Team Member Profile: Aimeelyn Dineros

AimeelynDHometown: Virginia Beach, VA
Position: Customer Experience Manager
Been with InMotion Hosting since: January 2011

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
After graduating from Old Dominion University with a degree in Computer Science, InMotion Hosting hired me as a Web Designer for their private client design customers.  It was a great opportunity to learn how to build WordPress and eCommerce sites, all the while working with a really fun team.  My greatest takeaway was learning how to make custom WordPress themes, which is a commodity if you’re looking to build custom Content Management Systems for friends as side projects.

What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
After a few years as a Web Designer, I transitioned into the User Interface Design position for two more years.   Currently, I serve as the Customer Experience Manager.  Our C.E. Analyst defines the department as an “enthusiastic group of individuals with innovative ideas on improving the customer’s overall experience.”  As a department, we focus on analyzing, identifying, and driving ongoing improvements to the customer experience based on feedback and top customer goals. Our research has gone towards improving experiences such as helping new customers achieve their goals through a personal on-boarding call, the usability of our customers’ Account Management Panel, as well as the transfer request processes for domains and websites.  This year, based on popular demand, we have our eyes on improving a few more systems our customers deal with on a daily basis.  So if you’re a customer with ideas that you’d love to see implemented, whether big or small, then we’d love to hear from you!  Send us your feedback by signing into AMP and going to the feedback page here: https://secure1.inmotionhosting.com/amp/support/feedback.

Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about?
Google Glass seems like a really fun gadget to own.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
I’m a bit of a User Experience (UX) nerd, so I’m involved in local Code for America and UXPA meetups to learn more about improving the UX of civic applications.  One nearly completed project we’ve worked on in Code for America was a lookup tool for health inspection reports for local Virginia restaurants, which can be viewed at Open Health Inspection.

Describe your personality in one word?
I’m generally a “happy” person.

WordCamp St.Louis 2015

Now that I have caught up after missing my connector Sunday forcing travel into Monday, thank you American Airlines; I now have time to write about how my first WordCamp went in St. Louis. I chose St. Louis for two reasons; one is that it is where I grew up and I have friends and family in the area I was able to stay with, and two was that it is one of the bigger WordCamps with over 300 people in attendance this year. I was one of the more than 175 newbies or first-timers to a WordCamp. WordCamp St. Louis 2015 was hosted on the campus of Washington University. This was nice because it allowed me to relive my youth around UCity and for attendees to see more eclectic parts of St. Louis.

I have attended dozens if not hundreds of conferences over my professional career and WordCamp is one of the more unique experiences. I hold nearly 20 professional certifications, so the conferences I typically attend are very content specific. I have also worked with military, NGOs, and broadcasters over the years which have conferences associated with those particular industries. WordCamp was much more of an all inclusive conference with cliques, the secret of the cliques was that you utilize or support WordPress within your given clique. Instead of talking about how you utilize or support WordPress directly though, everyone wanted to know what you did. Questions were about work, organizations, or passions then we got onto how WordPress could be utilized in those efforts. The cliques formed around design, security, content, etc but everyone had the underlying common theme of WordPress.

Don’t get me wrong, there were very specific WordPress discussions but they happened in the individual rooms covering Users and Developers needs related to WordPress. These topics were further divided by intro/basic to experienced/advanced topics. My favorite discussions included Pippin Williamson’s @pippinsplugins on backwards compatibility and his impassioned speech on the topic.

Another topic was Cameron Barrett @camworld discussing a topic close to my heart; assisting K-12 districts by utilizing WordPress.

Lucas Lima @luwkaslima also gave a standing room only presentation on how to utilize project management principles when work with WordPress and clients.

Cain @michaelcain and Obenland @obenland Show was entertaining as well as informative on recent WordPress topics including the new release WordPress 4.2 Beta 1.

Finally, listening to how one of the respected members of the community, Mika Epstein @ipstenu, got her start with WordPress and how you can become part of the community by giving back.

