Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Great wisdom not applied to action and behavior is meaningless data.
Manage multiple wordpress sites with ManageWP
Our main goal with ManageWP is to save time. So that our clients can have more time to spend away from the computer, for example with their families…
Every now and then you get a newcomer on the WordPress scene that has developers scratching their heads thinking, “That was MY idea!”. Too late, when it comes to developing something which allows you to manage multiple WordPress websites with ease. If you haven’t heard of him yet, then meet Vladimir Prelovac (second from left), founder and CEO of ManageWP and a bunch of other sites along with the popular SEO Smart Links plugin.
Vlad’s philosophy on life is simple, as you can gather from his profile:
I would love to change the world. I just don’t have the source code yet.
In developer terms, that is poetic verging on profound. So imagine Vladimir chilling in the tub one day when he has this “Eureka!” moment:
“Wait a minute… wouldn’t it be cool instead of fooling around with multiple WordPress sites and juggling between them if we could have ONE baby that does it all? Just ONE site to take all the pain and hassle out of managing your sites and which allows you to focus on writing CONTENT instead? Hmmm… But such a solution needs to be secure… it needs to save time and add value… and most of all, it needs to WORK!”.
… And so ManageWP was born. Or something like that.
But anyway, this article’s about the tools you can use to manage multiple WordPress sites and which ones are the top contenders. I settled on ManageWP for myself but you could find there are others which work better for you. So here are a few key requirements that I was looking for in my solution:
Something to manage multiple WordPress sites from one dashboard
I needed something to let me manage multiple WordPress sites from one dashboard. By that, I mean one single admin area from which I could access the important elements of each of my sites with a few clicks. Things like plugins, upgrades, comments management, backups, monitoring – i.e., the kind of tasks that end up eating into the time that should be spent writing great content.
If you manage just one or two WordPress sites, then you probably won’t get the sheer beauty of such a system. But if you’re like me and have to manage multiple WordPress sites throughout the day, logging in and out of each admin area, checking what needs to be done and then getting around to actually doing it, then anything which takes the pain out of that process is going to be a breath of fresh air.
Ok, I get the drift – what options are there allowing me to manage multiple WordPress sites?
For the purposes of this article, there were only three contenders out there which cut the mustard – namely WPRemote, InfiniteWP and ManageWP. Go ahead and check them out by all means, but here’s a quick round-up of what to expect:
All of these apps work on roughly the same principles as I’ve outlined above – with varying levels of complexity and features. I’ve mentioned ManageWP last for two reasons – firstly because it’s the most mature product available in the market at this time and secondly because it’s a paid product and the one that I’m using for my own sites.
WPRemote and InfiniteWP are both free to use, with a couple of premium paid-for features available with the second. WPRemote’s hosted remotely so there’s nothing to install on your site. If you’re looking for a simple cost-effective solution to manage multiple wordpress sites at a basic level – and that includes core, plugins and theme upgrades along with backups – then take a look at either of these two.
Why we chose ManageWP
ManageWP passed the litmus test with us on many counts. Not only is it a tool that allows you to manage multiple WordPress sites, it comes with a heap of extra functionality that couldn’t be done justice in this post. Features of note include up-time monitoring, scheduled backups to multiple locations (the other two have limited capabilities) and the possibility to schedule alerts. For example, I’ve configured my instance to send me an alert if my traffic for any given day is 50% higher than the average for the previous week. Cool.
Like InfiniteWP, it’s a hosted solution so there’s nothing to install other than a worker plugin on each site to communicate with ManageWP. I’m using it to manage multiple WordPress sites for a local marketing project, so it works great on Multisite too.
But is this really the best way to manage multiple WordPress sites?
In my opinion, yes. That is, until the guys at Automattic release an integrated solution themselves – but that’s unlikely. What’s more likely is that they’ll be keeping a close eye on third-party developers like ManageWP and thinking along the lines of integration and strategic partnerships further down the line – if at all it comes to that.
The most likely outcome? The folks at Automattic will continue to focus on what they do best – and that’s delivering an extensible and robust blogging platform and leave site administration and management to the experts. To find out just how easy it is to manage multiple WordPress sites using ManageWP, visit their website and sign up for the free account. Heck, you’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot of family time to gain.
