Considering a Managed WordPress Hosting?

Image sourced from Pagely’s official sales site – WhyPagely.

Peace of mind starts here – Pagely

Proudly placing itself above other hosting brands, Pagely – the premium WordPress hosting provider, promises great flexibility, scalability, and hosting solutions “engineered from the ground up for maximum uptime and durability”.

But, wonder what’s missing from the diagram? The price tags.

The cheapest plan at Pagely costs $199 a month – 600% more expesive than Kinsta and 6,700% more expensive than BlueHost entry price.

The diagram is not an apple-to-apple comparison by far.

WordPress Host? Managed WordPress Hosting… What?

A WordPress hosting simple means a web host that accommodate blogs (or sites) that are built with WordPress.

Technically, you can host a WordPress site on any server that support PHP 5.2.4 (or higher) and MySQL 5.0 (or higher).

A “Managed WordPress host” simply means hosting solutions with extra concierge service and extensive WP-specific features (more about how is Managed WordPress hosting different here).

Worth the Price?

It’s nice (and for many, a necessity) to have all the advanced hsoting features, expert tech supports, and ultra-fast servers – but they all come at a much higher price. Does your business need such sophisticated hosting infrastructure; or you are buying it simply because your web developer said so?

For those who are unsure – here’s my input for you.

Advantages of Managed WordPress Hosting

So what makes these high-priced managed WP hosting plans tick?

  • Faster Speeds – Due to the optimized nature of Managed WordPress hosts, you’re usually getting fantastic architecture to run WordPress sites off. To what extent depends on the host, but generally, this would be faster than regular shared hosting
  • Built-in WordPress tools – These range from all round tools such as JetPack to WordPress themes for you to use. They know you’re going to run WordPress and they provide for it.
  • WordPress-specific Support – Rather than rely on tech who are expected to know everything, Managed WordPress Hosts often hire WordPress experts for you. These specialists will know all the tips and tricks that can help you anytime, anywhere.
  • Automated Updates – Due to the modular nature of WordPress, you must update not only the core files, but also each plugin you run. Managed WordPress hosts can keep all of these up to date for you, reducing security risks.
  • Tools for Developers – Aside from pre-built tools, Managed WordPress hosting providers know that WordPress site owns often like to tinker. As such they will give you access to development tools and environments that you can play around with and not destroy your site in the process.

Disadvantages 

And what’s the downside?

  • Price – Almost unilaterally, Managed WordPress hosting is more expensive than standard low-cost shared hosting offerings. If you find a plan that’s the same price (or God forbid, cheaper) then you know you’re getting conned.
  • Only WordPress – You asked for WordPress and you get WordPress. Want to change your mind? Change your hosting provider or switch to an entirely different type of plan. That usually means site migration though.
  • Automated Updates – Yes, this can be a drawback too, if you opt for auto updates. There are times when developers (of WordPress or other plugins) make a boo-boo and release an update that is disastrous to its users. Your system will auto update. If you’re not around and don’t realize it, you can’t do anything.

So…

Personally I feel that Managed WordPress hosting generally offers at least some form of benefits, but it’s not meant for everyone. As I’ve listed above, consider your situation before looking towards Managed WordPress Hosting.

Note that, if you’re aiming to own a successful, large volume site. technical skills, server management should be part of your web skill set.

It’s not rocket science, there are literally hundreds of tutorial and forums to learn from and you have to playground to fool around in on the WWW. Ignoring the tech altogether is sheer laziness – and could cost you some day. With that, the decision is in your hands.

