15 Steps to Grow Your Business Online

featuredarticleimage2You started your very own business; congratulations! Now that you’re a business owner, have you ever wondered about the possibilities for advancing your business online? This article will walk you through the essentials necessary to growing your business online.

3 Major Components of a Website

First thing’s first: Does your business have an online presence? Having a website allows your customers to easily find you by putting information about your business online. If you have merchandise, creating an online store will allow you to sell to them online as well!

  • Secure a domain name: Your domain name is a reflection of your business. Branding is important so create one as relevant to your business as possible.
  • Find a hosting company: A good hosting company is integral to operating your business online. Find a host that can meet your business’ needs and is capable of scaling with the growth of your online presence.
  • Build your website: The look and feel of your website is also important. There are several options available if you are inexperienced with creating a website from scratch. WordPress is a good starter platform to use and also includes free templates that you can customize yourself. If you don’t want to build it yourself, there are numerous options available to you online.
    • One is to have a web-design professional custom craft a website exactly as you want it. Feel free to check out our webdesign options here.

5 Important Considerations:

You will need to increase visibility in order to use your new website as an asset to drive traffic to your business.

  • Responsive: Is your website optimized to be viewed on any screen? With the rise of mobile search traffic, Google has included mobile-friendliness as a criteria for ranking websites viewed on mobile browsers, making it very important to have a version of your website be responsive on a mobile device.
  • SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO)  is making the content on your website refined so that search engines like Google can find you easily to show a potential customer’s search query. SEO is important to ensure that when people use keywords relevant to the services you offer, that you become one of the top search results.
    • Check out this article for more information about boosting your SEO here.
  • Updates: Once you have your website up, you need to maintain it by providing fresh content for your customers. Keeping things new will have them coming back for more. Find a comfortable cadence that you can maintain and update it to showcase new products, deals, or incentives.
  • User Experience: Have your friends and family go through your website and try to purchase or request services. Are there any hiccups or roadblocks in the process? Have them QA the content for flow and if any questions are going unanswered.Analyzing and making changes to this can help reduce bounce rates and shopping cart abandonments.
  • Competition:  Look to your competitors and check out what their process is like. Pay attention to where their services lack so that you can make improvements onto your page accordingly.

4 Marketing Techniques to Start Today

Now that you have a fully functioning website that has online visibility to your customers, the next step is marketing your business.

  • Target Customers: Make sure that you don’t wait for visitors to just come to you. Actively look for an audience that may be interested in your products and services. Develop an audience and demographic you want to target.  All social media platforms have statistics, as well as Google keyword planner. Do some research on what your customers are looking for using their tools.
  • Network: Make connections with people relevant to your business and industry. A large network can help you expand both your business and your potential customer reach. This will also bolster your company’s brand identity. LinkedIN is a good resource to meet industry professionals.
  • Email Campaigns: Capturing an email is just as important as capturing a sale. Emails can build a refined and targeted list of people that are genuinely interested in your product or service. Emails can be used to send your customers updates on new items they might be interested in, upcoming sales, or even just a thank you coupon code for their next visit. Give your customers an incentive to keep coming back! Use tools like Constant Contact or MailChimp integrations.
  • Advertise: Want more people to know who your business is and what it offers? Find advertising opportunities where people with relevant interest can learn more about your business. Google AdWords is a great place to start.

3 Crucial Customer Support Responsibilities

Finally, you want to ensure your company upholds a high-quality of service to keep your customers satisfied and coming back. This may seem “obvious” but don’t let the obvious fool you. Countless businesses lose sight of customer service as their business grows. Here are the best ways to stay engaged with your customers:

  • “Oh, the Humanity!”: Let your customers know that your business is run by real people that care about them. When your customers love your business, not only will they be returning customers, but they will also recommend you to people they know, enhancing both your brand and customer base.
  • Customer Feedback: Give your customers an opportunity to review your business. Ask for and welcome consumer feedback. This information can be very valuable in figuring out pain points of your customers as well as ways to improve your business and stay competitive. When you make changes to improve their experience, your customers will love you for it!
  • Customer Support: When your business doesn’t offer customer support, your consumers are left in the dark to figure out everything themselves. If they can’t figure it out they may never want to return to your business. Support is essential to the post-consumer journey and can give your customers the confidence to buy your product, knowing that help  is available.

Following this guide will have you well on your way towards a healthy and successful online business!


Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’: What You Need to Know for April 2015


Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’: What You Need to Know for April 2015 

Google’s primary purpose is to help you find what you’re looking for. It’s a simple enough business model, and they’ve done a great job sticking to their bread and butter throughout their ascent to the goliath of the internet as well as the highest-trafficked website in the world. And now, with the proliferation of mobile devices as an everyday necessity for the average consumer comes the truth that most of the internet and all its applications are being accessed increasingly by mobile devices and tablets.