If those sessions didn’t dive deeply enough to cover your topic of interest, they had the Happiness Bar open for assistance, or Give Back to Core and Hackathons the second day. They also had a Kids Camp for those kids interested in or who had already had a WordPress site set up.

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Community Day Events

All in all this was a great first experience for me with the WordPress community. It reminds me in a lot of ways how NGOs and professional organizations run which was familiar and comfortable for me based on my background. It also gave me a few ideas. Plus motivated me to move from the WordPress.com site to a hosted WordPress. So in the near future instead of hvyw8.wordpress.com; I will have a hosted blog with a number of plugins covering diabetes.

Until next time @hvyw8

WordCamp Lancaster just got Real

This was my first WordCamp. I’ve been to plenty of business development conferences over the years and really expected this to be much of the same. Let me go on record… I was wrong! WordPress and WordCamp in particular is about community. Thats what makes WordPress so great! The vibe was informal and inviting. It was literally for everyone, whether you were a core contributor or a brand new user. I was lucky enough to spend my friday night hanging out at the Speaker Sponsor Dinner. Typically, its for, well, speakers and sponsors and I was neither, however my travel companion was a speaker.

This was informal and allowed me to chat it up with not only the organizers but speakers as well. It’s all industry people and everyone was incredibly approachable. Well, except for #NickfromAlbania but thats another story.

I arrived around 8am to check in at WordCamp Lancaster the following morning. The check in process was simple and after getting a badge I was invited to grab some Swag. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

After registering, everyone headed into a main room where conversations were abound. A cup of joe and a pastry rounded out a successful morning thus far. I spoke with a few people, probably in their mid twenties from a local marketing company. They seemed nice, and eager to learn. I suggested a few topics I thought they may enjoy off both speaker tracks. Most WordCamps seem to have multiple tracks for speakers. This is important since let’s face it designers and developers are vastly different people.

After the opening remarks from George Stephanis (@daljo628) (a nice fellow I met the night before and one of the organizers), I listened to Joe Casabona deliver a captivating lecture on responsive design. If I got anything from him speaking it was to follow best practices and take your time. Well, and he likes star wars. I may even grab his book.

I heard a great presentation on the nueroscience of conversions by Tom Shapiro (@TomShapiro). It made sense and it was great advice for anyone serious about improving their website conversion rates. Once it shows up on WordPress TV, I’d suggest watching it.
I took a break, decided to head back to the refreshments area where I struck up a conversation with Michael from LiteSpeed. Considering I work for a hosting company, any product that can reduce the resources needed to serve a website, is appealing. I look forward to learning more about their product.

Michael was speaking too, about hosting nonetheless. I wanted to see what others would present on the topic since, I’m sort of biased. He did an awesome job, really digging into what to look for in a host. He was spot on and it was refreshing to hear someone present on the topic so well.

After lunch and more chatting with other folks from Parallels and Lite Speed Technologies. Then off to hear Jeff Matson (@thejeffMatson) talk about documentation and the benefits of doing it right. This is something we know something about. Have you seen our Support Center ? Most people don’t realize how having great documentation can help drive revenue and Jeff did an awesome job explaining it. I’m sure plenty of attendees will be heading home to write how to guides on their plugins because of it.

The afternoon wrapped up and we caught some rest before heading to the after party. That’s right, if you’ve never been to a WordCamp there’s an after party where the organizers, sponsors, speakers, and attendees all get to mingle over some libations.

This after party was no different. Great conversations were had about all kinds of off-topic stuff as we all decompressed from a day filled with learning about WordPress. We talked about eCommerce, Amazon, Google, and Project Tango to name a few.

In the end, I’m excited to make some new friends, see the huge impact WordPress has had in people’s lives, and that there’s tons of people just like me who love WordPress and want to give back to the community.

How To Assess Your Hosting Needs

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So you want to get a website up and running? There are a few things you may want to consider before doing so given the current landscape of the web hosting world .

