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Sole proprietorship? LLC? S-Corp? Know your business entity options


This post was originally published on May 18, 2016, and was updated on October 25, 2019.

With so many things to think about when starting a business, it can be tempting to go the path of least resistance, or what seems like the easiest option when choosing a business structure (aka business entity). For more than 23 million U.S. entrepreneurs, that’s setting up shop as a sole proprietor.

While going that route requires minimal paperwork and compliance formalities compared to other business entity types, it may or may not be the ideal choice.

Simple isn’t always better!


So, what should you consider when deciding on a business structure for your startup or growing company?

In this post, I’ll share some basic information about several popular business entity types to give you an understanding of their potential advantages and disadvantages.

Realize that choosing a business entity type is one of the most impactful decisions you’ll make as an entrepreneur.

It will affect your legal liability as an owner, your tax obligations, your growth potential, and the degree of ongoing requirements you need to satisfy to operate your business — all good reasons to consult with a licensed attorney, accountant and tax advisor for guidance as you weigh the pros and cons.

Related: Legal issues for startups

Business Entity Man Filling Out Paperwork

The basics of business entity types

Let’s start with some fundamentals about different types of business structures.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships

When a business is not formally registered with the state, it will be considered either a sole proprietorship (one owner or a married couple) or general partnership (multiple owners). The business is not its own separate legal and tax-paying entity; therefore, all assets and liabilities are tied to the business’s owners.

Advantages of running a business as a sole proprietorship or partnership

Attractive characteristics of operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership include:

Administrative simplicity – Aside from filing a DBA (fictitious name registration) if owners want to use a business name that doesn’t include their first and last names, there’s typically no legal formation paperwork required to operate either of these entity types.

Compliance filings and reports are minimal as well. Business profits and losses flow through to the business owners’ individual tax returns, keeping tax filing simple, too. All business income and expenses get reported on Schedule C of IRS Form 1040.

Related: What is DBA?

Inexpensive setup – Aside from the cost of filing a DBA and obtaining any necessary licenses and permits to operate legally, the administrative costs to start as a sole proprietorship or general partnership are minimal.

Disadvantages of running a business as a sole proprietorship or partnership

The ease of administration and low-cost setup may not be quite as appealing when considering the potential drawbacks, however.

Liability risks to owners – Sole proprietorship and partnership owners are considered to be the same legal and tax-paying entity as their business. That means if someone sues the business or the business can’t pay its financial debts, a court might rule that the owners’ homes, cars, retirement accounts, etc. be taken as restitution.

Significant self-employment tax burden – All of the income of a sole proprietorship or general partnership is subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes. That can add up over time.

Limited growth opportunity – These types of businesses cannot sell stock to fuel their growth, and outside investors typically favor funding businesses that are formally registered business entities (e.g., LLC, corporation). Therefore, it may be challenging to raise money to finance expansion or new initiatives.

Inability to sell the business – While sole proprietorships and partnerships may sell the assets belonging to the business, the entity itself cannot be sold. Also, if the business has outstanding debt, the owners will remain responsible (unless reaching an agreement with creditors) even if they are no longer actively operating the business.

LLC (limited liability company)

Business owners who want to keep setup and compliance uncomplicated while gaining some of the advantages of a corporation often gravitate toward the LLC business structure.
The IRS and most states view the LLC as a “disregarded entity” for tax purposes, meaning that an LLC’s profits and losses flow through to the owners’ personal tax returns. From a legal standpoint, however, an LLC is considered a separate entity from its owners (called “members”).

An LLC can be either a Single Member LLC or a Multi-Member LLC. States require filing Articles of Organization (or Certificate of Organization) to form an LLC. The cost to file varies by state.

It’s also beneficial, although not required by the state, to have an Operating Agreement, that describes the rights and responsibilities of LLC members and sets forth how the business should be run.

Advantages of the LLC business structure

Here’s a summary of the pros of operating as an LLC:

Ease of administration – Tax filing is about as simple as for sole proprietorships and partnerships. An LLC disregarded entity doesn’t have to file a corporate tax form. Also, LLCs have less ongoing compliance requirements than corporations.

Limited liability for owners – Because an LLC is its own legal entity, if someone sues the business or the company swims in financial debt, the members’ personal assets are protected. (However, note that any personal actions by members that endanger or cause harm may not be covered by the liability protection of the LLC.)

Ownership and profit distribution options – Few restrictions limit who can own an LLC. Many states allow individuals, groups, corporations and other LLCs to form an LLC.

An LLC’s owners may choose how the business will allocate the company’s profits and losses among its members. This potentially allows for owners who devote more time and effort into the business to be compensated based on more than their monetary investment. Unlike a sole proprietorship or general partnership, ownership interests in an LLC may be sold.

Choice of management structure – A multimember LLC can be operated as either a member-managed LLC or manager-managed LLC.

What’s the difference?

A member-managed LLC’s owners carry out strategic decision-making and day-to-day operational and administrative responsibilities. In a manager-managed LLC, members appoint a manager or managers to run the business operations while members primarily stick to making high-level decisions. Most states will consider an LLC to be member-managed unless its formation documents specify the manager-managed management structure.

Tax flexibility – An LLC may elect to be treated as an S Corporation for tax purposes. An S Corp is still considered a pass-through tax entity; however, only income paid to LLC members on the payroll are subject to self-employment taxes. Profits paid as distributions are not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes, so an LLC’s members may find that the S Corp election will lower their personal tax burden.

More clout – With “LLC” behind a business name, a company might be perceived as more credible and capable than a sole proprietorship or general partnership. Logically, that really isn’t a proper way to gauge a business’s capabilities, but as the saying goes, sometimes “perception is everything.”

Potential customers, investors, and project partners might perceive your business as more legitimate if you have “LLC” behind the name.

Disadvantages of the LLC business structure

Possible downsides to operating as an LLC include:

Limited growth potential – As an LLC, you may not issue shares of stock. Also, although your business may be thought of as more legitimate than a sole proprietorship, some investors might be hesitant to offer you funding.

Self-employment tax (still an issue for a disregarded entity LLC) – Unless an LLC elects S Corporation tax treatment, all of its business earnings will be subject to self-employment taxes. The disregarded entity LLC has this potential disadvantage in common with sole proprietorships and general partnerships.

Business Entity Women Coworking Table


Often known as a “C Corporation,” this entity type is considered by the IRS and state governments as a separate taxpayer and legal entity. Its income and expenses are tied to the business, not its owners (shareholders). Ownership of a corporation is through the issuance of stock in the organization.

Forming a corporation requires filing Articles of Incorporation (called Certificate of Incorporation in some states) to register the business. Corporations must follow internal and external corporate rules (such as appointing a board of directors, drafting bylaws, holding shareholders meetings, filing annual reports, etc.) to operate legally. The registration and compliance requirements and costs vary by state.

Advantages of the corporation business structure

Perks of operating as a corporation include:

Highest degree of legal protection for owners – A corporation is a wholly separate entity, legally and financially, from its owners (aka shareholders). Shareholders, directors and employees have protection from creditors of the corporation and under most circumstances are not held responsible in lawsuits against the business.

Greater growth potential – C Corporations may have an unlimited number of shareholders and can issue multiple classes of stock. Also, lenders, angel investors and other financial institutions typically are more eager to provide funding to businesses organized as corporations than to companies set up as other business entity types.

Tax flexibility – Corporations may choose to be taxed as a C Corp or as an S Corporation. Taxation as a C Corp means that profit gets taxed at the federal corporate income tax rate. Any of the profits then paid as dividend income to shareholders are then taxed again on the shareholder’s individual tax returns.

Alternatively, corporations that choose S Corp election have all their profits flow through to shareholders’ personal tax returns, thus avoiding the “double taxation” experienced with the default corporate tax treatment. Under some circumstances, such as when the corporate tax rate is lower than the tax rate for individuals, the default corporate tax treatment may be more advantageous.

Also, corporations are often eligible for more tax deductions than LLCs, partnerships and sole proprietorships. You can learn more about the differences between C Corps and S Corps, or ask your attorney or accountant for advice.

More credibility – By incorporating and having “Inc.” at the end of the business name, a company may find it’s easier to gain the respect and interest of investors, customers and project partners.

Perpetual life – Ownership interests in a corporation may be transferred via selling, gifting or bequeathing shares of company stock to others. A corporation continues to exist until it is formally dissolved.

Disadvantages of the corporation business structure

Several negative aspects of operating as a corporation include:
Higher costs and formalities to get started – In most states, incorporating a business as a C Corp costs more than forming an LLC. Also, there is more work involved, such as appointing a board of directors, preparing bylaws, filing an initial report and other state requirements.

Sting of double taxation – Often, small businesses opt not to incorporate because of the double taxation tax treatment. As I mentioned earlier, a C Corp pays taxes on its profits at the corporate tax rate. Then, if the company distributes profits to its shareholders as dividends, that income is taxed again at the individual income tax rate.

More ongoing compliance requirements – Tax rules and compliance requirements are more complicated for corporations than other entities. Also, “big brother” may watch corporations more closely for compliance adherence to ensure they’re following all the rules.

Less growth potential for S Corps vs. C Corps – S Corporations may only have up to 100 shareholders, whereas C Corps can have an unlimited number. This may be a disadvantage for corporations that want the S Corp pass-through tax treatment, but that also want to expand.

Questions to help you sort it out

Getting trusted legal and accounting guidance will help you figure out the best entity type for your situation. In the meantime, here are some questions to consider as you prepare to understand which business structures may be worth exploring further:

  1. Are you worried that your business activities might put you at risk of losing your personal assets? If so, you may find yourself losing sleep at night when operating as a sole proprietorship or general partnership.
  2. Do you want flexibility in how your income taxes can be handled? Sometimes corporate income tax rates are more favorable than a business owner’s individual tax rates and vice versa. The LLC and corporation structures allow business owners to choose tax treatment that will most benefit them.
  3. Will you need funds beyond your own to start and grow your business? Corporations may sell stock to finance their operation. Also, investors often show more willingness to consider funding a company set up as a corporation rather than other entities.
  4. Does your personal privacy matter? With an LLC or corporation, the company’s registered agent (an authorized party designated to receive service of process, such as legal and government notifications) goes on public record rather than the owner’s home address.

Of course, this is just a sampling of the many questions you’ll want to think about as you consult your attorney and tax professional when choosing a business entity type.

The decision is a crucial one, so do your homework and evaluate your options carefully.


Also, realize that the business structure that’s ideal for your company in its early years may not remain the perfect entity type for the long term. It’s wise to re-evaluate your business structure each year to ensure it’s still the one that’s most favorable for your current situation.

The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

The post Sole proprietorship? LLC? S-Corp? Know your business entity options appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

How to Be a Banker: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a banker. Research the various education and career requirements, licensure, and experience required for starting a career as a banker.

Consulting fees: how much to charge for consulting


The consulting market is booming, and there are numerous consultants out there that are offering a number of different types of services, as well as varying, competitive fees. Whether you are a novice consultant, or experienced in the industry, you want to be sure that the prices you charge for your services are fair for both you and your clients.

Finding the right fee and rate can sometimes feel confusing, because you will need to understand how to value your services in order to calculate the proper rate. How do you really get the most out of your time?

Being an independent consultant means you will have to evaluate your expertise and knowledge, and always be adapting to the changes in the market. So, how can you find the right balance that is going to be fair for both you and your client? This article created by our team at Amelia and learn some tips on how to choose a rate that works best for you.

How to Choose an Hourly Consulting Rate

Charging by the hour may not be for everyone, but it is a straightforward, simply way of charging for your services. If your consulting work involves attending meetings, then hourly rates are a good option. To get an approximate hourly rate, you first need to think about what type of salary you are going for. Will this be your career? Or just something you do on the side? Take this into consideration when choosing your rate.

Once you have chosen your ideal salary, it is time to calculate your fee. Take the salary and divide it by the number of working weeks, and after again by 40 (or what number you plan to work each week). Then that number mark it up by 25% to 45%.

Image source: Tripples

We recommend that you also use a daily rate as a starting point for all of your rates. This can make things easier when deciding the price that you want to charge. It will also be beneficial that you know that hourly fees have other advantages, as well as being a good consulting fee option.

It is easy to figure out how much money you want to earn, and then how much you should be charging on an hourly basis. Depending on how many days you are going to work the math should be quite simple. So, this is the way you discover how much to charge for consulting from an hourly rate point of view.

How and When to Charge by Consulting Project

Image source: Veronica Wijayanthy

When you charge by hour you already should know that this is one of the most flexible pricing methods available. The downside is that the more expedient you become at your work, the less you are going to get paid.

When you are charging by project, you need to need to focus on the goal of your work. This is how you can determine the rate of the project and make an estimate of how many hours it is going to take to finish the job. You can do this by knowing your own expertise, and how much time it takes to complete the same task in the past versus the present.

Image source: Hafiz

If you go for this kind of pricing model, also include a caveat in your contract. This should be stating all the extra fees that go for additional work.

Learning how much to charge for consulting is not difficult, you just need to follow some basic principles. Another thing that you need to factor in might be any kind of costs that may appear from unknown causes, such as if materials get more expensive, or transportation is higher than you anticipated. It is good to have some sort of margin when submitting the final price.

Think about the logistical costs, the costs of business disruptions, and any other costs that may appear.

Setting Consulting Fees Based on Performance

Image source: Tim Gouw Follow

Many clients are going to offer to consultants a share of their revenue or profits, which means we get close to a performance model system. Other ones may offer the client a commission and many pays based on the results that they start to see in their company.

So, deciding how much to charge for consulting also has to do with the payment system you are going to use. A good foundation is to think about the value of your expertise and network, ask yourself how are these components helping me and the services that I provide, how can I better help my clients?

The money you get is not based on how many hours you are going to spend on the project. However, if you can finish faster the same task that somebody will finish in a longer period of time this means that your performance level is higher, so your consulting rates should be higher.

This is great for both you and your client because they see faster results, and you may get more work from them.

How to Charge Retainer Fees

Image source: Mahmoud Baghagho

Many consultants ask for an upfront retainer fee for the work that they are going to do over a certain period of time, such as a month. One advantage of this model is that you can rollover any unused hours to the next month, meaning the clients are going to feel that they are getting a lot of value.

If you go with a retainer, this means that you will have a monthly fee for working with your client. You together with the client decide how many hours this involves and these fees can be great for your business, especially because they are an income that you can rely on a longer period of time. This is especially great if you are a freelancer.

Determining how much to charge for consulting for this type of payment is not difficult. You calculate the number of hours needed, then go for a fair price for both you and your client. The retainer fees do not work for all projects but when they do you should use them. You can always you a consulting fee calculator to find them.

Charging What Everyone Else Charges for Consulting

Image source: DotPixsel Agency

We reached our last tip on how much to charge for consulting. Charging the same amount that other people charge really does make a lot of sense. Depending on what the market dictates, and what the competitors are doing, charging the same price can be a signal that you are worthy of that certain price. You are making a statement and getting the baseline rate for consulting in your market.

If you look at market values this means that you will know what your clients are expecting, and you can use this information to get better at a certain aspect in your business. Many consultants make their rates public but a lot of them are just going to wait until clients call them to get all the details. This means you might need to do some mystery shopping to find out how much to charge for consulting.

Believe in Your Value and the Right Price Will Follow

In the end choosing, the best price needs to be directly connected to what amount you are going to accept for your time, what amount are people ready to pay for your services, and what range of pay can you find in the market. If you answer these questions, you will be able to determine how much to charge for consulting work.

If you enjoyed reading this article about how much to charge for consulting, you should read these as well:

The post Consulting fees: how much to charge for consulting appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.

WordPress eCommerce — Everything you need to know


Ready to get started with WordPress eCommerce?

This guide will take you through the entire process — from the first idea for your domain name to your last plugins added — to start selling products on a WordPress website.

Whether you plan to build an empire or just sell a few hobby items, we can help you get going.

Getting started with WordPress eCommerce

In this guide, you will learn:

Let’s get started!

Why choose WordPress for your eCommerce platform?

If you’re looking for a platform to build an eCommerce website, it won’t take you long to stumble onto WordPress. WordPress is at the top of many lists for preferred eCommerce site builders, and you may have even heard of the platform before starting your own eCommerce site.

Brand recognition isn’t the only reason to consider listing WordPress as the top CMS (content management system) for eCommerce brands.

It’s important to understand exactly why WordPress is consistently labeled one of the premier solutions for eCommerce businesses and how you can make the most of its versatile features and robust developer community.

A few of the top benefits of choosing WordPress for your eCommerce business include:

  1. More than one-third of all websites run on WordPress.
  2. WordPress prides itself on being user-friendly.
  3. You have a whole community of resources at your fingertips.
  4. There are tens of thousands of plugins to choose from.

As we dive further into these four benefits, you’ll begin to realize just how important they are to your eCommerce brand. The flexibility and diversity of features available on WordPress make it a slam-dunk choice for many online retailers.

Related: Why WordPress — Benefits of WordPress websites.

1. More than one-third of all websites run on WordPress

The reality is, WordPress dominates the website management market. It’s the content management system of choice for some of the world’s largest brands like Best Buy, CNN, UPS and the NFL. If WordPress is good enough for these enterprise brands, then you can rest assured that it’s good enough to handle your eCommerce business needs.

It’s not just the big players who use WordPress either.

By 2019 estimates, WordPress claims about 60% of total CMS market share and 34% of all websites are launched and maintained through WordPress (a 4% increase from 2018).

When you consider how widespread the use of WordPress is, it should give you peace of mind.


It certainly would not be as dominant as it is if it was not arguably the best choice for building and managing a website.

2. WordPress prides itself on being user-friendly

WordPress eCommerce Bicycle

When you look at the other CMS options on the market, you can clearly see why so many people are drawn to WordPress. This platform prides itself on being user-friendly and relatively welcoming to beginners.

In fact, WordPress began as a blogging platform that was built to make it simple for anyone to create a website and post content. This is still the foundation of the system, but it’s evolved into a much more dynamic and encompassing website management software.

Whether this is your first online venture or you simply don’t have time to develop a website while managing your business, WordPress is a relatively easy option for you. (Not quite as simple to use as a website builder like GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing Ecommerce solution, but an excellent choice for a robust online store platform if you’re willing to put in a bit of elbow grease.)

