Domain Registration Tips: 7 Things to Know Before You Buy

Registering a domain name for the first time can be one of the most exciting things you do when starting a new website or business on the internet. For many of us, registering a new domain name is nothing new, and it to some it might actually seem quite tedious. However, I still get excited when I register a new domain these days… even with then 400+ I already have, each domain is unique in their own way and full of potential.

At the same time, millions of people are still starting a website or blog for the first time daily, and with each of these, they will also need a domain name. To help with the process of grabbing a domain name and making sure you are setup for the long haul, today I’m going to highlight seven domain registration tips that everyone should be aware of — even if you’ve already registered hundreds of domain names in the past.

Grab All Variations of Your Domain Name

When registering a domain name for your personal site or business, make sure you spend the extra few dollars to grab the .net and .org versions of these names as well. With a low investment of around $10 per year for a domain name, it’s just a no-brainer to not let such domains get in the wrong hands — especially your competitors!

Make the Process of Domain Transfers Easy

Some domain registration services make it a real hassle to register domain names and transfer them to another location. A domain transfer might take place if you want to swap ownership or simply keep all of your domain names under one provider. To learn more about this process, I recommend you read this guide on the domain name transfer process, along with the many different fees, benefits and things to be on the lookout for depending on your domain registrar.

Secure Your Personal Name as a Domain

If you are lucky enough to have a unique name, there is a good chance someone didn’t grab your personal name as a domain yet. However… in most cases, the chances are against you.

This means you should head over to your favorite domain registrar and check to see if your personal name is available. Heck, check your spouse’s name and any family members too! It’s only a matter of time before all personal names are scooped up, and potentially out of your hands forever.

Enable WHOIS Protection on Your Domain

Did you know that when you register a domain name, you are potentially putting all of your information out there for the world to see? It’s true, and all it takes is a simple WHOIS search. Go ahead, try it sometime.

The good news is that you can protect your personal information from being easily accessed on such sites by simply implementing WHOIS protection when registering your domain name. There is usually a small fee associated with this, but it’s well worth protecting your personal identity in the process.

Make Sure to have Auto-Renew on Your Domains

Once a domain name is registered, it’s usually gone for good. This is due to the fact that domain names are extremely cheap to register and renew on an annual basis. However, sometimes people forget to renew their domains and then they are instantly picked up from domain registry companies to be resold at a higher markup.

Most domain registrars will allow you to register a domain for multiple years in advance (which may help with SEO, though this is always up for debate), but the option should also be there to automatically renew your domain names as well. Make sure this option is always in place, while also making sure your credit card and payment information are up to date as well.

Choose a Domain Name that is Easy to Spell and Remember

When it comes time to register a domain name, you are likely going to need to get a bit creative to find something that is available. At the same time, don’t get too crazy with it. I understand the process of finding a good domain name that isn’t already taken can be quite frustrating and timely, but before you register a domain name that you think might be pretty amazing — think again!

For example, I highly recommend you stay away from misspellings and the use of hyphens and numbers in your domain name. For example, if the domain name seeyoulater.com was taken, you wouldn’t want to register CUL8ER.com because it’s “cool”. Think about all the times you would need to spell out your domain name versus just saying it. In short, get a unique domain name, but make it easy for your audience to find, spell and remember in the process. If you still aren’t having a lot with coming up with a unique domain name of your own, try any of these domain name generators to help out with this process.

Don’t Pay Too Much for Your Domain Name

My last domain registration tip for you is to simply not get ripped off by registering domain names at the wrong location. For example, when I first started registering domains in the late 90s, Network Solutions ran a monopoly over the world of domains and it cost $70 to register a domain name ($35 for two years). Now you have a world of options for registering domains, also at a much lower rate as well (around $10 a year). Yet some people are still paying $30+ per year to register and own their domains on an annual basis — this is just a waste of money. Find out how much you are paying for your domain name registrations, and if it’s too much… it’s time to find another registrar. Even though it might only seem like the difference of a few dollars to register a domain name, this could add up to hundreds or even thousands of waste dollars per year if you have several domains that are up for renewal.

I Hope You Enjoyed My Domain Registration Tips

As someone who has been buying and selling domain names for nearly 20 years now, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with each of the points I highlighted above. Your domain name is going to be the beginning and end for your site, so make sure it’s pretty great. Don’t rush to go live with your site until you found a perfect domain name to represent your brand, it’s mission and content.

Once you’ve found that perfect domain name for your next site, be sure to follow my blogging guide for a complete walkthrough of how to start a successful website or blog from day one.

11 Ways to Make the Initial Ask When Looking to Establish a Partnership

It is often intimidating to reach out to an established business with a partnership opportunity. But as entrepreneurs and small businesses, you can make a big impact to show potential partners that you are a worthwhile investment by employing a few key strategies. Thanks to the power of the internet, we are now all on a level playing field and opportunity like never before might just be an email or introduction away. However, for this to take place many of you will need to step outside of your comfort zone to make that initial ask first happen/

The first hurdle is making the initial ask. When reaching out, try to highlight your common goals with the organization or how you can offer value, while not first asking for anything in return. You should also have a concrete plan in place that shows the benefits a partnership would have for all those involved. And never underestimate the power of a confident and humble attitude when it comes to earning their respect.

We asked 11 entrepreneurs from YEC to share their best advice for reaching out to a big potential partner.

1. Use Your Network

Big businesses are just like small businesses — they are composed of people (just a lot more of them). Reaching out to, say, GM is a tough goal, but finding a specific connection to one person in that business is very manageable. Try your personal, professional, family and alumni networks. You’re looking for someone who can introduce you with a warm introduction

John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation

2. Prepare to Bring in Another Vendor

You’d be surprised by what you can accomplish when you team up with another business that offers complementary — not competitive — services. For instance, smaller marketing agencies eager to work with enterprise brands may need to affiliate themselves with larger marketing providers who already have a working relationship with their target companies.

Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

3. Find Complementary Goals and Objectives

Reach out to businesses whose products or services complement yours and establish common goals and objectives. When you’re both working toward the same end result, the partnership will be more sound and beneficial to everyone involved. If you’re a financial planner, you probably want to partner with accountants, lawyers and other professional service providers to refer customers to each other.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

4. Define the Value You Create

Before hitting send on that email or asking for introductions, spend the time to really hone in on the value that you bring to the potential partner. Even though the mutual benefits are clear in your head, realize that they will be approaching it from a cynical point of view. They know how it will benefit you so make sure they know how it will benefit them. Make it easy to say yes.

