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4 Steps To Build A Brand For Your New Blog

Do you know that branding is as important for bloggers as it is for big names? The process of building a brand is often overlooked by many bloggers, and as a result, they will lead to many ‘challenges’ such as infringement and trying to be different as they move along their blogging journey.

According to Entrepreneur, the definition of branding is “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products .”

A blog may just be a small business or even a leisure one for you. However, the process of keeping your brand as an asset is a significant factor. Many bloggers and website owners are facing a lot of challenges in business because they are building a brand as early as when they started their blogs.

A brand serve as an outer coating of your blog (and business). Therefore, it is important to build a brand for your new blog as soon as possible.

In this article, you will discover four powerful ways to build a brand for your new blog from scratch.

4-Steps-To-Build-A-Brand-For-Your-New-Blog 4 Steps To Build A Brand For Your New Blog Blogging Tips

Step 1: Start by defining your brand

The first step isn’t about registering for a domain and subscribing to a good web hosting. Instead, the first step involves establishing your brand.

This step is important because it gives you an idea of what your brand is. You will be able to perform better and more efficiently (in marketing) if you know what your brand’s purpose is all about.

A few questions you can start in defining your brand with are:

  • What are you selling?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What makes you different from the competitors?

Every successful blog needs to have a brand. And this means that you need to define the brand right from the start!

While defining your brand is an important start point, you can still perform amendment and adjustment in the future to further inline the brand towards your goal.

Important tip: Your brand character needs to promote your business ultimately, connect you with readers and making your blog different from the rest.

 

Step 2: Building a brand based on a person

A branding project is only successful when you have the right type of audience in mind. By now, you should realize that there are no two readers that think or act alike.

As a human, we behave, think, believe and understand differently. Your brand has to fulfill the understanding part.

For example, there would be different words and actions which are deemed ‘rude’ by particular religion while others may be all right with it.

In this step, creating the right persona for your brand is vital as it will help you to streamline the target and audience.

If you need help creating the perfect persona, here’s a great article from HubSpot for your reading/reference.

Your goal shouldn’t be reaching out to as many people as possible, but to reach a particular type of people that will look highly on your brand. Instead of targeting a broad range of individuals, the ultimate goal is to provide actionable solutions to your chosen target audience and ‘solve their problems.’

 

Step 3: Creating the first great impression

Now that you have completed the two heavy lifting in building a brand, the next step involves creating the great first impression for your readers.

Here’s a little story of mine.

I launched a brand new blog, StartFreelanceCareer.com not too long ago and I knew that I’m serving to an audience consisting of freelancers.

Just like any other business, I need to create the first great impression to “wow” them right from their first visit.

So, here’s what I did:

  1. Create a logo for the blog
  2. Consider on the design for the blog

For the blog logo, I decided to create my own which looks pretty similar to this website’s one (as a temporary). If you are looking for a free logo maker, head over to GoSpaces and see what they can offer. It is a kind of cool free online tool that allows you to create impressive logos for free!

Do you know that a logo is crucial regardless the size of your business?

When it comes to choosing a good logo, take into consideration of the color and design. A logo should be used for a very long time and therefore, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

How about the design of the blog?

I have been a huge fan of StudioPress child themes, and while they are excellent choices, they lack uniqueness which I dearly need. I certainly do not want to create another blog that looks like a thousand others.

I settled down with Divi 3.0 and trusted me, it is the best drag and drops WordPress builder I have even used. It took me slightly over 3 hours to completely create the blog design.

Important tip: If you need to find a simple slogan generator, you should take GoSpaces slogan generator for a spin. Trust me; it is fun to use!

 

Step 4: Creating social presence

The last step is crucial. For the record, the old way of stamping your logo won’t make the cut in today’s technological world.

A branding process is not complete with an active social presence. You can start creating a social presence by building branded social media profiles. This means that you need to start Facebook Pages, Google+ Pages and Twitter account based on your brand’s name.

So, how many social media profiles do you need? I have no plans to disappoint you, but the truth is that there is no definite answer.

You should have at least an official account for Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Creating more social media accounts would highly dependable based on your business needs.

Important tip: When it comes to creating branding on social media, it is important to understand that you should always use usernames or social media handles that represent your brand. In this case, it is always recommended to have a similar social media account name on all social media platforms. Trust me; it would be easier for your followers to connect with you on different social platforms.

 

Summary

There are a lot more tasks to complete instead of buying a domain and hosting it online. If you want to be successful, you need to start branding your blog immediately.

I certainly hope you find these four steps to building a brand for your new blog useful.

What do you think? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss further.

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Hootsuite Supports Personal Google+ Profile

I wished that one day, Hootsuite will integrate personal Google+ profiles into its social media automation platform.

The above was three years back when I first started using Hootsuite. If you are one of those social media marketers like me who loves Hootsuite and waiting for integration with personal Google+ profile, the wait is over.

If you missed it, Hootsuite supports personal Google+ profile!

I first read about Hootsuite adding support to personal Google+ profile on The Social Media Hat.

I was shocked.

I was surprised.

I was 101% pumped!

After a long time waiting for Google+ integration, it certainly felt like it’s a dream come true!

If you are wondering, Hootsuite has long been my go-to tool when it comes to social media automation tools. Sure, I use Buffer, Socialoomph, and a few more social media tools, but Hootsuite is one of the best for automation.

With the latest update on Hootsuite, I believe that it will be a game changer which will affect how social media marketing on Google+ will work.

Furthermore, we (social media marketers) have long been complaining about lacking social media tools for Google+.

