competitor research. But, here are some basics to consider:

  • What are the demographics of your audience?
  • What does your audience like and dislike?
  • What type of content does your audience like (e.g. text, video, podcasts)?
  • What do your social media insights say about your audience (if applicable)?
  • What customer insights do you have from your CRM (if applicable)?
  • What do your current reviews say about your company?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are your competitors doing that is working and not working?
  • How are you different from your competitors?
  • What problems do you solve that your competitors don’t?

3. Outline your website structure

Since websites are visual, it’s important to outline your website structure. You can even quickly sketch out what pages you want to include in your site and what you want your pages to look like.

The good news is you don’t have to be an artist. This exercise is to help you get your ideas on paper. Also, whether you use the HostGator Website Builder or opt for a WordPress theme, you won’t have to do any of the artwork or design yourself. All you need to do is plan out a basic idea of what you want, and then let HostGator or WordPress do the hard work.

If you opt to use the HostGator Website Builder, remember it uses AI to build your basic website structure for you, and then you can easily customize your pages with a few clicks of a button. 

If you build in WordPress, you can choose one of the thousands of pre-built website templates that best matches what you dreamed up in your sketches.

add wordpress theme

4. Write your website copy

Once you have sketched out what you want your website to look like, it’s time to write your website copy.

If you don’t know exactly what your website will look like and how much copy you will need yet, you can just create a document for each page on your site. Then, write down the headline, subheadings, and any blocks of copy you know you’ll want on the page. You will make adjustments once you’ve settled on a design or theme.

Once you have picked your theme or started your design, you can copy and paste your content into the respective page builder or theme. 

5. Choose your domain, hosting, and software

If you’ve created a plan for your website, done your market research, and planned your visuals and copy, you’re officially ready to get started.

The first step in getting your website is to choose a domain. Your domain is a unique web address that directs browsers directly to your website. When you sign up for web hosting with HostGator, you get the first year of your domain name rental for free.

To sign up for web hosting, all you have to do is navigate to HostGator.com, pick your preferred hosting plan, and sign up.

Often the type of hosting plan you select will depend on the software you use. For example, if you want to use the HostGator Website Builder to build your website, you’d select a hosting plan from the Gator Website Builder. As soon as you sign up and log in, HostGator will help you build your website.

Similarly, if you want to build a WordPress website, you would navigate to HostGator and click on WordPress Hosting and select your preferred plan. Once you have set up your account, you can install WordPress with one-click and start creating your site.

Remember web hosting is the service you use to rent server space. As such, you can also build your website with a third-party website builder, and still host it through HostGator. 

6. Design your website

Now that you’ve done all the planning and have a hosting account and access to WordPress or the website builder, you can start designing your site.

This step will take up the bulk of your time. However, if you’ve planned and prepared, this process will be easier. All you’ll need to do is sign into your account, pick your design elements and templates, and start importing the images and copy you pre-planned.

Here is a more detailed guide on how to launch a WordPress site in HostGator, and how you can get started with the Gator Website Builder.

7. Review your website and publish

The last part of the process of building your website in a week is to review your website and publish it. 

Here is what you want to review before you publish:

  • Make sure all your internal and external links are working.
  • Look over your theme, color schemes, and design to make sure it looks nice.
  • Double-check your logo.
  • Add a favicon (the little logo that appears in a users browser).
  • Check that your images are correct and loading properly.
  • Do a spelling and grammar check.
  • Make sure you’ve published your blog (if applicable).
  • Check that your forms work.
  • Test your plugins.
  • Update all your social media plugins.
  • And more!

Basically, you’ll want to check every element of your website to make sure everything is working properly. When you’re done, press “publish,” and share your website with the world.

Sign up for HostGator’s free 7-day email course!

The purpose of this blog post is to show you how long it takes for an average website owner to build a website in HostGator and list the steps involved.

However, if you’re looking to stay motivated, get more detailed instructions, and hit a target publish date in a week from now, then sign up for HostGator’s free 7-day email course on building your website.

Instead of sitting you down at the table with your website whale, HostGator’s course will send you daily instructions and bite-sized tasks. At the end of the 7 days, you’ll be ready to press “publish.”

Casey is the Senior Director of Marketing for Hosting and has been in the web hosting space for 7 years. He loves the slopes and hanging out with his kids.

Prepare Your Website for the Google Page Experience Update | Windows VPS Hosting Blog

Google Page Experience Update

Google has a hot and happening history of algorithm updates focused on the page loading experience improvement for users. Operation “speed up the internet” slogan has been underway since 2010, and in that year, Google first announced consideration of site speed as a new ranking factor in ESRP.

In 2018 they simply doubled down and announced their ranking algorithm would look upon mobile page speed as a factor.

There were really blazing announcements, which brought large-scale changes on the whole internet. The users are really enjoying it, but it brings so many challenges for the website owners.

Since these announcements, site speed and page speed have only become so crucial. Users increasingly expect pages to load faster, and the internet continues to enlarge and become more complex.

Period, page speed was directly linked to both how well your website converts its visitors into customers and how your website ranked in Google before the 2021 Page Experience Update.

The June core algorithm update is going to make page speed more important for ranking as well as converting. In case you aren’t ranking right now, or your site has a pretty low conversion rate, you need to check your page speed score right now.

How’s the page speed ranking factor changing in June 2021

Page Speed Ranking

  • In May 2020, Google declared that they planned to launch a huge new algorithm update in the next year. They exclaimed that the 2021 Google Algorithm Update is going to focus on measuring how users experience the web page’s performance and will be known as the Page Experience Update. Further, Google explained that they wanted to allot webmasters much time to update their websites before they make an official new ranking factor because of the Coronavirus crisis.
  • On 10th Nov 2020, Google declared the new update would roll out in June 2021 – nearly one after their 2020 announcement.
  • On Apr 19th, 2021, Google declared a new launch date for the new Page Experience Update, and it was mid-June 2021. This rollout will be granular in the beginning and will progressively affect rankings more and more with time. Google wants the new ranking signals to play their full role by August’s end. They relate the rollout to slowly flavoring food, saying, “You can consider fitting as if you are adding a flavoring to the food you’re preparing. Instead of adding the flavor all at just once into your mix, we’ll be gradually adding it all over this time phase.”

Google’s intension to protect webmasters from “the big shock”

As you can read, Google has given webmasters much advance notice regarding this update, and their intention is to ensure that websites don’t take huge ranking hits when the update rolls out fully.

Google looks upon page speed as a tricky issue to solve and can take long troubleshooting. In case you haven’t thought about what these new guidelines and updates are going to mean for your business, just consider this your official call-to-action. Yes, we strictly mean that, be alert, and start working now.

Take action on the page speed and page experience of your website for protection against the upcoming update.

Tools for adapting to this upcoming algorithm update

There are heaps of tools available that help all digital managers and webmasters monitor how they perform according to these metrics, including:

  • The Chrome UX (CrUX) Report permit historical monitoring of all these signals in an awesome DataStudio Dashboard.
  • Google Search Console now accompanies a Core Web Vitals report.
  • Webpagetest.org is a 3rd tool that includes these metrics in its extensive load speed reports.
  • PageSpeed Insights is another legacy tool from Google that has had a recent renovate to report on these metrics – however, the output proves to be somewhat misleading at times.

Google also plans to test out a visual indicator within SERP to highlight pages providing an amazing experience. This means that in case your web pages offer a bad page experience, it won’t just hurt your rankings but also highly affect your click-through rate.

Flipping the coin, in case you get it perfect, then you could really earn big benefits and watch your organic traffic grow quickly. They’re planning on testing this soon, and we need to see what’s in store! Not just Google tools, but various other tools will also certainly bring some big changes.

What do Google Core Web Vitals say?

As mentioned up there, Google plans to deploy the upcoming Page Experience Update of 2021.

The new Core Web Vitals, along with a list of various other factors, will comprise Google’s ranking algorithm. Such new factors are known as “page experience metrics.”

These are all metrics of Page Experience:

Metrics of Page Experience

  • Https (security)
  • Safe-browsing
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • No intrusive interstitials (pop-ups)
  • FID (less than 100 ms for 75% of page loads)
  • LCP (less than 2.5 secs for 75% of page loads)
  • CLS ( less than 0.1 for 75% of page loads)

These new page experience metrics are known as Core Web Vitals (first input delay, largest contentful paint, cumulative layout shift).

CWVs measure various aspects of user experience that go into adjudging your overall speed score (along with various other metrics) and page performance.

Google’s existing user experience metrics ( safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, intrusive interstitial guidelines, and mobile-friendliness) will still be appropriate ranking factors.

Recently, Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst,t John Mueller — put together a whole thread of tweets explaining the Core Web Vitals in normal words.

How to Measure Page Speed & Core Web Vitals

You can measure the CWVs using the Google Lighthouse and Google Search Console page experience report.

How does it work:

Field Data:

The page experience report on Search Console shows the performance of your pages based on field data derived from the CrUX report, and this report is best used for identifying user bottlenecks and knowing how your website performs for real-world users.

This is the information you derive by concentrating on real-world user experiences.
It solves the query: How’s this page loading for real users on various computers that are trying to interact with a webpage after it loads?

Lab Data:

Google Lighthouse offers web performance data based on “lab data.” This is perfect for fixing bugs on your website since the report operates in a controlled environment.

  • This is the info you derive from testing in a controlled environment and concentrating on the results.
  • This is a beneficial method if you want to identify and fix bugs.

Do consider that Search Console and Lighthouse could show various results for your Core Web Vitals besides overall page experience scoring as the reports use different data.

LCP or Largest Contentful Paint

In contrast to FCP, the LCP metric quantifies how rapidly the main element above the fold gets ready for the user. Talking technically, LCP measures the render time of the biggest text block or image visible within the viewport. You need to aim to keep LCP below 2.5 seconds for exactly 75% of their page loads as per Google.

High LCP is anything over 4.0 sec and is considered bad.

Low LCP is under or equal to 2.5, and that’s Good.

FID or First Input Delay

FID calculates the reaction time of a given page to the first user input (no matter they click or press any keys).

In simple words, if it appears that a page has completed loading, but when you click on it, nothing is responsive, it means that the page is facing the high FID time issue.

You have to keep FID below100 ms for 75% of pages. High FID means over 300ms, while Low FID is under or equal to 100 ms.

