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


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:

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:

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


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.


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.


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


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.


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!


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?

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

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

October NewslsetterAs the final sentences of 2014 are being written, many are beginning to plan and outline the 2015 chapter of their book. The new year presents a clean slate, an opportunity to turn the page and change the narrative. While most resolutions include ramping up gym attendance, cutting back on the lattes and spending less time binge-watching Netflix, some people are looking to kick start, refine or expand their new businesses. While we can’t run next to you on the treadmill or monitor your caloric intake, we can give you a couple of recommendations on how to make sure the next chapter in your business’ story doesn’t become its epilogue. Below are 5 New Year’s resolutions for the aspiring entrepreneur.

1. Don’t Push a Product, Build a Brand

When you are first conceptualizing your new business, whether it is a software solution, an E-commerce site, a new app opportunity, a retail line or something completely different and innovative, it is common to fall in love with your primary idea or product, rather than first focusing on your presence as a brand.

Most companies, regardless of size or business model, have a staple product or service. Think of Google with its search engine, Apple with iTunes, or Dell with computers. While the development of these products is critical to the success of their respective companies, they all have one thing in common: they have expanded beyond these primary offerings as part of a concerted effort to build a more comprehensive and globally-recognizable brand. Your product is important, but do not neglect defining yourself and defining your company with brand guidelines and culture. As you grow, your brand will be essential as the flag-bearer for your company and a mirror of the values that you represent.

2. Become Data Driven

So often in business, we are faced with defining decisions and are expected to make them based on what we think is best for the company’s bottom line. The “go with your gut” approach, often used by smaller businesses with limited resources, is a dangerous one. Set yourself up to make decisions based on calculated data. Whether it is something as simple as split-testing for marketing conversion rates or as business-critical as modeling out pricing strategies, backing your decisions with informed data is the best way to ensure the decisions you make are moving the needle and lifting your bottom line. Tools such as Google Analytics, KISSmetrics and Adobe Marketing Cloud are very helpful for setting up tests and crunching the numbers for everything from landing page optimization to customer profiling to cost per acquisition and lifetime value. Dedicate human capital to business intelligence to help turn the 50/50 shots in the dark into defining decisions backed by data.

3. Salvation via Automation

Marketing automation has become an essential tool for marketers across all industries. Getting involved with automation at the early stages of business development can set you up for success by guiding you in how to think about your marketing approach. When your marketing efforts are guided by a logical progression of rules, triggers and conversion data, you begin to see the returns of hitting targeted segments of customers and prospects with relevant, specific messaging. Marketing automation can also be a time management savior, especially in regards to communications with daily, weekly or monthly cadences. Rather than pulling lists, sorting through customer journeys and scheduling these emails manually, you can rest assured that the messages you want to send will be done like clockwork, with auto-generated reports to back up your program logic. Automation industry leaders such as Marketo, Oracle Marketing Cloud and Pardot all support these trigger functionalities and have built-in integrations for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, such as Salesforce. Enable your marketing and sales teams with the creative freedom and flexibility provided by marketing automation.

4. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Fitting the right pieces around you as your business evolves is vital to your company’s growth and success. While finding the most talented candidates for each position is ideal, it is also important to surround yourself with individuals that will contribute to and thrive under your company culture. You want people who you will work amicably with, but will also not be afraid to challenge and push you when necessary. This is especially important for smaller businesses with a few core contributors doing the bulk of the grunt work and making the majority of the decisions. You are only as strong as the weakest link in your corporate chain, so make sure you are selecting talented members who fit into your team’s personality and aren’t afraid to innovate and challenge.

5. Bring Your Website out of the Stone Age

Chances are, if you started your company or created your website before 2010, the web has officially outgrown your design. The introduction of responsive design, tailored to fit the device the consumer is viewing your site on, and the adoption of HTML 5 and CSS 3 have given web designers a whole new arsenal to use when creating intuitive, dynamic designs. In a recent piece highlighting key digital trends for 2015, eMarketer underlines consumer tendency shifts to take into account when giving your site a facelift. Focus on the boom of phone and tablet traffic with a responsive redesign. First impressions of your brand are of the utmost importance, so make sure if your potential customers are coming to your site to see what you are all about, they are getting the best possible experience.

We all know that New Year’s Resolutions are made to be broken. Gyms start to thin out by Valentine’s Day, and how long can you really be expected to say no to chocolate? As an aspiring entrepreneur, make 2015 the year your business turned the page on outdated tactics and began a new chapter driven by analytics, marketing automation and a strong brand identity backed by a flawless, responsive web design.

WordPress and Video Games – WordCamp Orlando 2014

As some of you may know, I had the pleasure of attending WordCamp Orlando this past weekend.  If you didn’t quite get it from the title, everything was classic video game themed. Being someone who loves classic games (but doesn’t have much time to play them) it was great to see all of the work that the organizers put into everything.

Due to Orlando being another WordCamp where individuals flew in from all around the country, I was able to reconnect with others that I have previously met, as well as meet new people whom I was able to learn from and share new ideas.  Meeting with other like-minded individuals and sharing ideas is incredibly motivating.

The Main Event

Unlike most WordCamps that run on Saturday and Sunday, WordCamp Orlando took place on Friday and Saturday.  Throughout the weekend, I couldn’t seem to remember what day it was, but it seemed to work out well as the majority of people were representing a business or freelancing.

WordCamp Orlando was full of talent.  From Syed Balkhi’s incredible business genius to Mark Jaquith’s developer mind, all aspects of the WordPress world were well covered in some sort of “success wonderland”.  Not once was my mind not blown by a conversation I had.

My Presentation on Writing Better Documentation

At WordCamp Orlando, I had the pleasure of deploying my documentation skills onto the brains of developers.  Often times, I feel as if documentation is neglected in lieu of new features.  While new features are great, if not properly documented, those features because hard to use.

I feel that I made a great impact on how developers can write better documentation to enhance user experience and reduce support tickets.  The feedback was excellent and if I got even a single developer to better their documentation, my presentation was a success.


Overall, WordCamp Orlando was an excellent experience and will go down as one of my favorite WordCamps.  The attendees were top notch, the presentations were inspiring, and the organizers’ efforts were extremely appreciated.  A big thanks goes out to everyone involved who made WordCamp Orlando and unforgettable experience.