Web Design

December 11, 2017

Top 3 Hosting Providers For WordPress in 2018

When deciding on which hosting provider to choose for your new WordPress website, there’s a good chance you will become overwhelmed with how many options are available. Finding the perfect marriage between price, performance, reliability, and support is everyone’s ultimate goal, but with all of the “promotions” and “guarantees” that a lot of these service providers push onto their customers, it can be a real headache.

Luckily, I’ve been been building WordPress websites for many years and have dealt with my share of really good hosting providers as well as some I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy. In an effort to make your life easier, I am going to highlight the top 3 hosting providers I have used and break them down into 3 tiers:

  • Tier 1 = Basic WordPress usage (Personal blog)
  • Tier 2 = Full-scale WordPress buildout (Website)
  • Tier 3 = Selling products or driving over 25,000 monthly unique visitors to your website (Ecommerce, large organization, etc.)

Now that we have some context, let’s find the perfect host to fit the needs of your personal brand or business.

Tier 1 – GoDaddy

hosting providers godaddy

GoDaddy has been around a very long time and is typically one of the first names that come to mind when talking about what is needed to build a new website. There’s a really good chance that most of you reading this right now have used GoDaddy at least once to purchase a domain or check if a domain you might want to buy is available.

GoDaddy is tailormade for beginners and people who are looking save a few dollars without completely sacrificing the quality of service they are receiving. They make it very easy by taking you through a guided, step-by-step process of setting up WordPress Managed Hosting that is even easier if you already have your domain purchased within your GoDaddy account.

The two main drawbacks of GoDaddy compared to the next two services are its overall performance and customer support. If you’re planning on making your website load as fast as possible (which is one of the most crucial SEO best practices), GoDaddy, especially on the lower-priced options, will not get the job done. I’m not saying your site will take forever to load, but depending on the amount of content and plugins you are using, the likelihood of underreporting in the speed area is significantly higher than with other platforms.

When it comes to customer support, you are better off trying to use the help forums and Google before attempting to contact GoDaddy as a last ditched effort. The live chat feature is spotty, only being on at certain intervals throughout the day, and seemingly never when you need it. If you aren’t a millennial and actually prefer picking up the phone and talking to a support agent, you better make sure you have some reading materials handy, or use the time to go grocery shopping, because the wait times can be excruciatingly long, again depending on the time and day you are calling.

In the end, for its few downsides, GoDaddy is an option I recommend for newbies at the web design game and for those on a really tight budget. Pricing starts as low as $3.99/month.

Overall Grade = B

Tier 2Dreamhost

hosting providers dreamhost

Dreamhost is the sweet spot that a good portion of your websites will fall right into. We here at Momentum Digital use Dreamhost for our own website and all of our local service industry clients. Using its proprietary WordPress installer, Dreampress, you are able to follow a similar process to that of GoDaddy in that it takes you through a guided setup of your hosting account.

Live chat support is available 24/7, meaning you will always have access to a professional agent whether you need help at 3 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning. Moreover, the support staff is always friendly and more than happy to answer all of your questions. Unlike with GoDaddy, Dreamhost support will actually take it a step further and make some changes for you if you’re uncomfortable changing the settings yourself.

Perhaps one of the best and often overlooked features of Dreamhost is that all Dreampress installs come with a free SSL encryption. Not only does this green validation in the URL give your website visitors more confidence in browsing your site, but Google also gives you credit in search rankings for protecting your website.

The problem you might run into is if your domain was purchased elsewhere, you won’t be able to directly link it with your new host install without taking a few extra steps. You can read more about this process here, or simply contact support and they will be more than happy to guide you through the installation.

For those of you interested, you can watch this short video on how to setup your Dreamhost account and properly link your new hosting service to your domain. Pricing starts at $19.95/month.

Overall Grade = A-

Tier 3WP Engine

hosting providers wpengine

WP Engine is the premier and industry leading service for hosting WordPress websites. It has everything you need: high performance, great customer service, easy to follow documentation, and the ability to meet whatever hosting requirements you are looking for.

