Monthly Archives: June 2017

How To Find The Best Web Hosting Service For Your WordPress Website (7 Questions To Ask)

In this post, you will learn how to do correct research to help you find the best web hosting service provider for your WordPress website or blog.

One of the challenges that come with starting a self-hosted WordPress website or blog is finding a reliable web host provider for the job.

These days, there are so many hosting companies out there to choose from.

Where do you even start?

Well, I’m sure you’ve probably noticed that almost every other blogger out there is promoting their favorite web hosting company as the best in the business.

Well, I’m not going to tell you who you should use.

Or, whether I think the hosting company I’m currently using myself is the best or not.

Reason being is that what works for me, might not necessarily work for you, right?

Instead what I am going to give you is a list of questions to ask when finding the best web hosting service provider to power your WordPress website or blog.

Learning from choosing the wrong hosting company

When I started my blogging journey way back in 2010, I honestly thought I was choosing the right web hosting provider for the job.

I didn’t do much research at all, in fact, I jumped straight into what was recommended to me over on the WordPress.org website hosting info page.

I chose Bluehost by the way.

I was a complete newbie, remember, and I had very little technical knowledge about hosting and everything else, but for a while, I experienced nothing but decent service and great customer care with Bluehost.

But then the quality of that service began to deteriorate slowly, and after wasting way too much time and money trying to make Bluehost work for me, I was eventually forced to leave them for SiteGround in 2014.

Moral of this story is that I should have done my research first.

7 questions to ask before finding the best web host service for your website

OK, so to help you decide whether you should use a particular hosting company or not for your next project, here are some questions to ask yourself about the company.

#1. What is their uptime percentage?

If you’re a beginner and have no idea what uptime is in web hosting, I can tell you that it’s probably one of the most important criteria to look for when finding a reliable web host.

Uptime score or percentage is how reliable the host’s servers are at staying up, without crashing or going down over a period of time. (downtime)

Downtime means your site is offline for whatever reasons, most of the time it can be due to technical difficulties.

Almost every host provider will have written somewhere on their website that their uptime is high and extremely reliable.

Do you just take their word for it?

You can do and experience it for yourself, or, you can look at the real statistics that are available.

Website’s like hostingstep and hostingfacts can provide you with all the reliable information you need on a host’s uptime percentage because they have already done the tests and research.

#2. What is their load time score?

Average server load times for hosted services on a web host is also an important factor to consider.

I’ve said before that load time is a critical ingredient when it comes to website usability and conversion optimization.

Nothing will hurt your rankings, conversions, and sales more than people coming to your site only for it to take too long to load.

SiteGround, for example, is ranked 4th out of 30 with a load time of 542ms according to HostingFacts.

#3. What is the cost of their shared hosting plans?

When it comes to finding a decent web host provider to host your WordPress website, the cost is also a factor to consider.

However, if you’re simply looking for the cheapest option available, let me tell you sometimes that’s not always the best option.

At the end of the day, if you opt-in for the cheapest hosting service available, expect to get what you pay for.

Personally, I consider paying between $8 to $14 per month for a quality shared hosting plan to be a better option than paying $2 to $5 for hosting.

When choosing a web host, look carefully at what you actually get for your money.

For example, paying around $10 per month for a GrowBig shared hosting plan with SiteGround gets you –

  • 20GB of web space
  • Space for more than one website hosted
  • Domain name
  • Free site transfer
  • Free email accounts
  • Unmetered traffic
  • Free SSL/HTTP2
  • Free CDN
  • Free daily backup
  • 24/7 Support and more…

I’m using SiteGround as an example just to show you what you can get for your money.

There are, of course, other hosting companies that will offer similar options and features for roughly the same monthly premium.

#4. Do you get a FREE domain name when you sign up?

These days, most popular web host plans provide a free domain name registration with new sign-ups.

Again if you’re just starting out and unsure what this means, basically, when you sign up for a new hosting account with whoever you choose, you may get a free domain name, (web address for your website).

Check to make sure that is the case for the hosting company you want to use.

#5. What is the quality of the customer support?

Here’s a tip:

You should never sign up to a hosting account without knowing how good the customer support is first.

The things you need to look for in a web host, as far as customer care goes are –

  • Types of communication methods provided, i.e. email, live chat, support ticket, phone, etc.
  • Response time when submitting a ticket or email.
  • Customer support feedback.

#6. What are other people saying about the hosting company?

One of the best ways to get reassurance about whether or not to use a hosting company is by reading what other people have said about them.

Testimonials provide valuable feedback, as well as information about specific areas of a hosting company’s services, such as customer care.

SiteGround, for example, has dedicated a full page displaying all of their customer feedback and testimonials. Check it out here.

