InMotion Hosting

The Official InMotion Hosting Blog

Category Archives: News

Getting Schooled by 99U: Building a Successful Career & Business

99u_badge 

I was fortunate enough to fly out to New York City last month to attend the first ever 99U Pop-Up School held by Behance. Behance, which is huge in the design industry, is an online portfolio platform widely used by creative professionals. The purpose of the pop-up school was to enhance people’s skill sets and ideas for their personal or business development.

The event was broken up into 3 days; career development, entrepreneurship, and brand & digital strategy. The attendees consisted not only of designers, but of marketers and entrepreneurs as well. It was a great mix of people that all had the same values and passion, and they were either there to better themselves or impact their current or future companies.

99u_make

Not only did I get a chance to listen to many leaders from within the creative industry, as well as those who have become successful entrepreneurs, but I had an opportunity to interact with them. I joined round-table discussions with other people on topics such as how to launch your start-up. I got involved with mentor sessions and portfolio reviews with the people from Behance. And I watched their side stage where people in the audience would go up and practice building skills like pitching ideas to clients.

These were my biggest takeaways from the speakers of the event:

1. Self-awareness is the only sustainable competitive advantage. 

Scott Belsky starts off Day 1 of the Pop-Up School. Photo: mackme.com

Scott Belsky starts off Day 1 of the Pop-Up School. Photo: mackme.com

Scott Belsky, Co-Founder & Head of Behance, discussed some interesting points about competitive advantages by asking two questions: 1) what do you want to be good at? and 2) what are you willing to be bad at? If you’re focusing on being good at everything, you’re not focusing on anything. For example, he brought up how Southwest Airlines decided to re-evaluate and change their focuses, and as a result they chose the opposite values of their competitors. They chose to focus on service and price, and gave the amount of routes and free snacks the back seat. Southwest Airlines is now the world’s largest low-cost carrier. In the past with the computer industry, design wasn’t important and variety was optimal. But then Apple decided to sacrifice the variety of choices and amount of distribution, and focus on quality, design, and fewer options. By valuing the opposites of their competitors, Apple captured their market.

2. If you look out for the people around you, you’re a true leader and you’ll inevitably be successful.

Simon Sinuk, Author of “Start With Why” & Leadership Expert, said “We put a premium on people who give us their time vs. money, because you can’t get time back. Good leaders are the ones who give us their time and energy.” If you want to accomplish great things, such as a successful start-up business, great leadership is required of you. You have to be empathetic, inclusive, open-minded, and help the people around you reach their highest potential. If you do this from day one, your company will thrive with loyal, happy employees and A-players. And you have to know the ‘why’ of your company. Great leaders can inspire movements by knowing the ‘why’ of what they’re doing. What is your cause and what is your purpose, and it has nothing to do with making a profit.

3. Building an impressionable brand and personality starts with the founders.

The best companies that are innovative, remarkable, and memorable, are the ones that stand for something, which is what keeps people loyal to them. The companies that are crystal clear about who they are and are consistent with their beliefs attract people who trust them. And that sense of trust comes from sharing common beliefs. Simon talked about how every decision we make is a piece of communication and a symbol of who we are. You have to say and do the things that you actually believe. This is why authenticity is so important. It’s how trust is formed. And with trust, we’re more willing to take risks and experiment. Sincerity is vital to building a brand. Customers can recognize fakeness immediately and become hesitant when they do. That’s why it’s so important to build a strong relationship with your customers from the get-go. A solid fan base is what makes successful start-ups grow so fast. Simon also mentioned how companies focus too much on themselves and not about what they are willing to do for the people. People don’t gravitate towards companies with a list of things they offer or are. They gravitate towards companies that value the same things they do. They don’t buy what you sell. They buy what you believe. Apple was just a computer company, but then they started selling mp3 players and phones. Why do we buy an mp3 player or phone from a computer company? It’s because we believe what they believe.