WordPress Installation Service – getting someone to install and configure your WordPress site
WordPress Installation Service? Surely not, I hear you say… With all the web hosts out there blatantly advertising their “One-click-installations” of WordPress, you’d be forgiven for thinking that anybody advertising a “WordPress installation service” must be off their trolley!
Fact is, that these hosting companies aren’t exactly lying when they go on about their one-click installations. Installing WordPress in itself is such an easy task that it’s something my mom could even do. But what they’re not telling you is that installing WordPress on its own is only the first step in building a website that works.
If you have limited knowledge of how WordPress works, it’s fair to say you’ll be spending some time learning the ropes as you go along. None of it is going to be particularly hard – WordPress was built with end-users in mind – but there is a steep learning curve if you want to do it right.
That’s where a WordPress installation service comes in. A WordPress installation service allows you to start working on your site in the knowledge that all the important technical bits are already done for you. There’s quite a lot to do in getting your WordPress site up and running apart from installing the software.
You could, of course, choose to do it all on your own and I can guarantee you’ll pick things up over time, but a WordPress installation service is the best option if you’re new and want the best possible start for your site. A typical WordPress installation service also provides guidance on selecting the right type of theme, installing and configuring the system and some of the “must-have” plugins that every WordPress site should “needs” by default.
In most cases, your WordPress installation service will guide you in which plugins are necessary for your site and be happy to make minor changes and customisation to the theme files to adapt the site to your desired look & feel.
What makes a good WordPress Installation service
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking around for a WordPress installation service:
- You should have a clear understanding of what you’re paying for. In other words, the person or company providing the WordPress installation service must make it clear what you’re getting for your money. Such an example would be “Our WordPress installation service includes installation of WordPress, selection and configuration of your chosen theme along with the installation of basic plugins for SEO, performance and website optimisation”. A vague statement like “Install and configure WordPress” means nothing.
- Each WordPress website has a unique set of requirements depending on its intended use. Providers of a good WordPress installation service will discuss these with you to ensure that your requirements are met. Often, they can suggest better or alternative ways to doing things because of their experience with the product.
- A WordPress installation service should never leave you in the lurch once the task has been completed. This includes explaining how things have been configured and showing you enough for you to be confident in maintaining the site on an ongoing basis.
Our own WordPress Installation Service
With the above in mind, check out our own WordPress Installation Service which gives you all of the above plus great support from the likes of me, for the princely sum of £25. I guarantee you won’t find an experienced marketer doing this for you for the same price… so why am I doing it? First and foremost because we love WordPress with a passion and secondly because I’d like to get our work on People per Hour off the ground. In the meantime, consider this your ticket to have your WordPress site installed by the pros
Click here to contact us with any questions about our WordPress installation service. Our basic service is for the all-inclusive price of £25 and we guarantee to meet your unique requirements within that price wherever possible.
Have you fallen foul of a crummy WordPress installation service? Tell us your experiences below. Alternatively, if there’s a fantastic WordPress installation service that you know about or provide yourself, we want to know!
Small Business Website Design Principles
Professional website designer Vicky presents a few small business website design principles to keep in mind when designing your website.
Needless to say, when you work in web design you come across a wide variety of websites, from the good to the great and there are lots of atrocious examples too.
There are many thoughts and theories on what constitutes good small business website design and every designer will have their own ideas but there are some core principles that become obvious to us all which we tend to agree on almost unanimously.
Small Business Website: The Do’s
- Do understand what the purpose of your small business website really is. Is it to promote your business brand or your personality? Is it to sell products or be an information channel? The purpose of the website will dictate the approach taken by a designer. Set the goals for the website and design ideas will fall into place easily.
- Do try to make the site stand out from others in its field so it is memorable. Good small business website design catches attention and helps visitors to distinguish you from the others.
- Do check out the competition! See what it is about their websites that makes them attractive. You don’t need to copy them but you can use them for inspiration.
- Do make the website as user-friendly as possible. Make the text easy to read, make the navigation easy to find and simple to use.
- Do use existing brand elements like logos and colours where it makes sense to do so. The website is usually representing your business so there should be some continuity with your brand’s look and feel.