 Smart phones are quickly becoming the most used devices in the world to access the web. Multitasking activities like listening to your favorite podcast or radio station on the go while reading emails and downloading a recipe for dinner simultaneously are capabilities that are afforded to us by our mobile devices. In North America alone, “mobile data traffic by 2019 will be equivalent to 210x the volume of North American mobile traffic ten years earlier (in 2009),” according to Cisco Communications. That’s why Google has announced that it will be unleashing its “mobile-friendly” update on April 21st, 2015, a.k.a – Mobilegeddon.

The name of the game here is mobile efficiency – and Google wants to reward the websites and apps that make the life of a mobile user easier by rewarding more mobile-friendly sites in search results. With this update, Google is tackling two inefficiencies they see with the current mobile user model. we’ll be covering there here so you can better prepare for Mobilegeddon.

Be Friendly, not Freaky

Google wants users who are accessing the web via their smart phones to be able to do so without worrying about load times or compatibility with their hand-held hardware. A lot of times, a website’s features, such as an embedded video, has to adjust to the phone’s smaller format. Or perhaps the website’s content requires Adobe Flash, but the phone isn’t equipped with it. This causes longer load time, and graphics to get ‘freaky’ via improperly loaded content.

With the new mobile-friendly search result update, Google is essentially telling websites that they need to make their websites less burdensome to the mobile user or else there will be a penalty in mobile-user access and search placement.  As most users know, the higher a website ranks on Google the better traffic they will get because users usually don’t click beyond the first page of search results. In terms of Mobilegeddon, the quality of your website and how compatible it is to mobile users will affect your placement on Google’s search results. The first page is obviously the best placement, and beyond the third you’re really looking at low traffic results. So help yourself out and be friendly to those who want access to your content.

Is your website a ‘mobile freak’ or a ‘mobile friend?’ Check with Google’s Mobile-Friendly meter here: 

Mobile Test

*NOTE* This ‘mobile friendly’ checker works on a page to page basis. So if your website has multiple pages, make sure they are all checked. it’s a lot of work, but it will be worth it. Mobilegeddon is upon us – so get preparations in order.

“WHERE IS THE DA-oh. There it is…”

An index works like a hyper table of contents. When you need to know something quickly, you look up one or two reference words, search the index, find the page number, and continue with your reading. Google understands this and has taken steps to apply this to websites and the mobile landscape.

According to the Google announcement:

        “We will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search. To find out how to implement App Indexing, which allows us to surface this information in search results, have a look at our step-by-step guide on the developer site.” – Google Web Master

In essence, the number of users who have your app installed and use it actively will be an influence in where you are ranked on the search engine. That’s just an influence though. If you website or service does not have an app, then make sure to make it mobile friendly!

The update takes place April 21st, 2015

Make sure you’ve checked your website’s mobile friendliness by then so that you don’t get flagged as “unfriendly” when the update takes place.

Don’t end up where you don’t belong because of an easy fix. Make sure you check your website HERE.

All won’t be lost if your webmaster or development team can’t make a page on your website mobile-friendly. There are just some pages that can’t “please all.” Google understands this, but in order to benefit the most from mobile search results, get your design teams working on optimizing your pages that aren’t converting to mobile very well. This time next year, you’ll see the value in starting now.

Whether you own a small to medium business or you desire a robust e-Commerce storefront, InMotion Hosting can get your business online in no time. We provide high-quality web design services in a wide range of customizable packages. Take a look at make sure to chat with us if you’d like us to design you a mobile friendly website. Check us out here.


SSL for SEO?


Back in March 2014, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Webspam, said he personally wanted SSL to be a ranking factor. Well that time has come, and probably quicker than most people may have expected.  Well, somewhat.  As of now, adding an SSL 2048-bit key certificate will only provide a minor boost to your site.  In fact, Google says it affects “fewer than 1% of global queries” and does not carry as much weight as “other signals such as high-quality content” which only goes to show you, as always, content is king.

Google has said it wants all “website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web,” so there’s a good chance we could see that ranking signal strengthen over time.

According to Google, more information on this will be released in the future, but in the meantime, Google has provided the following tips:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Do not block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.


Installing an SSL is not going to miraculously boost your website to the top of the search results, but as Google continues its “HTTPS everywhere” push, it is definitely something you want to be aware of. Especially if it is something Google is encouraging all website owners to do.


In order to make the switch to HTTPS your website will need a Secure Sockets Locket (SSL) Certificate.  SSLs are protocols that establish a secure link between a web server and a browser.  It is a way for social security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information to be securely transmitted without being intercepted by a third party.


Purchasing an SSL Certificate through InMotion Hosting can be accomplished in just 5 simple steps:

Step 1. Login to AMP (Account Management Panel)

Step 2. Click the Purchase SSL Certificate button.

How to Purchase an SSL Certificate
How to Purchase an SSL Certificate

Step 3. Select the SSL Certificate’s subscription length (ie. 1 or 2 years) and the Desired Certificate Name.

Step 4. Enter the contact information for the owner of the SSL Certificate.

Step 5. Choose how you want the SSL billed, then click Submit. You will then see the following message, “Your order has been submitted for processing. Please look for a follow up from our staff shortly.” 

