Powerful Hosting for WordPress

Why WordPress Might Need More Powerful Hosting Than You Think

When deciding on the backend environment of a site that will serve as the place where you’ll make all changes to content and functionality, there aren’t any wrong or right answers. While there are some specialty cases, like e-commerce, where you’ll probably want to help yourself by choosing an e-commerce specific CMS at least as a base, you can use any solution you’d like. While coding a site from scratch is a perfectly suitable solution, many people opt for a CMS for a variety of reasons.

 

For those who aren’t web developers by trade, or business owners who just prefer simplicity when it comes to making site changes, the use of a CMS is a popular choice. Though content management systems vary, the benefit of using them is that they are relatively easier to use due to being broken down into logical “fill in your content here” sections rather than intimidating users with a wall of code that they have to accurately edit.

 

The most popular CMS in the world, by far, is WordPress. Current estimates have WordPress powering more than a quarter of all websites on the internet. It’s easy to see why so many think of WordPress as synonymous with CMSes, like Xerox and copy machines. WordPress is fairly straightforward, it can be modified to do nearly anything, and the cottage industry of plugins and themes that has developed around it means the combinations are nearly limitless. But, while using WordPress is simple to a degree, it is not a simple software. If you’re just starting out with a website, there’s a good chance you’ve opted for the combination of WordPress on a shared hosting plan.

 

While this set up will probably work for you in the very early days of your venture, don’t be surprised if you quickly outgrow it, especially if this website is for your business. There are two things to keep in mind here: increases in traffic and the demands of WordPress as a software. Sooner or later, you’ll see that you’re going to need to migrate to a managed VPS in order to get the performance a professional site needs.

 

Migrations aren’t fun, so it’s best to set things up initially with an eye on your future needs. That’s why you should skip the shared hosting and go straight for a managed VPS when launching a site on WordPress. Here are some characteristics of WordPress to keep in mind and why you may need more powerful hosting than you realize.

 

Keep Traffic in Mind

 

Many of the factors that can make a WordPress site feel like it’s running slow or performance isn’t what you’d expect comes down to the software itself, not necessarily your hosting. What this means is, upgrading to a managed VPS isn’t necessarily a magic bullet. Rather, it gives you more room to work with to offset some of the characteristics of WordPress that can make it sluggish. The only thing your server is primarily responsible for in this equation is handling traffic loads.

 

Between the information presented in cPanel and Google Analytics (which you really should set up on your site) you’ll be able to extrapolate if you’re seeing notable increases in bandwidth usage and traffic. If these metrics are higher than they have been historically and you’re noticing that your page load time is exceeding three seconds, you probably need a more capable server. Google themselves have said two second load times should be the target.

 

If external factors are affecting site performance, a VPS should be something you look into.

 

The Nature of WordPress

 

Now we’re going to get into how WordPress in particular can be a bit sluggish. Since we are speaking in terms of literal seconds, sluggish is a relative term. But the difference between three seconds and six seconds when it comes to user behavior is significant. Pinpointing ways to shave down fractions of seconds is something you’re going to want to do if you’re looking to make money with your website.

 

When it comes to issues of WordPress itself, your host can only act as a buffer. With a more powerful hosting solution like a VPS, the added CPU and RAM provides more leeway when it comes to more bloated themes or plugin usage. The hardware in a shared hosting plan will begin to suffer under the load of a heavy site sooner. But, ultimately, it’s about striking a balance between necessary functionality, good design choices, and having a reliable host. Here are some of the aspects of your WordPress build where things can bottleneck.

 

Your Theme

 

The theme you choose doesn’t just contain the design of your site. Themes that have a bunch of bells and whistles have functionality hard coded into them. That means more elaborate PHP. This makes for heavier code that can bog down your site. When possible, go for the most lightweight theme possible. Chances are you won’t use all of the features coded into the theme. It’s better to add functionality yourself via plugins you select yourself. This leads to the next point about plugins.

 

Plugins

 

One of WordPress’ biggest selling points is the ability to easily add functionality with plugins. The downside to this convenience is you can get a little plugin happy and find yourself with many installed in your WordPress build. While plugins are necessary to get the site you want, it’s important to know that each plugin can add a fraction of a second to your page load time because the browser has to process them. It’s also important to note that not all plugins are equal. Some can be significantly heavier than others with similar functionality. That’s why you should test and evaluate to see which to keep and which to get rid of.

