The Best Dedicated WordPress Hosting

Recommending WordPress hosting is always tricky because most hosting companies pay for referrals. So some people simply refer the company that pays the most.

For many years I have recommended HostGator. I still do, their support is awesome and for small starter sites I still don’t think you can beat them.

However what about larger sites that require WordPress hosting, sites that are your main source of income and needs to be rock solid?

After working with them for a couple of clients, I recommend WPEngine. What’s the difference you may ask?

WordPress hosting

  • Dedicated WordPress hosting. You can ONLY use WordPress on it, you can’t install other applications.
  • No caching required – they automatically have caching built in whihc makes for super speedy websites.
  • Daily backups (though this doesn’t include any non-WordPress files and folders or the uploads folder – for that see my backup and update service.
  • Included security scanning – and they will fix a hacked site for free.
  • WordPress upgrades are automatically done for you when appropriate.
  • Their tech support are all WordPress experts, after all that’s all they do!
  • Month-to-month contracts (though you can get two months free if you pre-pay for a year).
  • 60 day money back guarantee.

WPEngine is a lot more expensive than the cheap shared hosts like HostGator, and a little more difficult to set up, but you get a lot more for your money. I currently recommend it to clients who have one main site that they want to keep up at all costs and be safe in the knowledge that it’s rock solid.

if you have many multiple WordPress sites, most of which are small, I would still keep HostGator hosting for them and perhaps move your main site to WPEngine for dedicated WordPress hosting if the cost is justified by the many benefits they provide.

Please Copy This Website!

I get a lot of emails asking me all sorts of questions, but at least once a week (often more) a potential client will say – “Please copy the look of this website….” or “I want my website to look very similar to….”.

My answer is always “Why?”.

Of course I know the answer. It’s because they like it, or they know it’s successful. I’ve had two requests this year already for sites like Yaro Starak’s Entrepreneur’s Journey.

But “Why?” is not really my question. It’s “Why would you want to be like someone else?”.

Be different, or be better but don’t be the same as anyone else. Case in point is a competitor to Headway Themes (that I use on my site and for many clients) – Ultimatum. Below are side-by-side screenshots.

Headway vs Ultimatium

While there is nothing really wrong with what they’ve done by being similar to Headway’s layout, again I always wonder why? They’re both drag and drop themes for WordPress (though work differently), so they’re already similar to Headway in that respect, so why have a similar website? Differentiate yourself, make it look better, unique, new.

There’s a difference between being inspired by someone and trying to emulate them, and being a lesser version of them.

It’s time to stand out and be yourself.

Top 5 Latest Link Building Strategies For Beginners

This is a guest post written by Brianne Walter. If you’d like to write a guest post please contact me.

Due to the great rise in competition, building sub-par links are not at all effective anymore. The modern world has become a lot more innovative as well as competitive at the same time. So, like all other things, our link building strategies also need to be optimized and highly innovated.

The most commonly used strategies

There are many different basic strategies that are highly viable to be used as some of the best link building strategies. They are as follows:
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  • Coining a new phrase and setting up a Google Alert system.
  • Manufacturing a particular resource and setting up alerts simultaneously.
  • Earning your link by updating content belonging to a good blog that you have come across.
  • Create a blog with an RSS feed.
  • Try to work with some of the best professionals in this field of work.
  • Always take time to research your competitors.
  • Set up a profile link designed for you.

There are innumerable numbers of strategies that can be greatly used in the lucrative link building processes. There are many websites along with professionals who provide information for such purposes. It is up to the ultimate link builder to opt for the strategies that he is sure will greatly benefit him.

The Top 5

The best professionals in the field of link building and search engine optimization can assist you with processes that will greatly increase the visibility of your website. Here are some of the latest and extremely effective strategies:

Making use of multiple domain links with deep link advantages

In almost all the productive cases, your link building process should greatly focus on volume. However, you should incorporate in your planning the concept of not resourcing all the available links form a particular single site all the time. In order to achieve the best results, you must always focus on getting different links from many different sites that appeal to you. Always make sure that you use the ingrained linking processes. This means that you should never provide links that will directly go towards your homepage. Instead, focus on creating links that direct to specific places on your website with specific images and information.