Douglas Hutchings, Picasolar

5. Be Ready With the Plan

Larger businesses have larger liabilities, and that means they can’t act with the agility of smaller businesses. A strong plan and enough early notice is very important in order to pique the interest of potential partners, so make sure all your ducks are in a row before you make first contact.

Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

6. Begin With Intensive Research via Web Presence

Before you personally address a prospective partner, begin with thorough research of the company’s web presence. Begin with an in-depth study of the business’s website, taking a close look at case studies. Also, check out the business’s social media pages, observing how they market themselves and interact with their audience. This will provide valuable preliminary information before talks begin.

Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com

7. Be Humble, Yet Confident

The key to formulating partnerships with larger or better-established businesses is to be both humble and confident. It’s important that you come to the negotiating table with humility, but while being sure of your brand, product or service. Understand when it’s the right time to listen and the right time to assert yourself, and you’ll quickly earn respect and a new partnership.

Blair Thomas, First American Merchant

8. Identify the Ideal Candidates

Find out what type of business would work well with yours in terms of skills and resources as well as value alignment. Additionally, do the research to see if these ideal candidates have ever done partnerships to see what went right or wrong in the past. This can help narrow the list of established businesses to approach and save a lot of time and effort.

Cynthia Johnson, Ipseity Media

9. Have the Right Attitude

Too many people reach out with a “Here’s what I’d like you to do for me” attitude. If you’re a new business seeking to partner or collaborate, your tone should always be “Here’s what I can do for you.” Have a specific idea in place and present it in a way that benefits the person you’re reaching out to.

Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

10. Offer a Very Concrete Benefit

Unless you have a specific number of clients, services or increased visibility to a niche audience that you can offer, it’s not worthwhile for a big business to spend time in partnership discussions with you. Identify a specific gap that would be difficult or expensive for them to execute on in-house and explain how you can provide value in a way that they may not be able or willing to.

Roger Lee, Captain401

11. Start Casual

Always start with a casual coffee meeting to develop a more personal relationship with the established business. Once you are able to connect with them outside of business, it will make them more willing to work with you on upcoming partnerships and projects that are mutually beneficial.

Bryanne Lawless, BLND Public Relations

Are You Making Enough Connections with Your Business?

There you have it, some of the best expert tips from successful entrepreneurs and business owners who have actually gone through the process of making that initial ask, and helped launch further success and opportunities for their companies. If you enjoyed this expert round up, I recommend you also take a look at our previous ones on expert SEO tips and best tips for making money online.

The Most Important Web Metrics to Create a Successful Website

When it comes to the eventual success or failure of your website or online business, it will ultimately come down to your profit/loss numbers. However, at the core of your online business are many other factors that will come into play — many of which are happening behind the scenes.

Today we are going to take a look at some of the most important factors when trying to create a successful business online. Each of these factors are unique in their own way, and depending on the type of business and revenue methods you have in place, some may be more important than others. No matter which you are currently focusing on, they all play an important role in how, where, why and when people will end up on your site.

Are You Aware of the Following Key Metrics for Your Site

From SEO, domain authority, social media and more… I’ve listed some of the most important metrics for you to keep an eye on, while also providing you with some valuable resources, case studies, and tools in the process.

Social Media

We all know the power and size of social media, but not enough of us are effectively tracking our results and finding where there is room for improvement. Instead, what most brands and bloggers are doing, is sending out a tweet or social share right when their latest content goes live… then ultimately forgetting about it right afterward. Another key element of social media is engagement and the new relationships that are formed through it — however, once again, many brands are leaving their social media accounts to just sit there and blast out content, while missing out on the real engagement that can happen from followers, fans, and customers.

There are actually 5 key metrics found right within social media itself, and while most people are actively using some of them, it’s rare to find all of them being a real area of focus — as it social media management across multiple platforms is very time-consuming.

  1. Followers and Fans
  2. Content
  3. Demographics
  4. Brand Exposure
  5. Hashtags and Keywords

To learn more about each of these areas of focus, I recommend you take a look at Cyfe’s social media metrics list, which goes into detail in each of these areas and why they are so important.

Domain Authority & Page Authority

Back in the day, Alexa and Google PageRank were two of the most common ways to measure the power and rank of a website. Now it’s all about Domain Authority and Page Authority. Moz describes each of these and their ranking process as follows:

  • Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. Use Domain Authority when comparing one site to another or tracking the “strength” of your website over time.
  • Page Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engines. It is based on data from the Mozscape web index and includes link counts, MozRank, MozTrust, and dozens of other factors.

In short, both of these ranking factors are determined by a mix of different factors. For the most part, the quality of content on your site and incoming backlinks are likely to influence these numbers the most. The better the sites linking back to your site, the more likely you are to see an increase in both Domain Authority and Page Authority over time.

In addition to the Moz Toolbar, a quick an easy tool for checking the DA and PA of your site (or multiple sites) at one time, can be found at SEOReviewTools.com.

Bounce Rates and Conversions

When it comes to improving your site and how to make money online, we often forget about some of the most important stats and factors of our sites, simply because they aren’t visible through SEO, traffic or revenue dollars. These type of site factors would income bounce rates, conversions, page views, time spent on a site and much more.

OptinMonster actually has a great article on this set of metrics, where they go into detail on eight specific ones, which includes;

  1. Page Views
  2. Mobile vs. Desktop Visitors
  3. Page Timings
  4. Traffic Acquisition
  5. New vs. Returning Visitors
  6. Time on Site (TOS)
  7. Landing Pages
  8. Exit Pages

As you can see, there are many different components sitting right on your site that need to be measured, tracked and improved upon. Even though most of these metrics won’t immediately increase the SEO or traffic on your site, they can make a world of a difference on your customer engagement and revenue numbers.

SEO Audit of Your Site

Last but not least… we have SEO Audits. In addition to everything else we mentioned above, running an audit on your site can drastically improve not only its performance but also keep it in good terms with Google as well. The good news about SEO audits is that they are easy to run and offered on a wide range of services like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Mondovo — each scanning the content on your site and letting you know what needs to be fixed and how much of a factor it can be.

