Tag: Website

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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WP Engine offers the best managed WordPress hosting platform to provide businesses and their brands the solutions needed to create remarkable sites and apps on WordPress.

Offer: Get 4 months free on annual shared hosting plans

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Genesis Pro 30% off first year of Genesis Pro

Genesis Pro is a WP Engine subscription plan that gives you access to advanced tools to help you build better sites faster. These tools include Genesis Blocks Pro, Genesis Custom Blocks Pro, the Genesis Framework, and more.

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Imagely – 33% off

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From concept to creation, Tag Team Design will walk you through every step of the web design, search engine optimization, mobile application development and online marketing process.

Offer: Get a free 1 hour consultation on your WordPress site

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WP Shopify – 30% off WP Shopify Pro

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MailOptin – 25% off

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Coupon Code: HalfOff

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iNNOV8 Website Solutions – 20% off new website

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Offer: 20% of a new website design and development

Coupon Code: Make2021Count

Dates Valid: December 20, 2020 – January 31, 2021


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.

Zyro Review – Easy to Use Website Builder


Zyro

$1.99 / $12.99

Tools and features


10.0/10

Pros

  • Really easy to use and beginner-friendly
  • Lots of tools and features
  • Beautiful templates
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Doesn’t require any experience with web hosting

Cons

  • No free plan
  • You must use a more expensive plan for an online store
  • Advertised prices are based on a 4-year billing cycle


Zyro is a website builder you can use to create your own personal website, online store, and more. It’s super easy to use and total beginners can use it, without the need of configuring any servers or hosting accounts.

Seeing as how we mainly focus on web hosting and servers, it’s a great idea to offer an alternative for beginners and people that want to build a website but don’t have to technical know-how to do it. Zyro is a perfect fit. Read our review here.

About Zyro

Before we continue with the actual review, it’s good to know some information about the people behind Zyro.

They operate from all over the world, but their main headquarters are in Lithuania. What makes the team great is their dedication to the product and their customers. To quote their about page: Two of the most important things at Zyro are our customers and our team. You can learn more about them at their about page.

People are already somewhat familiar with what a website builder is. Essentially, it’s a tool that anyone can use to design a website with the help of pre-designed templates and editors. With Zyro, on top of the website builder, you can also publish your website within minutes, all through a graphical user interface. You don’t need to configure a server, you don’t need to worry about your hosting accounts and control panels. Website builders are what makes website building easy, without needing any prior knowledge or experience. Getting a professionally looking online store has never been easier when using website builders.

Now, to move onto Zyro, the tool itself. Zyro is a Swiss Army knife that features:

All of these features help you build and grow your online business.

The Zyro Templates

One of the most important features of a website builder, and the first step you take when building a website – the templates.

You can choose from hundreds of templates, all beautifully designed, for all types of websites. Be it ecommerce, business, portfolio, resume, events, landing pages, a blog…you can find an awesome template to use.

Once you choose a template, you can actually start building your website.

The Zyro Website Builder

The website will already be designed and filled in with content. Editing the content and design itself is super easy – you can do it with a simple click. Everything has its own section and everything is a separate element. Each element is easily editable through a WYSIWYG editor. Changing colors, backgrounds, or fonts can be done with a click.

You can also add or remove elements, again, through a graphical drag and drop editor. It’s what makes the whole process super easy and beginner-friendly.

Once you’re done building the website, you can move onto the next step – publishing it.

Publishing and Maintaining a Website at Zyro

Publishing the website is done with a single click once you’re done building it.

You have an option to use a free domain with Zyro’s branding – like yourname.zyrosites.com, which is a good option if you’re testing things out or if you’re running a simple personal website. However, it’s highly recommended to use a professional-looking domain name, especially if you’re building an online store. You can use your own and buy it through a third party. Or you can get one from Zyro, which is the easier option, and free with some plans.

Maintaining the website is not needed at all, in terms of worrying about uptime and server monitoring. Everything’s taken care of by Zyro – cloud hosting, website speed, and SSLs, all the technical stuff.

If you need to go back and edit or update something on your website, it’s easy to do and it’s the same process and tools as you’d use when creating the website.

Zyro’s Pricing

As far as website builders go, Zyro’s pricing is pretty cheap and fair.

They have 4 plans to choose from, each one with different features. You can choose a plan based on what kind of website you’re building and which features you need.

