Benefits of Shared Web Hosting

Benefits of Shared Web Hosting

Small business owners, entrepreneurs, and independent creatives know that a website is an essential tool for spreading their message and building their brand, but the costs of hosting that website can create an insurmountable obstacle for new site owners on a tight budget. Offered by a wide range of hosting providers, shared hosting is an affordable option that lets users set up an online presence quickly and easily. While shared hosting has definite drawbacks, especially for high traffic sites, this kind of hosting is inexpensive, accessible, modestly scalable, and requires little or no knowledge of website design and development.

What is Shared Hosting?

Before we talk more about the most notable shared hosting benefits let’s first what it is by definition. Shared hosting is one of a number of hosting options offered by providers around the world. As its name suggests, in a shared hosting environment multiple websites, potentially thousands of them, are hosted on the same server, which is owned and maintained by the hosting provider. All sites on that server must share the server’s resources, which include bandwidth, memory and computing power, and those are allotted equally to all accounts on the server. Users can set up multiple websites under a single account as long as they don’t exceed the limitations on resources that are set by the provider.

The hosting provider maintains the servers and takes care of security and upgrades, but users are responsible for setting up and running their own sites, usually with installable scripts available from the host or with the help of the host’s support staff when needed. Because shared hosting involves many websites, but the resources of only one server, providers can offer this kind of hosting for extremely low costs – often less than $5 per month on many promotional plans.

Who Should Use Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting packages for these prices typically have minimal features and support services, but users can often upgrade to a higher shared hosting tier that offers added services for additional fees. For some users, shared hosting plans are the only kind they’ll ever need, but a site might “outgrow” a shared hosting situation as it acquires more visibility and traffic, and require more hosting resources than shared hosting can offer, such as managed or dedicated server hosting that reduces or eliminates the sharing of servers and offers a long list of additional features.

Shared web hosting costs far less than those other types of web hosting and allows users on a shoestring to find an online home for their site. But, security risks come with the shared technology and resources on a single server packed with many different kinds of sites. And, what happens with one site on the shared server, such as a spike in traffic that suddenly gobbles up large amounts of computing power, can affect many others with downtime or slowdowns. Still, for new site owners and those with small, low traffic sites, the benefits of shared hosting can significantly outweigh those drawbacks. Here’s why.

Shared Hosting is Affordable

As we’ve noted, shared hosting plans are typically very inexpensive, typically costing only a few dollars per month on a provider’s introductory promotional rates. Those rates typically go up to the site’s standard package rate after that promotional period ends, but even at those standard rates, shared hosting remains the least expensive option for basic website hosting. And while shared hosting generally offers relatively few extra features, it does include the essentials for setting up and maintaining a small website.

Shared Hosting is Accessible

The low cost and easy availability of shared hosting make it possible for just about anyone to open an account, sign a contract and begin setting up a site. This kind of hosting is offered by most general web hosting providers, although it may not be available from hosting providers that are dedicated to serving specific niches and website types.

A new shared hosting account typically includes the basic tools for getting a small site up and running, too. Some, such as one-click installs of content management systems like WordPress and easy website builders like Wix are free and included with a new account, while others can be added for additional fees. Depending on their level of expertise, users can use the host’s built-in tools to develop their site elsewhere and upload it to the hosting account or stick with the site building and content management options offered by the host.

Shared Hosting Can Scale

Shared hosting works best for new sites and small sites that don’t see much traffic. That allows them to remain within the limits established by many users drawing from a shared server’s finite resources and allows sites room to grow – to an extent. Once a site reaches a certain level of monthly traffic or uses its allotted disk space, it may need to upgrade to a different tier of shared hosting or switch to another kind of hosting entirely.

Shared Hosting Doesn’t Require Design Skills

Opening a shared hosting account can be a new site owner’s first foray into the world of website creation – and they may not have the means to hire a designer to create and manage their site. Most shared hosting providers offer basic site creation tools for setting up a small site without the need for specialized website development skills or familiarity with code.

From a central control panel, users can do tasks such as customize the site’s theme and settings and manage its content without any specialized knowledge of web design. Widely used site builders and CMS options also allow more web-savvy users to make more customized changes, as long as they’re within the terms of the provider’s contract.

