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Reasons Why WordPress Cloud Hosting is a Great Idea

As The World According to Mitch grows in popularity, I get a lot of questions from people about the tools and platform that I use.  So when I was asked by Richard Myers if he could write a guest post about the platform I have been using for the past two years I was glad to accept.  I hope you enjoy his article! –MDG

clip_image002You will find that WordPress hosting is much like many other types of hosting companies that are available for various types of websites. Whether your site is a blog website, or a business website, or designed for advertising products, you will simply enjoy the benefits that come with WordPress hosting.

Getting started with your website

Setting up a new webpage can be quite the challenge because there are many things that you have to have in order so that you can successfully build the website. Being organized and knowing what you are doing is key to having a great webpage. However, no matter how much you organize, you will still find that you are in need of a server in order to properly run your website. Particularly if you are someone that is new at using WordPress or building your website, it might take you some time to learn more about how you are to go about setting your website up. It will all be worth it in the end though once you finally know what you are doing.

There are many options that you can choose from when it comes to choosing the right type of WordPress host that you want.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Within the benefits of hosting your site, you have the advantage of receiving managed hosting needs if you choose too. To have your website managed you will be doing a great thing because of the quality features that come along with it. There are simply so many different benefits that come with managed hosting for your WordPress site.

Web hosting companies

clip_image008After reading more about what benefits you can acquire with cloud, it’s about time that you start searching the internet for the right hosting companies to assist you with the needs that you have for your website. The good thing about hosting is that there seems to be endless companies for website owners to choose from. The downside about having so many options to choose from is that you most likely won’t know where to begin in your search. With that being said, one of the first things that you will need to do is make certain that you choose a web hosting company that will support the needs that you have for a cloud host.

Let’s take a further look at some of the different plans that are available. Since cloud offers multiple plans, you can easily choose the right one that you will suit your website needs.

Individual

Individual plans are typically going to be the ones that are the cheapest. You can easily afford an individual plan, and only pay a few dollars per month just to have your website hosted. It’s a great package deal to choose if you are only looking for the minimum support for your website. However, there will be some limits that you will have to keep in mind before choosing this plan. For instance you only get so much bandwidth and limited storage, so you will need to make sure that what you are getting is what you will need.

Dedicated

The dedicated hosting plan is another option that is available for you to choose from. Generally this option is the one that will be the most expensive, because it offers the max amount of features, including unlimited storage space and lots of bandwidth, because this option is for online websites that are very busy with traffic and have lots of product that they advertise/sell. The dedicated server is also one that is more customized to what the website owners want since they are spending more money.

Knowing which plan is good for you

Another thing that makes WordPress hosting for cloud such a great idea is that you can make a decision on which plan you want according to a few factors. By going through with these factors you can easily make up your mind on which plan you want.

Price

As they say, you get what you pay for. This saying is true when it comes to choosing the right cloud server host for your website. So you will pay more money for more features, but you also have the option to start out with the minimum if you are building small web business.

Reviews

The reviews that people leave about certain hosting websites will give you a heads up on what to expect and they will help you to make a better decision about which host company and plan would be better for you. Overall good reviews on a site should help you to see that the company is well trusted and has a good standing reputation with the majority of people.

One tip would be to try to steer clear of companies that have very few to no reviews at all on their hosting sites because this tells you that they are not well established, or possibly they are not yet a trusted company. There are many companies that you read up on to learn about the benefits and factors of hosting. Just do a Google search.

Personal Blog entries

So many people nowadays are using WordPress that you can look across the web for blogs and entries about their latest experiences with WordPress. WordPress servers are all great, but there can be some issues that people will mention in their blogs, or they just might have opinions about how something about the platform is working or not working and they want to be able to let other users know to perhaps get tips, etc. So, people basically help each other out by reading the blogs and sharing the latest news on their personal experience with WordPress. You might even want to start your own WordPress blog to keep others informed.

Features

The features for hosting are plentiful and they are features that come in handy for any WordPress website. Read more about some of these features below.

Mobile

Many of the latest WordPress themes have been upgraded so that they are compatible with various mobile phones and other gadgets, such as tablets, iPods, etc.

Plugins

clip_image006WordPress plugins are quite useful as well. Users are able to use various functions that will enable them to customize different plugin settings. Some of the features for the plugins include:

  • SEO
  • Navigation bars
  • Widgets

These are just to mention a select few of the useful features that are available within the plug-ins. The plug-ins on many of the themes are updated on a regular basis as needed.

Themes

You can choose from various WordPress themes which will allow you to personalize and customize the way your website looks.

Author Bio: Richard Myers is an app developer, tech buff and an overall geek. Years of working with servers of all kinds has endowed him with the knowledge that he now likes sharing with anyone who needs his help.

SMB 150: Nominated again!

Mitch Garvis

Mitch Garvis (Photo credit: Jean-Luc David)

Mitch Garvis

The last 18 months have been incredible.  Last April I was awarded one of the SMB 150 (SMB 150- Thank you for your votes!).  I was thrilled, and just disappointed that I couldn’t attend the award dinner.

This year I found out early that I was nominated again, and hope that you will take the time to vote for me again.  Last year you were allowed to vote for a candidate once per day, and I have no reason to think it would be different this year.  So I ask that you click on this link and then VOTE once every day, now through the day voting closes.

Thanks for your help… I hope I am still considered as influential this year as I was last year!

The Microsoft Store for Business… Ask Caden!

The Microsoft Store in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall is the hottest address for technology in the Greater Toronto Area.  People have been coming from all over to see what’s new, ranging from Windows 8 laptops, all-in-ones, Windows Phone 8 devices, and especially the new Microsoft Surface tablet, the hottest device on the market today.

