All posts by Shady Al Aref Bellah

Shady Al Aref is an entrepreneur since 2002. He has worked for several corporations as an I.T. Guru and invested money and experience to grow ARMINDS during the past years.

How to automate WordPress blogging tasks?

Using WordPress as a tool for your business, no matter what size, helps you to reach out to customers in a different way. Blogs generally employ a more casual style than other forms of writing, but you still want to ensure you infuse creativity and poise into your writing. WordPress blogging automation features allow you to maintain your blog, but also to focus time on writing tasks. Learn how to use plugins to your advantage by focusing on the most important areas for automation.

Schedule Posts to Appear Automatically

After you craft a post, perhaps you aren’t ready to publish it yet. Maybe you wrote captivating content for a new product coming onto the market soon, but you don’t want it to come up until next week. Instead of having to constantly remind yourself to send the blog out, you can use a tool such as Auto Post Scheduler to post them at a time that works for you. Ensuring that your posts are published at the right time is the first step to building content that people want to read and can trust to be updated.

Schedule Facebook Posts for Varied Intervals

Blogging involves a number of components, and writing the material for the posts is just one of them. You also want to ensure that your Facebook posts are synced with your blog posts. For example, when you publish a blog highlighting an upcoming event, the Facebook page should let interested parties know they can now check out more details of the event on the Facebook page. WP Facebook Auto Publish will allow updates to go to your company’s Facebook page. This page can help the blog to drive traffic and vice versa.

Captivate the Audience with Images

Once you have the bricks laid down, you can start to build upward. Not only do you want to use words to attract the attention of the audience, but you also want to provide images that provide them with a visual of what you are talking about. Yet struggling to resize the images perfectly can take attention away from other important company tasks. Install Imsanity or Bulk Resize Media to ensure that all of your photos are the right size for the blog without all of that hassle.

Check for Grammar and Spelling

You’ve worked on the bigger picture elements such as Facebook, images and content, but now, you need to focus attention on the smaller pieces that contribute to the overall image. Proofread Bot is a crucial WordPress plugin for any blogger. Without proper grammar and spelling, readers are not going to trust your content. They are going to look for blogs with reputable and reliable information, and the stronger the writing skills you have to showcase are, the more likely you will be to present yourself as a strong source of information.

Tips for Automating WordPress Plugins

These are just a few examples of some of the plugins that you want to explore in your blogging ventures. Depending upon the goals of your business and the areas where you struggle, you may have different plugins you’d like to use, and these tips can help you to choose the right ones. Select plugins that address areas of weaknesses or areas of crucial importance in your business. On top of that, be sure to read the plugin reviews, and check out how old they are. Older plugins, for example, might not be compatible with certain browsers or programs.

Starting with the bigger picture and moving down to the smaller elements can really show you how to automate a plugin on your blog.

Please feel free to share your experience with WordPress blogging automation in the comments area below.

Why ethics are important in blogging?

Ethics govern various domains of life, and they stem from equally diverse sources. People learn their ethics from their religious backgrounds and from their parents; others develop these moral values from their school environments or their friends. As a result, ethics spill into the work environment. Ethics are important in all different fields, including blogging.

Establishing a Voice

Ethics should be infused into your blog from the very first post because doing so helps you to establish your voice. Letting people know who you are and what you stand for will help to craft a target audience. People will see a high ethical standard on your blog, and they will want to read more. In fact, you may want to include a note in a separate area of the blog that lets individuals know you are dedicated to the field of ethics, and you can lay out the different ethics that you follow.

Sounding Credible

No matter what the topic of your blog is, you want to sound as though you are an authority on the matter. When you start to infuse gossip and rumors, or other untrue information into your blog, you take away from that sense. Instead of seeing your blog as a source of information, people are going to view it as a rag. They will look at it the same way that they do gossip magazines, and they will not turn to your blog when they want to read relevant and intriguing information about the topic.

Avoiding Offensive Statements

When you start to use hateful language or to promote unethical practices in your blog, you open the door to truly offending people. While you cannot always know exactly what is going to affect different people, as a blogger, you need to have a fairly strong sense of what is considered offensive in the world of readers. When you offend people, a pretty good chance exists that they are not going to be coming back to your blog. They are going to seek out a source of information that is more aligned with their own beliefs and values.