4. You win people’s loyalty with the little things.

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian speaking at the Pop-Up School. Photo: mackme.com

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian speaking at the Pop-Up School. Photo: mackme.com

Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder of Reddit, said take advantage of opportunities on the most mundane parts of your website to surprise people, like the 404 page. Reddit lets users design these for them. People hit a low when they hit a 404 page, so take that opportunity to brighten their day instead. On Hipmunk, a travel website which is a sister company of Reddit, if people get the dates mixed up and enter for instance March 9 to March 5, the error message will say “We don’t yet support time travel.” Or if you search for a flight to Las Vegas on Hipmunk, it’ll say “Vegas, Baby!” Just that little bit of humor when people don’t expect it, catches them off guard and delights them. You make people feel like they’re a part of something bigger rather than just a website they type into their web browser. People are more drawn to things they feel a connection with. It’s human.

A web form building company called Wufoo built a strong connection with their customers the old-school way. Every Friday, everyone one in the Wufoo team, including the CEOs next to the interns and new hires, sits down and writes a hand-written note to its paying customers as a team building exercise. One customer took a photo of their note because they were so surprised by it and they uploaded it to Flickr. People want to share this stuff because it’s so novel and they can really appreciate it. A personal touch, like hand signing a letter at least, goes a long way. Be grateful and helpful without selling yourself. That’s how you build genuine relationships with people.

5. Not everything has to have a business objective.

Jonathan Perelman, VP of Agency Strategy of BuzzFeed, said we need to engage, bring value, be human, and give real storytelling. We don’t have to correlate everything with making money. You have to give before you can expect something in return. Create content that people want and will share, and that you are proud to share, because content which is essentially storytelling, is part of your identity. Be authentic. A product can be copied, but a story can’t be. Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder of Warby Parker, said, “If someone is copying you, they’re always going to be two steps behind.”

With all this in mind, you should be on the right track for a successful personal brand, a new start-up, or even a current business you’re looking to turn around. Remember your ultimate goal is to make your customers and the people you affect happy. So make everything about them, not about you.

Back to School

books

It’s back to school time!  Am I the only one who is excited?  I’m a giant nerd, so back to school time is a lot like Christmas to me.  I love wandering through the school supply section and buying things I just don’t need because I am not currently in classes.  (Don’t worry, that will be remedied soon).

What does back to school have to do with hosting?  Our Education Hosting Packages, of course!

http://www.inmotionhosting.com/edu/web-hosting-for-schools/

Educators and students alike can really benefit from hosting.  How, you say?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  I’ve detailed some of the best ways to use one of our hosting packages while in school.

  1.  You have to for class.  Let’s start right out the gate with the obvious.  More and more students are learning about the internet and websites.  Whether you’re a developer, designer, or Server Administration student, you’re probably going to be required to have your own hosting.  We’ve dropped our prices just for people like you.  Paying for college is expensive enough, so quality hosting to ensure your grades are perfect (because I know you’re all perfect students) is imperative.
  2. Classroom Interaction.  I used to be a teacher, so I understand how difficult it can be to get students engaged in the classroom, much less outside of school.  Creating an interactive class website with activities and ways of connecting and learning from each other will keep your students learning even outside of the classroom.
  3. Creative Expression. Broadcast your skills online!  Photography, painting, poetry, song writing: all of these skills are important to continue well into adulthood. (Moody poetry is always at its best in your teens and early 20s.)  Don’t let a busy class schedule or peer intimidations keep you from your craft!  Plus, nothing impresses the ladies like being in a band more than having a band website.  Trust me.
  4. Email.  Simple as that.  Nothing is as cool as telling people your email address is czajaisawesome@czaja.com or dontbejealous@czaja.com.
  5. Your Future.  This one is more serious.  In a job market like our’s, having a strong technical background will take you far.  It doesn’t matter what your major is, understanding servers, Content Management Systems, and scripting language is always a plus to put on your resume.  I earned my degree in writing, but it was my understanding of technology that got me the job.  So learn it while you can, surround yourself with smart people, and brag about your awesome internet skills.

So, do you know someone starting school this year as a student or teacher?  Pass this news along. We make affordable hosting even better with our Education Discounts.  We love the internet and technology, and we are always working to spread that love to the world, regardless of age.

Don’t forget, Facebook was created in a college dorm room.

