Categories
Blogging

How To Choose The Best Blog Hosting: Complete Review

Choosing a hosting provider for your website can be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with the industry. Whether you need hosting for a blog, an e-commerce site or just a small business site, you need to know the most economical option for your needs. I’ve done the hard work researching and using different hosting companies over the past few years. I’ve put together a guide on how to choose the best blog hosting!

What is Web Hosting?

What on earth is web hosting? Web hosts are usually companies which store data on the server that is linked with the Internet. All websites online are hosted on the server, and most sites utilize a web host to deal with the storage with this data. Hosts generally place limits for the speed and amount of transfer they will perform depending on the package that you elect to buy. If you are looking for your own website, you will definitely need web hosting.

Who Needs Website Hosting?

When you commit yourself to starting a blog or small business online – picking out the best web hosting company may be the first essential to success. I wanted to create this post to make the process of choosing a hosting company less daunting and easy for you! I’ve compiled my list with the top 3 web hosting service services available on the internet. I’ve worked with many over the years, and can honestly say – these are the best of the best!

Factors To Look At When Choosing A Hosting Company

Bandwidth

This determines that speed of your website and how much data it can transfer of periods of time. 95%+ of blogs/web sites currently use no more than 5 GB of bandwidth per month. Only sites that are expected to produce a large amount of traffic will require a larger rate of monthly bandwidth.

Customer Service

Though it can be a breeze to setup, there’s a good chance you will want some form of technical support above the life of your account along with your web hosting service provider. This is one of the most important things to look at. All hosting companies will say they have 24/7 support services, but will wait on the phone for hours on end to get a hold of real person on the phone. (eeek!) iPage and Siteground are my favorites when it comes to customer service. I have had great experiences with both hosting companies.

Disk Space

This is the combined total data size of everything on your website, including files, images, text, and code.

How much you will need is solely dependent on the content of your web site. Most web sites average around 150 MB. Many Web Host companies will offer unlimited disk space. In my opinion 5 GB is more then enough for most blogs and small to medium businesses.

Shared or dedicated hosting

Once you dive in, you’ll be presented with an option to have dedicated hosting or shared hosting. This boils down to the size of website you’re about to build because it’s fairly typical that shared hosting has less bandwidth and less disk space than a dedicated hosting package. If you are planning to create a blog or small business, then shared hosting would be just fine to start out with. If you are planning to grow quickly and sell many things from your site and set up ecommerce, then I would definitely recommend a dedicated hosting service.

What Does Website Hosting Cost?

Simply how much will web web hosting service cost? Web hosting packages consist of a few dollars monthly. Below, I’ve listed the best hosting prices for blogs and small businesses. These are all great options for you! When considering which package to purchase, you should examine the services offered alongside your wants.

HOSTING OPTIONS I RECOMMEND

[iPage, Siteground, and Host Gator]:

iPAGE

Price: $1.99/month for 3 years ($71) OR $2.91/month for 1 year ($35)

Domain: Free

Bandwidth: Unlimited

Disk Space: Unlimited

Customer Service: 24/7 technical support

Start your blog with iPage Hosting

The Essential Plan hosting:

This is the cheapest option on their website and perfect for the blogger or small business owner. It costs a mere $1.99/month for 3 years OR $2.91/month for 1 year and includes a free domain name, unlimited disk space, unlimited email accounts, and unlimited MySQL databases.

Features:

  • Unlimited MySQL database, disk space, bandwidth, and email accounts.
  • Free Domain Name
  • iPage web hosting supports Midi File, Macromedia Shockwave, Flash, Real Audio, and Video giving its users the ability to add different multimedia files to their websites.
  • Professional support team available 24/7 ready to handle any question or inquiry quickly and efficiently.
  • A 30 day Money Back guarantee.
  • iPage web hosting guarantees a 99.9% up-time.
  • Upon signup, the user benefits of many bonuses, for instance: $500 free marketing credits and extras, free mobile site builder, SiteDelux, a wide range of themes and templates and more.

iPage is a very useful and secure web hosting service with an overall positive and satisfying feedback. It can be perfect for beginner and intermediate users for low to medium costs, providing good support, and flexible options.

SITEGROUND

Price: $3.95/month

Domain: Free

Bandwidth: Unlimited

Disk Space: 10GB

Customer Service: 24/7 technical support

Start your blog with Siteground Web Hosting

StartUp Plan

$3.95 which comes at 60 percent off from the regular price of $9.95/month. You get 10GB Web Space and can host one domain.

