Hi, I’m Stela Ahau and it has been about a year since I started in the internet marketing world, first as an affiliate marketer I started using Facebook to sell affiliate products and after a few tries the thing started to work, but what I noticed was that I had no connection with my clients, they just purchase something and “puff” I didn’t know who they are, and that’s why I started to consider all this theme about building a list and a blog.
And I think these two things (building your list and having a blog) come together because having a list with just publicity emails doesn’t help to build trust, but if you have your own blog then you can give valuable information to the people, let them know about your real experiences and then really connect with them.
Anyway, there I was, ready to build my blogs, but I had no idea of what are the most important things to build a website and a blog, I know a little bit of Html and also I had a website before but mainly free websites like with wix.com, or wordpress.com and mainly just for a while nothing serious or professional.
But this time, since I had been taking a course (this one with John Thornhill if you want to know it) that talked about the importance of your blog and your presence online then I decided to do it with all my focus to build something good for many years.
But, guess what… I didn’t have so much money and build a website is not so expensive but at the beginning, you need to invest in several things at the same time as:
– Themes for your website
And if you don’t choose a service with all included you may end investing also in extra features like:
– Email accounts
– Extra Plugins
– Hosting per additional sites.
– SSL secure site certificates
So, In the course, the coaches always tell you that don’t skimp on hosting costs and that hosting is important and all that sermon… but I didn’t catch this importance, I just thought “what is so complicated about it I just need a website right?”.
So I started to see for recommended sites like Bluehost or Hostgator, but they seem to be very expensive for me and also I noticed that they have a lot of features not included and that you have to pay for them “inside” like privacy, or extra sites, or extra space, or extra emails, or etc.
Oh, but before this quest, I had to mention I was already made my first mistake with a blog that I had started a few months ago (without knowing anything about hostings neither taken the course, etc) and that mistake was:
Mistake #1 Start a Website with WordPress.com
A few years ago I had a blog there and since everybody talks so well about WordPress I thought “Let’s go with the masters” and start a serious blog with them. What I didn’t know was that wordpress.com is not the real WordPress and that they only use the name to attract victims, sorry clients, but they only give you a limited version of the real WordPress, and they charge for everything… want to use plugins?
Use the pro service which is like 250 dollars, wanna have an email? they are associated with GSuite to do that and charge for every email you create an annual fee of 64 dlls, want a Pro theme? an extra fee, want a dedicated domain? extra fee… extra fee, extra fee, extra fee…
But I have to say that to have your domain with them is not a bad idea (I will talk about the importance of having a recognized registrar later, but I want to mention that I think that wordpress.com is a good domain registrar and also they include the privacy (others seem to be cheaper but inside the privacy is an extra fee) and gives you the freedom to change name servers and have your hosting in another place which is very good.
MISTAKE #2 Do not Investigate before buying a Hosting
Having said that, let’s go back where I was learning more about the importance of blogging and hosting, and specifically, I was one day figuring out how expensive it would be to add a pro theme when… “oooh” (please play eureka Disney music behind this scene), just like the girl on the gif below I saw something on a website and said “oh this looks good, oooh very nice”, it was a hosting service that offers as 300+ pro themes included and they had announced they will have Elementor Pro for free to their customers!
Also they have been on the market since 2010 (or they claim so) and offers a package to have 10 websites, 20GB, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, WordPress optimization, support 24/7, etc, all that for 9.99 per month, but I had the luck to find them connected in the live chat and the operator offers me a 30% discount to change the blog that I had in wordpress.com with them! (like 64 dollars for a year of hosting and an extra free year for my domain) what a deal!, and the support guy was very kind, he answered all my questions (I didn’t have a checklist so they were very few), he showed me all the tutorials they had and how easy would be to build my site with them, also how I was covered for all the features that a blogger needs, etc…
So I started to work there, they were super friendly at the beginning, they helped me to change my blog to the new host and also helped me to build a temporary site to make all the arrangements to have the new Pro theme… well everything like a honeymoon. Then when everything was set up, I started to focus on writing and marketing, Facebook, Pinterest, SEO, etc. But here comes the nightmare!
Like a month and a half, the service began to turn intermittent, sometimes at night the site was shut down, and then their support service took until 10 days to answer a ticket, even one time my site was shut down for 3 days because they didn’t answer and could be more days but I could solve the problem another way (with risk and no support but I did)… and lastly two things:
– I had a ticket about mobile-friendly issues and they just closed without response, then I opened again and they closed again the ticket.