Choosing and paying for a plan can be done after building the website itself. So you essentially have a free trial where you build the website and try the tools, but you cannot publish it without an upgraded plan.

Get a coupon and reduce their pricing.

They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

That’s basically it. The whole process of starting and publishing a website at Zyro.

Other Zyro Tools and Features

There are a lot more tools and features we didn’t cover, but are still worth mentioning, like:

  • Managing your online store – managing products, orders, inventory, shipping options…basically everything you need, it’s all done through Zyro’s tools
  • Zyro’s own analytics tool, or you can use Google Analytics
  • Processing payments without transaction fees
  • Publishing and selling to Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Multilingual support for your websites

You can learn more about Zyro and their tools at their website.

Everything mentioned so far in this review is what we basically like about Zyro.

What We Don’t Like About Zyro

The first noticeable thing is that they don’t have a free plan. Some website builders do have free plans, although very limited and your website would have ads, they still do have the option. Zyro did offer a free plan, but they’ve decided to discontinue that plan. The alternative is to build the website itself for free, see if you like the tool, and if you decide to publish and use Zyro, you can upgrade and pay for a plan.

Some features that are basically a must-have, especially for online stores, aren’t included in the cheaper plans. So you’re basically forced to use the more expensive plans if you plan on building an online store. Although, having that in mind, it’s still relatively cheap if you consider how much all of the included tools and features cost separately.

The advertised plan pricing can be misleading – the price $x.xx/mo price that’s advertised on their pricing page and everywhere else is based on a 4-year commitment. The real, actual month-to-month pricing is the crossed-off pricing you see above the advertised price. This is basically a common procedure everywhere nowadays. Although misleading, people are used to expect it and should always beware. Even with the longer-term commitments, you can still use their money-back guarantee, so there’s no real worry here.

Conclusion On Our Zyro Review

In short, Zyro is a great option for beginners. Easy to use and manage. Try them out and decide if they’re worth using. Testing them out is easy as the tool itself is easy to use.

Host my own website for business


Hello ppl of the internet,

I want to start my own business and ofc i need a website.

I´am a IT Engineer but I´ve never hosted my own website.

On my Website I only need a startpage and maybe 2 to 4 pages with pictures and a contact form.

My information:

  • rn I have no monthly budget but ofc I dont want to pay a fortune and I need hosting on german servers

  • I wanted to use a template from wordpress.org but I am open for any suggestions

  • Traffic on my website would be about 10 to 100users/day max.

  • I could host my website on a raspberry w/8gb ram (rasp. would be in a DMZ before my Firewall)

  • I would also consider providers like AWS etc.

  • I have basic knowledge of linux (happy to learn)

I need help with the following steps:

  • Selfhost or AWS etc.

  • Should I use wordpress.org or anything else?

  • What resources would I need for amy website (10 to 100 visitors a day)

  • Where can I register my domain and get my SSL cert (can i register it directly at root domains?)

Any help is appreciated.

Where can I host my website and not have it deleted if I die?


Sorry for being so blunt, but yeah, I want to do a personal blog and I’d like it to be my sort of “legacy”. Obviously I am gonna die some day, maybe sooner maybe later and what I don’t want to happen is my website getting deleted in a year or so because of inactivity or not paying.

So obviously the solution should be free (forever), with least likelyhood of my account getting deleted. Doesn’t have to be hosting actually, can be something like WordPress.com or Blogger.com, whatever, I mean it would be nice if it was hosting with PHP but I’m open to any suggestions.

Thank you very much.

Developing a WordPress Website Without Programming Knowledge


WordPress is the solution to those who want to create websites but have minimal programming and coding experience. If you’ve heard that expression multiple times, why not check it out at least once? You don’t need to worry about your programming skills, since this powerful Content Management System (CMS) can be easily used by a layman to create stunning websites. However, you will need to understand the way WordPress functions as there are two WordPress versions that you can work with, and all that can be a bit confusing. In this article, we shall look at WordPress from a beginner or a novice’s perspective and determine whether it’s truly easy to learn. Let’s get started.

How WordPress works

Once you get the hang of the point-and-click interface, WordPress will be easier for you to handle, and even the more advanced features won’t take much time to learn. Let’s understand what exactly WordPress is and how you can quickly build a website with it.