So, now it is the time for us to start taking Google+ marketing to a whole new level, don’t you think so?

hootsuite supports personal google+ profile integration

Why is Hootsuite integration with personal Google+ profile important?

There are two important things you can accomplish with this integration:

  • You can now publish posts to a new social media platform using Hootsuite
  • You can schedule posts to personal Google+ profile

 

1. Publishing new social media posts (on personal Google+ profile) using Hootsuite

This is pretty clear cut. With the new integration, you can now add your personal Google+ profile to your Hootsuite.

For serious marketers, this is an awesome way to grow your audience and boost your visibility.

BONUS CASE STUDY: [thrive_2step id='5764']Learn how I accidentally increase my traffic by 700% just by using Google+.[/thrive_2step]

Don’t forget that being active on Google+ will also increase your search ranking.

Apart from search ranking, being active on Google+ is proven to boost website traffic (read my case study by clicking on the bonus above).

 

2. Automatic scheduling posts to personal Google+ profile

Guys, this is the most important part. I use Hootsuite to publish posts at optimal times using automatic scheduling.

Until date, the only Google+ posting automation tool requires you to keep your computer or laptop turned on. In a long run, you know that it is not a good social media strategy. Obviously.

Now, what happens when you can schedule posts using Hootsuite for your personal Google+ profile?

You can leverage the automatic posting to ensure that posts are shared at the optimal timing. This is going to increase:

  • Visibility
  • Growth
  • Clicks
  • Traffic
  • Revenue

Pretty awesome, right?

 

How to start automatic posting to personal Google+ profile?

Firstly, you need to register for a Hootsuite account. Then, add your Google+ account as seen below:

how to add personal google+ profile to hootsuite

Once the account is integrated to your Hootsuite account, all you need is to start scheduling the social media posts and Hootsuite is going to take care of the rest.

What do you think? Sign up for a free Hootsuite account today and you can even try Hootsuite Pro for 30-days free!

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How To Create And Keep A Consistent Blogging Schedule

What is a blogging schedule?

A blogging schedule is a schedule that reminds you to publish posts based on specific duration. Take an example of my latest challenge, #60DaysBloggingChallenge.

Blogging schedule could benefit bloggers in many ways. Here are some:

blogging schedule

 

How to start a blogging schedule?

Anyone can start a blogging schedule, but it takes a lot more than just ‘saying.’ Most bloggers heard about blogging schedule, and they even might have used it at least once in their blogging journey.

You will be surprised at the number of bloggers who stop using a blogging schedule after a period. For starters, it is hard to maintain a blogging schedule and blogging schedule requires strong determination.

Do sounds like a tough job? Not really.

If you are planning to start a blogging schedule, bookmark this post. You will find everything you need to know about blogging schedule.

 

1. A blogging schedule starts with planning

Do you know what is the biggest challenge when it comes to blogging schedule?

For me, it is keeping/following the plan itself.

Most bloggers and freelance writers are either students or working adults. You are bound to face a tremendous challenge from time to time.

Planning involves:

  • Types of content to blog about
  • Platform you are going to publish
  • Time of publication

 

2. Consistency is necessary if you want to have a successful blogging schedule

A blogging schedule doesn’t require daily blog posting. All you need is a consistent blog publication.

In my blogging challenge, I decided that my blogging schedule is once every day. Therefore, I’ve to do whatever it takes just to make sure that there will be a blog post published daily without fail.

When you have agreed with a blogging schedule, you need to stick to it to ensure that you do not disappoint your blog followers.

 

3. Analyzing the success of a blogging schedule

This is where many bloggers get it wrong. A blogging schedule isn’t just a schedule; it is a strategy in marketing which is highly effective.

My blogging schedule is to build strong interest in a particular audience, which in a long run will benefit my online business.

To make sure my blogging schedule is a success, I analyze the outcome on a daily basis.

Here are some stats you can use for analyzing:

  • Number of traffic per day
  • Top traffic source (growth in organic, referral, direct, or social traffic)
  • New email subscribers

 

 

Are you going to start a blogging schedule?

There are just too many advantages for a blogger to use a blogging schedule. A blogging schedule could help you increase website traffic, increase revenue and grow your audience in a long run.

If you are a blogger or marketer who wants more traffic to your website, you need to start a blogging schedule right away.

Here’s a question for you. What is your BIGGEST challenge in creating/managing a blogging schedule?

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14 Ways To Prevent Your WordPress Website From Being Hacked

How to secure WordPress website from hackers?

As a blogger (now, freelance writer), the above is one of the most common questions asked by new bloggers and website owners.

My answer to them often goes into the deep conversation as I am a huge believer that securing WordPress website from hackers requires more than just one step. As a matter of fact, there are many steps you need to take to secure WordPress website from hackers.

Two years back, I wrote an article on WordPress security, and it was a huge success. Not only that post became one of my most popular blog posts, but it was also featured on Harvard University’s blog!

But two years ago is a long, long time ago. The game has changed, and we are already moving closer to 2017.

So this blog post will be the most updated version for any blogger who asks “How to secure WordPress website from hackers?

Important disclaimer you need to understand (about WordPress security): There is NO website immune to hacking, a.k.a. Impossible to be hacked. There are no stopping hackers from trying to hack your website, but you can certainly make it tough for them to accomplish their goals.

With proper security practices, you should be able to maintain your WordPress website safely and free from hackers.

 

how to secure WordPress website from hackers

1. Choosing the right web host can help prevent hacking

Web hosting is often the first line of defense when it comes to securing WordPress websites from hackers.