The typical turn-around time is up to 48 hours.  However, there are many reasons why an SSL may take longer to be issued.  Once your SSL certificate has been installed successfully, you will receive an email notification to your primary email address on file.  After you get the SSL installed, you can show the Secure Comodo Seal on your website.  Check out our guide on how to show the secure seal for your site.

We also have a guide with more in depth instructions on how to purchase an SSL through InMotion Hosting.

Myths of SEO


Search engine optimization.  We talk about it a lot here, as most hosting companies do, because it is daunting and shrouded in mystery.  Literally, that’s not one of my usual exaggerations for comedic effect.  Google, as an example due to its popularity and nearness to taking over the world, keeps its algorithm a secret.  Like government agency secret; probably not “If I tell you, I’d have to kill you” secret, but pretty close.

Why all the secrecy?  Well, several reasons. It is difficult to have valid results for the searcher if websites know exactly what to do to get their website at the top of whatever list they want.  Further, you as a website or small business owner understand the importance of having a good ranking in relative terms, so if Google were to release their secrets to the masses, it would be even more difficult for small businesses to compete with larger companies.

This mystery adds a lot to the importance of your website’s content.  One thing has always remained true throughout the course of website searches – content is king.  If your content is specific and relative to your business, you will find that your ranking will naturally be high in the keywords most relative to your search.  The mystery also creates bad practices due to rumors, or outdated and incorrect information.  Or, even worse, someone finds a way to cheat the system, and that method spreads across the internet.  Suddenly, rankings go haywire, and when Google updates its ranking methods again (usually once or twice a year) all those websites tank in rankings.  Search engines keep track of those instances and it becomes very difficult for those sites to recover in ranking.

So, how do you know what’s a valid tip and what isn’t?  That’s what I’m here for. I’m going to help ease some of the rumors or old information that is still floating around and tell you what’s true and what isn’t.  It’s my own little digital myth busting, but with less explosions, and no moustaches.

Adding a location to your website increases your presence in local searches.

A lot of people don’t want to put their location anywhere on their website, especially if they don’t own a storefront.  But, don’t do that.  I’m not suggesting you put your address, phone number, birth date, and social security number on your site, just your city and state.  After all, if you didn’t pay for domain privacy, your information is publicly available on the internet anyhow.

Google now customizes searches to such a high degree, that a search for the exact same keyword with the exact same search history will result in different results if the searches are performed in different locations.  If I am looking for a plumber, I don’t care who the best plumber in New York is.  I want someone in Virginia Beach, Virginia because that’s where I’m located.


You can use this to your advantage by putting an area map on your site.  Also, if you are a business and list your service areas, you will have a broader search radius.  If you are not a business, try to focus some of your content on local items.  If you have a food blog (like me) post some recipes using local foods, or talk about some local events you attended.

Higher rankings locally will drive traffic to your site.  And traffic increases your overall ranking, so getting local traffic will help your site grow in popularity worldwide.

Lists show importance, so I should list a bunch of keywords on my home page.

Yes and no, but mostly no.

Yes, lists show the scanning bots that the information included in those lists is important.  So, if you have a set of skills, certifications, or services to offer, put them in a list on your home page.  But, don’t flood every page with lists of random keywords.

Relevance and readability are still factors, even to search engine bots.  So, make sure your lists make sense or use complete sentences if possible.  Also, as with everything, make sure your keywords are relevant to your website.  Search engine bots are so advanced now, they can determine if something will make sense to someone reading it.  If too many flags come up (like say, a smattering of random words) it will hurt your rankings more than help them.


Don’t ignore this just because it’s not your chosen keyword that needs to be on the list on your page.  Drawing attention to important words on your website is always a good thing. Plus, you never know what someone is searching for, so you don’t want to give up on something just because you don’t think it’s important.

Take advantage of this when developing your content.  Don’t stop at lists, and use italics, bold, and underline.  Anything designed to draw attention to certain aspects of your site will be a way of adding a private note to the bots that this information is most relevant to your website.

Keywords are the most important factor in SEO, so it is best to flood your website, HTML tags, and code with hundreds of keywords.

Please don’t do this.  It’s not helpful, and even if it were, your ranking would be all wonky and your site would show up places it doesn’t belong and that wouldn’t help you or your customers at all.  And, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times when discussing SEO, relevant keywords are what really matter.

Also, like I mentioned before, bots can tell when a keyword is just inserted on a page.  So, make sure that what you use matters, makes sense, and is relevant to the other information around it.


So, how do you get more keywords into your site?  Well, first do your research and select the most relevant keywords to the information you are providing.  Then, only use 3-5 for each page of your website.  This will give your pages focus and will reduce the stress of fitting 30 keywords onto one page.

When you are writing for your HTML tags, remember that they don’t matter as much as they used to.  Title tags are the most important, and after that, photo descriptions, everything else is just a possible bonus.  Bots don’t crawl tags as much as they used to because the information on your site and the information others say about your site is much more important.

Bots don’t read punctuation.

