This week, we are going to talk about an element of your website that will impact every single word and image you publish. It may not be the sexiest topic, but it sure is important. Hosting.
Important links from this episode:
Jerod Morris: Welcome to Sites, a podcast by the teams at StudioPress and Copyblogger. In this show, we deliver time-tested insight on the four pillars of a successful WordPress website: content, design, technology, and strategy. We want to help you get a little bit closer to reaching your online goals, one episode at a time.
I’m your host Jerod Morris.
Sites is brought to you by StudioPress Sites — the complete hosted solution that makes WordPress fast, secure, and easy …without sacrificing power or flexibility. For example, you can upload your own WordPress theme, or, you can use one of the 20 beautiful StudioPress themes that are included and just one click away. Explore all the amazing things you can do with a StudioPress Site, and you’ll understand why this is way more than traditional WordPress hosting. No matter how you’ll be using your site, we have a plan to fit your needs — and your budget. To learn more, visit studiopress.com/sites. That’s studiopress.com/sites.
Hey there, and welcome to episode 3 of Sites.
As we continue to rotate through the four pillars of a successful website, we find ourselves at the point of discussing technology.
If you missed episode 1 about the fundamentals of content marketing strategy, or episode 2 about how design can impact your content marketing, do take some time and review those episodes at some point.
Today, we are going to talk about an element of your website that will impact every single word and image you publish.
It may not be the sexiest topic, but it sure is important.
You may be wondering … is it really THAT important? Aren’t there plenty of cheap $5 per month hosting options out there that I can start with, and upgrade later if my site actually goes anywhere?
Seems logical, right?
But here’s the problem. Shoddy WordPress hosting will likely keep you from succeeding in the first place, and that’s a big problem. I know. I dealt with this back in the day and it cost me traffic and money — more on that in a bit.
The reality is, those cheap WordPress hosting offers — $5 per month! — mean that your site is jammed on a server with hundreds — even thousands — of other sites. The hosting company is betting that you won’t ever ever get substantial traffic, and that you’ll simply keep paying the paltry fee in obscurity.
And what happens if you do manage to get traffic? Your site could crash. Or your traffic might get siphoned off. Or you could be liable for huge overage charges. Or your site could slow to a crawl.
And speaking of a slow-loading site … that’s a major issue. Just because your host promotes reliable uptime, doesn’t mean it’s enough. Your site may be “up” … but is it FAST? Because it needs to be.
Not only will site visitors reject your site if it’s slow by even a few seconds, but do you know that Google and other search engines will as well? It’s true. Site speed is a ranking factor.
And these are two audiences — your hard-earned visitors and search engine robots — that you absolutely do not want to make wait. The quality of your hosting is one of the main factors that will determine whether they have to.
The bottom line is this: if you’re serious about building a successful website, then you need serious hosting. You need hosting with impeccable uptime, hosting that can scale when you need it to, and hosting that delivers fast page-load speeds every time a visitor or search engine tries to visit your site.
Okay, now, I know what you’re thinking: I work for StudioPress and this podcast is sponsored by StudioPress Sites … so this entire episode is just one big advertisement for our WordPress hosting. Right?
I mean, sure, that is obviously true to a point. The entire Sites podcast is a long-term content marketing play to build an audience around useful episodes that will help you get better at content, design, technology, and strategy — no matter where you host your site. In the process, we hope to built some authority, rapport, and trust, and hopefully that translates into you giving StudioPress Sites a spin.
As for this episode in particular, I’ll just state the obvious: I wouldn’t outline essential hosting elements, and tell you how important they are, if we weren’t delivering them ourselves with StudioPress Sites.
But here’s the thing … this episode is relevant no matter where you choose to host your site.
We’re not the only company selling premium WordPress hosting. We think we’re the best, of course, and we’d like the chance to convince you of that, but my purpose in delivering this episode goes beyond trying to convince you to try Sites.
I want to convince you that you need premium WordPress hosting, and that it’s worth paying for. Period.
Once you’re convinced of that fact, check out all of the different providers, including StudioPress Sites, and see which one fits you best. Each one offers something a little different.
For example, if you’re using a Genesis Framework theme, I think you’ll be really hard-pressed to find an option better than StudioPress Sites because it is optimized for Genesis Framework themes. Any WordPress theme will run great on Sites, but there’s a special synergy between Sites and Genesis.
And, as another example, if you’re concerned about SEO, then StudioPress Sites has patented SEO tools built right into it, no extra charge.
Other providers will have their specialties too. Again, the point is: if you’re serious about your website, then you need to be serious about your hosting. That means you should be ready to pay $30-35 per month for hosting that delivers the reliability, security, and response time you need.
Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure. I know, because it happened to me, as I mentioned before.
And that’s why I wanted this to be one of the first four episodes of the Sites podcast. I want you to avoid the agony I felt back when I was running my first blog … and didn’t know any better … and went with cheap hosting.
The site was MidwestSportsFans.com. I launched it in 2008. It’s still live online, but dormant now in terms of new content. I haven’t posted on it in years. At one time, though, it was one of the most popular sports blogs in world. One post I wrote even got me a guest appearance on ESPN.
At its height, Midwest Sports Fans was delivering many millions of pageviews per month — with massive spikes coming for big events like the Super Bowl and March Madness.
And with those pageviews came revenue. I wasn’t making as much as I could have made — this was in my pre-Copyblogger days, so I didn’t understand the power of building an email list yet *sigh* — but we were raking in thousands of dollars a month in ad revenue, and thousands more in affiliate revenue. Times were good.
This site that I started as a little side project to teach myself WordPress had morphed into a legitimate business. I was proud. Excited about where it was, and enthused about where it could go next.
So imagine my disappointment and anger when I found out that a good chunk of my traffic was being siphoned off, and not making it to my site. Even worse, no one alerted me. It seemed that my site had outgrown my hosting plan. And while I certainly share some responsibility in that happening, it sure would have been nice to have a host that looked out for me. But I never got any notices. I wasn’t even overcharged. And I would have gladly paid more!
Instead, I was just losing out on traffic month after month. I’m lucky my business partner at the time was smarter about the tech stuff than me and uncovered this. Because I’m a content guy. I want to write my blog posts and produce my podcasts and interact with my community … I have neither the time nor the inclination to get too far down in the tech weeds. You might feel the same way.
So we said enough is enough with cheap, crappy, you’re-on-your-own hosting. Instead, we took matters into our own hands. We developed our own innovative hosting stack. Midwest Sports Fans was our first client, and, to no one’s surprise, reported traffic spiked big time after we made the switch.
Then we built a small company around it as other serious bloggers and WordPress users decided they were done with bad hosting experiences too, found out about us, and made the switch.
Fast forward a couple of years and we joined up with Copyblogger Media, and the latest evolution of the hosting stack and infrastructure we built is what powers StudioPress Sites. It’s what I trust.
I’ve seen the other side. I’ve been on the other side. And it sucks.
I worked hard for my traffic, and it was being taken away for no good reason. You don’t want anything similar to happen to you.
So take it from me, someone who has been in your shoes — and who, actually, is still in your shoes, because I’m in the process of developing a new site right now, and one of the very first bits of research I did was to find the absolute best place to host my content.
It’s a simple message: take your hosting choice seriously. Don’t pay less for the cheap stuff. Invest in hosting you can really count on.
Your content deserves it. Your audience deserves. You deserve it.
Now for this week’s calls to action:
1. I want you to go compare and contrast three premium WordPress hosting providers. Obviously, I think StudioPress Sites should be one of them, but pick whichever three you like.
Look at the different plans they offer, look at the price, look at the features, assess whose support your trust, analyze which one is the best fit for your theme (or has an included theme that you like). Etcetera. Do your homework. This way, you can put your best foot forward from the beginning with your new site, or you can ask yourself an important, informed decision about migrating if you realize another provider fits you better.
That’s your homework. Take it seriously and it could pay huge dividends down the road for you.
2. Make sure you stay up to date and informed. Sign up for free podcast updates and our curated weekly email newsletter, Sites Weekly.
Each week, I find four links about content, design, technology, and strategy that you don’t want to miss and send them out on Wednesday afternoon. Reading this newsletter will help you make your website more powerful and successful.
3. And finally, if you enjoy the Sites podcast, please consider giving us a rating or a review over at Apple Podcasts — formerly known as iTunes.
One quick tip on that: to make the best use of your review, let me know if there is something in particular you like about the show — that way I make sure not to remove it as the show evolves! To find us in Apple Podcasts, search for StudioPress Sites.
Next week here on Sites, we shift from technology to strategy We’ll be talking about the most dangerous threat to your content marketing strategy. Think you know what it is? Tune in to find out.
That’s next week, on Sites.
Thank you for listening to this episode of Sites. I appreciate you being here.
Join me next week, and let’s keep building powerful, successful websites together.
This episode of Sites was brought to you by StudioPress Sites, which was awarded “Fastest WordPress Hosting” of 2017 in an independent speed test. If you want to make WordPress fast, secure, and easy — and, I mean, why wouldn’t you — visit studiopress.com/sites today and see which plan fits your needs. That’s studiopress.com/sites.