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

Easily Move Your Blog From WordPress.com to WordPress.org

So you have always wanted to be a blogger, and finally, you took the bold step: you gave it a shot! You chose your blog niche, signed up for WordPress.com, and posted your first article. It allowed you to blog online without having to worry about the technically side of blogging, which is great. However, your blog has grown, and you have realized the importance of a blogging platform that is self-hosted. Learn the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org in this article.

You want to move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org but the one challenge you face is that you are not a Web designer, so this looks like a rather scary thing to do. What do you do? How do you successfully migrate from one to the other? Fortunately, it is easier than it appears. This is why I’ve provided this guide to how to easily move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Easily Move Your Blog From WordPress.com To WordPress.org

Before we continue, let me show you the major reasons why moving your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org will benefit you.

Before we continue, let me show you the major reasons why moving your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org will benefit you.

Easily Move Your Blog From WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Why Should You Move Your Blog?

  • You Enjoy The Benefits Of Having A Unique Custom Domain Name
    When your blog begins to develop, you make certain that you create your brand distinctiveness that will pull traffic to your blog, and increase your audience. One sure way to get this done is by getting your own domain name. Free blogging platforms don’t come with domain names, and that means here’s how your domain name is going to look: myblog.wordpress.com, instead of something like this: myblog.com. In a general research, blogs with “.com” are more searched and visited than the ones with “.wordpress.com.” Plus, you can get domain names included in your hosting plan. Worth it, isn’t it?
  • Monetization is Absolutely Under Your Control
    You have a blog and put time into it – why not monetize it? (aka – make money!) Whether you want to sell your products, work with sponsors, or offer advertisements. You have total authority when using WordPress.org to monetize your blog. There are restrictions with WordPress.com, which makes it difficult to use your blog for business.
  • Picking Out A Theme Is Easy
    When I started, I was looking for the perfect theme for my blog. I surfed the Web for long hours until I found the theme that appealed to me the most. If you are a person like me, you don’t just want to settle for any random theme.With WordPress.org, you can choose from thousands of themes. Also, you can find loads of custom-made themes for fashion bloggers, food bloggers, financial bloggers, travel bloggers, or whatever blog niche you may have.
  • Customizing With Plugins Is Possible And Efficient
    I use plugins for a variety of different reasons. I use them to track my blog statistics, add social sharing buttons, make my blog SEO-friendly, and much more. Tons of thousands of plugins have been dynamically specifically for WordPress.org, which makes this platform very impressive. Say you want to add Facebook photos to your sidebar, or add tweets within your blog posts, or maybe you are wanting a shopping cart for your business – you can find a plugin to assist you. WordPress.com only comes with a small number of elementary plugins, but doesn’t give you the option of adding any new plugins.
  • Search Engine Optimization is Easy
    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential when driving traffic to your blog. It ensures that your blog can be found organically in search engines. Free blogging platforms like WordPress.com offer only basic optimization preferences. If you are focused on building blog readership for your blog, having full control of SEO is a great idea.

Before You Make The Switch

There are a few things you need to have before you migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. These things include:

  • A Custom Domain Name
  • A Good Hosting Plan
  • One Hour Of Your Time

If you do not have an idea what a hosting service is, it is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for your blog or website to be viewed on the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers.

Personally, I use iPage, and I love them. They’re very efficient, they’re affordable (cheapest I’ve seen!), and their plan attracts a FREE domain name. If you want to set up a new account with iPage,

How To Make The Move

Now that you have marked off those points mentioned above, you are set to move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. All you have to do now is follow the instructions below. Please make sure that you follow all the steps listed below very carefully, as you can find yourself at a dead end if they are not carefully followed.

Step 1: The first step to take is to export your content. To do this, sign in to your WordPress.com account and head to your blog’s dashboard. Click on “Tools,” and then, on “Export.”

Step 2: After that, WordPress will ask you if you want to export your content for free or pay for their Guided Transfer Program. Select the free option.

Step 3: You will now have to choose which data you want to export. Select “All Content,” and then click on the “Download Export File” button on the bottom of your screen. After you have clicked on it, an XML file will start downloading – a file that contains everything from your blog posts, pages, images, comments, etc.

Step 4: Once you are through downloading, login to your new WordPress.org account, click on “Tools,” and then on “Import” to start uploading your XML file. (Meanwhile, just in case you missed it above, The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Starting A Blog, will walk you step-by-step on how to set up your WordPress.org account inside iPage.)

Step 5: Now, there are a few plugins you can choose from. Click on the “WordPress” plugin, and a new window will appear. On that new window, click on “Install Now” to download the “WordPress Importer Plugin.”

Step 6: Once the plugin has been installed and prompted, click on “Upload File and Import,” and then choose the XML file to start uploading your old blog.

Step 7: Once your files have been uploaded, WordPress will inquire if you want to designate these files to an existing account or open a new account. Basically, if you posted everything under one account on your old blog, you can choose to use your old username or create a new one.

Step 8: Once you have chosen which username to use, click on “Download and Import File Attachments” on the bottom of the screen. This is a crucial step to verify that all your images move over correctly.

(I know of a few bloggers that have had issues with this step. To verify that everything is rightly imported, you can use the Import External Images Plugin. It will round up all of your old images and add them all to your new gallery.)

Step 9: After you are done with that last step, your blog has been officially moved over to WordPress.org!