This is actually true.  Bots don’t care about punctuation as much as the words on the screen, so you can increase the number of relevant keywords in an HTML tag or page by creatively using punctuation to your advantage.

For example, if your key word phrases are:



InMotion Hosting is awesome

You can put all of these together in one short sentence.

“Dedicated to the customer is what InMotion Hosting is.  Awesome hosting is hard to come by.”

Notice that we have hosting in there twice, InMotion Hosting is in there, and paired with awesome hosting, and it all combines to make the phrase InMotion Hosting is awesome.  That is also the perfect length for a HTML Tag, full of keywords and not too long.

Did you catch the bonus keyword?  “Dedicated” is the start of the sentence.  Paired with the repetition of the word hosting, we are in a good place to be found when someone searches “Dedicated hosting” or dare I say, “Awesome dedicated hosting”.

Long story short, if you have questions about improving your search engine rankings, you should remember what I said at the start of this post: “Content is King”.  When in doubt, ensure that your content is well written, informative, and full of diverse media.

There are so many myths about SEO, and the internet is flooded with bad information, and this short post only scratched the surface.

So, stay tuned to this bat channel for more helpful tips and busting of SEO myths.

Creating Content: Surefire Ways to Inspire Written Content for Your Site

creating_contentI love to write, so for me, developing content for websites is easy.  As a matter of fact, I do it here at InMotion for some of our clients.

However, that experience has taught me that not everyone has the ability to sit down and put words to thoughts.  There’s nothing wrong with that, you know your business, if you’re a plumber, you know plumbing.  I’m a writer, so I know writing.

So how do you, as a plumber, jeweler, baker, or other tradesman, communicate your knowledge to your website easily?  It’s a big task, explaining what you do to a wide audience in writing for the world to see.  I assure you, you can do it without having to hire a professional content writer to do it for you.  After all, who knows your business better than you do?

I’m going to give you some tips and tricks for developing content for your website.  You’re getting insider hints on how to inspire the words and pick the best information to include on your website and where to place it.

Above the fold on your home page is prime real estate on your website.  So, keep the most important information there.  Anything you want your customers to be aware of as soon as they go to your website needs to be front and center.

What does “above the fold” mean?

Above the fold is a term for the area on a website that shows up at the top of the page.  Meaning, it’s the part of the site that you don’t have to scroll down to see.

Much like a newspaper headline, this information needs to be brief, to the point, and grab your visitor’s attention.

What to include above the fold:

  1. Your company name and logo.  Don’t leave any mystery about where the viewer is visiting.
  2. An easy to navigate site menu.  Anything to make getting around your site easier.
  3. Contact information.  If you want customers to call or email you as part of your business plan, put this up top.  Include any social media links you may have.
  4. A search feature.  If you have a blog, or anything informational, a search bar will help customers immediately get the information they need.
  5. Any promotions you are running.  If you have a sale or special, this is where to highlight it.  Make it big and brightly colored so it grabs attention.
  6. 1-3 important aspects of your business.  Ask yourself, what is the one thing I want people to know about my business?  Is it your customer service?  Your pricing?  Your credentials or knowledge?  Focus on that.  Then, in less than 200 words, explain it.  Your above the fold information should be graphic-based, so keep your words brief.

Don’t get too wordy with your home page.  Product or action images are great ways to get attention without overwhelming site visitors.

When writing your home page content, limit yourself to no more than 3 key aspects of your business.  Brainstorm your business and services and make a list.  Then narrow it down  to the most important and of that list, pick the top three.  Don’t worry, there will be a place for the other important features of your business, just not on the home page.

For example, the history of your company does not belong on the home page.  If you are including that, great!  This gives the customers something to connect to, but just make it a small phrase, not the whole history on the front of your site.  Try something like, “Established in 1997…” or “Locally owned and operated in Virginia Beach…”  Any more detail than that is more appropriate in the “About Us” section.

While making this list, call friends and family who know your business and ask them to describe it to you.  This may seem silly, but it’s important to have a feel for what outside parties think of the services you offer.  They may not fully match up with what you are trying to project.  If this is the case, your web content is a great place to revamp the image of your company.

In order to actually write the content for your home page, ask yourself these questions to get the inspiration flowing:

  1. Why is this important to me and my business?
  2. How do I display this in daily business operations?
  3. What have been the results of prioritizing this aspect of my business?

Keep your answers between 1 and 2 sentences here.  You can elaborate more in other pages of the site.  This is like teaser information.

Organize where you want your content laid out before you write.  That list you made before of the most important aspects of your business?  Use that as a starting point and outline where you want that information.  For example, you don’t want to introduce your prices in the About Us page.  Something that important deserves its own page.

Create an outline like this:

Home Page

  • Customer Service Focused
  • Guaranteed Pricing
  • Free Estimates

About Us

  • Family owned business.
  • Part of the local community for over 50 years.
  • Won best of local awards 12 years in a row.
  • Community Service projects.