– And then… One day I had a feeling about something wrong with this service and I even get up at 6 am to make backups (I use the plugin “All in One WP Migration” to do that) of my main two sites and when I finished I go to sleep a little more because, in fact, I couldn’t sleep all night with the concern when I turned on the computer again at 12 pm the site was ok but in my dashboard, there was a new message that said “Service no longer available” and it was impossible to enter my Cpanel… and I felt horrible I swear because if you’re a blogger you know how much time and effort we put in our projects.
After this everything became chaos, I made a Paypal dispute to get their attention, and Voilá they answered like flash (but inside they have been closing the client tickets) and started to fight with me, even they threaten me telling me they were going to report my domains as fraud or something like that.
I just have to say that many things came up to the light like:
– They said they were online since 2010 but they have changed their name and they now have a new domain with only one year old.
– They were not in the US completely because their invoices were made in El Salvador.
– I started to look for reviews and I was not alone, there were a lot of people thinking that they are going to disappear, people trying to get answers to their hosting problems, delays on support, etc.
MISTAKE #3 Don’t make backups
Fortunately, This was a mistake that I didn’t make because of that feeling that night, but I want to remark how important it is to have your own backups. For example, this company said they make backups every two weeks, others make backups every week or every three days or even daily… but what if there is a failure or like in this case a dispute with the service? you cannot rely on their backups.
Fortunately, thanks to the course “WP affiliate Suite” I learned how we can make a complete backup of our site by yourself if we use WordPress using a simple plugin called All in One WP Migration, believe me, it is very useful, it’s free, easy, just take like 3 minutes and if everything happens with that file and the same plugin you can reinstall your site completely.
I just have two recommendations about using this plugin All in One WP Migration:
– You will need a hosting that can give you more PHP upload size, it depends on the size of your site but for example, for the last blogs I needed 250MB, and not every hosting give you that, for example, I tried Siteground but they have only 128MB of PHP upload size and they refuse to give me more to install my site and I have to ask for cancelation and refund because they offer me to buy their services to install my site (see? extra fees), but what if I need to reinstall it again someday? I will have the same problem, so I passed with them and looked for hosting with more flexibility about that.
– And the second recommendation is that if you are going to use subdomains to redirect clients to affiliate links, prefer the pretty links plugin because All in One WP migration can rebuild all your links from this plugin, but it cannot do it with subdomains you made directly on the DNS of your hosting.
Check my Post “Ultimate Guide to Make Passive Income with Niche Blogging + Video Tutorials” and find how I get AHREFS for only 8 dollars per month to find my KW.
MISTAKE #4 Have a Domain with an unrecognized registrar
This is one of the most important lessons I learned because you can change your hosting if you don’t like it and rebuild your site in minutes with the plugin All in One Wp Migration, but if you have problems to recover or move your domain you’re in deep trouble!
For example, in my case, I had my first blog domain with wordpress.com but this second hosting service that I had said they could transfer it to them, and it seems they did it because all my hosting begins with my old domain. But when all the dispute began I could not change the name servers from the client area and they didn’t give an answer of why (just because they are evil hahaha), and even when I had backups and had found a new good hosting service my site was lost because they seem to have the control of my domain.
Then I looked at https://www.icann.org and look for the registrar and it results that it still was wordpress.com which was a very good new for me because they have a live chat and they allow me with no problem to change the name servers to point to my new hosting service which is cloudhosting5.com (you can click if you like my post, is an affiliate link from which I can make a little commission at no extra cost for you).
But with my second domain, I had uncertainty because they allow me to change the name servers so the site is up but they took away the privacy and wanted to charge more for it and also their bad reputation in client support made me think if they will be willing to give me the EPP code to take away the registration from them. And yeah, they didn’t want to give me the EPP codes but I fought for them making a complaint with Public Domain Registry, which is the final registrar… yeah, these guys were only resellers (many out there are like that), but you can see who is the final registrar of your domain in whois.com or making research on ICANN.
An after like 10 days of emails I won the complaint and could have my EPP codes and decided to have my domain with GoDaddy which is a very recognized site to have your domains with, also have an excellent support service, include basic privacy with all the domains, have a good discounted price for the first two years and also they have no problem to allow you to change the name servers of your domain to have your hosting in another place.
As a conclusion of this point, remember that you can change your hosting as much as you want but keep your domain with a good worldwide recognized registrar that can give you the certainty to build your work for many years.
MISTAKE #5 Don’t have a checklist to ask the provider
Do you remember that I tried Siteground and after seeing that they didn’t have enough PHP upload size for me I had to ask for a refund? (which they give me because they have a money-back warranty). Well, that’s because my last mistake was not having a checklist to check the features of their service on their website, make research, and also ask the service provider for details before making a purchase. So here you have 20 Points Hosting & Domain Checklist to have at a hand when you are deciding on a new hosting or domain service.