The Power of Account Management Panel

file_management

The internet – The final frontier.  These are the continuing features of AMP.  Its ongoing mission: to explore new customization options, to seek out the best services for InMotion Hosting’s customers, to boldly go where no hosting company has gone before.

Have you seen the new Star Trek yet?  It’s fantastic.  Like all good fangirls, I’m enamored with all things Benedict Cumberbatch.   But that has nothing to do with this post, except that it gave me the opportunity for a timely and creative opening to talk about our Account Management Panel (AMP).

If you haven’t been using our AMP software yet, you’re really missing out.  But, now is the time!  We’ve added some awesome new features that will give you more control than ever over your account and server.  It’s majestic.

But, before we get into those new features, let’s recap what makes AMP so fantastic.  If you haven’t used it before, go to our website.  On the top of every page you’ll see the log in button.

AMP

From here, you can go anywhere!  It has an option to check your billing information, including reviewing what items are currently being billed for your account, reviewing past receipts, and even updating contact and payment information.  This saves you time and effort and takes the stress of billing off your shoulders.  You can even set renewal reminders, so you will always know what renewal is coming and when.

AMP also gives you direct access to your cPanel, and if you’re on a VPS or Dedicated platform, Web Host Manager (WHM).  This makes accessing all your accounts easier and faster as they are all linked to one central location.

But, you probably already knew that.  What you may not have known, is that we’ve added even more awesome features.

Purchase a new IP Address

You can now purchase a new IP address to your account directly through AMP. Yep.  You don’t have to contact our Support Team for it anymore, just click a few buttons and you’re on your way.

How do you do this?  It is located under “Additional Services” then, “Other”.  Select purchase IP address.  Done and done.

Change Your Primary Domain Name

We’ve also added the option to update your shared hosting account’s primary domain name.  So, if you decide the domain that was your primary is no longer needed, you can just log into your AMP, cancel the renewal on that domain and put a new domain in its place.

Start in the “Details” section under “Account and Billing”.  From there, click, “Make Changes”, and select “Change Primary Domain”.  Follow the prompts from there and with a bit of propagation time, you have a new primary domain name.

Restart Your Virtual Private Server

For whatever reason, there may come a time when you, or your site administrator, may need to reboot your server.  Before, that was a contact to our Support Team with an escalation to our System Administrators.  That took time.  However, now you can restart your VPS’s services right from the comfort of your living room, or office, or bathroom, or wherever you do your work.  We don’t judge here.

In AMP, we’re going to venture back to “Details” under “Accounts and Billing”.  In your “Active Subscriptions” section, you should see a button that says, “Restart VPS”.  Click that.

WHAMO!

Your VPS is restarting.  It’s like a direct line to our System Administrators.  Or magic; if you’re like me and think all this internet and technology stuff is secretly operated by wizards in disguise.

Once everything is restarted and ready to go again, you’ll get a SUCCESS message.  You’ll feel good about yourself.  You will have accomplished something that day.  This is what InMotion Hosting and AMP does for you, it brightens your day and boosts your confidence.  Maybe we should rename it to Awe-inspiring Magnificent Panel of Wonder.  AMPOW! That’s practically perfection.

With this newfound confidence, you can do anything.  Go out, live your dreams.  Interview for that dream job (we’re hiring, by the way: http://www.inmotionhosting.com/employment/), ask out that girl (or guy) you’ve been crushing on (I’m married, sorry), or just enjoy the world with your new positive outlook on life.  AMP, the internet, and our 24/7 Support Team will be here for you when you get back.

 

Managed Hosting and Launch Assist

rocket

Let me introduce you to Managed Hosting and Launch Assist. When I was given this assignment for the blog and newsletter, I was really excited.  I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me as a topic earlier, but I’m glad someone thought of it.

Why am I so excited, you ask? I mean, let’s be real, it’s not like I’m writing a post about Doctor Who or anything (don’t judge).

I am excited because I get to tell you about our new Managed Hosting service and Launch Assist for our Virtual Private Server and Dedicated hosting packages!  Okay, admittedly, without a little background on why that’s awesome that reveal is mildly anti-climactic, but stick with me, you’ll be excited too.

