Lynn M Dot Net

Any idiot can do what I do to make $ online. It's not rocket surgery, it's cake. Also, I like pie.

Friday’s Traffic Exchange Live was inexplicably canceled, though most of us regulars showed up and hung out for a bit anyway. A cancellation notice mail was sent out around start time and that was pretty much that for Friday.

So, let’s talk a little about hosting and domains today – something I’ve been wanting to write about for a few weeks now, but wanted to wait until I had some settled some things, and moved two of my domains out of the clutches of a prior host successfully, before I started ranting about that.

If you don’t feel like reading the rest of this, the moral of the story is basically DON’T buy cheap hosting + free domain deals just because it sounds like a good and inexpensive way to go.

Here’s what happened to me when I was too new and green to serious affiliate marketing stuff to know any better and hadn’t really done enough research first…

Everybody everywhere – at Affiliate Funnel conferences, in all kinds of “get started online” literature, everywhere I went – kept telling me I needed hosting if I was going to have my own site. This was early in the year last year, and (mistake #1) before I really took the time to thoroughly read everything Affiliate Funnel has as far as learning material to read, and related such stuff from other sources and e-books and reports.

I already knew – even though I really didn’t (mistake #2) have a plan or a direction set, and it would be several more months ’til that really came to me – that whatever I was going to do, I’d probably be setting up a blog because, well, that’s what I’ve always done. I had a blog before blogs were really blogs (lol) – all the way back to 1997 – and I had plenty of early-Internet-era website creation experience too, but that knowledge wasn’t translating as well to modern-day terms. So I already had in the back of my mind that whatever kind of initial presence I made for myself online once I got serious about marketing, that yeah – it’d probably be a blog.

So I went searching around for hosting, which had not really been an issue for me before since I’d mainly used free blogging platforms for my personal blog, and the other one didn’t really need hosting either. I knew what some of my blogger friends who were using paid hosting were using, or had used, and had some of their recommendations in mind (most of which probably wouldn’t have turned out any better than what I initially wound up with) – but then I was looking at some more advertising I was seeing around the traffic exchanges, safelists, and otherwise on the ‘Net for hosting too.

I looked at some of the ones I knew had been mentioned by the “gurus” in TE Land, but then (mistake #3) got to looking at others and finally wound up settling on one (mistake #5, actually) because I had Googled and found some “good reviews” mentioning this one and they were listed as a so-called “top pick” on several recommendation sites I found while Googling (and that would be mistake #4 before the #5).

What it all boils down to is that I got all starry-eyed over the relatively inexpensive (less than $10 a month) hosting PLUS the two free domains that came with it, for a year. I thought, wow, I got myself a good deal, saved myself some money on domains, yada yada.

Well, here’s the thing:

  • You can get hosting for less than $10 a month anyway with either of the two hosting companies I’m going to recommend a little later in this post. And I should have done so (read on…).
  • Really, it’s just not the best of ideas to have your domains and hosting under the same umbrella – that whole “don’t put all your eggs in the same basket” kinda thing.

As for that second one, there’s a few reasons for this, but I can give you one really good example personally from way back. I’ve lost control of some domains I had in the past due to a dispute with that particular hosting company (which sucked about as much as the one I stupidly first picked last year, and are liars and thieves, in my opinion, but certainly have poor business practices). I may never get them back, but that’s okay, they really weren’t all that important anyway.

Just about any TE Land veteran/guru/etc. will likely recommend you go get your domains somewhere like Namecheap or GoDaddy and get your hosting elsewhere, though I have some registered a few other places. I mostly prefer Namecheap for domains myself, and as for getting good deals and saving money, you can pretty much find a discount coupon every month for Namecheap if you just Google a little bit.

Anyway, yeah, early last year I thought I’d really done myself a favor going with hosting with this particular host. I actually paid for hosting without using it for a little while. When I started getting really serious with what I was doing with my marketing and buckling down, I realized my mistake almost immediately.

I got ready to set up my blog (the one you’re reading now). Once I started working with this hosting company’s system trying to get my blog up and running – well, some four or five hours later, I still didn’t have a blog. Their system was SO un-user-friendly and clunky and just such a major pain to mess with, it was next to impossible.

And I’m a veteran blogger. Granted, it was the first time I’d tried to set up a blog on a paid hosting service, but still – it just shouldn’t have been that hard.

So, fed up and put out after four or five hours of banging my head on the desk, and determined to have a WordPress blog up and running before the sun came up, I went straight to Mike (“The WordPress Guy”) Paetzold’s blog to confirm who he most highly recommended for hosting (I was pretty sure I knew, but wanted to make sure):

I ended up going with HostGator because Fantastico installation of WordPress is so incredibly easy, like click a couple of buttons and fill a couple of boxes out and you’re done. If you’re wanting to set up a WordPress blog, that’s probably the easiest way to go – and though I do pay a bit more for my hosting plan there because I wanted some extras, if all you’re doing is a blog and you don’t need a lot of extra stuff, you can easily start out at the $4.95/month plan and then upgrade later if you need to.