3. You have a whole community of resources at your fingertips

WordPress is one of the largest open-source projects in the world, which means developers and contributors can create themes and plugins and offer assistance to users.

There are countless WordPress forums where you can ask questions and connect with people who are experiencing similar problems. It is highly likely that other eCommerce business owners have stumbled across any issues you are experiencing — which means you can usually find solutions easily for most roadblocks.

The popularity of WordPress means that you’ll have a large talent pool to choose from in terms of experienced developers familiar with eCommerce sites.

If you eventually decide to hire a developer (or even contract someone out part-time), they are likely familiar with how the site works and have experience working with other WordPress themes and plugins. You will have a larger talent pool to choose from to find the best developers to help your eCommerce site.

By choosing WordPress as your CMS, you are opting for a content platform that comes with a strong support system. This is essential for seasoned professionals and young entrepreneurs alike.

Related: WordCamps and the WordPress community 

4. There are tens of thousands of plugins to choose from

Let’s say your online store has highly-specific needs. You need certain features that you’re not sure you could get with a general theme or off-the-shelf platform solution. Well, WordPress has you covered.

WordPress uses “plugins,” which are custom modules built to work with WordPress’ framework to help users accomplish various tasks or integrate certain features to their site.

There are plugins for almost any feature you could want on your eCommerce site — from adding an Instagram photo feed to a page to integrating pop-up offers on your site, there is a plugin to help.

At last check, WordPress offers more than 50,000 plugins, from popular Google Analytics features to obscure tools that you likely will never need.

Plus, these plugins can be added with quick clicks and short lines of code, and they are easily updated when new versions are released by the developers. This makes them user-friendly to add, manage and remove.

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What you need to build a WordPress eCommerce site

WordPress eCommerce Shopping On Smartphone

Most people think that you can set up a website in just a few clicks, and WordPress does its best to make that happen.

However, there are a few specific elements to your website that you need to know about in order to get your page up and running quickly.

Plus, knowing the different moving parts of your website can help you troubleshoot issues in the event that something does go wrong. Be prepared to handle the following elements while setting up your eCommerce site.

Related: How to plan a website


The domain is the name that you will use to identify your IP address or place on the internet. Google.com is a domain. GoDaddy.com is a domain. Finding a domain that is recognizable (but affordable) is often the first step when developing a website.

Many entrepreneurs will tell you that a strong domain name is one of the most important steps in building a successful brand in today’s digital economy — even more so for eCommerce brands operating entirely online.

Erik Bergman had this to say when asked why he invested almost $1 million on the domain name Great.com for his charity affiliate project.

“Trying to build a successful online business without a great domain name is adding an extra hurdle to an already competitive race for customers’ trust and attention — don’t make branding harder than it already is.”

While $1 million might seem like a lot for a domain, the most expensive domain name, Cars.com, actually sold for $872 million. Fortunately, you can expect to pay a lot less.

You are assured to find a domain name that perfectly represents your eCommerce endeavor, within your chosen budget — often for less than $20 per year.

Search for your perfect domain name

Related: What is a domain name


Where you decide to host your website is another important decision and one which should not be overlooked. A hosting service houses the information related to your website or brand on servers that then render that information to end-users when they visit your website.

Choosing an outsourced hosting provider allows your website to run quickly and securely without needing to invest in your own servers. You will have a team of experts managing your data and keeping the servers running smoothly.

GoDaddy is one of the most reliable and trusted hosting providers available to eCommerce businesses. Plus, GoDaddy offers hosting especially for WordPress websites (more on that below).


An eCommerce theme is a created design overlay for your website that displays your products and information to potential customers.

Think of it as the skin of your eCommerce pages.


Most customers won’t care about your hosting or your CMS, they just want to see a beautiful layout and a navigation that is easy to use.

WordPress gives users the option to choose from hundreds of free themes — most of which can be used for an eCommerce site — but there are also thousands of premium eCommerce themes (under $100) for businesses to choose from.

We will address a few popular WordPress theme options later in this guide.


WordPress uses plugins to make it easy for you to add or remove functionality to your website.

The first, and most important, plugin that you will want to add to your eCommerce site is WooCommerce or another popular eCommerce plugin that enables you to facilitate eCommerce transactions on your website.

This plugin is the backbone of your eCommerce site. Choosing an off-the-shelf solution like WooCommerce allows you to use a trusted, optimized product that your customers are already familiar with.

If you need help setting up the plugin, you’ll have no trouble finding FAQs and a reliable support team. Many WordPress themes are built to work within eCommerce frameworks like WooCommerce, so integration is typically smooth.

Along with your eCommerce tool, you will likely find other plugins to improve your business operations and the user experience of your site. These plugins can monitor your SEO, give you customer service options, and provide clear analytics to help you make better business decisions.

While too many plugins can slow down the speed of your site, a healthy blend of the right plugins can help you take your eCommerce business to the next level.

We will also cover popular plugins that you may want for your page later in this guide.

Secure Sockets Layer

A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is an element of encryption technology that connects a web server and a browser.

SSL encryption helps to protect your customer data.


If you are managing an eCommerce website, then your customers will be sharing their credit card information, addresses and other private data. You can’t afford to lose this. Major brands do everything they can to protect customer data and still have breaches.

By adding an SSL, you are giving your website an extra layer of protection and providing peace of mind to your customers.

Related: SSL security — Why it matters and how to add HTTPS to your website


Once you have the technical aspects of your eCommerce site up, you can turn to your branding. These brand elements include things like your logo, color scheme, content guidelines and other factors that define your brand identity.

You should consider putting your brand elements together in a style guide which can include rules for how to add images and how to respond to customer service issues.

Developing a style guide will take time at first, but once you have it, it’s easy to stay within your set rules as you grow your product pages and eCommerce site.

Related: How to choose brand colors and use them on your website

If you understand these elements going in, then you should have no trouble getting your site set up quickly, and then you’ll be able to focus on growing your eCommerce brand.

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What to look for in a WordPress eCommerce hosting plan

GoDaddy WordPress Hosting Homepage

When you start the setup process of your WordPress eCommerce site, you will focus on the technical aspects of getting the best domain name and finding the right hosting solution.

While many entrepreneurs have an idea for what they want visually for their webpages, they aren’t sure what they need in a hosting plan. By following the criteria below, you can find an optimal hosting provider to maintain your site speed, storage and security.

Editor’s note: GoDaddy WordPress Hosting makes selling online a snap. Building WordPress eCommerce sites for clients? Check out the Pro Plan.


Site storage allows you to safely maintain data, files and other sources of information. With high storage levels, your hosting provider can pull information quickly — keeping your site running fast.

Your site speed is crucial for a number of reasons, but especially for SEO and the consumer experience. Your hosting plays a large role in determining the speed of your site, so it’s important to keep storage in mind as you compare hosting plans.

The more storage you need, the bigger the hosting plan you will want to get; however, some providers allow you to add extra storage a la carte.

Expected website traffic

How many people do you expect to visit your eCommerce store? Right now, you might be happy with just a handful of visitors from around the country; however, the goal should be to grow your traffic exponentially.

After all, the more visitors you get to your eCommerce site, the more sales you’ll make.

Most hosting plans can only handle a certain amount of site visitors and calls to the server at once. If the server gets overwhelmed, the page will slow and could even crash. Because you don’t want to create a poor user experience with a slow or dead page, you need to find a hosting plan that aligns with your expected number of daily visitors.


Web hosting means providing so much more than just a home for your website.

You need to trust the people you work with and feel confident that your website is in good hands.


Look for valuable security features that are built into your site: daily malware scans, DDoS protection, customer service, phishing alerts for comments and messages. If your hosting provider can identify or prevent these security attacks, then you can focus on managing your eCommerce site.


Of all of these, scalability is probably the most important feature of your WordPress eCommerce hosting.

While you might only have about a thousand monthly visitors when you first start out, this number could grow significantly as you market your business — this is especially true if your business is seasonal, and you experience traffic peaks in November and December.

While a basic hosting option might meet your needs for the next year, it helps to have the option to upgrade in the future.

With this in mind, try to find flexible plans that will not lock you into one specific plan for too long. You never know when you might need to scale quickly, so it’s nice to know you have that option — should you need it.

Related: How to choose the best WordPress hosting plan

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What is the difference between managed hosting and self-installation?

When it is time to choose a hosting option, you can either work with a hosting service (like GoDaddy) or develop your own hosting options through self-installation (or unmanaged hosting).

There are pros and cons for working with a third-party service or working on your own, and knowing these differences can help you choose the path that best meets your WordPress eCommerce needs.

Pros of managed hosting

Server-side expertise. You have access to customer service and developers who are familiar with WordPress and will make sure your site is protected on the server.

Additional features. With a hosting service, you get extra features like security checks, more storage, and performance monitoring to protect your eCommerce site.

Scalability. When you need more resources or space, you can typically scale up to a larger plan for your website with few hiccups.

Cons of managed hosting

Potential restrictions on plugins. The hosting service might limit the plugins you can use, or some might not work with the server. (This drawback is rare for most eCommerce businesses, though.)

Higher prices. You might have to pay more for the services you need. However, what you pay more in price you often save in time.

Pros of self-installation

Total flexibility and customization. You can develop a hosting process that completely meets your unique needs. You’re also not paying for features that you don’t use.

Not limited by plans. You don’t have to pay more than you would want for the features you need.

Basic services offered. If you just need hosting, then an unmanaged service will provide that for you, they just won’t go above and beyond for your business.

Cons of self-installation

Few resources. If you want something done, you will have to do it yourself or you will have to hire someone.

More technical expertise required. This is not a good option if you are not familiar with the server-side of websites.

Lack of protection. Many of the restrictions set by managed hosting platforms are meant to protect site owners. You may make a mistake and damage your website without those restrictions.

This is a quick checklist that you can reference when you are considering hosting your site yourself or hiring a third-party hosting provider. Simply put, more experienced eCommerce entrepreneurs could benefit from unmanaged hosting, but less technological business owners may want the managed options.

Related: What is managed WordPress hosting?

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How to choose a WordPress eCommerce theme

GoDaddy WordPress Hosting Themes
GoDaddy’s pre-built WordPress themes are easy to customize with a drag-and-drop editor.

Once you have the infrastructure built for your WordPress site, you can start to get creative with the layout and design of your online store.

As we mentioned earlier, WordPress is a favorite option of many eCommerce entrepreneurs in part because it is intuitive — you don’t need an expert web designer on your staff to develop a website.

The vast majority of site managers operating on WordPress choose from one of the many available eCommerce themes, instead of building a custom theme from scratch.

WordPress lets users select from free themes internally, but there are thousands of premium (paid) themes on the market. A quick search of ThemeForest shows more than 11,000 WordPress themes, varying by use and design.

Many WordPress themes are free to choose from, and the average site manager pays about $40 for a premium theme. That being said, some themes are more or less expensive depending on their design, and you may end up paying a little more to have a design that you love or functionality you need.

The visual appearance isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing a WordPress theme. You want your eCommerce site to be usable, which means you also need to consider these criteria:

  • User navigation
  • eCommerce plugin compatibility
  • Mobile optimization

We will review these criteria and what role they should play in your WordPress theme selection so you can choose the best option possible for your eCommerce brand.

User navigation

The majority of your users will likely land on one of your product pages, but your marketing efforts will also draw people to your home page, category pages or blog.

Your user navigation from the landing page a user visits is essential.


How will people find your categories and subcategories? Will the theme make them curious about your deals and top products?

Look at the navigation set up of brands like Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods to see how their home pages bring customers deep into their product pages — and deeper into the sales funnel.

Larger eCommerce brands spend millions of dollars on design and testing, so you can piggyback off them by trying to mimic design elements such as how they facilitate the buyer journey.

While you are considering your navigation options, look at how compelling the home page is compared to other websites in your niche. Good navigation can bring people in, but a poorly-designed home page will drive customers away.

eCommerce plugin compatibility

Not all eCommerce plugins will work with your theme.

Most themes aren’t made for eCommerce, though they can handle common eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce.

If you decide on a WordPress theme that was not built for eCommerce specifically, make sure it will function with the eCommerce plugin you intend to use.

As you test your themes, look for notifications letting you know if the theme doesn’t support a particular plugin. This means more work for your development team to get the two elements to work together. Some site managers might prefer to just choose another theme instead.

Mobile optimization

It’s 2019 and creating a mobile website isn’t optional. It hasn’t been optional for several years now. More than half of your traffic will likely come from mobile sources, which means your theme needs to be easy to use and accessible from a smartphone.

Your WordPress eCommerce site must perform well on mobile devices.


Google made it clear that websites need to be mobile-friendly and mobile websites need to be fast. They reported that websites that load in less than five seconds receive twice the amount of ad revenue and have 70% longer sessions. Not only that, but most users expect a page to load in two seconds.

If you want your eCommerce website to be successful, you can’t afford to lose customers who bounce from a slow website. Make sure your theme doesn’t slow your business down and that it is easy to navigate through a smartphone.

Related: How to revamp your business’s mobile experience to better engage your customers

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6 best WordPress eCommerce themes

With tens of thousands of eCommerce WordPress themes to choose from, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. Fortunately, there are a few highly popular themes that you can select and adapt to your eCommerce needs.

These themes are frequently used for a reason — they are intuitive for customers and easy for site managers to work with. They’re also compatible with the plugins and widgets that most eCommerce sites need.


WooCommerce Storefront Theme

Storefront is the top choice for eCommerce brands that use the WooCommerce platform. To get an idea for how popular this option is, this theme has been downloaded more than 3.4 million times.

Storefront is accessible for diverse audiences and offers several extensions and add-ons to meet your needs. This theme (and many of the extensions) are free, but you can purchase additional add-onsThis is a great option if you want to upgrade your theme for only one or two features.


Optimizer is one of the most frequently downloaded themes of 2019. Site managers choose it because of the drag-and-drop design features, dozens of free templates, mobile optimization and SEO optimized design.

The best part is that its basic version is free.

However, if you want to upgrade to premium features (which offers advanced customization) you can buy the theme for a monthly fee. For entrepreneurs just getting started in eCommerce, Optimizer’s flexibility might make a lot of sense.


Developed by Atlantis Themes, Bellini has been used by more than 1,200 WooCommerce stores. Its design is product-focused, so you can decide how you want your category pages laid out in order to entice customers. This theme is also developed with SEO in mind to help your rankings.

Bellini Pro is available for a nominal monthly fee and offers additional home page and header layouts, along with Google Analytics integration. Bellini Free is free to use and is an excellent option for smaller stores.


The eStore WordPress theme is developed by ThemeGrill. While the basic version is free, the premium version is affordable and boasts several additional widgets and options to improve your eCommerce website.

This is a great option if you are particular about your design, as the pro option gives users access to 600 Google fonts and more than 15 colors.


ColorMag is another theme developed by ThemeGrill and could be a good option for your website if you don’t want to use eStore. While eStore is meant to be used for eCommerce, ColorMag can be used for any type of site.

You may need some creative design and adjustments to have the layout meet your eCommerce goals. However, the strong visual elements will be sure to intrigue your customers. It is WooCommerce compatible. This theme has a fee for the pro version but is otherwise free.


Shopisle is developed by Codeinwp and offers a free WordPress theme for eCommerce stores plus a paid pro version. Shopisle offers a free 30-day money-back guarantee If you’re not happy with this WordPress theme or don’t think the extra features are worth the investment.

The chosen themes above can give you a sample of what top design features you should look for in your theme. Even if you choose a different eCommerce theme, you can avoid paying extra for something that might be free in another theme.

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How to choose WordPress eCommerce plugins

After you set up the technical aspects of your eCommerce website and choose your favorite theme, you can begin to add valuable tools and systems to make site management easier.

Many WordPress websites have about a dozen plugins on their sites, with 20 being the recommended cap. Plugin management can get out of hand if you’re not careful, so follow these steps to make sure you choose the best options for your site.

Identify which plugins you need the most

Plugins should not be added randomly. Make sure you prioritize the top plugins that you need to make your site function properly. With this in mind, your lesser-important plugins will have to function around your top players (not the other way around).

For example, WooCommerce is one of the top eCommerce plugins on the market — and one that many eCommerce sites can’t live without. It is compatible with most themes and easy to navigate and adapt.

WooCommerce, or another eCommerce plugin, should be the first that you install because of its importance to the site’s core purpose.

Make sure the plugin is updated regularly

As you look at your different plugin options, start by checking how frequently the tool is updated.

If you have to choose between two plugins that do the same thing, make sure you go for the one that is updated and improved on a regular basis.

Plugins should be updated regularly by their developer to keep compatible with new versions of WordPress and to prevent hacks and fix bugs.

Fortunately, WordPress will alert you if you try to install an outdated plugin or when it’s time to update an existing plugin, to prevent you from the risks of outdated plugins.

Related: How to update WordPress like a pro

Look for backend support

Another feature that you should add to your plugin search checklist is backend support.

What will happen if the plugin breaks or causes problems on your website?

A plugin with a support team will be able to update the tool and get it back on track faster than a plugin without one.

Check for impacts to your page speed

Some plugins are known for being a little clunky. While you may think they’re valuable, they could put a drag on your code and actually slow down your website —creating a poor user experience and hindering the optimization of your site as a whole.

Fortunately, there are ways you can identify this problem before you install the plugin.

Check the comments and reviews online for the tool. If people mention site speed, beware. You can also check these comments for other warnings and even some tips to get the most out of the plugin. Finally, you can run a site speed test before and after the plugin is activated to see if there is a noticeable change.

Only add one plugin at a time

Plugins are unpredictable in how they act on your website.

You might not have a problem with the first dozen plugins that you add, and then the next plugin causes everything to come crashing down.

Your best bet when building your eCommerce site is to install one plugin at a time.


This will be hard if you know what plugins you want and are eager to get your site going, but the payoff will be worth it.

Try to let a few days pass between installations and make sure your site is unaffected by the added plugin.

Related: How to add plugins to WordPress

Uninstall ineffective or unused plugins

If you find that a plugin that you thought was valuable never actually gets used on your website, uninstall it. This prevents a plugin graveyard from collecting on your website. Even if the plugins are inactive or stopped, they could cause trouble later.

Note: Most reputable plugins will have guides on how to install and uninstall the plugins. For example, WooCommerce has dedicated process docs for installation that your team can follow during the setup and removal process.