First, let’s flash back to just under three years ago when I first started working for InMotion Hosting.  I was hired onto our Customer Care team because I am awesome with customers.  My tech knowledge was not my strong suit.  I mean, I had a website and a blog and previously was a Genius at the Apple Store, so I knew my way around a computer and had a working knowledge of the internet.  However, my server knowledge wasn’t quite as good.  I mean, I could tell you that you needed accurate name servers, but I had no idea why.

Working here over the last few years has taught me a lot about servers and site design, but before that, I had no idea what I was doing.  However, I was bound and determined to learn it.

I ended up breaking things, a lot.  So, I started pestering the tech support reps to both fix the things I broke and explain to me how to not break it in the future.  Because I work here, I had a direct line to the brilliance.

Now, thanks to Managed Hosting, you have a direct line to the brilliance too!

Seriously, Managed Hosting is essentially a hook-up to our best and brightest.  They’re that friend everyone has who is willing to fix your server for you.  This is a team of Systems-level technicians dedicated to you.  While they are not account managers, we do keep the team intimate so they all can get to know our customers directly.

Keeping the whole team available to your account means you are almost guaranteed to have someone available who has expertise in your question.  You can also rest easy knowing that the Support Representative working on your account is not only experienced but also has the upper level server knowledge you can rely on.

These guys are brilliant enough to work directly with you or your developer on any level.  So, if you need to be able to jump right into a higher tier of support without going through our base T1 Premier Support Team, Managed Hosting is the place to be.

But, technical knowledge is not the only factor we take when selecting technicians for our Managed Hosting Team.  We also look for those agents who have some of the best customer service on the floor.  After all, that’s what sets InMotion Hosting apart from the pack, our dedicated focus to our customers.

We pride ourselves in the service our representatives offer.  We bring this up in the initial job interview, and it is a focus of every aspect of our training because it’s so much a part of our daily tasks.  It’s InMotion Hosting’s thing.  Go Daddy has elephants, HostGator has Texas, InMotion Hosting has Customer Service.  We strive every day to set the industry standard for customer service.

At the moment, Managed Hosting is only available to our VPS and Dedicated hosting customers, so if you have been on the fence about upgrading, now is the best time to do it!

Launch Assist

With your upgrade or new VPS or Dedicated purchase, you have optional Launch Assist to help get you up and running.

Included in all Dedicated packages and available for $99 on VPS packages, Launch assist gets you up to 2 hours of Managed Hosting within your first 30 days.  They can help you get your server set up just how you like it so you have a lean, mean, website hosting machine.

Between Managed Hosting and Launch Assist, our team has your team covered.

See?  I told you this was exciting.  This is better than when those stores give you employee discounts.  Except, the employee discount that you get is access to our employees!  That seems weird, but let me tell you; these guys have gotten me out of a lot of jams and have always been able to explain what I did wrong without confusing me.  They are gifted.

Just remember to do one thing that I didn’t.  Call Managed Hosting before you break your server.

Open Source Central: Concrete5

concrete5

Have you used Concrete5 yet?  I think it’s my new favorite thing ever.  (Don’t tell WordPress I said that.)

What is Concrete5 you ask?  It’s an up and coming content management system (CMS) and it is taking over.  Quite frankly, I think I am ok with that.

It’s an ultra-lite, easy to use, über powerful CMS that caters to the broad range of site builders out there.  From designers to developers, to people like me who just go into a software and clunk around until something works, Concrete5 has the power and features to fulfill all our needs.

I was able to think, “I wonder what all this Concrete5 hype is about?”, then install it through Softaculous, and begin working on my site in a matter of minutes.  I kid you not.  Within 2 hours, I had a good-looking website with customized CSS and full content on the home, about, and contact me pages.

Now that Concrete5 and I are in love, I figured I’d share some of this excitement with you, our lovely readers.  Here is my list of the top 5 most awesome features of Concrete5.

 

The Top 5 Most Awesome Features of Concrete5

1.       Most themes are Responsive.

Yep.  Right out of the gate, most themes are built to be responsive or have a mobile version you can use.    Even better?  You can change the mobile theme to be different than the full site.  That way, if you want something a little simpler for those tiny cellphone screens, you just pick a different theme for the mobile version.  How cool is that?