Offering Inappropriate Advice

People turn to blogs for all different types of reasons. Some of these individuals simply want to be entertained, and others want to learn how to tackle a particular issue in life, how to produce a new dish for dinner or how to plan an elaborate vacation with the family. If you offer unethical advice, or you do not have the best interests of your readers in-mind, then people are going to fail in their attempts to succeed. Once they cannot trust your blog has a reputable source of advice, they are going to search out information of a higher quality.

Competing with Other Businesses

You want to maintain a high ethical standard for personal reasons. Going against values, morals and ethics is not a wise idea because you are, essentially, harming the soul of your business. However, from a business standpoint, you should also think about how an unethical blog can draw customers away from you. The ability to compete with other businesses is what keeps you afloat, especially in a world where new marketing campaigns are rolled out at a rapid rate. A blog that has unethical values in it is unlikely to be able to keep up with the competition.

Clearly, using proper ethics in blogging is extremely important to the success of your business. When you do not know how to infuse a high sense of morals into your blogging, readers are going to start to head to other blogs that align with their values.

Tell us how ethics helped you with your blogging career in the comments area below.

How to efficiently choose your WordPress VPS plan?

If you have just started to blog, you don’t need too much calculations. You only need to figure out the minimum requirements to run a basic WordPress blog. Here it is, for a basic WordPress installation to run normally, the minimum memory requirement is 256MB. However, it is advised to go for 512MB or higher to cover other components that are using memory.

Once your blog starts to grow then you may consider upgrading to the next higher VPS plan. But what if you are moving your already running blog from WordPress.com or from a shared hosting account to a VPS? How will you choose the suitable VPS plan to avoid any traffic bottleneck or slowness of your blog?

I have talked about the best time to move your WordPress to a VPS in a previous article. And now I am going to help you choose the right VPS plan for your WordPress blog.

Understanding the components your blog needs to runs

To understand exactly what affects your blog performance, you need to know the key components your blog needs to run. The webserver, the database engine, disk space and bandwidth.

Your WordPress blog consists of a number of files and a database, the files includes images and other scripts required to run your blog. The database contains all the text, configurations and the structure of your blog. Every time you open any page in your blog, the webserver receives the information of the requested page from your browser, locates the required page with related resources like images and small scripts.

Before the page loads, it runs queries or requests on the database to get the page data including the text you are reading right now, as well as menu contents and the side bar widgets that displays latest articles and other stuff.

Disk space is where your WordPress blog files and databases exist, and bandwidth is the amount of traffic from and to your blog that you can use. Every time a visitor opens a webpage on your blog, data transmits from the server to his browser, this is traffic. Neither disk space nor bandwidth has an impact on memory and processing power. The webserver and database server consumes memory and processing power and that’s what most of bloggers can’t measure correctly.

Estimating disk space and bandwidth requirements

Back to disk space. In order to know your blog requirements of space, you can easily check your current disk space usage and consider adding extra 500MB for the operating system and other programs and tools. Unlike shared hosting, running systems and applications consumes the disk space of your VPS as well.

For bandwidth, if you are going for unlimited or unmetered bandwidth plan for your VPS then skip this part. But if are not, don’t worry. Just go to webpagetest.org enter the URL of the page you think has the most contents in terms of images, videos or words count. In the results page, check the size of the page and consider it in the below equation:

Average required bandwidth per month = 30 days x Number of Monthly Page Views x Average Page Size

And that’s all!

What about memory and processing power required?

The tough part is estimating memory and processor consumption. Normally when you choose a VPS plan you find a comparison table showing the allocated memory and number of CPU cores. Sometimes the processor power per core is clearly shown on the table. If not, then you need to ask your provider or check the FAQs area on their website to make sure you are getting enough processing power.

Most providers nowadays rely on the latest technology, so you don’t have to worry. But, it is advisable to go for 2GHz per core or higher for your blog to run smoothly, considering your provider is not overselling the server. The primary consumers for your VPS processing power and memory are the webserver and the database engine. To run WordPress you need Apache webserver, MySQL database and PHP to be installed on the server.

