(Transcript continued from the Episode 112 show notes and audio podcast)

One of the quotes that Zig has about this topic is, “You are what you are and you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are and you change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.”

It’s one of my favorite Zig Ziglar quotes because it goes to this thing that Tony Robbins always talks about, your subconscious mind is at work, it’s doing stuff, and it acts based on what you feed it. Ray makes this argument about the emotions that The Walking Dead triggers in you during this vlog.

Basically it’s this thing where you’re the sum of the things that you put in your mind because that’s what you give your mind to work on, to focus on, to think about. If you want to change your situation, according to Zig, put stuff in your mind that will help you do that. If you’re not accomplishing the things that you want to accomplish, put motivational things into your mind. If you’re not focused on your business or your business is not successful in the way that you want it to be successful, put business topics in your mind. Feed your mind the things that it needs to be successful.

This also goes along with this idea that if you’re one of these people who says, “I don’t have time to work on my business, I just can’t seem to make any progress because I have this soul-sucking day job and 14 kids and I have to mow my yard,” and all that stuff, if you’re that guy then what you need to do is stop watching The Walking Dead. These are two different issues, but they go together really well.

Pay attention to what you’re putting in your mind and that will help you accomplish whatever goals you have. I encourage you to check out Ray and his new vlogging experiment, it’s very interesting. Ray is a super interesting guy and I consider him a close personal friend.

Internet Marketing News

This week in the department of super cool news I was reading Marketing Land, it’s an internet marketing news website that I look at a lot. There was an article there that according to new data from StatCounter, which is one of these companies that compiles data, mobile devices have for the very first time in history overtaken the desktop as a place to get on the internet in the world. If you take all of the data, all of the internet traffic on a global basis, there is more internet traffic on mobile devices than on the desktop. That’s kind of an amazing thing.

In my lifetime when I was a kid computers were just starting out, I had an Apple II as a child growing up that I purchased with my own money, at least I paid for half of it, by mowing yards at that time. I remember that computer very well cost $1,199, which was a small fortune at that time. There was no such thing as mobile computing, obviously. In fact, I had a 300 baud dial up modem on that computer that was single duplex, meaning that it couldn’t send and receive at the same time.

Fast forward to now where I have this amazing amount of computing power in my hand that is mobile with these incredible screens that have much higher resolution in my hand than I had on the whole big monitor. Not to mention color, those original monitors were monochrome. That has all changed over the last 35 or 40 years. Now mobile usage of the internet is projected to completely outreach desktop usage this year.

What’s the tale for you, the marketer? Well, obviously you need to not just make sure that your website is usable on mobile, we’re reaching a time in history where you’re going to have to start thinking about having a mobile first strategy. At the very least, you better have an excellent website for your mobile customers.

Understand that your niche may vary. Maybe you have a website in the engineering niche, you’re business-to-business and people are mostly accessing your stuff at work. It’s also going to depend a little bit on where your traffic is coming from. These are global statistics and mobile is more prevalent in certain parts of the world where the primary computer is the cell phone.

Even on LateNightInternetMarketing.com my mobile traffic is over 30%. That means that you need to have an excellent mobile experience. It really means that solutions that we’ve used in the past that automagically make your website mobile compatible aren’t really good enough anymore. You really need something that has responsive design.

Not just because Google cares more about mobile than they used to, in fact they will downrate your site if you don’t have a mobile responsive site, and they care even more than they used to. In fact, later this year they are supposed to be rolling out a separate mobile index for webpages that you get when you’re searching on mobile. It’s not just Google, it’s that your site visitors are actually coming from mobile and if you are going to serve them you’re going to have to have a website that is properly optimized for mobile to get the conversions, to serve your users, and all those things that you’re trying to do.