Although shared hosting users generally set up and manage their own sites, they can turn to the hosting company’s support staff for help with a wide range of problems ranging from basic setup issues to troubleshooting specific problems as they arise. Tutorials and FAQs on the host site can also help users solve problems and make needed changes to their sites. For an additional fee, many providers also offer site setup using a variety of site builders.

Every business needs a website, and there’s a hosting option to meet every need. Shared hosting may not be right for large sites and those with a high volume of traffic. But, because this kind of hosting service is affordable, accessible and even moderately scalable, this user-friendly option offers webmasters on a budget a way to easily establish an online presence.

How to Prepare Your Business for Growth

How to Prepare Your Business for Growth

Businesses grow over time and should have a website that can scale with them. There will be more clients, products, sales, and more potential opportunities to expand business reach. But how can you prepare your business to grow with you online?

To start, you can prepare your business for times of growth by developing a website equipped to grow with you by preparing for traffic spikes and creating a scaleable brand.

Plan for brand growth

Preparing your business for growth begins with at the brand level. A brand is your customer’s perception of your business based on your message, design, and content. By understanding what it means to your current customers, you can create a meaningful and lasting connection.

Preparing growth includes knowing where you’re headed, being fluid with what changes can or cannot make, and what consistent elements need to be incorporated no matter where your business grows.

By knowing where your company is heading, you can take advantage of your niche. Understand where your competitive advantage and skills lie. By knowing you want to be the best at printing, versus the best at copywriting, you can position your skills and grow in a different direction.

Brand fluidity means letting your messaging grow with your customers to remain relevant. Your core messaging and promise may remain the same, but how you deliver on that message, new capabilities, and additional products or services will change.

Make sure you have maintained your consistency among all of the places customers come into contact with your brand, from packaging to your site and more.

Plan for website changes

Rather than building a web without consideration, think to where you might grow your business. Consider if you’re going to grow into e-commerce, become national, or even expand internationally. If you want to have a blog or another type of capability in your site, you’ll want to build it this way from the beginning.

Think about what type of relationship do you want to have with your site:

  • Do you want to manage it?
  • Do you want someone else to manage it?
  • Do you need a custom site?
  • By considering the types of growth you may experience in your business, it will help you plan to make an investment in the right website platform, rather than beginning on one and then having to transfer to another.

Your website will need to reflect your brand. When creating or changing it, make sure it reflects your personality and message. By choosing a platform you can grow with, you ensure consistency as you scale.

By choosing a website platform plan, you are at an advantage to purchasing for the year. You can get a price break of up to 25% by paying yearly instead of monthly. Be sure of which platform you choose, you want to make sure you can stick with it for at least a year.

Plan for traffic to your site

While there can sometimes be unexpected traffic to your site, plan ahead for the type of traffic you receive. The last thing you want is for your product or service to be covered on a TV station, or have some type of hype driven, only for customers to crash your site when they visit.

Some ways to prevent a site from crashing because of too much traffic include:

  • Switching to a Virtual Private Server (VPS)
  • If you need more space, consider cloud hosting
  • Higher or unlimited bandwidth with your hosting account
  • While traffic is to be expected, make sure to plan your site and hosting for spikes in traffic so that visitors don’t cause your site to crash.

Implement tracking and data collection methods

Understand what data you want and need about your sales, customers, and online experience. When it comes to sales and processing orders, it’s much easier to implement tracking from the beginning. If you add it later, you lose the benefit of early research, tweaking of collection methods, and ease of implementation.

Tracking and measurement is an important part of your businesses processes that help you understand what growth you are experiencing, when, and where it’s coming from. Utilizing online tracking with Google Analytics, site tracking with HotJar, or traffic tracking through email campaigns in conjunction with services like Google Analytics give you a more insightful picture into what is going on with your business.

16 Productivity Tools Every Blogger Needs to Succeed

16 Productivity Tools Every Blogger Needs to Succeed

Admit it. You’ve procrastinated once or twice…or several times. As a blogger, you need to be on the Internet, meaning it’s all too easy to become distracted. However, if you want to succeed as a blogger, there is a lot of hard work to be done and only so many hours in the day!

Stop procrastinating by adding these 16 productivity tools to your blogging toolbox.

Writing Tools

Naturally, writing is one of the most important tasks a blogger has on their plate. Keep these writing tools handy to create top-notch content.