As SEMRush points out on their site, the follow metrics can all be measured through a simple site audit.

  • Optimize your internal and external links;
  • Add tags where they are missing;
  • Make titles, meta descriptions, and other HTML tags unique and comprehensible for users and search engines;
  • Correct broken images and provide them all with an alt attribute;
  • Detect and erase error pages;
  • Find duplicate content pages;
  • And fix other problems blocking your SEO progress!

When running an audit on your site, be sure to fix as many problems as you can, then run the report again. This will allow you to continually see improvements in your site score and what tasks have been successfully completed.

To Be the Best, You Need to Beat the Best

As you can see, when it comes to running a successful website and online business, there is a lot more to it than just creating content and ranking in the search results. At the same time, if you put in the time and effort to work on all of these areas, you will be much better off and have everything you need to start making your way passed the competition.

Don’t just listen to these words. Take action and start working on the core metrics of your site today.

3 Millionaire Success Stories from Lesser Known Millionaires

When it comes to making money online and helping you discover the opportunity that lies within in the world of entrepreneurship, I’d love to be that inspiration that gets you to take that first step. At the same time, I also realize that ‘online marketing’ or the concept of ‘making money online’ might not be for everyone.

This is exactly what I launched my Rise of the Entrepreneur podcast, to help share success stories from different entrepreneurs around the world — while also helping you discover any new opportunities through such stories and interviews as well.

Keeping with this theme, I thought it would be a fun idea to showcase a few more success stories from different millionaires around the world that you likely haven’t already heard of. Each of these millionaires has their own unique stories, struggles and eventual success which lead them to where they are today.

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Sam Ovens Makes Millions Helping Property Managers

Sam Ovens is a 26-year old entrepreneur from Auckland, New Zealand who dropped out of college to ultimately start two successful companies of his own by the age of 24… while also working out of his parent’s garage. Having found success with digital marketing and managing a large ad spend on behalf of his clients, Sam was able to turn that expertise and skill into a successful consulting company of his own.

In addition to his consulting business, Sam is also the CEO and Founder of SnapInspect, a property inspection app that helps property management companies cut costs and better manage their properties.

To learn more about Sam Ovens and what he’s currently working on, be sure to check out this recent article on his wealth building tips for Americans.

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Lani Lazzari Finds Financial Success in an Offline World

Lani Lazzari is a great example of someone who was able to make a boat load of money and creating a real business, without thinking about just using the internet or focusing on technology. If the name at all seems familiar, it’s likely because Lani was a participant on the infamous Shark Tank (4th season). At the time, Lani was just 18 years old and made all-natural skin care scrubs for sensitive skin as a hobby until her junior year of high school. It was then that Lazzari decided to take her Simple Sugars business into the Shark Tank and see what would happen.

Long story short, Marc Cuban decided to invest in her business ($100,000 in return for 33% equity) — which generated over $200,000 in sales within just 4 hours of the episode airing on TV. Be sure to read up on her full story and the business is now doing over $3 million in sales per year, while also now having over 700 retail locations across the country.

Who_Is_EvanTUBEHD_-_Business_Insider

The 10-Year Old Who Makes $1.3 Million a Year on YouTube

EvanTubeHD is a name you probably haven’t heard of unless you are kid, or parents with children. Nonetheless, he is yet another entrepreneur in the making, who is already raking in millions of dollars per year. Oh, yea… I forgot to mention, he’s still not even a teenager yet — which is a majority component to why he has found so much success online.

Evan is one of the most sought after names on YouTube, and not just by people who are viewing his videos. Big name brands and toy companies would jump at the chance to have one of their products reviews in his online videos, and are willing to pay big bucks to make it happen. However, it’s not just sponsorship money that is making Evan and his family (also his video editors) rich, it’s also the massive subscribers and viewership he has online as well… to the tune of more than 3.4 million subscribers on YouTube.

For a full breakdown on how Evan has been growing his massive following on YouTube and raking in millions in the process, be sure to check out this older article on Business Insider, and this more recent one on DailyMail.

What's Your Story

How Are You Going to Make Millions?

More than anything else, I want you to get inspiration and motivation from the different millionaire success stories above. When selecting each of these profiles, I wanted to make sure each had their own path to success, while also being in their own niche market — some with completely out of the box ideas that went on to become big success stories of their own!

No matter how silly or crazy your business idea might be, you will never know until you put your ideas and plan into action. Be sure to read up on each of these entrepreneurs and implement similar components into your business or brand to help reach that multi-million dollar mark!

Most Recognized Logos of the World

There are many logos and symbols that we see every day. Most of which we can probably recognize, even if we cannot see the company or brand name of a product. Logos are important in advertising because it is a way for consumers to identify an organization or entity.

Logos have to be eye-catching, and it should be simple enough to remember but still look original. It has to use certain colors that are appropriate for a particular brand or company, such as green for health food, and blue for diet food and it should use either an ideogram or a typeface. There are other elements to consider when thinking of a logo design, such as shape and size.

To give you an idea how logos are designed, here is a list of the most recognized logos of the world, in no particular order.

Google

According to Millward Brown Group, Google is the most powerful brand in the world. It might seem like Google won’t be familiar to people who don’t use the internet, but since many people are starting to go online, Google has become one of the most recognized logos in the world. Their simple, multicolored logo is displayed in their search page so that everyone who uses their search engine can easily remember their logo.

McDonald’s

McDonald’s has a very recognizable logo, with a bright yellow M and a red background. It’s the biggest fast-food chain, popular not just in the US, but in the whole world, so it’s no wonder that many people of all ages are familiar with McDonald’s. McDonald’s has done an amazing job of branding towards children as well. Whenever a child sees the big golden “M” arches, they immediately think of Happy Meals and toys… begging the parents to make a quick stop.

eBay

Many internet users can easily identify eBay’s logo. eBay is the most well-known and most visited auction site online, and it’s next to Google among the list of popular logos used online. eBay has localized sites in 30 countries. Even though not all people who go online have transactions in eBay, they should be familiar with the logo since it appears in banner ads on its affiliate sites.