CLS or Cumulative Layout Shift

The best way to recognize the CLS is to consider it as the metric that calculates visual stability.

The target is for a score of below 0.1 for 75% of webpage loads. High CLS is over 0.25, while Low FID is under or equal to 0.1.

How CLS works

In truth, CLS is a bit harder to understand. When a webpage is loading, a few the user can see that the page is finished loading, but when the user clicks a button — or some any content on the webpage — the page shifts a bit, and the button moves because of an error in the loading process, and that’s what we call slow CLS.

This can be a significant issue for users. For instance, if any user is trying to cancel out his purchase, and right above the “Cancel Purchase” button, there’s another button saying “Buy Now” — Imagine going to tap “Cancel Purchase,” and the page shifts all of a sudden and the user end up tapping “Buy Now.”

It’s truly annoying, and in the worst-case, the user makes a non-refundable purchase. Oh Gosh, that’s hectic.

The impact of page experience update on SEO

The impact of page experience update on SEO

We know that CWVs measure a good user experience, and CWV scores will influence rankings to some extent.

Yes, CWVs will certainly influence rankings. Also, it will be an SEO ranking factor. However, according to Martin Splitt, from Google, you shouldn’t simply abandon your content generation efforts.

Here’s how he explained the same in a LinkedIn comment when he was asked whether we should be religiously following CWVs:

You should still provide valuable content to your web users that solve their queries, and you still need to think of other ranking factors. However, in case you aren’t considering user experience in terms of page performance, you simply aren’t providing the best value to your webpage viewers, and your Google Search rankings will surely reflect that.

What’s the Page Experience Badge mean in Search Results

Recently, evidence has surfaced that Google is preparing a “good page experience” report in Search Console that supposedly lists the pages that score well on the page experience metrics. It also plans to highlight a badge in Search Results for websites with great page experience as page experience update’s part. Google is taking user page experience so seriously, and why not?

The impact of Google Page Experience Update on Conversions and Revenue

So, are you not currently meeting the criteria for a good page experience previously mentioned? It’s already hurting your website conversion rates and your revenue.

Google and industry research from elsewhere has several reports that indicate the correlation between good user experience and conversions. Let’s list down a few:

  • Pages loading in 2.4 seconds attained a 1.9% conversion rate, and at 3.3 seconds,1.5% was the conversion rate.
  • The conversion rate was below 1% At 4.2 seconds.
  • Conversion rate was 0.6% at 5.7+ seconds.

Longer page load times have a diverse effect on bounce rates. For instance:

  • If page load time elevates from 1 second to 3 seconds, a 32% increase in the bounce rate is noted.
  • If page load time elevates from 1 second to 6 seconds, a 106% increase in the bounce rate is noted.

For the relationship between revenue and first contentful paint:

  • Per session on mobile, users experienced quick rendering times leads to 75% more revenue generation than average, and it calculates 327% more revenue than slow.
  • Per session desktop, users experienced quick rendering times leads to 212% more revenue generation than average, and it calculates 572% more revenue than slow.

Again, this is truly hurting your business, and you may not even know.

What’s about to change with this page experience update from Google is that in case you don’t meet the minimum criteria set for Google’s new page experience metrics, You’ll have an even tougher time while ranking your website and attracting traffic (thus, getting conversions will prove to be more difficult).

Solutions: How to Improve Core Web Vitals Scores

How to Improve Core Web Vitals Scores

Here’s the point, these new page experience metrics can be taken as technical, and even for those having knowledge of this territory, they are instead complex.

So what’s the solution?

The first thing you must be understanding is the specific issue to your website.

If you don’t know what awful things are happening to your website, fixing anything might get hard.

Google’s tools for webmasters are currently capable of supporting the CWVs measurement.

Try this:

  • Use Search Console’s freshly resealed CWVs report to know about page groups, which are worth your attention (on the basis of this field data).
  • Once you’ve discovered pages that require fixing, use PageSpeed Insights for diagnosing lab and field problems available on a page. You can discover PageSpeed Insights (PSI) through Search Console.

If your scores of CWVs are indicating a green signal, you are good to go.

If not, then addressing & fixing page issues is crucial. This can easily be done within 1-2 working ways:

1.) Take help from Huckabuy PageSpeed software to technically optimize distinctive sections of your site automatically.

The more efficient approach is to begin seeing an improvement in page performance, and to discover results fast, is to just integrate a PageSpeed software solution. This is undoubtedly a great option as it’ll remove your workload for website owners and team development. However, they won’t require revisiting the problem after making it solve. Besides that, automated software solutions will make sure.

2.) Allocate Dev. Resources in fixing the problems one by one.

Allocate development resources because of this problem to fix the issues one by one. The Google web developers’ tools offer guidance on the process of approaching and finding a solution.


While the Core Web Vitals incorporate the three metrics, that doesn’t imply that the Core Web Vital Metrics is not gonna change in the future.

The point of the Core Web Vitals is to make sure that websites are offering a quality page experience to users. In case Google determines the cumulative layout shift is not truly that essential to the entire page experience for users, then they might get rid of this metric in the future. They might also add some new metrics.


Don’t be highly aggressive in pushing signups and heavy discounts as soon as individuals enter your website. Offer them time to browse some sections and then go through with higher disruptive marketing tactics.

Also, as Google has implemented the rule, it suggests that it might even add icons in the searching results that indicate what the page’s experience is like.

As we know from recent trials, they’ve tested in the results, getting the nod from Google and having such icons got displayed next to the listings you are gonna do, and it will enhance your pages’ click-through rates.

Covid-19 has held the entire world in submission for the majority in the previous year, and discovering positives are few & far between. However, with the national lockdowns’ enforcement, the shift to digital has highly accelerated, and numerous businesses have been a lot busier in generating their digital platforms for the very first time.

This is highly intelligent as even digital skeptics are reaping the advantages from their online offerings and they are gonna continue to do so once the retail gets to normal.

As several are finding, the move in presenting a steep digital learning curve and the competition to accomplish visibility is getting high fierce, but individuals have been able to sustain their livelihoods and begin producing incomes online within 12-month and that might be worth forgetting.

Google has indicated this move to digital as well as to speculate on the feelings of Google; they understand that more people are feeling slightly downtrodden due to the current climate.

As a result, or it might be by coincidence, this ‘awful period’ has offered us all a fantastic opportunity to make the way we sell online pretty better.

The very last word: expert’s assistance

Bringing betterment to webpages’ speed is a hundred times tougher task than what one thinks. It needs deep knowledge of the functioning of the website CSS, Java, and tons of other aspects.

Better don’t try shortcuts like using plugins, as it may disturb the configurations of your whole site. Even if such plugins work, remember, it’s just a short-term solution. It’s time to consider only long-term and solid solutions.

We suggest you contact the professionals who can save you from the adverse effects of this update.

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19 Tried-and-True Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Affiliate Disclosure: DreamHost maintains relationships with some of our recommended partners, so if you click through a link and purchase, we may receive a commission. We only recommend solutions we believe in.

So you have a website. You’ve listed all your products and included details of your services. But nothing much is happening. No one is visiting and, consequently, no one is buying.

What’s missing?


Simply having a website isn’t enough. You need to tell people about your site, and you need them to be able to find it.

Here are 19 tried-and-tested ways of increasing website traffic that will help you do just that.

Don’t feel like reading all 19 tactics? That’s OK, we won’t be offended! Just use the links below and skip to a section of interest.

Ready to get started? Let’s drive more traffic to your business website and blog content.

We doubled our blog’s traffic with WordPress

We’ll show you how! Join 150,000+ others who get our monthly newsletter with insider WordPress tips.

Use Content Marketing

Some digital marketers might have you believe that content marketing is a new phenomenon. Even by looking at Google Trends for the last 16 or 17 years, you might be tricked into thinking content marketing is something recent. 

Content marketing interest over time chart in Google Trends 

In reality, content marketing has been around for many years. One of the first documented instances of a business using content marketing comes from 1895 (yes, that long ago!).

Then, in 1900, Michelin (the tire company) produced their first Michelin Guide. While it included tips on changing your tires and where to refuel your car, it also featured a list of places that hungry travelers could eat. And it was a massive success. It’s a great example of a business targeting their audience with content that they would find helpful without overselling their products. 

Content marketing is essentially the process of identifying your target market’s pain points and creating content that helps your target audience address them. 

Remember: It’s not all about you and your business, and it’s not solely about your products. It’s about helping your current or potential customers. 

1. Answer Niche-Specific Questions

No matter where in the buying cycle your potential customers are, they’re going to have questions that need answering. These could be top of the funnel (like “what is content marketing?”) or further down the funnel (like “which content marketing tools are best for content planning?”)

By answering these questions, you are putting your business in front of potential customers, regardless of where they are in the buying cycle. 

So how do you go about finding the questions that potential customers are asking? 

Your first port of call should be Google. Simply searching for your topic will start to give you ideas. Look at the questions in the image below. Google is giving you the kind of questions you need to answer, right there in the search results. 

‘People also ask’ Google search questions section

These are People Also Ask boxes (or PAA boxes). Getting your content to appear in them is a surefire way to drive website traffic. You’ll also notice that you get more and more questions to answer when you start clicking these search results. Handy, eh? 

Additional related search questions in the ‘People also ask’ section, Google Search. 

All you need to do is start collecting this information and using it to inform your FAQ and Q&A content. 

And don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to automate collecting this data.

If you want to collect the data straight from the search results, you can use a plugin like SEO Minion. If you want to take it a little further, you can use a freemium tool like AlsoAsked or Answerthepublic

AlsoAsked result diagram for a Content marketing search 


‘Answer the public’ result diagram for a Content marketing search 


2. Produce Evergreen Content

Now let’s get this straight: We aren’t against seasonal content. If you sell a seasonal product or service, it makes sense for you to create seasonal content. But if you want to drive traffic to your site all year round, you need to create evergreen content.

But what is evergreen content?

It’s pretty much what it says on the tin — it’s content that can drive traffic to your site all year round. There are fewer troughs and peaks, resulting in more reliable and consistent traffic. 

There are many types of evergreen content (and most of the topics and ideas can be found in the tools mentioned just below), but here are some of the most consistently successful formats.