It is almost impossible to estimate memory usage if you are using WordPress plugins and widgets that might be resource intensive and poorly coded, but it can be calculated case by case.

Optimizing WordPress for efficient VPS usage

It is important to know that choosing your VPS plan according to the default WordPress installation will just be a waste of money. Why get a big VPS plan while you can get a much smaller plan for the same WordPress installation?

To easily optimize your WordPress and efficiently use your VPS, you will need to use caching plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. Those plugins will help skipping the processing of PHP pages each time the page loads and use saved html versions of those page. This will greatly decrease the load by minimizing PHP complication and MySQL database queries.

So, assuming you are using caching plugins you will need to calculate only the usage of served html pages and images on your webserver. This will help you choose a cost efficient VPS plan instead of wasting money a larger plans that you don’t actually need.

The efficient method to choose your VPS plan

I have got the coming piece of information from an already running VPS with WordPress and a caching plugin installed. An average httpd process consumes almost 6MB of memory.

Accordingly, let’s go back to webpagetest.org then enter your average page URL to get the number of requests used to fully load this webpage. Once you get the required info you can use the equation below:

Estimated memory required = Number of requests per page load x 6MB

The resulting number shows the maximum memory required at any time to fully load your page considering all requests/processes stay running in parallel. You may think that this is not very accurate, however you can never estimate the exact memory required in Kilobytes. Many factors may interfere and if you have many plugins installed which are high resource consumers or poorly coded you will never estimate your memory requirement correctly.

Now you know how to choose your VPS plan. You will need to check your current disk space, use the bandwidth equation above, and make sure you have 2GHz of processing power per core then use the memory equation I used earlier and add around 256MB for other running tools. And, you are good to go!

If you find this helpful, or need help choosing your VPS plan with specific requirements, please post your comment below.

How blogging can improve your memory and brain power?

Following certain instructions or steps to reach a certain goal without a spirit is boring and somehow frustrating. That’s why it is better to learn an interesting hobby that will lead eventually to the required goals.

For example, you can play an interesting sport like basketball and you will watch your body transforms into an athletic shape. You can play brain teasing games on your mobile to break the highest score, and you will notice great improvement in your intelligence level. When it comes to improving memory and overall brain power, blogging is the hobby you need to master. Let me show you why!

Researching, learning & teaching others

Your brain can learn and adapt at any age, this ability is known as neuroplasticity. Accordingly, in order to improve your brain power and memory, you need to train it continuously by learning. When you learn attentively, you teach your brain to always move the information from short-term memory to long-term memory, this process requires attention.

Your brain normally takes eight seconds to completely save a piece of information to your memory. When you focus on the topic you are researching without distractions or multi-tasking, you train your brain to commit to one task at a time to make it easier to improve your memory.

To write a good blog post, you need to research and learn more about the topic you are writing about. While blogging, you teach your readers what you have learnt. You process the information you have received and the knowledge you have acquired then produce them in your own voice, this has a great effect on improving your memory.

Organizing topics & Multi-tasking

Can you see the above subtitle? Good, it is part of this article’s structure. Normally while blogging, you need to organize your thoughts in a list or few subtitles to create the outline of the article. Teaching yourself to organize topics and thoughts will help your memory greatly.

Your brain saves Information pieces in your memory in related clusters. By organizing and structuring similar concepts and pieces of information you will be able to recall them easily without huge effort.

Let’s visualize this by imagining this scenario. If you need to grab your coffee from Starbucks and find two waiting lines. One line looks like an organized queue and the other looks like a group of children, each child is fighting to get the candy first. Which one will you choose to get your coffee faster?

Multi-tasking and trying to absorb lots of information from different sources at the same time might look amazing, but they don’t! You might be able to recall the unorganized information from the short memory but the next morning you might not remember anything. Teach yourself to stop multi-tasking, organize your thoughts then focus on the task you are doing.

Connecting with your readers and sharing ideas

Surrounding yourself with a group of people who share the same values and interests has a great effect on your mental health. As a blogger you create your own group of fans and readers who love what you write and share their thoughts with you. Also, bloggers usually join online blogging communities and discuss ideas with other bloggers on social media.

If you blog to help people feel better and make them have a great life, this will make you feel good about yourself and eventually will enhance your mental health.