A good web host will run checks for malicious codes or intrusion on a daily basis to ensure your WordPress website is safe. However, most shared web hosting doesn’t do that. Instead, they run very general checks once a week and some, once a month!

Not all bloggers are savvy in WordPress and bloggers will count on the web hosting provider for advice especially regarding plugins and themes. Again, shared web hosting providers do not have much restriction on such which triples the chances of your WordPress websites being hacked.

A quick solution (but expensive): Forget about shared hosting and opt for fully managed WordPress hosting instead. For example, I use WP Engine for all my WordPress websites because I’ll get:

  • Daily backups
  • Daily scans for virus and malicious codes
  • Bulletproof security features

And if I’m unlucky of being hacked, WP Engine will repair my WordPress website free of charge!

Slower solution (but more cost saving): Install minimum plugins and plugins which are premium would be a safer bet. Instead of using fully managed WordPress hosting, you can opt for semi-dedicated ones such as GoGeek from SiteGround. At a fraction of the price from managed WordPress hosting, you’ll get better support (especially in security) and server performance as well.

 

2. Choose your WordPress themes wisely

Do you know that WordPress themes can affect your website security? There is no way you can secure a WordPress website from hackers if you are using nulled or cracked WordPress themes.

Now, don’t give me the reason as you are too poor for buying a good theme. Invest into buying premium WordPress themes and this will save you even more money in future!

A premium WordPress theme comes with many features such as inbuilt SEO features, clean codes and loads faster too. Therefore, you are not getting a premium theme entirely for security reasons only.

Here are some of the most popular premium WordPress themes on the market now:

I also wrote a complete comparison between Thrive Themes vs Studiopress (if you need help deciding).

 

3. Control the types of plugins you’re installing on WordPress

There are many WordPress plugins you can find the repository as well as from third party websites. And this is a huge problem especially when it comes to securing WordPress website from hackers.

Not all plugins are coded correctly which could either leave loop holes or some developers would string of malicious codes in it. Either way, your WordPress website will be exposed to hacking if the matter is not resolved immediately.

If you are planning to secure WordPress website from hacker, here are some of the best practices for bloggers:

  • Use only the latest updated plugins
  • Avoid using plugins which are no longer support the developers
  • Download the plugins directly from the source, not from friends or P2P sites
  • Always keep your plugins updated to the latest version
  • Purchase premium plugins are those are usually supported by the developers

 

4. Prevent hacking by cleaning up your WordPress backend

Did you know that one of the best ways to secure WordPress website from hackers is to keep your WordPress back end tidy?

Ask yourself a question. When was the last time you clean up your WordPress back end? Probably a long time ago, right?

There are a lot of things you can do when cleaning your WordPress back end. For example:

  • Remove unwanted plugins
  • Remove is not supported plugins
  • Uninstall any plugins not in used (instead of leaving it deactivated)
  • Check string of codes you have added in the past in the <header> and <body> section

In short, the more often you do cleanup on your WordPress, the better chance you can avoid being hacked.

 

5. Always be careful when hiring a WordPress developer

Having a virtual assistance or WordPress developer to help you with your blog is a good thing. However, not everyone of them is equal.

Sure, there will be those who are good and honorable, but there will also be some which are crooked. When it comes to hiring a WordPress developer, make sure you provide access to files they need and not the entire directory.

It is always recommended to backup your WordPress website first (keeping the backup copy with you) before allow them to do the changes or modification.

If you are using fully managed WordPress hosting that has staging facilities, get the WordPress developer to work on your staging site instead of the live one. You can get the support team to scan the staging site to ensure that no malicious codes are in it being making it live.

When it comes to hiring a virtual assistance or WordPress developer, always remember that cheaper isn’t always the good thing.

Whenever you feel that the offer is too good to be true, you should skip it and look for others.Click To Tweet

Trust me; this is one of the best methods when it comes to “how to secure WordPress website from hackers.

 

6. Always backup your WordPress website

When was the last time you did a website backup? Most shared hosting provider only provides weekly or monthly backup as a default. Unless you have a higher plan such as SiteGround GoGeek or WP Engine which offers daily backup, you are bound to have a problem if your WordPress website is compromised.

You can initiate a manual backup for your WordPress website directly from your cPanel by clicking on this option:

wordpress security

Some web hosting companies also offer you the options to save the file for a specific time duration such as 7, 14 or 31 days respectively.

How to secure your WordPress website from hackers: For additional security precaution, you may opt to download the backup and keep it on your computer. This will ensure that in the case of hacking or any breach, your backup copy is still in good condition.

 

7. Strong password for your WordPress will deter hacking

The WordPress team understands about the risk of hacking and until date, as many as 30,000 WordPress websites are compromised on a daily basis.

Therefore, WordPress users are required to use strong passwords for their back end access.

The best practices to secure WordPress website is by strong combination of passwords such as:

  • Avoid using birth dates
  • Avoid using real name
  • Use at least one capital alphabet
  • Use at least one numeric character
  • Use at least one symbol

When it comes to securing WordPress website from hackers, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

 

8. Keep WordPress core updated

WordPress developers can relate to this. Do you know how often website owners do not update their WordPress? Seldom, right?

Keeping WordPress core (and plugins) updated is the very least you could do to secure WordPress websites.

Furthermore, it doesn’t cost you a dime for the updates.

How to prevent WordPress website from being hack? It is highly recommended to perform a backup in advance as there is a slight chance of upgrade glitch which could affect your WordPress website.

 

9. Always use WordPress security plugins

I know many bloggers who say that they are not affordable for a managed WordPress hosting serviceDon’t worry; I get it.