Features:

  • Flexibility and Scalability – Site Ground website hosting packages allow you to scale its services to meet your needs. You can easily upgrade and there’s plenty of room to grow.
  • SiteGround Data Center Options – Site Ground website hosting company has three datacenters at Chicago, Amsterdam and Singapore, and you’re allowed to choose the server location that’s closest to majority of your site users. This ensures optimal site performance and also ensures much better website security.
  • All web hosting plans come with a free domain, free software that can be used to design website, and unrestricted email accounts.

HOST GATOR

Price: $3.95/month

Domain: Free

Bandwidth: Unlimited

Disk Space: Unlimited

Customer Service: 24/7 technical support

Start a blog with HostGator Hosting

Hatchling Plan, Starting at $3.96/mo

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Shared SSL certificate
  • Single domain
  • Unlimited disk space

Features:

  • The company has a comprehensive technical support, 27/7 live chat support. Email support, FAQ and toll-free telephone support for customers in USA.
  • 45 Money Back Guarantee
  • Unlimited bandwidth and space even at their cheapest packages

Need help setting up your blog? I know the tech-y stuff can get confusing and frustrating in the beginning! I’ve put together a step-by-step blog post and video (1 and 1/2 hours long!) to walk you through the process!

We go over how to:

  • Set up Hosting
  • Install WordPress
  • Add recommended plugins
  • Add a free WordPress theme
  • Create your first blog post & page
  • Set up your menu
  • Add an image
  • Add sidebar widgets
  • AND much more!

Categories
Blogging

14 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Blog

There are so many bloggers and businesses out there working to get viewers or traction to their website or blog. Getting traffic to your website is the best way to gain a bigger following or produce more sales.

If people don’t know about your blog, they obviously aren’t going to be seeing your content or products either. How do you get more traffic to your blog? Good question. There are various ways to get people coming to your blog. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Here are 14 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog.

14 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Blog

1. Share On Social Media

It’s no secret that social media is now playing a crucial role in terms of marketing. By using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other major social networking platforms, you can engage and interact with your readers, and share with them any of your new posts.

Ways to successfully promote your content via social media:

  • Increase your following – Add follow buttons somewhere visible on your site to make it easier for people to follow you on social media networks.
  • Post regularly. Do yourself a favor and come up with posting schedule for your social media platforms. Make sure to post on a consistent basis. Don’t post once every day for a week and then go 3 weeks without posting anything. Your followers will slowly loose interest.
  • Add sharing buttons – Adding sharing buttons will encourage readers to share your posts. If you’re on WordPress, you can use SumoMe to install sharing buttons on your blog.

2. Leave Comments On Other Blogs In Your Niche

Engaging with other bloggers in the same niche will help you in many ways. It helps other bloggers and their readers know who you are, which also helps in promoting your blog.

Some advantages of commenting on other blogs:

  1. New opportunities– by consistently engaging on blogs you will be building your contacts, which in turn can lead to more connections, guest post opportunities and new business.
  2. Profile gets noticed – adding interest to someone’s article gets you noticed by other readers and the blog author.
  3. Drives traffic to your blog – it can drive more visits as other readers, commentators and the blog author will want to learn more about you.
  4. Creates more blogging ideas – reading other blogs is inspiring and the comments may create a new idea or way of looking at things to present an alternate view in your own article.

As a rule of thumb, make sure that every comment you make offers valuable insight or information so that other bloggers and their readers will show interest in visiting your blog.

3. Guest Post For Other Blogs

Blogging is all about building a network. The more platforms you distribute your name and your URL to, the more likely that search engines and in turn, readers, will take notice of you and your blog.

Advantages of Guest Posting:

  • Guest posting builds relationships
  • Guest posting is great for search engines
  • Guest posting introduces you to new people

4. Respond To Comments

Plenty of bloggers make the grave mistake of not engaging with their readers. If you want to build loyalty, you have to reply to the comments readers leave on your blog posts. Especially those that ask questions or raise great points.

5. Learn SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing your blog content for search engines. Majority of people who surf the Internet use search engines such as Google, for instance to find what they are looking for.

I’ve dived deep into SEO and the steps you need to take to make your blog/website search engine friendly.

