Switch to HostGator Proves They’re Awesome

Ten days ago I announced my switch from MediaTemple to HostGator hosting because things were very slow.

So check this out. Google Webmaster Tools fills you in on some metrics related to Google’s crawling of your site. Here’s what I found:

Time spent downloading a page (in milliseconds)

crawl-statsNotice that huge drop off towards the end. That means that HostGator was able to serve the pages at least twice as fast as MediaTemple was.

Now here’s where it really matters. So what if it took Google longer to download my pages – as long as they’re all there, then they accomplished what I wanted. Right?

Number of kilobytes downloaded per day

crawl-stats-kilobytesCrazy! So here I found out that Google may have been downloading all of my pages, but may not have been indexing everything on those pages – or maybe they were just taking a long time to do it. Now, it seems they must be getting everything, and probably getting it faster and making my pages appear in search engines quicker.

Moral of the Story: Find a Good Host

I’ve been with several hosts now and all have their ups and downs. For instance, MT was great when I first started with them and they have good support and a really well designed control panel. They obviosuly lost it when it came to speed though (at least on their grid servers).

So, I’m now impartial to HostGator and suggest that everyone else host through them. The difference is clear.

My Desk

Some of you have been curious about what my office environment was like now that I’m working from home.

Show and tell…

The Overall Situation

You can tell that I have a nice big desk. I can’t remember what it’s called anymore but Ikea sold it for awhile and for some stupid reason discontinued it and started selling a smaller version. I love the size.

my-desk

Nice, Comfy Chair

This aint no $900 chair people claim changes your life – it’s from Wal-mart or Target, but it’s padded, has arm rests, and sits atop one of those plastic things that pokes “holes” in your carpet. It suits my needs.

leather-chair

The Peripherals

Coming in third place in the line-up — keyboard, mouse, and volume control…and notepad. I have a wireless Dell keyboard and the wired default mouse Dell sent me which I actually like better than the wireless one I paid extra for. The volume control is for the 5.1 surround sound setup featured in the next picture.

keyboard-mouse-notepad

Big Sound

I couldn’t be nearly as productive as I am without music. Fortunately, between iTunes and Pandora I have plenty to keep me occupied and I have 5.1 surround sound to thoroughly motivate me and annoy my neighbors.

speakers

Big Screen

I have a floating 24″ monitor with a sweet background from Smashing Magazine.

You’re so gullible…you believed that it actually floated, ha. Actually it conveniently moves around on an arm so that I can spin it around to face the futon off-picture so that I can catch up on The Office.

monitor

The Black Sheep of My Desk

Neither mouse, chair, monitor, nor notepad or even desk like the far corner. It’s so boring over there. It’s kind of dusty, and definitely laden with a little bit of procrastination. Nevertheless, paperwork gets a spot.

paper-work

How About You?

I’d love to see your working space. What am I missing? What might you want to get me for Christmas? 😉

Also, stay tuned next week because I’ll be showcasing my mobile office as I’ll be on the road for two weeks.

Introducing the WP Full Site WordPress Theme

WP Full Site Banner - WordPress theme for your small business

Major theme update: Version 2

Stumbling across this theme may finally be your answer to one of the most frequently asked questions about WordPress — where can I get a theme that caters to the needs of my small business?

Here! That’s where. WP Full site is a theme built for small businesses that want a website that enables them to use a Content Management System (CMS), have the option of a blog, and focuses on the necessities that all small business websites need.

A Small Business WordPress Theme

What exactly are the requirements of a “small business WordPress theme?”

Every business is unique, and no one can expect anything to be everything they’ve ever dreamt of, but there are some clear guidelines that a small business should adhere to with a website.

Your site should at least have:

  • An obvious way to be contacted, hence the phone number and email link at the very top of the website
  • A clear, concise call to action accompanied by an attention grabbing graphic
  • The option to have or blog or not have a blog

Make It Easy to be Contacted

WP Full Site uses one of the best practices in optimizing website conversion rates — that is, providing visitors with a quick, easy to find way to contact you.