Responsive

2.       Easy and optional SEO features.

Built right into the site format, you’ve got the ability to automatically add the Meta Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords!  It’s a one click choice.  This means you can select what to add and when, and it also means you have easy access to update your SEO keywords to ensure that you are meeting the needs of your customers and remaining competitive with search engines.

SEO

3.       Direct, on-page editing.

Are you looking for a point and click style builder that is easy to customize, has a wide variety or templates to choose from, and has the power to allow full site development?  Look no further.  Concrete5 is set up in blocks which show up in black dotted lines.

onpageediting

You pick which blocks you want to add by clicking within the black dotted lines.  Then, select add block.  This will open a pop up window where you can select what you want it to be.

onpageeditingaddblock

You can pick anything from adding navigation, to an image, even a YouTube video, right here on the page you’re working on!

You can see your site as you build it.  Most content management systems require that you work on the content and coding of the site in the back end.  That means you have to bounce back and forth between your code and the site to see the changes you are making.  While you will have to do that to some extent with Concrete5, you can get a good feel for the layout before delving into the code.

4.       The Marketplace.

Typically, when you want an add-on or theme, you have to look all over the internet to get all of your options.  Concrete5 simplifies that.  It’s all in one place, the Marketplace.  Any plugins or themes that you would like can be found right in the software, so you don’t have to stop working to get the functionality you want.

5.       Extreme Theme Customization.

You can customize your themes and add any CSS (custom style script) right in the theme.  Through your themes page, click the “Customize” button next to your selected theme.  This will open color options and the CSS entry.

Talk about easy control.  I love that I can make changes to the CSS and see it change right in the same screen.  Color matching on my site became so much easier when I didn’t have to open another window to see how the colors look together.

CSS

With its combination of simplicity and power, Concrete5 is an all in one CMS that is sure to meet your needs.

Go forth, give it a try, and tell us your thoughts in the comments below!  We’d love to know what features you loved best.

 

Introducing the NEW InMotionHosting.com!

InMotion Hosting is proud to announce the launch of our all new website, InMotionHosting.com! The process for revamping our eCommerce website was quite extensive and involved a team of over 20 associates located in both our California and Virginia offices to launch it successfully.before

On top of our leadership team, this included multiple web designers, web developers, copywriters, systems architects and project managers! We also had input from our Sales, Customer Community, Customer Experience, Support and Human Resources departments. It was truly a company-wide effort.after

The new website is built with modern HTML5, using tools such as GitHub, Typekit and Bootstrap. It is an improvement for our customers and prospective customers as it loads faster and employs a cleaner user interface. The new InMotionHosting.com also uses up to date accessibility standards that allow our users to easily navigate the website via keyboard.

We invite you to check out the brand new InMotionHosting.com!

Jeff Bishop is a Product Manager at InMotion Hosting. He has worked on building out InMotion Hosting’s product offerings including Web DesignPremier SupportDomain ConciergeCommercial Class Dedicated Servers and more. In the future he will be working on new and improved VPS packages, server clustering and more! When Jeff isn’t busy being a nerd at work he likes to hike at Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles and go bar hopping.

Major Data Center & Network Upgrades Completed

Over the past year, InMotion Hosting has invested heavily in upgrading our infrastructure, data centers and advanced hosting services. We had already set the bar high by having one of the most reliable network uptimes in the industry, but we have reset the bar even higher by adding more features, bolstering our infrastructure and adding amazing new services.

What does this mean for you? It means we are doing even more to improve your experience with us. Some critical adjustments we have made include:

  • Additional redundancy and bandwidth capacity to our internal network
  • Partnered with the Tier 1 bandwidth providers to insure you have the best and fastest paths to your web services
  • Added more redundancy and bandwidth to our backend networks
A hallway in our West Coast Data Center full of Dedicated Server towers.

A hallway in our West Coast Data Center full of Dedicated Server towers.

This means that we can actually provide 99.99% uptime or better. Many of our competitors promise that they can maintain 99.9% uptime – this means that you could be down for over eight hours per year. We found that unacceptable so we beefed up our network to better serve your needs.