Starbucks

With stores in 49 countries, Starbucks is one of the most easily identified coffee chains in the world. Its trademark logo shows an image of a long-haired siren inside a green circle with the words Starbucks Coffee. Starbucks also likes to change up their logo every once in a while, and whenever they do, it causes a stir of controversy among their loyal fans and didie-hard customers.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola has superb marketing, and their trademark red logo with white Spencerian script has been around for years. But the logo is not the only one that’s memorable for consumers; almost everyone from the age of three can recognize a Coca-Cola contour bottle. There may be other carbonated soft drinks that are currently known in the market, but no other brand can beat Coca-Cola and their excellent marketing.

FedEx

FedEx or Federal Express is a logistic services company that was only started in 1998. It is easily recognized by its short name FedEx, and its purple logo. Naming the company FedEx was a brilliant move, since its original name Federal Express was too long to be painted on airplanes and trucks. By painting their airplanes and trucks with a shorter name the company saved money, and they also made it easier for people to remember. Did you notice there is an arrow in between the letters “E” and “X” which represents an arrow for fast service and always moving?

Apple Inc.

Originally Apple Computer Inc., Apple manufactures consumer electronics and software products. With its best-selling products such as Mac, iPod, and iPhone, it was named as the most admired company in the world by Fortune magazine in 2009. Apple uses a very original logo, that of a silver apple with a bite. With the recent sales from Apple’s iPhone and iPad and the huge increase in Apple’s stock, they are now one of the largest companies in the world.

Nike

Many athletes and celebrities wear Nike products, so the Nike logo is well-known among the public. The Nike logo is a perfect example of a simple but unique logo is just a black swoosh. All Nike products have this logo, so it’s bound to be recognized by a lot of people. Would the Nike brand be what is it today if they never signed Michael Jordan?

Mercedes Benz

The Mercedes Benz has been used by German automobile company DMG since 1909. The logo was originally just the image of a three-pointed star, but when DMG merged with Benz & Cie., a laurel wreath was added to the logo. In later years the laurel wreath was simplified as a circle, and this became the widely recognized logo of Mercedes Benz.

Shell

Royal Dutch Shell, the Dutch-British multinational petroleum company, uses a very straightforward logo, a yellow clam shell with red outlines. Shell operates in more than 140 countries, so it’s only natural that many people can recognize the Shell logo.

I love writing about logos and doing research on how companies have changed their brands over the years. If you also find this interesting, please check out my previous articles on logos, which are The Art of Company Logos and Branding.

Quick Tips on How to Start a WordPress Membership Site

Starting a membership site is an excellent way to explode your earnings, while also bringing in a monthly or annual source of income in the process. However, starting a membership site isn’t as easy as throwing up a new WordPress site, installing a few plugins and calling it a day. Actually, millions of membership sites are started every year, but only a small fraction of them will find success. This is mainly due to the fact that membership sites need paying customers to keep them alive — and this is where most site owners and marketers go wrong.

The good news is that there are plenty of tools and resources out there to help you with the pre-planning and setup process before you get started — all of which I will be providing for you below.

Create a Membership Site

Quick Tips, Tools, and Resources for Building Your First Membership Site

If you’ve ever wanted to start a membership site of your own, you will know there is are lot of options to choose from. Everything from what type of content you will be offering, how much you will charge for access, and also how you will build your site so you can store and lock content for members only. I’m going to cover most of these topics and questions in detail for you below.

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1 – Why should/shouldn’t you build a membership site?

The most common reason to start a membership site is because you have some form of premium content to offer and also want to make money from it. At the same time, a membership or community-based site can bring a lot of loyal to your brand following. If this is something you already have in place, the overall success of your membership site is much more likely to happen.

However, before jumping the gun and going live with your site right away, there are many things you should be thinking about — such as;

  • Do you have the time, resources, and focus to make a membership site work?
  • Is there enough value offered through your program for an audience to pay?
  • How large of a niche audience can your membership site attract and is there a market for it?
  • What is the end goal for your membership, and how can you scale it over time?

Another thing to consider is why you are creating your membership site in the first place. If you are simply going after the money, this might be an immediate cause for concern. It’s extremely hard to convert a free content/blogging audience into a paying audience. Be sure to consider all options (and split test where possible), before actually going live with a membership site.

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2 – Tools and Resources to Build a Membership Site

Having considered launching a few membership sites over the years, I’ve spent hundreds of hours considering all of the different options out there. Since I already use WordPress for most of my sites, this is something I wanted to stay consistent with — yet there are still many alternatives, options and WordPress plugins to choose from. MemberPress, Memberium, WooCommerce Memberships, S2Member and MemberMouse are some of the most popular solutions on the market today. I recommend taking a look at this article on top membership plugins for a full review on each.

But don’t forget… each of these solutions are just one component to your membership site and how your content is set up. You will also need to look at different options and solutions for payment methods, engagement, tracking, content creation and much more. Here are some top solutions on the market today.

  • Paypal / Stripe – These are two of the best payment processors out there. Nearly everyone already has access to Paypal, but not all solutions are compatible with it, or provide enough options for customer payment. When Paypal isn’t your best option, don’t forget about Stripe, which makes accepting credit cards and online payments easy — while also now being more compatible with most membership platforms.
  • GetResponse / Aweber – Don’t even think about launching your membership site without an email platform in place as well. While people will be paying to access your membership site, it will be important to keep them updated with any news, changes and notifications you may want to send out to all members.
  • YouTube / Vimeo – A great majority of membership sites are now focus on video content. When choosing your video hosting platform, be sure to choose one that offers premium video hosting, tracking capabilities and the option to remove ads and embed video. YouTube and Vimeo are two of the top names out there when it comes to video hosting for membership sites.

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3 – Content Creation and Audience Engagement

As mentioned earlier, the end goal of your membership site should be to provide extreme value over whatever else it is you are currently offering. In most cases, when you see a private community or membership online in the blogging or online marketing space, it’s because they are providing step-by-step tutorials and guides on how to accomplish something — in much more detail than what they might be offering to their general site or social media audience. This is also something we have been seeing lately with many gurus and experts within their own space, mainly because it’s a lot easier to set up a membership site than ever before. Names like James Wedmore and Chalene Johnson have launched their own membership sites and online courses through a solution like Kajabi, which is an all-in-one solution for creating and selling content online.