1. WriteRoom

Ever get tired of the endless notifications, obnoxious screen views, and clutter when writing? If so, download WriteRoom. WriteRoom is a laptop app designed to help writers hone in on their work with zero distractions. If you often find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of buttons and options on the screen, an app such as WriteRoom can help.

2. Ommwriter

Ommwriter is similar to WriteRoom in that it helps you concentrate solely on your writing. However, in addition to a focused view, users are also treated to calming audio tracks, typing sounds for creativity, and natural backgrounds for inspiration.

Give Ommwriter a try the next time you need a creativity boost or time to focus.

3. Grammarly

All bloggers know editing and proofreading are key. However, how long do you spend doing this? You could be far more productive if you cut this time in half with Grammarly. In addition to spotting grammatical, sentence structure, and spelling errors, Grammarly helps strengthen your writing with wording suggestions.

While Grammarly is a phenomenal editing tool, nothing beats a final human-eye proofread.

4. Hemingway App

While it’s no secret that becoming a better writer takes practice, you can also use the Hemingway App to improve your writing in the meantime. As noted on their website, Hemingway App seeks to make your writing bold and clear. The tool has a readability score along with formatting options and a writing mode for a full-fledged writing app. Meaning, you can use Hemingway as a writing app and an editing tool at once.

Project Management Tools

Do you find your productivity flies out the window as a result of too many tasks? Or, are you less productive due to multitasking or task mismanagement? If so, these project management tools are exactly what you need to organize your work day and reclaim your productivity.

5. Trello

Trello is a collaborative project management software which uses boards and cards to organize projects and tasks in a visually appealing and simple format. At any time, you can see the status of projects, to-do lists, and more thanks to the easy-to-use platform.

Rather than scribble down a to-do list every morning (only to spill coffee on it later), all your tasks for the day are in one place. Plus, using this app cuts back on “What’s the status of this project?” conversations with teammates, leaving more productivity time for you in the long run.

6. Asana

Similar to Trello, Asana is a project management app which focuses on tracking work for the ultimate productivity. Using Asana’s calendar mode, My Tasks mode, and other views, you can get a quick glimpse of your workload for the day. Plus, you can see the progress of projects, who’s responsible for specific tasks, and more all within seconds.

To up your productivity game, connect Asana to the Harvest Time Tracker. You’ll be able to see how long it takes you to complete your blogging tasks. The time tracker also connects to invoicing software to help you maximize your time.

Task Management Tools

If you prefer a to-do list approach to managing your workload, these task management tools are exactly what you need.

7. Todoist

Todoist is a free task management app that helps you organize all your work in one place. The appealing design and simplistic functionality make it the perfect to-do list tool for busy bloggers. With color coding capabilities, team sharing options, and visible progress charts, you’ll be able to see your workload at a glance anytime you want.

8. Toggl

Are you blogging for others? If so, you may be charging by the hour or be required to submit a timesheet. To ensure you know exactly how long you worked, use Toggl. Toggl is a free time tracking app available for multiple browsers and operating systems.

In addition to tracking your time, the app also allows you to assign your time worked to specific projects, tasks, and objectives. Plus, Toggl can also act as a task management tool with the ability to assign projects, tasks, and responsibilities and track overall progress.

9. Zapier

Have you ever thought to yourself, “There needs to be an easier way to connect these two tools” or “I wish there was a way to expedite my tasks.” With Zapier, you can!

Zapier is a tool that connects apps with the intent of automating processes by creating workflows. For instance, you can tell Zapier to automatically send your published WordPress blog post to Buffer to be scheduled for your selected social media channels.

The workflow possibilities are endless! Use Zapier to amplify your productivity and focus on your blogging.

Focus Tools

As most bloggers know, it is all too easy to get distracted. When you need to put your head down and work, take advantage of these tools designed to help you focus.

10. Coffitivity

Based on extensive research which proves a coffee shop has the right amount of ambiance for focused work, Coffitivity brings the sounds of a cafe to you. Choose between different cafe environments, from a bustling university coffee shop to a lounge at lunchtime.

11. Hipster Sounds

Just like Coffitivity, Hipster Sounds offers ambient noise designed to get you in the zone. In addition to coffee shop chatter, Hipster Sounds also provides Premium users with sounds such as calming rain and the hum of a library.