Usually what that means is a responsive website design. That’s one of the reasons that I moved away from my old website designs that I had been using to a new framework I like that is fully mobile responsive and allows me to do a bunch of things that I want to do. We’re going to have a future episode on this, because the Late Night Niche Site is going to use this framework. I’ve been using the framework called Divi over at Elegant Themes for some time now. That’s a super cool framework, I really like it and it’s incredibly powerful.

It actually allows me to do a lot of the stuff that I would normally do with LeadPages. That’s another reason that I like it, because it helps me avoid all of that cost in certain cases where I don’t want to use LeadPages. Divi allows me to have this fantastic mobile experience. If you go to LateNightIM.com, you get the mobile design automatically with the Divi theme. A lot of themes do this; Genesis has a whole mobile responsive framework underneath. That’s the key thing is to make sure that you’re using something that is modern and mobile responsive.

But, I thought that was amazing, in my lifetime we have come from a place where there were essentially no computers of any use to normal people – computers excited when I was born, but nobody had one – to a place where everyone has a computer in their pocket worldwide and more people are using that computer mobile than they are from the desktop on a worldwide basis. Truly an amazing time to be alive.

Late Night Niche Site Update: Hosting

That gets us to our main segment. We’ve talked about this kind of topic before, but since we’re in the niche site creation mode I wanted to talk about this again and bring you up to date with a new kind of technology that is going on in web hosting. I’ll take you through web hosting and my current recommendation on web hosting, and what we’re doing for the Late Night Niche Site.

You’ll recall in the past we’ve talked about how to go about selecting a niche and we went all through that process in a previous episode and talked about the fact that I was interested in youth baseball. We decided that we were going to build a niche site around the topic of youth baseball. That’s something that I’m interested in right now and participating in a lot.

Then we decided we were going to find a domain name for this website based on some criteria that we outlined in Episode 108. In fact, there’s a great checklist there that I made for you. If you go to LateNightIM.com/108 you can download the domain name checklist that gives you all these things that you need to think about when you’re buying a domain name.

We ended up with YouthBaseballZone.com and I bought that.

Now our next thing is to figure out where our website is going to live. From an analogy standpoint, YouthBaseballZone.com is our address and the web server that this website is going to be housed on is sort of the property that we’re going to use to build our house. We’re going to build it on this website at this address.

So there are a couple of ways that you can think about this.

Let’s say you’re a doughnut shop down the road and you want a website, and you want it today and you want no hassle and no fuss. You just want to get the thing up and you want something that looks really nice. You can go with a company like Squarespace. Not only do they provide hosting, they also provide amazing software that you can use to get a beautiful responsive mobile friendly website up and running, and it’s really no hassle, no fuss. You use their integrated builder, it looks great, and you’re done. Basically you can create a blog or an online business card sort of website with your menu if you’re this doughnut shop, or pictures or a gallery if you’re some kind of artist or a consultancy. Whatever you have, you can create it and literally you can rock and roll. This is a really good tool, it’s definitely far and away if you’re that kind of person, if you want to build a wedding website for your family or friends that are getting married and give that to them as a wedding present, for example, this is absolutely the right tool for that sort of thing. It’s super affordable and it’s easy to use.

We don’t typically use things like Squarespace for affiliate marketing because they’re not as flexible as WordPress, which is what I’m going to recommend for you here. You guys know that I, and most other affiliate marketers that are building websites on the planet, are using WordPress. It’s not as flexible and there are concerns that sometimes there are things they will and won’t let you do. Squarespace is not really bad about this at all, but they’re not using WordPress, they’re using their own proprietary software, which works incredibly well but it doesn’t give you access to this rich array of things that you have when you use WordPress.

So I don’t particularly recommend this for affiliate marketers, although it is certainly possible to build your affiliate website on a tool like Squarespace. That’s one option that you have, the sort of made for you out-of-the-box website builder like Squarespace, which is super cool.

Another option that you have is to build your website on WordPress or a blogging platform like Blogger, but not use what is called self hosted WordPress, use the version of WordPress or the product from Google called Blogger to build your website on their precreated software. This is sort of like Squarespace in some ways, but instead of the proprietary software that Squarespace has it uses (in the case of WordPress) the actual WordPress software.