Request A Quote

  • Free estimates
  • Guaranteed pricing
  • Contact form
  • Schedule and appointment

Get To Know Our Team

  • Staff photos
  • Staff credentials
  • Customer service focus
  • Short bios for staff members

Once you have those basic topics listed for each page, stick to them. Don’t try to put too much information on one page.  This will make it difficult to follow and your customers will lose interest in that page.  This makes finding information on your site tedious and can cause them to leave your site in search of another.

Even on pages further into your site, you want to keep the information short and sweet.  Try to keep your pages around 500 words total.  Break them up into short paragraphs, use lists to highlight important facts, and use images to depict things your words can’t.

Know your audience.  This seems simple, but if you are catering only to others in your field, you will not have to explain as much as you would if you were catering to novices or customers who know little to nothing about what you do.

When in doubt, find someone who fits your goal audience and ask them if what you have written makes sense.  Your site should be informative without being too complicated or too simple.  When writing, an outside opinion is invaluable.

Still not sure where to go from here?  Check below.  I’ve included a list of the questions I typically ask my content clients.  These questions usually give me enough understanding of my client’s business and goals that I can then use the answers to draft an entire site worth of content.

Answer the questions fully!  Provide as much information as you can and make lists of all the features where applicable.  This is not the place to cut words.  Once you have answered all these questions and have of paragraphs and pages worth of information, highlight all the parts that are the most critical.  If you’ve already made your list of SEO keywords, highlight any sentences where those keywords were used.

Once you’ve done that, all you have to do is string those highlighted sentences together in a way that makes sense. By using that information and just filling it into the pages you listed on your outline, you’ve got strong, relevant content.

Note: As you answer these questions, organize the answers, and think about the site layout, you may find that your original outline is not the best way to organize the site.  You might discover that two aspects are related and should be introduced together, but you have them on separate pages in your outline.  No worries.  Just adjust the outline to fit your changing needs.  It is a guide to keep your content focused, so it’s not set in stone.

  1. Describe your company or business plan.
  2. What services or products do you offer?
  3. Describe your work flow.  If you hand make products, what goes into it?  If you offer a service, how do you proceed when responding to a call or appointment?
  4. How long have you been in business?
  5. What made you decide to open your business?
  6. Have you won any awards or received any acknowledgements?
  7. What are your credentials?  What skills do you and your team bring to the business?
  8. What are others saying about you?  Include customer testimonials, local media, social media, and any word of mouth customers you are aware of.
  9. What are your business goals?
  10. What makes your business different from its competition?

Writing content is a lot of work, even when it comes easily to you. So, be prepared to take the time to do it properly.  But, don’t be afraid to make changes and updates to your content whenever applicable.  It is good to provide new information to your website regularly, so try to keep your site content fresh.

Consumer Driven Web Trends, Predictions for 2013

In a previous post on “Online Research Methods” I demonstrated some of the research techniques available to SEOs, writers, marketing experts and big data analysts. During my own research on web trends I have made some interesting discoveries that can help you learn about upcoming web search behavior related to your own niche.

I’d initially like to expand on use of the research methods I use from the original research method infographic. I have a personal interest in finding out what our own audience would love for me to write about, either through feedback, or understanding our audience demographic better. Taking a refreshing new look at where your audience comes from once in a while is a great exercise once in a while from a marketing standpoint.

First off I’d like to show you the “Google Trends” tool. There is a similar tool in Adwords that shows you a volume of search against certain keywords. The Adwords Keywords tool is insufficient for projecting trends for as there is no historical data. To ascertain what trends are breaking out, what is current, and relevancy to other behaviors that are following the same rate of change and seasonal behaviors, you’ll need the Google Trends tool.

Adwords Keywords tool is a great tool for scraping together a bucket list and finding which keywords present current opportunity for optimizing your site or advertising campaign. If you want to get down to the real nitty-gritty and find out why the opportunity exists, you need to find which opportunities are growing, plateauing, or falling.

Below is a graph I screenshot from the Google Trends tool. It has it’s own forecasting tool in it, and a bunch of related terms suggested for you to plug in and test out. I simply used search terms relevant to our audience taken from our popular posts and after a few permutations of related keywords. I found something that stood out as a rising trend that warranted further investigation. I’ve overlaid the trend graph with a the rough projection so you can see what caught my attention:

Out of all the interest in online web applications and and developer tools, the term “web apps” seems to show a distinct seasonal activity on top of a steadily increasing trend.

Clicking on the “web apps” tab gives us further segmented information on this activity. Google shows us not only is the term rapidly increasing in frequency of search but alongside it are many new breakout terms related to mobile devices. Note the mention of “android web apps”, and “web apps iphone“.

Where Is This Online Trend Behavior Coming From

Head on over to Google Correlate, which finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends. Here we can see what consumer driving forces are behind online trends by matching search volume patterns. Search terms may not be related, but by comparing seasonal behaviors you can tie-in the effect of the real world events.