With all of this in mind, it’s important to consider your options and how you want to provide value to your audience. A perfect example of this would be to offer individual modules and courses within your membership area — both through written content and online video. An added bonus to paying members only should be a weekly or monthly video chat session. It’s also a great idea to offer some type of Facebook Group engagement where everyone can chat and meet on another platform outside of just your individual membership site.

As your audience and member base continues to grow, always ask what type of content or improvements they would like to see. After all, your members are the most important component of your membership site.

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4 – Promotion of Your Membership Site

Once you’ve created your membership site and done a soft launch to bring in a few members, it’s important that you have an outreach and marketing plan in place. Membership sites are extremely tough to grow in size, as you need to actively convert free audiences into paying customers. At the same time, if you have a slow growing membership and an audience that isn’t participating, this in itself can be enough to bring the downfall of your precious community.

Here are a few ideas to bring some life and promotion to your membership site.

  • Email – Always take advantage of the power of email marketing and those who may already be subscribed to your mailing list. If someone already gave their email address to subscribe to your content, there is a good chance they would pay for your premium content as well.
  • Content Block – If you already have a website or blog, be sure to make different areas of your site more exclusive than others. Not only will this provide more content for your premium members, it will also draw a lot of interest from your free users as well.
  • Affiliate Program – Depending on the niche market you are in and they type of community you are trying to grow, launching an affiliate program might be a great idea for your membership site. With an affiliate program of your own, you can partner up with other sites in your industry and offering them a commission for each new member they send to your site.
  • Podcasts and Interviews – Participate in podcasts and expert interviews on other sites. This will allow you to show off your expertise and reach new audiences — thus further growing your reach and membership base.

No matter how big or small your membership site may be, implementing each of these methods can result in a huge member increase over the life of your community and marketing efforts.

How to Build a Membership Site Infographic

Special thanks to Become a Blogger for their infographic below. I always like to break down the steps of how something is accomplished, while also including visuals at the same time. Leslie over at Become a Blogger has done an excellent job at covering all of the components of a successful membership site through the infographic below.

238_Membership-Site_Infographic

How to Rank Higher in Google by Running a Site Audit

We all want to rank higher in the search results, but not all of us are willing to put in the time, work or effort to make things happens. This can both be a pro and a con… pro if you are willing to put the work in, and con if you aren’t. A good rule of thumb here is that there are over a billion active websites on the internet today. With most site owners neglecting simple SEO tips and best practices, it means that anyone who is willing to invest some time and money into their site structure and SEO efforts could see big improvements in the search results.

I previously wrote about how important it is to have a fast loading website — both for on-site experience, conversions and also for SEO and rankings. However, another extremely effective way to rank higher in the search results is to simply run an audit on your site and let Google and other search tools simply tell what quick improvements can be made to your site.

Not only does Google want to see fast web sites with great content, they also want to rank healthy websites in the process.

There are plenty of tools and services out there for running an SEO audit, but in this example, we will be using Mondovo.com — an all-in-one solution for everything relating to site management and improving your rankings in the search results. The reason why I like this site and wanted to use them as an example is because they are extremely cost effective and you will only need to pay for the tools or reports you run through their site.

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Using Mondovo to Run a Quick Site Audit

Before running an audit on your site, you are first going to need to create a free account with Mondovo. Don’t worry, it’s fast, free and easy to get started. Once you are logged in, you will see a wide range of options to choose from on the left side menu. In this example, we are going to select the SEO Website Audit Tool.

mondovo_website_audit

Once you’ve clicked on the “Website Audit” menu box, you will then be sent over to a few form fields to register your site within your account, then also run a full site audit. These fields include:

  • Domain – The site you want to run an audit on.
  • Pages to Crawl – How many pages you want the report to analyze.
  • Optional Add-ons – Social Metrics, Google Page Speed and Broken Link checks.

Depending on the size of your site and how many posts/pages you have, a full site audit can take a lot of time, resources, and investment. Mondovo offers the option to audit all content within your site or just a small test sample.

For this example, I went with 100 pages to be crawled. Other reports include social metrics, Google Page Speed and the checking of HTTP Status and Broken Links… which are all very important to the overall health of your site.

Below you will see a screenshot of everything mentioned, and that it only cost well under a dollar to actually run and create this report. Even if you had thousands of pages to crawl, it will still just be a few dollars for such valuable information.

mondovo_website_audit_crawl

With all of your site details filled out, you can then proceed by clicking the “Crawl” button. As mentioned earlier, depending on the size of your site and how many pages you are going to crawl, this report can be generated within just a few minutes, or in the 30-45 minute range for much larger reports.

Once completed, you will be given a full report like the one below. All report data can be accessed from right within your account and is easily accessible through tabs, which break the report down into the following categories: meta issues, linking details, content, HTML optimization, internal links, external links and social metrics. Clicking on any of these tabs will provide a detailed report of issues, which need to be fixed and how to fix them.

mondovo_website_audit_report

Crawl reports can also be downloaded or exported, and will also remain within your account. This is great as you will then have the ability to make updates to your site, then run new reports and can see how the updated improved the overall score and performance of your site.

You can also dive deeper into each of these reports by clicking any of the menu tabs. Below you can see an example of the ‘Content’ section and how it shows where your content might not be up to par — thus lacking in having a target keyword, a poor optimization score, link to text ratio, duplicate content and more.

mondovo_website_audit_report_details

To get more detailed information on each area of your site audit, simply click on any of these gray boxes and you will see the specific site URLs for each report/notification. Make note of which changes you’ve made to your site, then run a new report to get your new score.

Don’t Forget to Run a SEO On-Page Analysis Report

Full site audits are great, but they can also be quite overwhelming if you have a large website. If you already have a few pages on your site that you know are ranking well, or were built specifically to rank to certain terms, Mondovo also has tools for this as well.

The On-Page SEO Tool allows you to easily analyze individual pages within your site. This tool is perfect for improving your ranking when going after individual keywords and trying to move past the competition when every Page Score number counts.

Just like the site audit tool, you will find the on-page SEO tool in the Mondovo sidebar menu as well. Fill in your site details and requested report types, and you will then be provided with a detailed report like the one below.

mondovo_onpage_analysis

Quick notes to highlight for this report are:

  • Page Speed – You definitely want this to be 70+ range
  • Word Count – Anything over 800-1000 is usually great
  • SEO Factors – Try to fix any failed issues

Once you’ve run your report, be sure to make any necessary changes to your site, then run the report again. Keep doing this until you’ve met the highest page score possible.

