Choosing the Best WordPress Hosting

Choosing the right host is an extremely important part of launching a successful wordpress site. In days past, shared hosting with the major providers like Bluehost, Godaddy, Dreamhost, etc was more than enough. Things have started to change over the last couple of years though as hosts shift away from unlimited plans to bandwidth or pageview based traffic tiers. Meanwhile, WordPress has expanded far beyond it’s basic blogging roots to a fully fledged CMS with massive amounts of features and plugins. WooCommerce powered sites, community driven portals, and more have taken the platform to entirely new resource intensive places.

Choosing a host for your wordpress powered site can be overwhelming. To help, Attention Engine has narrowed down the field to it’s two favorite WordPress Hosting services, that provide maximum speed, easy backups, and can handle even the beefiest sites. Both hosts are wordpress oriented, meaning they have easy to use control panels that make setup a snap.

First up, we have WP Engine. Probably the highest end of the WordPress powered hosting solutions,

WP Engine has some killer features:

  • 1 Click site staging for testing out changes or plugin updates WITHOUT impacting your live site.  This is probably it’s greatest features.
  • Built in CDN asset caching and wordpress page caching for enhanced speed.
  • Easy one click site backups
  • Temporary URLs to build your site before having to switch the the actual domain.

However, that being said, it also has some big downsides:

  • No integrated email solution or even forwarders.  All your domain branded email will have to come from elsewhere (mailgun, dreamhost, google apps, etc)
  • It’s expensive.  The introductory tier of $30/month limits you to 25,000 page views a month and ONE wordpress install.
  • No SSL until you bump up to the 10 site / $100 / month level. So eCommerce is OUT at the entry level.

Overall, I’d say WP Engine is the best solution if you’re going to be running a fairly complex Ecommerce site, can afford the $100/month, and really need the amazing 1 click staging features, that let you test out site upgrades and changes without impacting your live website.  This is huge and not to be overlooked.

However, that price range is immediately a deal killer for many people, especially anyone accustomed to the common $10/month shared hosting plans.  $10 to $100 a month is a huge leap.

For folks in this category, Attention Engine recommends Traffic Planet Hosting.  Traffic Planet is blazingly fast and much cheaper, but makes some trade offs in terms of functionality.

First off, Traffic Planet PROS:

  • Speed.  While it doesn’t have built in CDN caching, it’s BLAZINGLY fast, especially when combined with Cloudflare.
  • Automatic Daily Backups of your site
  • Built in email functionality, imap or forwarders
  • Very competitive pricing, $25/month for 5 wordpress installs
  • FREE site migration if you’re coming from another host
  • 5 wordpress installs at the basic level
  • and possibly most important, SSL support at their introductory level

In terms of trade-offs with WP Engine, however, you lose:

  • 1 click site staging.  You’ll need to manually setup a development site using one of your extra installs and hand migrate things each time need to do serious upgrade tests first
  • No temporary URL when building the site.  Not a deal break, but it means you need to setup some subdomains or host mapping.
  • 50/gb a month bandwidth cap on the lowest pricing package.  Depending on what you’re hosting this could be an issue, though when using cloudflare you’d really have to push it.

So which to choose?  If you only need a single wordpress install and DON’T need ecommerce, go with WP Engine. Of if you know you’re going to be running a complicated site that will often need live testing via the 1 click staging, WP Engine is for you.

If you need an SSL certificate, multiple wordpress installs, are on a budget, or just don’t need the 1 click staging, go with Traffic Planet Hosting.

Whatever you choose, your site will load very fast and you’ll have the comfort of knowing backups are happening automatically.

Use a Template

Developer tip of the day: If you’re spending your money on style + design before you have an audience….you’re wasting your money.

Start with a blogger account if you have to or even just facebook posts.

If there’s no one reading, no one cares how it looks

Put out 300 posts…then make it pretty.

While important, creating a great design isn’t nearly as difficult as creating a connection with an audience.

Do You Even Need a Website?

It’s easier than ever to get online, and easier than ever to start an online business, but do you really need your own website to do either of those?

The truth: NO.

