Managed WordPress Hosting FAQ

1. What is Managed WordPress hosting?

Managed WordPress hosting was intended to be a concierge service where the host would provide hands-off WordPress installation and management for its users.

However, from what I see today, the term has loosened and grown to generally include web hosting which has extensive WordPress-specific features.

Managed WordPress hosting WP Engine catering the needs of WordPress developers.

2. What are the Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting?

This depends on the host you sign up with and can range from automated WordPress installations all the way to complete WordPress site management and service (including security audits, optimization and so on).

To summarize in a single phrase, I can say that it’s mainly for those who know that they will be using (and sticking to) the WordPress platform.

3. What are the Drawbacks of Managed WordPress Hosting?

Price. Almost without exception, Manged WordPress hosting sells at a premium above standard shared hosting service. The discrepancy might be as little as a few dollars to even ten times as much. Exactly how much the difference is depends on to what extent the WordPress service you sign up for is different.

$92/mo for a 10 WordPress site hosting.

4. Who would Benefit from Using Managed WordPress Hosting?

This is a broad and subjective question, but I would say for sure; small businesses, large volume sites, multi-site users.

All of these will benefit from manged WordPress hosting.

However, I would also say to a lesser extent, even regular WordPress users can reap the advantages, as long as they’re willing to put up with the price.

5. Can I Still Self-Install and Update Plugins and Themes?

Of course! Managed WordPress hosting is to help you in your process, not interfere with it. You can for sure install the stuff you want no matter which managed WordPress host you go with.

6. Must I run WordPress on my Managed WordPress Hosting?

Yes. Managed WordPress hosting’s entire purpose is to support and streamline the operations of WordPress sites specifically. While some features may benefit other types of applications, the overall intent is to focus on WordPress.

7. Is Managed WordPress Hosting Secure?

In general, there have been some concerns about the security of WordPress but that’s simply because it’s an application that is in such widespread use.

A managed WordPress hosting environment will in general help keep your WordPress up to date and hence, more secure. In many cases, the hosting provider will also help you monitor your tools and plugins for greater security as well.

8. Will my site be Faster?

Site speed depends on various factors, but in general, Manged WordPress accounts are optimized for running this application. As such it is likely to be faster than the average comparable WordPress site. To what extent, depends on individual optimizations of web hosts.

Your Domain Name Matters. Or Does It?

Google. Ebay. WordPress. Etsy. FaceBook. Alibaba.

You know them all very well, for sure! Was it name that you remembered or a brand?

It’s name of course, and name is converted into a brand later.

The question is, does it really matter to have best domain name?

Domain names matter, why?

A lousy domain name can be quite a nightmare.

For example www.dicksonweb.com – I bet manufacturer of instruments for monitoring temperature, humidity and pressure Dickson wasn’t aware that www.DicksonWeb.com can be also read as www.DicksOnWeb.com!

* The company website is now redirected to dicksondata.com ever since, all traffics to DicksonWeb are now divert to the new website.

Now why a name matter a lot has several reasons. Here they go:

  • If your domain name is short yet meaningful, it means it can be remembered by people at once, and will cover the targeted market as well.
  • Long URLs have greater probability of getting misspelled by users.
  • Long URLs if separated by [-] can resolve the issue of misspelling, and can also help search engines to index a site for the keywords in the URL.
  • If your domain name contains a keyword in it, chances of getting in top pages of SERP results are much higher.

Well, domain names though play a vital role in websites’ popularity, but cannot be considered as the only factor.

There’re many other things that make up a good, popular site.

Quality of services stands first among all, i.e. your visitors rate and spread word about your site only when they find value in it. And, the other major factor that contributes towards the popularity is right marketing at right time, but this is very much relevant to the first one, i.e. highly satisfied visitors do half of your marketing themselves.

Be choosy while selecting domain name, as it represents the core essence of your site, but do not stick to the name only.

How to Earn Money Through Blogging (A Beginners Guide)

Are you eager to make money through your blog? Blogging has been a source of income for many bloggers for many years. Some even hit $100,000 a month from their blogs.