- Do make the website search engine friendly. We’ve seen too many websites, particularly in the fashion industry, where websites are not even accessible to search engine crawlers. Make sure you have control over the page titles and meta descriptions, ensure the navigation is logical and open to the search engine spiders.
- Do use the services of a specialist small business website designer rather than the kid next door. Tell them what you are looking for and then let them develop the design concept, it is what they are expert at.
Small Business Website: The Don’ts
- Don’t expect that “if you build it they will come”. That’s not how it works, your small business website will need to be promoted as a destination so it needs to serve a need.
- Don’t add a blog section or link to your social media pages unless you are serious about maintaining and building on them on a very active and regular basis. Having poorly maintained blogs or social pages gives a bad impression.
- Don’t use Flash unless you really, really need it. The world is over it, it’s not search engine friendly, it’s not mobile friendly, move along now please.
- Don’t use crappy content you bought for $10. The content on your small business website should be unique and well laid out with headings and bullet points. It should of course be spell-checked and grammatically correct or you will just appear amateur and unprofessional to your visitors.
- Don’t think you can get great small business website design and hosting freely or too cheaply! Uee the services of a good designer and reap the rewards.
No doubt the list above is not exhaustive but there are enough pointers there to give anyone about to get a new small business website some food for thought.
This article from Web Design by Vicky. Vicky has worked in web design for many years and offers design services to small businesses in Sydney’s Northern Beaches area.
Managed WordPress Hosting – Say What?
You’ve heard about Managed WordPress hosting but you’re not quite sure what it means. Technical though it sounds, managed WordPress hosting is quite the opposite. If you’re one of those people who don’t like diving into the technical details behind their sites and just want to maintain and publish great content on your blog or website, then a managed solution may be just what you’re looking for.
What Exactly is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a service provided by some companies that take deal with all the technical aspects of your WordPress installation on your behalf. If you’re familiar with WordPress, or at least the concept of running a blog, then you’ll be aware that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Before diving in, let’s be clear that this article about managed WordPress hosting deals with self-hosted versions of WordPress – i.e. those implementations of WordPress that you install and maintain on your own hosting and domain rather than with the free hosting you get at WordPress.com
WordPress.com is actually a great example of what to expect from a managed WordPress hosting service for individual bloggers and hobbyists, but it’s when you start getting into using WordPress for business that you start looking at the commercially managed WordPress hosting companies as more robust alternatives.
Depending on the company and their service offering, the majority of managed WordPress hosting companies offer most if not all the features listed below:
- Upgrades of the WordPress core system and available plugins are done for you and they’ll ensure that you’re always on the latest versions of the technology.
- High levels of security to ensure the safety of your WordPress installation. Vulnerable scripts and PHP functions will be disabled.
- Support by staff trained in and knowledgable with WordPress rather than generic hosting support.
- Multiple options for backups and restoring your site in the event of problems.
- Excellent performance due to specific hardware and software configuration with/without the use of WordPress caching plugins and content-delivery networks to improve speed.
- A subset of plugins available for use that cover most WordPress site requirements. Plugins that are known to conflict with WordPress or create instability will be disallowed.
In a nutshell, expect a secure and stable WordPress environment where you can carry on creating content for your blog with the peace of mind that all your technical issues are taken care of in the background for you.
Choose managed WordPress hosting if you’re happy to sacrifice a bit of flexibility for the benefits of never having to worry about the underlying technology of your site.
Managed WordPress Hosting – What it’s Not
This stability and peace of mind does come at a cost – but it’s a small price to pay. Here are some of the things you’re unlikely to get with managed WordPress hosting:
- Customisation services of any form – either at the server level or with your themes or any plugins that you’re using.
- The ability to install any plugin that you choose. Your selection will be limited to those approved by your WordPress host – this is for your benefit as much as theirs.
- Free support for any technical or design issues for which your WordPress host has no responsibility.
If you think about it, then managed WordPress hosting does exactly what it says. It ensures that you have a highly robust and stable platform without ever having to worry about technical issues. For many bloggers and website owners who have little technical expertise, this is a blessing in disguise.
Upgrade gone wrong? Too much spam? Slow website? Hacked files? These are the types of things you’ll rarely need to worry about with a managed WordPress hosting environment. For the sake of losing a bit of flexibility, this is a small price to pay.