 

Image Optimization

 

Rarely, if ever, should you be keeping images on your site that measure in megabytes. Large images can be a culprit behind slow load times. These images add up, so a long post history with large images can absolutely cause performance issues. Get around this by installing a plugin that automatically optimizes images as you load them into the CMS. This takes the responsibility of going through and editing every image off of you for convenience.

 

Caching

 

You can help your site load quicker with a caching solution. W3 Total Cache is a popular plugin for this . It makes a variety of behind the scenes changes without actually altering your theme or plugins. It was designed to work in any hosting environment, including your VPS. Check out its long list of features. It makes many small changes to how certain content is cached in order to improve the user experience.

 

Conclusion

 

Your website depends on reliable hosting to get the results your business needs to thrive. Don’t accept slow performance and erratic uptime. A managed VPS is a great investment for businesses of all sizes. The combination of a managed VPS and WordPress could be the ideal environment for yours. If you’ve grown frustrated with your current hosting plan or you want to start fresh, contact the team at KnownHost today. We’ll help you choose the hosting solution that makes the most sense for your business.

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Why Your Content Management System Could Dictate What Kind of Server You Need

In some ways, a website is like a car. There are many moving parts that make the entire thing work. Similarly to diagnosing car trouble, there are many different variables to investigate when trying to determine why your website may not be performing up to par. What’s with the slowdown? Why is the site taking so long to load? Questions like that cause site owners to drill down into their analytics and see what, exactly, are the implications of these noticeable issues. Typically, you’ll note things like higher bounce rates, drops in conversions, and a general tapering off of visitors as they make their way through the pipeline you’ve designed.

 

So, what gives? Which of the moving parts is keeping this car off the road? It’s hard to give broad answers because of the many different possible causes. But, because we talk about hosting here, we’re going to investigate how two critical choices you make when creating your site can interact in a way that gives your site less than optimal performance.

 

Two big contributors to overall site performance are your content management system and the hardware you choose for your hosting. Many factors go into the need for upgrading your hosting to a VPS or dedicated server. Things like traffic volume play a big part, but your content management system can dictate what kind of server you need as well. Let’s break it down.

 

Content Management System

 

Your content management system, or CMS as it’s more commonly written out as, is the “behind the scenes” portion of your site. It’s the place you login to to make changes to the content of your site. Copy, images, and even a lot of the functionality of a site will be controlled through here. This is not to be confused with cPanel, which is even further behind the scenes and where the user can do things like actually install the CMS onto the server.

 

CMS choices come in a variety of flavors. Many of the most popular ones are open source software which cost nothing and can be modified to the end user’s liking. Depending on your individual needs, some of the more popular content management systems include Drupal, Joomla, Magento (with Magento 2 now seeing wide release), and WordPress. WordPress is probably the CMS that you’re most used to, even if you don’t know it. That’s because about a quarter of all the websites on the internet are powered by WordPress. It’s pretty crazy when you think about it. There’s a good chance the website you’re looking to launch will be powered by WordPress due to its popularity and relative ease of use.

 

WordPress is formidable in nearly any use case. While it may be generally looked upon as a blogging platform, its capabilities go far beyond that. With popular plugins like WooCommerce, you can operate an ecommerce site. If you’ve got some fairly decent PHP chops, you can even hack WordPress to operate as a simple social networking site or company intranet.

 

But these tasks (and the WordPress installation itself) can be “heavy.” That is, WordPress can be burdensome when it comes to resource requirements. Which is where your server comes in.

 

Hosting Solutions

 

Everyone knows the allure of shared hosting plans. They’re cheap, easy enough to get started, and they get your site online. But there are quire a few reasons why shared hosting isn’t a viable option for a professional site with a CMS. For one thing, shared hosting isn’t as secure as options like a VPS or dedicated server due to the fact you’re sharing not only a machine but resources with other sites. If one site gets compromised, there is a route that can be exploited into yours. Any sensitive information you have may be exposed. But beyond the security aspect of it, there is the performance aspect.

 

WordPress, to say nothing of a really resource hungry CMS like Magento, doesn’t perform at its best on shared hosting because it requires a bit more horsepower to load quickly. If you’re a web developer, you probably use a lot of different browsers for testing. WordPress is a lot like Google Chrome. It’s the most popular and it has awesome features, but it’ll eat up RAM and battery at a faster pace than the competition.

 

Since shared hosting won’t cut it, you’ll need to decide if a VPS or dedicated server is right for you. In most cases, a VPS will do the trick. It has the CPU speed and RAM required to power most sites and handle a reasonable amount of traffic. The only sites that would really benefit from going all in on a dedicated server is a site that’s getting significant traffic at all hours of the day. Think huge ecommerce stores or content delivery sites like the Huffington Post.