ZootHost is run by the fabulous Jon Atwood (a frequent visitor to TE Live), has great word-of-mouth performance and customer service wise among pretty much all of TE Land and beyond, and a large number of your favorite traffic exchanges and related programs are hosted at ZootHost, so you can’t really go wrong there either.

Anyone can tell you Zoot’s service is impeccable, and I can sign off on that too because I don’t pay Jon very much money (yet), and still he and Chris have gone far and beyond the call of duty to help me with some issues. For shared or dedicated hosting either one, it’s great, and you can get shared hosting with Zoot for under $10 a month too ($9.95).

So yeah – let’s just pretend there are NO other shared hosting companies out there if you’re needing to set up your first website or blog, because you don’t want to have to go through what I went through. (Oh, yes, there’s MORE… keep reading.)

And that’s all not to say there aren’t some smaller hosting companies out there that don’t have worthwhile service – but they’re probably also not the ones that are going to pop up when you Google for “best hosting”/etc. either. Most of the ones that pop up on those “top lists” are the ones you’re going to want to avoid.

Do your due diligence and research, and ask around about the smaller ones. I can pretty much mostly – with maybe a very few exceptions – guarantee you that most of the ones you’ll find Googling “best host” or “top host” are the ones you likely want to run away from, and fast.

I had my blog (the one you’re on) set up with HostGator in mere MINUTES, after having frustratedly fiddled with the clunky and complicated system of that other misguidedly purchased hosting for hours and hours and getting nowhere. Minutes. Less than ten minutes, probably more like five.

I ended up paying for that other hosting – even though I never actually used it but for that four or five hours I was unsuccessful at getting a blog up and running – for a year, since it came with the “two free domains”. Yeah, I could have transferred the domains elsewhere at any time, but that would have just been more money plus I had already agreed to keep the hosting account for the year. I could have canceled that, but there would have been big early cancellation fees involved so that just would have been even MORE money.

But still, I ended up basically paying nearly $120 for two domains (which was all I used, since I didn’t use the hosting itself) over the course of a year. Two domains that I could have gotten for less than $20 a year elsewhere, if I hadn’t bought the stupid hosting plan in the first place.

I’ll not bore you with the gory details of how teeth-grindingly frustrating and aggravating it was trying to get my two domains transferred away from them – which, at least I was able to finally succeed in doing so, unlike my previously mentioned old domains from way back, which are still being held hostage by the aforementioned less-than-desirable and lying/cheating hosting company with poor customer service issues.

But talking to these more recent people on the phone was something I never want to have to do again, as my dogs probably know more with their little dog brains about domain service than these people do. A transfer initiation process which should have taken about an hour or less wound up requiring four phone calls over the course of over fourteen hours in one day – and on one of those phone calls, their own domain services representative gave me the WRONG code to initiate the transfer with. The whole thing just turned into a comedy of errors that lasted over half a day and really should have taken only a few minutes, and if I’d been beating my head against a wall, I would have been a bloody mess.

So in essence, what looked like a really good deal on the surface turned out to be a huge, HUGE mistake, and cost me a lot more money in the long run (and gave me tremendous headaches, especially when I started the process of transferring those domains) than it would have if I’d just done the right thing in the first place and gone with HostGator or ZootHost for hosting, and Namecheap or GoDaddy for my domains. A new person just starting out who doesn’t need dedicated hosting yet or just wants to toss up a blog – you can’t go wrong with those.

And if I’d been really and truly listening and reading, and paying attention to others like I should have at the time, it would have saved me a whole lot of trouble (and about a hundred bucks).

So that’s why I’m sharing my hosting and domain horror stories with you today, so hopefully you won’t make the same initial mistakes I did. Those “get (two, five, whatever) domains free with a year’s hosting” deals and some of the other garbage offered by some of those “top (five, ten, twenty, whatever) hosting companies” you’ll see when you start Googling is mostly just that – garbage – and you’ll likely live to regret it. Especially if you ever need quick (or intelligent, or trustworthy) service about something.

And while it may look very convenient and easiest and like such a good deal on the surface to get all such things in one place – it’s really a much better practice to just not keep all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. If that proverbial basket tips over for whatever reason – something doesn’t go right, or you want to cancel and/or move, or whatever – you may find yourself wanting to chew your arm off dealing with their service reps in the fallout, and wishing you’d done something else in the first place – like I wished I had.