In the case of the search term of “web apps”, Google suggests that the behavior for “iphone web” closely matches all the smaller seasonal peaks and possibly sale periods. Google has in it’s algorithms a correlation coefficient called “r”. The closer the correlation coefficient is to 1, the less variance there is between two trending behaviors.

I will certainly be paying closer attention to iPhone developments and releases now, with a view to how they impact our mobile app behavior.

How Much to Spend Online Marketing [Infographic]

Earlier in the year, we conducted a survey of website owners and managers to understand their online business. We wanted to learn something about the real issues that online business owners face when making decisions about their online advertising budget. Is social media marketing really free? Is it an important investment? The feedback may surprise you! As much as 35% of website owners are not spending on any marketing or advertising at all.

I have made a few assumptions in deriving this research, and for those academics who want to qualify the number crunching, please write a comment for me, and I’ll see if I can follow up personally. Following is an infographic showing some key results. The survey is still open, so we can take another look later on to compare differences in people’s spending budgets in 2013.

Click to Zoom, Right click to download –>

small business spend online advertising
Creative Commons License
Survey Results Spend on Online Marketing by InMotion Hosting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Link to this article, share these results by copying the code below:



We had 147 responders in June 2012. Our responders were prompted by our newsletters, and some social media feeds. The majority of the responders are therefore from our own customer base. Responders were divided into the amount they invested on their website hosting. Based on what they spend on web hosting, we have grouped the respondents by the type of hosting technology they use.

The ratios of groups sizes to one another seem to match patterns we see in our existing customer base. For example, more than half of the respondents are on a shared hosting plan. A smaller proportion of the respondents use Virtual Private Servers. Finally the smallest group spend on the dedicated servers.

147 respondents is too small a sample to give an accurate assessment of spending on online advertising. However, it is a significant pool to start to see spending habits and determine the focus for the next set of research. Let’s get started!

Website owner community: What portion of website owners are currently marketing?

Out of all the respondents that showed an interest in marketing costs, only 65% of them reported they actually put their hands in their pocket and spent money on promoting themselves. The average spend amongst those that did budget for online promotion was a surprisingly meager $202 per month.

We segregated spending into three different categories.

  • Spending on online advertising This includes all forms of paid advertising including Facebook paid ads, Google Adwords and Display Networks.
  • Spending on SEO – or Search Engine Optimization. This includes text-brokering, paying for press releases, link building, CRM subscriptions and analysis tools.
  • Spending on Social Media. This includes monthly subscriptions to CRMs for social media management, automation and scheduled posts tools, multiple account management tools.


How much do website owners spend on online advertising?

# respondents Web Hosting Totals Facebook ads SERPs Ads Display Network
147 All WebHosting Plans $12,730 $1,370 $7,070 $4,290
82 Shared Hosting $3,920 $650 $1,810 $1,460
50 VPS Hosting $6,550 $660 $3,600 $2,290
15 Dedicated Hosting $2,260 $60 $60 $540
Creative Commons License
Survey Results Small Business Spend on Advertising by @JulianaPayson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Across 147 respondents,  $12,730 a month is being poured into advertising. More than half of this money is going directly into Google Adwords Search Advertising. Of course dividing these numbers up into average spending across each web hosting group reveals a general trend that can be seen in the infographic. The more hosting horsepower individuals are investing in, the more advertising dollars they are spending.

What is not shown on the graph though is something harder to explain: That out of our sample of respondents the biggest pool of spending are those in VPS hosting, attempting to draw in their traffic mainly through Search advertising.
One insight the survey results seem to offer, is that as websites progress up in resource requirements, advertising focus moves away from paid search listings, to banner advertising on display networks.

How much do website owners spend on SEO?

# respondents Web Hosting Totals SEO Tools PR SPIN CRM
147 All WebHosting Plans $5,390 $2,940 $1,110 $1,340
82 Shared Hosting $2,300 $1,290 $460 $550
50 VPS Hosting $1,960 $1,120 $450 $390
15 Dedicated Hosting $1,130 $530 $200 $400
Creative Commons License
Survey Results How Much Spending on SEO by @JulianaPayson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

SEO spending is hard for people to quantify, so the questions were designed to prompt users into thinking about their spending habits.

Classic SEO spending comprises of subscriptions to SEOmoz analysis tools, and a lot of time backlinking and site restructuring. This represents the “SEO Tools” column. Next I have “PR Spin”, prompting individuals to admit to budgeting for text-brokering, press releases, or maybe even paid link-building services. Finally, and I think this is the most important for modern SEO, is the investment in CRM suites like Buzzstream for tracking those new webmaster to webmaster relationships and general business development.

The spending reports are not surprising. The biggest pool of spending is represented by those using Shared Hosting. These individuals are competing with other thousands of similar more established businesses. As the business becomes more steadfast and require more resources due to high traffic, they focus on more on embedding themselves into the web ecosystem using CRMs.


How much do website owners spend on Social Media?