To manage plugins effectively, designate an approval process within your company for adding new ones. This way, as your company starts to grow, you won’t have rogue employees adding plugins whenever they see fit.

Security should be your top priority for WordPress plugins.


Take measures to keep your WordPress eCommerce site safe for your visitors.

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8 Best WordPress eCommerce plugins

If you need a tool for your eCommerce website, there is usually a plugin already available for that. You can find everything from SEO tools to design plugins to make your pages stand out and draw customers in.

That being said, all of these plugin options can be overwhelming. Check out a few of our top picks that we trust to work well with your WordPress eCommerce site.


As we mentioned earlier, WooCommerce is one of the top plugins for launching an eCommerce site using WordPress. You will likely find everything you need, from setting up payments to shipping.

WooCommerce is free, but it does have a large extensions store where you can add extra features. These additional options include free Facebook and PayPal widgets alongside pricier subscription management services.

Related: 15 free WooCommerce extensions for new eCommerce sites

WP eCommerce

WP eCommerce is an alternative to WooCommerce. If offers an eCommerce system for WordPress with additional add-ons and features for your site. Like WooCommerce, the initial program is also free.

If you are not very tech-savvy, consider their “hire an expert” option where someone from their network of WordPress developers will help you.

Yoast SEO

Yoast is a great SEO tool if you don’t have a search background and want to quickly make sure that your content checks all the boxes.

This plugin is free, but you can upgrade to more advanced features. Add a keyword to each page and control your slug, meta description, social media blurbs, readability, and other important content elements with this easy tool.


Every eCommerce site needs analytics information to learn where customers are coming from, what pages aren’t converting, and the demographics of your top buyers.

MonsterInsights is a tool that easily connects your WordPress site with Google Analytics to get the data you need. No coding is needed, which is why this plugin has been added to more than 2 million WordPress sites.


WPForms makes it easy to set up a contact form on your website. The basic plan is affordable and lets you create unlimited forms, with unlimited entries, and multiple pages with advanced requirements.

If your eCommerce page offers bigger ticket items or consultations before purchase, this plugin could be incredibly valuable.

Related: How to take advantage of the power of contact forms for selling online


If you are planning to offer a subscription service (like a monthly makeup box), consider MemberPress. This paid tool can make it easy for you to manage monthly members and subscribers. You can also send specific coupons to audiences to engage and upsell them.


Developed by iThemes, BackupBuddy allows you to backup your information in the event that you lose it. This includes payment history, customer information, inventory and basically every part of your eCommerce site. The reasonable annual cost of BackupBuddy is worth the peace of mind it will provide.

Envira Gallery

WordPress does offer a free Gallery option, however, you might not like how this tool presents your photos. Envira Gallery is a good alternative if your eCommerce site is highly visual and you want to win customers over with your images. Envira Gallery is extremely affordable and can make a difference for your overall revenue.

As you can see, some of these features are more essential to your website than others. While a plugin like WooCommerce keeps your entire business running, tools like MonsterInsights or Yoast add more subtle benefits to your brand.

Related: 5 of the best WordPress plugins for eCommerce

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Confidently create your eCommerce WordPress site

Setting up an eCommerce site on WordPress is fairly easy, but it does require careful thought before you start.

Choosing a great domain name, knowing how your site will be hosted, what it will look like, and what tools you need to succeed can help you launch your new online store without a hitch. From there, you can start growing your sales and impressing your customers with your web presence.

Use this guide to prepare for your eCommerce site launch. Select a theme and identify your domain and hosting plan before you start the development process. Once you have all your ducks in a row, you can get your new WordPress eCommerce site up and running.

Happy selling!

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Bob Dunn, Towhidul Islam and Tom Rankin.

The post WordPress eCommerce — Everything you need to know appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

GoDaddy Pro at WordCamp US 2019


We love WordCamp US. It brings together WordPress users from around North America and beyond. It’s a chance to meet new people, catch up with familiar faces and immerse ourselves in the WordPress community.

These offline, in-person experiences are crucial for keeping WordPress community members connected to each other.

For WordPress newbies, these events are a chance to learn from experienced users. For web designers & developers, these events are a chance to share their knowledge and potentially find new clients or business partners.

Related: The GoDaddy community events calendar

Makers of the web, unite at WordCamp US 2019

Are you building websites for others? You don’t need to be a coder, and you don’t need to do it full-time. If you’re helping clients get online, you’re a Maker of the web.

Makers of the web are everywhere. They’re in big cities and small towns and on the road as digital nomads. They’re working from home, coworking spaces and coffee shops. They’re connecting with each other online through Slack and Facebook groups, and offline through meetups and events like WordCamp US.

If you’re a Maker of the web, we want you to join us at WordCamp US 2019 in St. Louis.

We share a common purpose

If you’ve seen our ads, you know that we’re huge advocates for people who make their own way. This is a global community of everyday entrepreneurs who are on a journey to transform their big ideas into something real.

We’re here to help those entrepreneurs along their journey. But we also know that we’re not alone. If you’re a Maker of the web, we share a common purpose: helping people grow & succeed online.

Let’s help more people succeed with WordPress

As the world’s largest WordPress hosting provider, we’re introducing new people to WordPress every single day.

That’s why we invest in creating a stellar WordPress experience with an easy setup wizard; 100s of professional GPL-compliant WordPress themes; and award-winning 24/7 support.

It’s why we sponsor full-time WordPress core contributors; why we release our themes and plugins under the GPL; and why we support local WordCamps and WordPress meetups around the world.

And it’s why we created GoDaddy Pro, our free partner program for the Makers of the web.

By working together, we can help more people succeed with WordPress.

Teaming up with local web designers & developers

If you’re a Maker of the web, GoDaddy Pro gives you the tools and support you need to start and grow your business. That includes GoDaddy Pro Sites, a single dashboard for managing all your WordPress sites and clients from one place.

It also includes more perks and benefits, like discounts on GoDaddy products, secure access to manage your client’s GoDaddy account, and our recent partnership with WP FeedBack.

Check it all out for yourself by joining GoDaddy Pro.

What’s GoDaddy Pro doing at WordCamp US 2019?

We’ve attended every #WCUS since it kicked off in Philadelphia four years ago.

In 2016 we started covering the event on Twitter and recapping our experiences in follow-up blog posts:

Our team will be on the ground in St. Louis again this year, sharing highlights and takeaways from sessions.

But that’s not all we’re doing.

GoDaddy Pro booth at WordCamp US 2019
GoDaddy Pro booth (concept) at WordCamp US 2019

Take a selfie, win an iPhone 11 Pro

Photography played a huge role in our recent refresh and we want to share some of that magic with everyone at WordCamp US.

That’s why we’re turning the GoDaddy Pro booth into a photo booth.

We’ll have photographers hanging about, ready to take your picture.

It could be your new Twitter profile pic; a glamour shot for Insta; or a dramatic Facebook cover photo. The choice is yours…!

We’re also holding a draw for a new iPhone 11 Pro.

You can take fantastic photos whenever, wherever you want.

Here’s how to enter:

  • Snap a selfie at our booth, or have one of our photographers take your picture
  • Post your pic it to Twitter or Instagram
  • Tag @GoDaddy #MakersOfTheWeb #WCUS
  • That’s it! You’re entered into the draw

We’re also giving away collectible Wapuu pins. These can get you another entry in the draw:

  • Wear the Wapuu pin with pride
  • Find another person with a matching Wapuu pin
  • Take a selfie together
  • Post your selfies to Twitter or Instagram
  • Tag @GoDaddy #MakersOfTheWeb #WCUS

We’ll announce the winner at our booth. You must be present to win. Good luck!

GoDaddy Pro pin for WordCamp US 2019
Example Wapuu pin for #WCUS 2019

Attending WordCamp US? Come say hi.

Look for our team members wearing Makers of the web shirts. Or swing by our booth to grab some free swag. We’re giving away drawstring backpacks; knit winter hats (toques, for my fellow Canadians); journals; highlighter-pens; and stickers.

Not able to join us in person?

Follow the #WCUS hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for live updates.

The post GoDaddy Pro at WordCamp US 2019 appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

How to Become a Loan Officer: Education and Career Roadmap

Find out how to become a loan officer. Research the education and training requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career as a loan officer.

Tips for creating holiday marketing campaign content


In my previous article, we talked about all the things you can do to prepare in advance for the upcoming holiday eCommerce season. Today we’re going to drill down and cover holiday marketing campaign content, including blog posts and image creation.

Guide to creating holiday marketing campaign content

Here’s an overview of what we’ll be covering:

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Determine your promotional offers

First, you’ll want to get your promotions mapped out and solidified. Once that is set, you can then determine what type of content and imagery will work best for each.

Select promotional offers that work best for your business personality and products.


Not sure where to start? Here are some proven ideas:

  • Promotional codes like $10 off, 10% off, or free shipping, are popular with customers, but you’ll need to determine what your offer(s) will be and how long they’ll last.
  • BOGO (buy one, get one) sales, encourage customers to buy that discounted second product that they may not have considered.
  • Bundling two or three products that have synergy at a discounted price is a great way to get customers to buy more than they may have planned. Who can resist a good deal?
  • Contests are a great way to encourage participation and gain more visibility for your offerings. You can then have posts that include photo submissions with a holiday theme (throwback Thursday, childhood, favorite tree, a favorite recipe, favorite memory, etc.).
  • Giveaways are an excellent way to gain subscribers to your lists for all your promotional activities. For example, “Sign up today to receive X” or “All orders placed on December 2 will also receive X.”
  • Charity donations offer a percentage of specific sales to your charity of choice, which can be popular among holiday shoppers in a charitable mood.

Once you have all your promotions and sales outlined, you can begin to create the content that you’ll include in these promos.

Start this process by establishing a framework for the content you are going to post and when. Then, note the associated promos and images that go along with each post.

With that information, you can begin to formulate your campaigns and their accompanying schedule.

Related: Your holiday eCommerce website checklist

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Establish a calendar

Open Calendar To Schedule Holiday Marketing Campaign Content

An editorial calendar allows you to list the topics (and their corresponding promotions) by date.

Google Calendar is a free tool that many use. You can color-code your promos and topics and when to post them so you know what to do at a glance.

If you are on WordPress, there is a nifty plugin called Editorial Calendar that puts the ability to plan your content right into your WordPress dashboard.

Either of the options above will allow you to plan out your entire holiday eCommerce content campaign well ahead of schedule, which means less stress and hassle for you during the busy holiday season.

While you’re brainstorming your editorial calendar, though, there are a couple of factors that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Timing and your content

The holiday season kicks in before Halloween, with the peak being between December 14 and 24.

By starting early and posting consistently, you begin to draw your customers in with your content and promotions.

Your content can be more general at the beginning of the season, then become more specific and ramp up as there is less shopping time and a more urgent need.

When it comes to campaign content, we all know that sales hype is not as effective as content that serves the reader.

Tips, how-to’s and storytelling will always convert more sales.


Craft content that talks to, not at, your target customers at this specific time of year.

Topic considerations

You may already know the perfect content to entice your audience. Just in case, though, here are a few ideas if you’re need help getting started:

  • Run a “Caption This” photo contest.
  • Offer product guides/tutorials.
  • Provide product safety tips.
  • Create gift guides for various audiences (men, women, children, techies, foodies, etc.).
  • Interview satisfied customers.
  • Create a printable helpful PDF checklist.
  • Run a “12 Days of Christmas” promotion.
  • Create lists and “Top 10s” about your product or niche.
  • Have a photo contest that includes your products.
  • Present shopping challenges that you can solve.

Keep in mind that your customers want solutions that make their life easier with a little entertainment along the way. During the holidays, we are all inundated with “buy this” and “you need that” hard sells everywhere.

Put on your customer hat and think about how you can address their concerns, such as stress, time constraints, budget or gift ideas.

Help customers by focusing on their challenges within your content.

Another rule of thumb when brainstorming topics is to develop a theme for your holiday campaign that will be woven into everything you do. A character, mascot, slogan, color scheme or style, for example.

Consistency in your visuals and style gets you noticed quickly by fans and followers. This approach will allow you to build a solid, recognizable company brand as well.

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Use video as part of your holiday marketing campaign content

Woman Filming During Winter

When creating your posts, including short videos allows an extra interactive and visual element with innumerable benefits.

Did you know that viewers are more likely to share and like videos than static graphical elements? Use that to your advantage.

Creating a series of videos that customers can follow on your site, subscribe to on YouTube, or view on your social channels is a great way to build excitement and keep customers engaged.

You can create short videos with daily themes (Customer of the Day, Product of the Day, Deal of the Day) or announcements that create anticipation build-up to a big announcement or sale.

When coming up with video ideas, jot down your thoughts, what your goals are, and how you are going to tackle each.

Once you have some ideas and goals, create an outline for each topic or series, so that you can remain on point. Then with your outline in hand, develop a script that you can practice within your targeted timeframe so that you don’t ramble on.

Showing your personality humanizes your content and helps customers get to know you.


People gravitate to those they like, can relate to, and feel that they can trust. Build that important trust factor and you can nurture that relationship.

Types of videos

Do you need some ideas on what types of videos will be effective?

Telling a story in a video is always a popular route and allows you to tell your visitors about your business, your passions and why you do what you do — and lets you ask them to share the same with you.

If you want to shake things up a bit, though, some other types of videos to consider include:

  • Endorsements/testimonials
  • Product how-to’s
  • Promotion-specific videos
  • Tips and tricks
  • Live Q&As
  • Whiteboard-centric videos
  • Thank-you messages
  • Facility or process tours

What if you don’t have expensive video equipment? Don’t stress it. Your videos can be as simple as using your smartphone. There are an array of apps these days to enhance your videos and reflect your creativity.

The key here is to be genuine and to have a consistent look and feel, as this helps to solidify your brand.

Related: 9 types of video content to help you move customers through the sales funnel

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Create effective visuals to support your marketing campaign

During the holidays, you’ll want to be sure that you’re choosing high-quality images and visuals that will catch your customers’ eye.

Investing in quality images in the right format will lend credibility to your campaigns.

There are some crucial factors involved with choosing and creating the perfect visuals, however.

7 essential qualities for effective marketing graphics

When creating your holiday promotional graphics, here’s what you’ll want to consider:

1. File format

The file type that you choose will depend on the contents of the image. You’ll want to use .jpg format for photographic images and .png format for images with text or that require a transparent background.

2. Simplicity

Your goal here for images should include a single focus, minimal text and be easy to read. If your customers can’t easily view your image or read text that you’ve added, then the purpose of that particular image is lost.

Also, avoid background images that compete with your marketing text, which makes it harder for your customers to read.

3. Fonts

Use no more than two fonts at a time so your text is not too busy. Legibility is key. Make sure it is large enough to be read/scanned at a glance, and test on both desktops and mobiles. Fancy fonts may look cool but are not always easy to read.

4. Colors

If you’ve decided to use holiday color schemes, consider integrating your logo in black and white or grayscale to avoid clashing. Alternatively, you can match your logo to the holiday color theme you’ve chosen for a fun, seasonal twist.

5. Call-to-action

The call-to-action (CTA) for your business is one of the most important parts of your message. Images can be a very effective medium for your call to action, so don’t skip it.

6. Prominence

Make sure your CTA, promo codes and hashtags are prominently displayed.

7. Image dimensions

In most cases, images larger than 2,000 pixels are not required and are unnecessarily more expensive. Images can display at a smaller size than the original size and look OK. However, displaying an image larger than its original size can make it appear blurry and distorted.

This is why you want to create your images in the proper sizes and have them ready to go.

Knowing what sizes display best on various platforms, areas on your website, and in blog posts is crucial.

If they’re too small, the details get lost or stretched; if they’re larger than necessary, they’ll use resources unnecessarily and cause performance issues. And, the last thing you want to do is slow down your website during the holidays.

Related: 11 places to find more diverse stock photos of people

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Social media coordination

Social media is a critical aspect of your holiday marketing campaigns that you won’t want to skimp on. Let’s review some recommendations on how to put your best foot forward on social media.

Social media image sizes

Holiday Marketing Campaign Content Social Media Smartphone

For each promotion that you implement, it’s important that you create image sets that cater to each specific platform. To accomplish that, all promotional graphics should be in all the recommended sizes for the best results.


  • Recommended post image: 1,200 x 630 pixels
  • Cover image: 820 x 312 pixels
  • Profile: 180 x 180 pixels


  • Recommended story resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels (or an aspect ratio of 9:16)
  • Square photos are sized to 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Rectangular images should use a 4:5 aspect ratio
  • Image thumbnails display square at 161 x 161 pixels
  • Profile images: 110 x 110 pixels


  • Recommended post image: 1200 x 630 pixels
  • Business cover background image: 1536 x 768 pixels
  • Company logo: 300 x 300 pixels


  • Pin preview images display at 236 pixels wide (once expanded your images should be a minimum of 600 pixels)
  • Pinterest scales the height of images to scale proportionality; recommended aspect ratio: 2:3
  • Profile images display at 165 x 165 pixels


  • Posted images attached to your Tweets appear at a maximum of 1024 x 512 pixels (minimum size is 440 x 220 pixels)
  • Your account header image should be 1500 x 500 pixels. Be sure to test so that text and/or CTA display properly and are not covered by your profile image.
  • Profile image size has a recommended size of 400 x 400 pixels and will display as a circle


  • Custom thumbnails: 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Cover image for your channel: 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Your profile image: 800 x 800 pixels

Don’t forget to add a bit of the holidays to your profile and cover photos as well! This can be as simple as adding bows, antlers, holiday lights or small accents such as a holiday icon, holly or a snow effect. Have fun with it!

Related: How to decorate your eCommerce shop for the winter holidays

Social media scheduling

Need some ideas on good times to schedule your social media campaigns for the greatest impact? Here are a few tips:

  • Schedule multiple postings. Review your analytics to discover the best times to post (time, days and dates).
  • Hashtags: Investigate the most used, effective and trending hashtags.
  • Create your own hashtags for your promotions and for customers and followers to use when posting about your products.
  • Schedule time to engage with those who comment and respond to your posts. There are also a slew of social listening tools you can use to help in that effort.

Related: A beginner’s guide to social media for small business

Back to top

Putting a bow on it

Red Bow On A Bauble

Using these tips to create your holiday marketing campaign content within a solid and consistent theme will help your brand be easily recognizable at a glance. Since your customers will be inundated with promotions, being organized and prepared in advance helps ensure you’re offering the discounts and deals they want when they want them most!