Use of social media

These days social media is something that does almost all the talking. In fact, in many cases news is released faster in social media than any commercial news providing site. Hence, social media is a very powerful tool that can greatly help you to spread links that lead to your website. There are many sites like Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon through which you can share content easily and effectively. This process is highly effective because people interested in the content you shared will be ultimately lead back to your website. Hence, your strategy is a success.

Making use of Business directories as a link building strategy

This process is controversial as well as effective at the same time. Many experts have used this process and gained excellent results in attracting or linking people back to their website. The process of using business directories is mostly an underutilized technique. Hence, due to the lack of great competition, you can easily use this process and get your site literally on the online map.

Using an RSS feed

When you have had a blog that runs on WordPress, you will definitely possess an RSS feed. You can also get the various statistics regarding your subscribers by burning your feed on sites like Feedburner.com. Having an RSS feed gives you great perks and it is very simple and precise for link building. Using the RSS Footer Plug-in in WordPress, you can add a link after every post and you are sure to get a link back to your blog on your website.

Using Anchor Text

Anchor Text is the most effective as well as the strongest when it comes to using this tool as a link building strategy. Make sure that in order to gain the best ranking in terms of the SEO result, you greatly manipulate and exploit the usage of Anchor Text. This tool adds keywords in your text in the form of hyperlinks. People clicking on any of these keywords are directly linked to your website thereby increasing overall traffic.

In the art of Search Engine Optimization, you need to make your website visible and ultimately ranked through natural selection. This is done by the link building processes. Using relevant keywords, utilizing important link building strategies are just small steps in the bigger picture. Always try to increase your SEO rankings greatly by proving effective and precise links and not just links in greater bulk.

About The Author: Brianne is a writer/blogger. She loves writing traveling and reading books. She contributes to Scott Studenmund.

The Five WordPress Plugins You Should Be Using

This isn’t going to be a long post, or sales pitch but is a list of the plugins I install and tell you to install again and again.
Editorial Calendar

1) WordPress SEO by Yoast

Greatly improves your Search Engine Optimization. Install and activate it and read the guide here (long but worth it).

2) Akismet

This comes with WordPress – activate it and add your API key, and protect yourself from spam.

3) WooCommerce

With version 2.0 coming very soon, WooCommerce is the best shopping cart plugin I’ve used for WordPress, and it’s free. If you don’t need a shopping cart to sell physical or digital products or services then you of course don’t need this.

4) W3 Total Cache

This speeds up your site by making static copies, but please, please refer to your web host for the best way to configure this. Usually it’s simple for shared hosting (page and browser cache on; database and object cache off; minify on if you know what you’re doing) and it can have a big effect on performance.

5) A Contact Form plugin

Having a contact form on your contact page not only looks professional but protects you from spammers. For free I like Contact Form 7, and for paid I love Gravity Forms (which I use on my own site). Gravity Forms has many benefits such as multi-page forms, email newsletter subscriptions, conditional fileds (if this is selected, show that) and so on.

BONUS 6) WordPress Editorial Calendar

This makes scheduling posts, seeing when posts are scheduled, and changing scheduled posts much easier. Simply shows a calendar with your blog posts (and times) marked on. For sites with multiple authors, or if you schedule a lot of posts, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

WooCommerce and Headway Now Work Together

Headway WooCommerceThe astute of you may have noticed I’ve added a Shop to my site. This runs on WooCommerce, an awesome free plugin with some paid extensions.

However a few premium themes don’t work with WooCommerce out of the box, so I previously fixed this myself using templates in my child theme. I was going to write a post about how to do that, but there’s no need anymore.

From today that’s no longer necessary with the release of the Headway WooCommerce Storefront block – which is free.

Simply install it like any plugin and it will make WooCommerce work seamlessly on your Headway powered site. I still use a lot of styling in my child theme to make it look better (and overcome some WC Multi Site issues) but now I can remove the template files and know the block is taking care of it.

So if you’re a Headway license holder, and have thought about getting a shopping cart running on your site get a free copy of the Headway WooCommerce Storefront block.

Tricks for beginners to restrict social media spam

This is a guest post written by Brianne Walter. If you’d like to write a guest post please contact me.