# respondents Web Hosting Totals SMM Suites automation web 2.0 plugins
147 All WebHosting Plans $1,290 $430 $500 $360
82 Shared Hosting $440 $180 $150 $110
50 VPS Hosting $840 $240 $350 $250
15 Dedicated Hosting $10 $10 0 0
Creative Commons License
Survey Results Business Spend on Social Media by @JulianaPayson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Overall, Social Media tools receive less monetary commitment than any other form of online promotion. Even if you add in spending on Facebook promotions at an additional $1,370 across the board for all website groups, this total of $2,660 per month across our entire respondent pool represents a small amount of commitment.

This result was surprising. The importance of social media engagement for businesses is constantly over-hyped, yet here we have results that show it is the smallest portion of spending across the board by all online business.

Perhaps the general public opinion is that social media is free, and therefore should not be invested in. Our survey attempted to draw out any hours used and not accounted for by asking respondents what hours they spent doing online activities. There was simply not enough hours tallied up to draw any meaningful conclusion. There were not enough hours in any one category of activity to determine if site owners focus more on one job than another in marketing their websites.

One consistent fact across all responses, was that there is an even distribution of spending among all website owners. An average spend of less than $10 per person per month and no significant big spenders makes the social media marketing scene a steady outflow, but not an investment spend.

Want Free Content To Help Develop Your Website?

We aren’t just a webhosting company. We want your websites to thrive and host valuable information to generate your online business. Are you stuck with ideas on how to flesh out your website and need a quick boost of content to keep your audience reading? Here are three great tips you can put into immediate use to get Google crawling and your visitor traffic sticking around.

1./ Infographics

Infographics are great because they encourage your visitors to engage and scroll around for longer to disseminate the information. There is no ranking penalization for duplicate content, and they are quick and easy space fillers. Great ways to stimulate discussion on your website is to present your own critique of the infograph. Not only is that original, but your insight gives the reader a deeper understanding of your abilities as a contractor. Infographics are also readily pinnable for free publicity via Pinterest.

Some free infographics by InMotion Hosting:

How to Research [Infographic]

Make Money Online [infographic]

20 minute SEO Audit

Where does your Website Live

WordPress Essentials by Industry

SMO Periodic Table App Map

HTML5 Cheat Sheets [Infographic]

2./ Web Freebies

Templates, icon sets, and anything your readers can download and come to you for recommendations. This saves them a search, and it also gets you bookmarked. Don’t forget to include videos as learning resource materials. Here are a few of our own you can share. I hope this also gives you ideas on what else you can host:

InMotion Hosting recommends these cool tools:

Social Media Tracker [Cool Tool]

eCommerce IconPack [Downloads]

Favicon & iTouch icon Generator

Facebook Cover Template [PSD Template]

Facebook Timeline Hack [PSD Template]

Let’s Explain Webhosting [Video]

Animate Google Plus [PSD Template]

3./ Guest Author content

It’s a well-known fact that getting valuable content contribution to your blog in exchange for a link can benefit both parties and strengthen your business relationships on the web…

Use our “How To Research Infographic” to find people on the internet to build solid online relationships. The exchange may be different for each and every website. As an example, I’ve embedded our upcoming blogroll to show where we look for contribution or exchange. If any of these articles apply to you, then please do reach out and place a comment on this blog. I’ll soon follow up and see what we can do for you!

Click here to add this document to your Google Docs:

You are free to use our content on your websites, critique it, and re-use it for personal or business use, all we require is a link back to our website. Simply copy and paste code below:

#IMHhangout | How to Research [Infographic]

Click this Image to Circle us and join our hangout! Wednesdays 2pm-3pm PST Western Time. November 14 2012

Live #IMHhangout recording can be watched at the end of this post!

Right Click to view full size
How To Research

Creative Commons License
How to Research Infographic by InMotion Web Hosting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Copy HTML Code To Share the Research Methods Infographic On Your Website

Our discussion channel for webmasters, is a live Q+A is a broadcast via Google Hangouts supported with a live twitter chat stream via #IMHhangout.

Is it a national and social problem that people don’t know how to research?. Social networks have allowed the majority of us to believe information is readily available. Take a look at Yahoo! Answers; these questions are easily searchable via Google, Bing, or any search engine. Type a question in on Yahoo’s homepage search bar and find a solution. Google’s interactive searchbar even does math and conversions for you. The skill itself of “Research” has become diluted in it’s meaning.

Today I’m exposing a range of web 2.0 research tools you’ve probably never heard of. This world of online data is important for small business, website owners, college students, interviewees, and analysts. The format is going to be a fairly open forum for debate, opinions, and shared experience, here are the guide questions to stimulate your thoughts.

Questions to follow a round of introductions: I’ve prepared a couple of handouts for you to keep track of in this huge subject!

  1. Introduce yourself!  #students #writers #smallbusiness #webpro
  2. What are your favorite Web 2.0 research tools: #analytics #trends #adwords
  3. What in the past helped you learn the importance of research? #college #competition
  4. Are there any research methods missing from our flow chart?

Creative Commons License
Click to open the supporting notes document here! This is provided as a Google Document to allow printing and sharing. Feel free to do so!