The post Tips for creating holiday marketing campaign content appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Browsers end support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 in March 2020


In March 2020, major web browsers will stop supporting TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1.

If you manage your own web servers, you’ll need to enable TLS 1.2 (and, ideally, TLS 1.3).

Otherwise, if you’re still using TLS 1.0 or TLS 1.1, your visitors will see an error when they try to access your sites.

Why the change to browser TLS support?

The announcements to drop support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 came last year from Microsoft, WebKit, Mozilla, and Google:

“Two decades is a long time for a security technology to stand unmodified. While we aren’t aware of significant vulnerabilities with our up-to-date implementations of TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1, vulnerable third-party implementations do exist. Moving to newer versions helps ensure a more secure Web for everyone. Additionally, we expect the IETF to formally deprecate TLS 1.0 and 1.1 later this year, at which point protocol vulnerabilities in these versions will no longer be addressed by the IETF.”


“Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a critical security protocol used to protect web traffic. It provides confidentiality and integrity of data in transit between clients and servers exchanging (often sensitive) information. To best safeguard this data, it is important to use modern and more secure versions of this protocol. Specifically, applications should move away from TLS 1.0 and 1.1.”


For sites that need to upgrade, the recently released TLS 1.3 includes an improved core design that has been rigorously analyzed by cryptographers.  TLS 1.3 can also make connections faster than TLS 1.2. Firefox already makes far more connections with TLS 1.3 than with TLS 1.0 and 1.1 combined.


Google Chrome will deprecate TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 in Chrome 72. Sites using these versions will begin to see deprecation warnings in the DevTools console in that release. TLS 1.0 and 1.1 will be disabled altogether in Chrome 81. This will affect users on early release channels starting January 2020. Apple, Microsoft, and Mozilla have made similar announcements.


Bottom line? It’s another step forward to a faster, more secure web.

Will your sites be affected?

Which version of TLS are you running? Use GoDaddy’s Certificate Checker tool to determine which TLS version you’re currently using. It’ll also provide additional details, including the validity of your site’s SSL certificate.

How do you enable TLS 1.2+ on your server?

If you aren’t using TLS 1.2 or later, you’ll need to make the switch.

Are you hosting with GoDaddy?

If you’re on one of our WordPress hosting or current shared hosting plans (cPanel), good news — you’re already running TLS 1.2.

If you’re on an older GoDaddy shared hosting plan, you may still be running TLS 1.1. If that’s the case, you’ll need to switch to one of our new shared hosting plans.

If you’re on a VPS or Dedicated server with GoDaddy, you can manage your own TLS versions within your cPanel configuration. Refer to the official cPanel documentation for details.

Are you hosting elsewhere?

Check with your web hosting provider. They should be able to tell you which version of TLS your sites are using, and help you through the upgrade process.

If you’re unable to get help from your current hosting provider, consider moving to a new hosting plan with us. One of our GoDaddy Guides would be happy to help you through the process.

The post Browsers end support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 in March 2020 appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

How to get consulting clients quickly for your consulting business


Ask any consultant new to the field of consulting what is their main concern is and pretty much all of them are going to reply that they worry about how to get consulting clients quickly. This is also true of other services and businesses, but when you are just starting out in any domain, you may have a bit of a rough time.

If you want to know how to get more clients for your consulting business, then you do not have to stress about the process. All you need to do is stop for a second, understand what value that you bring, and build a strategy around that for your consulting business is.

Learn below more about this topic in this article created by our team at Amelia.

Who Is Your Ideal Consulting Client?

Image source: Veronica Wijayanthy

You need to ask yourself what kind of clients do you want to attract for your business. In order to reach perspective clients, you also need to have some kind of criteria for them. After you do this, you can move on to the next step on how to get clients quickly: marketing.

Choosing the market that you want to focus on should be based on a niche that you are passionate about,and have experience in. After you have discovered the market that you want to target, you can get towards the method. Whether we are talking about ads, or marketing strategy, when you focus on just a market segment, you are going to create a huge difference for your competition.

Each market segment has its own lingo that can be learned relatively quickly. What you can do if you want to discover how to get consulting clients fast is to check annual reports of the competition and see how they see this industry.

Another thing you should focus your energy on is finding something that is of value for your target customers. This can be a white paper regarding some problems that the industry is facing, a webinar, or some free samples.

Ask for Referrals From People Who Know, Like, and Trust You.

Image source: Anton Pecheritsa

An often overlooked method of finding new clients is by asking for a referral. An example of this could be that after you finished a consulting assignment for one of your clients that is very satisfied with what you have done, you can already ask them to do you a small favor. If you do not want to put your client on the spot there are more indirect ways.

You can send a letter thanking them for their business and asking for some names, or you can write an email requesting the same things. Get creative with referral requests, and you are going to come up with some ideas that can make you understand how to get consulting clients fast.

You will want to start with all the personal connections that you have. Ask them if they can introduce you to some potential clients in the field. This works very well if somebody that really has a lot of trust in you says some good things about your service towards somebody that might be interested.

We advise that you find the people that can help you with networking, and also define as best as you can the ideal client that you want to reach in the end.

Perfect Your Portfolio

Make a Portfolio Website

Image source: Osborne Branding

Even if you do not have a vast portfolio, even a simple portfolio can still help you a lot because it shows your talent and the past results that you had. When you want to include links or screenshots of your previous work do not just resume at this. Make sure you have a few sentences that can give you the context for the work that you did.

Create explainers and more than that also add some testimonials from your clients and show them the entire story behind.

Optimize your website for Google search

If you want to work with local clients, you need good SEO done for your website in order to make it appear in local searches. On top of that, you also want that every blog post that you have to be optimized for any kind of keywords that your ideal might be searching for.

Have your blog

Image source: Anton Borzenkov

A good way to understand how to get consulting clients fast is by providing more and more value to them. A blog can become a great asset that is going to help readers reach you and learn from you. This might make them eventually to want to hire you and start doing business together.

Have something to say

Image source: Mukhlasur Rahman

When you are in need of a client, cold calling can be a more direct way to go. People usually want to avoid this, but it is part of how you can make your business grow in just a few months.

If you are still wondering how to get consulting clients quickly, you need to understand that proposals can be very different and that some will work for certain clients while for others they will not. Try different approaches when you do your first consulting.

Send the proposals and the contracts separately, ask clients for feedback. Just make sure you get creative and that you obtain a lot of information from them. Many clients are not going to search for unless they have an urgent need. For a consultant, an important aspect of the sales process is to have a conversation with those people regarding the problems that they have. The value is in solving those problems and offering them the next steps that they should follow in the future.

Create strategic partnerships with people who need help serving their clients

Image source: Gustavo Felisberto

This can be one of the fastest and easiest ways to obtain clients, but you will need to invest time in building the right relationships. However, this can be considered a good method if you want to learn how to get consulting clients fast.

The main idea here is that you can find agencies that already have many clients that they cannot help. So, you can take advantage and make some kind of deal to them in order for both parties to win as they lead those clients to you.

Webinars are probably one of the best ways to educate and provide valuable information to buyers so this means you can become an authority in that field. What you can do it in front of many people at the same time can bring more and more value as time goes by.

One of the best ways for getting clients is to have a presentation in front of them. This is because you will have the opportunity to demonstrate to the buyer right there that you are an expert and they will be able to see it with their own eyes.

Have a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is going to always be useful no matter the domain of activity that you have. If you want to get many clients you need to get their attention somehow so here is what you can do.

Social Media

Image source: Khandaker Rasel

Everybody has at least one social media account these days, and you will want to be where the people’s attention is. Go for social media profiles that are current and popular, and start promoting your consulting business there.

It is quite easy to understand the basics and once you are sure on what you are doing you can start to run different ads, create content and share all kind of information with the targeted users you have in mind. Facebook is a place to start because the platform has a huge user base.

Personalized Messages

Make each of your clients feel important by providing custom messages for each one. You can spend more time doing so but in the long term, it is going to help you close more deals. For sure learning how to get consulting clients fast is also about creating something special and unique for each of them sometimes.

Newsletters & Emails

This is one of the best ways to stay in contact with your clients in the long-term. What is great is that you do not only have to offer them helpful information through a newsletter, you can also speak about certain discounts or promotions that you are a business is having in a certain period.

Cold Calls

This is quite an old, but well-known way of doing sales but for sure it still works even today so that is why we consider it as something that you could try. Getting clients is possible by doing cold calls, but you will need to be sure you have the right speech and that the people you are calling might be at least a bit interested in what you have to say.

Ending thoughts on how to get consulting clients fast

In conclusion, understanding how to get consulting clients fast is not something that you learn overnight. It is a constant process of adapting and understanding your client’s needs, and in exchange, you must bring the right solutions at the right time so that they choose you as their consultant.

If you enjoyed reading this article about how to get consulting clients fast, you should read these as well:

The post How to get consulting clients quickly for your consulting business appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.

5 ways restaurants can connect with millennials on social media


If your restaurant can connect with millennials on social media, it can drive real business results. Millennials (18-34 year olds) are the largest and most influential group of consumers. There are over 70 million millennials in the U.S. spending about 27 hours per week on social media and about $500 every month on “non-essential” purchases, including dining out. Use social media to connect with millennial customers, bring them in your restaurant and impact your bottom line.

How restaurants can connect with millennials on social media

Your restaurant can connect with millennials on social media by posting creative content that’s engaging, authentic and millennial-friendly and by being responsive and available to their needs and feedback. Make millennials want to visit your restaurant. Show off what you’re all about to bring millennials in your doors.

  • Tell your story
  • Be authentic
  • Post user-generated content
  • Support a cause and showcase your values
  • Engage with your customers online

Tell your story

The first way your restaurant can connect with millennials on social media is to tell your story across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Tell millennials in your audience who you are, what you care about, why you started the business and why you’re proud to serve your community. Millennials get bought in to restaurants when they know the who, what, when, where, why and how.

Who: Who are you as the owner? Why did you start the business? What is your personality and how is that reflected in the business? What do you care about?

What: What is the vibe of your restaurant? Is it family-friendly? What food is being served? What ingredients are being used and where do they come from?

In this tweet from Millie’s in Washington, D.C. you can see that they’re showing off the who, what, when, where, why and how. In this one post, it’s clear they have a happy hour, an outdoor patio, a young customer base and they serve frozen rosé. All of these elements are attractive to millennials and can help them connect with millennials on social media.

Baby’s first frosé season! 💙 https://t.co/C9oArTBsPu pic.twitter.com/m1TG7aBp8s

— milliesdc (@milliesdc) May 31, 2019


When: When did you get started? Why was that the time you decided to build your business?

Where: Where is your business located and why do you love your city and/or neighborhood?

Why: Why are you proud to serve the community you’re in? Why do you work hard every day for this business? 

How: How do you do what you do every day? How do you benefit the community? Do you give back to charitable or community organizations?

Here’s Last Resort Grill in Athens, GA using an Instagram post to tell their story. You can tell through this caption what this restaurant loves to serve. The vibe you get from this one post is that it’s a down-home, Southern, welcoming place. This real explanation of who they are helps millennials connect with their story.


This is Brennan’s in New Orleans showing off their team. Through this post of their pastry chef, they’re telling their story through the wonderful staff that keeps them going every day and makes them special. The casual, authentic tone of the caption, (“Ain’t she sweet?”), helps them connect with a millennial audience. 


Be authentic

Authenticity is extremely important to millennials. Your restaurant can connect with millennials on social media by being uniquely you. This means that your voice can be more conversational and genuine. Some content can be even be less polished and professional, more real and true-to-life. 

90% of millennials say authenticity is important to them when deciding which brands they support.

Using Instagram Stories is a great way to be authentic and genuine online. 

The popular burger chain, Five Guys, used Instagram Stories to break down how they make their BLTs. By adding interesting text, stickers and gifs, their Story can connect with millennials because it makes their brand seem light-hearted, fun and real. They’re showing that they’re willing to let their customers in on what’s happening at their business. 


Post user-generated content

Taking a look at what other users are posting about your restaurant on Instagram is a great way to share engaging posts on your feed. Plus, millennials love it. Seeing their peers post photos of a business makes them more likely to give it a try, after all, they are a generation that trusts online reviews and testimonials. 

51% of millennials said that user-generated content from strangers is more likely to influence their purchase decisions than recommendations from their friends and family. 

User-generated content is a fast and easy way to show off customer testimonials. They’re sharing their experience at your restaurant, and you’re sharing that experience with your followers. 

Related: 4 steps to better content on your restaurant’s Instagram

This is Chi’lantro in Austin showing off some user-generated content from a customer that ordered their signature kimchi fries. They made sure to tag that customer to give them credit for the original image and post. 


Here’s Austin’s Better Half Coffee and Cocktails sharing a photo from one of their fans. This serves as a mini testimonial of one of their new cocktail offerings. 


Support a cause and showcase your values 

Millennials want to align themselves with organizations that are making a positive impact on their local communities, on the country and on the world. Giving back is important to them. It’s a big part of how they choose where they work and how they live their lives. 

75 percent of millennials think that it’s important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit.

Your restaurant can connect with millennials on social media by supporting a cause. A good place to start is with an organization trying to make a difference in your local community. 

Here’s Cochon in New Orleans posting a photo of their team getting ready for a crawfish dinner that supports youth in New Orleans. This is the kind of content millennials want to see — that your restaurant gives back and that you care about the town you live in and want to make it better. 


Engage with your customers online

You can connect with millennials on social media by being responsive to all of your customer comments, questions and posts. Since they value brands that are responsive to feedback, it’s a great way to build relationships with your younger fanbase. 

Over 60% of millennials say they’ll become loyal to a business if the brand engages with them online. 

Here, Jenkins Quality BBQ in Jacksonville, FL, responds to a customer comment on Facebook to make them feel heard and appreciated:

We love serving your favorites just as much as you love eating them.

Posted by Jenkins Quality Barbecue – Downtown on Saturday, August 17, 2019


A user named Kris says how much they miss that restaurant now that they’ve moved away. Jenkins says, “Kris, do come back and see us! We miss you too.”

It can be that simple — just acknowledging their comment can influence whether or not they might want to come back, and it can show any new millennial visitors to your page how much you love your customers. 

Use these strategic tips to connect with millennials on social media and turn them into loyal fans of your restaurant, today!

Engage your customers like never before with GoDaddy Social. We help businesses elevate their online presence on the platforms that matter most. Get started with us here.

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GoDaddy and Kabbage partnership gives entrepreneurs easy access to capital


When it comes to iconic partnerships, a few examples immediately come to mind. Peanut butter and jelly. Chips and salsa. Peas and carrots. And now, GoDaddy and Kabbage.

GoDaddy is announcing its strategic partnership with Kabbage, Inc., a data and technology company committed to providing small businesses cash flow solutions.

Kabbage’s online lending platform is now available to GoDaddy’s U.S. customers so they can easily access a business line of credit in minutes to manage and grow their businesses.

By completing a simple application process from Kabbage, customers can quickly access flexible lines of credit of up to $250,000 in minutes if approved.

With increased financial capacity, GoDaddy customers can access the extra cash flow to staff up for the busy holiday season, purchase additional inventory or equipment, apply it toward digital marketing initiatives, or other strategic investments to support their ventures.

GoDaddy and Kabbage — a powerful partnership to efficiently empower our everyday entrepreneurs.


Kabbage Mobile App Decision Screen“Working every day with our small business customers has made us intimately familiar with what our customers are doing to successfully grow their business, as well as common challenges,” said Melissa Schneider, GoDaddy’s vice president of global marketing operations.

“We know that a lack of capital for marketing and other core activities remains a major roadblock to accelerate growth. Our partnership with Kabbage is key in our ongoing mission to empower our customers and provide them with the resources they need to fuel their business needs.”

Related: Small business funding options

Overcoming obstacles to success

Together, GoDaddy and Kabbage surveyed more than 500 entrepreneurs to gain a deeper understanding of how small business owners overcome obstacles in growing their business.

Most impressively, 60% of those surveyed experienced an increase in revenues after investing in online advertising. Other notable findings include:

  • Having a website for their business is the most helpful digital tool for growing and expanding (43%), followed by social media marketing (35%).
  • As a result of investing in online advertising, 44% of respondents reported an uplift in sales as high as 25%.
  • When asked about roadblocks to growing their company’s digital presence or online advertising, close to 50% chose a lack of money as their most significant difficulty.
As part of the pledge to removing obstacles for entrepreneurs, there are no fees required for GoDaddy customers to access funding through Kabbage.


Additionally, qualified small business owners are not obligated to make withdrawals. Meaning, the line of credit will be there when they need it and they won’t pay anything until they actually access the approved funds.

And as a special courtesy to existing GoDaddy customers, small business owners can take $100 off their first month’s fees.

This hassle-free approach to lending allows small businesses the flexibility to seamlessly manage their cash flow along with their other services from GoDaddy. And that’s much-needed relief for entrepreneurs.

“Our customer base of over 200,000 small businesses across the U.S. understands the value of accessing the exact amount of funding they need when they need it,” said Kabbage CRO Laura Goldberg. “Our customers tell us all the time that flexible funding is critical to grow and run their business; new opportunities make it important to be able to access capital quickly whether for online marketing, inventory or purchasing new equipment. They simply can’t afford to wait weeks or months for a loan approval.”

“With GoDaddy, we pair the best of both worlds so more small businesses have a competitive advantage to quickly deploy and fund marketing initiatives so they may capitalize on opportunities.”

GoDaddy and Kabbage are committed to removing the financial hurdles that our everyday entrepreneurs face.

And with the financial burden lifted, our customers can continue to do what they do best: grow their business. An iconic partnership, indeed.

Related: Grow It — Taking your Journey to the next level

The post GoDaddy and Kabbage partnership gives entrepreneurs easy access to capital appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

How to find valuable names in the domain aftermarket


This article was originally published on Oct. 12, 2015, and was updated on October 30, 2019.

There are many paths that might lead you to the domain aftermarket — that magical place where you can purchase already-registered domain names. These can include domains currently in use by other people or names that are actively for sale on a marketplace like GoDaddy Auctions.