12. Focus Booster

If you want to track and maintain your concentration, the Focus Booster app is for you. The app is based on the Pomodoro concentration technique and helps you visualize your distractions, focus habits, and also tracks your work time.

13. StayFocusd

Do you find yourself veering away from your work to scroll aimlessly through social media, news websites, or video channels? If so, you need to install the StayFocusd Chrome extension! This Chrome extension blocks the websites you tell it to, so you can spend less time scrolling and more time blogging.

Social Media Tools

Every blogger knows just how imperative social media marketing is for growing a blog audience. Use these tools to automate your social media tasks and improve your productivity.

14. Social Media Scheduling Apps

Scheduling social media posts manually and natively can be cumbersome. Instead, rely on these social media scheduling tools to improve your overall productivity:

  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • MeetEdgar
  • Sprout Social

Each platform allows you to schedule social media posts in advance for a variety of networks. Additionally, the tools also offer a multitude of functionalities designed to speed up your social media work.

15. Pocket

Content curation is an excellent tactic for drawing in a blogging audience. Save articles to read later with Pocket. The app and browser extension allows you to save articles “in your Pocket” and access them later without needing to bookmark the page or leave the tab open.

16. LastPass

How much time do you waste trying to remember your social media and blogging passwords? Reclaim this time by using LastPass. This secure tool saves all your passwords in one place.

What tools do you use to enhance your productivity and blogging processes? Let us know in the comments.

5 Tips To Start Preparing Your Business Website For The New Year

5 Tips To Start Preparing Your Business Website For The New Year

We’re saying goodbye to 2022 and looking ahead to a year that is going to bring more business, web traffic, and growth for your website. The new year provides an opportunity to build your brand and acquire new customers to keep your business flourishing all year long.

Are you ready to be one step ahead of the competition in 2019? Here are 5 tips to consider when preparing your business website for the new year.

1.) Review Your Site’s User Experience (UX)

Having a user-friendly site with optimal UX is essential for creating a positive online experience for your visitors. When a user is on your site, anything that conveys a message like an image, video, or product description can influence how they interact with your site. Are your visuals appealing? Is your site mobile responsive? UX has become increasingly vital to a site’s success because a visitors opinion of your business can be directly impacted by what they are experiencing on your site. These are a few factors that can change a negative UX to a positive one.

  • Increase your site speed
  • Update your website design
  • Make sure you have a readable font
  • Ensure your site is accessible for physically disabled and visually impaired

Reviewing user comments or common issues people can experience on your site will help determine your site’s functionality. Usability testing is also a method of evaluation that can help you identify more finite issues a user could be experiencing with your site. Tweaking site components for your visitors to have a favorable UX has the potential to grow your traffic in 2023.

2.) Protect Your Customers With Security SiteLock (SSL)

As a business website selling goods or products, keeping your customer’s information protected is of top importance. Installing an SSL certificate on your site lets customers or visitors know that any personal information they submit through your site is protected. An SSL certificate also helps enhance customer trust on your site, improve conversion rates, and increase your Google rankings.

If you plan to process any credit card or personal information through your site, you will need an SSL certificate in order to be Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI) compliant. Being PCI compliant is essential to help protect your site and the customers who are sharing their credit card information. Whether you are a small or large business, your goal should be to build and maintain a secure network for visitors.

There are several types of SSL certificates you can add to your site and Bluehost offers a great variety for our customers. An SSL certificate can appear as an image at the bottom of a webpage indicating the certificate, a padlock, or the words “SSL,” or “Security.”

3.) Increase Your Site Visibility With Relevant SEO keywords

Making your website search friendly in 2023 is an actionable goal that you can conquer with a little help from search engine optimization (SEO). SEO has become increasingly important to how a site ranks on a search engine because it can increase site awareness and drive traffic to your site. Keeping track of SEO on your site is an excellent way to generate traffic that is organic and free without depleting your wallet.

Creating quality content with natural keywords or phrases helps people to find your site via search engines. Developing a list of relevant keywords specific to the product or services you offer is the best way to ensure potential visitors land on your page versus a competitor. There are several SEO search tools that can you use to find the best and most relevant keywords to assist with traffic and conversions on your site. Relevant keywords are always changing so setting up a weekly or monthly schedule to review your words for SEO visibility is imperative to keep your site ranking high.