How to Research Notes by WordPress Hosting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


How to Find the #IMHhangout

  • Look for our Custum URL [or click here]: google.com / +inmotionhosting
  • Type ‘InMotion Hosting‘ into google plus search to find our brand profile page. On your mobile device you have to do this through ‘people‘ [not circles] profile search to view our page profile.
  • Do a hard refresh [hold down shift + refresh] near broadcast time to make sure our google plus page refreshes and shows you the invitation to ‘join hangout

Our Hangouts are LIVE and recorded. As such you will be prompted to give permission to be recorded upon joining the hangout. Since the hangout is recorded, it is not an open public forum. Attendance is by invitation only, which you will receive once adding us on Google plus. We cannot issue invitations to those not already in our circles.

We are aware some of you get messages like this when accessing from your mobile device:

“This hangout is not currently supported on this device” In the mean time the only suggestion I have is to leave the G+ app, and restart it if you see this message come up. Even so, please don’t let this hold you back! We value your input through the TweetChat hashtag, make sure you tag your conversation with #IMHhangout so that everyone in the community can see your voice!

Keep an eye on this blog page as details get added to see who’s joining in! We are looking forward to giving you all a spot here in the live broadcast – so make sure you jump in

Circle us!

@InMotionHosting #IMHhangout will be hosted by @JulianaPayson.

Our team to welcome you and help you in the live chat are:

@AnieA203 – Our in-house Graphic Designer, will be scanning our Tweetchat

@IMH_Affiliate – Our Affiliate Manager, will be keeping a deft eye on G+ and hopefully making sure you can jump in.

@Maria_InMotion – Our SEO and Partner Specialist will be watching out for people on Facebook to make sure you get a mention.

A previous hashtracking report shows that we had over 127,000 impressions on #IMHhangout!

#IMHhangout | Make Money Online [infographic]

Click this Image to Circle us and join our hangout! Wednesdays 2pm-3pm PST Western Time. October 17 2012

See #IMHhangout recording at end of blog post!

Click to Zoom

Creative Commons License
Make Money Online Infographic by WordPress Hosting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Copy HTML Code To Share the Make Money Online Infographic On Your Website


Our weekly webmasters live Q+A is a broadcast via Google Hangouts supported with a live twitter chat stream #IMHhangout.

Everybody wants to make money online! If you are on the internet, there is a part of you aware of the massive online income potential that everyone else seems to partake in. Whether you are looking to gain freelance gigs, earn through advertising, sell services, do information marketing, or simply learn what affiliate marketing is all about, this hangout could be your starting point! This subject has the broad scope to enable a talk for a long time, so as the host I’ll simply aim to eek out of those that join us what has worked for them in the hope you might glean something useful for yourselves. The format this week is going to be a fairly open forum for debate, opinions, and shared experience, here are the guide questions to stimulate your thoughts.

Questions to follow a round of introductions: I’ve prepared a couple of handouts for you to  keep track of in this huge subject!

  1. List methods of online income: #affiliate #adsense #freelance
  2. What is your niche (if you make money online) #elance, #clickbank #seo
  3. What websites helped you learn about making money online?
  4. Do you agree or disagree with our top online money making resources?

Creative Commons License
Make Money Online Infographic by WordPress Hosting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Copy HTML Code To Share the Make Money Online Glossary On Your Website



How to Find the #IMHhangout

  • Look for our Custum URL [or click here]: google.com / +inmotionhosting
  • Type ‘InMotion Hosting‘ into google plus search to find our brand profile page. On your mobile device you have to do this through ‘people‘ [not circles] profile search to view our page profile.
  • Do a hard refresh [hold down shift + refresh] near broadcast time to make sure our google plus page refreshes and shows you the invitation to ‘join hangout

We received a comment on one of our hangouts that one viewer couldn’t jump in. Google hangouts do work through iPhones and mobile devices. Unfortunately we cannot explain why some of you get messages like this:

“This hangout is not currently supported on this device” – So we are aware difficulties like this do happen, as this is what I saw on my iPhone. I’m looking forward to suggestions from other mobile people on how they overcome this. In the mean time the only suggestion I have is to leave the G+ app, and restart it if you see this message come up. Even so, please don’t let this hold you back! We value your input through the TweetChat hashtag, make sure you tag your conversation with #IMHhangout so that everyone in the community can see your voice!

Keep an eye on this blog page as details get added to see who’s joining in! We are looking forward to giving you all a spot here in the live broadcast – so make sure you jump in

Circle us!

@InMotionHosting #IMHhangout will be hosted by @JulianaPayson.

Our team to welcome you and help you in the live chat are:

@AnieA203 – Our in-house Graphic Designer, will be scanning our Tweetchat

@IMH_Affiliate – Our Affiliate Manager, will be keeping a deft eye on G+ and hopefully making sure you can jump in.

@Maria_InMotion – Our SEO and Partner Specialist will be watching out for people on Facebook to make sure you get a mention.

Our last hashtracking report shows that we had over 127,000 impressions on #IMHhangout!