However, it doesn’t mean that you have to learn your WordPress website bare naked and not protected! You should use security plugin to secure your WordPress website.

There are many WordPress security plugin that you can choose from such as:

If you are wondering, there isn’t any best WordPress security plugin from the list above as each provides pretty similar features.

Important tip to secure WordPress websites: When setting up a WordPress security plugin, always go for a safe setting first before going full blown. This is to ensure that you do not accidentally lock yourself out from the backend due to the tight security setting.

 

10. Activate CloudFlare for additional protection from hackers

CloudFlare is more than just a content delivery network (CDN). It provides security and above all, additional protection such as DDoS and brute force attacks.

Cloudflare will block known IP’s which are abusive and could cause harm to your WordPress website.

You can activate CloudFlare via cPanel or directly from the CloudFlare official website.

 

11. Using two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is a great and powerful way to secure your WordPress website from hackers.

If you are looking to use two-factor authentication on WordPress, you can download Clef and sync it with your smartphone.

You’re required to scan a code on your smartphone every time before login and Clef and check for authenticity before you can login.

 

12. Use SFTP instead of FTP

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a common tool used by bloggers and WordPress developers to send files to and from the WordPress database.

Instead of using FTP, you should use SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol or Secure File Transfer Protocol) to ensure that your information is secured during the file transfer.

Most shared web hosting provider provide both FTP and SFTP. All you need is to request for one if you are unable to find it in your cPanel account.

 

13. Keep your computer or devices up to date

When bloggers ask me about “How to secure WordPress website from hacker?”, I usually tell them that security practices would start with them.

In this case, we are often connected to our WordPress backend using our smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops. Either way, these devices must be free from virus and malicious codes. The security of your WordPress website can easily be compromised if you are not careful.

For example, a laptop that is infected with keylogger would easily give the hackers access to your WordPress website because they have your credentials.

 

14. Open your eyes and notify any differences

If you have installed a security plugin such as Wordfence, there will be a summary report which you can generate that shows the number of failed logins over a period.

In the case where you noticed a huge spike in such attempts to log in to your WordPress back end, you need to start taking precautions such as:

  • Limiting access to WordPress backend
  • Enable Brute Force feature on WordPress Jetpack plugin
  • Change the security level on CloudFlare from medium to high

At the end of the day, you need to keep an eye on the ‘health’ of your WordPress blog. No one is a better lookout than you, yourself.

 

How to secure WordPress website from hackers – Summary

There are many things you can take to secure your WordPress website, and they come in both simple and more complicated tasks.

With the number of WordPress websites being hacked on a daily basis, it is important to be vigilant and take the best precautions you can find to secure your WordPress website.

Have you taken sufficient security precautions for your WordPress website?

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Why I Moved To A Fully Managed WordPress Hosting? #60DaysBloggingChallenge Day 1

I’m not going to lie to you. Moving to a fully managed WordPress hosting, WP Engine is probably the best choice I had ever taken in my life (after marrying my lovely wife).

You know that I’ve long been a huge fan of fully managed WordPress hosting, and I did quite a few reviews including WP Engine review a couple of years back.

On and off, I move from one web hosting company to another, trying to find a place I can truly call “home.” Through my years of blogging, I was lucky to be able to try a huge number of fully managed WordPress hostings such as:

  • WP Engine
  • Web Synthesis
  • Rainmaker
  • Pagely
  • FlyWheel
  • Pressable
  • SiteGround
  • BlueHost managed WordPress hosting
  • GoDaddy managed WordPress hosting

And trust me, I have many mixed results from each of my managed WordPress hosting experience.

If you are in a rush or have no plans to read this long post, you can find a summary below. If you find this article useful, I would appreciate if you can share this on your favorite social media platform. Deal?

fully managed wordpress hosting

Fully Managed WordPress Hosting – Quick Review

If you are looking for a good, fully managed WordPress hosting that provides superior uptime (99.99% uptime), 24/7 support (chat, email, and phone) and staging area, WP Engine is your best choice. All of their support team know about WordPress, so you’ll rarely see the issue being escalated up to their a higher level support crew. WP Engine is also one of top tier managed WordPress hosting that offers huge discount and affordable pricing.

If you are a new blogger or marketer who wants to dominate the search engines, Web Synthesis is a great choice. It comes with all the goodies of any top tier fully managed WordPress hosting service can offer, and the only downside is that it doesn’t have a live chat feature. The only mean of support is through email and on average, email supports are usually responded within 2-3 hours.

Rainmaker Platform is the sister product of Web Synthesis. It is not the cheapest but if you are serious enough to have an awesome blog with powerful marketing features such as inbuilt landing pages, membership site, forum, analytics and SEO tools too. Rainmaker Platform is more than just a great choice. No wonder, CopyBlogger calls it “the complete marketing and sales platform,” which I truly agree with!

Choosing a good web host is like choosing a good wife/partner. Take your time to choose, or else you might regret.Click To Tweet

Pagely is powerful. Their servers are built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and they load lightning fast. If you are a WordPress developer, you are going to love Pagely because it comes with REST API for all accounts and higher tiers, you have access to SSH + GIT + Staging + WP-CLI. Pagely also comes with PressDNS, PressCDN, PressArmor and PressCache to ensure that your website is always safe and at its peak performance.

FlyWheel is another great fully managed WordPress hosting provider as it is built for developers and entrepreneurs. It has an extremely easy billing system which allows you to bill directly to your client (instead of you paying for them in advance), and they provide free migration as well!