Initially, you will want to complete the basic checklist below:

  1. Search your domain(s) of choice to make sure they are available.
  2. Purchase the domain if available.
  3. Assess which website hosting product and plan you will need.

After you search for and acquire your domain name, take note of what type of website you want to launch.

Website hosting branches typically break down into the following main product categories:

  • Shared Hosting
  • Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
  • Dedicated Server Hosting

Here’s a easy-to-understand video we made on the distinction between the various types of web hosting.

As a startup with no traffic, you can start with a Shared Hosting plan and move up as your traffic scales up. The beautiful thing about website hosting these days is that it is scalable and inexpensive to start building your web presence. But as your traffic and software requirements grow, so will your overhead and need to upgrade.

Most companies offer a free domain in conjunction with your first year of hosting. Some companies bill on an annual basis and some will bill monthly, so find out which payment structure best suits your needs as you forecast your financial budget.

If you are looking to scale as your traffic ramps up, you can look into upper echelon products like VPS Hosting or a Dedicated Server, which will give you more power and resources to run your website more efficiently.

Below are a couple common scenarios potential web hosting customers face when starting their first site:

Blogging:
If you simply want to start a new blog or transfer over from a free blogging solution like Blogger or WordPress.com, we would recommend an entry level Shared Hosting plan, with an ability to scale with growing traffic. With only one database required for WordPress and Drupal installations and caching enabled on our SSD hard drives for all entry level Shared Hosting plans, it will be more than sufficient for starters.

E-commerce selling:
For those of you focused on a website that requires a blog app like WordPress and an accompanying eCommerce plugin such as WooCommerce, we might recommend starting on an entry-level VPS account due to the resource requirements. This setup would use 2 databases as opposed to just one. These are only hypothetical scenarios, and for every case there are a variety of things to consider including system requirements and your website’s current traffic.

If you fall outside of these two common scenarios, we encourage you to reach out to our 24/7 U.S. based support team to see which product and plan best suits your hosting needs before you take the plunge. Rest assured that with InMotion Hosting, even after taking the plunge you will have 90 days to test the waters to see if you need something more, less or nothing at all with our industry leading money back guarantee. Contact us by phone, chat or email.

Team Member Profile: Chenelle Harris

ChenelleHometown: Newport News, VA
Position: Director, HR
InMotion Hosting team member since October 2009

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
InMotion Hosting is my first experience with the web hosting industry. As a “user” of the web, I had never really given much thought to how it worked behind the scenes, just that I could get to the sites that I wanted too and my email worked correctly. I was truly amazed at how much technical knowledge it really takes to keep sites up and running. I’ve learned so many new and exciting things here at IMH, that although at work I will never be the most technical person in the room, in my circle of HR associates and family members, I’ve learned enough to really sound sophisticated in conversation. A big shout out to all the wonderful team members in VA and CA, that have been so patience in teaching me the aspects of web hosting and web design.

What is your current role at InMotion Hosting?
What do you like most about it? As a member of the HR team, my core role is to support the team members so that they can focus on making our customer’s experience awesome, assist them with their technical needs and make sure that their online business sites are set up to succeed. Our department facilitates the bi-annual profit sharing payouts, annual base increases, weekly free lunches, medical benefits, 401K savings plans, educational reimbursement and the list goes on and on. Oh, and we get to wear jeans every day if we want to. I’m a bit conservative so at first I did not think I would be comfortable with that, but now, me and my jeans have become good friends.

Coolest gadget you own, want to own, or have read about?
My 15 year old daughter gets a consistent kick out of me when I think I’m being “cool” with technology, but my IPhone does give me some “cool” points with her and her friends. With that said, I think any gadget that will allow me to track my daughter when she’s not with me is cool. Not that I necessarily believe in “big brother” watching us, but I’m a fan of “mothers on watch”.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
I’ve been in the field of HR for over 20 years (oops, did I just tell my age) and I’m truly having the time of my life supporting all of the team members here. InMotion is a “cool” company to be a part of and we have team members from CA to VA who really want to help our customers succeed. I also really feel strongly that our owners are two of the most kindest people in this world. I’m very grateful that I’m a part of this team.