Stay mentally active through creativity

I have written an article about building your blog like a big muscle, it works for your brain too. You need to stay mentally active to build a strong brain like a strong muscle. You need to challenge it with problems that you need to solve and feed it with new information. This is what you normally do when you blog.

While blogging you help your brain to stay active and form new path ways and links between concepts and pieces of information to create new ideas, this is called creativity.  And it will help improving your mental health.

So, every activity you do when you blog helps your brain and memory. You simply follow your passion and get the benefits silently without too much efforts or boring instructions.

Let me know if blogging helped your brain and memory, share your experience in the comments area below.

How to increase motivation and stop quitting?

“Winners never quit and quitters never win” Vince Lombardi (June 11, 1913 – September 3, 1970) was an American football player, coach, and executive.

It is the best quote to start with. If you want to stay motivated and always win you should never quit, because if you are a quitter you will always give up halfway to your goal and you will never win.

In this article I will try to help you with a few but valuable tips that can help you stay motivated, focused and reach your goal easily.

Define your goal and the reasons

As a blogger you need to clearly define your goal. Do you want to be a thought leader in your field? Do you want more traffic to your site? Or is it your passion to share your thoughts and talk to your fans?

Whatever your goal is, you need to define it and write it down on a paper sheet then stick it on your room wall. Every time you get distracted you will see your goal in front of you.

Sometimes even if you know your goal, you lose the spirit and the passion. To solve that you need to write the main 2-3 reasons why you are chasing that goal.

For example if you want to blog to get more traffic to your site, then the reasons can be to make money from Google AdSense or promote your products online, and so on.

Focus on your passion and visualize the end results

Stay engaged all the time. To focus on a blogging as a passion you need to surround yourself with everything related to your passion, you need to read lots of blogs, talk to other bloggers on forums and social media, and keep reading articles like this one to always stay in the game.

And, dream big! I know you feel like dreams are not reality, but if you dream big you will always be able to visualize the end results that you want to achieve, and smile in faith. Dreaming will increase your motivation especially if you have a clear and defined goal that you are trying to reach.

Lose your negative energy friends

It might sound harsh, but you have to. If you have true friends, they will never try to make you feel worse. Your true friends will never say something like “You are a loser”, “you will never reach your goal” or “Do you think you are the next Bill Gates? You wish!” So, knowing for sure that your toxic friends are not true friends it will be easy for you to lose them. I am not saying to breakup with those friends, just keep the distance and try to avoid any situation where they start spreading the contagious negative energy to bring you down.

Always surround yourself with people with purpose, passion and high motivation then make them your close friends.

Reward yourself on every small goal

You may already know that you can’t eat 20 apples in one meal, because you will get stomach pain. This applies to reaching your goals. You need to split your big goal to small attainable goals and try to reach them one by one.

Make sure to reward yourself on every small goal you reach. Take a short break, go out with close friends or even have a nice meal. Just reward yourself, don’t be too selfless.

Build a habit, don’t praise it and make it a tool

It is easy to build a good habit, but it is easier to break it, unlike bad habits. We also tend to keep bad habits because they are always easy, enjoyable but also harmful. While good habits like writing good blog articles are the opposite.

So, if you succeed in building a habit and face any interruption or failure to keep that habit, don’t get demotivated. Don’t feel as a loser; just take that break or interruption peacefully and continue to recover your habit afterwards. Your habit is not the holy book, it is just a tool that will help you stay on the way to success.

A quick tip to build a habit is to keep doing it continuously for 21 to 40 days. Some online researches say that the 21 days habit building is a myth. But if you try the first 21 days without quitting once you face an interruption, believe me, you will see it is not a myth.

In general, becoming a motivated blogger is not difficult, staying motivated is. If you follow the above tips you will be able to stay motivated much longer and maybe all the time.

Please share your feedback or more tips to help me and other readers in the comments area below.

How intelligence helps your blogging creativity?

In a previous article, I have clarified that creativity is the process of connecting existing concepts and ideas to come up with a new idea. So what is intelligence?

In its simplest definition, intelligence is your ability to learn, understand and apply what you have learnt to solve certain problems. For example, as a blogger you need to create articles to solve your readers’ problems and help them have a better life. Let’s go deeper!

