Best Managed WordPress Hosting? WPEngine. No Contest.

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10 years. That’s about how long I’ve been working with WordPress sites. It’s grown from a simple blogging platform, so a fully fledged content management system that most use for their website needs, regardless of how they use it. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re currently researching WordPress hosting. Let me make it very simple for you. Stop. This blog post can end any questions you have about who to choose for your managed WordPress hosting. It’s WPEngine. By a long shot. Let’s chat briefly why, and if you’re not convinced after reading through this, caveat emptor.

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Yes, this post is designed to earn referrals with WPEngine, but that doesn’t mean what I’m sharing here isn’t 100% on point. WPEngine is a phenomenal hosting company first, and guess what? They’re also a phenomenal affiliate program. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s break down why you shouldn’t even bother with anyone else when it comes to shopping for managed WordPress hosting.

  1. The hosting is 99.999999% dependable. I’ve been with them for a few years now. Guess how many times any of my sites have been down? ZERO. I’d say 100% here, but nothing in life is that. Seriously, you can’t beat the reliability they offer.
  2. Your site will fly. The difference between the loading time of your site on WPEngine vs. the cheap options is staggering. I’ve used the cheap guys and they will slow your site down to a crawl on numerous occasions. With WPEngine my sites are always loading as quickly as they possibly can. Every time.
  3. The control panel is idiot proof. I’ve used GoDaddy, Bluehost, all the cheap offerings, and their control panels are a mess. WPEngine? Wonderfully designed, easy to use. Which means less time searching for answers or contacting support.
  4. Incredible features. They have so many useful features. The staging site feature is killer and so easy to use. You can work on your site or site redesigns outside your live install, and with the click of a button switch ’em. Awesome. Have a site you need to transfer in or out? Piece of cake. WPEngine makes it as easy as clicking a few buttons. Everything is on point and helps make hosting your site seamless.
  5. Unbeatable support. You ever tried getting on support with the cheap hosting companies? Have fun for the next hour or more. Any time I’ve ever had to reach out to support, I’m talking or chatting to someone within 5 minutes at most. Love it.

Everything can’t be rainbows and unicorns through right? Of course. You can’t host your email with WPEngine, so you’ll have to find alternative options in that regard. At first I found it a little cumbersome to deal with, but what I’ve learned over the years is that this is actually better. It allows WPEngine to focus on what they do best…host your WordPress site. Take your email to Google Apps or Office 365 where it belongs. It’s much more dependable and easier to manage. Plus most web hosting companies that offer email hosting have terrible user interfaces.

WPEngine is also more expensive than many of the cheap managed wordpress hosting companies. It’s easy to be enticed by the less than $10/month options, but trust me when I say you get what you pay for. If you’re serious about your website, be serious enough to pay a few extra bucks for all of the above. The speed, reliability, ease of use, and lack of headaches you’ll have are worth every penny. I’ve learned that a 1000 times over the past few years.

So end your search, take my word, you won’t be disappointed. And as always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to discuss.

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Introducing Marketima – A marketing career website

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As I’ve gotten older the things I’m interested in writing about have strayed further away from my actual career. My personal blog has become a smorgasbord of topics ranging from tech to lifestyle, and less about marketing. Thus my entrepreneurial itch came storming back, and I felt the need to launch a separate site to be home to all my marketing content. Say hello to Marketima.

Quite simply Marketima is a marketing career website focused on giving marketing professionals a place to find a job, find an agency or read some laser focused content specific to the world of marketing and marketing careers. While we’re just getting started, we already have what I believe to be the most extensive and accurate list of US based marketing and advertising agencies. It was built from scratch, and includes social links and contacts for easy access.

In addition to my contributions, I’ve partnered with another great marketing pro, Alanna Honigman. She brings a more youthful perspective to the mix. Between the two of us, I hope to have plenty of perspectives and topics that reach a wide range of marketing pros regardless of where they are in their career.

We’re just getting started, so forgive the dust as we settle in. For now, give us a look and consider following or subscribing.

Analysis Paralysis. How I Finally Started An Idea 20 Years In The Making.

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Analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.

