6 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid as A New Blogger

If you ask any successful blogger what he/she regrets most, they all admit they made mistakes they could’ve avoided.

Blogging is a great source to earn a living writing about what you love. When you’re getting started, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed – not knowing where to start. But don’t sweat it, today we highlight some of the common mistakes new bloggers make and how to avoid them.

1. You’re not consistent

It’s easy to get over excited and too ambitious when starting out your blog. You have so many ideas and you publish like a maniac. However, after some time, the momentum dies and you start publishing fewer articles.

Likewise, publishing without a pattern will cost you your readers. Unpredictability will frustrate your audience.

Solution: Try to set a schedule so that readers know exactly when to expect a blog post from you. Keep it steady and predictable.

2. Using free hosting platforms

Almost every new blogger starts with a free hosting platform. At first, you’ll feel it’s simple and straightforward. But then, one day you wake to find that your website has been taken down.

To make a good first impression, spend money to secure a domain name and a good web hosting provider. This gives you full control of your blog and allows you to grow with the demand. You should aim to build your brand from the word go.

Solution: Try NameCheap for domain registration; TMD Hosting for web hosting. I like NameCheap because of its competitive pricing (that’s the most important thing you need from a domain registrar). I like TMD Hosting for their very affordable pricing  and transparency in ToS. Also, their hosting performance is excellent based on this review at Web Hosting Secret Revealed (WHSR).

3. Not building an email list

A blog is not all about getting visitors but converting them into subscribers. Building an email list ensures that you have a steady traffic from your subscribers. When you introduce a new product or service, they’ll be your first customers. That’s securing your future.

Solution: Using one of the many email marketing tools, include a CTA in your blog to connect with new subscribers.

4. Not using catchy headlines and images

The sad fact is that about 10% of readers don’t scroll down to read text content. But, using an image shows that readers stay a little longer on your page.

Simple headline hack – Use a list (source)!

Solution: Use a beautiful or funny image at the top of your blog post. Combine this with a catchy headline and you can expect hundreds if not thousands of clicks.

5. Not using whitespace

There’s a reason why a majority of blogs use a white background. It all boils down to readability and usability. White space doesn’t strain your eyes and makes reading easier.

Solution: Always use a whitespace. Keep your paragraphs short with a maximum of 5 sentences. Shorter sentences are better.

6. Plagiarism

Nothing costs you an audience faster than plagiarism. Readers hate copied content and as a new blogger, that’s a mistake you don’t want to make.

Solution. Focus on originality. Establish your voice to build confidence and trust among your readers. If you must include another person’s ideas, remember to cite them.

Conclusion

Blogging can be simple and fun if you have all the facts correct. We make mistakes. However, what’s important is picking ourselves up, dusting off and becoming better. Avoiding these pitfalls will help you be on the safe side in your journey to blogging success.

Now, go out and get it done!

Why You Need a Good WordPress Hosting Service

Now, you have a domain name and a professional-looking website. The only thing preventing your audience from accessing your products or services is web hosting.

A web hosting basically means renting a server space to place your web files.

A website without a host will not be live on the internet. Web hosts manage servers that enable you to reach your target customers. With your domain name and a hosting service, you’re ready to get down to business.

website hosting matters

The importance of web hosting

1- Flexible customization options

The major drawback of using free web hosts is the lack of identity. Your brand should be unique to make your mark online. However, with a free hosting platform, you share your brand with the host. A good example is yourdomain.wordpress.com. Notice the lack of personal brand.

If you upgrade, you will remain with yourdomain.com. This clarity makes it easier for customers to find you and establishes credibility and trust.

The ability to truly customize your website gives you plenty of room to explore the different layouts and designs until you get what suits you.

2- The power of control

Hosting on a free platform such as Wix means that you must abide by their terms and conditions. What’s stopping the site owners from taking down your site? This uncertainty makes it risky to depend on free hosts.

Losing site visitors can deal a heavy blow to your online business and getting them back can be tricky.

Fortunately, if you decide to self-host, you control every bit of your website. Your mind can relax knowing that no one can threaten to shut down your site due to policy issues.

3- The safety and security of your website

Hosting your own site enables you to choose security plugins that you deem fit. You also integrate other security protocols to boost the overall safety of your website.

Unlike free host where you can’t be sure whether you’ll wake up to find a security breach on your site, web hosting service providers offer 24/7 support in case of any glitches.