Describe your personality in one word:
Sincere

Constant Contact Mega Marketing Event – Orange County Jan. 15th 2015

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InMotion Hosting is proud to be the Platinum Sponsor for the Southern California Constant Contact Mega Marketing event throughout 2015. As the only Platinum Sponsor of the event, we are working to develop an out of box solution for those who are looking to get their site up without any development work on their end.  Our first event this year was in Santa Ana over in our neighboring county of Orange.

With hundreds in attendance, our very own Jason Hong presented an Introduction to Affiliate Marketing session to those wanting to get into the world of affiliates.

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We also raffled off a FREE 10 Page Professional Website built by our very own IMW team.

Thank you to Kelly Flint (@kellyflint) and the entire Constant Contact team for allowing us to be a part. Excited for the next 7 events throughout Southern California.

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Affiliate Summit West 2015 – Las Vegas, NV. Jan 18-20th 2015

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Affiliate Summit is the one main event for affiliates that we attend every year. We’ve been an exhibitor for the past several years, and we are always excited to meet new and old affiliates alike.  This year, we had the entire Affiliate team attend and get a feel for this mega event. Over 6000 attendees were present in Las Vegas for the show, and we raffled off a Go Pro Camera as well as one of those popular drones everyone keeps talking about.

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It’s always a better feeling when you connect with people face to face, so if you haven’t been to Affiliate Summit, we recommend you give it a shot. You’ll definitely get something valuable out of it, and usually it’s that one thing that makes a difference.  If you’re looking for more information about the event or becoming an affiliate of ours, please contact us!

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Team Member Profile: Ryan Balikian

Team Member Ryan BalikianHometown: Thousand Oaks, CA
Position: Marketing Specialist
Been with InMotion Hosting since: June 2014

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
I’ve worked in the digital space for my entire professional career, ranging from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, advertising agencies and as a freelance web developer. Learning more about the web hosting vertical and all of the intricacies of what happens behind the scenes of websites and complex applications was something that interested me and the position at InMotion Hosting seemed to be a perfect fit for my skill set and desire to learn.

What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
I am currently the marketing lead for both our Virtual Private Server Hosting and Shared Hosting products. I enjoy the variety of responsibilities that comes with this position. One day I might be developing a brand new landing page and the next day I might be calculating pricing models for my product. Every day brings about a unique and interesting challenge.

Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about?
Oculus Rift

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
I come across as an idiosyncrasy of a human. I’m an ex All-American water polo player who is really much more of a nerd than an athlete. California kid who loves the ocean, gaming and live music.

Describe your personality in one word?
Amorphous

2015: The Year of Productivity

Staying productive is one of the most challenging things we face in our daily lives. Whether working or taking care of things at home, we are busier than ever. And while it may seem that every day a new tool is developed to help make our lives easier, sometimes these tools serve as more of a distraction than an aid. So let’s cast all distractions aside and make 2015 the year we commit to being more productive. Here is a list of 9 things to help you do just that.

9 Ways to be More Productive

1. Synchronize – In an age of digitalization, we have calendars on our computers, phones, daily planners, social profiles, and more. It can be difficult trying to maintain updating tasks across that many platforms, which can lead to unnecessary confusion and miscommunications. So let’s start by ditching the numerous calendars we have and stick with just one if possible. If that’s not possible, at least make sure they are synced and accurate. One suggestion is Google Calendar; an easy way to keep track of all tasks and events in one place.

2. Keep Track of Time – Over the course of a week, keep a log to see how much time you are spending on tasks that are unimportant or that can become automated. This way you will be able to see where the majority of your distractions are coming from, what time of day they occur, if more happened on a specific day, etc. Once you have this data, you will have an easier time eliminating tasks, distractions, and interruptions that are wasting valuable time.