Individual Site Reports are Perfect for Site Owners

Running a website and creating quality content is hard enough. You shouldn’t have to go crazy and spend a lot of money to keep your site optimized as well. Creating and running reports through Mondovo is not only very simple and fast — it’s also very competitively priced.

Through their pay-as-you-go platform, customers can pick and choose the services, reports and tracking they want to use with their sites. This model in itself can save site owners hundreds of dollars per year, as there is no wasted money on high monthly fees for unused reports and features.

You can see a preview of some Mondovo reports, tracking tools and features below, along with their estimated prices per report.

mondovo_pricing

With no monthly billing in place or long term contracts to sign, there is simply no reason for anyone to not be properly managing, tracking and improving your site optimization at all times. Even just one big site audit every month will only set you back a few dollars, but could mean a huge difference in the overall ranking and success of your sites.

Implement Today. Rank Higher Tomorrow.

We all know the power of SEO and ranking higher in the search results, yet so many of us continue to focus our efforts elsewhere. Just because we can’t physically see site speed, scores or failed issues within our sites, it doesn’t mean they should be ignored.

Put in the time and effort to continually fix and improve your site, and you might just be surprised with how well it starts to rank in the coming weeks and month. Get started right now by running a quick site audit of your own.

8-Step Process to Speeding Up Your WordPress Site

How fast does your website load? If you don’t know, then you could be missing out on a lot of traffic and lost revenue as a result of a slow loading site. Just because your site loads fast for you, it doesn’t mean it will load fast for everyone. It’s actually depends on a wide range of factors… all of which we will be covering in this article.

First of all, a fast loading website is extremely important for a number of reasons. Here are just a few of them:

  • Keep your audience happy
  • Limit your bounce rate
  • Google ranks fast sites higher
  • Faster website earn more per visitor

These are just four of the most obvious reasons to have a fast loading site. Besides the obvious point of a slow loading site being extremely annoying, it’s a huge financial and growth factor as well.

I’ve already covered most of these points in previous articles on this blog, so this time I want to focus solely on how you can actually speed up your site — step by step. However, just to provide a reminder of how important loading time and page speed is to your business and brand, take a look at the graphic below provided by Aberdeen Group. No matter how much traffic, revenue or business your site is generating online… it can still be leaving a lot of money on the table if it’s not loading as fast as possible.

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8 Steps to a Faster Loading WordPress Site

Each of the methods below will be used to increase the loading time and speed of your site in different ways. For this reason, I highly recommend you do a Google Speed Test on your website before implementing any of them tips, then running it again each time you make changes to your site. This way you can see what improvements have worked best. Special thanks to Blogging Basics 101 for the infographic below.

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1 – Identify What Causes Your Site to Slow Down

If you want to have a fast loading website or blog, you will find need to find out what areas are slowing it down. A great way to accomplish this is to run a simple speed and optimization test through sites like Pingdom, WebPageTest or GT Metrix.

Each of these solutions will analyze your site and then provide a report for you on how fast each section of your site is loading. As mentioned earlier, this is one of the first things you should be doing before moving forward with any of the steps below.

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2 – Get Rid of Unnecessary Plugins

WordPress is one of the greatest content management platforms ever created, however it can also be loaded up with some unnecessary features as well — such as plugins.

It’s important to not only remove such plugins after installing WordPress on your site, but also to remove any unwanted or unused plugins after you may no longer need them. A good rule of thumb to remember is, the more complex a WordPress plugin in… the more likely it is slowing down your site.

P3Profiler is a great plugin for analyzing WordPress plugins and see letting you know which may be affecting the speed of your site.

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3 – Practice Optimizing Your Database

The power behind your WordPress site is actually the database that it’s running off of. Just like a computer, this database can fill up with junk over time and slow down in it’s processing speed. Other areas that can slow down your WordPress site include spam comments, drafts, revisions and old plugin tables.

Optimizing your database is not only a great way to speed up your site, it’s also quite easy to accomplish as well. Garbage Collector is a plugin that will help clean up unwanted tables and different areas of your site.

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4 – Understand Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

One of the best ways to immediately improve the loading time of your site is to connect with a content delivery network. The way a CDN works is simple, they basically host a copy of your site in different places around the world so your readers are directed to a server closer to them.

For a CDN to work, all a site owner needs to do is modify their root domain DNS configurations (ie: domain.com) and those of its subdomain as well (www.domain.com / img.domain.com). The root domain (A record) will also need to point to the CDN’s IP ranges as well. It sounds like a complicated process, but it’s actually quite simple and will only need to be set up once. Most CDNs will also provide you with a complete tutorial on how to set this up as well.

Content delivery networks can actually help your site with a lot more than just increasing its loading time. Further benefits of having a CDN associated with your site includes:

  • Improve page load speed
  • Handle high traffic loads
  • Block spammers, scrapers and other bad bots
  • Localize coverage without the cost
  • Reduce bandwidth consumption
  • Load balance between multiple servers
  • Protect your website from DDoS attacks
  • Secure your application

I personally like the CDN from Incapsula, since it has integrated DDoS protection, WAF and real-time traffic monitoring (failover and HA).

W3 Total Cache is definitely my recommendation as a popular WordPress plugin that is often used to connect WordPress sites with their CDN of choice.

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5 – Learn to Speed Up Images Issues

One of the heaviest areas of content and resources on your site is going to be image use. Every photo on our site must be downloaded by your audience every time your site is accessed. This includes site design images and content as well. In short… the more images you have, the longer your site is going to take to load.

An excellent way to speed up your site while lowering image loading issues is to add lazy loading to your site. This will only load images as the reader scrolls down into your site content. Some popular plugins for this are Lazy Load, BT Lazy Load and Lazy Widget Leader.

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6 – Never Forget to Use Caching

Caching is a great way to speed up your site and content delivery while also reducing the amount of requests that are being sent to and from your server. The more and longer they processes to your server takes, the longer loading time your site will have.

To help with this process, you can implement a caching plugin to do most of this work for you. Such plugins change dynamic files into static HTML files, thus speeding up the time is takes for your site to load.