So if hosting and domain names are on your to-do list now, save yourself the trouble and check out HostGator or ZootHost for hosting, and Namecheap or GoDaddy for domains – and don’t even look at any of those other “great specials” or convenient “super deals”. I’m still trying to stop the twitch I get in my left eye every time I think about that 14+ hour long and four phone call ordeal over my last big hosting and domain mistake, and I wish I’d just done it right the first time and saved myself that torture.

I just had to chime in here again this week and say how very thrilled I am with the great results I’m getting from Jay Latour’s new advertising program that launched exactly a week ago, Traffic Bar Ads.

You know how you sometimes send out a solo e-mail or a safelist/list builder e-mail, and then watch the signups come trickling in over hours after, days, and weeks? And even months sometimes, in the case of ad sites that don’t expire their e-mails or not for a long time.

That’s not happening with Traffic Bar Ads. So far, this new advertising venue is proving to be VERY responsive.

Twice this week, I’ve sent out solo e-mail ads. Both times, I had new opt-ins to one of my lists within literally minutes.

That never happens to me (LOL). The opt-ins will come, but usually over several hours, days, a week, whatever. Not like this with Traffic Bar Ads and seeing them pop up within just a few short minutes!

I also think I’d be pretty happy about my results with the slide-up ad I’m running on Traffic Bar Ads, except I made a mistake and wasn’t thinking when I initially set it up and didn’t set it up with a tracking link. I’ve rectified that dumb mistake now and am going to be watching results closely in the immediate future.

In any case, as responsive as Traffic Bar Ads is turning out to be so far, I am really, really looking forward to watching how things go as the site and membership continues to grow from its current brand-new state right now.

So if you haven’t joined yet, I strongly encourage you to check out Traffic Bar Ads and see for yourself how responsive it is. I love getting new opt-ins and signups, don’t you? So be sure to go to Traffic Bar Ads and get your share too!

Traffic Exchange Live has always been a great place to kick back and take a break for an hour or so a day and relax – especially for those of us who work 100% online day in and day out – and it’s, of course, a terrific place to come and get questions answered about traffic exchanges and traffic exchange marketing. But lately it’s just plain been a lot of fun, as Jon Olson commented last night during the weekly List Building Conferences session – even more fun than usual. (Co-host Tim Linden would probably say it’s because of all the blender talk… LOL.)

Oops, did I say blending? Yeah… let’s see what all happened yesterday.

Talk Blending Thursday on Traffic Exchange Live:

  • Jon was there on time on Thursday. Tim was late.
  • I came in saying “Happy Friday” to everyone, then was quickly reminded by all that it was only Thursday. Darn.
  • Jon had a big announcement on Thursday – I Love Hits has changed to a 2:1 surf ratio. Jon will see how it goes and if traffic isn’t getting delivered as it should, he’ll switch it back, but for now the TE will be on 2:1.
  • I bet you can’t guess what Tim was talking about yesterday:

  • It was great to see AdTactics and List Effects Jon Atwood in the TE Live house yesterday, and Jon O. thanked Jon A. live on air for the very generous $100 donation he made to the Traffic Exchanges Care charity project.
  • Jon A. asked Jon O. if he was going green and I really can’t remember whether he ever got an answer or not.
  • While Tim and Jon A. talked more about blenders, Jon and his son were looking at blenders:

  • Jon might actually buy a blender. Maybe.
  • Tim asked if anyone had heard of this auto insurance company that no one had ever heard of. Someone asked if they had geckos. Someone else asked if cavemen eat geckos.
  • Jon is thrilled because he can now get free long distance in Canada for his cell phone. Which the Americans have had for ages.
  • Canadians are so mistreated.
  • I made everyone watch this, which is the funniest thing I’ve seen all week:
  • Jon is excited about his dirt. The builders (who promised him a yard by June, instead of dirt) were bringing more dirt.
  • Jon can’t have an air conditioner yet because there’s no grass to put the slab on for the AC. Just dirt.
  • Jon is answering a question about professionalism here, and only a couple of people laughed:

  • GIVEAWAYS: Ummmm….
  • ALSO SEEN ON THE SCENE: Anthony Shenberger, Diane Merriam, Jared Silver, Paul Brown, Jay Hines, Stephen Whittle, Wanda Robinson, Charles Smith, Walter Mulder – and of course, Jerry Iannucci and Winter Perkins.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY: “No more blender talk!” – Jon Olson

*** Traffic Exchange Live is on UStream every weekday afternoon 3-4 pm EST ***

Surf’s Up Site of the Day: Traffic-Splash

Why: Paul “Moneybags” Kinder says he’s loaded up the surfbar with dollar bills again!

Hi, I'm Lynn M & this is my blog.

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