Pressable is another managed WordPress hosting that offers affordability and easy of use. Seriously, Pressable is probably one of the cheapest managed WordPress hosting provider in the market and is a great choice if you’re tight on budget.

If you are on a really tight on budget and need a better web hosting that is between shared hosting and semi managed WordPress hosting, then there are options such as SiteGround, BlueHost, and GoDaddy for you to choose from. They are cheap, highly affordable and easy to scale along the way when your business picks up.

 

The Problem? Shared Hosting Isn’t Good Enough

I was using SiteGround for years and probably one of the best shared (semi-dedicated) WordPress hostings I’ve ever tried. The package I was using is SiteGround GoGeek and with the price of $14.95 per month, it was pretty decent since I get support via email and chat, staging area and cPanel access.

No complaints, right?

You are right … until something terribly went wrong. One day, I received an email notification that I had exceeded my CPU time usage quota and will be given temporary limitation on my website until the next day.

If you are wondering what ‘temporary limitation’ is, it means that no one can access my website until the penalty is over.

website down

Five things came to my mind instantly:

  1. I’m toast!
  2. I’m really toast!
  3. I need move to a better web hosting
  4. I need to move RIGHT NOW
  5. Prepare the wallet; it is going to burn a hole in it (I initially thought)

 

The Hunt For The Best Fully Managed WordPress Hosting Begins

For a moment, the above felt like one of the lines in ‘The Hunger Games’ but believe it, finding for a fully managed WordPress hosting is not an easy task.

find fully managed WordPress hosting

Throughout my blogging career, I used fully managed WordPress hosting services for quite some occasions, and I knew exactly what I’m going to face:

  • Price
  • Migration service
  • Cost of SSL certificate
  • Private email service

Most bloggers or website owners would just consider the price of the hosting as the only weight but for me, it goes beyond that.

For starters, not many fully managed WordPress hosting offer free migration services. Typically, a migration service would cost around $50 to $150 depending on the size of the website.

Then there is the cost of SSL certificate. Again, most fully managed WordPress hosting doesn’t provide you with free SSL certificate, and you need to purchase one.

Lastly, fully managed WordPress hosting service doesn’t offer email services because it is naturally a risk factor (WordPress security matters). So, I’m required to get a separate email service on my own (I prefer NameCheap because it is affordable).

I went down the rabbit hole trying to figure out the fully managed WordPress hosting that can provide me:

  • Uptime
  • Doesn’t block me out (because I’m so darn famous :p)
  • Able to support technical support (live chat preferably)
  • Content Delivery Network
  • Money back guarantee (okay, call me picky for this)

… Drum roll, please …

I decided to invest into the most popular fully managed WordPress hosting, WP Engine.

Now, before you start throwing tomatoes and rotten eggs at me, allow me to justify myself.

Seriously, let me tell you my experience as a customer and then, feel free to judge me (or WP Engine).

 

Choosing Between Two Fully Managed WordPress Hostings

Early in the deciding stage, I knew my options were either WP Engine or FlyWheel. The reasons for me to choose them? Well, see below:

 

1. WP Engine Review

Let’s be honest. I wrote a review on WP Engine some time back, and there are many changes that happened since then.

For starters, I hate their bot counting as visits, and it made thousands of influencers leaving the platform itself. Even Harsh decided to leave WP Engine due to the insane bot counting. But now, the bot counting has been abolished on October 2015 (thank God) so, WP Engine is back to the game.

WP Engine comes with a nice entry level plan, Personal. If you are an entry level blogger, marketer or startup business, this is probably the best plan you can get on the market.

wpengine managed hosting plans

My next option is Business plan which is awesome. 10 WordPress installs and 100k visits in a month. That’s a good plan since I am running two major websites. To add icing to the plan, it comes with Content Delivery Network (powered by NetDNA) and supports SSL certificate.

wpengine professional plan

If your site is not on HTTPS yet, you should get it immediately for better rankings on search engine result pages.

The SSL certificate costs above $60 per year but if you are a WP Engine customer, you can purchase RapidSSL at a discount price of $49.99 per year. For me, I choose this because it was a no brainer — professional WP Engine staffs will install the SSL certificate on my blog and without me messing around with the application. As for the record, the application process for SSL can be troublesome!

The price tag of $99 may turn quite a lot of people down (including me initially), but because you get bulletproof WordPress security and WP Engine will automatically repair your site in case of hacking? That’s a no-brainer!

I got hacked once and trust me; it is not a fun thing to do. Really.

 

2. FlyWheel Review

I seriously have nothing bad to see about FlyWheel, and they probably have the funniest, happy-going customer service team I’ve ever seen.

At first glance, FlyWheel looks similar to what WP Engine has to offer. The only differences?

The price that you will pay for fully managed WordPress hosting services.

FlyWheel pricing is dirt cheap, and it starts as low as $15 per month. Now, that’s insane to say the very least! The next pricing tier is Personal at $30 and Professional at $75 respectively.

flywheel managed wordpress hosting review

Now, FlyWheel Professional plan is similar to WP Engine and will be my choice if I would host with them.

Also, FlyWheel social media pages seem to be more lively (and fun) compared to WP Engine (if you want to consider that another advantage).

Do you want to know why I choose WP Engine over FlyWheel for my fully managed WordPress hosting? Carry on ready.

Trust me; you’ll not regret this! I promise.

 

3. WP Engine versus FlyWheel – The comparison that made all the difference

Let’s be honest. I couldn’t decide on either one of the fully managed WordPress hosting services, and I decided to give them a chance.

Remember my website is still down at that moment?