That’s using WordPress, but you’re using it on WordPress’s platform and you’re subject to their guidelines and their restrictions and they kind of control some of the things that you can and can’t do on WordPress.com. While I think it’s a fantastic solution and I actually have several friends that work over at Automaticc, for some people this is a perfect solution, for affiliate marketers it’s not what I recommend. I recommend that you host your own website, you be in control of your own destiny, and not be at the behest of someone else who is running the back end of your software for you.

What I and other people who are in the business of building affiliate websites and other platforms often recommend is this thing called self hosted WordPress. That’s different than WordPress.com where they’re hosting WordPress for you. WordPress.org is a place that you go to download some software called WordPress that you can put on this web host that we’re going to talk about in a few minutes.

Again, you have these things, you can do turnkey with something like Squarespace, you can do something sort of in the middle with something like WordPress.com where at least you’re getting WordPress but you still have some restrictions that I don’t particularly care for, or you can go the self hosted route where you secure your own hosting and download and install WordPress yourself.

The good news is most of these better website hosting operations have what they call one click installation packages for WordPress, which means that if you want WordPress on your website you just go and buy website property from them, buy a server package from them, click a button and WordPress is installed. The days of nightmarish technical issues with WordPress are long since gone. You pay your money, you click your button, and boom, your website appears. It usually really is that simple.

The thing about hosting, and again this is a company that owns a room full of computers, usually multiple rooms full of computers at different places in the world for the bigger companies, these server farms if you will. You buy a little piece of space in there, a little apartment in their apartment complex of servers, and that’s where your website lives.

That kind of website hosting, self hosting where you’re buying this website service from these people like Bluehost or HostGator, comes in a variety of levels of service. There are four levels of service that I want to go over with you quickly just so you can understand. We’ve talked about this a little bit before, but I want to help you understand.

The first kind of website hosting that you’ll hear about, and it’s the least expensive, is called shared hosting. This is a website hosting service where you’re in a situation where your website is on a computer that is shared by others. Your website visitors don’t realize this. To them they’re just visiting YouthBaseballZone.com and they don’t know that other people are on this website server with you.

But, the resources on this server are shared in an extensive way. If you have some bad neighbors on shared hosting that misbehave and use up all of the electricity or air conditioning or if they make too much noise, sometimes that behavior of other people on your server, people you’ve never met that you don’t know very well, can affect the performance of your website. To be honest with you, this has been increasingly less and less an issue. As server technology improved the quality of shared hosting has increased over time. I have a lot of my websites on shared hosting. In fact, we’ll talk about what I recommend here at the end of the episode, my recommendation has changed lately. I have a lot of websites on shared hosting and because of caching and other kinds of interesting website technology like cPanel and WHM and some other virtualization technologies, this is less of an issue than it used to be.

But it is still an issue. Your resources aren’t completely protected from your neighbors. If your neighbor, for example, has a blog post that goes super mega viral and nobody is paying attention, all of the bandwidth on your web server can be sucked up and your website might go down.

What I would say is while this baby website hosting, this shared hosting that is the cheapest of the choices that you have, is really inexpensive and has a low barrier to entry, it has the additional reliability risk that I described. Usually for people who are starting out this is absolutely just fine. Like I said, I have small websites on shared hosting. A lot of times I’ll even start a website on shared hosting, if it catches and gets bigger and I want to improve the performance then I’ll move it to the next tier, which is a virtual private server (VPS).

A virtual private server is shared hosting that uses sophisticated software to protect your resource. Where in the first case maybe you’re living in a college dormitory with a shared bathroom where everybody is using these resources together and if your friends spend too much time in the bathroom it may affect your ability to get a shower on time in the morning, with virtual private servers (VPS) you’re more in an apartment complex where you have your own apartment, you have your own shower.