 

Why Your Server Matters

 

Pairing the right CMS for the job with the right server will be what helps make sure your site performs properly. Site speeds and load time are very important to conversion rates. There are many different metrics you can look at that prove the point. Essentially, what you need to know is that the major ecommerce sites have an average loading time of ten seconds, when the ideal is actually three. Every second counts. A one second improvement can improve conversions by up to 7%. Compound that annually based on your sales and you can see that it’s a sizable sum.

 

The reason why your CMS can add to your load times is that the functionality all has to process in the browser when a visitor calls up your site. The complexity of the PHP scripting can add on to the load time. Themes have to populate. With WordPress in particular, the number of plugins you’re running can slow down your load time. While each plugin maybe adds a fraction of a second to the total load time, if you’re relying on a wide variety of plugins for functionality, those fractions quickly add up. And if a single second does indeed impact sales to such an extent, you see why offsetting all the backend processes of your site with a powerful server is the way to go.

 

No matter what CMS you ultimately land on, most of the major players aren’t what one would consider lightweight. And since many rely on the plugin/addon model for functionality, you want a hosting solution that’ll be able to process everything quickly enough so that all of your visitors can have a fast experience whether they’re coming to your site during peak traffic time or not.

 

Conclusion

 

Your website needs the right hosting solution to ensure its performing at its best. Are you currently with another host and you’re contemplating shopping around because you’re tired of losing out on money due to a poor performing site? Whether you’re looking for a new host or you’re looking to get a brand new online business off the ground, the team at KnownHost is here to help. We have the hosting solutions you need so you can set yourself up for success. Contact us today and we’ll walk you through your options and get you set up with the VPS or dedicated server you need for your site.

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How to Use Video in Your Content Marketing Effectively

Video marketing is the lifeblood of any major marketing campaign. If we look at the statistics, we can see that 40% of people respond more positively to visual content than they do written content.

This demonstrates that video content is the way forward. Visual content is your salvation. If you’re not in on it now, you’re going to lose out when your competitors decide to take advantage.

How to Use Video in Your Content Marketing
We’re going to go into how you can use video in your content marketing effectively.

See Also: Benefits from Using Video on Your Business Website

Why Video Marketing is on the Up

Facebook and Twitter are two of the biggest social media networks on the planet. Both of them have installed auto-play features on their news feeds. In the words of these social media networks, they want stories to be told more effectively, and this appears to be working.

The Success Rate

What we can see is that 69% of all web traffic for consumers is now in the form of video content. In response, marketers have pledged to dedicate more of their resources to video marketing. What this means for you is that video marketing is about to catch fire.

Using Video for Branding

Video is the key to personal branding. It can tell a rich, complex story that wouldn’t be possible when using text-based content. The crucial thing is it’s easy to digest. It allows you to say so much more than a simple blog.

So video marketing can be used for propositions in a fast and easily digestible way.

Customizable Sales Funnels

Your sales funnel is what your customers are coming through. It’s what you’re showing to customers to convince them to part with their hard-earned money. Video can customize all aspects of your sales funnel in ways previously not possible

How it Works

If we go into detail, we can see that video can explain the purpose of a landing page. It can be used for a call to action, a way to add in product reviews, or simply to reveal a new product altogether.

There are so many ways you can increase customer interest on your landing page with video.

PR Purposes

What’s hot and what’s not?

Smart companies are talking about the here and now. Videos allow you to better describe upcoming changes within your company. It also allows you to address customer concerns as and when they arise.

We Show You How

One of the best examples of PR use for video is customer tutorials. Don’t just tell your customers what they can do with your products. Show it to them. Allow the user to stop in the middle and digest what you are saying. Make everything fully interactive. Video gives you that power.

Enhancing Buyer Trust

Trust is everything in the business world. Without trust, you are never going to become a success. The problem is people are more suspicious than ever before. Anyone can fake a review, and the chances are they are going to get away with it. Faking a video, though, is next to impossible.

Validating Reviews

The first way you can use videos to enhance buyer trust is to validate reviews. You validate reviews by adding a video to the product. This can be done by featuring video content within the review. If possible, you could even feature the customer in the review.

In the Real World

People always love to know what’s going on behind the scenes. Videos can enhance buyer trust by showing your company in the real world. They will see members of your team interacting with the public and they will see that there are real human beings behind the computer screen.

It instantly dispels the fears that naturally come with being an Internet company.

Showing Products

The full product experience is showing the product to someone in person. Of course, this likely isn’t possible because you’re not there with the customer. A video gives them the closest thing they are going to get because, once again, it’s very difficult to fake a video.