WordCamp Kuala Lumpur (WCKL) 2019

  • When? 1- 2 November 2019
  • Where? Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur
  • Who? Web developers, marketers, bloggers, business owners
  • Why? Learn and share your experience in WordPress, network with other relevant business people
  • Event details: https://2019.kualalumpur.wordcamp.org/

The conference sessions are divided into 2 tracks:

WCKL Track 1

  • Opening Remarks
  • Building the perfect service business website by Shaan Nicol
  • “Create one, publish everywhere” by Leonardo Losoviz
  • One coder agency – 3 steps framework for building one-man WP agency that lasts by Nathan Onn Yeap Chuen
  • Bagaimana membina landing page yang berimpak tinggi (BM) by Adlan Khalidi
  • Managing your online presence on Google search by Cherry Sireetorn Prommawin
  • WordPress CLI in depth by Sanjay Willie
  • Work, Travel and Join Global Community by Mayuko Moriyama
  • Secure Your WordPress website by Liew Cheon Fong
  • Demystify SEO and Google algorithm by Matthew Knighton

WCKL Track 2

  • Google Tag Manager untuk Markter (BM) by Amirul Nordin
  • The magic of headless WordPress and REST API by Hasin Hayder
  • Content strategy for lead generation and SEO by Ivan So
  • Getting more done in less time – WordPress automation using Ansible by Ivan Yordanov Ivanov
  • 10 tips utama untuk melajukan laman WordPress anda (BM) by Abdul Rahim Abdul Rani
  • Contributing the WP mobile apps by Cesar Targdguila
  • WordPress optimization by Ramon Sim
  • Expand your network: WordPress multisite by Ian Labao
  • Closing remarks

HostScore was one of the event sponsors – we setup a booth, gaveaway some merchandises, and meet people from 8am – 5pm, non-stop. All of us – Timothy, Jason, and I, have not talked so much in one day for a very long time. We were all exhausted by the end of the event.

Psssst, we are launching HostScore.net this month…

Having spent more than ten years researching and testing web hosting services, we felt the need for greater transparency in the market. HostScore was built with that in mind – a resource for the public which would monitor how web host servers perform and make that data readily available at no cost.

Being first of its kind in market (as far as I know), HostScore gives hosting consumers a new, data-driven way to evaluate and choose a web host.

We have been collecting data since July 2019 and the site went live early this month (September). I’d love you to go check out the site and let me know what you think.

Screenshot of HostScore homepage (Sep 20, 2019)

For transparency purposes, all HostScore algorithm is published here.

Curious to learn more? Find answers to frequent questions here.

Not Your Standard SEO Advice (1/7): Page Speed & Distracting Ads

Google guideline and Google representatives say valid HTML matters, page speed is a crucial ranking factors, and distracting ads are a sign of low quality sites.

Yet, this page has 20+ errors and 70+ warning in Chrome browser inspection, failed horribly in various speed tests, comes with multiple annoying pop-up / pop-under ads – and they rank in multiple position 0’s and ranked for thousands of highly competitive search terms.

Page ranks more than 5,000 keywords.
Search traffic valued at $98,430 according to AHREFS estimation.
Page speed test results at GT Metrix.

SEO guidelines by Google and gurus are only for your reference. They are basic knowledge that serves, at max, as your foundation and can only carry you to a certain distance.

The best SEO thing you can do FOR YOURSELF is to monitor SERPs closely and run your own experiments.

Google Webmaster Conference Kuala Lumpur 2019

This was a rare chance for people in Malaysia to get answers from a Googlers, face-to-face, instead of Google the Search Engine.

  • When? August 02, 2019.
  • Where? Aloft Kuala Lumpur Central.
  • Who? Googlers from the search team including Gary Illyes, Stacie Chan, Lucian Teo, Takeaki Kanaya, Duy Nguyen, Anna Ogawa, Cherry Sireetorn Prommawin, and Aldrich Christopher.
  • Why? It’s a conference for website owners, digital marketers, web developers, and SEO professionals.
  • Event details: https://events.withgoogle.com/wmckualalumpur/

Agenda

There were 9 talk sessions and 1 Q&A / panel discussion in the fully-packed 7 hours event. Titles and topics covered were:

  1. Keynotes / welcomes – by Lucian Teo
  2. How search works – by Cherry Sireetorn
  3. What’s new in search – by Gary Illyes
  4. Search console – by Gary Illyes
  5. Partnering with Google Search and Assistant – by Stacie Chan
  6. Image Search – by Gary Illyes
  7. Towards a safer web – by Aldrich Christopher & Takeaki Kanaya
  8. SEO mythbusting – by Gary Illyes
  9. Let’s talk about links by Duy Nguyen

Key Takeaways

Per Googler’s on-stage talks and guidance

  • eCommerce spending in Asean is estimated to hit US$250 billion by year 2025.
  • Content is king.
  • Businesses should focus on its core and worry less about SEO
  • Rankings are tailored to moment. Search engine crawl, index, and rank content in real time.
  • HTTPS is a must – make use of free SSL like Let’s Encrypt .
  • Link out to trustable resources – it helps Google understand the web better and your site rankings.
  • Any links that are obtained with exchange of money should be “nofollow”.
  • Google human raters will check and compare search results before an core update goes live.
  • Speed up your site.
  • Google is working with other relevant orgs to standardize robots.txt
  • New sites discovered by Google will fall under mobile first indexing.
  • Google now renders a web page when crawling a website – just like how users would see the page on browser.
  • Javascript should be used in moderation.
  • Fun story – Facebook used up Google storage capacity when the two tech giants team up to test out hreflang implementation.
  • Use “hreflang” to gain more localised traffic, but prepare to lose traffic if you take it off.
  • Businesses are encouraged to control their online presence by claiming their knowledge panel and creating content on Google Posts and Cameos.
  • Use schema markup to help Google understand your website better – including the new FAQ and How-to markup.
  • You can now markup your videos with spreadsheets.
  • Make use of Tenor.com, one of Google’s latest acquisitions, to improve your brand visibility.

Q&A (in private and during panel discussion)

  • How users interact with content affects how Google understand intent (in real time); how Google understand intent affect how they serve their results in real time.
  • First meaningful content paint is what matters the most to Google in measuring speed.
  • When a website roll back to single-language from a multilingual setup, it will retain its (bigger) crawl budget for short term, which allow new pages get discovered quicker. This elevated crawl budget would be reduced and normalised based on the website size eventually.

Personal Thoughts

Met my school mates – Sebastian and Chik, during the event.

In overall I think it’s a well-organised event.

  • Plenty to networking opportunities with other digital marketers and developers.
  • Plenty of good food – breakfast, lunch, and two tea breaks, to whack throughout the session.
  • Plenty of clear guidance and tips for newbies and local businesses.

A few attendants I met mentioned their disappointment with the depth of the topics. In overall they thought what covered on stage were too basic and lack of insights.

(Biasa-lah.. Of course the Googlers are not here to teach us how to SEO and manipulate their system.)

More

Free Original Logos

Tired of free crappy logos? Some time ago I worked with Chee Ching and made 50 super-beautiful logos.

I was suppose to build a newsletter chain with these logos but I never got time for the project. It would be a huge waste to keep these logos in my hard drive so I am giving out these original logos for free on BuildThis.

The logos are available in .PNG and .SVG format, you can download all of them here in one big zipped file > https://www.buildthis.io/free-logos/

No signup is needed – I am not collecting emails from this.

Promise me you make good use of them! :)

Speaking at WordPress Meetup (March 2019)

I had the opportunity to speak at one of the WordPress Meetups in Kuala Lumpur recently (thank you David). My session was about growing a blog. I shared my ideas in content and non-SEO marketing to ~70 attendants that afternoon.

Key Takeaways

Click here to download my deck.

To grow your blog, you need to produce the right content for your target audience consistently and promote your blog actively.

  • The Basics – Create evergreen content. Do onpage SEO right. Don’t overload your blog with ads. Be original. Don’t post irrelevant stuffs on your blog. etc etc
  • Generating Ideas – Gather and make use of data you can get from others, such as Quora, Patroen, YouTube, and competitors, to generate content ideas.
  • Growing without Google – Repurpose and distribute your content in different channels to build your brand and traffic. Network with other bloggers / brands / developers for win-win.