I’ve my past 6 years of website and WordPress development, one trend I’ve noticed is that often times people build sites before they really need them, or even have a plan for them.

With the emergence of social networks, and the proliferation of white label services like Squarespace, about.me, Shopify, and Wix, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from getting yourself online in the next 24 hours with a fairly robust website, let alone a fully powered wordpress one.

Now, as a company that specializes in wordpress development, why would I suggest that you don’t even need us?

Because you don’t.

The tech of the web, i.e., getting a blog, brand, or brochure site online is getting easier and easier by the day. For many businesses, they may not actually need anything other than a Facebook Page, twitter account, or simple wordpress.com blog.

The real issue to start thinking about is what are you going to DO online. Who’s your audience, tribe, fan base, or customer? What value are you providing them, be it in the form of a service, product, or experience?  And why is it worth them to give you their attention?

Even if it’s just visiting your site, subscribing your your newsletter, or liking you on Facebook – the important question to always ask is why should they? What’s unique about you and your brand? What is it about what you’re putting out there that you absolutely cannot live without?

If you still need to answer these questions, stop even thinking or worrying about your website. RIGHT NOW.  The logo, branding, SEO, functionality, how many people “follow” you – none of that means anything unless you’re clear on what exactly these online tools are being used in service of

When you answer those questions, you may quickly realize you don’t yet HAVE a plan, don’t yet know your market, and maybe don’t even know exactly what you’re offering or hoping to get from being online.

For most, THAT is the place to start, and when that’s where you’re beginning, suddenly it can make a LOT of sense to NOT buy a fully functional & beautifully designed powerhouse wordpress website. Maybe you just need a nice brochure page with basic blogging you can update now and then. If so, checkout squarespace. Maybe you are in the process of refining what your brand, message, product, or teaching is really going to be. If so, all you need to do is start blogging on wordpress.com and building up a following by sharing to the social networks.  Or if you just a a few crafts to sell, get on Etsy.com right now, or shopify account, tumblr account, or any of the dozens of other services that will let you start putting valued content out there and connecting with the world RIGHT NOW.

Whatever the case, don’t spend the money until you have to. Often times it will become VERY obvious when the time has come that you need a custom site. Plus, the very signals that tell you that, often mean there’s probably enough attention coming your way that the endeavor will pay for itself. When it comes to the web, there is no Field of Dreams. Don’t build it first and hope they will come.

Instead, go find and connect with them. Then you can build a home for your new tribe. Then you can spend the time and money to have a designer beautifully manifest the visual qualities of your brand. Then you can have Attention Engine build you a completely customizable and powerhouse of a wordpress site.

But until then, don’t wait. Start blogging. Get on twitter. Create that Facebook page. Do the legwork now to make it so you NEED a website of your own, and aren’t just wanting one.

It’s not the tech that’s hard. It’s getting the attention.

Resolution Special

resolution

It’s the first of the year. Time to start fresh. Renew. Tackle that project that has been sitting on the shelf nagging at you.

You know the one I mean. That thing that is such an award-winning, money-making, fame-generating, good idea…if you could only get around to it.

It’s time to get around to it.

Whether it is starting a side business, finally updating your website, or establishing you first online presence, the Attention Engine Resolution Special can help.

For the month of January, our Starter packages are 25% off.

What is a starter package you ask?

It looks like this:

  • WordPress install with the latest updates and essential plugins.
  • Premium Theme install and setup(IF you have ever tried yourself, you’ll remember that this can be harder than it looks.)
  • Basic page setup for 3-5 content pages.
  • Menu setup – so people can get around 🙂
  • Social Media tie-ins – all the majors.
  • eMail newsletter/auto-responder connection (mailchimp pretty much dominates for this. We can work with any provider.
  • 3-day turnaround time. – You get us what we need, we’ll git er done.
  • Full access to the WP-Zendo. The industry leading online training course for using wordpress websites. Like any good tool, A website is no good unless you know how to use it. Learn from the masters grasshoppa.

But that’s not all…

Well, actually, that is all. We ran out of Ginsu knives before the holidays.