I told emailed both sides asking for help, and WP Engine was the first to respond. FlyWheel came second with an email reply a few hours later but with a twist. They offer to move my website for free!

A WordPress migration would cost a lot of money, and the option to migrate for free is beyond awesomeness! I gave the green light, and I waited patiently. The migration duration is anywhere between 1 to 3 days depending on the work queue.

While I wish it will be faster, the service soon-to-be rendered is in the house and therefore, I can’t be complaining!

I was contacted once again by FlyWheel team that they are unable to proceed with the migration since they couldn’t access my WordPress back-end. Of course, my site was down due to ‘limitation’ at that time, and there’s nothing much I could do either. I told them to move whatever they could through the cPanel, and I’ll inform them when the site is accessible again.

Once the penalty was lifted, and I immediately replied to them asking to log in, only to get a reply 12 hours later. Again, my site went into ‘limitation’, and they explained their working hours to me (I thought their migration team worked 24/7 – my bad). To make the migration happen, they told me to grab certain files from my WordPress back-end once it is up. I waited, got it and emailed back to them.

And that was it. I didn’t hear any news or updates from them, ever again.

epic fail for wordpress hosting

Update: I received an email today informing that the migration on FlyWheel is done. However, I think they are just a few days too late. While I appreciate their reply (which is better than no reply at all), it’s just too late. Sorry FlyWheel!

Of course, the email might go to junk or someone overlooked my email (I even checked my sent item just to make sure). Either way, I couldn’t wait. The delay of 3 days is just too long, and WP Engine’s sales team were following up on me once daily.

I told them I had experience migrating to WP Engine in the past, but I hate it (plus, looking for a cheaper solution).

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the moment where WP Engine team “wow-ed” me instantly. They told me about their new automated migration plugin (which was free), and I was instantly hooked.

I even told them my concern about my website loading speed and they offered to check for free using their ‘Page Performance‘. I tested it and I knew exactly what I can get when I host my website on WP Engine.

The next step involves a credit card, and that’s it. Done deal.

When I logged in for the first time to the new WP Engine dashboard, I searched for the ‘Live Chat’ and contacted the guys immediately. I told them my challenge and with the WP Engine migration plugin, I migrated my site over under 60 minutes at zero migration cost. I purchased the SSL certificate, and it was activated under 24 hours.

Long story short, my website was up, and I was started making money from affiliate sales once again. More importantly, I was a much happy person now and I couldn’t be more grateful for them!

 

My Humble Experience In Fully Managed WordPress Hosting

As you can see, you are destined to get better customer service when you use a fully managed WordPress hosting. It could be WP Engine, FlyWheel or Pagely, you know that you will be getting excellent service every, single time!

A fully managed WordPress hosting is more expensive than the typical shared hosting, and if you are looking for a good one, you can opt for BlueHost that costs you under $5 per month (BlueHost review).

But if you are willing to invest a little money for a better hosting service, you are often getting more than what you’re paying for. Take a look at my website loading speed once I’ve migrated to WP Engine.

managed wordpress hosting speed

better loading speed using managed WordPress hosting

I’m a huge believer that statistics will explain itself. 851 ms and 1 second loading speed is fast and this is the reason why you need a fully managed WordPress hosting if you are always concern about website loading speed!

However, if you are a freelancer writer like me who counts heavily on affiliate marketing and building a brand, you should use a fully managed WordPress hosting because of reasons like these:

  • Scalability
  • Uptime
  • Security
  • Speed
  • Support

You don’t have to look far when searching for the best fully managed WordPress hosting service. Try WP Engine today and I’m sure you’ll not be disappointed.

If you need more convincing, here’s one: Sign up with WP Engine using this link and get 60-days full money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with it.

The post Why I Moved To A Fully Managed WordPress Hosting? #60DaysBloggingChallenge Day 1 appeared first on REGINALD CHAN.



from Why I Moved To A Fully Managed WordPress Hosting? #60DaysBloggingChallenge Day 1 http://ift.tt/2cjzBr4 contributed by Reginald Chan

Instagram For Business: The Secrets Of Marketing On Instagram

Are you using Instagram for business?

Don’t worry if you are not. There are still thousands of businesses and marketers who have yet to participate in this fun, highly engaging social media platform called “Instagram.”

This guide would be pretty much different from most of the guides I have written in the past. This Instagram guide will be updated from time to time, and that’s why I call it “Instagram For Business: The Secrets Of Marketing On Instagram.”

So, make sure you bookmark this if you are serious about making Instagram work for you.

Of course, don’t forget to signup for my newsletter to get the latest online marketing guide and tips (you can do so using the button below):

Introduction to Instagram for business

As of 2016, Instagram is said to have an approximately 400 – 500 million active users per month and 60 million photos uploaded a day, generating over 1.6 billion likes in a single day!

I don’t know about you, but the figures are massive to say the very least. At this point of writing, Instagram is enjoying the second spot for the most used social media platform since 2015, and I firmly believe the trend in Instagram will continue to grow in the coming months.

instagram for business

 

So, what can Instagram do for businesses?

Plentiful to say the very least.

For starters, you know that photos (visual) plays are way much better than a wall of text. Gone were the days where people read word by word in your social update. They look at images first, then probably your social updates if your image is captivating.

Well, that's why my social media marketing plan involves images. I use this tool to create powerful, highly engaging photos to increase the engagement rate on Facebook.

By now, you should realize one fundamental thing: Instagram is extremely crucial for the success of your business.

This photo-sharing app is not only important for retailers and restaurants, but it is also one of the most efficient brand-building tools available today. And make no mistake as Instagram is becoming more important for every kind of business.

