Seasons Greetings From Host Geek

Seasons Greetings From Host Geek

The team at Host Geek would like to wish everyone a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

2014 has been an exciting year for us with the introduction of several new services including Hosted Exchange and WordPress Hosting.

Looking ahead to 2015

Next year we will continue to introduce new services to help Australian businesses succeed. In particular, we see podcasting continuing to be a strong trend in 2015. Podcasting allows businesses to provide useful audio content to their target audience in an extremely flexible format. We will be introducing a fantastic new podcast hosting service in 2015 to allow you to easily offer your listeners audio in podcast format. Watch this space!

Xmas Support Hours

We will be providing a skeleton support staff from Dec 23rd – Jan 5th. During this time we will still be offering Geektastic email ticket and phone support. However there may be a slightly longer response time for low priority issues. There will be no phone support on Dec 25th and Jan 1st.

Tell us what you think

We love hearing your feedback so feel free to contact us on 1300 722 504 or use our contact us page. It’s great to hear glowing testimonials but if you have some constructive criticism or even suggestions for new products then we’d also like to hear that.

From the entire team at Host Geek, we’d like to thank you for your loyal support in 2014. We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

4 Quick Google Analytics Tips

4 Quick Google Analytics Tips

For many small business owners Google Analytics either seems a too much effort for little reward. It can cartainly come across as daunting for some. But if you jump in and start testing out this handy analysis tool you’ll quickly get a feel for the basics. Before long, you’ll be measuring all sorts of metrics on your website and have a much better understanding of what works and what doesn’t on your site. To get you started, here are a few getting started tips when using Google Analytics.

1. Consider Different Timeframes
By default, Google Analytics displays statistics from the last 30 days which provides a good idea of how you’re tracking short term. It’s important to extend that timeframe out to 6 months, 1 year and even further to gauge longer term trends.

2. Don’t just analyse top level data
Google Analytics makes it possible for you to gain a real insight into how people behave when they’re on your website. You can easily view your homepage’s bounce rate and whether that rate is trending up or down over time. However, statistics can be deceiving. It’s crucial that you drill down into segments to get a better feel for what the data is telling you. For example, instead of just looking at overall bounce rate, drill down to determine the bounce rate by age or georgaphical location. Are there certain segments that are more likely to bounce from your page and if so, can you do something about it?

3. Understand your conversions

If you’re only measuring your website’s success on a metric like unique visitors you’re not getting the full picture. For most websites, it’s not the number of people who arrive on their website that is the big win, it’s the number of conversions. A conversion could be considered a newsletter signup, visiting a specified page, an eCommerce sale or any other action you specifically want your visitor to undertake. Using Google Analytics you can track your conversions by setting up a Goal and finding out how your customers behave.

4. Understand Technology

Consumer technology preferences are constantly on the move. There is a clear trend towards mobile devices whilst desktops are becoming less favoured. Choice of browser has also changed significantly over the last 5 years. It is important, however, that you have a good understanding of how your visitors are viewing your website. Is your target market a hip, younger crowd that embraces the lastest technology? Or perhaps an older demographic that is clinging to technology from the 90’s? By understanding your audience you can tailor your online content to meet the technological demands of your audience.

It’s time to get your hands dirty

Don’t be afraid to have a crack at Google Analytics. Yes, there is incredible depth to this analysis tool and it is powerful enough to provide extremely insightful data. But the beauty of Analytics is that is is also designed with the complete beginner in mind. Have a go next time you have a spare hour, you’ll probably gain some insight into your customer that’ll help you achieve your business goals.

10 Must Read Content Marketing Tips

10 Must Read Content Marketing Tips

Content Marketing isn’t a concept that’s new to the online world. However, in 2012 the interest in this topic began increasing exponentially.

 

A major driver of this interest has been the last few Google Algorithm updates. I won’t go into detail about what these changes were. In a nutshell, the changes have meant that websites can no longer solely rely on Search Engine Optimisation techniques to rank on page 1 in Google. Google now has a much greater focus on quality content. The onus is on the website owner to provide their visitors with relevant, interesting, useful, original, compelling content. By doing this, your content is likely to be shared on Social Platforms and linked to from other websites. The end result – you’ll not only drive a stream of traffic from external social pages and websites, you’ll also be likely to feature higher up on Google.

Content Marketing doesn’t need to be rocket science. Most businesses have their own area of expertise. The key is to find out what your website visitors need, what information do they lack, and what are their pain points? You’ll then match your expertise with the “content gaps” and provide information that’s needed.

The information created will include the keywords you want to rank on in Google, but thats a secondary consideration. Your main focus should be on providing something that’s useful.

Before you dive into producing your first blog, infographic or white paper, I’d like to suggest you take a look at this compilation of 10 content marketing tips. These could be the difference between your website achieving fantastic results or simply pounding out content for little result.

 

1. Do some stalking

Join a Facebook Group or two and see what your target customers are talking about, what questions they have, what are their frustrations?