#7. How do the stats and data measure up?

Finally, after you’ve done all your research and have found answers to most of the questions above, the next thing you can do is find what relevant data and stats there are about a web hosting company’s performance and security.

Once again, websites like hostingsteps and hosting-facts are great places you can start to get all the stats you need about a web host provider before you commit.

Wrapping up

Finding a secure and reliable web host provider for your WordPress website project does not have to be a daunting or painful task.

As long as you know what you need from your hosting company and hosting plan and what to look for, hopefully, the seven questions above will be a great starting point for you.

I hope this post has been useful for you.

How To Install WordPress Locally On A Mac Using Mamp (Guide For Beginners)

In this post, I’ll show you how to install WordPress locally on a Mac computer using MAMP.

If you have a WordPress website then I’m sure you love to spend time messing around with it, tweaking it endlessly.

Hey, I’m exactly the same, I love messing around with my site. I think it’s a great way to learn how to do new things with WordPress.

These days, however, I try not to do too much messing around with my actual live site.

Reason being is that if I make a mistake, I could bring down my entire site.

And the headache of trying to fix things I could do without.

I much prefer to mess around with a WordPress site that is actually installed locally on my Mac.

There are some advantages of hosting a WordPress website locally on your computer, here are some of them –

  1. You can do all the messing around you want without running the risk of breaking your live site.
  2. You can access your site offline since it’s installed locally on your Mac.
  3. If you’re a web developer like myself, a great way to start a new project is locally, before moving it over to a staging or live site.
  4. You save yourself money on additional web hosting resources, and you don’t need to purchase a new domain for your local site either.

OK, so now let’s get on with the detailed tutorial on how to install WordPress locally on your Mac.

I’m running a 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch bar with the latest version of Mac OS, however, it really doesn’t really matter which version of the OS you’re using or how old your Mac is, this tutorial is universal.

Are you ready? Let’s get to it.

Step One: Go get yourself a beverage of your choice

You know what I love sipping on whilst I’m working on website projects?

Well, it’s either a blackberry iced-tea mojito, or a nice flat white coffee with a double shot of espresso, or, a caramel macchiato coffee.

You can choose what ever beverage you prefer.

Step Two: Download and install MAMP on your Mac

OK, so now we really begin.

Head over to the MAMP website to download the latest version of the MAMP app. Here is the link.

Remember to download the version for Mac OS X, unless of course, you’re using Windows.

Step Three: Install MAMP

OK so once you have downloaded MAMP, go ahead and unpack the files and run the installer to add the software on your Mac computer.

This process is fairly simple as you are guided through the steps. See images below.

Once the installation is complete, you can go ahead and close the box. See image below.

Step Four: Launch Application

OK so now find the MAMP application on your computer and double click on it to launch it.

Once the software has loaded, hit the Start Servers button.

Both the Apache Server and the MySQL Server lights will illuminate green shortly after. See image below.

Shortly after starting servers, the WebStart page should automatically load in your web browser. If it doesn’t just click on the Open WebStart page link. See image above and below.

Step Five: Create a database

Right, you now need to create a database for your WordPress install.

So, in your web browser, open a new tab and enter the following URL:

localhost:8888/MAMP/index.php?page=phpmyadmin#

What you should see is the phpMyAdmin page like this –

What you’ll need to do to create your database is the following –

  1. Enter database name – To keep things very simple, name your database something like WordPress1 or Installation1. Adding a number after the name will help you keep databases organized each time you want to create a new WP installation. See image above.
  2. Leave Collation as it is.
  3. Hit create – Once you’ve added the database name, just hit create and it should appear in the left-hand file tree. See image above.

And that’s it for the database for now.

Step Six: Download WordPress and add to htdocs file

Next, go to the WordPress.org website and download a fresh version of the WordPress software. See image below.

Now open the download file on your Mac where the zip file of WordPress should be.

Then go to Finder > Applications > MAMP > htdocs, and using drag and drop, move the zip file of WordPress from the download file to the htdocs fileSee image below.

Next, double click the zip file of WordPress to unpack it. Once it has unpacked, delete the actual zip file and leave the unpacked file in place.

The next step is very important.

Rename the unpacked WordPress file to match the database name you created in step five. So in this instance, rename it WordPress1 or Installation1See image above.

Step Seven: Install and configure WordPress

The final stage of this tutorial is to install WordPress.

First, head over to:

http://localhost:8888/wordpress1/wp-admin/setup-config.php

In the URL, don’t forget to change the name of the file to match the WordPress file name in htdocs and the database. In this instance, WordPress1 or Installation1.

I have marked this in red above.

Once you’ve entered this address and hit go, what you should see is a WordPress config setup pageSee image below.