When businesses have a strong presence on Instagram, your business can avoid the risk of being ignored or forgotten due to the sheer number of competition in the industry itself.

For business owners who take Instagram marketing, it can open up a world of opportunity for your business. According to Forester, Instagram is the “king of social engagement” and potentially able to help brands to boost engagement by 58 times more than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter.

Pretty darn scary right, especially when your competitors are using Instagram and you aren’t!

Now that you have a quick glimpse using Instagram for business, it is ultimately the time to get the work done.

 

Step 1: Creating your (first) Instagram account

Before you can start using Instagram for business, you need to have an account first (duh). It is free, easy to register and probably takes you like a couple of minutes including verifying your account.

start an instagram account for business

You can register an Instagram account using desktop, laptop or smartphones compared to previously, where you are only able to register using mobile devices.

Do not forget to verify your account right after signing up!

 

Step 2: Complete your profile

No one loves to follow an empty Instagram account. The fun thing about Instagram is that you can put your creativity to work. Use signs, symbols, and anything that can make you different from the rest.

Here’s my profile (reginald.chan) and feel free to follow me on Instagram!

setup a new Instagram account

Instagram allows 150 characters (at this moment) in the description in the profile page. Therefore, make sure you plan your words correctly!

Also, remember to link up your website as Instagram do not allow hyperlink in the photo description.

Remember to upload some photos to Instagram as no one love to follow an empty Instagram account!

 

Step 3: Create an Instagram strategy (mission statement)

Here is exactly where most businesses do it wrong in Instagram marketing. If you want to use Instagram for business efficiently and successfully, you need to have an Instagram strategy.

The easiest way is to start off Instagram marketing by doing some research. Click To Tweet

And the research process comes with two important parts:

  • Familiarize with Instagram functionality and features
  • See what your competitors are doing on Instagram

Once you have completed both the following, you would have a little understanding of how Instagram works and what your competitor’s strategies would be like.

Now, it is time to establish your Instagram goals. Long story short, these goals must be related closely to your business goals and here are some examples:

  • Increase product sales
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase branded hashtag mentions

Here’s another tip for you. When it comes to creating Instagram goals for your business, they have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. This will ensure that you can track the success of the goal while making sure your team can achieve the goals within the proper time frame.

what is S.M.A.R.T. goals

If you fail to identify the right goal, you are going to demotivate your team, and Instagram marketing will probably fail (or less successful).

Once you have identified the goal (or goals), it is time to create a mission statement. It can be a sentence less than 15 words which will help your team to understand the marketing goal you want to achieve through Instagram. You can use this format if you want to:

We will use Instagram for (state the purpose of using Instagram) to help (choose one business goal).

Now, do you know why I recommend only one business goal?

When you only have one goal, everyone will be more focused, and this will help increase the chance of achieving the goal.

 

Step 4: Creating a content strategy for Instagram

The next step is to setup a content strategy. Make no mistake as this is crucial if you are using Instagram for business.

In this part, you will need to:

  • Choose the frequency of posting
  • Choose the time of day to post
  • Creating a content calendar
  • Choosing a theme for your content

Using Instagram for business is just like any other social media platforms; you need to maintain a regular posting schedule. However, you do not want to spam your followers with too many posts within a very short period.

If you need a guideline, most brands publish anywhere between one to five Instagram post per day. While there isn’t any ‘rule of thumb’ for this, you should tweak the frequency of posting based on your followers liking.

One of the ways to gauge the frequency of publication is by checking on the number of response you will get. Mark them down and compile the data. Refer to the data after a duration (usually a month for new accounts) and plan you Instagram marking strategy.

You may also want to consider deciding on the time and day of posting. Both of these are somewhat doable by understanding your customers. If the business is brand new (where you don’t have many customers), you could refer to your brand’s persona for guidelines.

Once you are comfortable using Instagram for business, you should start doing A/B testing to determine the different intervals, frequency, and timing. Always remember that any A/B testing is only considered complete when you log down the results.

Finally, you can create a pretty decent content calendar for your team to determine:

  • Who is in charge of posting
  • When are the post going live
  • What content should be included in the posts
  • Who is going to collect the data
  • Who is responsible for replying to followers who engage with you

If you need a good social media tool to accomplish teamwork, you may want to consider using Hootsuite (as low as $9 per month)Trust me; this will be your best investment … ever in social media!

 

Step 5: Building your Instagram brand from ground up

By now, you should be aware that Instagram is all about visual. Therefore, you need to create a cohesive, recognizable brand identity. Take a look at Apple, Coca-Cola and Samsung; they have very distinct brand identity which is well known throughout the world.

In this part where it relates to using Instagram for business, your Instagram marketing strategy will be influenced by the goals and content strategy you had already determined earlier.

The first step here is to consider the visual style you want for your Instagram brand. With today’s technology, you have a wide variety of choices when it comes to filters.

You should have one particular filter that is used as your brand identity.

What happens when you use the same filter over and over again?

You are establishing a style that is recognizable to your (future) Instagram followers.

If you have no idea where to start, don’t worry as I got you covered. Take a look at the Instagram account of  33 Acres Brewing Company. They use distinct white borders and a white color pallet in most of their images to create branding visual.

Instagram for business

Now, you might be wondering. 33 Acres Brewing Company is a brewing company (duh!) but why do they have non-related photos in their Instagram account?

Instagram is a social media platform and just like any human being; your Instagram account shouldn’t be entirely about making sales and boosting revenue. You can make it more lively by sharing lifestyle activities your company does or simply, photos (selfie or wefie) of employees having a great time at work!