Managed WordPress Hosting Costs
Considering the above, it’s not surprising that managed WordPress hosting comes at a premium. You’re essentially paying for a technical team to be there full-time in the background ready to assist you whenever needed and working to keep your environment running at optimal performance and efficiency. The the top end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay thousands (yes, thousands) of dollars for a bells-and-whistles plus kitchen-sink type managed WordPress hosting solution. Go check out WP Engine for an idea of what to pay for (and recieve) from a fully managed WordPress hosting provider. Ideal for corporations and enterprise applications.
But all is not lost for the rest of us! You’ll find a few others that offer managed WordPress hosting from as little as £10 or $25 per month for a single site – with prices decreasing the more sites you add to the mix. Compare this to the annual £500 plus charged by some of the big directories for websites which your four year-old could make and you’ll see the light.
Finally, we’re toying here with the idea of offering managed WordPress hosting to a small number of our clients simply because it’s leveraging on skills that we already apply day in and day out for our own sites. We’ll be offering the same levels of support and attention to client sites that we give to our own – such as the one you’re reading now – and it will be very affordable. Contact us if you’re interested and we’ll keep you in the loop. We’ll also be looking at a few sites to pilot this idea – free, so let us know if you want to be a part.
Footnote: If you’re a designer, online marketer or run multiple WordPress blogs for others, then take a look at ManageWP which gives you most of the features of managed WordPress hosting from a single admin panel.
Is Internet marketing a scam or is there really good money to be made? Think we all know the answer to that. Billions have been made overnight on the back of the Internet and a few smart people have become insanely wealthy as a result. Look at Mark Zuckerberg…
Go ask him, “Is Internet Marketing a scam?” and you’ll probably get laughed in your face and your Facebook account banned. But the truth is – wherever there’s money to be made, there are vultures. It’s true of any money-making opportunity whether online or offline and the Internet marketing game has scammers aplenty. But the blame goes both ways.
There are as many people who will trick you into parting with your money online as there are fools waiting to be tricked.
Let’s see what our friend the Google Keyword Research tool says. Sad but true – “Internet Marketing Scam” and “Internet Marketing Guru” share the same amount of Global and Local monthly searches – with the caveat that the scams pay significantly more per click! Ok, this is very casual use of a great tool but these stats are for real and shown for entertainment value.
So, is Internet Marketing a Scam? You be the Judge…
First of all, my answer is NO! But, are there people out there in the Internet marketing game willing to scam you? Definitely. Just as in any other business. I’m not talking about your general spam email here that we usually get. I’m talking about people who con you out of your hard-earned cash by selling you the dream of making money online. People who unfortunately, can label themselves “Internet marketers” and get away with it. Snake-oil salesmen, in other words.
So look at these examples and think: is Internet marketing a scam or not?
Exhibit A: The SEO Guru
Got this email the other day from a guy pointing out that my latest project which you’ve probably read about on this site was, basically crap. Apparently we’re not ranking on the search engines for our keywords at all (Funny, given that two weeks into the launch, we have 1500 visitors, Alexa rank 208k globally and ranked 8 in our target market).
I don’t normally act on these mails, let alone read them, but it was this line that caught my eye in the Preview window of my mail client.
*Ethical Traffic -> Better Traffic -> Higher Sales*
So what do you do? You check out the guy’s domain and go visit his site to see what “Ethical Traffic” is all about, right? I’m not about to miss a trick when it comes to learning something new about SEO.
This was his site…
Exhibit B: The Twitter Tycoon
Everyone wants more Twitter followers because Social Media is really what it’s all about these days. No surprise then that one of my new followers is in the market for getting people “thousands” of followers… with only one catch. This is their profile:
You have to wonder what planet this person is from. I haven’t even bothered highlighting the fact that he/she has only two tweets to their name. On the subject of having thousands of followers as opposed to a highly targeted list – well, that’s the subject of a whole new blog post in itself. Just check my follower count in the sidebar and you can figure what I believe in.
Conclusion: is Internet Marketing a Scam?
But the above examples are kids-stuff in comparison to the real swindlers out there. To check out what they’re like, read this post before asking yourself is Internet marketing a scam. Yes, there are tons of scammers out there waiting to make a quick buck out of you – but branding Internet marketing in itself as a scam is wrong.