WordPress started as a blogging platform but slowly grew beyond blogging. It currently fuels all sorts of websites, including business blogs. The WordPress core is made up of a mighty CMS that facilitates content publishing by individuals or teams in a consistently formatted manner on their websites. A WordPress user with little or no technical or coding skills can quickly publish their content.

WordPress websites offer fantastic flexibility and customizability, which is the real reason behind their popularity. WordPress is an open-source platform, which implies that technically sound and skilled developers can play with WordPress’ code while customizing it as per their website development needs. WordPress boasts of a huge developer community, and they develop a variety of extensions and add-ons to power their websites. From complex e-commerce websites to personal websites, WordPress can be used by almost everyone, irrespective of their technical skills.

WordPress plugins and themes

Plugins are simple add-ons to extend the capabilities and behavior of a WP website. Thus, you can easily integrate contact forms, photo galleries, social media, etc. If you wish to include a particular feature to your website, installing a WordPress plugin can be easily achieved. Plugins for both the back and front-end are available, and contact form is an excellent example for a front-end plugin, whereas backup is a back-end plugin.

The biggest advantage of using plugins is that they’re available in abundance, and you’ll simply need to decide whether a free or premium plugin will achieve your objective. There’re several companies that even develop custom plugins, which is a great way to include only the feature that you require.

On the other hand, WordPress themes are in complete control of the design elements of a website. Thus, everything from styling, color, font, page layout, and other design elements is controlled by a website’s theme. In order to tweak a theme or other design elements, you will need to learn more about CSS and template editing. Themes are similar to templates, and once you install and activate a theme, the appearance of your website changes completely within a few seconds.

How easy is it for beginners?

Learning the WordPress fundamentals is only a matter of a few days, and it has managed to eliminate all the technical hurdles. Thus, people with little or no technical skill level can use WordPress and build an impressive website. Additionally, such websites do not have to be bare-bounded.

Since you can install add-ons, the functionality can be greatly extended. For instance, you can add calendars, video galleries, or tools for optimizing SEO for your pages. Of course, some of the plugins and themes are free, but more unique examples come with a price tag. So, even if the core WordPress services are free-of-charge, you might still need to spend some money to take your website to the next level.

However, WordPress’s popularity has an unwanted side effect: it is the most frequently attacked CMS. Of course, you will take the necessary steps by getting an SSL certificate and installing additional security plugins. Sadly, that might not be enough to keep hackers away.

Recommended read: Best WordPress Hosting Providers

Can You Secure WordPress if you’re a beginner?

Many small companies opt to kick things off with WordPress websites instead of building ones from scratch. Still, a dedicated team of developers will probably work to make the WordPress website more unique and secure. For best results and immunity against potential attacks, they can use various techniques: two-factor authentication, an online VPN, hiding the WordPress version, managing permissions, limiting login attempts, etc. These are essential to fight hackers, attempting to gain unauthorized access to the admin panel, or attempting to initiate DDoS attacks.

There’s much more to WordPress security than this, but doing a bit of research and using best practices will make your WP website a lot more secure compared to doing nothing. You don’t have to be an expert or be an experienced developer to use the basic security guidelines like limiting login attempts, using a VPN, using 2FA, etc.

Benefits of using WordPress

It’s free. WordPress is absolutely free, and anyone can get started at zero cost. However, if you wish to run a self-hosted WP website, you’ll have to pay for the domain name and web hosting.

Beginners find it easy and developers powerful. WP is probably the easiest platform available to beginners as both the setup and going live is easier. All reliable web hosts offer one-click installation, so there’s no need for programming. On the other hand, WordPress is a compelling platform for advanced developers as they can use their skills to edit, tweak, and customize. They can customize both the front end and the back-end to create incredibly efficient and functional websites.

Your Final Checklist Before Launching Your Website


You’re so close. Your designer has sent over the finished website. It looks good and checks all the boxes you need it to. You’re almost ready to launch.

This is a big moment, but before you actually put your website out into the world, you want to be extra sure everything is just right. Devote a little more time to completing these 15 steps and you can launch with total confidence that your website is ready.

Review Every Page

Your first few steps can all be treated as one big project. You want to go through the entire website, page by page, and do each of the following on every page as you go. Keep a spreadsheet as you go through this process to help you keep up with which pages are complete and what updates you still need to make.

1. Proofread each page.

Even the best writers and editors know how easily a typo or misused word can slip through. Even if your copywriter or content team proofread everything once already, do it one more time. Read over every page on the website to make sure it makes sense, supports your brand strategy, and doesn’t include any embarrassing typos or grammatical errors.