In addition to upgrading or network, we have invested in upgrading our shared server fleet. Our new servers have more CPU power, more RAM, and more disk space, giving our customers better performance and reliability over our old server fleet. Couple that with new Commercial Class Dedicated Servers, our brand new Premier Support team and our vastly improved one-click application installer and we have made a lot of great changes for you in 2012 and the beginning of 2013! We’ve got a lot more in store, so make sure to check back often to see what we’re up to!

Mark LaForest is InMotion Hosting’s Director of I/T. He joined us in 2012 to oversee our Systems team, improve our network and make our data centers shine. Mark hails from Austin, Texas and prior to joining InMotion Hosting proudly served in the US Air Force for over 12 years. When Mark isn’t fussing over our network and data centers, he can be found helping to run the Board of WatchCollectors.org, a non-profit dedicated to horology and the collection of rare time pieces.

web behavior

Consumer Driven Web Trends, Predictions for 2013

In a previous post on “Online Research Methods” I demonstrated some of the research techniques available to SEOs, writers, marketing experts and big data analysts. During my own research on web trends I have made some interesting discoveries that can help you learn about upcoming web search behavior related to your own niche.

I’d initially like to expand on use of the research methods I use from the original research method infographic. I have a personal interest in finding out what our own audience would love for me to write about, either through feedback, or understanding our audience demographic better. Taking a refreshing new look at where your audience comes from once in a while is a great exercise once in a while from a marketing standpoint.

First off I’d like to show you the “Google Trends” tool. There is a similar tool in Adwords that shows you a volume of search against certain keywords. The Adwords Keywords tool is insufficient for projecting trends for as there is no historical data. To ascertain what trends are breaking out, what is current, and relevancy to other behaviors that are following the same rate of change and seasonal behaviors, you’ll need the Google Trends tool.

Adwords Keywords tool is a great tool for scraping together a bucket list and finding which keywords present current opportunity for optimizing your site or advertising campaign. If you want to get down to the real nitty-gritty and find out why the opportunity exists, you need to find which opportunities are growing, plateauing, or falling.

Below is a graph I screenshot from the Google Trends tool. It has it’s own forecasting tool in it, and a bunch of related terms suggested for you to plug in and test out. I simply used search terms relevant to our audience taken from our popular posts and after a few permutations of related keywords. I found something that stood out as a rising trend that warranted further investigation. I’ve overlaid the trend graph with a the rough projection so you can see what caught my attention:

Out of all the interest in online web applications and and developer tools, the term “web apps” seems to show a distinct seasonal activity on top of a steadily increasing trend.

Clicking on the “web apps” tab gives us further segmented information on this activity. Google shows us not only is the term rapidly increasing in frequency of search but alongside it are many new breakout terms related to mobile devices. Note the mention of “android web apps”, and “web apps iphone“.

Where Is This Online Trend Behavior Coming From

Head on over to Google Correlate, which finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends. Here we can see what consumer driving forces are behind online trends by matching search volume patterns. Search terms may not be related, but by comparing seasonal behaviors you can tie-in the effect of the real world events.

In the case of the search term of “web apps”, Google suggests that the behavior for “iphone web” closely matches all the smaller seasonal peaks and possibly sale periods. Google has in it’s algorithms a correlation coefficient called “r”. The closer the correlation coefficient is to 1, the less variance there is between two trending behaviors.

I will certainly be paying closer attention to iPhone developments and releases now, with a view to how they impact our mobile app behavior.

how much spend advertising

How Much to Spend Online Marketing [Infographic]

Earlier in the year, we conducted a survey of website owners and managers to understand their online business. We wanted to learn something about the real issues that online business owners face when making decisions about their online advertising budget. Is social media marketing really free? Is it an important investment? The feedback may surprise you! As much as 35% of website owners are not spending on any marketing or advertising at all.

I have made a few assumptions in deriving this research, and for those academics who want to qualify the number crunching, please write a comment for me, and I’ll see if I can follow up personally. Following is an infographic showing some key results. The survey is still open, so we can take another look later on to compare differences in people’s spending budgets in 2013.