Follow the steps until you get to the config options pageSee image below.

Here we’re going to add information about the database you created earlier for this WordPress installation.

When you’re ready just hit the Let’s go! button as shown above.

OK so let me walk you through the process shown in the above screen capture.

In Database Name, simply add the name of the database you created earlier, which is either WordPress1 or Installation1, or whatever else you named it.

In Username add the word root.

The Password is the same, root.

For Database Host put localhost.

And finally, you can add a Table Prefix number such as wp_1 or what ever number you want.

This is just to help you remember which database is for which WP installation later on.

Once you’re ready, simply hit the Submit button as shown in the image above.

If all goes well, you should see the message as shown below appear. Simply hit Run the install to continue…

So, shortly after, you should see the Welcome message with a request for some additional information.

This information is about your actual WordPress site.

If you look at the screen capture below, you’ll see most of it is pretty self-explanatory.

  1. Give your site a title.
  2. Add a username for the site, something simple like Admin is fine enough.
  3. Enter a password to access the site.
  4. Enter your email address.

Important: Make sure you make a copy of the username and password so that you can log into your site later, this is very important.

Once you’re all set, hit the Install WordPress button.

Hey, you’re so close now and almost done.

Once the installation has completed you should see a success message.

You’re all done and dusted. You can now hit the Log In button to launch the Login page.

Enter your name and password you created a few moments ago to access the admin area of your new locally hosted WordPress site. See images below.

Installing more WordPress installs locally

If you want to create a second WordPress installation on your Mac, simply go back to step five and create a new database.

You can name it something like WordPress2 or Installation2.

After, follow the steps to the end of the tutorial again.

Wrapping up

So that’s it. That’s how easy it is to install WordPress locally on a Mac, and as I said, this is a great way to mess about with a new theme, plugin, or just learn how to do new things with WordPress, all without messing around with your live site.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this tutorial, don’t forget to check out my other useful tutorials on my recommended posts list below.

How to web design

After the ‘dotcom’ wave swept the world in the late nineties, the number of websites on the Internet have only grown in number. The demand for skilled professionals designing websites also grew thereafter. Today, web designing is a serious and lucrative career option. So, let’s try to understand more about web designing.

Web Page
Any text file with the extension ‘.html’ is termed as a web page. It may contain information in the form of text and/or graphics. A web page may contain hyperlinks, commonly known as ‘links’. When a user first enters the website, he is directed to the home page. Clicking on links, takes him to other pages of the site. Links are in the form of both text and graphics.

Basic Steps
The first step in learning to design a web page is to know the basics of HTML. HTML is the abbreviated form of ‘HyperText Markup Language’. It is quite a simple language to learn and once you get used to formatting in HTML, designing a web page becomes child’s play. It is possible to insert text as well as graphics into a web page with the help of HTML. The ‘notepad’ available on your personal computer comes in handy for learning HTML. After you finish designing a web page, it can be viewed with the help of a software known as the browser. Along with HTML, newer tools like the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), are used to add value to the content presented on the page. The layout is designed by using CSS. Making use of appropriate colors enhances the overall look of the page. The HTML color codes can also be used in designing. Creating focal points on web pages is a nice way to draw the user’s attention towards important information. Focal points are often graphics used to convey some important information.

Domain Name Registration
Registering the domain name gives a singular identity to the website. Many companies provide website owners with a registration facility; after which a unique domain name is given to the website.

Hosting the Website
After creating a web page with the help of HTML, you need to upload it on the world wide web (WWW). Web hosting services provide space on the world wide web for organizations and individuals to host their websites. Some hosting services charge the owners of the websites, while others provide space for free. The free services often display pop-up advertisements in return for the hosting space. Before approaching a hosting service, the following points should be considered.

  • It is necessary to keep an eye on the time the servers of the hosting service expend in uploading your web pages.
  • Ensure that the hosting service has backup servers.
  • The hosting facility provided to websites is time bound. Acquiring information about the different types of contracts offered is necessary. It is advisable to go in for a long term contract, in order to make it economical.

Tips for Dummies
Here are some important tips to be kept in mind while designing a web page.

  • Navigating through your page should be easy for users. The links present on the page should point to relevant information. If the process of navigation becomes cumbersome for the user, he may soon lose interest in the site.
  • A website should provide a clean interface for the user. Web pages that have graphics and multimedia applications, take longer to load than those containing only text.
    The phrase, web designing, conveys the importance of artistic skill in creating web pages. Learning the technical aspects is important till a stage, but after that creativity holds the key to better web designing. With the perpetual improvement in designing tools, the web pages will increasingly become sophisticated day-by-day.