You’re still next door to your neighbors, so if they make too much noise you might hear them every once in awhile, or if the electricity goes off for the whole building your electricity will go off too, but it’s not nearly as susceptible to what’s going on at your neighbor’s website. That is considerably more expensive, usually going from a few dollars a month to maybe as much as $50, $60, or $100 a month, depending on what you pick and which company you go with for virtual private hosting, but you definitely can protect your websites that way.

I also have websites on virtual private servers and that’s kind of the next tier option. For me it’s kind of a simple decision. If the website is not making money it gets shared hosting, if it’s doing a little better it gets promoted to virtual private server, and if it’s a popular website like Late Night Internet Marketing it gets the third tier, which is called dedicated hosting.

Dedicated hosting is where you have your own computer sitting in a server farm somewhere at one of the website hosts and it’s just for you. This is the equivalent of moving out of an apartment and buying your own house where you have land around you, what your neighbors are doing doesn’t really affect you, and you’re safe for the most part from what’s going on at other people’s websites.

Shared hosting, very inexpensive, it’s going to be the least reliable of hosting. Virtual private servers, kind of the middle ground and analogous to an apartment complex as opposed to a dorm room. Dedicated hosting, where you have your own house on your own land.

I’m trying to remember, I think I might have gotten that analogy from Leslie Samuel over at BecomeaBlogger.com, but it’s a good analogy.

I told you there was something new that I wanted to talk to you about. That is actually what LateNightInternetMarketing.com is on, it’s called cloud based hosting. We talked about these three steps where you isolate yourself more and more and in the end step that we described of the dedicated server you have a single computer that is responsible for serving your website. With cloud hosting you take that even farther where you have parts of multiple computers that are all contributing to your web hosting.

In the first case you were a tiny part of one computer, that’s shared hosting. In the middle case you were a walled off dedicated part of a single computer. In dedicated hosting you were the entire computer. In this case of cloud hosting there are multiple computers that comprise your website.

This is really cool, it’s called virtualization. It means there is a server farm and those server farms are glued together in such a way that the computing power from those servers is all mixed together and you just use a little bit of the mixed power. It’s pooled together and then a portion of that pool is allocated to you. The cool thing about that is if one computer goes down – if a hard drive catches on fire or there’s something wrong with a motherboard on one of the computers – if one computer in the cloud goes down you don’t care because there are 10, or 20, or 100 computers that are responsible for your node, so the load kind of shifts over to those other computers. It’s kind of a redundant system. It’s not redundant in the sense that there are multiple copies of your website running on all of these computers, it’s that they all contribute to the running of your machine. If one of them calls in sick one day, the whole website keeps running.

That’s kind of a poor and confusing explanation of cloud hosting. It’s really cool and that’s what Late Night Internet Marketing runs on. That tends to be even more expensive, so I certainly don’t recommend cloud hosting for those of you that are just starting out.

In the past I have recommended three websites and I still think they’re great.

For years I recommended HostGator and I still think HostGator is good. They have certainly had their problems, but they’re a good company and I think that’s still a fine place to start. A lot of my friends have websites on HostGator that are doing just fine. I like HostGator still.

For whatever reason I like Bluehost a little better these days. I like their website user interface a little better. In my mind they’re sort of the same as HostGator. Right now Bluehost seems to have a little better reputation, at least in the crowd that I run in, than HostGator. I like both of those and they’re both great for shared hosting, and that’s what I have used in the past for shared hosting.

Now I don’t recommend them for shared hosting anymore. I think it’s fine if you use them, I’m not saying that you should switch, although you certainly can. Lately what I’ve been using for my personal websites that are on shared hosting is SiteGround. I recently consolidated a bunch of sites off of more expensive virtual private servers onto SiteGround shared hosting and have been very impressed.