2. Check that paragraph styles and spacing are working correctly.

Sometimes the formatting that looks just right in a word processor ends up looking funny on your website, or the spacing gets messed up in the transfer.

In addition to checking for typos, check to make sure the text on each page is formatted in a way that looks good and makes it easy to read, and that the spacing is consistent throughout.

3. Check the links on each page.

While you’re on each page of the site, go through and click on every link. You want to make sure that:

  1. None of the links are broken.
  2. They all take you to the page they’re supposed to.

In the future, you can use a free broken link checker tool to help, but for now when you want to check for all three things, you should do it manually.

4. Confirm that all images load correctly.

A website with images that don’t load looks sloppy and will tarnish your brand’s reputation. Review each page to ensure that all images are showing up as they should – both the important images that are large on the page, and the smaller stuff like social media icons.

Nothing turns a user away than arriving on a website that looks like this:

Check new web pages load correctly

5. Confirm on-page optimization.

Search engines completely dominate the way people use the web today. Therefore, every website owner has to think about SEO. Hopefully, by the time you’ve reached this point your webpages are already optimized for SEO, but you should make a point to check that all of them have basic on-page optimization down.

That means that you’ve:

  1. Determined a keyword to optimize each page for based on research.
  2. Included the keyword in: the URL for each page, the title tag, the page headings, the copy for the page and the image names and alt text.
  3. Write a meta description that includes the keyword.

While you’re checking that each of these fields has been filled in and includes your keyword, also make sure that everything is spelled correctly. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to proofread the stuff that’s not on the page itself. Don’t make that mistake.

Keep in mind here that you don’t want to overdo it. Keyword stuffing is bad for SEO and more importantly, for the user experience. Make sure all uses of the keyword feel natural and don’t hinder how a visitor would experience and understand the page.

6. On each page, ask yourself: is it clear what you want the visitor to do next?

Before you move onto the next webpage, confirm that you know what the goal for the page is and feel confident that the design, copy, and images all work to support that goal. If you want people on that page to sign up for your email list, make sure the email signup form is easy to find and the page makes it clear why it’s worth it for visitors to do so.

If the goal of the page is to sell a product, make sure that the copy is persuasive and the next steps to complete a purchase are clear.

Your website as a whole should have a goal, but each individual webpage should as well. Use this step to make sure those goals are clear and the pages are ready to meet them.

Check the Website Functionality

The page-by-page review will take time, but it accomplishes some really important tasks. Once you’ve gotten through that, there are a few things you need to look into about how the site works as a whole.

7. Check how it looks on mobile.

A lot of the people that come to your website will be doing so on their mobile devices.  You have to make sure your website is mobile friendly. If you are using a mobile responsive design theme (most are these days), you can mark this off your to-do list!

Start by simply pulling up your website on your own mobile phone and doing some browsing. Does it look ok? Is it easy to find what you need and move from one page to the next? Try filling out a form or making a purchase. Was any part of the process difficult to do? Are all the buttons large enough to easily tap with your finger?

You can also use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to see if the search engine deems your website a good experience on mobile (which matters for SEO). If the tool determines that your website isn’t mobile friendly, it will give you tips on what changes to make.

Mobile Friendly Test

8. Check the site speed.

People don’t have the patience for a slow loading website. In fact, people now expect websites to load in less than a second. If your website makes them wait, there’s a good chance they’ll click away and find themselves another website to visit instead, potentially one of your competitors.

Site speed is also an important ranking factor for search engine optimization. So you’ll want to make sure that your website loads quickly.

You can find a number of free site speed tools on the internet to test your site with, such as GTMetrix and Page Scoring, both of which provide reports that help you understand what’s working and what’s slowing your site down if it’s not fast enough.

GT Metrix

Page Scoring

9. Test it on different browsers.

Different visitors will be coming to your website through different browsers. By this point, you’ve checked how the website looks through the browser you use the most often. Now it’s time to go back and test it out in all the others.

The most popular browsers you should be sure to check are:

  • Chrome
  • Internet Explorer
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Opera

Download each one of these browsers and test your site. Or you can use a browser testing tool to quickly manage the process.

As you did when checking your device on mobile, don’t just pull up the homepage on each. Do some browsing, fill out a form, and make a test purchase. You want to know now if something’s not working on a particular browser, instead of after it has caused frustrated visitors and lost sales.