Beginner’s Guide To SEO – 8 Simple Steps

6. Spend Time Promoting Your Blog Posts

One big mistake a lot of bloggers make is creating awesome content but not spending enough time promoting it. If you publish a blog post and 10 people love it, there’s a good chance there are another 200 people out there that will also love it. The only problem is the extra 200 never knew about it.

You can promote your blog post in various ways. Here are some ideas:

  • Share your article on all of your social media accounts: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
  • Post to Facebook Groups (Blogging 101)
  • Give some love to your old posts. Go back to articles you published 6 months ago and share them again.
  • Link Roundups – Here’s a great list of 50 link roundups I found
  • Share it in your email newsletter

7. Write High-Quality Content

Ask yourself these questions before posting: Would I share this if I didn’t write it? Does this provide reader’s value? Think about what emotion your post instills in the reader. Great, shareable content typically includes answering questions people might have about a certain topic.

8. Create Pinnable Images For Blog Posts

Now that you’ve written great content, you want readers to find it online. Creating a pinnable image is a must have for your blog. Heck, 70% of my traffic comes from Pinterest (but that a topic for a different blog post!) To do this, make sure the image is taller than it is wide. Pinterest recommends a 735×1102 vertical image size. I do this via Canva. This specific sizing is under their “Pinterest” design types. Below is an example of a pinnable image created in Canva. You can also view the one at the top of this blog post as well. Both of these I use to promote blog posts over on Pinterest.

9. Add Call To Actions Within Your Posts

What would you like people to DO next, after they read your post? You can ask them to follow you, share your post, or download your freebie. Those are just a few examples.

This is a great way to create more engagement and get more eyes on your blog. Below is a call to action image I use. This shows you EXACTLY what I want my followers to do if they want to download. I always like to add a “click here” button to the image. It’s super easy and effective. To do this, I would add the link to my landing page to this image – so when it’s clicked on, it would take them directly to that page where they can enter their email for whatever freebie I’m offering at the time.

10. Be Detailed With Your Social Media Bios

Social media profiles are searchable! So make sure you’re using keywords and completely filling out your bios. This is a great way to gain traffic to your site and gain new followers and even clients. Make sure that from that tiny excerpt of text you clearly define who you are what you providing to your reader.

You will see that in my Pinterest profile I include:

  • The URL to my blog
  • Where I’m from
  • What I do and what I plan to provide readers
  • My freebie or course I’m promoting at the time

11. Make It Easy For Your Readers

Whatever your main goal is (to have your readers follow you on social media, share your blog post, or subscribe to your email newsletter…etc.) make it easy to do so. Using services like Better Click To Tweet to embed links directly into your post makes it easy for your readers to easily share it via Twitter. Here’s the Click to Tweet I made below for this blog post:

12. Join A Facebook Group

Finding active Facebook groups is a great way to draw attention to your blog and find new people to follow it as well. As a matter of fact, I have a Facebook group specifically for bloggers. Join my free Blogging Facebook Group! I come into the group every single day to chat, answer questions and help people build profitable blogs!

13. Give To Your Readers

When it comes to readers, it’s quality over quantity! A small group of loyal, engaged readers is way better than a large group that doesn’t really care about your content. Some ways to give to your readers…

Offer free stuff. Everyone loves free stuff! Digital downloads, printables, wallpapers, etc are all great options. Create something for your readers that would be super helpful for them! Maybe even do a giveaway on your own or by collaborating with another fellow blogger.

14. Check Your Analytics To See What’s Working

Make sure you are checking your blog stats from the beginning! I used to be TERRIBLE at this. If you are too, stop it now! Go ahead and Set up your account on Google Analytics and get started. Not only will you be able to see how many people are visiting your site each month to track your growth, but you will also be able to check which of your blog posts are the most popular! This is a great way to see what is working and what is not.

I walk you step-by-step on how to set up Google Analytics as well as a guide on what stats you need to be looking at:

Beginner’s Guide To Google Analytics For Bloggers

Categories
Blogging

How To Install Google Analytics In WordPress For Beginners

So you have yourself a blog. Congratulations! Setting up your blog is a big accomplishment and a big hurdle to overcome. I’m sure you are probably thinking – now what? Make sure to set up Google Analytics as soon as possible after your blog is live. Why? Because this tool will allow you to see how many people are coming to your website, how long they are staying, and much more.

You really will want to use Google Analytics to track the traffic on your website or your blog. In this post we will show you how to set up Google Analytics the simple way and how to install the tracking code. We go into more details in the video below to show you the step by step of how to install google analytics in WordPress for beginners.