One last thing you will do now is to pivot – redirect – your traffic to.to your new blog. The most effortless way to do this is by using the WordPress.com Site Redirect service. The service costs $13 per year, but it is totally worth the cost. Click on this link – Site Redirect, and it will take you to your old blog.

Step 10: Immediately you are there, put in your new domain name and explore the checkout process. Once you are done with that, WordPress will handle the remaining.

You are through! You wanted to move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, and now you’ve done it! Now, you can concentrate on picking out the perfect theme, making some money, and also making it SEO-friendly! Enjoy!

Categories
Business

15 WordPress Plugins To Instantly Improve Your Blog

Once you have your blog setup and theme installed – now what you may ask? Plugins are like mini programs that can “plug-in” to your website or blog. They are great features to have if you know which ones will be a great benefit and addition to your site. Below I have rounded up my top 15 wordpress plugins to instantly improve your blog. If you are just starting your blogging journey and need to set-up your blog

15 WordPress Plugins To Instantly Improve Your Blog:

Akismet

Every WordPress installation comes with two plugins pre-installed. One of them is Akismet, which is definitely a lifesaver! Even though Akismet comes pre-installed, it is not activated by default. You will have to take some extra steps to activate it. A typical blog or website gets about 80% of spam comments coming in – which can be a time consuming task to say goodbye to the majority of comments.

Sumo me

The pop-up form I use to grow my email list. Since using this pop-up form, I’ve been able to more than double my monthly email subscribers. they work on several CMS (content management systems) including WordPress, Squarespace, Blogger, Tumblr, Google tag manager, Shopify + Weebly.

I currently use the free version (which I feel has loads of good features included) but you can upgrade to get more in depth. Some free version included items are a list builder, smart bar, welcome mats, social share icons, scroll box, and even a place where you track where you audience is clicking throughout your website. (how freakin’ cool!)

Below is the Sumo Me plugin tool that allows me to customize my list builder pop up box. Does the pop up look familiar?!

WordPress SEO Yoast

I’ve tested a handful of SEO plugins on the blog, but none compare to this one. It can:

  • optimize your content for social sharing
  • analyzes pages for how well they are optimized for specific keywords and phrases
  • reporting is easy to follow and comprehend

Google Analytics Dashboard

This is a great plugin that brings Google Analytics reports to your WordPress site. The tracking component of this plugin will automatically install Google Analytics on your website by inserting the required tracking code in all your webpages. You will need to have a google analytics account before using this plugin.

Editorial Calendar

Love this calendar which is located directly within the backside of the blog for your eyes only. It gives you a view of your entire blog post publishing plan and allows you to glance at your monthly or weekly scheduled posts to keep you on track. It’s drag and drop is easy for adjusting your schedule. You can easily create blog drafts to save for later. It has helped me plan out my upcoming weeks’ blog posts.

Editorial Calendar WordPress Plugin

Jetpack

This is a plugin made by WordPress – so obviously it’s a great one to have! Jetpack comes with 33 tools already integrated. It allows you to use contact forms, seek out related posts, and view a built in analytics, and more.

Broken Link Checker

One of the most frustrating things when visiting a website is clicking on a link that goes nowhere. Am I right? It is definitely hard AND time consuming to go through each and every link within a blog post. Luckily the broken link checker quickly scans a blog post and points out the links that aren’t working correctly.

Simple Social Icons

Simple Social Icons allows you to add up to 14 of the most popular social media icons to any area on your WordPress blog or website. These icons include: Dribbble, Email, Facebook, Flickr, GitHub, Google+, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, RSS, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube.

It even allows you to customize the look! (genius!) You can change the size, shape, alignment, and hover color.

Better Click To Tweet

Create a tweet specifically for your blog post! This allows for more engagement and takes it social. This plugin integrates right into a blog post and allows the instant tweet from a viewer by hitting “click to tweet.”

Better Click To Tweet

Instagram Feed

It’s no secret that I LOVE Instagram – so I go out and find the best plugin to display those tiny squares as simply and easily as I can. This plugin’s options include Headers, Captions, as well as Likes and Comments. It even has a “load more option and a “Follow on Instagram” button which will make it easy for viewers to follow along.

nstagram Feed WordPress Plugin

Recipe Card

This is the plugin I use for all food and recipe blog posts. I use this plugin to display my recipe cards. It gives you tons of options as to how the recipe card is displayed. There are lot of different styles, colors, and fonts to choose from!

Recipe Card WordPress Plugin

Subscribe To Comments Reloaded

There are many times blog posts gather a lot of discussion between your community where viewers would like to be updated on. With this plugin, it allows users to subscribe to your comment feeds.

WP Smush – Image Optimization

Large image files might be slowing down your website/blog, which you might not even be aware of. WP Smush resizes and optimizes all photos, limiting the lag time on your website. PLUS – with your page loading faster – search engines such as Google will love you for it (and rank you higher!)

WP Super Cache

Site speed is something that we take very seriously. In order to make sure that your site scales and sustain huge loads of traffic without crashing, you can utilize this plugin.

Pinterest Pin it Button For Images

Make images easily share-able to pinterest with a “pin it” hover button over blog post images.

So many plugins to choose from – it was hard narrowing it down to 15! What are your favorites? Do you utilize any of the plugins listed here? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!