Pat Flynn’s income report.

Impressive, right?

Well, you can also earn a good amount of money blogging. As more and more people are turning to the internet to find products or services, the demand for quality content is on the increase.

So, let’s dive into the details of how to earn from a blog.

Getting started…

1- Create a blog (duh)

To make money, you need to start a blog.

First, you have to choose a profitable niche. Do your research to determine what you intend to blog about. Identifying your passion is a right step towards a profitable blog. Find out what inspires you.

Now that you know what to write about, find a blogging platform to set up your blog. Go for self-hosted platforms like WordPress and choose a hosting service. DreamHost, BlueHost, and SiteGround are a few examples. However, there are other hosting providers to choose from.

2- Build traffic

Building an audience is important if you want to earn from affiliate commissions or selling products/services. Here are a few tactics:

  1. Social media is a good tool to promote new posts that will direct readers to your site. Use the same theme as your blog for consistency.
  2. Learn how to optimize your content for search engines. This is a must-have technique if you want your blog to pop up on Google search.

Now, to money making tips…

3- Affiliate marketing

This is a referral program where you receive a commission when a reader buys a products or services from an affiliate link on your website.

It’s a profitable technique and easy to set up.

The key is to provide relevant content that will make the reader want to use that product or service. Great content is critical in blogging. You want to help your readers find solutions to their problems or pain.

4- Banner ads and sidebar ads

There are two ways to earn with ads.

  • Pay per click (PPC) means you earn money every time your readers click an ad.
  • Cost per thousand (CPM) pays you for every 1,000 impressions from your ad.

The higher the number of readers you have, the more you’ll earn from these ads.

5- Sponsored blog posts

Here, a company pays you to write about a particular product/service and post it on your blog. Reviews are the most common form of sponsored blog content.

This is one of the easiest ways to earn cash. However, it’s only possible to get such opportunities if you have a strong niche and large audience.

6- Guest blogging

When you’re an established blogger, brands and organizations such as the press will request that you contribute articles on specific topics on their website.

You must be knowledgeable about certain topics to become an authority in your field.

7- Sell eBooks, courses, and tutorials

Your skills can generate a lot of income by creating an eBook, an online course or tutorials and offering it to your readers at a fee. But first, you need to build credibility with your audience to show that you can offer valuable lessons in your niche.

8- Use your blog to find clients

Whether you’re selling products online or offering a service such as coaching, your blog is the best platform to make cash.

Use it to promote your business and showcase what you offer. If you’re a freelance writer, you can show potential clients the type of content you offer and how you’ll help their business.

Ready to take the challenge?

Discover the right niche, do thorough research and start your blog. Have the right mindset: which is to think of your blog as a business. Figure out the best methods to monetizing your blog and implement them slowly.

Q&A Platforms: One Quick Way to Grow Without Google

 

The trick is to monitor ongoing conversations in your niche and chip in whenever you have something to say and add value to the conversation with your content.

Alert tool like Google Alert would help (to keep track of latest trends and new conversations) but to scale up, collaborate, and to make the biggest bang in shortest time, you’ll have to rely on tools like Feedly and AHREFS to manage your content. More about this later.

Custom-build your content in order to fit in a hot conversation.

For example if someone asked about how to do something with .htaccess code, you can write a simple tutorial on your blog, then answer the question at the Q&A site and suggest the users to visit your blog for the actual codes and demos. Or even better, build a tool to cater their needs. An auto .htaccess code generator fits in perfectly in our example.

Quora

Quora are, for now, the best three general Q&A platforms to draw traffics. Though – you’ll have to swim through the spammers to stand out. I knew a few  businesses benefited handsomely by answering questions and being useful to their potential customers.

Also, this is where AHREFS kicks in. One easy way to identify the right Quora questions to answer is by looking at its search traffic. You can get a rough estimate by exploring the top pages stats on AHREFS.

Stack Overflow

If you are a publisher who sells programming books – StackOverflow is a good place to be at. http://stackoverflow.com/questions

Or at least, ask your developers to stay active at the site.