Intelligence vs. Creativity

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.” Steve Jobs

So, as the legend Steve Jobs – Apple’s co-founder and former CEO – says. Creativity is connecting things, and you don’t need more intelligence or higher IQ to be more creative. 

Creativity is a function in your brain that you just need to turn on, and intelligence is an ability or a skill that you can use to make your creativity valuable by applying it to solve problems. They are not replacing each other’s, they are completing each other’s.

Do you need to be an intelligent blogger?

Let me first clarify something. What makes you unique as a blogger is creativity. If you can maintain the creativity state and control it, you are a better blogger. So when intelligence is important?

If you need to use the creative ideas that you have come up with, you need to find out how you can apply them to solve problems. Here comes intelligence. If you can formulate, filter and produce simple and unique solutions to a certain problem using your own idea, then you are a creative intelligent blogger. If you are not creative, you might be intelligent. But in this situation you will have to use other people ideas to solve certain problems.

You will be smart, but not unique if weren’t using your creativity. And as a blogger you need to be unique. Again, creativity exists in every brain, so you are creative by nature.

How to increase intelligence?

Studies have proved that intelligence has genetic components. But whatever your intelligence level is, you can enhance it as long as you don’t have brain damage. If you are reading this article this far, then you don’t have issues with your brain. And definitely you can increase your intelligence level.

Your brain is as any other organ in your body, it needs healthy nutrition, suitable environment and protection from diseases to function properly. So, to become more intelligent you need to do what you have to do, in order to prepare your brain for the new level.

Today, I will list 2 tips only that can help you become a more intelligent blogger:

1 – Learn:

Take time to analyze your previous achievements or even mistakes. Think about consequences of every action, how you can get better results based on previous success stories. And write down all the results to create a plan that you can follow in your future problem solving situations. Remember, intelligence is your ability to use the knowledge you have in order to solve problems.

2 – Practice:

Too expected? I know. But it is how god created us, when you were a baby you ate, walked and talked after practicing. Our bodies, brains and souls reach better levels of anything only by practicing. Although it is boring, but it is a gift. Because everyone can practice and if you can practice you can be more intelligent. So how to practice and teach your brain to be more intelligent?

Play games. How simple is that!

Go online and challenge your brain with puzzles, brain teasing, problem solving and brainstorming games. Online games simulate every intelligence practice you may need, just try them and you will notice the difference.

If you are an intelligent blogger, you have the ability to learn and understand this article and the knowledge you get from other sources, apply what you have learnt into blogging to solve problems.

What are your preferred games that require intelligence? Do you know more tips to help other bloggers? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

How to build a big WordPress blog like a big muscle?

I know that it is your main concern, to build a big WordPress blog. And if you have big blog, you need to make it much bigger. Believe me, it is the main goal of every blogger.

There is nothing better to help you achieve this goal than bodybuilding. I hear you say “What? Is Shady kidding or just doesn’t know what to write?” I understand your confusion, but I insist. Nothing can help you better than a sport that requires time, dedication and brings great results that makes you proud of.

In the rest of this article, I will list the steps you need to build a big WordPress blog using the exact same tips you follow in building a big muscle.

1- Fuel your engine and hit the start

Starting to workout is always hard, but it gets easier with time. The aircraft uses almost one third of fuel in the takeoff only. Which means, it is better to push yourself to start working-out even if it is hard. Motivate yourself, watch training videos or get a personal trainer at the beginning to help you, but keep in mind that this will not last long, because it will get much easier with time.

What about blogging?! It is exactly the same! At this moment, you are doing great in your start phase. You are already motivated and the proof is that you are reading this article. You searched and found this nice post to fuel your energy and start writing. This is what I am helping you to do. It is only hard at the beginning.

2- Exercise regularly

Do you want to begin with the hard start phase I mentioned above every time you work out? Of course not. Because you don’t have to, and it is exhausting. Then you need to exercise regularly to keep your spirit and energy on a stable high level.

When you build a muscle you need to exercise regularly, and so is building your WordPress blog. Put a schedule that you can follow and then, simply follow. If you can blog every day, do that. If you can blog every two days, then go with it. If you don’t have enough time, then make it on a weekly basis, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that if you make a schedule you should be able to stick to it no matter what. With regular blogging, you will master the art and you won’t find any difficulties writing the next article.