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7 – Minimize and Minify Your Code

While WordPress has made the concept of creating websites and content very easy, it hasn’t done a world of wonders for the actual coding and page sizes that are being published. A better way to get around this and release sites and content with smaller loading times is to minimize and minify your coding wherever possible.

This is best accomplished through the use of GZIP, which can reduce your page size by up to 70%. This can be done by modifying your .htaccess file or using a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP HTTP Compression.

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8 – Social Media Sharing

We all know about the importance of social media sharing and adding those cool Facebook Fan Page boxes and sharing buttons to our sites, but are you using the right ones? As great as some of them might look, they could actually be causing more damage than good.

Many of these tools and plugins are very heavy in coding or resources, which ultimately slows down your site. Some of the most recommended and fast loading WP plugins for social sharing are Floating Social Bar, Share Center Pro or WP MashSocial widget.

Speeding Up Your WordPress Site Infographic

In addition to everything we’ve laid out above in detail, you can also walk through this same 8-step process in the visual infographic below.

speeding-up-wordpress-hd-infographic-e1469662373320-png

 

How to Easily Create Professional Graphic Videos with RendrFX

I don’t need to tell you that video has become the name of the Internet game. It’s not enough anymore to write up long form sales letters or post static pictures, because users want to engage with video, whether that’s on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or anywhere else. The challenge is figuring out how to produce professional looking videos with limited resources.

We’ve all seen examples of how online videos are being used to increase engagement and conversions on landing pages, while also seeing how brands and businesses are using whiteboard video to explain and walk users through a blog. This is something I recently did with one of my own sites, where I walked users through the process of how to start a blog with a custom whiteboard video. Videos work extremely well because they gain the attention of your audience, and make it easier for them to consume your content versus reading straight text.

As affective as whiteboard and professional videos might be, they can also be quite costly in the process. An affordable and accessible solution for social media marketers is RendrFX. You don’t need a massive budget, an expensive camera, or a high-end video rendering PC in order to produce top notch video for all your marketing and other business purposes. You can do it all in the cloud.

Video Creation Made Simple

The primary objective of RendrFX is to provide a platform where businesses of all sizes can “easily and affordably create high definition videos.” They accomplish this by removing several of the hurdles that may otherwise stand in your way.

rendrfx

You don’t need an especially fast computer for video editing and rendering, because RendrFX takes care of that for you. You don’t to invest in individual stock images and background music, because they’ve got that too. And you don’t need advanced software expertise, because the whole video creation process happens from right within your web browser using their intuitive interface.

Best of you, you get access to a huge variety of motion graphics templates with hassle-free licensing that will really elevate your videos to a whole new level. It couldn’t be easier. Over 40,000 users have registered with RendrFX since May and an additional 400 are joining practically every day.

Also, if you are still on the fence about just how important and effective video can be for your business, be sure to check out these video marketing case studies. It’s not a question of “if you should” be using video within your business and outreach, it’s a matter how if you can afford not to!

100s of Templates, 1000s of Stock Assets

One of the first things that will strike you about RendrFX is just how comprehensive of a solution this is. You don’t need to invest extra money in additional stock photos, stock music, and stock video libraries because that’s all included in your monthly subscription.

rendrfx-videos

Based on my count, you currently have access to literally hundreds of motion graphics templates that are easily adapted to suit your particular brand, product or service. What’s more, you can tap into the huge library of over 100,000 stock HD videos, over 300,000 stock photos, and over 100,000 stock audio clips. Naturally, you can also add your own media too, including direct importing from Facebook. New templates are being added every month as well.

With all of these resources at your fingertips, you can see how useful such a tool can be. Use RendrFX to create your social media videos for sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use the tool to render video ads. Do you need a professional-looking intro or outro splitter for your videos? RendrFX is great for that too. From real estate to photography to just about anything else, this versatile tool can prove invaluable in any industry.

Just stop to think about how much you would end up paying if you wanted to license all of these stock media assets individually or through a subscription with another service. Having access to such a massive library of templates, videos, images, music and more really makes your job that much easier, because you don’t have to hunt around or worry about any additional cost. It’s all included.

It’s All in the Browser

At first, I almost thought that RendrFX was really just about this massive library of templates and stock content that I could use in my own videos, but there’s a much bigger piece of the puzzle here. What’s great is that you don’t need to invest in expensive video editing hardware and software, because you can make your videos right from within the RendrFX website.

rendrfx-editor

When you log into your account, you can simply choose from the hundreds of templates available, upload your own content (like a company logo or video you shot yourself), and apply the template to that content automatically. Add in the text that you’d like and watch a live preview of what your resulting video will look like. It’s all really easy to follow and literally only takes a few clicks.

Once you’re satisfied with your creation, you can send it off for rendering in the cloud. You can exit your browser or start working on another project. When your video is ready, you’ll receive an email and then you can proceed to download the MP4 file or share it directly on Facebook. This video walks you though the process.

The example here was for what appears to be a company intro video, but the same fundamental process can apply no matter what kind of video you want to create. This is perfect for stylish photo slideshows or snazzy sales videos, for instance.

How Much Does It Cost?

It’s great to see that there are no hidden costs or any real restrictions when it comes to the pricing plans with RendrFX. Whether you opt for the standard plan or the premium plan, you can create and render unlimited videos each and every month. You don’t have to worry about going over a monthly allotment.

rendrfx-pricing

The standard plan and the premium plan will likely account for the majority of RendrFX customers, but more advanced users who need API access or custom private templates will find value in a custom enterprise solution instead.

The main differences between the standard plan ($49/month or $497/year) and the premium plan ($99/month or $797/year) are the number of users (1 vs. 3), the number of queue boosts (10 vs. 25), and the fact that premium plan members can have a customizable watermark placed on their videos.

Remember that every video you make with RendrFX (and you can make as many as you want) come with a full commercial and reseller license, so you can use the resulting videos in any fashion that you’d like without worrying about any licensing issues. What’s more, even if you don’t download the MP4 immediately, the video files are saved to the RendrFX cloud for access at any time. You can also upload directly to your Google Drive, Dropbox and/or Box for added backup.