By placing the phone number and a link to your email (or contact form) in the top right hand corner of your site visitors will always be able to find how to contact you. You don’t want to ever frustrate a potential customer about to be sold and have them give up because they couldn’t find the contact information!

In addition, studies show that providing customers with an easily findable phone number helps people feel more assured that you’re a legitimate business. Some people would rather call than email too — don’t lose business because they can’t find your number.

Call to Action

You’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about how you wrap up what you’re selling into one sentence. Catch the visitor’s attention with your tagline, and then actually persuade them to convert with your customized call to action.

To Blog or Not to Blog

These days blogging is pretty highly suggested — one of the reasons you’re probably already considering WordPress. Blogging can help keep your customers stay involved in your business, increases your search engine visibility, and can position your company as an expert in your field.

Though blogging has it’s benefits, you may not have the time or interest to keep up with a blog. For you, WordPress is still a great option!

WordPress doesn’t have to be used as a blog. If you already love WordPress though and don’t want to find another CMS this theme is quite helpful in your pursuits.

Site Updated & Why You Should Be Using Thesis

thesis-300x250First things first, the site has a refreshed look. It’s the same basic design it was before, but I’ve changed several things.

Before I get to the site changes, the other big news is that my site is now being hosted by HostGator. Previously I was on MediaTemple. Lots of great things to say about them, but the 1 thing that matters the most to any site owner is the availability and speed of the site.

All was great when I first started with MT, but things have been on the decline for a while….to the point that the site was taking 5-10 seconds to START loading. Crazy.

So I’ve heard great things about HostGator and things are MUCH faster. Good move Patrick.

Site Changes

Like I said, the basics are still here, but there were lots of kinks. Previously I meant to work in some fairly important features like, say subscribing to the blog and searching the site. Doh! Well, I wanted them in the design badly, but got stuck on how to actually make it work. I built the site upon the Thesis theme and because I was a newbie with it I failed to achieve everything I wanted.

Now, I’m no newbie.

That’s why I can comfortably tell you to download the Thesis theme for yourself (like right now!).

After playing with Thesis enough I was easily able to accomplish everything I wanted. Now I think the site is beautiful. Thesis takes care of so much and really makes my job easier.

So the actual changes include a sidebar with all the cool sidebar stuff. There’s better formatting in the blog, a subscribe button, and a smarter home page.

mindIT SEO Campaign

In November mindIT contacted me to help them improve online traction. They’re a small IT company in Dallas – great guys with a great business.

Google needed to hold up their end of the deal — finding the best IT companies in Dallas! Sadly, mindIT was lost amongst “the rest”. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t really show “the best” companies in the top 10 results for any given keyword so mindIT wasn’t being found for a number of keywords they should have been. That’s when they came to me and here’s where our tale begins…

Objective

Rank high and consequently drive more (and better qualified) traffic to minditonline.com in order to generate more leads/business.

mindIT is in the IT industry and needs to rank high for IT related keywords. In addition, they are a reseller of a popular health care software and offer support around it — they need to rank higher for related keywords.

Solution

mindIT had recently launched a brand new website that achieved a number a great things, including adding much more content to their site, building upon a content management system, and used many of the basic principles of improving conversion.

On the other hand, the website needed cleanup. Develop Daly cleaned up the site to improve upon the copy, extraneous pages, link juice draining, canonical issues/duplicate content, title & descriptions tags, and various other things.

All in all, the site maintains the branding and aesthetic appearance it had before the SEO process, but the guts are very much changed and improved.

Results

As with any SEO project, results are ongoing and hopefully improving all the time. In a very short amount of time (less than a month) we’ve seen incredible results. mindIT and the various keywords we targeted were not showing up in the top 10, 20, or 30 results. Here is what we achieved less than a month later:

Conclusion

It’s still too early to tell how the traffic has changed. For now, at least, we can see dramatic improvements in keyword visibility. Once again, I’m glad I could help a business increase their findability. If you need IT support, now you know who to call! (not me…mindIT!)