Maybe you’re looking for a perfect website address for your small business and the domain name you want isn’t available for new registration — so you head over to the aftermarket. Or perhaps you’ve decided to dabble in buying and selling domains and you’re ready to build your investment portfolio — you’re destined for the aftermarket.

With countless strategies, many marketplaces, and tens of millions of domains represented in the aftermarket as a whole, it can be challenging to narrow down the best way to find valuable names.

Here are some tips for mining for valuable names in the domain aftermarket.

Snagging a specific domain name

You’ve won half the battle if you’re after a specific domain name. Now, you just need to figure out who owns the domain, how best to contact them, and how much to offer for the domain.

With some new privacy laws recently enacted in Europe and making their way in various forms to other locations, it has become a bit harder to find the owner of a domain in some cases.

Most registrars have some way of dealing with this that allows for both the privacy of the individual registrant while still allowing a way to contact them. GoDaddy, for example, uses a link at the bottom of the WHOIS that allows you to contact the private domain owner.

Related: How to tell who is the owner of a domain name

Building a domain investment portfolio

If you’re working on building up a portfolio of investment-quality names, begin by focusing on domains you know will have value.

Once you identify your niche and the keywords you want to buy around, head over to GoDaddy Auctions. Log into your account and then click Advanced Search. Narrow your search by keyword, TLD, price and age.

GoDaddy Auctions Advanced Search

Pay particular attention to these factors when reviewing the results of your search:

Age of the domain

In general, the older the domain name the better, as it’s probably been off the market for a longer period of time. While you can still register great domains today, many of the best names have been registered for a long time already, so searching by age helps narrow this down a bit.

Top-level domain (TLD)

Some TLDs sell better than others in the aftermarket. For instance, it’s typically easier to resell a .com than a .biz domain. This isn’t always the case, but it pays to aim for more popular domain extensions.

Price range

This is about your budget. If you have $500 to spend, why waste time looking for names priced above $500?

Buying format

There are a few key auctions types with different rules that you should understand when you’re wading through the aftermarket:

  • Buy It Now priced auctions: If you want the domain, you buy it for the “buy now” price.
  • Timed auctions: The names are put up for sale with a certain timeframe for the auction. The highest bidder when the time is up wins the name.
  • Offer/Counter Offer listings: These auctions are won through negotiation between the buyer and seller. The seller lists the name for sale with a minimum offer they are interested in accepting to engage the potential buyer. Once the initial offer is received, the seller can accept, ignore or counter the offer. The buyer can then accept, reject or counter the seller. This process continues until both parties come to a price they can agree on for the domain.

Not sure what options are best for you?

Watch the video below to learn what kinds of domain names we see selling on our aftermarket. In it, Paul Nicks, the vice president of the domain aftermarket at GoDaddy, shares what domains sold well and some best practices for reselling domain names.GoDaddy Paul Nicks Namescon Domain Aftermarket Video Screenshot

Think like a buyer

As you sort through your results, put yourself in a potential buyer’s shoes. Would you buy the domain if you were in their business?

Honestly, how much explanation would it take to make sense to the buyer? Picture yourself calling a photographer and saying, “I have a great domain to help you drive more traffic to your website, saycheez.biz. Well, actually it’s spelled c-h-e-e-z, not c-h-e-e-s-e. What’s a .biz? Well, it’s just like a .com but it’s spelled .biz …”

The more you have to explain the domain, the harder the sale.


There are some really exceptional domains in every TLD, and there are times when a keyword like “cheez” can anchor a brandable domain. The point is to think through the conversations you will have with potential buyers; if you suspect they’ll be difficult, you might want to pass on that particular domain.

Related: Tried-and-true tips for buying and selling domain names for profit

7 steps to narrow down your name search in the domain aftermarket

Once you have what you consider a list of strong names for investment, take a few more steps to further narrow it down:

  1. Buy what you know.
  2. Check domaintools.com.
  3. Check archive.org.
  4. Look up previous sales by keyword and TLD.
  5. Consider variations on a domain that you’re thinking of selling.
  6. Check the name’s popularity in Google search results.
  7. Stay away from trademarks. 

Let’s look at each step.

1. Buy what you know

If you’re an expert in a particular subject, trade, etc., and the domain makes sense to you, then it’s probably a good name to buy.

2. Check domaintools.com

Look up the domain to see what other TLDs are registered. It’s not a good sign if you’re buying the .com and none of the other TLDs are registered. It’s also a red flag if you’re buying the .us domain and you see that the .com, .net, .org and .info versions are all registered but in use by domain investors instead of end-users. This means less demand by end-users and lots of alternative options.

3. Check archive.org

In many cases, archive.org will show you what was up on the domain throughout the years. It might signal low demand for the domain if the website that was attached to it was continually for sale.

With this step, you are not looking to see if there was a business operating on the domain that you could sell the domain back to. You are simply looking to see if other people in the past thought this would be a valuable domain name, too.

If the name was only a landing page for a decade advertising it for sale with no buyers, then it’s probably not a good one to pick up to try and sell yourself.

4. Look up previous sales by keyword and TLD

Use sites such as namebio.com and dnjournal.com to research previous domain sales. Check out the typical sales price range for your target keyword to ensure that your purchase price makes sense.

It’s always important to check the current market.


Prices and popular segments change over time, so it is good to keep abreast of what is selling in the market and the current pricing you can expect.

5. Consider variations on a domain that you’re thinking of selling

Can I, for example, easily use ArizonaHomes.com, AZhomes.com or PhoenixHomes.com as a business domain? Are there a lot of available alternatives that make sense for a real estate professional to use instead of my domain? Do I own ArizonaHomes.net and want to sell it for $1000, but the owner of ArizonaHomes.com has it for sale for $500? What alternatives do my potential buyers have to my domain I am offering? You get the idea.

If there are a great deal of better or very similar alternatives, maybe you should rethink investing in a particular domain and look for something else.

If all the domains mentioned above are being used by companies selling homes in Arizona and I have PhoenixHomes.com for sale, then the name may have some real value to a new business. It’s unlikely that an active business using one of the other names would want to start over with a new name. However, a new business may be very interested in PhoenixHomes.com.

The main point here is, the fewer viable alternatives to a domain that there are available, the more your domain name may be worth.

6. Check the name’s popularity in Google search results

Another way to check your idea is to check Google search results for your word or phrase or the number of other TLDs registered already in that SLD.

A TLD would be a top-level domain like a .com or .org. An SLD, or Second Level Domain, would be what precedes the TLD. So for example, with exampledomain.com, “exampledomain” is the SLD and “.com” is the TLD.

The reason for checking Google in this step is to see how popular the domain may be. If I have an idea for a domain that I think is valuable, it’s a good idea to research if other people will also find value in it.

If you were to look at a practical example, you can see a word like cars has a lot of search results, and a lot of registered TLDs using cars as part of the SLD.

There are hundreds of potential TLDs.

If cars is taken in many of them, this shows that a lot of people are thinking along the same lines as you. Meaning, you likely have a valuable name to invest in, as many people see value in registering this word or word phrase.

7. Stay away from trademarks

It’s always wise to steer clear of any potential trademark infringements. Businesses work hard to build their brand. Buying a domain name that infringes on their mark may be tempting to try to turn a quick buck, but can get you into serious legal trouble. On top of that, it also gives people who invest in domain names as a business a bad reputation.

There are always exceptions to the rule, but it’s generally best to start with a conservative approach. Get a better feel for what will sell instead of grabbing a trademarked domain — and losing money.

Wrapping it up

Finding a winner in the domain aftermarket doesn’t have to be a struggle. With a bit of research and legwork, you, too, can successfully mine the domain aftermarket for those hidden gems.

Want to learn a bit more? Visit our collection of domain investing articles for more tips and suggestions from domain investing pros.

The post How to find valuable names in the domain aftermarket appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

How to make a buyer’s guide to increase holiday sales


If you’re looking for ways to encourage additional buying this holiday season, you’re probably already thinking of the standard options, like gift wrap services, free shipping and discounts.

But what if there was a tool you could use that built trust with shoppers, could increase the size of their shopping cart, and helped you with SEO all at the same time?

That’s exactly what buyer’s guides and shopper’s guides can do for your business.

Shoppers want to make the right choice for holiday gift-giving.


Your buyer’s guides give them shopping ideas and reassure them that they’re on the right track.

Related: 11 ways to get a head start on holiday eCommerce planning

What is a buyer’s guide or shopper’s guide?

Buyer’s guides and shopper’s guides are long-form content that help readers make purchasing decisions. The goal is to provide all of the necessary information to make a good decision, whether it’s a side-by-side comparison of two products, a list of the best accessories or add-ons, or a list of gift ideas for a hard-to-buy-for person on the shopping list.

Your buyer’s guide needs to be easy to read and navigate — holiday shoppers are even busier than usual. They won’t spend a lot of time to find the information that they need. Instead, they’ll just go back to their search engine and move to the next site on the list.

Make your buyer’s guide or shopper’s guide visually appealing and easy to use with comparison tables, infographics and images.

Your infographics are also a powerful marketing tool to share on social media, including Pinterest.

This combination of powerful, factual information with a visually appealing layout and shareable graphics inspires, informs and attracts readers to make a purchase while positioning you and your company as experts in the field.

Related: How to ‘sleigh’ your holiday marketing campaigns

Why are buyer’s guides and shopper’s guides important?

Educated consumers are more confident consumers — and more likely to buy. Your buyer’s guide should give readers accurate, unbiased information that helps them ensure they’re making the right decision.

Buyer’s guides and shopper’s guides can also achieve high search engine results placements for “A vs. B” searches and “best gift for” searches. Both of these types of searches show buying intent, so you’ll be attracting searchers who are ready to buy.

Related: Beginner’s SEO guide — Search engine optimization for small business websites

What are common formats for buyer’s guides?

Buyer’s guides and shopping guides can take several different formats, depending on the goals of the person that you’re creating the guide for. Here are some common buyer’s guides you can create:

Comparison guides

Comparison guides provide an unbiased, side-by-side comparison of similar products, like a Nikon vs. Canon DSLR. These are often used by people who have narrowed down their buying choices to just a couple of options.

First-time purchasing buyer’s guides

New buyer’s guides attract people who are looking at — you guessed it — making a purchase for the first time. They’re filled with information that a new buyer needs to make the right choice.

This is an opportunity to make recommendations on the right purchasing decision.


Going back to our example of buying a camera, a first-time buyer’s guide might actually steer them to either the Nikon or Canon.

Product add-on guides

Product add-on guides are great pieces of content to appeal to holiday shoppers who have a hard-to-buy-for friend or family member. A product add-on guide for a camera might include carrying cases, batteries, straps, lenses and filters.

“How to use a product” guides

Guides that share insights on how to use a product are similar to product add-on guides. In these guides, you’ll focus on tips to make the most of the key product. But you can also include some additional products that help you make the most of the featured item.

Themed buyer’s guide

Holiday gifts wrapped in brown paper with stars

Themed buyer’s guides are a hot guide for annual gift-giving. You can do themed guides based on almost any characteristic — from “Best gifts for new dads” to “Best holiday gifts for your single, rosé-loving gal pal” or “Great wedding gifts for 2020.” These guides can be a mix of new products and best-sellers.

What should a buyer’s guide include?

So, now that you know why you should have a buyer’s guide, let’s get into the nitty-gritty on how to create a buyer’s guide or shopper’s guide.

Informational and educational content

First and foremost, your buyer’s guide should be informative and educational.

Providing the right information at the right time is key to building trust with shoppers.


But, if the information you’re providing isn’t accurate, the trust you were working to build falls apart quickly.

When you’re including specifications on products, make sure you’ve got the right details by going directly to the manufacturer’s information or investigating the products yourself. Be sure to keep your buyer’s guide up-to-date with the latest models, product details, and availability.


Your buyer’s guide needs to be neutral — especially if you’re doing a comparison guide. Even if you only sell Nikon cameras, you need to be straightforward about the features and benefits of each product.

If you’re an exclusive reseller of a specific product (for example, one brand of essential oils over another), it will be clear to the reader right away when they look at the rest of your site.

Maintaining neutrality in explaining the difference between the brands allows them to trust you (and your opinion on why the brand you represent is the best).

Friendly tone

Remember, the buyer’s guide is building trust with your reader. Your tone should be friendly, helpful, and interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention.

If you try to be too authoritative, it can come across as condescending or demeaning — definitely not the tone you want to use when you’re building a relationship with customers and want to encourage them to trust you.

This is a good time to also leverage your brand voice, since you might be getting new traffic from search engines.

SEO optimization

To get the SEO benefit of the buyer’s guide, you’ll need to make sure your buyer’s guide is optimized.

Strive for keyword density of around 2%, meaning for every 100 words you write, you’ll want to use the keyword twice. You should also use your keyword or keyphrase in subheadlines and in alt tags on your landing page.

When you’re doing keyword research for your buyer’s guide or shopping guide, make sure you research a variety of phrases for the same guide. While you’ll optimize your guide for the most popular phrase (for example, “Father’s Day Gifts for New Dads”), you can include variations of the keyphrase to attract more searchers (like “Gifts for First Father’s Day” or “New Dad’s Favorite Father’s Day Gift”).

Related: Keyword research and content optimization tips

Images and infographics

Taking a photo of coffee and pastries on iPhone

Images and infographics are powerful tools in your buyer’s guide to help provide more insight into the topic for your reader. You can create side-by-side comparison images and infographics that give visitors information at a glance.

Finding images for comparisons does open up a slippery slope when it comes to image copyright.

The best option is to either take your own photos or source images directly from the manufacturer or creator that they have offered for editorial use.

If you’re taking your own photos, remember to shoot the products in the same types of settings and lighting — even nuances such as the setting around an image can influence the perspective of the buyer.

Another great option is to share photos of the product in use, or take pictures of how something turns out when you use it.

If you’re comparing digital cameras, take the same photo with both cameras at the same settings to show any differences in how they handle light or sharpness. If you’re comparing cookware, cook the same dish in both pans, then show either the food or the state of the pan (depending on what feature you’re discussing).

Related: How to take product photos that will help sell your goods

Links to buy the products

Don’t make the reader go back to searching to find what you’ve just sold them on. Get them there by sharing links directly to any products that you’re recommending. Buyer’s guides aren’t just for direct sellers either. You can create buyer’s guides for your customers and use affiliate links.

How to use your buyer’s guide

After you’ve created your buyer’s guide, you’ll want to share and promote it to get the full value for your business and to help as many shoppers as possible.

  • Link to the buyer’s guide from appropriate product pages. If you have an eCommerce shop, link to your buyer’s guide from the associated product pages.
  • Add links to your navigation. You can link directly to your buyer’s guide or a collection of buyer’s guides directly to your navigation.
  • Add links to related blog posts. You can help site visitors who are already reading your blog content to move into the consideration stage (and potentially buying stage) of the sales funnel.
  • Share on social media. Create and share your buyer’s guide on social media with comparison graphics that grab a browser’s attention. You can also add images and descriptions optimized for sharing, like Pinterest graphics and Facebook images so it’s easy for your visitors to share as well.
  • Send in your email newsletter. One of the easiest ways to start building traffic and interest to your new buyer’s guide is to share it with your email newsletter list.

Editor’s note: GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing Ecommerce makes it easy to build your online store and link it to your social media accounts. Need to send out marketing emails? No problem! You can send and track emails with ease.

Great buyer’s guide examples

If you need some extra help with creating your buyer’s guide, check out these examples.

Side-by-side comparison

Nikon vs. Canon. It’s the equivalent of Coke vs. Pepsi in the photography world. But if you’re just getting into the world of DSLR photography, it’s hard to know which you should choose. That’s where great guides like the one from Expert Photography give you the information you need to make the right choice.

Sample Guide: The Great Debate: Canon Vs. Nikon

Buyers Guide Expert Photography
Photo: Expert Photography

First-time buyer’s guide

Buying a diamond is a big investment. And it’s something that most of us are unprepared for. They don’t teach about cut, clarity and color in our high school economics class. That’s why first-time buyer’s guides for diamond buying like the one on The Diamond Pro site are incredibly valuable.

Sample Guide: The 7 Step Guide to Buying a Diamond

Buyers Guide Diamond Pro
Photo: The Diamond Pro

Product add-on guides

One of the most popular product lines for accessories and add-ons is smartphones. MacRumors maintains a guide to popular accessories you can use with your iPhone, from cases and screen protectors to headphones and gaming accessories. While your add-on guide might not be as extensive as theirs, it’s a great model to follow.

Sample Guide: iPhone Accessories Guide: Our Favorite Picks for 2019

Buyers Guide MacRumors
Photo: MacRumors

How-to product guides

Thousands of creatives around the world use vinyl cutting machines to create customized products, from water bottles to home decor. But those products don’t just work like magic straight out of the box.

There are different kinds of vinyl, different cutting settings and more. Vinyl Cutting Machines put together this guide on how to use the Cricut Explore Air 2, and filled it with links to more products that you can use with your fancy new vinyl cutting machine.

Sample Guide: How to Use a Cricut: Beginner’s Guide

Buyers Guide Vinyl Cutting Machines
Photo: Vinyl Cutting Machines

Themed guides

Lucie’s List is legendary in the world of buyer’s guides and shopper’s guides for mothers and mothers-to-be. They incorporate their recommendations for the best products in any one category without being disparaging to the other contenders.

Sample Guide: Best Convertible Car Seats

Buyers Guide Lucie's List
Photo: Lucie’s List

Wrap it up

There are a lot of buyer’s guide options out there. With these guidelines and examples to build on, you’re ready to start making your recommendations and creating buyer’s guides to support your customers’ holiday shopping needs.

The post How to make a buyer’s guide to increase holiday sales appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Consulting buzzwords you should know before starting your business


Have you ever wanted to start your own business? If you have, but can’t seem to find your niche, then being a consultant may be one of the easiest ways to test the waters, since you are in control of the services you offer, and can pick what you are most passionate and knowledgeable about.

In the ever-evolving online world, there will always be buzzwords that exist, and knowing how to define these words will better allow you to participate in the conversation and stay involved. Buzzwords are very important for consultants because they can be a position statement in terms of what you know and what you need to do.

In this article created by our team at Amelia, we have decided to provide a list with some consulting buzzwords that are often seen and for sure they can be helpful if you deal with consultants or you are one yourself.