Click to Zoom, Right click to download –>

small business spend online advertising
Creative Commons License
Survey Results Spend on Online Marketing by InMotion Hosting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Link to this article, share these results by copying the code below:

 

Demographics

We had 147 responders in June 2012. Our responders were prompted by our newsletters, and some social media feeds. The majority of the responders are therefore from our own customer base. Responders were divided into the amount they invested on their website hosting. Based on what they spend on web hosting, we have grouped the respondents by the type of hosting technology they use.

The ratios of groups sizes to one another seem to match patterns we see in our existing customer base. For example, more than half of the respondents are on a shared hosting plan. A smaller proportion of the respondents use Virtual Private Servers. Finally the smallest group spend on the dedicated servers.

147 respondents is too small a sample to give an accurate assessment of spending on online advertising. However, it is a significant pool to start to see spending habits and determine the focus for the next set of research. Let’s get started!

Website owner community: What portion of website owners are currently marketing?

Out of all the respondents that showed an interest in marketing costs, only 65% of them reported they actually put their hands in their pocket and spent money on promoting themselves. The average spend amongst those that did budget for online promotion was a surprisingly meager $202 per month.

We segregated spending into three different categories.

  • Spending on online advertising This includes all forms of paid advertising including Facebook paid ads, Google Adwords and Display Networks.
  • Spending on SEO – or Search Engine Optimization. This includes text-brokering, paying for press releases, link building, CRM subscriptions and analysis tools.
  • Spending on Social Media. This includes monthly subscriptions to CRMs for social media management, automation and scheduled posts tools, multiple account management tools.

 

How much do website owners spend on online advertising?

# respondents Web Hosting Totals Facebook ads SERPs Ads Display Network
147 All WebHosting Plans $12,730 $1,370 $7,070 $4,290
82 Shared Hosting $3,920 $650 $1,810 $1,460
50 VPS Hosting $6,550 $660 $3,600 $2,290
15 Dedicated Hosting $2,260 $60 $60 $540
Creative Commons License
Survey Results Small Business Spend on Advertising by @JulianaPayson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Across 147 respondents,  $12,730 a month is being poured into advertising. More than half of this money is going directly into Google Adwords Search Advertising. Of course dividing these numbers up into average spending across each web hosting group reveals a general trend that can be seen in the infographic. The more hosting horsepower individuals are investing in, the more advertising dollars they are spending.

What is not shown on the graph though is something harder to explain: That out of our sample of respondents the biggest pool of spending are those in VPS hosting, attempting to draw in their traffic mainly through Search advertising.
One insight the survey results seem to offer, is that as websites progress up in resource requirements, advertising focus moves away from paid search listings, to banner advertising on display networks.

How much do website owners spend on SEO?

# respondents Web Hosting Totals SEO Tools PR SPIN CRM
147 All WebHosting Plans $5,390 $2,940 $1,110 $1,340
82 Shared Hosting $2,300 $1,290 $460 $550
50 VPS Hosting $1,960 $1,120 $450 $390
15 Dedicated Hosting $1,130 $530 $200 $400
Creative Commons License
Survey Results How Much Spending on SEO by @JulianaPayson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

SEO spending is hard for people to quantify, so the questions were designed to prompt users into thinking about their spending habits.

Classic SEO spending comprises of subscriptions to SEOmoz analysis tools, and a lot of time backlinking and site restructuring. This represents the “SEO Tools” column. Next I have “PR Spin”, prompting individuals to admit to budgeting for text-brokering, press releases, or maybe even paid link-building services. Finally, and I think this is the most important for modern SEO, is the investment in CRM suites like Buzzstream for tracking those new webmaster to webmaster relationships and general business development.

The spending reports are not surprising. The biggest pool of spending is represented by those using Shared Hosting. These individuals are competing with other thousands of similar more established businesses. As the business becomes more steadfast and require more resources due to high traffic, they focus on more on embedding themselves into the web ecosystem using CRMs.

 

How much do website owners spend on Social Media?