20 Point Hosting & Domain Checklist.
1. If you want to register a new domain: Are they recognized or are on icann.org?. ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and they are in charge of check the assignment of namespaces on the internet and they have a few resources that you can check to know first if your registrar is reliable:
– a. Descriptions and Contact Information for ICANN-Accredited Registrars
– b. Beginner’s Guide To Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses
– c. About Domain Names
2. Do they have a chat 24/7 and a telephone number?
3. Look for Reviews. This is something we omi and we just read the description of their features and services on their website but obviously, they are gonna talk always good, but what about review sites with real users? so just look for their name + Review to have an idea.
4. What interface do they use to manage your website? In my experience the CPanel is the most friendly interface because I saw other ones that were or too slow or too complicated, so be aware of that and what you prefer.
5. If you are in Affiliate marketing.. are they friendly with that? Do they understand this kind of business? Ask for that because some hosting can interpret your website as spammy or something like that and your business can be at risk only because they didn’t understand the dynamic of it.
6. Do they allow you to choose your location? This can be very important if you’re trying to target a specific market in the world, so to have your server located in that country can be an advantage for your business.
7. Do they have Privacy included? (avoid extra hidden costs)
8. Do they have enough PHP upload download range so you can set up any backup of your site anytime?
9. Do they have unlimited email addresses for your domain included?. For example, wordpress.com doesn’t and they charge like 60 dollars per email address per year… that’s a lot! because with CPanel with other domain companies you can create unlimited emails at no extra cost.
10. How many years do they have as registrars and hosting companies? It’s safer to choose an old dinosaur of the industry, especially for your domain registry. For example, the company I chose that has all those problems I told you about they claimed to have 10 years in the industry but after doing a little research I noticed they changed their name like two years ago… why? suspicious. (You can check how old is their domain in whois.com)
11. Do they have the technology to never pause your website? This is important because for SEO purposes Google takes into account if your site is always up. And for example, the hosting I left had interruptions at midnight almost every day, why? maintenance of servers or something like that, but that doesn’t have to happen, so ask the agent for this and do some research about if what they are telling you is true.
12. For WordPress: Do they have fully integrated with wordpress.org and they allow you to build your site with all their features?. This is special advice to avoid wordpress.com hosting which only gives you a limited version of the real wordpress.org.
13. Do they include a Good price to host several websites? or do you have to pay for every new website or domain you want to add?
14. Do they include the SSL certificates for your websites at no extra cost? This is very important because, for the reputation of your website you will need this certificate, especially if you have a shop where you receive payments online and some hosting doesn’t give you this… until you realize you need it and they charge huge extra fees.
15. Do they include professional templates or plugins for your WordPress site? This is not necessary but can be a plus. But if you need good looking premium themes to start for free you can look here: https://vestathemes.com/
16. How often do they make backups? If daily better. But remember, don’t rely all on this, I recommend to have your own backups.
17. Do they give you enough space to build your site? For this point, consider that “enough” is relative, you have to make accounts and have an idea of what you need, for example, the sites with text as the main content are very light, but if you need to upload videos then you will need more space. Also, consider if space is going to be divided between multiple sites that you build on the same hosting.
18. Do they change their costs through the years? This is important to ask because some companies give an offer just to hook you but in one year they are going to charge a much higher fee, so, don’t forget to ask for that.
19. If you’re migrating your site (and is not a WP site or you are not using WP Migration plugin). Do they give you support to migrate? do they charge extra fees for that? Do they offer free support to help you with that?
20. Consider having your domain with a recognized registrant and your hosting with another company that is more convenient. Normally the most recognized domain registrar also have the more expensive hosting or they limit the services so you have to pay extra fees, so make good research for your hosting (I recommend my new one cloudhosting5.com) but maintain your domain safe with a good registrar, remember that you can always change your name servers to a new hosting very easily but to change a domain from the claws of a bad registrar can be very hard.
Please take my experience to your advantage and take note of all I have said here so you can have a nice experience with your online blog or business. I hope that all information here has been useful for you, fortunately for me now everything is solved but I don’t desire this kind of problems to you, so as a final recommendation I would say that can be a good formula to have your domain with Godaddy and your hosting with cloudhosting5.com which matches all points from the checklist.
Thanks for reading, if you liked the post please share and comment.
PS. If you are on your journey to make money online product creation may be something you need to look at, check this free training webinar with one of the 1% top sellers in the world, John Thornhill, it can be what you need: https://stelaahau.com/ThonhillWebinar
This is a guest post from Stela Ahau if you would like to be considered for a guest post please contact me.