Of course the store is a retail outlet, and as such is designed around the consumer.  To get a machine with the Microsoft Signature experience there is no other place to go.

So where do you go if you are a business owner, a consultant, a reseller who wants to buy these exclusive optimized devices for your company or customers?  Simple… ask for Caden!

Caden Forbes is the Business Development Specialist for the Microsoft Store in Toronto, and as such it is his job to connect with and sell into businesses.  He is, in essence, the B2B rep for the store.  That means that if you want to buy Surfaces, Windows Phones, or anything else for your business Caden is the man to see… and you can tell in the first seconds of your conversation that he loves his job, is great at it, and is easy to do business with.

It is often hard to find a man who knows his stuff, can communicate his message effectively, and is easy to deal with.  He almost always has a smile on his face and in his heart.  He has years of experience as a consultant that make him singularly suited as the best man for the job.

The entire staff at the Microsoft Store is second to none… they have been chosen well, trained thoroughly, and without a doubt work better as a team than any retail group I have ever met.  Like every great team they all serve their role; Caden may look like a linebacker but when you speak to him you will soon realize that he Is the business-to-business running back; when a member of the team realizes that a customer is asking business-related questions they will hand off to Caden, and Caden runs with it.  I expect him to win whatever the retail equivalent of the Heisman Trophy this year because he is absolutely one of the most effective players on the field.

If you haven’t been there already you should go down to the store and speak to one of the Product Advisors and, if you are a business owner, make sure they hand you off to Caden.

To be, or not to be: If you are IT it is not your decision!

I made what I thought was a reasonably innocuous statement in front of an audience a few months ago, and couldn’t believe the pushback I got.

Our job as the IT providers – whether as in-house providers or as contractors – is not to make decisions.  In fact, people are often amazed by how few decisions we have to make.

There was a chorus of objections from this group of high-level systems administrators who protested that they made decisions all of the time, with regard to licenses, solutions, whose hardware to buy, what password policies to implement, and so much more.  They wanted to assure me that they made important decisions all of the time that would affect the user experience of everyone in their organizations.

Wrong.

As a service provider, and I hope that by now we can all agree that in most organizations IT is indeed a service provider, it is not our job to make decisions, it is our job to implement the decisions of others.  Our job is not to be decision makers, it is to be trusted business advisors.  That is an important distinction that we can never forget.

We don’t tell our clients what they need to do; they know what they need to do.  We simply advise them how they can use different technologies to do it, and then they make the decision.  It is our job to let them know what tools we can make available to them to facilitate their jobs.

Electronic communications is a great example of this.  A few short years ago it was our job to tell our organizations that they could better communicate with their customers, suppliers, and everyone if they would start using e-mail.  Then we often had to make a business case for using our own domain name – mitch@swmi.ca – rather than a public cloud (although we didn’t call them that) free address such as mitch@hotmail.com.  Of course it usually made business sense, but we so often had to make the case anyways.  From there it was servers – should our mail servers be in-house, or should we rely on our ISP (or another third party) for that service.  I even remember having to convince one boss that his e-mail address should be printed on his business card.

In the entire process above, I didn’t make a single decision.  I made recommendations, but it was the boss, the board, the committee that made the decisions.

So when this decision was made – our company will host our own mail servers – at least I could make the decision as to what mail servers to buy, right?

Wrong.

If I was an honest and trusted business advisor I would research what was available, cost out different solutions weighing in such factors as cost, reliability, features, and ease of use.  I would then present a number of options to the board (often at this point an IT Committee), and they would make the ultimate decision.  Again, I would make my recommendations, but the decisions were someone else’s.

Fast forward to 2012, the world is moving into the cloud.  Private Cloud or Public Cloud?  Whose solution?  I present my customers with recommendations.  I make my recommendations based on several factors, including operational expenses versus capital expenses, bandwidth requirements, service level agreements (SLAs), and so many other factors. Most of the time, because of my reputation as a trusted business advisor, my clients (and students) follow my advice.  However in the end they are free to make their own decisions.

I was in an interview with a potential client recently who came to me because they need to replace their current service provider, and we sat down for a great conversation.  Near the end of the chat he said to me:

Mitch, you obviously have the requisite skills and staff to do what we need, and I hope we can continue to work together going forward.  But you have a lot of very strong opinions.  What would you do if we disagree?  You tell me we should do <A>, I say that I want to do <B>.  What do you do then?

It was an almost obvious question that I had never been asked before.  I told him honestly ‘Mark, if we disagree on what to do then I am going to do my best to convince you that I am right.  I will make every proposal and reasonable argument, and will do everything I can to sway you to my side.  If I cannot do that, then the simple answer is that you are paying the bills, and that makes the decision yours.  In almost every case I will do what you ask me to do, because they are your servers and your infrastructure.’

Wait a minute… you said ‘almost’? Why the qualifier?

‘Very simple.  If you ask me to do something that will compromise the security of your organization’s systems then you will have to ask someone else to do it.  I compromise on everything else, but not on security.’

That, really, is the only major decision we can make… the decision to walk away when our customer (or boss) won’t take our advice.  Sure, others can delegate the details to us – what version of what server to use on what hardware – but the real decisions belong to others.

While this may be (to some) a bruise to our egos, the reality is we should be relieved; we have enough as IT administrators on us without having to shoulder the burden of those major decisions.  We are responsible for so much – and seldom get the credit we deserve for the jobs we do.  We are responsible not only for keeping our systems working, but also for giving the people who do make the decisions the best advice and suggestions.

Let someone else make the decisions Smile

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