Internet Marketing 101: Website Hosting

Tuesday, February 26
This is a first in a series of Internet Marketing entries that, I hope, help you with your online businesses to make better choices. I plan to write more of these over time to eventually end up in an internet marketing how-to section of this site.

Ok class, here it is up front - I've got to tell you that I hate website hosting and hosting centers. Frankly it has been the bain of my online existence. Exasperating, frustrating, and downright mad, the website hosting world is a morass of insanity these days.

Costing anywhere from $1.99/month to hundreds of dollars a month, picking a hosting center can be a daunting quest. But, the good news is that I think we're reaching the end of this era soon.

So let me step back a bit to tell you my own experiences with hosting. I've currently used five different hosting centers since I started online. I've paid anywhere from about $6 to $20 a month depending on features. Over that time I've had system failures, outages, lost files, 85% uptime in one case, virtually no support, and slow page response.

Now I can't really say that everything has been negative. There have been moments of stability, support and good feelings. But, really not that often. And, so far in my book no one has stood out for me. And when I'm trying to make money online this is a huge impact!

What are the basic steps for hosting? Let's start with that. Let's say you've purchased a great new marketing package that consists of .php files and a MySQL database. Sounds simple, you're excited to run it - all you have to do is find hosting that supports this. Easy!!

Almost all hosting centers support PHP scripting, MySQL and a bunch of other utilities on their Linux servers. All you have to do is sign up with your credit card, create an account, use a utility to create your database instance, upload your files and launch! (Ok, easier said than done!)

Now comes the real trouble. The files you uploaded don't work, the database connection is failing and you're getting security setting issues for the file system. You try to contact support but they're offline - now what?

Top Hosting Problems

What is the problem here? Well, there are multiple reasons but the top ones, I think, are:

  1. Many hosting centers are not very good at managing many sites on single servers. I think that many don't even care for the price you are paying.
  2. A lot of these centers are fronts for a larger, offshore company that sells virtual centers. These are divied out to buyers to act as virtual hosting centers. (Funny story, I happened to use a center like this only to find another center that had copied the pages from the first one that still had the old company names and copyright dates.)
  3. Your price is mostly a direct reflection of the support you'll receive. Paying $3/month doesn't pay the salaries of a large support staff.

I could go on here but my point is this: if you are going to use a hosting center then I would suggest the following:
  1. Make sure the hosting center is located in your own country.
  2. Find a center that offers 24x7 support preferably by phone - but a quick response ticketing support system will work too.
  3. Try to talk to the sales people first - ask them about support, features, how many people work at the center, uptime - even ask them where they are located (do they work for the center directly?)
  4. Make every attempt to use a month by month plan rather than a 6 or 12 month plan if you need to back out. If it is bad - get out!!
  5. Use the internet for hosting reviews to see how other's experiences have been. Choose a center with a high rating.
  6. Choose a host that seems large, well established with an extensive infrastructure. This helps assure your site's uptime.
  7. Don't forget to check that your site supports your website files - php,, cold fusion, etc.
The good news that I refered to earlier is that this model is dying out. Small hosting centers will start to dissappear. The reason? The big guys are moving in and they're cheap; real cheap.

Amazon, Google, Yahoo, EBay and Microsoft are starting to see the value of a massive, shared, flexible infrastructure that can be extended to you, the user. Their own huge computing network can be partitioned in small chunks as virtual hosts allowing customers to deploy websites for pennies. Things like the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud is an example of what is coming. Even Blogger from Google is a kind of free host.

Get ready for the future, but for now - use my advice above. And, hopefully, you won't quite a jaded as I am with hosting.

Top 10 Mistakes of Internet Marketing

Sunday, February 24
Many of us have tried to learn how to make money online using all kinds of inputs: ebooks, forums, videos, audios, trial and error, etc. If you're like me you find yourself constantly second guessing or just being frustrated when you see an Internet Marketing guru use a new bag of tricks to make yet another five million dollars in days.

Recently I polled a list of internet marketers on what they felt were their biggest mistakes made in their own online careers. I seeded the question with my own mistakes with the intent to get a discussion started.

What was revealed was extremely interesting coming from many who are very experienced. I decided to collate the list and rank them in what I thought is the best order based on the number of responses I received.

So, here we go - enjoy the list, and, use this to power your own online business!

Top 10 Mistakes of Internet Marketing

1. No Autoresponder - I think almost everyone responded to this one. Not having an autoresponder means no email list to work with. No list means re-marketing for every new product or service. The gurus make the BIG bucks here because their lists are huge!

2. Product Pricing Too Low - If you have been following Frank Kern's latest endeavor you'll see this is one of his emphasized points. Many are afraid to see the price point high thinking you'll lose customers whereas the opposite may be true. The psychology may be that something expensive is valued whereas something cheap is not.

3. Not Using Your List - Much like #1 even if you have a list you may not be marketing to it. Your list is your lifeline according to most. Use it!

4. Too Many Projects at Once - Ah, the age old story. I'm completely a victim to this - losing focus on a single project to start another. Yes, it is good to have ideas but keep them on a pad of paper by your side and leave them for later! There was a lot of noise from everyone on this one.

5. Test Marketing Before Jumping In - Well, there isn't much more to say about this other than do your research and plan carefully.

6. Offers to Never Seen Products - Whatever you do, don't do this. You must either buy or barter the product you are going to sell. If it is bad you definitely want to stay away and keep your customers away as well.

7. No Affiliates for Your Product - One marketer responded that he estimates he lost over one million dollars just from this simple mistake. Use your affiliate network to help sell your own product - it is like an exponential web, that, if good will grow your income at a massive rate.

8. Bad Sales Copy - Borrow, beg or just pay for this unless you are a great copywriter. This can sink a great product faster than anything.

9. Knowing a Niche is Profitable - Again, much like #5 this mistake is very common. You're excited, build a site, promote only to find out that those hours and hours of work went to waste. Ouch!

10. Not Outsourcing Faster - This is truly the power of many vs. the power of one. Outsourcing means getting help to build your site using such services as or Amazon's Mechanical Turk. It is inexpensive and can accelerate your effort.

Some of the runners up were:

11. Bad Adwords Ads
12. Not Using Freebie Lists
13. Poor AdSense Testing

There you have it. If you can take away some of these lessons to use in your own work you should be better off and be able to make money online. Enjoy!

Time to watch the Oscars.