Trip Advisor

The site TripAdvisor.com needs no introduction. The website has the influence in estimated 10.3% global travel – which translate to about $546 billion in travel spending

If you are starting running a travel agency – Answering questions on Trip Advisor Forum (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ForumHome) should be one of  your primary online marketing tactics.

More than just traffic sources

Q&A sites can work more than just a source of web traffic.

Information exists on Internet to answer people’s question.

People ask questions and consume content on Q&A sites because they have a problem that needs fixing.  If one person is asking, chances are there are thousands more wondering the same thing.

This makes Q&A site a good place to scout for content idea. Every question asked on Quora or Trip Advisor can be a good title for your next blogpost.

 

Customize Your Theme Without Breaking It

WP core, theme, plugin updates can mess up a lot of features. Here we’ll see a few ways of adding your own custom stuff without breaking anything or at least reducing the risks.

#1- Child theme

An advanced option, ok if you are a coder and want to go crazy with your custom code – do it in your child theme.

#2- A plugin

Sometimes you just need some additional features, a plugin is the way to go there. Good for widgets, shortcodes, and the best part is that you can find a lot of free / premium plugins out there to do the job.

#3- Custom CSS

Most themes provide that field, and CSS isn’t really rocket science. Once you get used to it you can do some cool things with CSS only (maybe list a few examples, pseudo elements, disable click…)

#4- Custom JS

Most modern WordPress themes come with an “integration” field, for Google Analytics or similar code. Well, you can use that one as well for some jQuery wizardry.

Switching to VPS Hosting

The most basic websites start off with a shared hosting plan – which is cheapest and requires the least technical knowledge/ability to start.

Advantages and disadvantages of a shared web host (source: WHSR).

Shared hosting accounts shared a pool of server resources assigned by hosting companies – if one of the shared hosting accounts gulps a large share of resources – other websites hosted on the same server will suffer slow load time or even outage. This is a common problem for a web host that practices overselling.

An article on Winning WP says that:

You should almost definitely consider moving away from shared hosting if you’re running a serious online business

I beg to differ. As long as your website is working alright there is no reason to switch to a VPS. But if you need a hosting environment with better security, flexibility, and reliability – a VPS host is your next move.

Here’s when you should consider switching –

  • Getting high incoming traffics – you need to upgrade your server capacity. Sometimes you will get notified by your shared hosting provider when you are pulling too much resources from the shared server.
  • When you need a stable stream of server resources for better reliability.
  • To implement better backups, advanced monitoring, and security features (secure shell access – SSH).
  • When you need complete control over your web host – to install a custom software or custom configuration, for examples.
  • To manage multiple clients’ website hosting on your account – for example if you are a web developer who help your clients to design and host their websites; and you want to give server access to your clients.

A comprehensive guide to VPS hosting

Comprehensive guide on VPS hosting (source: HostPapa)

Three Useful Pinterest Boards for Bloggers

Pinterest presents an easy way to consume web content – especially for visual-based learners. For bloggers, experienced or newbies, here are the three Pitnerest Boards I highly recommend:

Run2 Blog

Digital marketing, social media, SEO, PPC, UX design, business ideas – Run2 Blog Pinterest Board covers pretty much everything you need to start and grow a blog.

URL > https://www.pinterest.com/run2agency/run2-blog/

Smart Passive Income Podcasts

From running an eight-figure business to motivational speaking and jumping higher – Pat Flynn has done it all. This Pinterest Board collects Pat’s weekly interviews as well as his advice for building an online business. Your blog is a business – so build it.

URL > https://www.pinterest.com/patrickflynn/smart-passive-income-podcasts/

Writing Advice, Tips & Tools

The universal rule in blogging: Better writer = better blogger. Tips shared in this board will help you to be a better writer.

URL > https://www.pinterest.com/kamigarcia/writing-advice-tips-tools/

On Choosing A Web Host: My Best Is Not Your Best

There are 1000 hosting companies in the world and they all claim they are the best.

And majority of them are, in fact, correct.

Because “Best” is relative.

What’s best for me is best for (well) me. What’s best for you might not be right for me.