10. Check that your favicon is in place and showing up.

Even if you haven’t heard the term favicon, you’ve seen them around. They’re the images that show up on the tab at the top of your browser. For example, the HostGator one looks like this:

Favicon

A favicon won’t make or break your website, but it’s a nice little branding opportunity that’s good to get into place before you launch. If you already have a logo that will work as a Favicon, then this step will be easier, otherwise you’ll need to design one (or hire someone to design one for you).

Keep in mind when choosing the right favicon for your site that’s it’s going to show up tiny, so don’t bother with too much detail. Once you have an image ready, load it to your main directory and insert the proper code into each of your webpages.

By default, you website will have the HostGator logo as the favicon. Check out this article for how to update your favicon.

It’s easy to set up and your website will immediately appear that much more legitimate and established with a favicon in place.

11. Verify that any forms on the site are working correctly.

Most websites include contact forms or forms for lead generation (such as those people have to fill out to download an ebook). Every form on your website needs to be tested out before launch, not just to make sure that you can fill it out easily without problem, but also to make sure that the information the form collects is sent to the right place.

If it’s supposed to go to your CRM or be sent to you in an email, check that it ends up where it’s supposed to. If your forms don’t work, not only will you lose out on valuable leads and contact attempts, but you also risk providing a disappointing experience to prospects that are expecting something from you.

Last Minute Steps to Get Ready

You’re almost there! You just have a few more general steps to take in order to be ready to launch.

12. Set up a custom 404 page.

Hopefully, by fixing all your broken links in step #3, you won’t have to worry about your visitors ending up on an error page any time soon, but inevitably at some point they will. Be prepared.

Set up a custom 404 page that matches your branding and helps customers figure out where to go next.

As an example, ours gives people a few different action items they can follow, so we decrease the risk of losing them.

HostGator 404 Page

Your 404 page doesn’t have to be clever, but it doesn’t hurt. A 404 page with a cartoon alligator dressed like Sherlock Holmes or a clever message like the one NASA uses dulls the frustration of a broken link.

404 Page

13. Set up a system for continual backups.

Technology’s done a lot to improve our lives, but it’s not perfect. Most of us have dealt with the dreaded experience of losing valuable digital data or documents in one fell swoop due to a technical failure of some sort.

The website you’ve worked so hard on should not suffer that fate. Most hosting platforms (including HostGator) offer a service for automatic backups. It’ll cost you a little money, but those few bucks a month can save you from the catastrophe of losing your website. You’ll be glad you spent that money if the day ever comes when you really need that backup.

HostGator’s backup service – Code Guard – will automatically backup your website as often as daily so you don’t have to think about managing backups.

It’s also equipped with features like one-click restore of your entire website, or just a single file. Finally, it has security features like 24/7 website monitoring and security scans, plus instant email alerts for any unauthorized changes that were made to your website.

If you’re using building website on WordPress, you can even use a plugin to handle your website backups, or you can manually backup your WordPress site if you don’t want to rely on a plugin to do the work for you.

14. Sign up for Google Search Console.

A Google Search Console account gives you the means to communicate certain things directly to Google. If you want to submit new content for crawling by Google or remove pages you don’t want to be indexed, this is an easy place for you to do that.

It’s also a good spot to check in to see if there are any issues with your site’s performance. You can get a quick snapshot of issues like manual penalties or detected malware. As such, it’s an important account to have set up before your launch.

15. Set up Google Analytics.

Finally, the most important tool for tracking your website’s performance over time is Google Analytics. Every site owner should have a Google Analytics account set up by the time their website launches. If you don’t have one already, time to get started.

You can set up an account by simply following the instructions here. You’ll be provided with a tracking code that needs to be added to every page on your website.

Once your website has launched and you start getting visitors, you’ll be able to access detailed data on who is visiting your site (demographically speaking), how they found you, and what they did once they reached your website.

Google AnalyticsReady to launch?

Now it’s time. If you’ve fixed every error you encountered in the course of taking these 15 steps, then your website is as ready as it’s ever going to be. Unleash it onto the world and get ready!

Your website may be finished enough to launch, but once it’s out there, it’s time to start paying attention to what works so you can start the never-ending process of making your website better in the days to come.

Remember – your website is NOT print. So publish when you’re ready to go live, and make improvements later. After all, a successful website is never really done.

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.