WordPress Customize

Blog Hosting & Creating Blog

Despite most people say about blogging – usually people say it is easy to build – it is entirely different from what you think. Unlike the facebook page or twitter page, it isn’t just about managing the content write-ups, but also management of hosting and e-mail relays, along with email messaging. Everything has to work together to create a seamless experience for the end users to be “HAPPY” and “SATISFIED”.

Blog Hosting is just another way of saying “website hosting”. But because blog has a specific purpose of educating the readers and writing contents (videos, articles, polls, research information, graphics), the content is more specific geared to non-commercial base. Blog hosting don’t have “buy-sell” or “account plugins” or “tracking tool” that most e-commerce companies do. If the blog hosting did, then I would been able to identify which page of my website a specific user left. That would be bit creepy, but that’s how Google Analytics does. (Following for the sake of marketing or user-behavior study is great, but it is bit creepy that someone knows what you are reading without telling them – “Hey, by the way, I am going to be tracking you from here to there”. Well, European websites now do that because they think the users have the right to know what happens to their data, which is smart, sensitive and down-right politically correct/justifiable.”

Website Hosting

In regards to the blog hosting, below are the top websites that are recommended.
I’ve carefully identified the websites so you can visit them and learn the various hosting services.

Siteground SiteGround Startup Plan $3.95/Monthly
Bluehost Bluehost Standard Shared Plan $4.95/Monthly
Inmotion Hosting Inmotion Hosting Power Plan $4.89/Monthly
A2 Hosting Logo A2 Hosting Premier Plan $3.99/Monthly
Site5 Site5 HostPro Plan $8.95/Monthly
Media Temple MediaTemple Grid Server Plan $20.00/Monthly
Dreamhost Dreamhost Standard Shared Plan $8.95/Monthly
Eleven2 Eleven2 S-200 Plan $8.00/Monthly
green-geeks-logo GreenGeeks Standard $3.96/Monthly
Arvixe Hosting Arvixe Hosting Personal Class Plan $4.00/Monthly
Hostgator HostGator Hatchling Plan $7.16/Monthly
GoDaddy GoDaddy Deluxe Plan $8.99/Monthly

GoDaddy and Host Gators are more appropriate for individuals who are professional level hosting because you have to configure and place them. If you are looking for easy-fast hosting for your blog, then I would probably recommend SiteGround or GreenGeeks. But of course, the best choice is for you to evaluate them based on your needs. You have to decided what is the best pricing and plan for your blog.

Hosting Speed 

Knowing the hosting speed is important because it helps understand which website provides the best service, in terms of sharing rapidly to your users and updating the website information. Below are the screenshots of the Load Impact, a website that monitors websites traffic and level of response rate.

SiteGround

SiteGround was one of our top performers, and is especially impressive considering the $3.95 price point for their StartUp hosting tier. It does have a limitation of one website at that price point, but considering the average response time was ~700ms all the way to 50 concurrent users with no real hiccups, SiteGround offers a great value.

Testing Server Location: Dallas, TX
SiteGround Server Location: Chicago, IL
Max Response Time: 1.79 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 669.9 milliseconds

SiteGround Hosting Performance Score

Click here to see the full report from Load Impact

Bluehost

Bluehost’s performance was lackluster. As traffic increased so did response time, almost following the same steep climb. Even at lower user counts the response time jumped around quite a bit, ranging anywhere from 1 to 3.5 seconds with only 10 active users. As Bluehost approached the 20 user mark load times skyrocketed to over 10 seconds. They did come back down, but performance was still highly inconsistent with huge variances from one second to the next.

Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
Bluehost Server Location: Provo, UT
Max Response Time: 10.64 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 915.53 milliseconds

Bluehost Hosting Performance Score

Click here to see the full Bluehost report from Load Impact

Eleven2

Eleven2 is likely the smallest hosting company that we tested on this list, although I don’t have the date to confirm that. That said, performance-wise they do pretty well as a shared hosting provider. With site load times of just under a second throughout the entire test, Eleven2 isn’t a leader, but they’re definitely no slouch. The $8 per month price is only available when you pre-pay for a year.