Sign up in the month of January to get the super-mega-25% off deal. And seriously, if you have a project you want to do, get on our schedule quick-like. We’re booking these fast.

Package total: $1000 $750

What you don’t get: (but can if you want it!)

We would love to solve all your tech problems with this special package deal, but somebody has to be realistic here.

When you get set up with a basic package, there are extra bells and whistles that you can add on a per project basis. These are super awesome standalones that we can discuss once you sign up!

  • Custom Theme Design – We can certainly do this, but it will take more than 3 days and we’ll have to work up a custom proposal for you.
  • Online Shopping Cart – We specialize in eCommerce, but again custom proposal and much bigger scope
  • Podcasting – Slightly higher rate for the basic podcasting setup. We’ll work something out.
  • Attention Engine Video Production and Integration – We know, its the latest thing. We agree, solid video will take your website to a whole other lever. Our resident video expert @JasonLange will take care of you, but it’s gonna look a little different.
  • Any other Attention Engine Ninja Skills – We have 20 years combined experience. There’s nothing wordpress we can’t do. Let us know if you want to push the envelope.

Start your engine:

Resolution Special

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
  • If you prefer vocal interface.
  • So we can see how bad the situation is 😉
  • Super-quick description of your project. what are you wanting to do?

Everything you need to know to publish content to your WordPress site.

Our friend and colleagues at PowerUp Productions have been hard at work the last few weeks. They created over 75 tutorial videos for how to use every part of the wordpress backend and built a guided online course around them.

This course is the definitive WordPress users manual for content creators. Whether you follow along in sequence or skip directly to the places you are stuck, this course is an awesome manual to have in your library if you publish to the web using WordPress…and this price is perfectly affordable(It’s a steal!)

Follow this image link for more info.



How to make any web app into a native OSx app using Fluid

Ok, this may be a little geeky, but I am excited to share it.

If you are like me, there are a few web applications you rely on all the time. Gmail, calendar, and Facebook are pretty much always occupying the first 3 tabs in my browser. Thats all well and good, but sometimes this setup can be cumbersome (Other tabs get in the way, etc.)

I always use CMD + Tab on my mac to quickly switch between apps, but this leaves my mail and calendar in at least a two step process to access.(CMD+Tab then click the right tab.)

What if you could make these web apps into actual apps you ask? We’ll that’s what I am talking about!

Here is a little video showing you how to turn any web app(or web page for that matter) into a native OSx app that you can run or park in your menu bar using fluidapp.com

Attention Engine Endorses Tech Husband: A step by step Tech training program for small businesses.

So tell me the truth: is technology your friend or foe?

Web tech is kind of like love.  When it’s on your side, you feel like you can conquer the world without breaking a sweat.  But when things aren’t going so well, you’re a hot teary mess, crying “why me?” into your Haagen Dazs.  

We’ve all been there!

That’s why I’m so excited to share this free video training series from my friend, Forest Linden (AKA “The Tech Husband”).  

Forest has a simple, gentle way of demystifying all those web tech systems that are essential to running your online business.  Check out his free 4-part video training series and learn how to:

  • Go from bright idea to profitable business.
  • Use super powerful “off-the-shelf” web technology.
  • Pick the right apps for your specific biz.
  • Set up online home study programs, coaching services, and more.

Check out the videos and go from techno-overwhelm to riding into the sunset.  Ahhh.

These free training videos won’t be up long, so head over now to snatch ’em up:

Get in on the Free Program

Reminder: the whole series is totally free, so go check it out!

Casey Capshaw joins Attention Engine

We are pleased(and a bit excited, honestly) to welcome Casey Capshaw to the Attention Engine team.

Casey was hacking wordpress to make websites when it was still thought of a “just a blog platform” and has been innovating and pushing the limits of WordPress ever since.

With a background in marketing, and a passion for efficiency, Casey brings a people-focused pragmatism and on-the-ground functionality to every project he puts his hands to.

We’re stoked to add Casey as an asset to the Attention Engine team. Keep an eye on this blog for the fruits of our collaborative efforts!

Welcome!

Check back here regularly for the latest trainings, tips, news, and all around cool stuff in the digital arena!