2. Define Personas

Gather every piece of information you have on your existing and potential customers. Then create personas of your typical customer so that you have an acute understanding of who they are and what information they need.

3. Don’t be afraid to be controversial

When you write a blog or design an infographic, don’t be too formal and stuffy (unless your industry really expects this tone). Don’t be afraid to go against the herd and be different.

4. Get help

Can your staff share the load and create content for you? Perhaps you can ask customers to submit advice or photos using one of your products? Guest bloggers are another option to consider if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. Also, contact Host Geek on 1300 722 504 if you need professionals to take care of this project for you.

5. Review data

Take a look at your Google Analytics figures or the information from whatever analytics tool you use. Check out the most popular blog posts and create more content on this topic.

6. Create a style guide

Essential for effective branding and to keep your content looking professional. A style guide doesn’t have to be the size of “War and Peace”. It can be as simple as a page or two outlining what font types, font size, colours, image styles, logo sizes and any other information relating to the styles you use online. Once you have this sorted, stick to it and ensure all other contributors follow these guidelines too. To get started, here are some cool examples of styleguides.

7. Reuse Content

You can easily repackage the existing content you’ve published in another format. Why not use the information from a popular blog post to create an infographic or video.

8. Quality Counts

Don’t obsess with pumping out a blog a day if the quality is going to suffer. It’s better to put out one amazing piece of content each week than to produce 20 articles that don’t get read.

9. Create a Media Calendar

This is a great way to keep your posting consistent and it takes the guesswork out of what you’ll produce. You’ll also be able to align your content with your key business events to support the engagement process. Check out these Content Calendars to get you started.

10. Keep SEO in mind

Look for keywords that you’d like to be featuring higher up on Google and create your content based on these keywords.

Why Choose WordPress Hosting?

Why Choose WordPress Hosting?

We love WordPress because you can easily create a website, blog or eCommerce store and it is opensource which means you can get set up for minimal cost. WordPress utilises plugins which enable amazing flexibility and scalability. If you can imagine it, the chances are WordPress can do it!

But you probably already know this and may be considering building a WordPress website. Maybe you already have a WordPress website? The purpose of this page is to show why Host Geek’s WordPress Hosting is a much better option than standard hosting.

Why Choose a Specialised Hosting Plan from Host Geek?

Host Geek are the WordPress Hosting specialists! With one of our WordPress Hosting plans you’ll be set up and ready to start creating your new website in minutes. There’s no messing around installing software, configuring databases or anything else technical like that. The Geeks take care of it.

There are loads of benefits that come with WordPress Hosting:

FREE Domain Name on selected plans.
FREE Website Transfer from your old host (if you already have a website).
The geeks will optimise your servers to ensure a fast website and a happy user experience.
FREE ongoing WordPress Plugin updates.
FREE WordPress software updates to ensure your website is performing optimally.
Unbeatable customer support from geeks that will speak in your language.

About Our Update Service

Keeping your WordPress software up to date is extremely important for security and performance reasons. When you choose a WordPress Hosting plan we will update your WordPress software to ensure that your website utilises the latest stable version. We’ll also keep your Plugins updated for you! This will allow you to focus on your business instead of getting side-tracked by the geeky stuff.
If you already have a WordPress website, or you’re considering using this platform, why not give the Geeks a call now on 1300 722 504 to discuss these hosting plans.

12 Essential Considerations When Choosing a Website Host

12 Essential Considerations When Choosing a Website Host

Let’s face it, very few of us like to think about Website Hosting. It’s kind of boring and probably the last of your considerations when you’re busy starting a new website. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret… if I’d had the following list when I started my first website, I would have saved a lot of wasted time, headaches and money. So if you’re currently looking for a website host it’s your lucky day – grab yourself a coffee and keep reading!
To start with, here are two mistakes made by rookies. Avoid these like the plague.

Mistake #1 – “Myopia”

Don’t sign up for hosting based on your current websites needs with no consideration for the big picture. When you’re starting out, a low-cost overseas hosting plan may seem ideal until the website needs increase and the growing pains commence. Website owners can waste hours of precious time dealing with support teams and suffer from an under-performing website before finally moving to a more suitable host. Take a strategic approach and consider your future needs. What will your requirements be once your website is humming along in 5th gear?

Mistake #2 – “Price Warrior”

An over-zealous obsession with price will not be good for your websites health. Of course, price needs to be a consideration when choosing a web host; however, it should be part of a set of criteria, not the overriding focus.
Now let’s focus on what you should consider in your decision making process. It won’t take you long to run through all this list and in doing so, you’re much more likely to get a hosting partner that suits your long term needs right from the start.

#1 Investigate the website host’s servers
If your website visitors will predominantly be Australian, you’ll do well to use a host that has servers based in Australia. The key reason for this is a faster page load which both your visitors and the Search Engines love. If you’re technically minded, enquire about additional factors such as Data Center security, redundancy, and the quality of the infrastructure utilised.