The List of Consulting Buzzwords You Should Know

20,000-Foot View

The first on our list of buzzwords is “20,000-foot view”. It is defined as a summary of a certain situation where many details are omitted and only the key points are being discussed. In other words, think about it as seeing things in perspective. Sometimes, you may also hear “bird’s eye view” or “the 1,000-mile view”.

80/20 Rule

Popular in the business world, this rule states that 80% of a business problem can be solved by focusing on 20% of the causal factors. So, any consultant is going to say that 80% of an assignment can be done in 20% of the time by adding value.

As-is and to-be

Two other consulting terms that you may encounter are “as-is” and “to-be”, which are both basically a consultant’s way of describing what is being done now and how it is going to look after the job is completed.

At The End of the Day

Another popular term used by consultants is “at the end of the day”. Consultants can use this term when they are about to summarize the main thrust of a point or argument. This phrase is used in order to attempt summarization or to even close a discussion. Most consultants know it, and you should too.


This buzzword is generally used in the capacity of taking on other work commitments. If you have a certain amount of energy that you can bring to a project, this is usually called bandwidth by consultants. It is a simple term takes the pressure off of other lines, such as “I do not know how to do this”, and is quite useful.

Boil the Ocean

It can be fun to understand these types of consulting buzzwords because they can sometimes be used in the context of tough tasks that have almost no value. It shows what can happen if a consultant is not focused and can be used in many different topics, depending on when and how the consultant thinks it is appropriate.


These consulting buzzwords are great to use when you want to look at the smallest units possible in order to initiate the analysis. An example might be to start with the lowest-level employee in order to make the analysis of a company.


This acronym buzzword stands for Compound Annual Growth Rate. If a market starts from $100 million to $150 million, in 5 years you can make a percentage of the CAGR and use it in different presentations.


A cool consulting jargon, the C-Suite refers to any executive with a capital C at the beginning of their title. The C stands for “Chief”: COO, CFO and so on.


Image source: Erick Chévez / VÚO

Simple consulting buzzwords like this one are commonly used and are generally used to refer to presentations that are done in different programs.


Image source: Premast

What you are going to send to your clients, whether it is a presentation, a sheet or report, or anything else will be known as deliverables. Consultants use this buzzword when the task is completed and everything that should reach the client is ready to send.

Hard Stop

You can use this buzzword in order to indicate that after a certain time the person that is helping a team, for example, is not going to be around anymore to help them. It is a polite saying used when people might have other obligations to do and need to leave sooner than anticipated.


You will find consulting buzzwords like Leverage in reports most often because they give a sense of strength or careful thinking that can help you with the resources. It can be added to documents especially when a consultant can be done using the proposed method.

Let Me Play This Back

These buzzwords are used when listeners want to give to the discussion their own perspective after reviewing the transcript of what was said. It is a helpful method that can allow consultants to check if they understood the key issues and sound more eloquent,even if the summary did not add any additional insights.

Low-Hanging Fruit

This term is mostly used in sales when describing certain deals that may be easier to close than others.


Another acronym set of buzzwords that stands for Mutually Exclusive and Completely Exhaustive. You will see it a lot in management consulting firms and it can be considered a grouping principle. It can be expressed to show concern towards an analysis where some data might be missed.


We all know this one as people connected it with not being available and can be used to table a conversation until after the format meetings. It is also good to balance meetings and now allow just two persons to monopolize the meeting time that they have.

Push Back

Usually, certain consulting buzzwords are a great way to take some of the pressure off in a situation. For example, this one is good to show a consultant that something is difficult and cannot be realistic.  When a teammate can over-promise or is unrealistic pushing back is very important. So, for sure many of us have felt this before and we can really understand the idea of pushing back.

Rock Star

Image source: Hertzel

An individual that has high results in a certain area and is impressive, this buzzword is usually used to express this admiration towards somebody. It is a way of putting the spotlight on them by expressing gratitude. Maybe your team member helped you in an unexpected way when nobody was around, resulting in you thinking of him as a rock star.

Scope Creep

A management consultant can be brought in to find out why a company’s new marketing strategy is affecting workplace productivity. Scope creep appears when they find that they also need to do other tasks not initially mentioned at the beginning of the project.

Smell Test (Sniff Test)

These consulting buzzwords are used when a certain analysis is being challenged. It goes from the simple idea of checking your food or drink by smelling it until you consume it in order to be sure that it is not already rotten.


This term is a more English term and while it originally related more to carry-out food,in the consultancy domain, it stands for the main points that the audience needs to understand at the end of a presentation. The takeaway is the goal that the presentation has in terms of learning or adapting certain things.

Take The Lead On

Image source: Austin Distel

We really liked these consulting buzzwords, as they are strongly worded and express a leading principle. They are mainly used in situations where somebody asks a person to continue the topic or presentations from that moment. So, if somebody is telling you to take the lead on something, then you should know that somebody has delegated you to be in charge going forward.

What’s the So-what?

Lastly, on our consulting buzzwords list, we get this phrase that is mostly used when somebody on the team challenges you to explain the goal of a certain task or presentation, comparing it with their own reality.

If you enjoyed reading this article about consulting buzzwords, you should read these as well:

The post Consulting buzzwords you should know before starting your business appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.

4 must-haves for your holiday marketing strategy


The holiday shopping season is upon us, and shoppers are starting earlier than ever. Last year, over 40% of holiday shoppers expected to finish their holiday gift shopping by mid-December, according to the NRF. Get ahead with our must-haves for your holiday marketing strategy! 

We have everything you need to use social media and email marketing to bring in new and loyal customers from Black Friday to Super Saturday. It’s time to make your holiday marketing strategy merry and bright. 

But, first, let’s start with some insights about this year’s holiday shopping season.

Holiday shopping 2019 

Holiday shoppers will be starting early this year. 

40% of holiday shoppers will start shopping by November 1st. 

Many shoppers will be interested in physical gifts as much as experiences i.e. tickets to an event, a spa package or trip.

39% percent of consumers were hoping to receive an experience gift, and 23% of holiday shoppers were planning to give one. 

This holiday season will bring loyal customers back to your business and could bring an influx of new customers as well. 

In 2018, 77% of holiday shoppers said they would purchase from the same retailers as they did last year, and 75% of shoppers were willing to buy from new retailers (so long as specials and promotions were involved.)

As your new and loyal customers plan where to buy the perfect gifts for their friends and family, spread some holiday cheer with our must-haves for your holiday marketing strategy. Use social media and email marketing to see success this year! 

Must-haves for your holiday marketing strategy 

Make your marketing strategy the gift that keeps on giving by making a plan, offering deals and discounts, making connections on social media and sending strategic email marketing campaigns. 

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Offer incentives 
  3. Connect with your customers on social media
  4. Engage the right shoppers with email marketing 

1. Plan ahead

Here’s the first of our must-haves for your holiday marketing strategy: Plan ahead with your holiday marketing.

Take the time to develop a content calendar and posting schedule for your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. Think about the kinds of content you want to share to bring in customers over the holidays. Then, you can use scheduling apps like Hootsuite to get posts together ahead of time. 

Start posting ASAP to make sure you’re at the top of your customers’ minds as they start to think about all the shopping they have to do. 

You can simply let your followers know that they should stay tuned for your holiday announcements in the upcoming weeks. You can also remind your followers to start booking or buying with you now to ensure that they’re ready for the holidays.


Then, make sure to follow up with other great content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Here are some content ideas that will help you get ahead of the game:

  • Use Facebook to post and boost content about your team and what the holidays mean to them. That kind of content is shareable, sweet and your followers will love it. 
  • Tweet 2-3x a day a mix of seasonal and sales-y content. Countdown to the holidays, share holiday-related tips and tricks and tweet your deals or special holiday offerings.
  • Use Instagram to post high-quality, holiday-themed content. (Bonus points for integrating photos of babies, families and pets!) 
  • Utilize Instagram Stories to show off behind-the-scenes content of your team getting ready for the holiday rush, decorating your shop or giving back to your community.


Spread some holiday cheer with beautiful fresh flower designs, seasonal plants, #wreaths, winter greens and gourmet…

Posted by Radebaugh Florist on Sunday, November 25, 2018


Planning ahead ensures that your festive content will have time to get in front of your customers during the holiday rush. And, ultimately, it will save you time to run your business and spend time with friends and family during this special time of year.

We have some more engaging holiday content ideas for you here on our blog. 

2. Offer incentives

Another one of our must-haves for your holiday marketing strategy is to offer incentives. Deals and promotions are important to today’s holiday shoppers. They want to see promotions on their social media feed and in their inboxes while they’re doing their gift research online. 

65% of holiday shoppers are influenced by sales and promotions when making their holiday purchases. 

Dive into multiple platforms to promote your sales and specials using both social media and email marketing campaigns. Instagram Stories is a great place to use to promote all the holiday incentives you are running this season. Since the content disappears after 24 hours, you can create urgency around a certain promotion or deal.

In 2018, 73% more holiday shoppers used Instagram to find deals and discounts than in the previous year.

When you’re posting about your holiday specials, make sure you post about them more than once to increase brand awareness and the likeliness that a customer will make a purchase. (Just don’t overwhelm your followers with overly sales-focused content!)

Holiday shoppers want content that’s varied, interesting and that tells a story — with some incentives mixed in. Sprinkle in the holiday incentives and give the people the holiday spirit they’re looking for this season!

3. Connect with your customers on social media

Speaking of varied, interesting content…we have the third of our must-haves for your holiday marketing strategy! Connect with your customers on social media during the holiday season to make them like, trust and buy from your business. 

23 percent of shoppers plan to use social media to inspire and complete their holiday shopping.

The holidays are a time of year that people associate with friends, family and happy, warm feelings. Aligning your brand on social media with the positivity associated with the season can help you connect with customers of all ages. Get personal and create and share social media content that will pull at your customers’ heartstrings. 


If you use social media to connect with your customers on an emotional level, you’ll make them like and trust your brand. This trust will help encourage them to make a purchase with you instead of one of your competitors.

You’ll also need to be responsive to your customers on social media to make connections with them this season. Every mention, comment and wall post that comes in for your business on social media has the power to influence customer opinions of your business and their likelihood to visit or buy from you.

Related: Wow with customer service on social media

Plus, more and more, consumers are using social media for any manner of customer service requests. Skillfully handling customer questions and issues on your business’s social media pages can be the difference between impressing a customer or losing their business during the holidays and year ‘round. 

4. Engage the right shoppers with email marketing

The last in our list of must-haves for your holiday marketing strategy is to engage the right shoppers with your email marketing during the holidays.

Kick off your holiday email marketing strategy by starting a re-engagement campaign with your subscribers who have not been opening your most recent emails. You can start a re-engagement campaign early and get them interested in your business again just in time for the holidays.

From our blog, “How to get your email subscriber list ready for holiday sales:”

“First, you’ll need to create a segment or group of subscribers who haven’t opened your last 10 to 12 emails. Your email service provider, like GoDaddy Email Marketing, will have tools that allow you to identify and create this segment. If you’re already a high-volume sender (sending several emails a week), you might want to use a time-frame rather than a number of emails. Sixty days is typically a good benchmark. Next, you’ll send that group of subscribers a special series of emails to ask if they still want to hear from you. These messages should be short and to the point. 

“You can use humor to encourage open rates if it works with your brand. Remember, your subject line is very important for these messages. They can’t click to stay on the list if the subject line doesn’t get them to even open the email. The content of these messages should be straight-forward with a single call-to-action: Click here to keep getting our messages.”

Next up, let them know what’s coming. Why should they want to keep receiving communication from your business? Tell them the benefits of sticking with you during the holiday season. Let them know you’ll be sending exclusive sales, access to events and notifications about new products. Monitor whether or not they opt in, then, stay in touch throughout the holidays.

Then, send cheerful content and seasons’ savings. Now that you’ve hooked your subscribers and re-engaged some O.G fans, it’s time to provide your email list with engaging, incentivized holiday email content. 

Get ahead of Black Friday or Cyber Monday and send a sale email a few days early. More brands are sending out their deals ahead of the actual day to capture the attention of more holiday shoppers. 


Keep providing your subscribers with promo codes, coupons and specials that they’ll want to engage with during the season. Then, assign expiration dates for those deals to create urgency. 


Promotional content is great, but you can get more creative than that! Pepper in fun, engaging content to keep your subscribers’ interest throughout the season.

  • Show off your new products and services.
  • Give them early bird access to your holiday events or sales. 
  • Add value by providing educational resources like the best way to put lights on a tree or holiday drink recipes.
  • Be funny or sentimental. Thank them for all of their support throughout the year.
  • Send helpful to-do lists, educational resources or lists of holiday gift ideas.  


Think about what you would want to receive from businesses over the holidays, then use that to inform your email marketing content.

That’ll do it for our must-haves for your holiday marketing strategy! We hope that your marketing is merry and bright this season. 

Looking for a helping hand over the holidays? GoDaddy Social can help. 

Engage your customers like never before with GoDaddy Social. We help businesses elevate their online presence on the platforms that matter most. Get started with us here.

The post 4 must-haves for your holiday marketing strategy appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

How to build a restaurant website


Owning and operating a restaurant is tough work. Not only does your food and customer service have to be on point, but customers expect a strong online presence as well. This is where your restaurant website will come into play.

These days, potential customers want to be able to see what you have to offer before they’ll visit. If they can’t quickly pull up a menu for your restaurant, then in many cases, they aren’t likely to visit your restaurant.

And if your site isn’t formatted for mobile devices? Forget about it.

In the United States alone, the number of smartphone users is expected to reach over 270 million by 2022.

Your website is often the first contact that potential customers have with your business.


Outdated, slow or poorly formatted sites offer a negative experience to your potential restaurant customers. Designing an efficient, attractive website is equally important to creating a site that operates seamlessly on mobile devices.

Is your restaurant’s website sorely lacking, or missing entirely? Worried that you don’t have time to build a fantastic, mobile-responsive site on top of all of the other demands from running a restaurant? Fear not, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing has you covered.

Related: 7 reasons you need a small business website

How to build a restaurant website

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to build a sizzling restaurant website.

Ready? Let’s dig in.

Woman Eating Pasta Dish Represents Importance of Restaurant Website

Starting a restaurant website with an easy site builder

With the exception of your menu, your restaurant’s website might be the most important marketing vehicle you have. It represents a platform from which you will launch many of your marketing efforts.

Plenty of potential diners will want to visit your website before deciding to try your restaurant, so if you don’t have a restaurant website, it’s time to get going.

Why having a website matters

Not sure why your restaurant needs a website? Let’s explore the reasons below.

To bring in customers

Having a website these days is practically a foregone conclusion. In fact, 90% of guests research possible restaurant options before deciding where to eat, far more than any other business type. Not having a website can seriously lower your chances of being found by those hungry customers.

By having a website, you increase your visibility and the likelihood that people are going to become first-time customers.

You can also use it as a way to engage customers and gather contact information from them. Use your site to keep loyal followers informed about events and menu specials. Local restaurants need to stay connected to people to bring them in the door.

To share hours and menus and take reservations

A good website answers basic questions right away — menu, location, hours of operation and reservation information are the essentials. You should also include contact information, methods of payment and social media links all in one handy location for everyone to see.

People are more likely to look up a business online than to call in for information, so put it out there.

Including reviews or links to review sites on your website is also a great way for customers to offer feedback or preview the experience through comments from other customers.

To establish a local identity

A well-designed restaurant website gives you the chance to show future customers what you’re all about and who you are before they even set foot in your restaurant.

Entice diners with your menu and pictures of appetizing dishes, laughing patrons or busy chefs preparing meals. Showcase your ambiance with photos of your interior, patio, bar or comfy private dining room.

All of these give customers an idea of what they can expect walking through your doors.


Traditional advertising channels are no longer as effective as they once were; now it’s all about word-of-mouth and online presence.

Roughly 57% of potential restaurant patrons view a restaurant’s website before visiting. People might be hesitant to try a place they’ve never heard of. A website is an easy way to assure them you offer an experience they’ll enjoy.

To set yourself apart from others

Competition is fierce in the restaurant industry. We’ve all seen restaurants come and go. You want to stand out from the crowd. What special things do you have to offer?

Delivery service, catering, happy hours — a website tells people what you are all about.


Let’s face it, if you don’t have a website in this day and age, people will quickly assume something is off. Having a website is expected, so don’t cut corners and skip building your site.

To create brand awareness

Unlike national chains, most local restaurants don’t have the luxury of launching expensive national branding campaigns. It’s entirely up to you to get the word out. With more and more diners turning to the web at dinnertime, not having a website is like a front door with a closed sign.

Identifying yourself as a professional brand with a website is a must even if you are a single restaurant.

GoDaddy Websites + Marketing is a powerful, affordable, and easy-to-use tool that allows even the most novice of site builders to quickly craft a beautiful, responsive restaurant website.

With templates available for all sorts of restaurants, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing offers personalized stock photo and text options to get your site up and running even faster.

Before we take a look at the site builder, though, you’ll need a domain name first.

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Get your domain

Choosing the perfect domain doesn’t have to be a struggle.

With an array of new industry or location-based domain extensions, there are plenty of domain options available for your restaurant website. While .com domains remain the most popular domain extension, it can be tricky to find a good .com domain that hasn’t already been taken.

The first thing you’ll want to make sure of is including your business name in the domain name. That seems like a no brainer, but there are a few factors that you might want to consider.

For my fictional business, Stacey’s Breakfast Cafe, I could use staceysbreakfastcafe.com. While it is a .com domain, that domain is a bit wordy. Checking on available domains, though, staceysbreakfast.cafe is an available option and is a bit shorter.

In general, using the shorter domain as your primary domain is best, and it’s easy to point your other domain(s) to your website.

Or, with location-based domain extensions available, you can get a bit more regional when choosing your domain. The options are numerous.

Related: Domain extensions guide — What you need to know before you pick a domain name and Great domains for the food and hospitality industry

Want to see if your business’s domain is available? Give it a try:

Related: How to buy a domain name in 3 steps

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Build your restaurant website with GoDaddy Websites + Marketing

Now that your domain name is locked in, it’s time to get building.

Using GoDaddy Websites + Marketing makes it simple and fast to get your restaurant website up and running. Let’s take a look at how quick and easy it is to establish your online presence.

First, you can easily start your GoDaddy Websites + Marketing free trial here.

Once you start your free trial, you’ll immediately be taken to the setup page for your website.