One of the reasons that I like SiteGround is because they are very focused on what I would loosely call managed WordPress hosting. Most of their customers are on WordPress, they’re optimized for WordPress, and people that I know who are familiar with WordPress really like the technical back end of what’s going on over at SiteGround from a performance standpoint, from a reliability standpoint, and certainly from an ease of use of WordPress standpoint.

If you’re just starting out, I think SiteGround is a really great choice and that’s what I’m recommending now to anyone who comes to me and says, “I want to start a website, what hosting should I use?” The caveat is of course that all website hosting, whether it’s shared, virtual private server, dedicated, or cloud, at some point you’re going to have some issue, something is going to go down, that’s always the case.

With SiteGround I haven’t seen any issues. Their technical support is great. I love their user interface, it’s super easy to use. Actually, if you sign up for SiteGround they will move your site for you. They’ll move one site for you for free as part of your purchase, so if you’re having trouble with your website hosting, you’re currently on shared hosting and you want something better, I definitely recommend that you check out SiteGround.

For virtual private servers, SiteGround has that too. I have not had a chance to use them for that.

For years I was recommending ServInt for virtual private servers and I’m in the process of leaving them for two reasons. One is I really don’t want to mess with website management too much. I don’t want to upgrade PHP and worry about upgrading to the latest versions of MySQL and worry about whether or not the latest security patches are on the server.

One of the things that managed WordPress hosting gets for you is that there is an actual IT professional worried about those things. The package that I had at ServInt I was basically paying for a dedicated server or a virtual private server but I was managing it, and I don’t want to do that anymore. That was one thing, sort of a philosophical thing.

The thing that pushed me over the edge was I had this bad customer service experience with them where I was really busy and trying to get something done, I sent a ticket into their customer service, and they told me that they had gone to a new support model and in order to even look at my problem in any detail or work on it I needed to pay them $150 an hour. Now, that’s fine, that’s their business model and I’m cool with that. If that’s how they want to handle my support ticket, that’s certainly their right to do that, but I’ve been a customer with them since 2009 or something like that and I just felt mistreated in that moment. Understanding where their support model was going to and understanding that I felt like I wanted a more managed solution and I didn’t pay what they’re charging for that solution, I decided to move along.

I still think ServInt is a fine company and I’ve had fantastic customer service from them in the past. It’s just this new policy that they have about charging customers $150 an hour for support, which I understand that’s where they’re headed. I’m already paying them $136 a month, so for simple questions I was expecting a little more, so I’m moving along. That’s where I am with that.

Here’s the bottom line of all of this…

If you’re doing things online where you need a web presence but you’re not really trying to run an internet business, you just need some stuff online, I definitely would recommend that you look at Squarespace. If you’re doing the kind of internet marketing things that I’m talking about, I definitely recommend that you host your own website and I recommend that you do that on the SiteGround service.

There are lots of other options that you can choose from and they’re all perfectly fine. I’m just personally using SiteGround right now and I really like it. You can check that out and see what you want. If you’re not happy with your current website solution, I definitely recommend that you check out SiteGround because they will help you get moved over and their pricing is very affordable. They’re also very WordPress friendly and that’s what we want to use for our affiliate sites.

Once you get hosting, your choices are shared hosting, which is what I recommend that you start with, virtual private servers, dedicated hosting, and cloud. When you’re big enough to move off of shared hosting, that’s a really good problem to have and you can cross that bridge when you come to it.

Wrapping Things Up…

What you’ll see in the coming week is that YouthBaseballZone.com will come to life. Right now if you go there you get nothing. Soon you’ll find an empty website and that empty website will be hosted on SiteGround.

In the coming weeks we’ll have an episode where we talk about getting that website up and running so that there is something there when visitors come. That will be in the next week or two. We’re going to talk about how we do that. We’re going to use WordPress, as I mentioned, and we’re going to do that on the SiteGround platform. Boom, we’ll have a website, we’ll install a theme, and we’ll start to make it beautiful, all in a future episode of the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast.

Until then, I hope you get something fantastic done on your business. I’ll talk to you next week.

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