3- Feed it well

After workout, muscles need to recover the damaged fibers. It will look for protein in your system to perform the recovery, to get bigger muscles after this process you need to eat food high in protein. In blogging, your protein is the ideas and the sources are books, other big blogs and news sites. You should have a permanent flow of ideas which will come only through continuous reading and research.

4- Be fair, build them equally

For maximum results, you need to provide each muscle with one day recovery at least. So, if you work out on a daily basis, you should change the muscles you are working on day after day. For example workout on your chest muscles today, and workout on your back muscles tomorrow, then repeat.

In blogging, topics and categories are your muscle groups. Don’t focus on the same topic or category and leave others empty. You should build all categories equally to avoid boring your WordPress blog readers and yourself.

5- Make it a life-style

Have you ever got the feeling of “So what?”, when you reach your goal and get Hugh Jackman body definition, you will take the photo of your amazing body, upload it to Instagram then, quit. You don’t have the motive any more, but what will you do when you gain fat and lose your achievements? You will go back to step 1, which we both know how difficult it is.

To avoid that, you need to make it a life-style. Don’t wait for results, they will come eventually and focus on the process itself. Back to our topic, a big WordPress blog full of regular small but valuable articles is better than a blog with few lengthy articles. Love and make blogging a habit.

6- Monitor progress and keep it up

The mirror tells you how is your muscle building progress, but what about your blog? There are tons of WordPress plugins that you can use to analyze your blog performance. For example, you can use Google Analytics to get lots of data that will show you how good you are doing on your blog and what exactly you need to enhance.

Those analytics are very helpful in keeping you motivated, because once you get real data showing interest in your blog, this will fuel your energy and will support all the above steps that will grow your blog.

Can you relate more bodybuilding tips to blogging? If you can, please add them in the comments area below and let’s discuss. It will be fun!

When to move your WordPress to a VPS?

It is a matter of time till you realize a simple but important fact, your blog needs to be hosted. Your blog hosting is not optional, if you are using WordPress.com or not, it is hosted. So, hosting is the first thing you need, in order to run your blog.

You may think that creating an account on WordPress.com and start blogging in a few minutes, is everything you need to run a great blog. Believe me this is not enough.

From my perspective, wordpress.com is for entry-level bloggers “no offense”. If the people in Automattic the creator of WordPress believed that wordpress.com is enough they wouldn’t create the self-hosted version on WordPress.org. With a self-hosted version you can download WordPress and host it anywhere you want with full control on every aspect of your blog.

Simply, you can’t use your WordPress.com blog for any commercial activities like Google AdSense or paid posts, you can’t upload plugins or themes and your account will be suspended anytime if you violate their terms of service.

I will focus here on WordPress as the most popular blogging software, and will help you decide which alternative to go for, when it comes to hosting your WordPress blog.

Shared Hosting for your WordPress blog

Most WordPress sites are hosted on shared hosting platforms. Shared hosting is nothing beyond what its name declares, you are sharing the hosting with many others.

Every online application or website is hosted on a computer, we call it a server. The server is a computer with high recourses in terms of memory, disk space and processing power. It can be divided into partitions and rented to customers. This applies to shared hosting and VPS which we will discuss below.

Because you are sharing all server resources with many others, you can’t control your hosting account in a way which affects other accounts. Accordingly, you have almost no control on important areas of your account like running certain scripts or adjusting server settings. You will need to ask your hosting provider to make the required task for you if applicable.

Your hosting provider is also responsible for the fair share of resources, which means if your neighbor used too much resources of the server and slowed down other sites including yours, the provider will be responsible for limiting that neighbor’s resources or suspending his account.

If you use too much resources, your account might be the one suspended. But, if you are the low usage account, you might be still pressured by other high consuming neighbors. You almost pay the same cost for the same memory and processing power as other sites on the same server, why should your neighbors use more resources than you and slow down your site?