  • How-to guides
  • Q&As and FAQs
  • Step-by-step processes or tutorials
  • Ultimate guides
  • Product reviews and round-ups
  • Training guides

One way to make sure this type of evergreen content continues to be successful is regularly updating it. Periodically review the content and make sure that the advice is up-to-date and relevant. That way, you’ll keep sending on-topic traffic to your site year after year. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

3. Create Eye-Catching Visual Content 

It’s worth noting that with this tactic, you’re more likely to get links and exposure on other sites that help drive traffic to your site over time — unless, of course, you can attach your visuals to the kind of content people are actively searching for. 

What type of visual content can you create? You probably need to be thinking along the lines of:

  • Visualizing data that is relevant to your niche.
  • Infographics that help people understand complex topics quickly.
  • Photographs that you can license via Creative Commons resulting in your business getting cited on other sites.

4. Create Expert Roundups

Another tried-and-tested way to drive traffic to your site is by creating expert round-ups within your niche. It can be relatively easy to get people in your industry to share their thoughts on a particular topic — at the end of the day, we’re all trying to promote our business. 

The great thing about expert roundups is that both sides benefit. You get content. Content that can drive traffic when it’s shared by its participants. And participants benefit from the exposure that they get by being featured on your site. 

You can easily find experts within your industry using tools like Ahrefs, Buzzsumo, and Buzzstream Discovery — all of which are mentioned later in this article. 

You can then reach out to the experts and ask them for an opinion on an evergreen topic.

It’s a win-win-win content marketing tactic. 

5. Always Be Repurposing 

No matter what kind of traffic-driving content you create, you need to ensure you make the most of it. Don’t just use the content once. Use it across different channels and get more bang for your buck.

Need a few ideas? Here are some ways you can repurpose your content marketing

  • A presentation can be recorded and uploaded to YouTube or a podcasting service.
  • The same presentation can be transcribed using a service like otter.ai and can become a blog post with a bit of tweaking.
  • Visual content for guides and blog posts can be repurposed for social media.
  • Blog posts can be periodically sent out to an email marketing list.
  • Take internal processes and turn them into whitepapers.
  • Combine blog posts with new content for whitepapers and eBooks.
  • Curate your teams’ tweets for tips and tools roundups.

The list is almost endless. And the more places your content appears, the more chances you have to drive traffic back to your site. 

6. Update Stagnant Content

What about the content you’ve created in the past? Is it losing traffic? Did it peak before seeing a slow decline?

Don’t ignore it — you can give it the kiss of life with a little bit of love — and that’s much quicker to do and cheaper to produce than another piece of content. 

There are loads of ways to identify stagnant content — the most obvious place to start is Google Analytics or Google Search Console. If the piece has performed well in the past, it stands to reason that it can perform well again. 

A few tools have popped up recently that analyze this data for you. And anything that takes out some of the manual labor is a big benefit in our book. Two of the most popular are Revive and the content decay feature in ClickFlow.

Revive example of articles to be updated.

Not all content marketing is about creating something new. You need to keep an eye on what you’ve created before. Sometimes it pays to look backward as well as forwards. 

Promote Everything

Do you remember the old Kevin Costner film “Field of Dreams”? The one in which he delivered the classic line: “If you build it, he will come”? 

Sure, you can create amazing, quality content. That doesn’t mean people will flock to read it, share it, and link to it. That very rarely happens. Many great pieces of content marketing have been resigned to the bin because the team behind them assumed that the people would just come. 

So how do you attract page views? Quite simply, via promotion. You need to be promoting. 

Here are some surefire ways to get eyeballs on your content. And when those eyeballs are on your content, that’s when you get the social shares and the links that you need for it to be successful. 

7. Always Be Outreaching 

Outreach is vital. You need to get your content in front of the right people. They are the ones that share your content; they are the ones that link to your content; they are the ones that can help amplify your content. 

But how do you get started with outreach? 

It begins with a list. You build a list of sites and journalists relevant to both your niche and the content you’ve created. And when we say list, we aren’t talking about 10 or 15 people. Outreach is challenging, and response rates are low. You need to build lists with 100s of sites and journalists to get a good ROI for your outreach efforts.

8. Crunch Data to Find Similar Content

So what are the best tools for finding these sites and journalists?  Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular options. 

Ahrefs Content Explorer 

With Ahrefs, you can find sites and journalists according to topic. With just a few clicks and some refining of the search results, you can grab the data for hundreds of relevant sites. This saves hours of manual work. 

The data it grabs for you includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • The pages that similar content appears on (and by default, the site).
  • Top authors.
  • The domain rating (essential if you’re looking to build links).
  • The number of domains that link to the piece of content.
  • Estimated traffic.
  • Who tweeted the content.

You’ll get an overview of the topic, similar to what you see here:

Page showing a bar chart and data for a topic in the Ahrefs Content Explorer.

You can then look at the details at a URL level.

Six different charts showing details at a URL level in Ahrefs Content Explorer


Buzzsumo is one of the most loved tools for finding people who write about topics you cover.

Alongside handy content research tools, Buzzsumo has a topic feature that allows you to build outreach lists at scale. The data you can see includes:

  • Trending and popular content for your chosen topic.
  • Social stats around those articles (including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit stats).

Buzzsumo search results for ‘content marketing.’

Another more recent feature allows you to find journalists that cover the type of content you’ve created.

Clicking their name enables you to gather the data required to reach out to them.

Buzzsumo search results showing a magnified view of journalist and their info.

So that’s all well and good, but then you need to keep all that data in a centralized place, so you can track your efforts. When you’re working to a strict budget, a shared Google Sheet is enough. If you have a team, you’ll be better off with purpose-built software like Pitchbox or Buzzstream

These tools will allow you to upload the lists you’ve created so you can qualify the results and reach out to the people you want to get in front of. 

Ensuring you track as much as possible is critical both for outreach and ensuring people see your content. If nobody sees it, it’s never going to be successful. 

9. Consider Guest Posting 

Didn’t Google once say that we “should stick a fork” in guest posting? Wasn’t it “done” quite a few years ago?

Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider it as a tool for helping to promote your content — it’s still a viable tactic when done right. 

So what do you need to do? 

Essentially, you need to try and guest post on good sites. But what’s a good site? Well, we’re glad you asked. 

Here are a few things to look out for when choosing a site you might want to guest post on.

  • Does the site have a decent amount of traffic?
  • Does it write mainly about your niche (you’ll want to stay away from general “we-cover-everything” type sites).
  • Does it have respected or expert writers on its staff or guest post roster? 
  • Does the site have a lot of pages indexed by Google? 
  • Does the site have high social engagement metrics?
  • Does the site match your target audience?

At the end of the day, when trying to identify and create a guest blogging strategy, you need to go for quality over quantity. Google is good at spotting patterns, and if it thinks you’re trying to game the system, you could find yourself in trouble with the search engine powers-that-be. 

10. Reach Out to Influencers

Influencers have been a hot topic for a few years now, with many getting a lot of love from some of the world’s biggest brands. But influencer marketing isn’t just for high-flyers — small brands can get in on it too. 

And influencer marketing can work in pretty much every niche. You just have to know where to look. For example, you probably wouldn’t use an Instagram influencer to drive traffic to an attorney’s website — it just isn’t a fit. 

So how do you go about finding influencers that fit your business and your website’s content? Well, there are a number of tools that can help: Klear and Upfluence are two places you can get started.

But it’s not just about social media. Bloggers are also influencers, and they can be very effective when it comes to driving traffic and brand awareness. Social media is time-sensitive, whereas blog content can send a steady stream of traffic for much longer, sustained periods.

There are plenty of tools that allow you to search for and engage with these influencers. Here are some of the most popular:

Utilize Email Marketing

Email marketing sounds a little dated. Do people even open emails anymore? Surely they don’t click on links or buy as a result of them, right?

In short, no, it’s not dated. People are still opening emails, and they’re still clicking links and buying the things that those emails promote.

In fact, data from 2019 found that 73% of marketers reported the ROI of email marketing to be either “good” or “excellent.” To be more exact, email marketing generates an average of £42 (or $55) for every £1 spent.

Email marketing isn’t looking so bad now, right?

Unfortunately, you can’t just open a MailChimp account (or whatever your email marketing service of choice might be). You need people to email. 

11. Grow Your Email List

There are many tips, tricks, and strategies for getting people to sign up to your emails, including (but not limited to):

  • Incentivizing sign-ups (with a discount, for example).
  • Hiding content behind a paywall that only subscribers can access.
  • Dotting call-to-actions across your site.

But these aren’t going to help much unless you already have a steady stream of traffic.

So what can you do to get people onto your email list if they’re not visiting your site?

  • Get involved in events. Sponsor them. Talk at them. Host them.
  • Run a competition. Many sites run competitions on behalf of other companies, which in turn provide the prizes. Most will ask for email addresses as part of the entry conditions.
  • Promote your newsletter in your email signature.
  • Create ads on social media that incentivize sign-ups — for example, with a product discount or the promise (and delivery) of great content in exchange for an email address.

Embrace Community

12. Participate in Online Communities

Participating in online communities can not only drive traffic to your site, but it can also help establish your business as an expert in its niche.

There are many ways you can do this, but in our experience, the ones that can drive the most traffic are the following:

Quora is the site for answering potential customers’ questions. Also, Quora pages often rank well in Google, giving you more visibility than you might get via your own site. 

As with any community, you have to make sure that the questions you answer and the advice you give are impartial. Never push your products or services, or you will get flagged, and your answers (aka your hard work) may get removed.

Reddit is an internet behemoth and, according to Similarweb, receives around 1.5 billion visits per month. If you can find subreddits to fit your niche, Reddit can drive a lot of traffic. 

A word of caution, though: Never, ever self-promote. Your posts will be removed very quickly if you do. If you participate in discussions around your topic and provide valuable insight, you may find you can share your content further down the line and get great results when you do. But always proceed with caution.

It’s also worth familiarizing yourself with each subreddit’s rules that you participate in, as they are all different. 

13.  Be Helpful on Forums 

Many marketers look down on forums as a means of increasing traffic, largely because they’ve long been used as an “easy” link-building tool. But forums aren’t all spam. They can be (and often are) used as a legitimate means of driving traffic.