Testing Server Location: Dallas, TX
SiteGround Server Location: Wichita, KS
Max Response Time: 2.01 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 898.61 milliseconds

Eleven2 Hosting Performance Report

Click here to see the full report from Load Impact

Site5

As noted above, because of a DNS propagation issue we actually made a mistake with one of our tests so we ran Site5 through the gamut again, and again they did very well. While their minimum response time was higher than initially reported, their max response time was lower than we initially reported. Throughout the majority of the ten minute load testing, Site5’s server response time stayed steady at 750ms to 1 second with only a handful of deviations.

Testing Server Location: Portland, OR
Site5 Server Location: Atlanta, GA
Max Response Time: 1.95 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 704.41 milliseconds

Site5 Hosting Performance Score

Click here to see the full Site5 report from Load Impact (Updated)

Inmotion Hosting

Inmotion Hosting’s scores really took me by surprise. With one of the fastest minimum response times, and by far the fastest max response time, InMotion stayed right around 600ms for the entire test, which is really impressive. The graph looks to have more hills and valleys than most, but that’s because it stayed so close to the median response time for the entire test. The variance from highest response time to lowest response time is roughly 388ms, which is the best in the group.

Testing Server Location: Portland, OR
InMotion Hosting Server Location: Washington DC
Max Response Time: 836.78ms
Minimum Response Time: 478.42ms

Inmotion Hosting Performance Chart

Click here to see the full Inmotion Hosting report from Load Impact

MediaTemple

MediaTemple Grid Server is a bit pricier at $20 per month than the other hosts featured in this post, but technically it’s still considered a shared host which is why we included it. While not boasting the fastest load times, aside from a strange hiccup at the very beginning of the test, MediaTemple was rock solid all the way to scale. Variances were 2-300 milliseconds but load times generally stayed at almost exactly 1 second, regardless of the number of users.

Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
Media Temple Server Location: Los Angeles, CA
Max Response Time: 4.54 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 934.07 milliseconds

MediaTemple Hosting Performance Score

Click here to see the full MediaTemple report from Load Impact 

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting makes some pretty bold claims on their website, claiming 300% faster load times with WordPress. So do the results match the claim? A2 did pretty well overall, but definitely not 300% faster than the competition. Many of the hosts listed here which don’t even make claims to be WordPress hosts performed better. Their minimum load time of 455ms is definitely impressive, and it was only slightly higher than that when the test ended. Overall they had a strong showing.

Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
A2 Server Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Max Response Time: 1.12 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 455.17ms

A2 Hosting Performance Chart

Click here to see the full A2 Hosting report from Load Impact

HostGator

HostGator’s server performance looked a lot like a pattern you’d see from a healthy EKG, until it completely flatlined. The only problem is that for web performance, we don’t want to see a line with a a lot of ups and downs, flat lines are great unless they fall off the grid completely a la GoDaddy. While HostGator returned the fastest response time of any host, it’s a little misleading because the server had essentially quit at that point and then stopped responding completely.

Testing Server Location: Portland, OR
HostGator Server Location: Charlotte, NC
Max Response Time: 10.16 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 258.07 milliseconds

HostGator Performance Score

Click here to see the full HostGator report from Load Impact

Arvixe

Arvixe has been in the hosting business for quite a while servicing other open source communities like Joomla and Drupal, and have just started shifting their efforts to the WordPress space in the last year or so. Their results here are respectable. They aren’t blow your mind fast, but they do seem solid all the way up to the 50 concurrent user mark. They had one small spike, but it recovered very quickly and the server finished the test in heroic fashion.

Testing Server Location: Palo Alto, CA
Arvixe Server Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Max Response Time 2.93 seconds
Minimum Response Time 1.06 seconds

arvixe-hosting-web

Click here to see the full Arvixe report from Load Impact

Dreamhost

While at a first Glance Dreamhost’s results may seem inconsistent, you’ll notice that there are more bumps in the road because the extremes are much more controlled. So variances in a handful of milliseconds show up as jumps in the graph. Overall Dreamhost was solid from beginning to end. It didn’t report the lowest lows, but it also kept things in check as traffic increased, without having massive jumps in response times. Dreamhost had a strong showing.

Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
Dreamhost Server Location: Los Angeles, CA
Max Response Time: 3.74 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 621.87 milliseconds

dreamhost-hosting-web

Click here to see the full Dreamhost report from Load Impact

GreenGeeks Hosting

GreenGeeks didn’t do badly at all in the performance testing. After a big initial spike in response time, the server settled down and returned the sub one second response times that we like to see. There was a bit more variance throughout the test than we normally like to see, but nothing that would indicate any type of major issue. For the most part things were pretty solid.

Testing Sever Location: Chicago, IL
Green Geeks Server Location: Dallas, TX
Max Response Time: 4.7 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 571.33 ms

Green Geeks Hosting Web

Click here to see the full Green Geeks report from Load Impact

GoDaddy

GoDaddy surprised me in more ways than one. GoDaddy started at a blazing 483 ms response time, but once traffic hit 25 users, it essentially fell off the face of the earth. The report lists times of above 4 minutes, and that may be true, but it almost looks like the server became completely unresponsive or started rejecting connections. The load test reported a number of failed attempts to connect to the server. While GoDaddy shined at lower traffic levels, it fell apart completely as traffic passed the 25 user mark.

Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA

GoDaddy Server Location: Phoenix, AZ
Max Response Time: 4.1 minutes
Minimum Response Time: 483.08 milliseconds

GoDaddy Hosting Performance Score

Click here to see the full GoDaddy report from Load Impact

Creating Blog

The subject of creating blog has been previously mentioned, but this is for the specific details on WP blogging and its features:

1. Widgets

One of the most annoying things with wordpress blogging is understanding the importance of widgets. These are plugins custom to wordpress and depending on which widgets you put in, your website appearances and even followers growth can be impacted. So you want to specifically learn about widget usage and test them about if you are creating a wordpress blog.

You can check this image below to see how many widgets are available. From latest posts, keywords cloud tags, email sign-ups and other features, the list is bit long. You don’t really have to know all of them, but you want to know at least 20 of them. (Sorry about the white listing in the middle. But you get the idea of widgets.)

WP-widgets

2. Website Layers 

I previously have built few wordpress websites to understand how different free web theme templates have helped reach audience. But depending on the level of sophistication, you want to invest some money into buying a premium template. I am not saying that free templates are bad, but they do have some limitations. For instance, Hepatitis blog has been utilizes to its best capability, but it still looks like in early 2000 website image, and bit clunky. It does have +1500 followers due to the high level of content and relevant information, it still needs upgrade if it wants more users for the long run.

Fight Hepatitis B - BLog

3. Social Media Connections

This is probably obvious, but wordpress is still limited in its social share capability within its widget feature. It does have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and few others. Make sure you have this connection set-up so people can like your facebook, blog and twitter. More growth and steady messaging to your users are important part of building trust between you and your readers.

4. Building Your Blog Appearances

WordPress Customize

Within WordPress, specific feature called “Customize your website” is available. If you click on this feature, you will be able to see above image with right side (your website image), and left side (feature tabs).

Site Tags & Tagline helps you write the title. For StartupsGrid, it is “How to Become Top CMO”, and the tagline is “Sharing Actionable & Smart Resources for Marketing Professionals”.

The color and configuration, they will change the background color and the top tab (search bar or menu) color. Color can be customized to preset palettes, or you can up load your background image pattern.

The fonts, you have about 20 different texts from Adobe Typekit. You can buy more text types, but the basic feature is comprehensive for any beginners.

Header image, you can add in several headers image, but make sure the sizes are of 1112 x 300 pixels. Otherwise, WordPress will not accept the image, or it will automatically shrink the header image. Have at least 2-3 to rotate your header images. You don’t want to bored your reads with same texts again and again.

Navigation. At first, you might get confused as what this is. It is basically asking how to structure your menu, and what type of menu you want them to appear on the top and below.

CSS. If you don’t know what CSS is or never heard of it, please don’t mess with this. It will give you more head-aches. I didn’t even bother with CSS because you can pretty much creating really crazy stuff just doing CSS. Not to mention you can create batman logo moving image with just CSS – Cascading Style Shit. Opps. I meant, Cascading Style Sheet. So I wouldn’t advise touching this unless you are skilled front-web designer or programmer.

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