Did you run a background check on every hosting neighbor in your shared hosting server? Don’t get angry, I know you didn’t. So, if your neighbors are running illegal sites, doing email spam or publishing adult content, the IP that your site is sharing with them will get blocked by Google. So, your blog will not show on the search engine, which is a disaster. And will get blocked by countries that don’t allow adult contents. Do you provide adult contents? No, your neighbors do and you pay the cost!

VPS is the direct upgrade path for your WordPress

VPS or “virtual private server” has the same concept of a dedicated server. You have full control on your virtual server with full root or administrator access to your account and no one is competing to use the memory and processing power guaranteed to you.

The most important thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word VPS “Oh my god, I am not a tech expert”. Actually, this thought became a history. With the rise of VPS providers who add full management service for your VPS as a free compliment with every package, you need not to worry about any technical skills. Fully managed VPS is exactly the same as shared hosting in terms of easy usage and flexibility. And at the same time you get much more benefits than a shared hosting account.

You don’t have to worry about bigger neighbors, no one will affect your blog. Your WordPress blog can be auto-installed when you order your VPS or you can install or add more blogs later using your easy to use control panel, which is also included in your VPS package.

What about the shared IP issue we mentioned earlier? Your VPS normally comes with its own dedicated IP. No one can cause a block on your IP other than you. Don’t host adult contents, don’t SPAM and don’t run any illegal website and you are safe.

WordPress.org has published an important document on WordPress optimization, they clearly say that shared hosting is more limited in terms of performance optimization for your WordPress self-hosted blog. With virtual server “VPS” you can have more control on components like Web Server, PHP and MySQL database engine that you can adjust to greatly boost the performance of your blog. Of course, if you are on a fully managed VPS you can ask your hosting provider to optimize it for you and don’t get your hands dirty.

Should you start with shared hosting or VPS?

If you are currently on WordPress.com or just starting out, you need to ask yourself one question. What do I need from my blog?

You may say I need to create a great blog with lots of visitors and readers, I need to make a lot of money from Google AdSense or I need a simple blog to share my thoughts but also make money from Google AdSense … etc. The solution to any of those answers is: Go with a Fully Managed VPS plan.

If you start on shared hosting and grow quickly it will be “a must” to move to VPS. Actually, it will be a hassle! However, some hosts can move your blog for you for free.

VPS pricing became almost similar to shared hosting plans offered by reliable providers. So, it is better to start with a VPS for your WordPress. Fully managed VPS is as easy as shared hosting, where you don’t face the disadvantages of unmanaged VPS plans and at the same time you gain all the benefits of a VPS that we listed above.

Then, the answer to the question “When to move your WordPress to a VPS?” is, Right Now!

Are you currently on a shared hosting account or VPS? Are you still starting on WordPress.com? Let’s discuss the problems you face or believe you may face in the comments area below.

Why guest blogging may hurt your brand?

I am going to assume that you used guest blogging to create or publish high quality content, in order to get exposure for your brand. I am also going to assume that you do not to follow the cheap spammy link building methods followed everywhere.
However, guest blogging may deeply hurt your brand and online reputation. Let me tell you how.

Guest blogging for link building or increasing your blog pages

In 2014, Google started to lower the rank of low quality sites specially guest blogging networks. Matt Cutts the head of Google’s Web Spam team has posted several videos during the previous years, educating bloggers to provide high quality contents and cooperate in fighting spam blogs and low quality websites.

Then, he consolidated all this in a new post on his blog, however the guest blogging as a link building strategy to increase page rank became so cheap and spammy.

Accordingly, the team in Google took a stance against this behavior and started to penalize those sites and networks.

What I need to say here is, if you really want to increase your brand online reputation don’t go for guest blogging whether you are the guest blogger or the publisher. It will hurt your name both ways.

Guest blogging to inform or educate with quality content

Let’s make it clear. Google has no right to tell us “bloggers” what to do. We need to stick to high quality and great content because we want to bring value online, not to follow Google’s rules so that they give us a good rank.

If you want your blog readers and social media followers to love you, then you should write or publish good content. Then, Google will have to love you eventually.

So if we take another look at the new guest blogging rules, Google is helping us “Quality Bloggers” to reach more audience and drop other low quality blogs that already have higher search engine ranks. Thanks Google!