If you have an Ecommerce website where people can buy products directly from your website, this is the service you should go with. Its capabilities are unmatched and you will be hardpressed to find a comparable mixture of support and speed.

In addition to 24/7/365 day support, WP Engine makes sure that your hosting is properly configured for your business with real-time security sweeps, free SSL Encryptions, a proprietary caching technology to enhance page speed even more, and a global CDN.

Never again will you have to worry about your WordPress website being compatible with new updates, or stressing over high amounts of usage causing your site to slow down or even go offline for a short period of time.

WP Engine’s pricing starts at $29/mo, and they offer a 60-day, risk-free trial so that you can try it out for yourself with no long term obligations!

Overall Grade = A

Remember, choosing a hosting provider should not be as simple as going with the one you have heard of on TV. Having all of the facts and information about what each one can do, as well as knowing the overall goals and vision of your website, will put you in the best possible position to succeed and not run into problems down the road. If you have any questions about any of the three hosting services above, or if you would like a recommendation or review on another service such as Siteground or Hostgator, feel free to contact me at [email protected].

See you all next time!

October 13, 2017

The Anatomy of a Perfectly Designed Landing Page That Converts

The first thing business owners or marketers should do when reviewing their digital presence is making sure their website (landing page) is in the best position to convert traffic into leads and leads into paying customers.

The first thing business owners or marketers should do when reviewing their digital presence is making sure their website (landing page) is in the best position to convert traffic into leads and leads into paying customers. What’s the main purpose of a website? If you’re creating a website just because you know your competitors have one and you want to match their efforts, you are already severely behind the eight ball. A website is meant to inform, educate, and most importantly, provoke action.

What’s the main purpose of a website? If you’re creating a website just because you know your competitors have one and you want to match their efforts, you are already severely behind the eight ball. A website is meant to inform, educate, and most importantly, provoke action.

Having a fully-built out website is great, and much needed for the purposes of SEO and showcasing all of your products, services, and business information. But when you’re driving traffic to your website, through paid ads in particular, chances are these people are only going to see ONE page. And if this one page (or, LANDING PAGE), isn’t optimized for conversions, you might as well be throwing your money out the window.

Feeling overwhelmed? Not to worry; all you need to do is follow this 10-Step process to ensure your landing page is performing at its peak potential. Let’s get into it!

#1: Match Your Brand/Theme

You may have heard the term “brand consistency” before, but have you really thought about why it’s important? For the people who have seen your company’s logo, tagline, or content before, they expect a certain “look and feel” attached to your company, and if they even have a thought of confusion or mistrust, you most likely have already lost them as a customer.

For example, if you are posting to Instagram and only using graphics with black and red, and then all of a sudden you use blue and green as CTA and button colors on your landing page, your brand name won’t be triggered in people’s’ minds and they will leave your page.

If your website visitors haven’t seen your brand before, keeping things consistent on the page is your main focus. You don’t want to mix and match button colors (max of 2, recommended is 1) or alternate font styles and sizes. Keeping your content consistent is key to marketing across all channels, and on your landing page in particular.

#2 Modern Design

Whether you’re on a first date, at a business meeting, or visiting a new website, first impressions are everything. A person or company can “WOW” you 99/100, but if the 1 time they didn’t with an outdated website that isn’t mobile responsive and looked like it belonged in a time-machine was the first time, the next 99 impressions won’t really matter (or exist).

Even the least tech-savvy individuals can spot a website belonging in 1999 a mile away. What would you think if you went to Amazon.com to purchase a pair of boots and this is what you saw?

landing page bad example

Would you be more or less inclined to make a purchase? If you answered less inclined, you would be with the vast majority of people who would think that this company is either out of business or is not going to give you the shopping experience you expect in today’s day and age.

Mobile responsiveness is the other huge factor to consider. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, Google and other search engines will severely punish you in search rankings, and you won’t show up anywhere for the keywords you would like to rank for. Since over 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices, you need to be in a position to capture this rapidly-growing audience. People will leave your site instantly if they have to scroll from side to side and zoom out to view your site on their phones, and conversions will be virtually non-existent.