If I am hosting my school projects that I only need the site to be alive for the next 6 months, a free web host with limited features like 000 Web Host or Award Space would be *the best* for me.

Not only that your “Best” hosting provider – like this one, that gives ultra fast network, excessive server resource,  and spoon-fed customer support that charges $200/month is not best, it’s not even in my first 100 consideration list.

Truth is – those looking to emerge on the internet have a slew of options and an abundance of hosting providers.  You have got your free web hosting services – as mention earlier. Then there’s shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud, as well as managed cloud (something only seen recently).

It really depends on what you want and need; and how much you are willing to pay. Different websites have different needs – you should select a host that suits your budget and requirements.

Knowing your needs before signing up the “best” hosting

So what does your website need from its host?

Can you answer that question in clear-written bullet points? Some basic questions to ask yourself include:

  • What kind of website or blog are you building?
  • Are you going to build and host just one website; or multiple?
  • Do you need to park a lot of unused domain names with this host?
  • Do you want something common (a WordPress blog, perhaps) so it’s easier to get help?
  • Do you need Windows applications?
  • Do you need support for a specific programming language (like Java or Python)?
  • How much your website traffic is going to grow for the next 6 months?

Hosting Reviews and Best Lists?

Don’t rely too much on what you can find on Google – 9 out of 10 of these “best hosting listing” are heavily biased and manipulated by affiliate commission. There’s a reason why people nowadays all push for iPage, SiteGround, BlueHost, Hostgator, and so on as the “Best” web host. Because these are the companies that pay the fattest commission.

Look for lists that rank a web host based on performance data and real user reviews. Usually this means the list consists of both popular and less well-known names. Check site owner’s credibility before trusting their reviews and advice.

If a deal sounds too good to be true – very likely it is.

Here are three best hosting list I found useful – there are data-driven, comes with clear earning disclosures, and their authors are out from the dark (known for their reputation). If you were looking for a web host, start with the brands mentioned in these guide.

Characteristics of a good web host

To say any hosting service is best (or even good), they should perform exceptionally well in following aspects with consistency:

  1. Server performance – How often your host goes down? Is your host loading quick? Does the company provide SLA on server and network uptime? What is the compensation if your server goes down?
  2. Hosting upgrade options – Is there room to grow? Can you upgrade your host easily?
  3. Numbers of addon domain – How many domains and websites can you host in one account? Domain names are so cheap these days – you WILL own more than one website.
  4. Costs – Simple question, can you afford the host?
  5. Email hosting – Can you host your own email?
  6. Site backup – How often is your account backup? Can you restore your backup by yourself easily? Does your host charge restoration fee?
  7. After-sales service – Can you get help easily?

Again – when you are choosing a hosting solution, bear in mind that what you want is to select the one that suits you the best. It’s not about finding the best web host in the world, it’s finding the best web host for your website and business.

Basic HTML for Bloggers

Ten years ago, you had to know some web coding to protect yourself, but now there are so many editors and plugins available that even knowing the basics of HTML is no longer required to run a successful blog.

The problem with this is that if you don’t know a few basics, you can easily get into real trouble in your blog and have to hire a pricey developer to fix what may be a minor problem. Not only that, but creating  changes to your blog such as adding a custom text widget requires a little knowledge.

And if you are experiencing content layout doesn’t look right, HTML knowledge can get you back on track/.

Here are some very basic HTML pointers for bloggers.

* Another main reason (with simple fix) why your site don’t look the way you intended to is because your website fonts are not installed in your users’ devices. The easy fix of this is to stick with web safe fonts.

Word of Warning Before Writing HTML

I want you to get comfortable using these tags, but you should always remember that if you leave out a portion of the tag, you can cause serious problems.

Each tag has an end and a beginning, and leaving one of those out tells the computer that the tag is still open… and all the following code will be included in that tag.

In addition, please type it out. If you copy and paste what I’ve written, you may get problems when the site interprets your code.