The current social media scenario is very complex and vast. You could see countless of people venturing their ideas. Hence the complete idea of twisting and playing with the protocols and ethics of online marketing has become too obvious. Now, it seems to be a rat race, where people simply want to leave their competitors behind at the cost of compromising on the set rules and ethics. This has given birth to the menace called social media spam, which seems to be occurring over these platforms in various forms.
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Despite appearing innocent, social media spam seems is often a trap. Hence before you actually leverage these platforms for your business promotion, it is always important to understand the ways to tackle social media spam. Let’s check some tricks for beginners to restrict social media spam.

Restrict the benefits

The first and basic thing you can do to get away from the spam techniques is to simply avoid giving reasons to spammers to join your network. The best way out is to start using the nofollow links. Also, you need to restrict the accessibility of your blog by engaging only the registered readers or followers. At the same time avoid the techniques which demands for excessive self promotion. Though, you may find some adverse effect to these restrictions but the idea here is to carry out things in proper balance. Make sure you maintain an appropriate balance between restricting yourself promotional benefits along with offering your users a good reason to join you and get engaged.

Inform and educate your social media team

The best way to restrict the social media spam comes with educating and arming your marketing team with proper training. Hence make a schedule of a proper training of your social media managers ask them to diligently check all the comments remain proactive for hunting out all the fake accounts and other things like the coupon offers.

Clearly imply rules for your affiliates as per your terms & conditions

The other way to avoid the social media spam is to simply make it very clear to all your affiliates that they are not allowed to post anything over the affiliate links over the official social media brand web page or simply pose it as your brand. At the same time add a line asking them to protect their accounts from hackers by simply using a strong password.

Maintain your manually approved communities

To get away from the spam, communities are now planning to choose an application based registration method. Hence when the user submits his or her application it has to be approved first by the editor/moderator after a proper review. The manual checking is the best way to get authentic users and avoid spam.

Ban the spammers

Another way is to ban the spammers. However, it is very difficult to ban them since the spammers have become very smart and appear too genuine to be called as spammers. Even though if you ban them they would appear with a different IP address making things difficult for you. At such junctures, the best option is to make the spammers invisible if you want to control them over social media. The classic example comes from Reddit, wherein these people have banned the spammers in such a way that they remain unaware of this ban. Regardless of the things the spammers do, they are never seen visible to others.

Final word

If you want to fight social media spam, it is vital to understand and find them out. The above are few of the basic ways, in which you can restrict the social media spam. All you need to do is to try them with wisdom and care and start getting the results.

About The Author: Brianne is a writer/blogger. She loves writing traveling and reading books. She contributes for Caribbean Cruise Line Scam. Find here her contributions for Caribbean Cruise Line Scam

BlogTechGuy.com Is Now Responsive

A “responsive” WordPress theme is one that resizes and looks good on different devices. So on your desktop computer, a tablet or smartphone.

While the awesome Headway theme that I use has had a responsive option for a while now, due to the customizations I had made it didn’t work great out of the box. So I spent some time making my site look good on different devices. The screenshots below show how the site changes for different sizes, but if you want to see it in action, simply resize your browser and it will change for you.

Computer Desktop view

Tablet view

Mobile/Smartphone view

There are quite a few things happening here and that the screenshots don’t tell. Blocks are removed, and in the mobile version the logo is significantly decreased in size and the navigation menu is replaced with a dropdown navigation. There is a great free plugin for this called Responsive Select Menu.

This means I no longer need a mobile plugin like Wptouch and means I have complete control over the way it all looks.

I haven’t worked on many mobile versions of sites but the amount of time (and cost) it takes in some themes isn’t worth it and a plugin is your best bet. For themes like Headway, by default you can get a great responsive looking site. After customization it can take a few hours to perfect and look good, but it was definitely worth it.

Let me know if you have any questions or need help making your site mobile friendly.

New Version of HeadTube Released

A few updates of my, admittedly, awesome WordPress child theme for Headway that allows you to have a full screen video background:

– It now allows users to hide the content to view the video full screen.
– Color Picker now allows you to change links color as well as background color of the navigation menu, sidebar headings and homepage post dividers (WordPress 3.5+ only).
– A few CSS updates and fixes.