A few years after I got out of college and realized that any dream of being in the movie business was all but over, I started to jot down short synopsis of movie ideas I would think of. At the time I didn’t really think about how or what purpose they served, but I wanted to keep track of my ideas. My entire life I’ve always seen life through a movie like lens, so I was always thinking of cool ideas that would make great movies. Unfortunately that’s all I had ever done though…come up with some great ideas. I always felt that maybe someday I’d figure out what to do with those ideas, but in the meantime, they collected digital dust.

There was one particular idea I had that I could never stop thinking about that to this day, I always thought it would be a blockbuster hit, and rarely would a day go by that I did not think about it. 20 years I’ve had that idea. It’s evolved quite a bit of course. As I’ve gotten older, I started to get more serious about doing something with it. At first I thought I’d write a book. Why not? These days you can self-publish, and I could have a tangible accomplishment; something I could sell or give to friends and family to read. But I could never get my head right about how to write it as a book. The biggest problem was, I’m not a big reader. How can someone effectively write a book, that barely likes to read them? I’d research tools, software, strategies, trying to find a way to get me started. Excitement and motivation would come and go, life would get in the way. Progress stifled. Paralyzed by over analysis.

I suppose there’s no set blueprint for how to break through with a big idea. For me it was the combination of years of planning, and a few seeds late in life that put me over the top. The first was courtesy of a completely random conversation with a colleague of mine. While on a video shoot for my company in Nebraska, I and Playfish Media, a film crew I hired for the project (who by the way are fantastic, highly recommended), were driving to our shoot when I felt motivated to share my book idea. Jillian Suleski, the owner, and someone who’s opinion matters on the subject matter, was really taken by the idea which was great. But more importantly she asked me a very important question that as I look back, I realize may very well be the turning point.

Well, when you think of the story in your head, do you see a book or a movie?

Something as simple as that really drove it home for me. I got so caught up on having to write this story as a book. I just felt that made more sense. Self-publishing is at our finger tips. A tangible deliverable I could give to people to read. Screenplays and Hollywood seemed like such a fantasy world to me. Why write a screenplay that would just collect dust? Jillian went on to share how in this day and age, there’s more opportunity then ever when it comes to screenwriters. Pitchfests, contests…not to mention streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon all vying for great concepts and ideas. It’s a different world. I was hooked. Of course I saw my story as a movie in my head. I had to stop denying the path that made sense for me.

My excitement and motivation was at an all time high. So what did I do next? I fell right back into my analysis paralysis. Rather then dive into writing, I researched all the avenues a screenwriter could submit to. I researched how to write a screenplay, how to do it right. Weeks went by, excitement/motivation died down again. Ugh. But this time I was determined to not stay trapped. I knew I was doing this to myself again. I needed help. I needed structure, guidance, and accountability.

We live in a day and age where there is so much opportunity at our fingertips. And for me, the Screenwriters University was exactly what I needed to break through years of non-action. Memorial Day weekend cooped up in the house with the wifey was the last step. She not only thought it was a good idea, she implored that I take it. That was all I needed. I signed up, and hoped that this was the kick in the ass I needed.

I’m a week away from finishing the class, and in the past month, I can’t even believe how much I’ve learned and how far I’ve come. Everything is coming so easy to me now that I honestly think this is something I was born to do. I’m not so naive to think that I may actually sell a screenplay someday, but it won’t come without trying. 21 years ago I turned down going to film school. I think about that day all the time. What if?

But now I’ve got a second chance. A second chance at the very least to accomplish something I’ve waited a long time to do. Write my movie. I’ve broken free and I’m off and running now. And if I can do it, anyone can. Whatever your passion, gift or bucket list item is, never stop trying to figure out how to make it happen. Don’t let the details paralyze you from action like it did me for so long.

Coming soon to a theater near you (be sure to hit play on my trailer music as you read the synopsis!)

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Are You Prepared To Be Laid Off? 5 Things You Need To Do Right Now So You Are.

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You’re going to be laid off. There’s a damn good chance of that happening. Are you prepared to deal with it?

In my daily perusing of news and entertainment, I stumbled across this article about what one particular woman wished she knew before being laid off. While it’s a relatively interesting piece about one woman’s experience with being let go after a long tenure, I couldn’t help but feel like it lacked any true call to action for people that experience this. Having been a victim of this numerous times, it sparked my desire to crawl out of my blogging cave with the motivation to write a helpful piece so you can avoid the mistakes I made.