Another point to consider is the longevity of the free hosting company. If it goes down, so does your business.

4- Ease of migrating

WordPress hosting may not always go the way you anticipated. When this happens, you might want to consider switching to another hosting company. With free hosting, you have to start from scratch to build another website.

However, a web hosting company offers easy-transfer features. This means that you can migrate at any time without fear of losing a well-built website.

5- Lack of experience

To make a website that runs seamlessly, you need a set of skills including coding. You might find yourself in an ugly situation where you must solve complicated tasks.

Luckily, with a web hosting service, you don’t have to be an expert. A WordPress hosting means that the company handles complex issues for you. This includes regular updates and routine site maintenance.

Conclusion

Individual preferences will determine the type of WordPress hosting to use. Focusing on the speed, security, and efficiency of your website should be your priority, not managing your server.

Using a free hosting platform is tempting when starting out. But, with the limitations that come with it, your online venture might not take off as you had planned.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web Server Software

Selecting a web server software can be a complex process. Most people get confused by the two kinds of web servers available – hardware servers and software servers.

Hardware servers are the large computers responsible for storing your data and are located in data centers. When a visitor clicks a link on your site, the hardware server delivers the response. On the other hand, software servers are the applications that run in the background with the help of operating systems like Windows or Linux.

So, what should you consider when choosing a web server software?

Compatibility

Each web server supports a specific operating system. Microsoft IIS, for instance, only supports Windows-based operating system. Most of the other open source web servers like Apache support multiple OS.

Most website owners prefer Apache for the dozens of options and modules it provides.

Security features

Data security should be a major concern for any company or organization. Sensitive information such as passwords and bank accounts are stored on web servers and any hacking activity can be catastrophic.

It is, therefore, critical to ensure your server is reliable and trustworthy. Your site should have updated security features to prevent loss of data.

Web applications

If you have an ASP.NET based web application, Microsoft IIS is the only web server that supports it. It comes highly recommended considering its security features. If you plan to use Java Server Pages, Apache Tomcat is the most ideal option.

Budget allocations

Depending on your web host’s quality and performance, you may want to consider advanced features. Popular web server software like Apache and Microsoft IIS come with their own OS.

Others might attract additional costs for any technical assistance from the developers. This will have an impact on the overall budget allocation.

Scalability

To run a successful online business, you need a website. The more your business grows, the larger the number of traffic from your customers. Without a web server software that can accommodate the increase in website load, your website could crash.

Managed vs unmanaged web hosting

There’s huge difference between managed and unmanaged hosting services.

You can only go with unmanaged web hosting service if you have a qualified developer in your team. Some technical issues are too complex to be solved by untrained hands. This might be a huge risk to your website.

A managed web hosting is easier to handle since you can get all the support from qualified company staff. However, you need to consider the amount of time the company responds to a ticket. Any second your website losses could have irreparable effects on your business.

Technical know-how of web servers

As a website owner, you should understand how various functions of a web server work. This will save you the cost of hiring an engineer to perform tasks such as installation and configuration.

Some basic knowledge might come in handy when faced with minor technicalities on your web server.

Conclusion

To be sure the web server software you select is the best option, you might want to speak with an expert developer.

Remember, your website needs a stable and highly reliable web server that can withstand heavy user loads.

On-Page SEO Factors

Once upon a time, search engine optimization (SEO) seemed pretty straightforward. The formula stayed the same article after article. Choose a keyword people were looking for that was even slightly related to your site or article. Use that keyword over and over a set amount of times, use it in a heading or two, add a bit of code, some meta data and wave a magic wand. Your site would rank great in Google.

Then, a new animal arrived on the scene in 2011.

Google Panda

Pandas are supposed to be cute and cuddly right? Not always.

It would behoove website owners to remember that pandas have claws and so did Google Panda. Many content farms saw their traffic drop by the millions during the early implementation of Panda and some innocent bystanders got caught in the resulting tsunami.

While the positives and negatives of the changes can be argued (less poor content, better content for site visitors), it won’t change the fact that SEO as we knew it is gone forever.

As website owners, we can adapt or be scratched to death, and Panda wasn’t the only change Google has made or will make. In fact, Google reserves the right to continuously change their algorithm and you can be almost certain they will do so to keep advertisers happy as advertising is where the revenue comes from.