Since most popular forums have a good few years under their belt, they usually have many active members. They’re not forums, really. They’re communities that come together around a passion for a particular topic. 

While forums can look outdated, that doesn’t mean they don’t have an audience, and any engaged audience is worth tapping into.

If you can find the right forums and be genuinely helpful in your contributions, you can consistently drive traffic to your site. There’s a few things to remember, though:

  • Don’t post links to your content too often — this could be seen as spammy
  • Give detailed answers to questions, which demonstrate that you’re a go-to industry expert
  • Share high-quality posts regularly

So how do you find these forums? The obvious place to look is Google. A quick search usually reveals some good options. There are also tools like Findaforum that can help you narrow down forums within your niche.

To find out how much traffic each of the forums you pick attracts, you can use a tool like Similarweb. This will give you an approximate idea as to how many visitors they receive every month. 

14. Add a Community to Your Site 

If you’re in a niche that people get really passionate about, you could consider adding a community to your website. 

This could be a standard forum or more in the vein of a curated community like Product Hunt. Whatever you choose, you have to make sure that it’s the right choice for your audience. As these communities grow, they attract more people, and as it’s part of your site, they will connect with your brand. 

In addition, the content that your community creates can drive additional traffic by being found in the search results and via social. Passionate people can help drive traffic. 

A word of warning, though: Communities can be time-consuming to manage, and you have to make sure that content gets moderated. You might also want to consider incentivizing interaction, at least until your community gains traction. One great way to do this is to award participants points in a loyalty scheme.

Boost Organic Traffic with SEO

We couldn’t write an article on how to drive traffic to your website without talking about search engine optimization (or SEO, for short). It’s a long-term tactic with big rewards. But what is it? And why should you care?

Search engine optimization consists of a wide range of tactics and practices designed to help websites rank higher in the organic SERPs. 

SERPs stands for Search Engine Results Pages. Organic refers to the natural or “free” section of the SERPs. In other words, it’s the portion of search engines that you don’t pay to appear in (and who wouldn’t love that?!)

We’re not going to be able to teach you everything you need to know about SEO in this article. SEOs (the people who practice SEO or do it day-to-day as their job) spend years honing their craft and hours keeping up to date with the latest industry trends. So instead, we’re going to cover some need-to-know SEO essentials. 

15. Focus on Keywords

Keyword research is the process used to identify keywords that will help drive more traffic to a site. We typically determine a keyword’s “value” using three metrics:

  1. Relevancy
  2. Search volume
  3. Competition

Let’s say you’re working on a website that sells women’s shoes. Relevant keywords might include:

  • Women’s sandals
  • Women’s strappy sandals
  • Flat women’s shoes
  • Women’s shoes 3-inch heel
  • Women’s ankle boots

And although these might surface when carrying out keyword research for women’s shoes, relevant keywords would definitely not include:

  • Men’s shoes
  • Children’s shoes
  • Women’s tops

So you’d ignore these or filter them out of your research. Other things to consider when it comes to relevancy might include brand terms (you don’t want to be optimizing your site for a competitor’s name!) or terms that are too general.

Search volume is the number of people typing a particular keyword into search engines (or saying it over voice search.) This is important because more search volume = greater potential to drive traffic to your site. However, search volume alone isn’t enough to determine whether a keyword is the right choice for you. You also need to consider the competition.

Also known as keyword difficulty, keyword competition is a score, usually of between 0 and 100, that tells you how tough a keyword is to target (or in other words, whether you have a hope in Peoria of ranking for the keyword in question.)

This isn’t as simple, though, as “high competition, you won’t rank” or “low competition, you will rank.” You also need to consider the strength of the site in question.

A brand new site is going to have few, if any, incoming links. This means it’ll have minimal Domain Authority and will struggle to rank for keywords with any real competition. On the other hand, a site with a DA of, say, 90+ could feasibly go after pretty much any keyword.

16. Get a Keyword Research Tool


Countless SEO tools can assist you with keyword research (and you’d be pretty hard-pressed to carry out keyword research without a tool). The trick is choosing a tool that works for you (and is within your budget.)

For years the go-to keyword research tool was Google’s Keyword Planner. Unfortunately, Google didn’t seem to like this. The tool’s been chopped and changed to the point that it’s largely useless unless you’re researching keywords specifically to advertise on Google — a shame because it’s free.

If you’re looking for the best-in-the-biz keyword researching tool, we recommend Semrush! Its database includes more than two billion keyword opportunities. On top of that, it also provides you with information on relevant keywords, related ads, product listings, and a lot more. The good news? We’ve worked out a special 14-day trial with Semrush so you can see if this tool is a good fit for your site! 

17. Optimize Your Site

After completing keyword research, it’s time to optimize the site, specifically things like title tags and <h> tags and the content (the body of the page) itself.

On-page optimization is important because including the keywords you want to rank for within your <h> tags and on-page content can, well, help you rank for them. Your meta title also serves as a call-to-action within the SERPs, enticing people to click through to your site instead of a competitor’s (or it will if you write a good one!) Don’t go overboard on the keyword front, though. Write for clicks first and keywords second.

Another key component of optimization is your meta descriptions. Unlike title tags, <h> tags, and your body content, meta descriptions don’t affect rankings. They do, however, affect clicks (potentially more so than title tags).

Meta descriptions provide a short summary of a page. In many cases, they also act as sales pitches. Use them to sum up a page’s contents and, where possible, its unique selling proposition (USP).

When complete, your title tag and meta description (known together as a search snippet) should look something like this:

DreamHost meta description and title tag

18. Make Technical Improvements

Some of the biggest barriers to performance in organic search and, consequently, clicks are technical. Websites with glaring technical errors will struggle to rank. In extreme cases, they might not rank at all. 

Just check out Google’s Core Web Vitals project, which promises higher rankings for sites that offer a speedy user experience (UX) to their visitors.

So how do you go about identifying onsite technical issues? It generally starts with a website crawler. There are quite a few around nowadays, but when it comes to cost and usability, we have two firm favorites: Screaming Frog and Sitebulb.

Website crawlers — or auditing tools as they’re also known — will crawl your website, following links and extracting data. They do this in much the same way as a search engine crawler.

Unlike search engine crawlers, though, auditing tools are working for you. They tell you what can be improved on your site or what’s just plain wrong with it. Whether this is duplicate content, orphaned pages, accessibility issues, structured data problems, and a whole host of other issues.

Here’s an example of information covered in just the summary section of Sitebulb. As you can probably tell, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into.

DreamHost meta description and title tag
DreamHost meta description and title tag

But what do you do with this information?

Well, that depends on your level of technical SEO and web development knowledge. You need the first to understand the data the auditing tools provide, and the latter to implement fixes.

(Some) site crawlers have come a long way. They don’t just tell you what the issue is. They explain the context and how to fix it. But they can’t hold your hand. Nor can they understand the nuances in each site’s issues. A human needs to dig through and analyze that data.

If you don’t feel confident in your own ability to understand and implement technical SEO improvements, you can start to learn with the following resources:

Alternatively, you could ask us about our SEO Marketing services. Packages start from $399 a month.

Search Engine Optimization Made Easy

We take the guesswork (and actual work) out of growing your website traffic with SEO.

Get Onto Social Media

Organic social media (that’s when you post to social media without paying) now offers very little ROI for businesses. Things used to be different, but shocker, social media platforms figured out that they make more money by reducing organic visibility to near zero and charging businesses to be seen instead. 

Although organic social media might be a lame duck, paid social media costs are still — most of the time — surprisingly reasonable. 

19. Start Advertising on Social

According to data collated by WordStream, the average CPC (cost per click) on Facebook across all industries is $1.72. Of course, this cost varies significantly from industry to industry. Fashion and clothing brands pay the least, at approximately $0.45 a click. Finance and insurance (probably unsurprisingly) pay the most — around $3.77.

Wordstream bar chart showing average CPC in Facebook ads across all industries

Instagram ads are generally less, at between $0.70 to $1.00 per click.

So why drive site traffic using social media vs. more traditional paid advertising platforms like Google AdWords? 

Well, for one, it’s usually cheaper. Sometimes, quite significantly so.

The average CPC on Google Ads for an insurance company is an eye-watering $18.57. Fashion companies will be paying more than double what they would for a Facebook ad, around $1.19.

Image Source

Social media advertising also allows you to reach potential customers where they’re relaxed and engaged. If they like your brand or product but aren’t ready to buy, they may well ‘like’ your page or profile instead. This gives you a variety of routes to market to them in the future.

Get Social and Grow Your Business with DreamHost

Our experts will help create a powerful social media strategy and level up your execution so you can focus on running your business.

Choosing the Best Tactics for Boosting Website Traffic

So you now have the details of many tried-and-tested traffic-driving tactics, but how do you know which ones are right for you?

There’s no perfect answer to this. You know your business, your current situation and your goals (and if you don’t, check out our complete guide to starting a business).

That said, you can do a few things to help you determine which digital marketing tactics you should be using and what to skip.

  • Your budget. Some of these tactics are free. Some have a cost attached. It should go without saying that you ought to spend some money if you want to be effective at driving traffic to your site, but your budget will help you decide how and where you ought to be allocating that money.
  • Your knowledge level. Pick tactics you feel comfortable executing. Most of us, for example, could start blogging about our industry. Keyword research requires some knowledge to get going and ensure you pick the right data, but the barrier to entry is relatively low. Technical SEO is a step (or few) up from that.
  • Your goals. If you’re looking to drive traffic to increase brand awareness, content marketing is essential. If you only want people to come to your site to make a purchase, pay for targeted traffic on social media. In all cases, SEO should form part of your traffic-boosting strategy.

Ready to Drive Traffic to Your Website?

Now you have these tactics in your toolbox, you should be able to put together a simple strategy for getting more people to your site. Remember, though, that this isn’t a one-off exercise. Nor do you have to try everything at once or use only one tactic at a time. 

Try something. See if it works. If it fails, stick at it a little longer but bring something else into your roster. Most importantly, make sure the technical aspects of your site are running smoothly — if you need to upgrade your web hosting, for example, we’ve got plans to suit any budget

If you do this, it shouldn’t be long before you’re seeing a significant and consistent spike in your website’s traffic. Ride that wave!