On that first screen, you will be able to choose your industry. Doing this will provide you with stock images and template options appropriate for your business.

Initial Setup GoDaddy Websites + Marketing Restaurant Industry
Choose the industry closest to yours for the best results.

My restaurant is a breakfast cafe, so I’m going to choose Breakfast Restaurant as my business type. As you can see, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing has already started generating stock photos and a template that fit my breakfast restaurant industry.

Changing GoDaddy Websites + Marketing Theme Option for Restaurant Website

The theme that was automatically selected, while good, doesn’t quite fit my own cafe’s aesthetic, so I’m going to click on the Themes option on the right side to adjust the look of my site.

Viewing Theme Options GoDaddy Websites + Marketing for Restaurant Website

The Bright theme fits my restaurant, so after adjusting the colors slightly to match my restaurant (by clicking on the Colors tab there on the right), that’s what we’ll go with.

Each section you add in GoDaddy Websites + Marketing will have customization options on the right side of the editing screen.

The theme selected and customized, it’s time to start fleshing the site out.

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What to include in your restaurant website

Now that we have our basic informational website framework, it’s time to delve a bit deeper into the functionality that GoDaddy Websites + Marketing can add to our restaurant website. The ideal restaurant website will include the following items:

  • Menu.
  • Restaurant information.
  • Online ordering.
  • Integrations to entice new customers.
  • Mobile-friendly content.
  • Content to keep loyal customers coming back.

Read on for a deep-dive on each feature below.


Being a restaurant, having an online menu is probably one of the most important features that you’ll have on your site. Users want to know what food they can expect during their visit.

Some potential customers with allergies or restricted diets need to know if there’s anything that they can eat at your restaurant.

A menu is a vital way to convey that information.


It’s essential to stress here how crucial it is for your site to have an easily accessible, mobile-friendly menu.

I’m sure you’ve encountered restaurant websites in the past that left you feeling frustrated as a customer — outdated menu information, a clunky menu that has to be downloaded to be viewed or, even worse, no menu at all. Ugh.

Thankfully, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing makes it easy to add details that customers want to see. Let’s take a look at how we can easily add a clean, accessible menu to our site.

Creating a menu in GoDaddy Websites + Marketing

Adding Menu to Restaurant Website

From the editing screen, click to add a section and choose the Menu/Price List option from the choices on the right. A default menu layout will be added to your page, but you can choose a different layout option in the menu options window.

After choosing the layout, you can use the options menu on the right to start adding sections and items to your menu.

Creating Your Restaurant Website Menu

Related: 4 ways to write enticing menu descriptions

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Restaurant information

For hungry potential customers, being able to quickly view your restaurant’s information is imperative. Beyond just a menu, many want to easily check on your seasonal specials, location, hours, etc. When these options aren’t easy to find or utilize, it can turn potential customers away.

Contact information and operating hours

Using the Contact section in Websites + Marketing you can easily set your preferred contact details, daily hours, as well as a custom message if needed. Custom messages are especially handy if you need to communicate any disruptions or changes to your normal operating hours.

These details are crucial, as incorrect operating hours or contact information can quickly frustrate potential customers.

Websites + Marketing makes it easy to keep this up to date, saving you time and your customers frustration.

Business photos

If you use images on your website (and you definitely should), it’s important to follow some simple tips for a positive user experience:

  • Ensure that you format images to the proper size.
  • Use high-quality images. Because food is such a visual product, it might be a good idea to pay for professional photography of your food offerings.
  • Use image file names that include keywords. Including key search words in your image file names will improve your restaurant website’s search results.

The photo gallery option included with Websites + Marketing makes it simple to highlight your stunning food photos.

Related: 6 tips for taking enticing food photos

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Online ordering

Pizza Delivery And Bottle Of Wine

With the rise of food delivery services like DoorDash and Postmates, restaurants need to be able to compete with their online ordering offerings. Morgan Stanley estimates that food delivery will grow to 40% of restaurant revenue or $220 billion by 2023.

Luckily, setting up online ordering for a restaurant website couldn’t be easier with GoDaddy Websites + Marketing.

The online ordering section in GoDaddy Websites + Marketing utilizes ChowNow, a highly-regarded online ordering platform, so if you already have an account through them, you can simply add your restaurant ID to that section and GoDaddy Websites + Marketing will integrate with your account.

If you don’t have one, you can sign up directly on the GoDaddy Websites + Marketing page instead.

Once you’ve signed up or connected your ChowNow account, you’ll be able to fully customize your food ordering options, as well as the background images and text for that section. Easy as pizza pie.

Related: Is your restaurant ready to offer food for delivery?

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Integrations to entice new customers

Many web users have experienced the frustration of having to bounce between multiple websites to find the information that you’re looking for, or to complete a simple task, like making a dinner reservation.

A frustrating experience will absolutely deter possible customers from your restaurant.


With GoDaddy Websites + Marketing, your restaurant’s site can avoid sending your potential customers elsewhere out of frustration. It’s quick and easy to add an option for users to make a reservation, or even view your restaurant’s reviews — and they won’t have to leave your site to do so.

OpenTable integration

GoDaddy Websites + Marketing offers a simple OpenTable integration that assists you with adding a reservation function to your site painlessly.

You will need an OpenTable account to fully utilize the reservation system, but GoDaddy Websites + Marketing can help you get that process going as well.

With 47% of consumers expecting online reservation options, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing easily helps you meet this need via OpenTable.

Integrating reviews

Restaurant Dining Room

Additionally, you can add reviews from around the internet directly to your website. Customers who haven’t visited your restaurant before will be interested to see what others have to say about your food.

If they’re able to view reviews on your site directly, they’re saving time (and that’s a good thing for hungry website visitors).

While Yelp is a popular option, you have the ability to automatically pull in reviews from multiple sources, like Google.

Once you’ve chosen the provider, you’d simply need to connect GoDaddy Websites + Marketing to your preferred provider and it’ll continuously pull in reviews automatically.

Alternatively, you can also add reviews manually. This is a great option if you want to call out reviews that might fall outside of the typical review sites. An example of this could be an excerpt from a newspaper review of your restaurant.

Just be sure that you’re keeping any manually added reviews fresh, since a review from years and years ago doesn’t tend to mean as much to potential customers.

Reviews are the lifeblood of restaurants. Being able to showcase and integrate glowing reviews into your restaurant website will instantly boost your credibility with visitors.

What about negative reviews?

We’ve covered how to add your reviews to your site, but what about less-than-amazing reviews from prior customers? Don’t fret. They aren’t the end of the world.

While it’s tempting to ignore the negative review and hope that it goes away on its own, it’s not typically the best route to take. A better course of action would be to respond to the review, professionally and politely.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and dig a bit deeper with your customer.


Negative reviews are a chance for you to improve your restaurant, and even potentially save a relationship with your customer. With that in mind, you can likely turn a negative experience into a positive one.

Related: 5 ways to manage your restaurant’s online reviews — good and bad

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Make it mobile-friendly

GoDaddy Websites + Marketing automatically generates a mobile version of your site as you build it, which alleviates much of the stress typically involved with building a mobile-friendly website. There are, however, still some guidelines that you’ll want to adhere to.

Image size and resolution

People tend to be very visual when it comes to food. Beautiful images are a no-brainer for restaurant websites. However, you’ll want to be sure that you’re correctly optimizing your images for mobile devices.

There isn’t a hard and fast rule about exact image dimensions that work best for mobile devices, but you’ll definitely want to test out how the images on your site look when using a mobile device.

Testing Images On Mobile Devices

It’s also recommended to compress your images before you upload them to your website. Compressed images are smaller and will load faster, which will keep your mobile customers happy.

Avoid large blocks of text

While text content tends to load very quickly, having large blocks of text on your site can be very difficult to look at on a mobile device.

You’ll want to keep your text concise and avoid long, chunky paragraphs. Otherwise, you risk overloading your mobile viewers. Keep it simple.

Design simple contact forms

If you choose to add a contact form to your restaurant website, adding too many fields to that contact form will cause similar issues to large blocks of text.

Consider how your form will end up looking to a mobile user and try to keep your contact form fields to a minimum.

Related: Google’s mobile-first index — How you can prepare your website

Organize your pages and content sections with mobile users in mind

In general, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing templates will attempt to suggest a layout that works well for mobile and desktop sites. But while you’re adding sections when building your site, try to avoid stuffing too much information into a single page, or adding unnecessary content on pages.

Adding a video to the top of your menu page, for example, might frustrate someone who is trying to simply view your menu. Design your website with ease of use in mind and your customers will appreciate your site.

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Content to keep loyal customers coming back

We’ve talked quite a bit about designing a site for attracting new customers, and while that’s definitely important for growing your restaurant, don’t forget about your loyal customers.

GoDaddy Websites + Marketing has several options available to keep you connected with your loyal fanbase.

Email newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to keep your customers in the loop about happenings or upcoming special events at your restaurant. You can also send out occasional polls or surveys to gather useful feedback.

Newsletters keep your restaurant front-of-mind with your customers, so it’s definitely worth the time investment.

Event calendar

Event calendars are another awesome way to keep your users coming back to your site. Events such as live music, seminars, tasting events, happy hour or trivia nights can be attractive to new customers, but will also appeal to repeat visitors.

Adding a calendar to your restaurant website is easy with GoDaddy Websites + Marketing.


Running a blog on your site might seem a bit daunting, but it’s an effective method for keeping your restaurant human and accessible. And, with the built-in blogging tool that GoDaddy Websites + Marketing offers, you don’t have to be a technical wizard to get a great looking blog off the ground quickly.

Related: How to write a great blog post

Social media

People appreciate authentic content and there’s no better way to convey authenticity than through your social media channels.

Connecting with your customers via social media is a sure-fire way to keep them coming back for more.

Not sure what type of content users are looking for on social media? Research shows that the three most engaging types of content on social media are written articles (27%), videos (26%) and images (24%).

Consumers also positively view businesses that interact with their followers on social media, so social media can be a fantastic way to build customer sentiment with your restaurant.

Related: A beginner’s guide to social media for small business

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Wrapping up

We’ve covered a lot of details related to building a restaurant website in this guide, so here are the main ideas to keep in mind:

Having a website is crucial

Consumers expect an online presence from businesses, even if those businesses are brick-and-mortar establishments. It gives them an idea of what to expect and details about your business if potential customers need to follow up with you.

Don’t forget to include your business information

Content like a menu, contact information and online ordering are features that all restaurant websites should include, so be sure that they’re prominent and easy to access on your website.

Keep it mobile-friendly

Most users are accessing from mobile devices, so design your website with that fact in mind.

Keep your images relevant and properly sized, avoid long, blocky chunks of text, create simple contact forms, and organize your pages so that they can be found easily on smaller mobile screens.

Attract new customers, while keeping your loyal customers

With built-in features like email newsletters, event calendars, blogs and social media integrations, you can easily provide new and fresh content to keep your current customers coming back for more.

With these suggestions in mind, you’re well on your way to getting an effective restaurant website up and running.

Build a restaurant website that cooks up business with GoDaddy Websites + Marketing and get going!

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Leslie Lynn.

The post How to build a restaurant website appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Spam calls getting annoying? SmartLine users now have protection from spam calls with Hiya


We’ve all been on the receiving end of unsolicited spam calls –  those you receive at the most inconvenient times , attempting to sell a product or service, or worse, attempting to gather your personal data to use your credit card or social security info without your consent. 

For entrepreneurs and small business owners who use their personal phones for business, spam calls interrupt their daily interactions with customers , taking their attention away from what matters to their business. 

From the first half of 2018 to the first half of 2019, there was a 128% growth in robocalls says Hiya’s report

You already know the SmartLine mobile app enables users to differentiate business and personal calls by providing customers a second phone number for your business. This means, all of your business interactions are stored in the easy-to-use app and texting, call history, and voicemails are stored in your personal phone for easy access. 

Now, GoDaddy has officially launched the Spam Call Filter in GoDaddy’s SmartLine mobile app, a feature introduced in partnership with Hiya, the industry leader in nuisance and scam call protection. The feature sends spam calls from known black lists directly to voicemail, minimizing interruptions throughout the day for busy small business owners. 

So how does this benefit you?

A previous study commissioned by GoDaddy, found that more than half of small business owners consider 1:1 conversations with customers crucial to their business and 40 percent reported knowing whether an incoming call is a business or personal call would be helpful in managing their productivity. In fact, respondents noted they’ve answered calls non professionally thinking it was a robocall. 

In tandem, Hiya’s recent State of The Call report found that U.S. mobile users have received 25.3 billion robocalls in the first half of 2019 and 48 percent of calls U.S. mobile users receive are picked up, leaving more than half of all calls unanswered. 

With the Spam Call Filter feature, you don’t need to wonder whether an incoming business call is an actual customer or spam caller, allowing you to be reassured the person on the other end of the call is important to your business. Small business owners can now focus their attention to those  crucial 1:1 conversations with customers and not leave any calls go unanswered. 

U.S. mobile users have received 25.3 billion robocalls in the first half of 2019

Through an analysis of 13 billion global incoming mobile calls per month and expansive algorithms, GoDaddy SmartLine customers’ inbound spam calls will now go straight to voicemail and be labelled as spam in your SmartLine call history, giving you a third level of distinction  from the significant rise of robocalls. 

To help us do this, Hiya continually updates their database of spam numbers to protect customers from unwanted calls. This new feature will reduce the amount of unwanted calls ringing on users’ phones, providing customers 24/7 real-time spam call protection and a record of flagged spam calls in your SmartLine call history. 

At GoDaddy, we’re motivated to build solutions that make it easy for our customers to focus on what matters to your business and we’re excited to offer a new solution for minimizing unwanted spam calls. 

To learn more about GoDaddy SmartLine, visit: https://www.godaddy.com/smartline

The post Spam calls getting annoying? SmartLine users now have protection from spam calls with Hiya appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Consulting business ideas to try for your future consulting business


If you want to start a business, becoming a consultant could be a good option for you, depending on your experience level. A consultant is generally an expert in a specific field that can fix specific problems. Choosing to start your own consulting business could be a good move and is much simpler than starting other kinds of businesses, because it all revolves around what you are good at, and what kind of knowledge you can offer.

The goal of a consultant is to improve results in certain businesses, as well as in peoples’ lives, by bringing value and helping with the implementation of necessary changes. Unlike starting other types of businesses, when you start a business as a consultant, the best way to start out is to start small and have patience. As you increase your network and gain a steady influx of clients, word will spread, and your business will grow naturally.

There are a lot of consulting niches to choose from, and the general rule that you should follow is to be sure that you are adding value. Once you come up with an idea of what kind of consulting business you want to start, the rest is easy.

Consulting has been on the market for years and is known to be a lucrative business choice. And though it is simple to get started, there are some things that you will want to know before you start. Learn below more about this topic in this article created by our team at Amelia.

Things Needed To Start a Consulting Business

As your passion and knowledge for a particular topic or area grow, the best way to test your expertise is to try your hand at teaching what you know. This is a pretty general principal in the consulting industry.

So, what do you need to do business consulting?

In this article, we will present to you four things that we think are essential if you are thinking about launching your own consulting business.

Knowledge in a Particular Area

Image source: Sergei Osokin

Obviously, if you want to start a business as a consultant, you will first need to be very knowledgeable in a particular area. While the best consulting business ideas come from being very knowledgeable in something that also others want to learn about, this does not mean that you have to be an expert in order to do it.

However, if you want to be a business consultant, then you will probably have more success, and more to offer your clients, if you have some real experience in the field in order to deliver the results your clients will be looking for.

A Compelling Offer That Provides Value

Image source: Shreyash Barot

A great thing about the consulting business is that, no matter what you choose to consult on,the core principle will always be to create and provide value. But until you understand how to create value, you will never have anything ready to sell.

A Well-Populated Niche of Potential Clients

Image source: Manjari Dwivedi

A few questions that you will want to ask yourself are: What is the ideal client that you want to have? Will you promote your consulting business to corporations, or do you want to attracts maller businesses?

Regardless of the answer, the first thing you want to do is come up with a good marketing plan to help lay the foundation for your business.

A Rewired Mentality

Image source: Baz Deas

A way to succeed is to always keep a positive mindset and keep your eyes on the goal. When you start to see yourself winning, you will be able to overcome obstacles and achieve things that you did not believe were possible before.

If you want to know if you are ready to start your online consulting business,then your first goal is to get your first client. Once you achieve getting your first client, it will become a lot easier to get the second, and the all the ones that follow, and things will start to flow from there.

Consulting Business Ideas to Try

Here is a list that you can check in order to find some of the most rapid-growing consulting niches on the market today. This will help you decide easier on to which one to specialize in.

Career Consultant

As more people are finding themselves not knowing what to do in their professional lives, career counsellors are always in demand. This is because what they do is guide their clients towards a job best suited to them that will help them build their professional lives.

There are many different types of consulting options and being a career consultant is one of them. You will assess your client’s needs, help them build their resume, write cover letters, and anything else they made need to get the career of their dreams.

Business Management Consultant

If you are a more business-oriented person, familiar with the ins and outs of running your own business to maximize profits, then starting business management consulting may be the best option for you. A business management consultant helps their clients by offering objective advisory services that help organizations in improving their productivity or overall performance.

Usually, a project will involve different meetings with clients, or research and analyst data, after which you can present recommendations to the client and set up a schedule for implementing improvements.

Business Start-up Consultant

Image source: Mahmoud Baghagho

Business start-up consultants usually offer different services specifically for start-up companies. They help by choosing the right ideas, creating plans, financial projections, and so on. Basically, as a business start-up consultant, you are defining the entire concepts around a start-up and help people manage it all.

Marketing Consultant

If marketing is more your style, and you excel at developing marketing strategist and reaching out to communities of perspective clients, then jumping into the lucrative world of a marketing consultant may be for you.

If you want to be a successful marketing consultant, then you will need to have an analytical mind, be able to build great reports, show communication skills, and have curiosity for new things. Marketing consultants are considered very creative individuals.

Quality Management Consultant

Image source: Mithun Ray

Some other consulting business ideas involve quality management. Quality management consultants provide services needed to implement a quality management system to change the quality culture. They do this by adding new methods, such as failure mode effect analysis (FMEA), production part approval process (PPAP) or statistical process control (SPC).