Digging in

For further readings and actions.

Personal Note

Public speaking is something I have no done for years (ever since I left Bridgestone). Thankfully there wasn’t many big screw-ups in my presentation (according to feed backs I got).

  • Freestyle feels easier (and probably better) – There was a moment in the beginning where I struggled to stick with my script and my mind just got shut off. Eventually I went freestyle and it worked out smoother.
  • I need practice – Obviously. Must get rid of the “uhhhm” “errr” and “ahhh” when presenting.
  • Speaking is fun and useful – The audience comes to you with their problems and questions – this helps me to understand people better and generate new ideas from speaking to them. Should / will definitely do more.

And by the way …

The Kuala Lumpur WordPress Meetup is for all WordPress users from new to experienced to get together and discuss all things WordPress.

Regardless of whether you use WordPress for business or pleasure, as a blogger, developer, or designer, our monthly meetups are sure to help you get the most out of this amazing open source software.

Just like WordPress, joining the group and attending our meetups is absolutely free!

To learn more and see where the folks are hosting the next meetup, check out https://www.meetup.com/Kuala-Lumpur-WordPress-Meetup/

Why are generic domains so expensive?

* Post updated on April 2020.

Another year and another list of the top selling domain names, showing once again why certain domain names are much more pricey (pricier?) than others. If you haven’t been keeping up with the domain name game, let me give you a little spoiler:

All the of the best selling domain names are all single-word, generic domain names.

Now, for most of you, that might not come as a surprise. But, I’m pretty sure there’s someone out there who’s thinking of buying their first domain name and are tempted to be as outlandish as possible.

Well, if you take a look at both 2018 and 2019 Top 100 Domain Names Sales (see table below), the big money is always going to be with simple, single-word domain names.

Single-word domain names like fund.com or toys.com were some of the biggest sales of all-times. The trend continued in 2018 with domain names such as ice.com and super.com at $3.5 million and $1.2 million respectively.

2019 Top 10 Domain Name Sales

DomainSold ForDate
Voice.com$30,000,000Jun 2019
California.com$3,000,000Jan 2019
EKO.com$1,500,000Oct 2019
TM.com$1,250,000Nov 2019
RX.com$1,000,000Jul 2019
OL.com$900,000Mar 2019
Links.com$798,000Jun 2019
Mastermind.com$600,000Dec 2019
Medidata.com$600,000May 2019
Carrot.com$565,000Oct 2019

2018 Top 10 Domain Names Sales

Domain Sold For Date
Ice.com$3,500,000Jul 2018
Super.com$1,200,000Mar 2018
Great.com$900,000Mar 2018
Files.com$750,000 Dec 2018
Liquid.com$750,000 Mar 2018
MK.com$700,000 Nov 2018
Christian.com$600,000 Aug 2018
Inception.com$550,000 Jul 2018
Online.casino$510,000 Jun 2018
FO.com$510,000Mar 2018

Again, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise as brands with single word names tend to be more popular (and sells better) than those with complicated names. Why? Because it’s just easier to remember and to market – which in turn bring extra value to businesses.

Businesses named over generic words

Just at the top of my head, here’s a list of some of the most popular single-word brand names: Apple, Windows, Grab, Ever, Business, Startups, Hunt, and Blogger.

I can go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

Bottom line, single-word domain names or brands will continue to grow in value over the years. I mean, just take a look at Facebook when Mark Zuckerberg decided to drop the “The”.

If you really have to send that canned email…

I know that you are busy.

We are ALL BUSY.

But I thought you should know there’s another human on the other end of line.

If you really have to send that canned email…

  • Can you please address my name?
  • Can you please edit your font style so it’s easier to read?
  • Can you please keep it short so I can know what you want in just one quick glance?

That’s the least respect you can give to my inbox space.

And the least you can do as an “outreach specialist” or “IT manager” or “professional blogger”.