  1. Clean Up Your Social. You think HR and recruiting folks are just looking at your cover letter and resume these days? Fat chance. They’re social stalking you, and every post you’ve put out there is fair game. If your Facebook story says anything you’re sketchy about, make sure your privacy settings are where they need to be, and I’d keep the raunchy stuff off of other channels like Twitter or Instagram that are much more public domain. Yes, you have freedom of speech, but not freedom of consequences. It matters.
  2. Up Your LinkedIn Game. I’m still amazed at how many people don’t have their profiles fully fleshed out and up to date. Recruiters are always perusing LinkedIn for candidates, so regardless of how happy or content you are with your current role, keep your profile up to date. Post interesting things. Interact in groups that are relevant to your industry. And if you can afford the extra few bucks a month, go Pro for even more visibility.
  3. Have A Blog. This is the #1 thing I ever did in my career. By starting and contributing to a blog throughout my career, it gave potential employers a deeper window into my background, knowledge, and what makes me tick. You don’t have to be a great writer, just have something entertaining or useful to say. Everyone has something they are good at or knowledgeable of. Find out what’s yours, and easily sign up for a free blog at WordPress or Medium and get crackin.
  4. Always Be Looking. You’re not safe…period. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how smart you are, or how loved you think you may be. You’re a commodity, and commodities are expendable. It can be a financial decision. It can be new management coming in and they want their own people. There are a hundred reasons you can get laid off, and most of them you won’t see coming or think of. Always be looking. That doesn’t mean you’re going to leave, or you’re being disloyal. It means you’re being prepared so that when it does happen, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it. And what’s the worst thing that could happen otherwise? You find an even better opportunity?
  5. Diversify Your Income. This one is a bit trickier, but if you have a hobby, or a manageable side business, a great way to lesson the blow is to have some sort of income stream outside your normal job. This way when the hammer comes down, you have something to help bridge the gap. We live in a world where starting a business is easier than ever, especially with the tools available to you online.

Be prepared for the worst. Shit happens, and if you do any combination of the above, you’ll be much more prepared than I ever was to deal with it.

The Time Is Now For Small Businesses To Grab More Customers

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This post brought to you by Bing Network. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Jason Yormark.

To succeed at building small business marketing strategies, you have to find a reliable way to bring in low-cost leads. As an SMB, your budgets are tight, your time is limited, and ROI is a matter of life or death when it comes to modern marketing campaigns. Online marketing strategies are an excellent avenue for small businesses because they’re cost-effective and easy to measure. Creating a strong, scalable online marketing strategy helps you to:

  • Attract new customers through targeted paid search campaigns
  • Engage and nurture leads with marketing materials that actually speak to customers in a niche market
  • Develop high-impact search strategies with limited budget, time and resources

By optimizing your process of marketing, advertising and promoting your small business products or services online, you’ll be able to set up a recurring stream of leads so you can attract and retain customers and improve your bottom line. There are several advantages to incorporating pay-per-click marketing into your small business online marketing strategy:

  • It’s more cost-effective than the alternative: PPC is known as “inbound marketing” because the leads come to you. Outbound marketing techniques (like display advertising, email campaigns, and cold calling) are much more costly on a per-lead basis.
  • It’s measurable and data-driven: Online marketing techniques such as PPC are much easier to measure than other forms of advertising. You’ll know exactly which keywords bring in qualified traffic and how much you’re paying per click and per lead.
  • It’s repeatable and scalable: Once you know which keywords are most profitable, you can iterate on those campaigns, finding related long-tail keywords and optimizing those ads and landing pages to bring in even stronger results.

For many small businesses, the barrier to entry is cost. Rather than just assume Google AdWords is the way to go, there are other alternatives. In February of this year, the Microsoft Bing search engine inched up to claim approximately 21 percent of US search market share up 1% from last year. While the volume may still be lower, it’s on the rise, and many small businesses are finding the cost/revenue to be quite advantageous. Check out the screenshot below from an actual client using a variety of ad platforms big and small including an ad spend of $200 on Bing that they were able to generate $4,317 in revenue with.

Regardless of your time or budget, their are always alternatives to the obvious when it comes to marketing your business. Learn more about Bing Network and how you can take advantage of affordable marketing strategies for your business.

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