# respondents Web Hosting Totals SMM Suites automation web 2.0 plugins
147 All WebHosting Plans $1,290 $430 $500 $360
82 Shared Hosting $440 $180 $150 $110
50 VPS Hosting $840 $240 $350 $250
15 Dedicated Hosting $10 $10 0 0
Creative Commons License
Survey Results Business Spend on Social Media by @JulianaPayson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Overall, Social Media tools receive less monetary commitment than any other form of online promotion. Even if you add in spending on Facebook promotions at an additional $1,370 across the board for all website groups, this total of $2,660 per month across our entire respondent pool represents a small amount of commitment.

This result was surprising. The importance of social media engagement for businesses is constantly over-hyped, yet here we have results that show it is the smallest portion of spending across the board by all online business.

Perhaps the general public opinion is that social media is free, and therefore should not be invested in. Our survey attempted to draw out any hours used and not accounted for by asking respondents what hours they spent doing online activities. There was simply not enough hours tallied up to draw any meaningful conclusion. There were not enough hours in any one category of activity to determine if site owners focus more on one job than another in marketing their websites.

One consistent fact across all responses, was that there is an even distribution of spending among all website owners. An average spend of less than $10 per person per month and no significant big spenders makes the social media marketing scene a steady outflow, but not an investment spend.

spritepad

Web Apps and Online Tools to Make a Designer’s Life Easy

Web design and development entails a huge variety of disciplines; from photo enhancement to code edits and having the tools to handle every possibility can become a  costly investment. However, there are a large number of free web development tools available  free for download or online, from photo editors to assimilated development applications that will help in the creation and design of a website. These are six free online web tools worth checking out, to assist your development suite of software.

Mockingbird

Mockingbird is a free web-based tool for creating and sharing wireframes. It has a simple, user-friendly interface that makes developing mockups of a website quick and easy. Users just drag and drop interface elements, rearrange and resize to create a perfectly balanced page. Add as many pages needed, then link them all together to share with cohorts, clients or friends to demonstrate how users may navigate the site. Once the mockup is complete, a link is generated that allows users to share with others, or an embedded code is created for the user’s website. Mockingbird is a lightweight tool with minimal features (i.e. there are no templates for guidance), but that makes it easy and quick to use.

Kuler

Created by Adobe, Kuler is a free web-hosted application for creating color theme inspiration and experimentation. Users can choose, modify, create, mix and match colors; creating their own color swatches with RGB and HEX codes. Save color swatch creations or download themes from thousands in the Kuler community. In addition, users generate a specific color palette based on an image or illustration selected from Flickr or uploaded. Not only is Kuler an integration of the Adobe Creative Suite but also it is accessible as a separate service in the browser and is available through a free app, Adobe AIR.

Pixlr

Pixlr is a free flash-based web application for mobile and desktop image tools and utilities. Since Pixlr has a Flash foundation, they are able to provide significant advantages over a HTLM5 base. If users have Flash 10 or higher any images used with Pixlr will not be available to the company or by anyone else. Currently users can choose from three applications in the Pixlr suite: Pixlr Editor (advanced), Pixlr Express (efficient) and Pixlr-o-matic (playful).

Gimp

In the world of web development, it is always necessary end up with some image editing. GIMP is an open source graphical editing software, who’s main comparison is Adobe Photoshop. While not technically a web app, it’s development is open source, which means it’s completely free whilst providing some of the advanced characteristics of it’s comparative paid software. Some would argue that Adobe Photoshop is an expensive software that doesn’t have the efficiency that Gimp does for simple graphical editing. By comparison Adobe has a cluttered working environment for advanced users, while Gimp’s User Interface is much stripped down. Gimp also has a super fast program and a lighter footprint than Adobe.

SpritePad

SpritePad is a free web-application that simplifies CSS sprites creations. Working directly in the browsers, users simply drag and drop images to the canvas and begin working to create unique CSS sprites. Each time an image is added, a CSS code snippet is created; users can move images, change options and the CSS style will automatically update. Users can also save time and space with the integrated auto-alignment function, one button automatically aligns all images.

Favicon and Apple Touch icon Generator
Newly Launched! Our own tool by InMotion Hosting, is a favicon generator that also creates the iTouch web icon. Now you can have your website bookmarked on any ipad, itouch, or iphone with it’s own icon!