Links: The <a> tag

One of the most important things to know is how to make links. The latest update of WordPress  is experiencing some issues with some “no follow” plugins, so while you are waiting for a compliant plugin, you’ll need to know how to set up a nofollow link for your sponsored and product review posts.

The tag looks like this:

<a href="http://www.websiteyouarelinking.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Website Name</a>

In the “a” is the tag, “href” tells the browser where to take the visitor once she clicks the link. The target “_blank” tells the browser to open that link in a new tab – very important so that visitors don’t leave your website completely. Next, we have the all-important “nofollow” link that you need to ensure you don’t get penalized by Google for compensated posts. (If you are writing a post that is not compensated, you can leave out ‘rel=”nofollow”’ to give the link a boost on Google.) Next comes the title – make it accurate and SEO-friendly. Finally, “</a>” closes this tag.

Images: The <img> Tag

Sometimes you’ll want to create text widgets that includs images or linked images.

This is the code –

Pulling in a single image:

<img alt="Gluten Free Brownies" src="http://mom-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2014016_brownies.jpg" width="490" height="293" />

Notice that this is a SINGLE tag, but it ends with “ />” to close the  tag. In this tag, you’ll see “alt” tag. This is what you fill out after you load your image and is necessary for visitors who are visually impaired. (Make sure you use it to denote what the photo is, and not what you want your SEO to be.) “Src” is the link to where your image is actually located. “Width” and “height” are just that – the size of your image in pixels. This is optional, and should match your actual image size, or else the image will appear warped.

Here’s how to set up an image with a link:

<a href="http://www.websiteyouarelinking.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img alt="Gluten Free Brownies" src="http://mom-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2014016_brownies.jpg" width="490" height="293" /></a>

As you can see, you simply replace the text from our <a> tag example (“Website Name”) with an image link and viola!

The Paragraph Tag: <p></p>

Obviously, this tag puts your text or image in it’s own paragraph with spacing above the opening <p> and after the closing </p>.

Usually, your theme’s blog or will have it styled so that there is a certain amount of space above or below it. You can easily adjust that by with a bit of style right in the tag.

This is how it’s done:

<p style="width:200px; padding-right:5px; text-align:center;">Welcome to my blog!</p>

That style tag allows all kinds of sizes and options, but here are these basic ones.

  • “Width” is the actual width of that paragraph. This had created a 200 pixel width paragraph. Make sure you width is NOT bigger than your column or  just leave width out to spread  text to the size of the column.
  • “Padding” literally puts space around your paragraph. You can add 5 pixels of space just to the right, for example, like it’s done here, if you feel your paragraph is too close to the edge on the right side. You can do the same for padding-left, padding-top and padding-bottom. You also have the options of “padding:5px” to put 5 pixels around each and every side.
  • “Text-align” justifies your text within the paragraph. Options are center, left, right and justify which spreads the text out to be even on both sides.

Finally, you can use a paragraph with images and links as well but make sure your images’ width fits in your column too. Note that padding is added to that width:

<p style="padding-right:5px; text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.websiteyouarelinking.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img alt="Gluten Free Brownies" src="http://mom-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2014016_brownies.jpg" width="490" height="293" /></a><p>

The Link Break Tag: <br />

This tag  gives you a one line return without a paragraph. It can be used inside a paragraph if you want a series of lines where you single line breaks that you select yourself (so that you can even out the lines) and still have a paragraph around it, like so:

<p style="width:200px; padding-right:5px; text-align:center;">Welcome to my blog!<br />Come in and make yourself at home.</p>

Styles

Now that I’ve already showed you some styles, I’m going to quickly list a few more that are useful for creating those text widgets:

  • BOLD: Place bolded text inside these tags: <strong>Text goes here</strong>
  • ITALICS: Place italicized text inside these tags: <em>Text goes here</em>
  • BOLD+ITALICS: Place text inside:<strong><em>Text goes here</em></strong>

Heading Tags

For SEO purposes, you may want to use critical tags with your site’s main keywords in text widgets (on your sidebar, footer, etc.) These are heading tags and Google gives more weight to them. For example, your blog’s theme will usually have titles and site name within these tags.