A lot goes into what quality management consultants provide,so you may need to dive deeper into the details in order to determine if it fits your expertise.

Financial Consultant

A top financial consultant really needs to know what they are doing in order to avoid spreading misinformation to their clients. If one of your skills is money management, then developing consulting business ideas around the financial world may be a great option for you.

Maybe you already have a degree in finance, or another related field, that you can use as a start. Oftentimes, clients are looking for certifications, degrees, and field experience when searching for a financial consultant, so have any of the mentioned will be beneficial.

Advertising Consulting

The world is filled with millions of advertising campaigns, and many businesses utilize these campaigns in order to garner attention for their businesses. In order to achieve success in advertising, a business may need to bring in an advertising consultant.

As an advertising consultant, you will need to support a business in developing its advertising strategy so that they can promote their goods or services in the best way.

IT Consultant

Image source: Shamin Yassar

As technology evolves, the demand for IT specialists will continue to grow. IT consultants help by providing analysis and solutions for companies that want to improve their software systems and communication. They are also sometimes used in the training of employees of a company.

There is a large demand for IT consultants in today’s market, so if you relate to this domain in any way, then you may want to explore this lucrative career option.

Risk Management Consultant

Do you have any kind of risk management experience? If the answer is yes, then you might be interested in trying out a career as a risk management consultant.

Risk management consultants have a lot of options, and are often in charge of identifying potential threats that can appear and deciding what to do to reduce transfer risks. You do not need to invest a lot when starting so see if it is a fit for you.

Energy Consultant

Image source: Themekalia

An energy consultant is a serious job that often involves performing in different buildings or projects. This can be a great option if you already have experience in this field and can be quite profitable.

Energy consultants offer recommendations on how to reduce and manage energy use in a smart way. You do not need any kind of formal education to become an energy consultant, but you will want to start with at least a home energy auditor certificate.

Fundraising Consultant

Nonprofit organizations often rely heavily on volunteer efforts, together with donor contributions, and often need help with fundraising events.

If you like to work with teams or individuals, and get energy from public causes, then you may want to consider becoming a fundraising consultant. Again, if you have done this before in the past, it can be an advantage.

Human Resources Consultant

Image source: Eftakher Alam

If businesses need employees, they will likely also need human resources consultants. Whether the company is large or small, there will always be a demand for human resource consultants to help with related tasks.

Probably the best firms to target as a human resources consultant are the small and medium-sized businesses when starting out, as larger companies and corporations tend to lean toward larger human resources firms.

Ending thoughts on consulting business ideas

In conclusion, while you can have numerous consulting business ideas, in the end, it is all about what you are passionate and knowledgeable about. Find something you are good, establish your platform, and launch your idea to your future clients.

If you enjoyed reading this article about consulting business ideas, you should read these as well:

The post Consulting business ideas to try for your future consulting business appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.

How to execute a strong client onboarding process — and why you must


As a professional web developer, there’s a chasm you need to traverse between converting a client and starting their new project: that mysterious phase known as “client onboarding.” This process is crucial to ensuring you’ve got everything you need before starting the project, as well as making the client comfortable with how the project will progress.

Client onboarding: A guide for web designers & developers

Here’s what we’re going to cover in this guide:

Let’s get started.

Why formalize client onboarding?

An established process relieves you from the stress of remembering every single question you need to ask, and helps you gather all of your resources in an organized way, enabling you to deliver the project smoothly.

This key series of steps provides the opportunity to build a strong relationship with your client, address early concerns, get everyone up to speed, and start on a positive note.

Related: Finding your first client as a freelance web professional

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Why you need an onboarding process

As with just about everything in web design, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The process that’s right for you might not work for others, but it’s critical in helping you:

  • Create a great first impression that paves the way for a trusted, long-term relationship.
  • Build efficiency via clear communication.
  • Reduce scope creep by confirming details and setting expectations.
  • Make sure you’ve got everything you need before starting the project.
  • Anticipate exceptions, misconceptions, and potential obstacles.
  • Breed loyalty, fostering better retention and reducing churn.

Related: How to set expectations with your clients

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Why your clients need an onboarding process

Clients also have additional needs addressing the many aspects they may be unsure of, and their need to just “know” what’s going on. In addition, the process can:

  • Assure them you have a plan, which should relieve anxiety.
  • Increase their comfort level about how the project will progress.
  • Allow them to understand expectations so they can collaborate with you more efficiently.
  • Reassure they are being listened to.
  • Reinforce they have hired a pro who takes their business seriously.

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Attributes of a successful onboarding process

A thoughtful and deliberate onboarding process lets clients know that you consider them a partner in defining the success of the project. To ensure successful onboarding:

Know what questions need answering

Essentially, the onboarding process boils down to two critical questions:

  1. What do you need in order to deliver a successful project that runs smoothly?
  2. What must the client do to make sure you get what you need?

Of course, nested under these are many more questions. For example, once you know which deliverables you need, there will be additional questions about timeline, format and ownership.

Craft an effective onboarding checklist

Client Onboarding Checklist

A checklist lets you focus on discipline and structure — and following it with each project brings peace of mind. Referencing your checklist ensures you don’t forget crucial steps or take actions out of order.

At the same time, build in flexibility and scalability.

Both factors are key to every single process you undertake as a web designer — it’s important to know when you can bend or break your own rules, and you’ll want to make sure that it’s efficient to execute the process multiple times, perhaps simultaneously.

You’ll want the ability to skip steps if warranted, and at the same time, anticipate the trade-offs in doing so.

Make supporting materials available to clients pre-sale

The onboarding process starts well before a proposal is accepted, with your very first contact with a potential client.

For example, your website could offer details on how you work on projects. This could be a paragraph, a dedicated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section, or even well-written case studies describing how you deliver a project.

Treat each client as a special case

We already know that each client is different, each project is different, and even your approach may be different. Use good judgment to customize the onboarding process as needed, taking the client’s unique goals and situation into account.

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7 steps to execute a strong client onboarding process

A significant challenge we experience with any client is their lack of knowledge about what they need or why they need it. But if we are being fair to our future clients, should we expect them to?

As a website professional, you must be the facilitator, drawing out goals that even they might not realize.

1. Collect information with a comprehensive new client intake questionnaire

Start with a finely tuned and comprehensive client questionnaire that asks the right questions, so you have information even before there’s a project in place. It’s your first true opportunity to gather what you need, and asking the right questions will save both time and money.

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2. Solidify strategy with a paid discovery workshop

The paid discovery workshop nails down the information you need to create the proposal and contract for the full project.

Sell this workshop as a true strategy session to work through the client’s needs, goals, and how they anticipate achieving those goals.

Through this engagement, you can walk your client through the steps to create a clear, defined vision for their website and what it’s supposed to achieve.

Offering the discovery workshop before website creation is critical in terms of building a website that works.


It also serves as a great way to be first in line for the job, before even offering a proposal. In the end, discovery will be helpful for the organization that needs the project built, not just for the ones doing the building. Still not quite sure what a discovery workshop is?

Digging into the discovery session

A discovery strategy session is a standalone paid service that clarifies what the project is all about before you even write a proposal. It covers information grouped into three sections:

Why, what, and who?

  • What is the Why behind what the client is trying to achieve, in terms of goals and impact they hope to make online?
  • What products and services do they bring to the market?
  • Who is the group of people that will most benefit from their What?

SMART goals

With answers to these questions, it’s time to define three to five SMART goals, where SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Most importantly, each goal should focus on something they are trying to achieve online, and something the website can make happen.

In guiding clients to articulate SMART goals, use these guidelines:

  • Specific — Does it target a specific area for improvement?
  • Measurable — How are you measuring your success?
  • Achievable — Is it reachable?
  • Relevant — Is it realistic to achieve?
  • Time-bound — When would you achieve it by?

The buyer’s journey

Client Onboarding Footprints In Snow

What steps will website visitors employ to eventually take advantage of what is being offered? This can be broken down into five areas:

  • Attract: How will your client attract leads? Will you need to replicate the experience provided by current tools?
  • Capture: How does your client capture leads? What can be given away in exchange for their email address?
  • Nurture: Is your client set up to currently nurture these leads via email marketing?
  • Convert: Most importantly, does your client know what steps they want people to take to convert and make a purchase?
  • Measure: Lastly, how do we measure all this? This is where your client determines the metric that matters the most, based on their SMART goals. It might be site visitors, email signups or something as simple as phone call requests.

In addition, you may have the opportunity for additional discovery work such as:

  • Competitor research: Working with the client to evaluate their competition and what they do well. If clients are having trouble articulating what they want their website to achieve, or which market they are trying to reach, this could be key.
  • Design research: Working with the client to further clarify what they want the site to look and feel like. Style and design can be part of the discovery workshop if this helps determine how to attract the “who” identified earlier in the strategy session.

After the discovery session, follow up by delivering a consolidated document summarizing the findings.

Yes, from here any other web designer could take the project away from you — but you’ll have been paid for the strategy work.

Doing that work for free to create a proposal is selling yourself short.


The client gets their money’s worth — and while they could very well go off and use this deliverable with another web designer, chances are they will see the value of working with you.

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3. Follow your formal administrative process

Once you have that clear vision, you can proceed to a formal proposal for the project.

Invest effort in further research on your client, their history, and their competitors. Spend time reviewing the questionnaire responses, drafting the timeline, and identifying deliverables needed.

Make sure the proposal, contract and first invoice are addressed promptly, before proceeding to any additional tasks.

Related: How to close a deal successfully with a better proposal process

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4. Do the admin pre-work to get the project started

Whether you use a project management tool or rely on a shared folder via Dropbox or Google Docs, set up everything you’ll need for this client, and invite them to collaborate as appropriate.

Add them to your mailing list.

Invite them to follow your social media accounts.

Relax knowing you can efficiently and effectively manage your client’s new website with the free tools and resources available through GoDaddy Pro.

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5. Hold a project kick-off meeting

If you’ve already conducted the discovery workshop, you’ve begun the process of building trust and setting the tone. Now the project work begins in earnest so it’s time to reinforce the seeds already planted.

Conduct the kick-off meeting face-to-face if possible (or via video chat if not). Plan to cover the following topics:

  • Schedule, with a focus on next steps
  • Additional homework needed to proceed with the project
  • Major deliverables
  • How you’ll handle future scope changes
  • Details about your work hours and availability via email or phone during specific office hours, including typical response times
  • How meetings are scheduled and take place — be sure they understand the platforms you use, such as Zoom or Skype, and how you schedule appointments, such as via Appointlet or Calendly
  • Preferences around how you want to receive deliverables
  • Q&A

If you have any swag you like to share with clients, be prepared to distribute at the meeting, or mail to arrive in time for the meeting.

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6. Follow up with your welcome package

A welcome package is a set of files that welcomes your new client and includes key information that is necessary for the project to finish successfully.

Think of it as a roadmap that will guide your client through the process of working with you, helping them to stay on track with their tasks and commitments, and answering questions.

Your welcome package should:

  • reiterate your policies
  • prepare them to do their part
  • position you as a professional
  • eliminate confusion on what happens when
  • set the foundation to ask for referrals and testimonials

Related: How to create a welcome package for your web design clients

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7. Present plans for further follow-up

While the kick-off meeting included an explanation of your follow-up methods — especially on initial tasks to gather information — you’ll also want to follow up with specific next steps in terms of schedule and deliverables.

Related: How to follow up with clients — 8 tips for success

Possible exceptions

Even with the best intentions to strictly follow your process, the occasional exception could make sense.

  • What if the project requires a very compressed schedule? Can any steps be skipped or combined? What trade-offs might be associated with those changes?
  • What if this is a new project for an existing or former client? Can any one-time setup steps be skipped or combined?

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Common onboarding errors

Looking for ways to blow it? The following lapses may be the sure-fire path to failure — or at the very least, time and/or money lost to re-work.

  • Not doing your pre-work from the start, in terms of really understanding your client, their current situation, their needs and their competitors.
  • Skipping steps without considering the trade-offs or consequences.
  • Making assumptions instead of asking questions.

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Onboarding checklist outline

Start with this basic onboarding checklist to develop your own customized version that best covers everything you need to start the project off successfully.

Client Onboarding Man Working On Laptop

Gather basic information

  • Confirm names, roles and contact information of each participant

Process intake questionnaire

  • Send questionnaire and instructions
  • Receive completed questionnaire
  • Check for missing information and request if needed

Execute paid discovery workshop

  • Confirm if being conducted for this project
  • Schedule discovery workshop
  • Hold discovery workshop
  • Send follow-up materials

Manage project proposal

  • Prepare and send proposal
  • Revise if necessary based on feedback or questions

Manage contract

  • Prepare and send contract
  • Receive signed copy of contract

Handle invoicing

  • Generate and send the first invoice
  • Confirm payment receipt

Wrangle project management

  • Set up internal project management systems and tools
  • Invite client to access any systems where information will be shared


  • Introduce client to any additional team members
  • Add client to communication and project management channels and tools

Plan and hold a kick-off meeting

  • Schedule meeting
  • Prepare meeting materials including agenda, to-do list with items needed from client, draft timeline including future check-in dates and milestones
  • Hold meeting: review agenda, review to-do list, review/adjust/agree on timeline, milestones, goals

Follow-up from the kick-off meeting

  • Update project management system
  • Send welcome package, summary and any follow-up information
  • Plan schedule for next follow-up conversations and/or reports

Gather and use feedback

  • Request feedback on onboarding process
  • Incorporate process revisions based on feedback

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Best practices in onboarding

Now that you’ve got a strong client onboarding process in place, stick to some general guidelines to ensure a smooth experience for all involved.

Educate clients around expectations early and often

Explicitly set expectations around how you run your business — whether it’s payments, communication methods, or delivery of information. By including this information in your kick-off meeting, proposal, welcome package, and on your website, you optimize collaboration with clients to get your work done most efficiently.

Stay accessible and responsive

Be ready to address questions or confusion quickly and thoroughly. Reassure clients that you know what’s up, and that you’re there to guide them along the way. Encourage them to ask questions if they don’t understand — it’s preferable to answer early on, and nip potential issues in the bud.

Related: Communicating with clients — 5 tactics for success

Keep information flowing

Do your best to keep everyone in the loop regarding status, deliverables, timeline, budget and potential issues — and do all in your power to avoid surprises. It’s almost impossible to over-communicate about these topics.

Improve the process

Every new (or departing) client provides input to improve your onboarding process, which translates to improved client satisfaction, and more opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition.

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Closing thoughts

Of course, it’s up to you to determine the detailed onboarding process that will work best for your clients — based on understanding the success factors of your own established working environment, and their goals and expectations for the project.

Your ultimate objective is to have the right tools and processes in place, keep the workflow moving in the right direction, and deliver a final outcome that aligns with your client’s vision of success.

Use these suggestions and best practices to get a head start on defining the process that works best for you.

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Aaron Reimann, Cody Landefeld, Kristina Romero and Tom Rankin.

The post How to execute a strong client onboarding process — and why you must appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

GoDaddy and Kabbage partnership gives entrepreneurs easy access to capital


When it comes to iconic partnerships, a few examples immediately come to mind. Peanut butter and jelly. Chips and salsa. Peas and carrots. And now, GoDaddy and Kabbage.

GoDaddy is announcing its strategic partnership with Kabbage, Inc., a data and technology company committed to providing small businesses cash flow solutions.

Kabbage’s online lending platform is now available to GoDaddy’s U.S. customers so they can easily access a business line of credit in minutes to manage and grow their businesses.

By completing a simple application process from Kabbage, customers can quickly access flexible lines of credit of up to $250,000 in minutes if approved.

With increased financial capacity, GoDaddy customers can access the extra cash flow to staff up for the busy holiday season, purchase additional inventory or equipment, apply it toward digital marketing initiatives, or other strategic investments to support their ventures.

GoDaddy and Kabbage — a powerful partnership to efficiently empower our everyday entrepreneurs.


Kabbage Mobile App Decision Screen“Working every day with our small business customers has made us intimately familiar with what our customers are doing to successfully grow their business, as well as common challenges,” said Melissa Schneider, GoDaddy’s vice president of global marketing operations.

“We know that a lack of capital for marketing and other core activities remains a major roadblock to accelerate growth. Our partnership with Kabbage is key in our ongoing mission to empower our customers and provide them with the resources they need to fuel their business needs.”

Related: Small business funding options

Overcoming obstacles to success

Together, GoDaddy and Kabbage surveyed more than 500 entrepreneurs to gain a deeper understanding of how small business owners overcome obstacles in growing their business.

Most impressively, 60% of those surveyed experienced an increase in revenues after investing in online advertising. Other notable findings include:

  • Having a website for their business is the most helpful digital tool for growing and expanding (43%), followed by social media marketing (35%).
  • As a result of investing in online advertising, 44% of respondents reported an uplift in sales as high as 25%.
  • When asked about roadblocks to growing their company’s digital presence or online advertising, close to 50% chose a lack of money as their most significant difficulty.
As part of the pledge to removing obstacles for entrepreneurs, there are no fees required for GoDaddy customers to access funding through Kabbage.


Additionally, qualified small business owners are not obligated to make withdrawals. Meaning, the line of credit will be there when they need it and they won’t pay anything until they actually access the approved funds.

And as a special courtesy to existing GoDaddy customers, small business owners can take $100 off their first month’s fees.

This hassle-free approach to lending allows small businesses the flexibility to seamlessly manage their cash flow along with their other services from GoDaddy. And that’s much-needed relief for entrepreneurs.

“Our customer base of over 200,000 small businesses across the U.S. understands the value of accessing the exact amount of funding they need when they need it,” said Kabbage CRO Laura Goldberg. “Our customers tell us all the time that flexible funding is critical to grow and run their business; new opportunities make it important to be able to access capital quickly whether for online marketing, inventory or purchasing new equipment. They simply can’t afford to wait weeks or months for a loan approval.”

“With GoDaddy, we pair the best of both worlds so more small businesses have a competitive advantage to quickly deploy and fund marketing initiatives so they may capitalize on opportunities.”

GoDaddy and Kabbage are committed to removing the financial hurdles that our everyday entrepreneurs face.

And with the financial burden lifted, our customers can continue to do what they do best: grow their business. An iconic partnership, indeed.

Related: Grow It — Taking your Journey to the next level

The post GoDaddy and Kabbage partnership gives entrepreneurs easy access to capital appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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