#2 Review their support
The Support offering is a HUGE consideration. At some point, you’re going to need it. Some support teams will make your life easy, others will drive you to an early grave. For example, an IP block is a relatively common problem for website owners which blocks them from accessing their website. It will take an experienced support team member less than a minute to fix. Try to imagine the frustration when the support team is on the other side of the world and can’t be contacted because their office is closed due to time differences or public holidays.
You should also ask questions like, what are the support hours? How can support be contacted? What does the web host support and what is billable? Is the support team locally based? If a Support Policy is available it’s well worth reading.

#3 Investigate Hidden Costs
The advertised hosting price is often just a starting point. Additional services such as setup, backups, server management, spam protection, SSL Certificates, email accounts, addon domains, website transfers and even Customer Support may incur extra fees. Ask for a list of additional costs that may be incurred. Many a website owner has chosen a web host because it was $1 or $2/month cheaper, only to be stung with extra costs that far outweighed the initial saving.

#4 Consider your website requirements
Do you have a blog, CMS website, eCommerce store, forum, directory or perhaps an Application you need hosted? Ensure you ask the web host if they have experience hosting customers similar to you and even ask for testimonials.

#5 Check the hosting provider’s website
Does it look professional and are there signs that it’s been updated recently. Has their blog been neglected for the last 12 months? This is a sign that the web host may not run this operation full time or be giving the business the attention it deserves.

#6 Take a look at their Social Presence
Do they have social pages that are neglected with no updates for many months? Are there a lot of negative comments from existing customers?

#7 Check hosting plans
A big hosting plan with all the bells and whistles can cost big dollars – the last thing you need if you’re a startup business. You’re best to start with a simpler plan if you’re starting small. However, the chances are your website will grow so it’s crucial that your host has scalable plans that can grow as you do.

#8 Read their Uptime Service Level Agreement
This agreement will outline what percentage of time the web host guarantees to have your website active. It will usually provide details on what compensation is payable when these uptime guarantees are not met. A website that’s down can impact your business severely so don’t overlook this factor.

#9 Compare Pricing
You don’t want to pay more than you have to so make sure the host you are considering offers pricing in the ball park of it’s competitors. If it doesn’t, there may be a genuine reason such as a hosting plan that provides specialised services that the others don’t offer. Ask the question to find out why if the pricing seems much higher than the others.

#10 Determine the backup process
If you’ve ever lost your phone that isn’t backed up you’ll know the headaches that result from the lost contacts, photos, music and loads of other personal information. If you can imagine that on a much bigger scale, you’ll understand how frustrating it is losing your website. There are a variety of reasons you could lose your website, but a major contributor to website loss is hackers and viruses. It’s crucial that you have a backup of your website for this reason. Ensure that your website host provides full backup services on a regular basis to give yourself peace of mind.

#11 Be sure they can provide what you need
Every customer has different requirements regarding technologies and services. Will you require multiple databases, Linux or Windows, multiple websites, perhaps you’ll have large bandwidth requirements or need SSH Access? If you aren’t tech savvy, it’s best to check with your web developer (if you have one) to check if there are any special requirements your website may need. If you don’t have a developer, speak directly to the web host in layman terms about what you’re wanting to build and they should be able to advise whether their hosting plans are suitable for your needs.

#12 How long has the web host been operating?
The fact is, it’s quite easy to start a web hosting business by reselling another host’s plans. New providers pop up every day and many of these don’t last for a variety of reasons. Find out how long the host has been operating and avoid new startups to reduce the risk of being left with no hosting at all.

Don’t waste time and money on the wrong website host. Take some time at the start to run through the above considerations and you’ll have a much better shot at getting it right from the start. And most importantly, avoid the rookie mistakes of focusing entirely on price and failing to consider your websites long term requirements. Good luck with your website and call one of our support team on 1300 722 504 if you’d like to discuss your hosting requirements.

New ICANN Domain Name Verificartion Rules Now In Place

New ICANN Domain Name Verificartion Rules Now In Place

On June 27th 2013 ICANN released the latest version of its Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). There are some important new rules to be aware of that are about to kick in here in Australia. The rules affect all generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .COM, .COM.AU, .NET or .ORG as well as upcoming new gTLDs.

Domains will be disabled if you don’t verify them.

Starting in the coming weeks, you will receive an additional email with an activation link when any of the following occur:

  • you register a domain
  • you transfer existing domains
  • you change the registrant owner or email address on your contact information

If you don’t click on the activation link, your domain will be disabled after 15 days.

ICANN policies mandate that we must disable your domain if the verification time elapses and you haven’t clicked the email activation. If your email is in the spam folder or you are away on an extended holiday it will still be disabled. More specifically, your website will be replaced by a page displaying a verification error, along with instructions on how to fix it.

Double check your street address is correct.

In addition to validating your email address, an automated street checking process will check that your address is valid. So ensure you enter the correct details to avoid any issues.

What should I do now?

As soon as you are able, please ensure that your domain name is associated with a valid email address. The last thing we want is for you to make a change, then have your verification email sent to an old address.

If you have any questions regarding the new ICANN validation process please call 1300 722 504 or email support@hostgeek.com.au.