Last we chatted all about Google Analytics. We went over what details you should be looking for and how to navigate yourself in Google Analytics. Make sure to check it out after you are set up with Google Analytics.

Learn How To Install Google Analytics in WordPress For Beginners

Step 1 – Sign In!

The first thing we need to do is create a Google Analytics account. If you have Gmail, you can use that and it makes it really easy to sign in to all your Google stuff. Either way, what you need to do is go to analytics.google.com to access Google Analytics.

It will prompt you to sign in or “create an account” at the bottom of the screen.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll come to the setup screen within Google Analytics:

If you don’t already have properties in your Google Analytics account, which would be the case if you’re setting it up new, all you’ll see is this account section and it will be blank. It will ask you to create a new account.

Account Name – You can list this as anything. It really doesn’t matter, just as long as it’s relevant to you.

Website Name – The website name would be whatever your blog or website name is. This is really just for reference to make it easy for you to locate if you have multiple properties.

Website URL – You will stick in your URL to your blog or website. Example – www.uniquelywomen.net (Google has taken care of the http:// for you)

Industry Category – It’s not really a big deal to include a category. You can get by without doing it, but it allows Google to better serve your results. I would suggest picking “Online Communities” if you are having troubles picking one out.

Time Zone – You’ll want to pick the time zone that you’re located in, so that all your metrics are associated with the proper time of day.

Data Sharing Settings (as shown in the photo below) – These are not really important. I leave them all checked. It will send Google information if things crash or don’t work properly. I would just leave them set as is.

Click the blue “Get Tracking ID” button at the bottom of the page once you have completed the above steps. There will be a pop up that comes up to accept the terms of service. Basically, this is informing you that Google can track all the information on your website that you’re giving them.

You can see now that a tracking ID is set up for you to utilize. For now, we’re going to leave this open here and install a WordPress plugin to connect the two. See below.

Step 2 – Install WordPress Plugin (Google Analyticator)

If you have a WordPress site, you’re going to want to log in to the backend, your admin section. If you don’t have a WordPress site, the installation of the tracking code is a little bit more difficult. The nice thing about WordPress is we can use plugin to help insert your Google Analytics tracking ID.

Here is the step by step process for installing Google Analyticator:

  • Hover over “Plugins” in your dashboard
  • Click “Add new plug-in” on the drop down menu
  • Type in the search bar – Google Analyticator
  • Click “Install Now” in the upper right hand corner of the box
  • Click “Activate”

There are many other plugins that will do the same thing as the Google Analyticator, but this is what has worked well for us. Please note: You will never want to install a plugin that hasn’t been updated recently, if they have a really low amount of downloads, or a very low rating.

Step 3 – Install The Tracking Code

From here it will have a button at the bottom of the page to “continue without authentication.” I find the best way to access Google Analytics is through the actual dashboard on analytics.google.com. If I’m doing anything with traffic and data analysis, I just use the interface of Google Analytics because it’s much more intuitive.

Once you choose “continue without authentication,” it will show you a screen with a red warning button. Ignore this. It is just informing you that the dashboard is enabled, which is just fine.

Now you can go back over here to your Google Analytics account you just created. Grab the tracking ID (as shown in the photo below) and paste the whole thing in the area in your WordPress backend space where it says “Analytics Account.”

The tracking settings down below on this page is nothing to worry about. Keep everything just as it is. All we needed was the tracking code inserted above. Make sure you go to the bottom of the page and click “save changes.” What WordPress has now done is placed your tracking ID on your website so it can now track your visitors and traffic effectively.

Step 4 – Setting Up Google Analytics Settings

Go back to your Google Analytics Dashboard. Go to your accounts property setting. Click on the toggle to enable demographic and interest reports.

By marking that as “on” you will now have access to all demographic information as your data collects over time, such as the age, gender, and location data of the viewers to your website or blog. Now click on “save.”

If you click the reporting tab, this is where your traffic stats are going to start showing up. There won’t be anything in here for approximately 6 to 12 hours. It takes Google that long for a new account to start collecting data. Once it starts coming in you’ll start seeing all the data.

Now you are all set up with Google Analytics! In a few hours you’ll start getting traffic to your Google Analytics account! If after 12 hours or so you aren’t getting traffic, there’s probably an issue with your installation. If you have any trouble, reach out to us. Let us know and we’ll do what we can to help!