When most people put a blog online, they don’t realize the massive potential for both profit and responsiveness that blogs can have. Blogging, once perceived as a trend, is now a major online business. If skepticism exists, simple research could reveal John Chow’s $12,000+ per month from his blog, or Eric Borgos’ millions per year from his blogs.
As such, a blog needs to have certain elements set up in order for the blog to have the best possible advantage. Just as you would hope that a car dealer would have a service bay and the tools required to repair cars, the blog host needs to have the right equipment and know how to keep the blog online and running smoothly.
Here are five elements to consider for a blog enterprise:
- MySQL Capabilities – Most blogs run off of stand alone blogging software that is installed on the web server. Obviously, if you are running the blog off of a free web service (such as blogger.com or wordpress.com), none of this will apply to you.
MySQL is essentially a database where vital information from the blog will be stored. Post counts, numbers, slugs, labels, titles, link destinations, and many more items are stored within these tables. The current MySQL standard is MySQL 4, though the transition is slowly being made to MySQL 5. Make sure that the blog host supports version 4, and ask them if they are planning on supporting version 5- you never want to limit the growth potential.
- Reliability – As with any web host, this is important (for obvious reasons). However, it is especially important with blogs as the vast majority of the readers will be people that are coming to find new information about a known topic. If the blog is about speakers, for example, the readers are going to come to the blog expecting to find new information about speakers.
Now, when you have put that information online and have pinged services like Ping-O-Matic and Technorati, people will come to the site in response to that ping. If the site is down you will lose credibility, readers, and the resulting revenue that comes with it.
Where there is traffic there is income, plain and simple. Start making slices in the traffic and you will start taking from the income, and no one wants that.
- Bandwidth – Web hosting operates in the same was as a freeway: it has certain preset limits available to it in the form of incoming and outgoing bandwidth. In essence, only a certain amount of cars can fit on the freeway. If the site is relatively unpopular, it will make do just fine with low amounts of bandwidth (a single lane for traffic), but as soon as it starts to receive traffic you’re going to need more bandwidth for both incoming and outgoing data (more lanes for traffic).
All web hosts advertise how much bandwidth that you are allocated – however, many don’t expect you to actually reach those numbers. The thing here is that viral marketing and social networking is known for driving tons of traffic to websites or individual blog posts in a short period of time. Make sure that the host is set up to handle the traffic- you don’t want to find a $150 charge because you used up all of the bandwidth in a day.
- Server Speed A slow server is like having a low speed limit on a highway: it might allow traffic to flow through, but it’s so slow that many people will quickly look for a way out. This can be hard to analyze, but there are websites that will measure the speed of a particular web host (a Google search for web hosting speeds’ brings up thousands of results).
Another problem with a slow web server is the inevitable server crash. The moment the website gets nailed with a lot of traffic as is common with Digg promotion a slow web server will simply give it up, crash, and reboot. Obviously, this takes the site offline and severely reduces how much you can have monetized the incoming traffic. After all, sending visitors to a 404 page does you no good.
- Value – This is the last thing that you should be basing the decision for a blog host on, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. Finding value in the hosting solution, by way of bundled features or cost savings, can help the bottom line stay small and your profits roll in.
If the website does not get a large amount of traffic you’ll probably get away just fine with a relatively inexpensive shared hosting solution ($10-$15 a month). However, if you start receiving traffic it may be best to move to a dedicated hosting solution, and therein lies the problem: do you rent an expensive server, or an economical one?
For this puzzle, it is recommended that the host in question be asked if they can meet the needs required (make sure that they are expressed). Remember, a new blog web host can be acquired, if something goes wrong down the road.
A great place to look for blog web hosting, is from Lunarpages, where a Basic Hosting Plan is offered for $6.95 per month. Ideal for new webmasters, the plan includes 350 GB Storage, 3500 GB Bandwidth, and a Free Domain Name for Life (plus 10 Add-On Domains), with CoffeeCup Software free, valued at $700.
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