#3 Relevance to traffic sources

Google Adwords has a metric called “Quality Score” which determines the cohesiveness between the keywords being used in your ads and the content on the landing page you are driving traffic to for said ad. Your Quality Score is ranked on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the best. The reason Quality Score is so important to be aware of is because Google determines how often to show your ad based on this number and will potentially lower your cost per click if your score is high. You want to make sure that your landing page written copy strongly correlates to the traffic you are sending.

For Facebook, email, and any other type of traffic referral sources, you want to ensure that the offer you are promoting is the same and expanded upon once the user reaches your landing page. We’ll talk about how to make an appealing offer a little later on, but for now, it’s crucial that your offer is easily visible, understandable, and contains all of the necessary details for a customer to make a purchase or take some sort of action without having any doubt of what they are signing up for.

#4 Clarity

Being clear and concise while at the same time being as descriptive as possible should be a main goal of your landing page. This may seem contradictory, but if you’re able to achieve the combination, you will be set up for success.

Avoid vague, cliche statements such as “Solutions for Success” or “The Best of The Best.” These phrases elicit confusion, “What solutions?” and “Best of the best what?”

You want to keep your paragraph descriptors short, but packed full of keyword-related content. Make use of icons with text and lists to give you the flexibility to phrases in a way that looks clean without using complete sentences.

Add long-form copy below the fold. In simpler terms, if you have to write a long description about who you are, what you do, or what products or services you sell, make sure that this is written out underneath the content that shows up first when someone lands on your page, This copy will certainly help your Quality Score increase, and it will give you more leverage to show up in search results if you are trying to eventually rank your landing page,

#5 Compelling Headline

Your headline is what the eyes of the user will go to first. This is because the font-size will be larger than anything else on the page, possibly a different color, and most importantly, contains your most compelling reason for taking action on the landing page.

Once again, the clarity and enticement of your headline will be the difference between capturing attention and losing the potential customer completely.

Is your headline compelling enough that it doesn’t sound like it was pulled from a generic list of headlines? Think about how many websites you visit per day and subsequent attempts to capture your attention that are made. Writing a compelling headline starts with using industry-related buzzwords, including extremely relevant keywords, and finishing with a distinct Call-to-Action.

Example of Good Headline for Boots:

Dance Like A True Cowboy – Save 20% Today Only!

Example of Bad Headline for Boots:

We Have Amazing Boots!

#6 Visible and Noticeable Call-to-Actions (CTA)

Call-to-Actions are what gives a person the final nudge to take action on your landing page. CTA’s come in many variations such as a product showcase, click-to-call buttons, submitting a form, signing up for a newsletter, downloading a whitepaper, and much more.

In my opinion, if you ignored everything but one single thing in this entire post, this would be the one element to remember and implement. If you don’t have any CTA’s above the fold on desktop AND mobile, you will be wasting your time and money. People do not have an attention span, and when you finally capture someone’s view, you must make the most of it. If they have to scroll down the page in search of your form or phone number, this is when agitation sets in and they will immediately go to the next result on Google.

If you think this is “In-Your-Face Marketing”, it is, but it’s very much necessary in today’s competitive landscape. Everyone is constantly fighting for each other’s attention. It’s the marketers who figure out the secret sauce of turning that attention into action that will be the most successful.

#7 Offer Enticement

An offer, promotion, sale, deal, or value-add is what will drive interest from those who are either on the fence about taking action, as well as bringing in brand new customers who have never seen your products or services.

There a few types of offers that are extremely effective to promote and then reinforce on your landing page: Urgency Offers (must purchase within the next X hours), Exclusivity Offers (must be one of the first X people to take advantage of the offer), Contest Offers (enter email for a chance to win X or take $X off next order), Seasonal Offers (Black Friday or Christmas sales), etc.

There are many more types of offers that exist that I’m sure you’ve seen on some of your favorite websites. The key is finding what types of offers work best for your business, and making these offers front-and-center.

Promote the offers on all of your distribution networks, and make sure your landing page is in a position to close the deal once people get to it.

Don’t be afraid to get creative. Make use of interactive website plugins such as a countdown to the time when an Urgency Offer is set to expire.