There is a second part to this using common language or style for captions. One of the best examples you can find is companies using branded hashtags. Such action will ensure that you can monitor the engagement more efficiently.

Businesses who are using Instagram for branding should not just use any hashtags but instead, take the time to consider using the right type of hashtags to encourage sharing. Also, you certainly do not want to be using the same hashtag that other brands are using!

Common hashtags can be used if you have a proper content strategy. Let’s say you want to penetrate into a particular market; you may want to use the common hashtags used by market (sparingly) to boost visibility.

You may want to choose a hashtag is popular and attracts tens of thousands of posts shared by other Instagram-ers. Here’s one example:

Instagram hashtag marketing

 

Step 6: Get started by following others

There is no harm following your competitors on Instagram even though I know many businesses don’t!

If you are using Instagram for business, you shouldn’t be following every person that you come across in the street or pub. Instead, the below is a list of people that you need to follow on Instagram:

  • Influencers in the industry
  • Your customers or clients
  • Your associates or employees
  • People within the same industry (using hashtag searching)

Now, here’s what you need to do next. DO NOT hope for 1,000 or 10,000 new followers in just 24 hours. It takes the time to build a strong following.

If you want to build a faster following, consider promoting your Instagram account to various social media platforms.

You may also want to start integrating your Instagram account into social media automation tools take Instagram marketing to a whole new level.

 

Step 7: Post (beautiful) photos

In step 6, you have followed a couple of people within the market. The next step involves posting/uploading photos to your business Instagram account.

Before you upload a photo on Instagram, here are several important things to consider:

  • What caption to use?
  • Which hashtags to use?
  • Have you enabled cross sharing to other platforms?
  • Are you adding to Photo Map?
  • Are you planning to tag anyone?
  • What time to upload the photo?

If you have a physical location (or store), you should consider enabling the photo map feature which involves tagging your location.

 

Step 8: Engage with your followers and those who you are following

As the saying goes, “you have to give to take” and this is imperative in Instagram.

You need to take the time to engage with both followers and the ones you are following on Instagram.

Not sure where to start? Try these excellent tips:

  • Spend at least 10 minutes a day on Instagram (for interaction)
  • Try your best to reply to comments from followers
  • Monitor industry-relevant hashtags (to engage and participate)
  • Like and comment on other images
  • Follow a few new Instagram accounts
  • Thank new Instagram followers who followed you

In short, the success of your Instagram account will come down to getting your business out there in the community while ensuring that you participate and thank those who engage with your brand.

 

Step 9: Engage with other Instagrammers who don’t follow you

Using Instagram for business isn’t an easy task. On one part, you need to interact with your Instagram followers and on another, there are also other Instagram-ers who aren’t your followers, but you would need to communicate with as well!

The simple reason behind this is because you want to build a strong following.

Instagram marketing for business is only effective when you have a highly engaged community (a.k.a. followers). You need to build them up, and it takes a lot of effort.

And the first step (just like marketing on any other social media platform) is to engage with other Instagrammers (even when they are not your followers).

So, how do you find other Instagram users for your social media marketing?

You can find other Instagram users within the same interest using hashtags, and the general rule is to use popular hashtags to produce a wider result. A few examples of popular hashtags are like:

  • #SocialMedia
  • #Instagram
  • #Fashion
  • #Food

 

Step 10: Monitor and analyze your stats

Did you know that analyzing the stats is an important step when using Instagram for business?

While there are many Instagram analytics tools you can choose from, here are the top (and highly recommended) tools for business owners:

SimplyMeasured is probably the most popular Instagram analytics tool for most businesses. It is extremely easy to use, and it comes with many powerful statistics. This tool is known for its high-level summary of your brand’s Instagram account.

With the fact that you can sign up for SimplyMeasured for free, the value it can provide especially in marketing a business on Instagram is priceless.

Here are some statistics you can get from SimplyMeasured:

Using Instagram for Business

SimplyMeasured Instagram analytics tool

free Instagram analytics tools for business

Now, I wasn’t very active on Instagram lately but with the proper filter and some nice caption, my Instagram engagement is marked as 1.8 times more than most brand average … which is awesome by the way!

Of course, SimplyMeasured is just one of the top tools you can use when you need great Instagram statistics for business marketing.

Next, what do you do with these stats?

You need to dot them down in any spreadsheet (Excel or Google Sheets are great) to gauge the engagement. For example, the type of filters used, time of posting and even the tone of your caption would determine the success when you use Instagram for business.

 

Instagram for business – Recap

Proper Instagram marketing especially for business, is not a walk in the park. It requires a lot of work including countless hours of data collection (like the above).

However, the result from using Instagram for business is just too good to ignore. Most business owners who I met up in the past were extremely surprised when they see the results through their Instagram marketing efforts.

So, here’s a question for you. When will you be using Instagram for business?

The post Instagram For Business: The Secrets Of Marketing On Instagram appeared first on REGINALD CHAN.



from Instagram For Business: The Secrets Of Marketing On Instagram http://ift.tt/2c3yTht contributed by Reginald Chan

Whose Behind The Big Fat Reality

My photo

Who the hell is Reginald Chan?

Yes, it's me ... an average Joe from the small town of Melaka, Malaysia. I love writing, blogging, reading and all those tech stuffs. I spend most of my days at my website and doing light marketing.

My interest

Creating lots and lots of websites for fun and of course, traveling. Oh and yes, good food as well. I have deep passion especially when it comes to WordPress, blogging, SEO and also Internet Marketing.

See my work:


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