7 Tools to Stress Test Your Website for Heavy Traffic

load testing tools to consider

Even the most novice among website owners has at some point or other tested their website performance. However, most of these tests normally focus on loading speed or user experience indices.

But what about load testing?

Although most websites are prone to traffic levels that are usually quite regular, there may be occasions when some sites will have to deal with heavy loads. Examples of these include online stores, or even some government websites.

If your website gets an unexpected spike in the number of visitors over a short period, how well are you equipped to handle it?

Check Out Rungutan
New load Testing platform offering script-less load creation and various traffic spikes simulation. Currently on 91% discount at AppSumo – See details and demo here.

Understanding Load Testing

What is load testing?

Load testing is bench-marking a website to see how it performs under various loads.

For example, a test may simulate an increasing number of concurrent visitors landing on your site. It will also record how your site handles them and records them for your reference.

Example of load tests
Example – load tests at LoadStorm: Metrics measured include average response time, peak response time, and error rate (image source).

What types of “load” are tested?

Depending on the tool you choose to load test your site with, each may come with different features. The most basic will simply involve simulating an ever increasing load and halting when your site crashes.

Other tools may be capable of generating a simulated load that mimics different user behaviour, such as performing queries, changing pages, or loading other functions. Some may even be able to map out logical flows for each individual scenario.

Load Testing Tools to Consider

Depending on their complexity, some load testing tools can be quite expensive. However, there are cheaper options in the market and some are even free for use. I’ve included a mixture of these below for your reference, including a couple of open source options.

1. Loadview by Dotcom Monitor

Website: https://www.loadview-testing.com/

Price: From $199/mo, free trial available

Loadview is one of the more complete solutions available in the market and today is based on a cloud service model. This means that whatever type of simulation you need from them, you only pay for the service – there is zero investment in hardware or anything else.

Feature wise, Loadview offers a very complex solution that can include anything from straight up HTTP load tests to a sophisticated mix of your choice. It is able to simulate dynamic variables and even geo-location diversity in its tests.


  • Post-firewall tests
  • Handles dynamic variables
  • Detailed waterfall charts
  • Load test curves

2. K6 Cloud (formerly Load Impact)

Website: https://k6.io/

Price: From $59/mo

K6 is a cloud-based, open source load testing tool that’s provided as a service. One of the things that makes this tool interesting is that it is priced on a variable-use model which means that the cost of entry can be relatively low depending on your needs. It is, however, mainly developer-centric.

Aside from load testing, K6 also offers performance monitoring. Its load testing side is focused on high loads and can handle various modes such as spikes, stress testing, and endurance runs.

*K6 does not run in browsers nor does it run in NodeJS


  • Developer-friendly APIs.
  • Scripting in JavaScript
  • Performance monitoring

3. Load Ninja

Website: https://loadninja.com/

Price: From $119.92/mo

Load Ninja lets you load-test with real browsers based on recorded scripts and then helps analyze performance results. Its use of real browsers at scale means that this tool helps recreate a more realistic environment and end result for testing.

Results can be analyzed in real-time and thanks to the handy tools the system provides, your scripting time can be reduced by as much as 60%. Internal applications can be tested as well, both with proxy-based fixed IPs or your own range of dynamic IPs (by using a whitelister).


  • Test with thousands of real browsers
  • Diagnose tests in real-time
  • Insights on internal application performance

4. LoadRunner by Micro Focus

Website: https://www.microfocus.com/

Price: From $0

With an entry-level free community account that supports tests from 50 virtual users, LoadRunner is available even to the newest website owners. However, if you scale it up to high levels the cost rises exponentially.

This Cloud-based service also offers the use of an Integrated Development Environment for unit tests. It supports a wide range of application environments including Web, Mobile, WebSockets, Citrix, Java, .NET, and much more. Be aware that LoadRUnner can be pretty complex and has a steep learning curve.


  • Patented auto-correlation engine
  • Supports 50+ technologies and application environments
  • Reproduces real business processes with scripts

5. Loader


Website: https://loader.io/

Price: From $0

Compared to what we’ve shown so far, Loader is a much simpler and more basic tool. Its free plan supports load testing with up to 10,000 virtual users which is enough for most moderate traffic websites. 

Unfortunately you will need to have a paid plan to access more advanced features such as  advanced analytics, concurrent tests, and priority support. It is easy to use though since basically you just add your site, specify the parameters, then let the test run.


  • Shareable graphs & stats
  • Useable in a GUI or API format
  • Supports DNS Verification and priority loaders

6. Gatling

Gatling homepage

Website: https://gatling.io/

Price: From $0

Gatling comes in two flavors, Open Source or Enterprise. The former lets you load-test as an integration with your own development pipeline. It includes both a web recorder and report generator with the plan. The Enterprise version has on-premise deployments or alternatively, you can opt for a Cloud version based on Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Although both of these versions are feature-packed, the Enterprise version supports a few extras that don’t come with Open Source. For example, it has a more usable management interface and supports a wider range of integrations.


  • Multi-protocol scripting
  • Unlimited testing and throughput
  • Gatling scripting DSL

7. The Grinder

Grinder load testing tool

Website: https://sourceforge.net/projects/grinder/

Price: From $0

Grinder is open sourced all the way and is probably the only truly free option on this list. However, it has to be run locally in your own development environment and needs a few extra such as Java in order to work. 

However, being open source it has been adopted widely and developers have come up with a plentiful number of plugins which vastly extend it in terms of both use-ability and functionality. Still, unless you’re a developer or so oriented, The Grinder might be a bit of a handful for you to use.


  • Flexible scripting based on Jython and Clojure
  • Highly modular with tons of plugins
  • Distributed framework and mature HTTP support

When to Load Test Your Website?

If you’ve had a look at most of the tools available, you will probably have noticed that many of them offer either trial accounts or some form of limited free version. This makes them readily available for use for a wide audience.

Most website owners need to be concerned about hosting performance since it affects far more than simply user experience. For many business owners, the availability of your website is also a matter of brand reputation.

Sites which are growing need to be especially cautious of availability and scalability of the resources used to hosting your website. In most cases a high percentage of user response time is spent on the surface of your site. However, as sites grow in traffic volume this might change.

More traffic usually means a disproportionate growth in backend processing and your system will struggle as that spikes. Much will depend on variables unique to your site development, so it isn’t possible to give you a solid number of visitors at which point this will happen.

To realistically see how your site performance you need load testing to be done. Exactly when to do it is debatable, but my advice would be to plan ahead and test early. 

What to Check for When Load Testing?

As the very name implies, your core function should be the basic of how your site performs under loads. This will let you observe a number of things such as:

  1. At what point your site performance starts to degrade
  2. What actually happens when service degrades

When I mentioned how different sites may react differently based on their architecture, that was a signal meant for you to understand that not all sites fail in the same way as well. Some database-intensive sites might fail on that point, while others may suffer IO failures based on server connection loads.

Because of this, you need to be prepared to set up a variety of tests to understand how your site and server will cope under various scenarios. Based on those, keep a close eye on a few key metrics such as your server response time, the number of errors cropping up, and what areas those faults may lie in.

Generating complex scripts and runs along with the accompanying logic can be difficult. I suggest that you approach load testing incrementally. Start with a brute force test that will simply test your site under a continuously increasing stream of traffic.

As you gain experience, add on other elements such as variable behaviour, developing your scripts and logic over time.

Conclusion: Some is Better than None

When it comes to load testing, starting with the basics is better than not getting started at all. If you’re a beginner to all of this, do try to do your testing on an alternate mirror or offline where possible – avoid load testing a live site if you can!

If you’re just starting out now, make sure to create a record of your tests. Performance testing is a journey that should accompany the development of your site as it grows. The process can be tiring but remember, not having a record can make future assessments much more difficult for you.

7 Ways Local Businesses Can Improve Website SEO

Anyone who runs an online business needs to get to grips with search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of working to make your website rank more highly in results pages on search engines such as Google. There are a few strategies you can use to help your site rank better in local search results. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can improve your website SEO through simple WordPress improvements.

Why is ranking well for local search queries so important? According to Business Wire, 67% of Americans prefer to shop with local businesses where possible. Additionally, an estimated 46% of all Google searches have local intent.

Speaking anecdotally, I have seen the importance of local search results first-hand. 80-90% of the business for my web design agency, Lform Design, comes from within our home state of New Jersey. 

Website design makes a big difference in your SEO performance due to a number of factors that we’ll look at in more detail. Fortunately, with a bit of know-how, it’s not hard to create a local SEO-friendly site.  

Have I convinced you? Read on to learn a few easy web design and SEO-boosting tricks that can be applied to WordPress sites in order to give your business a leg up in local SEO boost. 

How Does Web Design Impact SEO?

Whether you’re building your own website or working with an agency, the sooner you get your head around the fundamentals of SEO, the better. Many website owners make the mistake of only thinking about SEO once their site is up and running. However, web design can have a significant impact on SEO if you bear it in mind from the start.

There’s one main reason for this: Google prioritizes sites that are user-friendly. Good web design makes it easy for both search engine crawlers and human users to navigate through your site. Therefore, you should prioritize navigability and user-friendliness at every stage of your website design process. 

Website design factors vary from page load speed to the domain name you choose. Each factor can all have a substantial impact on your SEO, for better or worse.  And, since online businesses and company websites can live or die by their SEO, you’ll want to make sure the impact is positive.

It’s worth taking a look at Google’s Core Web Vitals to learn about these factors in more depth.

How to Improve Your Website Design for a Local SEO Boost

Fortunately, there are several ways to optimize your site for SEO, either at the point of design or by making amends later. Today, we’ll look at seven strategies that specifically relate to local SEO. 

Let’s get started!

1. Optimize Your Homepage

Perhaps the easiest way to optimize your website for SEO purposes is to start with the content on your homepage. This will be where most of your website visitors land when they first arrive at your site, so you must make sure it’s up to the task. 

Your homepage can achieve two important SEO goals:

  • Attract local searchers to your site
  • Keep them on your site longer, reducing your bounce rate

Your homepage should clearly tell your website visitors who you are and what you do. Since you are aiming to attract local searchers, you should be sure to mention your location prominently on your homepage. In addition, it should clearly signpost visitors to help them find the page they need on your site. 