#8 Visible Form

Forms are the quickest way to capture people’s information without forcing them to call you. When used properly, forms can be used to build email lists and lead funnels consisting of people who came to your landing page and took the time to fill in their information for you.

While many landing pages have forms to fill out, many of them aren’t optimized to collect the maximum number of leads possible.

The biggest problem with most forms is the amount of fields. It all goes back to that attention thing. Say you’re traveling and have a 10 minute Uber ride to your hotel. Would you be more inclined to fill out a form that asks for your Name, Email, and Phone Number, or a form asking for your Name, Email, Phone Number, Address, Company, Areas of Interest, Website URL, Referral Source? Obviously, all of that additional information in Form 2 will provide you with better data to input into your CRM system, but what good is all that data if you only get it for half the people that would have otherwise signed up through Form 1? Unless you have already nurtured your leads and they are further down the buying cycle, it’s much more efficient and effective to collect higher level info and put them through your sales process from there.

Another issue with forms is validation errors and spam, especially when dealing with open source website platforms like WordPress. Make sure when you are building the form that users must enter all the information that is marked mandatory before submitting the form. If you test the form and find out that someone can hit “Send” without typing anything, that must be addressed so you don’t inflate any conversion tracking that you are measuring. Also, there are plenty of anit-spam plugins you can install for free such as Honeypot for WordPress. Trust me when I say this will SAVE your inbox and also protect against hackers getting into your site and causing unimaginable problems.

#9 Authentic Testimonials

Testimonials are supposed to add immense social proof to your product or service offering. Have you ever gone to a website and wondered if John or Jane Doe was actually a real person, or just characters created by the company to make you believe people had amazing things to say about them? In many cases, it’s very difficult to tell, especially if it’s just words. This is why I always recommend video testimonials in addition to just the written blurb. It’s incredibly more difficult to fake a video of someone, especially if they can be traced back to their LinkedIn.

If you can’t get video testimonials, you need to make sure that you properly link out to all of the necessary information that will support the testimonial in addition to getting a picture of the person who wrote it. These links will include website, LinkedIn profile, and any other projects that you worked on with that client. If it’s an e-commerce customer, make sure that it states somewhere that he or she is a “Verified Purchaser”, and link out to other reviews made by that person (if possible).

If you are selling more than one product on your landing page, and don’t have reviews for each product, make sure to at least include the ratings for each product. Perception is everything, even if your sister or nephew is the only 5-star reviewer, that will make a huge difference.

#10 Supporting Imagery

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of the written copy on your landing page, but what about images that highlight your offers and make your page stand out from an aesthetics perspective? Choosing the right image can be daunting, especially if you don’t want to steal other people’s property (which I would never recommend doing).

Having original images that are unique to your business are definitely preferred. Not only does it make you stand out, but it also shows that you put in the effort to make your landing page look nice and gives an added sense of assurance to your potential customers.

I would also avoid using the generic stock images that you find on just about any website. We’ve all seen the business men and women sit around the table, pointing at a whiteboard, or family playing with their labrador retriever in the park. While these get the job done, you are essentially blending in with all of the other websites people visit all the time.

Your images should mean something, and they should also be customized to your offers. Using a tool such as Canva allows you to instantly become a semi-professional graphic designer in which you can add text over images, pick from thousands of pre-made templates, and gives you inspiration for creatives you’ve never even thought of.

Conclusion

Creating, optimizing, and distributing your landing pages can be stressful, but once you have a toolbox of best practices, you become much more dangerous to your competitors. Some of the best platforms to build landing pages are ClickFunnels, Unbounce, and WordPress. If you are reading this and would like a more in depth analysis of the best landing page platforms for different uses, please comment below or contact me at [email protected].

Landing pages are the holy grail of making money selling products or services online, and if you’re able to slowly master the art of persuasion in digital form, in addition to using this guide, you will soon be the king of your niche!

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My name is Kris Dellarciprete and I am a Digital Marketing Expert at Momentum Digital. I have been creating, optimizing, and consulting landing pages and conversion rate optimization for over 4 years. I pride myself in keeping up with the latest trends in the industry, and constantly invest my time into internal and external projects that further my development in the aforementioned areas.



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