Optimizing for better site rankings

Your website’s search rankings depend on both on-page and off-page factors. In this article, we will look into some on-page factors you should take care of.

1- The quality of your content

If you run a site for more than 5 years, it’s perhaps time to do a content audit.

Have a look on your website and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who wrote the content?
  • Is the content helpful to your targeted audience?
  • Is the content up to date?
  • Is the content gramartical correct?
  • Is the content meeting your targeted keyword searchers’ intention?
  • Is your content properly structured?

Content is one of the most important on-page SEO factors. Your content needs to be written by someone who is familiar with your users’ needs and who knows a lot about your company and your field of business. Also, it needs to be well structured into easy-to-read paragraphs with titles, subtitles, and bulleted lists, and it needs make use of bold letters where appropriate.

2- The amount and optimization of visual material

Customers should trust your knowledge about business, so websites are the best place for you to show what you can do and what is their benefit for trusting and allowing you to run your business with them. Use your website to showcase everything you have. Images, video, animations, it all comes in handy.

What you need to do is pay attention to whether your images are optimized with an alt tag, and make sure you are not using flash excessively. Both of these help search engines find their way round your website and pick up all the signals it is sending, which makes search engines happy and ready to improve your rankings.

3- The structure of the URLs and website structure

What is of paramount importance here is that you have a clear website structure and that all of your URLs are static, taking the form examplex.com/my-post/ or examplex.com/my-category/my-post.

As for the website structure, you need to have a clear way of connecting different part of the website into a whole. For example, if you own a blog, the best way to organize it would be into different thematically based categories, which would be interrelated every time you link an old related post to a new one across categories.

Here Comes Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2017

Over the next few weeks you will see a ton of promotion advertisement.

These ads will come in various form via various channels.

Banners. Popups. Videos. Text.

And you’ll see them in your email inbox, Facebook Newsfeed,Twitter, and some of the websites you visit.

Stores and online retailers will be running big sales the whole week of Thanksgiving, including the holiday itself. Online deals can be found throughout the month – starting with China 11.11 sales, and then Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Consumerism has changed the holiday and festive season.

And it has became a tradition for some people to celebrate their festive by spending money online and at stores. People thought they can buy their ways to happiness (you can’t).

Some crazy Black Friday / Cyber Monday numbers

ADI expects the Thanksgiving weekend to account for $19.7 billion in online sales this year (2017). That represents $1 of every $6 (18%) expected to be spent online for the entire holiday season (source).

In 2016, Alibaba smashed online retail record by recording $17.8 billion worth of gross merchandise volume.

Total online sales from November 1st – December 31st, 2016 hit $91 billion – a 11% increase compare to 2015 according Adobe Digital Insights (ADI).

In hosting industry, we’ve seen companies slashing their prices up to 80% last year. I wouldn’t surprise to see a bigger price cut in Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2017.

Now…

Yes, these deals can be real money savers – but don’t fall for them. At least, not every one of them. A dollar spent is a dollar lesser in your wallet.

There’s no point to buy things at 60 / 70% cheaper that are useless to you.

Have a shopping list ready – jot down only items that are needed and their current selling price – buy them only if you need them.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping everyone!

 

Netmoly Pricing Policy (and How Others Charge on Renewals)

This site is currently hosted at Netmoly.

Netmoly’s signup price (for shared hosting) is slightly more expensive than most competitors’ plans. Similar hosting services include A2 Hosting, Interserver, and Fast Comet.

However, unlike most of their competitors – Netmoly does not jack up their price when it come time to renew (Fast Comet and Interserver has the same pricing policy). The signup price of $6.26/mo (at this time of writing) will be the price for life. In contrast, you’d need to pay 60 – 150% higher with other hosting services I mentioned earlier.

The only way to get around this practice, as mentioned in this guide, is to hop around different budget hosting plans. If you think the savings (of $50 – $100/3 years) is worth the time, then it’s totally fine to stick with a host with cheap signup price and expensive renewal rate.

Hello world!

Initially this site is created for web host testing purpose.

The company that I am running sign up web hosting services, track hosting performance, and publish unbiased hosting reviews.

Right now this site is hosted at Netmoly – a privately owned U.S. company founded in early 2013 by a tech-savvy entrepreneur. Netmoly data center is located in Orlando, Florida.

You can learn more about Netmoly hosting plans and pricing here.

To have a third party opinion: This is the only Netmoly reviews (published at WHSR) I can find in market so far.