Here’s an example:

Local website homepage example

This is the homepage for Palmer, an advertising agency in San Francisco (and one of the top Google results for the search term “ad agency San Francisco”). Notice how it clearly states what the company is and does, references geographical location in a prominent place, and contains a descriptive menu to help customers find whatever they need. 

2. Make the Most of Metadata

Meta tags are small bits of data about a web page embedded in the page’s HTML.

Sound complicated? Don’t worry, it’s fairly simple and you don’t need any coding knowledge. The easiest way to insert metadata on each of your pages or posts is to use the Yoast SEO plugin, available through WordPress.

Since you’re focusing on optimizing your site for local SEO, your metadata should include a reference to your business’s geographical location. This will tell search engines where you’re located and increase your chances of showing up in local results.

Here’s an example of how working with Metadata in the Yoast plugin looks: 

Yoast SEO Plugin Screenshot

Remember to optimize the metadata for each page on your website. If you have a blog (which you should!), then optimize the tags on each post, too. 

Remember though, tags aren’t just for search engines. Make sure you’re only using a select few tags to group information, rather than spamming them.

3. Use Local Business Schema

Schema, also known as structured data markup, is a kind of code that you can add to each page of your website to tell search engines what the page contains. There is a particular subcategory called local business schema that can have an impact on local SEO. 

Not sure if you have schema on your site? Use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to check:

Google's Structured Data Testing Tool

You can add numerous different fields to your local business schema. At a minimum, I recommend that you add:

  • Company name
  • Contact information, including telephone number and business email address
  • Physical address
  • Opening hours
  • Company logo
  • A short description of what you do

You can always add more at a later date if you wish. You can also add schema to separate product or service pages. For local SEO purposes, you’ll likely want to focus on local business schema.

4. Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

When I started my custom web design and development agency in 2005, we didn’t think or talk much about mobile-friendly website design. In those days, few people had internet-enabled mobile phones. However, the way we use the internet has changed beyond recognition in the last 15 years. 

Approximately 10.5% of web traffic worldwide came from mobile devices by 2010. In 2020, that figure stood at around 50%. That means that mobile-friendly web design is no longer an afterthought or a nice-to-have, but an absolute necessity. By the end of the year, Google will have switched all websites to mobile-first indexing, which means the mobile version of a site will be even more important than the desktop version when it comes to search rankings. 

Mobile-friendly website design is particularly important for those businesses targeting a local market. Why? Because people are extremely likely to search for relevant local businesses using their mobile devices while they are on the go. What’s more, 88% of consumers who do a local search from a smartphone visit a relevant local business within 24 hours. 

The data speaks for itself: you cannot hope to promote your website effectively in local searches if your site is not optimized for mobile users. A high-quality responsive design will ensure your site renders well on all devices. 

5. Ensure Your Site is Fast and Easy to Use

Did you know that 40% of internet users will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less? That’s an enormous amount of traffic and prospective custom you’re missing out on if your website is slow to load! A slow site can also seriously harm your search rankings.

In the context of local SEO, a slow site can destroy your chances of getting a spot in the coveted Google 3-pack

Here are some of my top tips to help you speed up your site and keep your rankings intact: 

  • Choose a great, SEO-friendly hosting service. If you can afford it, dedicated hosting is a better option than shared. 
  • If you mostly want to attract local traffic, choose a local server. This will reduce server response time and speed up your site. Another option is to use a content delivery network (CDN). 
  • Compress images to the appropriate size. You can use a plugin like WP Smush to do this without losing image quality.
  • Optimize your site scripts and remove any that are unnecessary. Plugins like Asset Cleanup are great for this. 
  • Keep your content management system, themes, and any plugins updated. 

As a rule of thumb, I suggest aiming for a loading time of under 200ms for your site across the board. 

Top tip: You can use a free tool like Google Lighthouse to check your site pages’ load times and more key info.

6. Optimize Your Content for Local Search Intent

Creating a steady stream of great content on your website, such as through a blog, has a significant positive benefit when it comes to SEO. If you want to target local customers, make an effort to create local content

Here’s an example. I wrote this post on the Lform Design blog about the best web design companies in New Jersey:  

Local content blog

As a direct result of this post, Lform Design is now the first organic result on a Google search for terms like “best NJ web design”. 

Remember, you can also mention your geographical location in posts that don’t have a specific local theme, as long as it fits in organically. Here’s how we did it recently:

Local content example

This post is about web design amid the challenges of COVID-19. However, it was easy to include a reference to our specific location in a way that fits organically into the piece. 

7. Ensure Your NAP Data is Included

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. In other words, your business’s contact information. Many businesses include their NAP data in their website footer, but you can go a step further than that. Why not have a separate “Contact Us” or “How to Find Us” page? If you have multiple locations, use a page for each location. 

Here’s how Figment, a design agency based in London, does it: 

Website NAP

NAP on a local business website

The company displays the full address of each of its locations in the website footer, and then also has a separate page for each. 

If you want to use NAP data effectively for local SEO, you must ensure it is consistent. How does your data appear on your website and in your Google My Business listing? It must be identical everywhere. 

Fortunately, Google and search engines have gotten smarter about NAP, recognizing that St. = Street, for example. If in doubt, cross-reference your website and listings with a list of accepted abbreviations


Robust SEO is vital if you want to run a successful online business, and never more so than for businesses targeting local customers. Since such a significant percentage of Google searches have a local intent, you’re likely missing out on a lot of business if you don’t put concerted efforts into local SEO. 

You don’t need to be an SEO expert to lift your business higher in the rankings, though. You just need to understand the basics and apply a few important strategies rigorously. Start with the tips I’ve laid out for you here and you’ll be off to a flying start.

Good luck!

Do you use AMP on your website? : Affiliatemarketing

I have learned about AMP and see the benefits of faster page loading and possibly better ranking, but I am almost certain that making my site completely AMP compliant will not allow me to use Google analytics since the point of AMP is to load as few things as possible to get content to users.

I am currently using https://wordpress.org/plugins/amp/

It gives you three options for AMP. One is to convert your entire site to AMP, the others are more hybrid approaches.

Is this even necessary? When does it become necessary? And what would you say are the best practices when it comes to using AMP?

Should the totally AMP’d site be just a mirror of the original site to make sure not to cause any issues there?

What’s the Best eCommerce Website Builder for an Online Store?

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for a relatively easy way to start your own business, or a retail business owner ready to expand your business online, building an eCommerce store is a lucrative move to make.

But if you lack web design experience, the process of building an online store from scratch can look intimidating. 

If you’re already doing the work to start a new business or run an existing one, creating your eCommerce website is one more task to add to an already overwhelming to-do list. And if you anticipate it being a big job, that probably makes it an easy task to procrastinate. 

But every day you put off getting your eCommerce site up is a day of missed sales and profits. Time is money here. Not only do you want to move forward on this sooner rather than later, but you ideally want to get your website up fast once you start. 

Getting an eCommerce website online quickly—without having to learn to code—is possible. What you need is an eCommerce website builder.

Below you’ll learn what an eCommerce website builder is, how it can benefit your business, and what to look for in a website builder for beginners. 

What is an eCommerce Website Builder?

eCommerce website builders are similar to classic website builders, except they have integrated tools which make selling products online much easier.

A good website builder will take care of all the basic design elements of your website for you, so all you have to do is make some tweaks to the copy, images, and layout to bring it in line with your vision.

And a beginner website builder will have an intuitive website editor that makes that part easy as well. If it’s a well designed product, you won’t have to worry about a long training process, you should be able to figure out how to make the changes you want as you go. 

An eCommerce builder uses this same process, but also comes equipped with additional tools to help you manage and grow your eCommerce store. That will include easy options for creating product pages, built-in inventory management tools that make it easy to keep track of the products you’re selling, and compatibility with payment processing functions. 

3 Key Benefits of Using an eCommerce Website Builder

Even if you have an incredible product, you can’t build a business around it without giving people a way to learn about it and (securely) make a purchase. In our modern era—and especially in this phase of COVID-19—an eCommerce website is the best way to achieve that. 

Learning how to build an eCommerce website from scratch is a lot of work—you’d have to not only learn how to code, but also put in the time and effort required to create your website step by step. And an eCommerce site requires a whole extra set of functionalities that would translate into additional skills and steps you’d have to deal with. But none of that’s necessary anymore. 

An eCommerce website builder streamlines the process of building your website and processing online transactions, so you can focus on all the other (many) parts of running a business.

Here are a few of the biggest benefits an eCommerce website builder brings:

1. Easy to Build a High-Converting Website

When you’re building an eCommerce business, you don’t just need a website. You need one that does a specific job: getting people to buy your products. This means you’ll need to integrate product placement with the rest of your site, have product category pages, individual product pages, and a lot more.

A lot of website builders power many successful online stores, meaning they have data on the types of design elements that get results. A good eCommerce website builder will supply a base design for you that incorporates web design best practices and increases your likelihood of turning visitors into customers. 

2. Help With Marketplace Integration and Payment

Beyond just showcasing your products in a way that makes visitors want to buy, you’ll also need to offer them a secure way to pay you through your business website. Most eCommerce builders give you the option of integrating multiple payment processors. These can ensure an easy and secure checkout process for your customers. 

3. Tools to Manage Inventory

Are you still using a pen and paper to manage your inventory? Most eCommerce website builders make it incredibly simple to manage and set up your business inventory from a single dashboard.

You’ll have the ability to offer product customization options, as well as real-time inventory updates, so you always know how much you have in stock. Having all of this automated makes it much easier to know when you need to restock products, or even run discounts to help move the rest of your current inventory.

What to Look for in an eCommerce Website Builder

There are a lot of eCommerce website building software options out there. So, let the list of eCommerce features below help you sort through the noise.

You might have different requirements based on your store needs, but knowing what some of the most common features available are will help you make a more informed decision.

1. Easy to Use

The main reason to use a website builder is ease of use, so this has to be a given. If a website builder has a big learning curve or requires reviewing a lot of tutorials—what’s even the point?

Most website builders on the market are built with beginners in mind, so you don’t have to settle for one that causes confusion and frustration. Look for one that takes most of the work of building a website off your plate, and makes doing the rest intuitive. 