Live Theme Demo

If you already own the theme you can download it again from the email you got or your My Account page if you created one. If you haven’t altered any of the core files you can copy over the new ones via FTP replacing the ones there. If you have customized any files they will be lost so make a backup/note of changes before updating, and then reapply them. In future I’ll keep a proper changelog when version 1.0 is released.

If you don’t own HeadTube you can see more details here.

New Headway Child Theme – HeadStretch

It’s time to release my second Headway child theme. A child theme is like a sub-theme where it inherits everything from the parent, but where you specify any differences the child theme takes precedent. This way you can have your own theme and not worry about updating the parent theme and losing any changes.

In Headway a child theme does NOT inherit any layout, so installing a child theme does not change your layout. You can still have any blocks wherever you want or where you currently have them.

HeadStretch is a Headway child theme:

  • Allows you to set a full screen image background for the whole site
  • Image is “stretchy” and will remain a full background when you resize the browser. Give it a go on the demo and resize your browser.
  • If one image isn’t enough you can set up to six images to rotate (fade) in the background through the admin menu. Plus you can code more images easily if you know how.
  • You can control the fade speed and duration time on the background changes.
  • The background is semi-transparent so you can still see your images but this can be increased/decreased/removed via the style.css.

Live Theme Demo

Remember to resize your browser to see the background stretch to fit correctly. It’s pretty simple and just builds on the beauty of Headway. So the price is low, you can buy from here:

[add_to_cart id=”4059″]

Instructions

a) Make sure Headway Base is installed under Appearance > Themes. It does not have to be activated.

b) Backup your site using a free or paid plugin like BackupBuddy.

Any current Headway layout/grid settings SHOULD be retained, but you have a backup in case anything is lost.

c) Under Themes > Install Themes upload the zip file (see below) and activate the theme. Once downloaded, see the enclosed README.txt for full usage instructions.

d) Options appear under Headway > Theme Options or on the WordPress admin bar as HeadTube Options.

Download

This theme is provided “as is” and without any warranty, so use at your own risk. You must own a copy of Headway in order for this child theme to work.

[add_to_cart id=”4059″]

What You Can Expect To See From BTG in 2013

Well, welcome to 2013!

I’ve been working a little on the site to make it easier for you to use and also sort out some long standing issues. The old saying “The cobbler’s kids have no shoes” comes to mind, so to prevent that and get my site up to date I’ve spent some time on it.
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1) Added a shopping cart (WooCommerce). This free plugin (with paid addon extensions – a few I’m using) doesn’t actually work well with Headway at the moment, but with some coding and template tweaks you can get it working and looking great within an hour or so. If there is any interest I might post a tutorial or two once WooCommerce 2.0 is launched – let me know in the comments if so.

2) This allowed me to sell my first premium child theme for Headway – HeadTube. This theme has a full screen video background and color options to make your site really stand out. Currently it’s free for a very short time.

3) I’ve also added free eBooks there and external links to other products that I have created.

4) There is a Shop menu item with dropdowns to the different categories of products, plus a Cart section in the header which will update.

5) Added a new “Tiny” backup plan to my BTG Backup and Update Service for monthly backups rather than weekly.

6) Updated the Behind-the-Scenes page with the tools I use to create this site.

7) Changed the site background. It’s now a nice wooden panel but I’ll be changing it more often as the mood takes me 🙂

8) The Blog page now has infinite scroll. When you hit the bottom of the page, the next set of posts will load and so on so you don’t have to browse to Old/Previous Posts anymore. It reduces page views so on sites where page views matter then I wouldn’t recommend using it, but otherwise it’s an awesome plugin called Infinite Scroll.

9) the site is now “responsive” meaning it looks great on different mobile devices automatically. A future post will go into more detail.

So now that’s done, what can you expect from me in 2013?
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– Moving the Services in the shopping cart to allow me to use coupons and offer discounts (oooohh, exciting!).

– More premium child themes.

– EBooks, guides and training materials.

More videos. Yes I know, I said that last year, but this year….

Is there anything else you want to see from me this year?

What are your plans for 2013? I’m always interested so let me know below what you’re planning to achieve this year.