4.) Use A Staging Site To Test New Plugins Or Themes

The new year is the perfect time to update your theme or install new plugins on your site. A website refresh is a great way to introduce new products and services, but you want to ensure your existing site content is compatible with any new installs. Bluehost customers have the opportunity to test out their site before making any final changes that can affect their public site.

The AllinwebIT staging environment allows customers to test and see if any new themes and plugins will work on your site. A staging site allows you to make and save changes without your public site being affected. Once you’ve perfected your site in the staging environment you can publish it to your live site. You can use this opportunity to be creative and experiment with an updated design or install a plugin you’ve been itching to try without any worry it will cause your site to crash or malfunction.

5.) Identify The Best Social Media Platforms For Your Site

Social media has become an essential component of how brands market themselves to billions of users across each channel. Having a social media platform is vital for marketing and promoting your company, but not every social platform is best for your business. If you spent this past year scrambling to post on multiple platforms, now is the time to focus on what social media can best support your business.

Here are a few suggestions to find the best social media channels for your brand.

  • Write out your social media goals
  • Establish a publishing cadence and how you’ll identify whether you are successful or not.
  • Understand your industry
  • Doing your market research can help develop brand awareness and identify your target audience.
  • Know the purpose of each platform
    Each platform has different benefits that can strengthen your social media presence.
  • Go where your audience is
    Only use your time on social platforms where your customers frequent.

Once you are able to identify which social media accounts are helping to enhance your business goals you’ll be able to work on strengthening your online presence. You can invest your efforts into growing those accounts by creating a social media strategy that will engage conversation and make the best use of your ad dollars for marketing.

As we transition into the new year, preparing your business website for the new year can set you up for long-term success. Using the holiday to identify the strengths of your site can help you take the first step to make small tweaks or updates you need in 2023

3 Ways To Be The Superhero Of Your Site

3 Ways To Be The Superhero Of Your Site

Building a site that engages your audiences and makes you feel like you’re winning the internet can be a challenging feat. It takes a special combination of superpowers to create a site that captivates your visitors, but your WordPress website can be a bright online presence with a few tips and tricks.

Are you ready to win the hearts of audiences on the web? Grab your cape and read about the 3 ways you can be the hero of your site.

1) Inspire Your Audience With Your “About Us,” Page

The “About Us,” page is extremely important when you’re first creating your site because it tells a story that will stand out to visitors. You want to humanize your brand by providing a description that will help people connect with the product or service on your site. Your “About Us,” page shouldn’t be formal and robotic, it should be friendly, engaging.

Need the formula to help you get your About Page started? Here’s our 5 step process to creating a larger than life “About Us,” page.

1. Write out your mission statement
2. Tell your company/brand story
3. Share how you’ve grown
4. Pinpoint your target audience
5. Explain who you’ve worked with

2) Identify Your Target Audience

Whether you’re new to site building or an experienced pro, knowing your target audience is a superpower to harness. Who you are addressing on your site is not only important for high conversions but can help you craft the voice and tone of your content. There are several factors to consider when deciphering your target audiences like interests, passions, and buying habits.

As you get familiar with your target audience you’ll be able to craft messages and curate services that speak directly to that consumer. It takes time— while possible, you probably won’t become a superhero overnight. Stay patient, it won’t take forever to identify your audience, but it will require you to study the habits of your visitors and engage with the people who frequent your site.

If you’re looking for online assistance that can help you identify your target audience, Google Analytics or social media are prominent tools that track engagement and traffic.

3) Keep Your Messaging Consistent

Consistency is key. We can’t say that enough. Clear messaging can help you alleviate confusion and unclear communication on your site. You have to create a reliable and authentic relationship with your audience in order for your brand to resonate with your site visitors. Don’t have fragmented messages, narrow down what’s important for your brand and strengthen those messages across your site.

Look over your site and see if items like your logo, header, and content are consistent with your brand voice. If you can recognize a few inconsistencies with the message of your site, it’s time to put your hero cape on. Tackle the content gaps head on and monitor how audiences respond to the improvements.

Your website building journey is going to be full of transformation, action, and reinvention. There may be a few twists and turns, but WordPress has a great community of users who have your back if you need feedback on how to improve your site! Even heroes can use a helping hand and with WordPress features like free plugins and customization tools at your fingertips, there is no doubt your site will soar to new heights.