That could mean a tool with lots of templates and a drag-and-drop website editor. Or, you could go a step further and look for a smart website builder that creates a website for you using automation, then makes any additional tweaks you want to make simple. You’ll end up with far less work to do on your own, will save a lot of time, and can essentially outsource a lot of the decisions around your website to the tool. 

smart website builder saves time

2. Affordable

Most business owners have a strict budget to work within. Your website’s important enough to treat as an investment, but that doesn’t mean you want to spend any more on it than you have to. The right website builder for you therefore must be one that fits into your budget. 

Luckily, you can find a number of website builders that are affordable—even on a small business budget. In some cases, as with the Gator website builder, you can even get one for free bundled with the cost of web hosting. Free is pretty easy to fit into any business budget, no matter how tight the purse strings. 

3. Inventory Management

If an interested customer finds their way to your site, and sees a product they’re interested in only to find it out of stock, you’ll probably lose them for good. You want to do everything you can to avoid that! Good inventory management tools are how you do that. 

Look for an eCommerce website builder that comes with inventory management features included. Keep an eye out for features like alerts that will tell you when inventory is getting low, the ability to enter product stock, and the option to stop selling products when there’s no inventory left.

4. Payment processing

You can’t sell products without a way to take payments. Every eCommerce website needs a secure way to accept credit card payments from visitors. If possible, you may want to provide a couple different options. Many consumers will be more likely to complete the checkout process if you make payment easier by accepting a payment option they use frequently, like PayPal or Stripe.

Many eCommerce website builders will come with payment processing options built in, making this part much easier.

5. Easy tax calculations

One of the benefits eCommerce has over storefront businesses is that your customer base isn’t limited by geography. You can be based in Maryland and sell products to a customer in Texas. But this presents a complication: different states have different sales tax laws. And you do not want to be on the wrong side of any of them. 

Managing sales tax information for all the different states would be unreasonably complicated, so look for an eCommerce website builder that has tools that automate sales tax calculations for you. 

6. Easy shipping features

Shipping is hands down one of the most important parts of running an online business. Getting orders out in a timely manner is key to providing a good customer experience. And making sure shipping costs are low enough to customers that they’ll buy, while not costing you too much to make a profit is a complicated, but important balance to find when running your online business.

An eCommerce website builder should make it easy for you to set your shipping rates. Even better if it makes it easy to offer any shipping-related deals to customers, such as free shipping for orders over a certain amount. If you’ll be using a third-party tool for shipping, such as Shippo, you’ll also want to make sure your website builder is compatible with it. 

7. Mobile-Friendliness

Many consumers are as comfortable making purchases on their phones as they are their desktop computers. That makes mobile-friendly websites a must.

Because of how common mobile use is today, any website builder worth its salt should default to creating sites that work well on all screen sizes. But don’t take for granted that will be the case, so check to make sure the website builder you consider prioritizes the mobile experience. 

8.  Image library

The images you choose for your website will play a big role in the visual experience people have when they visit it. But creating original, high-quality images is a challenge, and you don’t want it to be the step that holds up the process of getting your website up and running.

If your website builder comes with an image library included, finding good-looking images that make sense for your website will be a lot easier and faster. 

9. Coupon functionality

Offering customers a great deal is a reliable way to increase conversions. Coupons can be a tool to encourage loyalty in your customers, and drive more sales during a slow period. Plus, discounts can be a smart way to get rid of inventory that’s taking up costly storage space. 

Make sure your website builder provides the functionality to offer discounts and coupons to visitors, so you can take advantage of one of the most important and effective sales tools available. 

10. Blogging features

Adding a blog to your eCommerce website is a smart way to build up your website’s SEO (search engine optimization) authority and publish helpful content that builds trust in your brand.

Granted, a blog requires a lot of ongoing work, so it may not be something you want to dive into on day one. But you want to know the option’s there for you when you’re ready. When choosing your eCommerce website builder, check to ensure it provides easy options for adding a blog to your website and maintaining it. 

11. Social and email integration

Creating your eCommerce website is a big step, but the bigger job happens after you’ve published it. Now, you have to promote it.

Marketing a website is a lot of work, so any way you can make the process a little easier is worth it. A website builder that integrates with your social media channels and email marketing software is a good start. 

12. Built-in analytics

Running a successful online business requires paying attention to what works, and evolving your business strategy as needed. To learn what your audience responds to, you need analytics.

While you can (and should) make use of the powerful analytics tools provided by Google Analytics, a website builder that has analytics built into its dashboard will make staying on top of your metrics more convenient. 

13. Customer support

A good website builder will be easy enough to use that you likely won’t need much help with it. But even the most intuitive of tech products will occasionally require support. You want to know it’s there if you ever need it.

Look for a website builder that not only offers customer support, but ideally one that provides 24/7 customer support in the channels you prefer, such as email and live chat. 

14. Logo maker

This isn’t a requirement for an eCommerce website builder, but it’s nice to have. Your logo will be the main visual marker of your business. Hiring a professional graphic designer to create one for you can be well worth it, but it tends to be costly and take time.

If you want to get one made in a way that’s quicker and easier, a website builder that includes a logo maker will save you time and money. 

Bonus:  Domain registration and web hosting

Every website requires a domain name and web hosting plan in order to be available to visitors online. If you invest in a website builder that comes with a free domain name registration and web hosting plan (or a web hosting plan that comes with a free website builder, depending on how you look at it), you both save money and keep the three main services your website requires in one place. That makes keeping your accounts current and making sure everything is up to date and working together less work. 

Build Your Online Store with an eCommerce Website Builder

Using an eCommerce website builder with the right features gives you a serious leg up in creating your website. When you offload the main work of creating a website to the right technology, you can focus on running your store and marketing to get new customers.

Hopefully, you’ve found the information above useful in helping you find the top eCommerce website builder for your needs. Once you’ve found the right platform for your web hosting needs, then start building and launch your store.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.

How To Start a Website For Your Small Business in 5 Steps

Every business needs a website. If you’re not tech-savvy, you may not know how to start one. This guide will help you get started. Every step is explained so you know what to do and how to start a website for your business.

You can go on different routes when starting a website. There are many choices you can make and there are lots of options, which is why these kinds of guides are always different. We tried to make it as easy as it can be for any level of expertise.

Step 1: Get a Domain Name

The first step of starting a website for your business is getting a domain name. Your domain name should, in most cases, be the name of your business/brand. However, the choice is still up to you and if you can come up with something more creative than your brand name, go for it.

Use a domain name provider like Namecheap. They have other domain extensions aside from the classics like .com, .net, etc. You can use something like yourbrand.rocks. You can learn more about Namecheap and their domain extensions in our review.

Step 2: Get Web Hosting

Once you’ve chosen your domain name, the next step is to buy web hosting in order to host your own website. You can read our guide on how to choose a web hosting provider to help you narrow down your options.

For this guide, we’ll be using WordPress, since it’s one of the most documented and easiest CMSes to use.

Some notable hosting providers are:

  • iWebFusion for cheap, shared web hosting. If you don’t plan on creating a complex website with lots of visitors, you can safely use shared hosting.
  • Kinsta for fully managed WordPress cloud hosting. Go with this option if you want the speed and dedicated resources that a cloud server provides.
  • Vultr if you want to manage a server yourself and install WordPress yourself. This is not recommended if you’re a beginner.

You can explore other WordPress hosting options here.

Step 3: Choose a Theme for Your WordPress Website

WordPress has lots of free (and premium) pre-made themes you can use that would fit your business. Whatever your business is, be it a restaurant or a small consulting company, there’s a great WordPress theme you can use that would fit that category.

Some resources that would help:

Or you can just use google and find a theme.

Installing the theme can be done with a couple of clicks. Most themes use a visual editor, so you don’t even need coding skills to set it up.

Step 4: Design and Customize Your Website

Choosing and installing a theme is not enough. You need to customize your website (specifically the design) so your website stands out and better fits your branding. This includes using a custom logo and custom images and icons for your website’s sections or blog posts.

Penji is a great service you can use to get professional designers to design your logos and all graphics you need for your website. You can even use Penji for custom graphics for your marketing needs, including social media marketing.

Pay great attention to the design as it’s the first thing most people notice when visiting your website.

Step 5: Promote Your Website

Now that you officially started and customized your website, the next step is to promote it. This is arguably the most difficult step that takes a lot of time and skills to succeed at.

There are multiple ways you can promote your website. You can use SEO to gain relevant search traffic. You can use Social Media Marketing. This is where Penji would come in handy with their social media content design. You can even use offline advertising if the niche you are in is right and attract visitors to your website using offline marketing. Again, the options are unlimited.

This is the step you need to focus on. There’s no point in starting a website if nobody visits it. You should use your website to attract new customers or get new clients for your small business. There are upsides to owning a website even if it doesn’t help you convert, like branding and brand awareness. It can even be used for something as simple as contacting you or getting more information about the services you offer. Whatever the needs may be, there’s always a need for a website for your small business.

Get Your Website Ready for 2021 With These Web Week Deals

With the holiday season upon us and the end of the year in sight, we’re pleased to kick off Web Week at WP Engine with awesome deals and discounts from our partners!

Web Week—the week between Christmas and New Year’s—is typically a quieter period for many businesses, and at WP Engine, we encourage our customers to take advantage of this low-traffic time of year to make needed changes to their sites or experiment with new functionality.

As in years past, we’ve compiled some of the best offers out there for various WordPress products, themes, and plugins. Check out the offers below, starting with four months of free hosting on our annual shared plans!

If you have a WordPress service, theme, or plugin and a Web Week offer you would like to add to the round-up below, please send an email with the details of your offer to our partner management team at [email protected]. They will reply if your offer is a good fit! 

WP Engine 4 months free on annual shared plans

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Visit WP Engine’s Solution Center to find out more about our partners, as well as other WordPress solutions we’ve vetted and are proud to recommend.

Use a Website Builder to Create Your eCommerce Site [15-Step Guide]

Even before the pandemic drove most retail businesses online, eCommerce was on the upswing. Many small businesses that have served customers in-store for years have been slow to get a website up, but know they can’t wait any longer.

At the same time, many new entrepreneurs are treating the changing economy as an opportunity to start new eCommerce businesses. Both groups have one thing in common: you need to create an eCommerce website.

In the early years of the web, creating an eCommerce site was difficult. You’d need to hire a professional developer to build the complex elements required to sell products online. But now that the internet’s a common part of our lives, new web tools have become available to make the process easier. 