If you’re looking to elevate your social videos, video ads, PowerPoint presentations, and any other online videos to the next level, RendrFX offers a lot of power at a tremendous value. You too can have professional-looking motion graphics.

How to Speed Up Your Site and Make More Money

Do you have a fast website? If you do, you are probably racing past your competition in the search rankings. If you don’t have a fast website or blog… you are probably missing out and leaving a ton of money on the table in the process! Even worse… you are likely losing a lot of site visitors and maybe even damaging your brand in the process.

The truth is, a fast loading website is one of the most important things you can focus on. However, it’s also something that many people simply don’t focus on enough. This is usually because the loading time of your site is often something that site owners don’t know how to fix or improve, but also it’s not something that is really shown in monthly revenue reports — but it definitely has an effect on your bottom line!

The good news is that there are plenty of free tools, resources and guides out there to help with increase the speed of your site, while also lowering hosting and server resources as well. My good friend Syed Balkhi has a great resource on speeding up WordPress, that is a must-read for anyone using WP to power their site.

With all of that being said, today we are going to take a look at an infographic from WebpageFX that shows why a faster website is so important, and how it can affect how much money your site makes in the process.

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Why Faster Websites Make More Money

What happened the last time you visit a website and it took more than a second or two to load? Like most of us, you probably left the site. No only did you leave the site… it also left a bad taste in your most and you might have never even visit the site again. This in itself is a huge cost to any website (especially an e-commerce)!

Let’s now take a look at some key stats on why faster websites simply make more money and perform so much better.

  • 83% of users expect websites to load in 3 seconds or less
  • The median loading time of the top 500 e-commerce home pages is 10 seconds

When it comes to the behavior of online shoppers, here’s what they had to say.

  • 44% are more likely to develop a more negative perception of the company
  • 79% are less likely to buy from the site again
  • 46% would actively tell their friends and family about the experience

Based off these numbers and responses, a slow loading site can really cause some damage to how your site and brand looks to your general audience. However, a slow pagespeed can also negatively affect other areas of your site as well.

  • User Experience: No one likes a slow loading web site.
  • Pageviews: The longer a site takes to load, the less your audience will stick around.
  • SEO: Google wants to rank fast loading web sites higher.
  • Conversion: Faster loading content and lead-gen forms result in higher lead generation.

Be sure to consider the speed of your site when trying to rank in the search results. To help with this process, be sure to check out these SEO analyzer tools. Each of them are free to use, and will also allow you to check out the speed and SEO rankings of your competition as well. Not only is this a great resource, but it’s also a good way to keep an eye on your competition and seeing how fast their sites load.

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The Importance of a Single Second in Load Time

It’s easy to say a fast loading web site is important, but once you have some numbers to back it up… then you can really get an idea of how important it is. Reports show that a 1-second improvement in loading time can result in over a 7% increase in conversions. This adds up to a lot of money over time.

On the internet, everything needs to be looked at in seconds, minutes, days, months and years. Since most online sites and businesses are getting traffic and sales 24/7, having a slow loading website or downtime of just 0.003% is still being down for a whole day of the year! Imagine how much that would cost your business vs. the extremely small cost of fixing something so simple.

The longer your site takes to load, the more money you are missing out on.

The infographic chart below breaks this down extremely well.

  • If you have a site that makes $100 per day, a 1-second difference can cost $2,555 per year.
  • If that same site makes $1,000 a day and still has a 1-second delay, it would be $25,550 lost per year!

If you can also play these numbers on the reverse and see how much more money your site could be making if it was simply loading 1, 2 or 3 seconds faster.

  • A site generating $100,000 per day would make $7,000 more per day with a 1-second improvement
  • The same site would see a $426,000 improvement over the course of a month with a 2-second improvement
  • It starts to get crazy when you scale it out to a year and do a 3-second improvement, which is over $7 million

Again… it’s all a numbers game and no matter how big or small your site or revenue numbers might be, the importance of a fast loading site is extremely important.

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Real-Life Examples of How Important Site Speed Is

It’s kind of crazy to think about a website that could be doing $100,000 a day in sales or revenue… but there are plenty of them. Amazon and Walmart do those types of numbers every minute of the day — and sometimes in second on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  • Amazon and Walmart both reported a 1% LOSS in revenue per 100ms of site load delay
  • Walmart INCREASED conversions by 2% for every 1 second of load time improvement
  • Intuit was able to increase conversions by more than 3% after shaving 7 seconds off their load time
  • Obama Fundraising Campaign increased donation conversions by 14% by decreasing page speed from 5 seconds to 2 seconds — which resulted in $34 million in contributions
  • Mozilla improved conversions by 15.4% by shaving 2.2 seconds off their loading time — which resulted in 60+ million additional downloads per year

How much of an impact could a single second in loading time be costing your business?

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How to Improve the Speed of Your Website

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, there are plenty of ways to increase to loading time and pagespeed of your site. Some of the most simple ways to accomplish this is to use a content delivery network, reduce the file size of images and content on your site, and also use WordPress as your CMS — as many plugins, tools, and outside solutions can help with this as well.

There are also different web hosting plans and platforms you should use and stay away from as well.

For example, if you have a website that is making you some serious money… why are you still using shared hosting and using a server that thousands of other sites are hosted on? Other options include investing in a dedicated server or a web host that specializes in fast-powered web hosting.

One low-cost (yet effective) solution is A2 Hosting, which provides “Turbo” speed hosting, which claims to increase site speed by up to 20 times. This is done by adding more resources to each server while having fewer users. Sites are also pre-configured with site caching and more virtual memory.

To further back up and compliment these statements from A2 Hosting on their “Turbo” solution, we can look at the uptime percentage and response time from the chart below. This report is from HostingFacts.com and their reviews on cheap hosting providers. When stacked up against the competition, A2 Hosting was ranked #1 for speed, over top web hosting solutions like SiteGround, BlueHost, and DreamHost.

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To learn more about A2 Hosting and their premium “Turbo” hosting, simply click the image below.

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With Google now putting more weight on sites that are fast loading, and audiences now having a shorter attention span than ever before, it’s important to step up your site loading game. There is no reason for your site to be loading any more than 2-3 seconds. Any more than that and you are just killing your site potential and how much it could be earning.

Follow these tips and recommendations to improve your site’s loading time, while also making some extra money in the process.