Content freelancers as an alternative to guest bloggers

Content freelancers are content writers with different quality levels who can be found online and hired to write content for your site. Unfortunately, they don’t write what you want to say exactly, because they are simply independent contractors who work for hundreds or thousands of other clients.

Why content freelancers may also hurt your brand?

Because they don’t smell and feel your brand the same way you and your employees do, they are distracted with lots of other projects. Although, they are very good to build a great blog with valuable articles, but are not useful if you want to create a unique voice and identity for your brand in all your blog posts.

Our experience with content freelancers highlighted a very important fact, blogging as a paid project will produce tasteless or even meaningless content.

When we started looking for freelancers to write quality content for our blog since 2011, we received “rubbish”, yes I said “rubbish”. Some of those freelancers thought that we wanted to increase page rank by cheating so they delivered articles stuffed with keywords with no point at all. Others thought that we wanted quick content that are a re-write or a re-phrase of similar already published articles. Then, we had to re-write all those posts in our own style and made a decision to write all future articles on our own.

What is the solution?

If you don’t have the time, talent or resources to write quality articles on your own, then you can use guest bloggers or content freelancers only if you follow these simple rules:

  • Review, review and review the quality of the content before publishing.
  • Make sure there is a tone relevant to your brand voice and personality in the article.
  • If a guest blogger is asking to put links in his “High Quality” blog post, then add the “nofollow” attribute in these links and make sure you are not linking to a low quality site. Check google guidelines regarding this here
  • Teach yourself and your team writing and blogging skills because eventually you will need to write your blog posts yourself.

I hope this helps getting high quality online reputation for your brand. And cooperates in making the internet a better place for people who search for value.

If you can help us with other tips regarding this topic, please add your comments below.

Why early birds make more successful bloggers?

In a previous article “A Fact You Should Know to be a Creative Blogger”, I was talking about the source of creativity. Today, I will show you a great blogging tip that will help you to increase this gift.

The tip is: Wake up early!

Creative people who are up early, are more proactive and optimistic. Let’s see how!

Waking up early will make you a successful blogger

Lots of studies show that high grades in school and succeeding in business are easier for people who wake up early. Also, a research made by Christoph Randler shows that early birds are more proactive and productive. If this worked for others, it should work for you too as a blogger.

How can you be a successful blogger if you wake up early? You will be able to oversee the day with no distractions, you will have a discharged brain and you can write down your to-do list easily. You will have the will power to act before any other negativity to interrupt your thoughts. That’s why It is important to sleep and wake up naturally.

As a blogger you can get the most benefits out of being an early bird. With a clear mind, write down any idea that pops-up in your head. Organize the topics you already prepared, and do enough research to complete the articles you are ready to write.

If you try to make those blogging activities after a long work day, or an exhausting driving in high traffic it will be a very tough job. And the results will not be as interesting as your blog readers expect to see.

How to become an early bird?

1- Sleep early: To wake up early after a long sleep for a solid 7-8 hours, you will need to sleep early.

2- Plan ahead: What will you do when you wake up? If you don’t plan the tasks you are going to do when you wake up, you will end up sleepy with an empty head, and you might quit this habit. Now, list all the blogging tasks you need to do with a fresh mind, then put the list beside your bed to be the first thing to see when you wake up.

3- Build the habit: Getting used to this habit by first sleeping early will be very difficult, you will need as a start to wake up 15 minutes earlier every day. This will force you to sleep earlier naturally. Just use your smart phone alarm and decrease the wake up time slowly on a daily basis.

Successful people wake up early

Will you be convinced if I tell you that the founding father of the United States is telling you to wake up early?  “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Said Benjamin Franklin.

If you love Starbucks, you will be happy to know that Michelle Gass, Starbucks president, wakes up at 4:30 am to go running, then to work.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO. Wakes up at 4:30 am and even if he stays late at night working, he is the first one being in the office.

In addition to that, most religions in our world motivate the behavior of waking up before sunrise to pray and to start working afterwards. So, the tip is from earth and also from heaven, you have no excuse.

This success factor applies to bloggers, especially that blogging is a mind challenging task. Your mind will be in its best state and ready for creativity if you wake up before sunrise.

Do you find difficulties getting used to this great habit? Did you try it and found how successful you became? Let us discuss this in the comments area below.