Now anyone, no matter your level of skill, can build an eCommerce website. All you need is an intuitive website builder. 

Below you’ll learn how an eCommerce website builder can help you build an eCommerce store in record time, the benefits to doing so, and the steps you’ll want to take to get started.

Why Use a Website Builder?

When you’re building an eCommerce store, you have a lot on your plate.

You have to research your market, name your store, determine what products you’re going to sell, set your prices, calculate shipping, and market your store. And somehow you need to build a website that looks professional, communicates your brand, and convinces people to buy your products on top of all that.

It’s a lot. 

And for people with limited web experience, the website may look like the most intimidating part. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right website builder, you can let technology do most of the work for you. You input some basic information and—bam!—you’ve got a professional-looking eCommerce website, that only needs a few tweaks to make it yours. 

A website builder takes a lot of time, energy, and cost off your plate. And it means one less item on the to-do list you have hanging over your head as a business owner. 

What to Look for in an eCommerce Website Builder

You’re going to have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to choosing the right eCommerce website builder for your needs. There are a ton website builders out there, but ultimately you’ll want to choose a builder that’s best suited to the needs and goals of your store.

Here are some features to keep an eye out for:

  • An emphasis on building a mobile-friendly website. In our world of ubiquitous smartphones, mobile can’t be an afterthought. Make sure your website builder defaults to creating websites that work well on mobile.  
  • Smart technology that does most of the work for you. The more your website builder does automatically, the less work you’re stuck handling. 
  • An image library included. This is more nice to have than required, but images play a key role in the online experience, so having access to a library of them will make building a visually stunning website much easier. 
  • eCommerce features built in. Your website needs to be able to sell things, that means you need features like inventory management, tax management, and coupon creation.
  • An affordable price. Your business probably has a limited budget, and you don’t want your website builder to cut into the cost of other things your business needs. Luckily, you can find powerful website builders that only cost a few dollars a month. 
  • Bundled website features. If your website builder comes with other important website features you need, like web hosting, an SSL certificate, and a domain name, it saves you the extra cost of buying them separately. And it saves you from having to manage them all through separate accounts. 
  • A reliable, accessible support team. Anyone new to running a website may face questions or issues they need help with. Go with a website builder backed by a company that promises 24/7 support from skilled representatives. 

Once you’ve settled upon an eCommerce website builder, it’s time to start creating your store.

If you’re still unsure about what builder will be best suited for your needs, then take the new Gator Website builder for a spin. It includes all of the features above and more.

How to Use Gator to Create Your eCommerce Store

Building your eCommerce store with a website builder is a simple and intuitive process. With Gator, almost all of the work will be completed for you once you provide some basic information about your business. 

1. Choose Your Category

Gator will automatically select a design for your website based on the type of business you have. Your first step is therefore to fill in what category your business falls under.

Once you start typing a description of your business category, Gator will provide a dropdown list of options you can choose from. Make your selection and click Continue.

choose ecommerce as website category

2. Name Your eCommerce Site

If your eCommerce business already has a name, this step’s super easy. Just fill in the business name here. 

add a name for your online store in gator website builder

If you’re still trying to figure out what to call your eCommerce business, then you’ll want to take some time to figure out the best business and domain name that’s available and suits your brand. Then you can fill in your site’s name.

Notice that once you add your business name in the website builder, it will automatically fill in at the top of the site. As you move through these steps, the information you provide will be applied to the preview window on the right side of the screen, so you can see your website take fruition as you go.

Having good visuals on your website is important to creating a memorable visitor experience and ensuring your website looks professional. The next step is to choose your background image.

You can choose here from the library of free images that come with Gator, and the website builder will supply some suggestions based on your business category. Or you can load your own image file by selecting Upload on the right. 

Anytime you click on an option, you can see how it will look on the site in the preview window. You can take some time to play around with different choices and see which you like best. 

select header image with ecommerce website builder

4. Select Your Font

Your images will make a big contribution to your eCommerce website’s visual identity, but it’s just one part. Font plays an important role too. Gator will provide a selection of font pairings you can choose from. Select the one that feels the most appropriate for your brand. 

As with the images, you can see how the font selection looks by clicking on the option and viewing the preview window on the right. 

select font with ecommerce website builder

5. Choose Your Website Color Scheme

Your online store’s color scheme will be one of the main things visitors associate with your visual brand.

If you have an existing business, think about the color scheme you use for your current brand materials, such as signs, business cards, and advertisements. If you’re building a new eCommerce business and haven’t developed a visual brand identity yet, then this is a good opportunity to do so!

The website builder provides suggestions of colors that go well together, and you can click on different options to see how they look in the preview window before you make a choice.

Make your selection and click Continue.

choose color scheme for ecommerce store

6. Choose Your Navigation Style

You want to make it easy for visitors to find their way around your website. Websites typically have a menu across the top of the site, or behind a hamburger icon that reveals the menu once you click on it. 

The website builder provides a few main options for how to structure your eCommerce website so people can find the navigation features. Try out different ones to see how they look in the preview, and select the one you like the most.

choose navigation style in ecommerce website builder

At this stage, consider what main categories you’ll use to organize your website. The number of items you’ll include in your main menu will influence which navigation structure makes the most sense. If you’ll have a lot of products that will fall into several categories, you’ll want an option that leaves room for a larger menu.

You want to make it as easy as possible for people to figure out how to contact you. The eCommerce website builder puts your contact information right on the bottom of your main page. 

Add your address, phone number, and the best email address for customers and prospects to use. You may have to scroll down to see the information populate on the page in your website preview window. 

add contact information for online store

Click Finish, and the basic structure of your eCommerce website will be in place!

8. Customize Your Homepage Copy

Now you start customizing your website to your specific brand and business. Change the words on the page so they represent your business. Anywhere you see text, click on it and you’ll be able to update it.

You’ll also see a menu pop up right above the text with formatting options you can add as you go.

add copy to ecommerce website

If the website builder added text blocks to the page that you don’t need, you can easily remove them by clicking, highlighting the text, and removing it with the Delete button on your keyboard. 

9. Customize Your Images 

Every image the website builder added to the page can be replaced with another one of the free images in the library, or with one you upload. Click on the image, then click Select Image from the menu of icons that shows up.

add image to ecommerce website with gator website builder

You can search the library of images available, or click on My Images to add your own. 

media library in gator website builder

From the same menu of icons that shows up, you can select:

  • Edit image to make changes to the image itself
  • Link to add a hyperlink to the image
  • Edit alt text to add alternative text to the image (which is good for SEO)

10.  Move and Remove Sections

If there’s a section on the page now you don’t want, or think should be higher or lower on the page, click on it and look in the top right corner. You can use the blue arrows to move the section up and down the page until you get it where you want it. Or use the red trash can icon will delete it completely. 

add or remove sections in gator website builder

By the time you get your homepage looking the way you want, you’ll be an expert in the skills you need to edit your other pages. 

11. Add Your Online Store

For an eCommerce website, the store portion of your website is one of the most important parts.

Look at the menu on the left side of the page to find the Store icon. When you click, it will open up a page that walks you through the steps of adding your store.

add online store using gator website builder

For payment methods and shipping charges, the website builder allows you to go with its default recommendations. If you’re not sure what to choose, stick with the default options or skip these steps for now.

12. Add Your Products

One of the steps in the setup process is to add the products you’ll be selling. Fill in all the details the form asks for.

add product to online store with ecommerce website builder

This information will become the product page, so even though the form won’t require you to fill in all fields, you should if you can. 

A few suggestions for your product pages:

  • Use your product description to provide a clear explanation of what the product is and what it does, and to make a case for why your visitors would want to buy it.
  • Be thoughtful about the language you use on the page. Do some keyword research to figure out what your audience is searching for, and incorporate the keywords they’re using into your copy. This will both appeal more to your target audience, and help with SEO. 
  • Load a high-quality product photo. Anyone buying a product online will have to trust the photo on the page to see what to expect. Make sure your photograph looks great and gives an accurate portrayal of what customers will get.

Once your store is created, when you click Back to Editor, you’ll see that it shows up automatically as part of the website menu. 

13. Add New Pages

Now that the basics are in place, start creating additional pages and getting your website organization into place.  To create a new page, click Pages in the menu on the left side of the screen. Select New Page, then Page.

add new page in gator website builder

If you want this page to become one of the main categories of your website that shows up in the menu, leave the “Parent page” section blank and leave the “Show in navigation” option selected.

If you want your new page to show up in the drop down menu under another page, select the parent page it should go under from the dropdown.

Fill in the name of your page, and the website builder will automatically create a suggested URL based on your page name. You can go with its suggestion, or edit it to one you think is more intuitive or better for SEO.  

Each page you create will start out looking like your homepage. That makes it easier to create an Ecommerce website where each page matches stylistically, since you’re starting with the same colors and structure each time. But you’ll want to make enough changes to differentiate it visually, while also making the content of the page match its unique purpose. So go through and update the images and copy on the page, and move and remove sections as needed. 

Repeat the process with each page you want on your website. 

14. Proofread and Test

If your eCommerce business sells a variety of products, creating your pages, loading your products, and getting all the pages organized in the right way on the website may take some time. Once you’ve got that done, you’re close to ready to launch, but not quite there yet.

Now you need to double check that everything looks good and works the way it should. Go through each page of the website and read back over it, twice. Proofreading is how you catch embarrassing errors like typos, and fix sentences or phrases that have awkward wording. While you’re on the page, go ahead and test out every link on it as well to make sure they all work and go where they should.

Now, see if you can enlist a friend or family member (bonus points if it’s someone that matches your target demographic) to spend some time on your website to make sure it seems intuitive. Ask for feedback about how well it’s designed and organized. Did they find anything confusing? If their feedback is positive, you’re good to go. 

15. Publish Your eCommerce Store! 

Once your website is done, click Publish in the top right corner of the website editor.

Since Gator comes with free website hosting and a domain name, those things will already be in place. You just need to press that button to take the website live. 

Get Started Building Your eCommerce Site Now

With Gator, you can build out a simple eCommerce store in a matter of hours. And while stores that include a lot of products or categories will take more time than that, adding everything you need will be a simple process.

The faster you can get your website up, the sooner you start making money from it. Dive right in and start building now!

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.