These tags are:

  • <h1>Text goes here</h1>
  • <h2>Text goes here</h2>
  • <h3>Text goes here</h3>
  • <h4>Text goes here</h4>
  • <h5>Text goes here</h5>
  • <h6>Text goes here</h6>

hese tags are in size order, with <h1> being the largest. Google gives the most weight to text in <h1>, next weight to <h2> and so on.

Often, <h1> tags are quite large and may have a color. To eliminate that, you can enter something this:

<h1 style=”color: #000; font-size: 12px; font-weight:normal;”>Your new title here.</h1>

That will give you black text (color: #000;) in a 12 pixel font (font-size: 12px;) and remove bold (font-weight:normal;). If this does not work, your site may have been coded in a more complex manner and you may simply want to select a smaller heading tag.

Bullets

Bulleted or numbered lists are a great way to show content to your audience. But you might find “weird” or inconsistent spacing when you edit them. This is what they should  look like in your text editor:

<ul>
   <li>Item 1</li>
 <li>Item 2</li>
 <li>Item 3</li>
 </ul>

<ul> means “unordered list” – this will give you bullets. (If you want to use a numbered list, simply change all the “ul” tags to “ol.”) <li> means list item. There are times you’ll hit a return and it will create another <ul> within your list or close your list and start a new  one in the middle. It should look like some variation of the above, so if you see extra “<ul>” opening and closing tags, you can delete them.

Try Writing Your Own

This will help you get started, but please make sure that you back up your site fully first (including theme) so you can restore.

If you get into trouble with a widget, you can just remove it to figure out where you wrote the wrong code.

Finally, feel free to type as normal in your visual editor and compare what you see in the text editor to get a feel for these basics.

More Resources:

Hosting Operating System (OS): Unix & Windows

Operation system, or normally known as OS, is a platform for your computer to work. An OS has to be installed on your computer before any other software. The operating system is so important that it takes care of almost all the basic operation on your computer: from shutting down the PC to handling the memory to coordination among hardware.

Now in case you not know, not just that your personal computer needs an OS.

Your hosting server needs one too! (surprise? duh…) In the world of web hosting OS, there’re two major players, namely Unix and Windows.

Unix (Linux & FreeBSD) Hosting

While there are more than 80% of the PCs runs on Windows; there aren’t so much running on servers.

Instead, web hosting server are normally runs on Unix base.

Note that Unix is not a single operating system. It offers many modern variants also referred to as flavors, types, distributions, or implementations, which branch from its origins in early 1970s mainframe computing.

Reason Unix-based OS is so popular is because that the OS is an open source operating system – thus free to use.

The 2 most popular variations are Linux and FreeBSD.

Windows Hosting

On top of personal computer OS Windows 10, 8, Vista, XP, etc; Microsoft do have their own operating system designed specifically for servers.

One of the well-known server OS from Microsoft is Windows Server 2003, and in case you’re familiar with Windows, you should be aware that Windows Sever 2008 is already in the market.

Unix > Windows?

Unix is developed in the Universities for the purpose of research and has been focusing more on networking and speed. Windows is a commercial product developed and targeted to the home users. Unix is built to be more powerful, secure and fast while Windows is built to be more user friendly and easy to use.

Most webmasters and developers lean over Unix systems as they are  generally better, in term of stability and security, Windows OS.

(* I didn’t find hard proof on this claim though).

After so many years of development, Unix has been evolved into a very stable, secure and powerful platform for the servers. On the other hand, Windows (Microsoft Corporation) is still consider to be a new comer to the server market.

What you need to know: Unix or Windows?

You should always go for a Unix web host unless you have some specific requirements that require Windows platform.

Not only Unix is more powerful and secure in networking but it is also cheaper because Unix is *FREE*! If a web host setup their servers to run Windows 2003, he will need to purchase the license from Microsoft and this will increase the hosting price.

You will need a Windows host if you want to use some Windows-only features. The most common are ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, etc. If you have never heard of any of these application, you most probably won’t need a Windows host.

Cut it short, ASP.NET and ColdFusion are scripting language. Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Access are databases.