Tips to affiliate marketing

Let me start with the definition of affiliate marketing. We will then move to understanding the intricacies of this marketing type, and then come to some tips to succeed with it. So, if you are looking forward to making a mark in the affiliate marketing industry, keep reading.

An Introduction
A marketing practice wherein business revenue is shared between the business and its affiliates is known as affiliate marketing. An affiliate serves as an agent who works towards bringing opportunities of revenue generation for a business and gets paid for his efforts. Affiliate marketing is a system in which a seller or merchant, in correspondence with his affiliate, also called publisher, generates business, and rewards the affiliate for his help. An affiliate plays a major role in attracting customers towards the business, for which he receives compensation from the seller. The business merchant, the publisher (the affiliate), the customer, and the affiliate network are the core players in the affiliate marketing industry.

An affiliate network is an intermediary between affiliates and affiliate programs. This network serves as a platform over which websites offering affiliate marketing programs access the customer base. It also helps the websites to easily participate in affiliate programs.

Beginner’s Guide
Those new to this field should know that this marketing practice can be considered as a form of online marketing where the ‘affiliate logic’ is used to direct web traffic from one website to another. Affiliate marketing programs often make use of Internet marketing methods like pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, paid SEM, and email marketing. There are thousands of websites that are ready to pay a commission to affiliates based on their efforts towards promoting business of the website’s products and services. With continuous growth in this field, there is an increase in people turning towards affiliate marketing. Many have begun looking at this type of marketing as a lucrative option for making money online.

Remember, affiliate marketing is about the sharing of revenue between a business and you. Isn’t that interesting? Imagine, you are actually sharing business revenue; you are earning a share of the revenue generated by a flourishing business; flourishing because of your efforts. Imagine, you are directing customers to a business, which means you are enhancing its customer base and getting paid in return.

What’s the exact role of an affiliate? Simply put, if you are an affiliate, you act as a middleman (or woman) between a business and its customers. It’s usually something like you own a website, you use it to send customers to a company and you are rewarded for it. All you do is place a link that directs users to a company product or service, from your website. Users who click on this weblink are directed to the business product or service. If they avail the company service or buy their product, you earn. And that’s because you were the one who caused the user to visit the company website, who was then attracted to buy their product or service. In short, you as an affiliate, played that important role of bringing customers for a business and now you are eligible to earn your well-deserved share of revenue. And the good news is that all you need to be in this field, is a computer with an Internet connection. And yes, you should be ready to work hard and wait to reap the fruit of your effort.

Internet affiliate marketing, apart from a computer and a broadband connection, needs the marketer to have knowledge of search engine optimization and an understanding of web users. Well then. You have decided to venture into this form of marketing and make the most of it. You are aware of the basic SEO concepts like keywords, niches, hyperlinks, building a website, and web traffic. You need to learn affiliate marketing before you actually make it a means to earn money.

Steps for Newbies

Find a Niche
The first step is to find a profitable niche. Think of something you like; probably something related to your hobby or area of expertise. Then see if the subject you have thought of is popular among web users. Use a keyword tool to analyze the popularity and competition of the subject chosen. Find a trade-off between the two and then check for the probability of the search term fetching advertisements. An easy way to do this is to analyze the Google results for your search term by going through the advertisements section on the results page.

Build the Website
Before actually building the website, you will need to choose a suitable domain name for the same. The domain name is the website address. Select a domain name which goes with the website content, and is short and easy to remember. Even better if it contains the keyword you are targeting, as this will help boost your rankings. Register your domain name with a domain name registrar, which usually involves a fee of about $10 per year. Register with one of the website hosting services and upload your website once you have a hosting account. The process does not end here. After the website is uploaded, it should also get indexed. Once the search engines know about your website, you can work towards increasing your website traffic. One way to get your website indexed is to submit the site URL to search engines. Another commonly used way is to build backlinks to your website. You may also choose to buy an already indexed domain. Uploading your website online marks your presence on the web and getting the website indexed is like being recognized on the Internet.

Promote the Website
In promoting a website, some things have to be taken into consideration. Firstly, your website should be content-rich; better if the content is updated on a regular basis. The content on the website should target the right keywords. Blogging can be a good way of attracting visitors to your website. Blog about the product(s) you are advertising; again, use keywords to optimize your content. It’s good to learn SEO basics, so that you know which keywords to use and how. Once you have submitted your website to search engines and once they index it, you can employ advertising programs like pay-per-click advertising, Google Adwords, and others to place advertisements on your website.

See that the advertisements are well-worded and that they attract the right audience. See what percentage of the add-clicks convert to actual sales of the product that you are advertising. Place the ads in such a way that they attract maximum users. Use various website promotion techniques to attract traffic and achieve maximum conversion of visitors to buyers. Yes, that’s your objective as an affiliate marketer.