3. Prioritize – Set benchmarks for yourself and prioritize tasks based on value. Start with the most important task for the day, then the next important, etc. That way you will always know what the most important task for the day is, and when your most important tasks are completed it is much easier to find time for less important tasks. Also, if anything interrupts or changes your day, you will be able to rest easy knowing you have already accomplished your most important tasks of the day.

4. Minimize Distractions – Schedule a daily period of time where you prevent yourself from being distracted unless absolutely necessary. Concentrate on one activity by turning off your cell phone (if possible), Twitter alerts, Facebook alerts, and other distractors. Utilize tools like IFTTT (think “gift” without the “g”) which is an abbreviation of “If This Then That.” It’s a service where you create recipes that trigger when another service has an update. For example, you might create a recipe that consists of downloading any photo you are tagged in on Facebook to Dropbox.

5. Take A Break – After about 45 minutes our ability to focus tends to fade. So have 45 minute sessions where you apply complete focus to your task, then take a 15 minute break and regroup. Take those 15 minutes and do anything not related to the current task at hand. When your 15 minute break is up, return to the task at hand.

6. Get Organized – A disorganized work space can make it hard to focus. Keep your area clutter-free, organize your digital assets and clear your mind and office free from unnecessary distractions.

7. Set Deadlines – Give yourself a deadline to complete a task (breaks included). One of the reasons deadlines work so well is because they can make large projects more manageable. It also serves as motivation when you successfully meet a deadline. When you can see the finish line, it’s easier to stay focused. Using a Smartsheet is a great tool for setting deadlines and prioritizing tasks. You can also share your sheet with others for easy coordination.

8. Don’t Overschedule – Having too much on your schedule is an easy way to begin to feel overwhelmed. Feeling rushed and inundated can actually detract from work productivity. Try to be aspirational yet realistic when scheduling your day/week/month.

9. Be In the Now – Remember that if you get off track, tomorrow is a new day.  Don’t get stuck on the little things that happened yesterday. Focus on the positive things you have accomplished up until this point and apply that attitude toward your tasks going forward.

With a myriad of distractions available at our fingertips, productivity blockers are always just a click or a swipe of the finger away. The information age is going nowhere, so rather than blaming these distractions, take measures that help you stay productive.  Learning what steps help you personally prosper is key to success in the workplace. Try some of these ideas and see what works for you!

Team Member Profile: Matt Bell

mattb-teamHometown: Portsmouth, VA
Position: Sales Supervisor
InMotion Hosting team member since February 2009

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
I’ve always been the person that my family and friends approached for computer related issues, but the first time I heard anything about Web Hosting was actually when starting with InMotion. From there I quickly found that the industry is one of the only industries that is constantly evolving and growing, which is extremely exciting. WordPress is where I first learned the art of web design and especially coding, and now I’m not only a contact for computer problems but the person that my friends and family contact about setting up their website!

What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it?
I’m currently the Sales Supervisor here at InMotion Hosting. I love this role because I can share the knowledge and experience I have gathered over my tenure with InMotion. Being able to help improve the overall customer experience by increasing the knowledge of each sales representative is a reward in itself.

Coolest gadget you own, want to own, or have read about?
I want a drone. I have no idea what I would use it for, but wouldn’t it be cool to say, “Yea, I own a drone.” Most likely I would end up using it to provide endless games of fetch with my dog. After about a couple hours of throwing a tennis ball, using a drone to carry the ball away and drop it would be amazing!

What would you like to tell us about yourself?
I’m a huge chemistry nerd. When I was a kid I would (without knowing what would happen) mix any and every household chemical I could find. It wasn’t the smartest thing in the world at the time but now that I’m an adult I thoroughly enjoy studying chemistry. The potential of chemical engineering is endless, especially what can now be done with alternative fuels.

Describe your personality in one word
Perceptive.