Educating Customers

You need to educate your customers so they are aware of the surrounding issues that inspire your product. For example, a company selling green products would do well to educate on green issues so customers can get passionate about green issues, and subsequently buying more of the company’s products.

It all leads up to encouraging more people to make a purchase.

See Also: Social Media Marketing Trends that will Rule 2016

Video is King

It’s clear that video marketing is king. There’s no denying that video is here to stay and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. It’s versatile, flexible, and there’s no industry where it won’t fit right in.

With running costs lower than ever before, you can get a video up and running without having to break the bank.
Start taking advantage of the medium of video today and get the marketing advantage you deserve!

 

Image Credit – Pixabay 

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website mistakes to avoid

10 Beginner Website Mistakes You’re Probably Making Right Now

Businesses online and offline should know about the importance of having a website. Nevertheless, the chances are you are making mistakes right now and you don’t even know about them. We are going to show you what mistakes you may be making and how to correct them.

No technical expertise necessary!

1.     Lack of Vision

A lack of vision is dangerous. It’s not enough to simply have an online presence. Just because you build a website it does not mean that it is going to be a successful one. You need to build an online presence and have a firm purpose in mind for what you want to do with it.

What’s in a Vision?

A vision can be anything. It can be to inform, to sell, to educate, and to interact. Everything on your website should be directed towards this one goal. You want a user to arrive on your website and immediately know what it’s about.

See Also: Why Do Local Businesses Need a Website?

2.     Rushing to Market

You don’t want to rush to market. It’s tempting to zip through the process so you can get started, but what you really need to do is hold back for a moment. Take time to research. Look at your competitors and study what they are doing.

Being the first to market offers no real advantages here.

3.     Complex Design

A successful website must be simple. It doesn’t have to be flashy. In fact, the more complex it is the more likely it will lead to confusion. Your design goal should be to enhance the user experience and nothing more.

How to Enhance the User Experience

  • Focus on simplicity.
  • Ask your users what they would like to change.
  • Put yourself in the position of a user.
  • Use color in the right way. Color should never blind or make it hard to read something.
  • Look at the navigation. Is it easy to pull information from your website?

See Also: Is it Time to Do a Website Redesign?

4.     Trendy Designs

The problem with following too many design trends is that they come and go like the wind. What’s popular now won’t necessarily be popular in a year from now. You can use specific design trends, but if you rely on them, they are going to quickly become outdated.

5.     Outdated Content

It’s tempting to write lots of content and assume that’s the end of the process. This is not the case at all. Content should be updated on a regular basis in order to stay current with the latest in design. Older content sends the message that you are out of business or you lack innovation.

The same goes for your blog. Keep it updated!

6.     Low Quality Images

Images should always be in HD. It’s the minimum people are going to expect in this day and age. Don’t leave yourself looking amateurish by not investing in the highest quality images you can.

Getting Top Quality Images

  • Use stock images.
  • Purchase a better camera.
  • Hire a professional who can both take and edit original pictures.

7.     Broken Links/Elements

Broken links and other elements simply isn’t acceptable A 404 page is essentially a message that you’re an amateur and you’re not keeping your website updated and ready to go. It’s a bad sign.

404 page example

Check your internal links on a regular basis to make sure your customers aren’t hitting a brick wall.

8.     Badly Designed Logos

Your logo is your badge. It’s what will go on everything from your website to your product labelling. So why do so many companies think they can get away with a badly designed logo?

  • Don’t get your logo designed by an amateur, or worse, yourself.
  • Ask for feedback from real people.
  • Take time to think about it. This is a long-term decision.

9.     Incorrect Font Choice

Determining the right font for your website isn’t difficult. It needs to compliment your design and be as clear as possible. The readability of your content relies on it.

Should You Employ a Professional?

We are not saying you need to consult a professional designer to create a font that is unique to you. However, looking at competitors and asking for feedback from a select number of customers should help with finding the right font for you.

10.Where’s Your Call to Action?

You need a call to action because you, presumably, want your visitors to do something. Websites without a call to action make your website nothing more than a business card. They have to get in touch with you to find out what you want them to do.

Tell them what you want them to do on every page. Make it clear!

Last Word

Our last word is that these ten points are the basis of what any good website should be built on. There’s nothing advanced or groundbreaking on this list, but it explains why so many businesses fail. They don’t get their website in order and they are shocked when customers don’t respond well to them.

Employ a professional web designer today to look your website over and see where you can improve!

 

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