PS. Subscribe to my list to find out what “Ethical” marketing’s really about.
Here’s a resource you can use to find out more about Internet Marketing scams. Nothing to buy, just some good, free information: Is Internet Marketing a Scam? – find out on Scambusters.org.
Local Internet Marketing : New Post Series
If you’ve been wanting to get your hands dirty with Local Internet Marketing, then this series of articles takes you through the implementation of a local internet marketing project from scratch. The series is based on one of my latest projects which aims to deliver a top-rated community website in my local area – which we’ll disclose as we get further into the series.
Why Bother with Local Internet Marketing
Local Internet marketing remains one of the few areas of online business where it’s still possible to make a decent return on your investment while being involved in something that’s fun and familiar at the same time. It is, as the name implies, marketing focussed on a particular geographical area or locality like a township, a neighbourhood or even a city.
But with the internet being such a huge place, why bother with local internet marketing? Isn’t that defeating the purpose of having a global audience and marketplace? Well, you need to understand that Local Internet Marketing is just another form of Niche Marketing. In other words, you’re creating a site that has a set of very unique and targeted visitors looking for specific information. And that’s your local community!
People tend to associate local internet marketing with small towns and similarly small revenues to match, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Unless you live somewhere in the outback, the likelihood is that you are surrounded by a community – no matter how large or small. When we talk about local internet marketing, we mean selling our products and services and information to this local community.
Local internet marketing, especially if you’re planning a project based on your own locality is great for a number of reasons:
- It’s likely that the market isn’t saturated to the extent of other online opportunities. Sure, you’ll have to compete with the likes of Yell.com but I’ll show you how this can actually work to your advantage.
- You’re likely to be familiar with your local community and have a good understanding of the market from day one.
- You have a captive market willing to buy your products and services – all you have to do is compete on quality and cost.
To put these to the test, I decided to start this local internet marketing project from scratch to demonstrate the concepts behind local internet marketing that you can follow and hopefully make some good money along the way.
Outline of the Local Internet Marketing Project
This is going to be a project that you can follow from the ground-up, so here’s an outline of the steps that we’ll be taking in getting our local internet marketing project off the ground. But before we start, take a look at the generic picture of some English High Street shops.
Now, with your internet marketing hat on and specifically with regards to local internet marketing opportunities, what do you see? What conclusions would you draw here in light of the fact that you’re considering this locality for a local internet marketing project? Here’s a list of observations that come to mind:
- Seems like a suburban/residential area.
- I’m assuming the demographics would be middle-class people with children.
- Independent retailers and no major brand names.
- Which means they rely on visibility plus word of mouth to get their business.
- Are unlikely to have their own websites or the time/expertise to maintain one.
- Would be happy for more exposure online if it meant getting more sales.
This is the kind of analysis that you need to get used to especially when looking at Niche Marketing. Remember that local internet marketing is just another form of niche marketing in which the niche is a geographical area. As far as the composition of this market or niche, we’ll be looking into that further down the line with this series.
You’ll find more articles along these lines on this site but, for now, let’s outline the plan for our local internet marketing project. Here’s what we’ll be doing roughly in sequence:
- Determine site concept and theme – Classifieds, news portal, directory, personals or a combination? Note that you might want to do all of these at some point, but it’s vital that you stick to you primary site concept when you start otherwise you’ll be overwhelmed and doomed to failure. Focus, focus, focus!
- In parallel to this, we’ll be looking at the best technical solution for our website which meets our needs, is affordable or free and which we can build on later. Getting the technical decisions right from the start is critical to your success but a small piece in the overall puzzle.
- Researching the local market – demographics, interests, activities, groups, associations and everything else that will help us identify our site visitors.
- Building a list of prospects that we can market our services to and sorting out promotional materials that we’re going to present them with as part of an overall marketing plan.
- Getting some initial content on the site, releasing it into the wild and applying our marketing strategies to get the ball rolling.
We might come up with other tasks while going through our basic local internet marketing plan and we’ll fit these in as we go along. Subscribe to the newsletter to get notified of all posts in the local internet marketing series. The next post in this series will focus on site concept and theme.
Check out other articles in this series: