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The Game of the Dawn and the Twilight

The disruption is happening. From energy to transportation, to name a few, it’s happening at a fast pace. Of course, it’s the IT industry that’s driving it all.

There is a real revolution out there, that will completely change the landscape. Our lives will be much more different not too far in the future.

There is more and more a blur between reality and the digital world. Something similar to the movie Matrix. Even though it was 20 years ago, it’s quite the prophecy.

Digitization and AI hand-in-hand are coming forward, disrupting existing business models, the way we interact with our machines and each other.

The way we interact with our phones already makes us a cyborg in a sense. The phone is an extension of us that gives us the ability to gain access to unlimited information from the outside, but we can also store pieces of our lives there, available anytime on-demand.

Where is this all leading?

Robots, AI and Elon Musk

I came across a video on YouTube where Elon Musk of Tesla was in Joe Rogan’s show in the summer of 2019. It was an interesting show.

One particular piece that stuck with me – which I already knew about Elon, is that he is seriously worried about the future of AI. He said that we really need to get this right, as there may be no way back. He took it as far as Obama.

His voice was not heard.

Does it mean that we are completely OK with AI?

Movies give robots human characteristics, so we’ve developed a familiarity for them in a sense. Politicians don’t really know the science, so it’s hard to get them to raise the red flag.

One thing’s clear: the new technologies that destructed whole industries in the past have also opened new opportunities. The twilight of one meant the dawn of another.

I love technology, but at the same time, there is something in the back of my mind suggesting that AI is not something to play with. The people who are in the position to make recommendations on this should come forward and make their voices heard. Otherwise, we might get it wrong one time, and then – The End.

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How to Create a Website with WP for Laymen

When looking for ways to create a website there are many roads we can choose in today’s web space. In this article, we’ll go through a simple step-by-step process on how to do this with WordPress.

Things You’ll Need

I promise to keep it short, but there are a few things we need to get out of the way before we can move to the actual steps of the website creation process.

What am I referring to?

Definitions.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to memorize like in school.

I’m thinking about concepts like:

  • what is a domain name
  • WordPress
  • what are WP themes and plugins
  • how web hosting works

A domain name is the name that you type into your address bar within your browser to visit a website.

WordPress is a free software that allows you to create a website. This same website is also running on WordPress, just like the third of the web.

WordPress Themes are basically the different designs that can be used within WordPress. So depending from what theme you use, you can have a different website layout, colors, typography, functionality and last but not least, speed.

Plugins add some functionality to a WP website. These can be installed within WordPress just like themes.

Web hosting basically means the servers where your website resides, and from where it is loaded when visitors come to visit it.

Step 1 – Register Your Domain Name

Namecheap is my go-to domain name registrar, but any other domain registrar company will do.

There are many domain extensions, chose a .com version to keep things simple and effective. This will suit any type of website.

When searching for a domain name on Namecheap for example, you might find that the domain name that you wanted to register is already taken. Do not despair if this is the case. Be creative and keep searching until you find the one that meets your criteria.

Keep the domain name short and descriptive if possible, your visitors will remember it easier. It’s also good for your website’s visibility in search engines.

Step 2 – Sign Up with a Web Host

We could talk about web hosting, and the offering of the different web hosts endlessly, but in the interest of time and efficiency, I’m focusing on the essentials.

Regardless of what web host you’re signing up with in the end, go for shared web hosting initially if possible. It’s good for your budget, and most likely will have enough resources for your website(s) to operate for many many years before the need to upgrade to something more serious and costly.

At the moment I’m using Namecheap’s own WordPress specific web hosting service, it’s called EasyWP. I’ve shared my opinion about it earlier. At the moment you can sign up for $16/year to any of the plans (Starter, Turbo, Supersonic) and the cheapest plan (Starter) would renew a shy below $30/year later.

This may look very cheap, and in fact it is, but it would be a mistake to make assumptions based on the price about the quality of the service. It’s important to note that you can use only one WordPress site with EasyWP, so taking this into account, it’s not that cheap. And in turn, you get a good service for one website. Have a second site? You need to pay for it separately again.

If you are looking to run mutiple websites, you might want to have a look at my former web host, A2 Hosting. Their shared hosting is a one-stop-shop for this purpose.

Step 3 – Setting Namervers

No matter which web host you choose, you will need to perform some actions.

One of these action is to connect your already registered domain name to the servers of your web host. This is achieved by changing the nameservers inside your domain registrar’s account to the nameservers of your web host.

Every web hosts has a set of nameservers, and they should give the ability to change nameservers. You can find your web host’s nameservers by searching in the knowledge base section of your web hosts, or simply doing a Google search on it.

Because I recommended my former web hosts, this is how I find A2 Hosting namesrvers:

FInding out nameservers using Google

Once nameservers are updated within your domain registrar’s account (usually two nameservers can be filled in), it may take a day or two before the domain and your web host’s servers are linked, but it may happen sooner – sometimes it takes place almost instantly.

Step 4 – Install WordPress

The WordPress installation can be done using the ‘traditional’ way (manual install), which perhaps requires a bit more attention or minimal experience. But still, it only takes a few minutes.

On the other hand, with A2 Hosting, which we are specifically covering here as an example, there is the opportunity to install WordPress and a number of other applications automatically with a few clicks using Softaculous. This is generally the case for all decent web hosts, so even if you choose another web host, the process is almost the same.

Step 5 – Start Editing Your Website

Once you have installed WP, your login credentials will be emailed to you to an email address specified by you during the install.

You can start making edits to your website in terms of its visual look and some other considerations, but also you can start adding content.

hero header placeholder

You can build an awesome website today with A2 Hosting.

I’ve been utilizing A2 Hosting as my web host for several years. So if you are looking for a decent provider, they are the first web host that come to my mind.

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I Use These Tools to Check my Website Speed

A lot of effort goes into creating content for our websites. To make sure that no effort is wasted, we need to keep our website speed at a good level. What is a good level you might ask?

There’s no short answer to this, but I consider anything below 2 seconds a good result.

Google, for example will also take this into account when it comes to ranking a website in search results.

So what can be done to improve site speed?

How about some testing first?

A good starting point is to see how a site performs. Of course, we can sort of have a feel for it by simply loading it in our browser. However, in order to develop a more serious view and to track progress, we need facts and figures.

There are many online tools which offer the possibility to run speed and optimization tests. I typically use GT Metrix or WebPageTest. Both are pretty comprehensive and do the job perfectly.

Using these tools you will learn about the different factors that affect site performance, and you can act on these. While there is usually some explanation on how you can improve that specific aspect, you may need to do some additional Google searches to find out how to actually implement that specific change.

Finally, a tool from Google that I have not been using so frequently, but it has the same funcionality as the other two mentioned above, but with a right amount of minimalism: PageSpeed Insights.

I hope you will find these tools as useful as I did and still do, they are definitely a good point to start getting to grips with site performance.

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Improve Your Website’s Readability with This Tip

My former web host who I have just written a review about, recently has published an article titled “3 Tips for Improving Your Website’s Readability“.

The tips included in the article are indeed useful and will contribute to the improved readability of your website. In this article, I’d like to extend the list with a 4th tip.

The article mentions that we should consider our font family and size.

An additional point to this would be the space between the lines or line-height. If the text is too dense, it will negatively influence readability.

Take a look at the below two screenshots, the difference speak for itself.

Dense text – no go
Proper line height

A2Hosting’s article quotes the Flesch reading test, however that test doesn’t evaluate line-height. Despite this, it’s clear that for the human eye it is a major factor when it comes to readability.

Especially if the font family and size are not fully optimized, line height is important.

So next time when you are writing content, make sure that that the line-height is on point.

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Saying Goodbye to my Old Web Host

In December 2018 it was my 3rd year of hosting my website with A2 Hosting. While I was happy with the service, I made a decision to look for other opportunities on the market that would allow me to continue my activities more efficiently.

The decision was based on two things:

  1. I was not making use of all the resources that were available
  2. and coming from the above, I was paying way too much for something that I don’t make use of fully

I wrote an article about my initial experience with Namecheap’s EasyWP WordPress Managed Hosting service which is far from complete, but it struck me that I haven’t shared anything on my experience with A2Hosting.

A strong point

Support was one of the strongest points of A2 Hosting. Speed wise, they were not better than my current cheap WordPress hosting, but their support was snappy – issues were solved quickly.

In contrast, Namecheap’s EasyWP support takes days sometimes for an issue to be solved. Now, if you run a serious business you cannot afford this. This is the current reality with Namecheap. And I’m not saying this for any other reason than to let you know that this is what you can expect from EasyWP at the moment.

Support aside, if there are no issues with your site, EasyWP is strong in many areas. What’s better proof than the fact that I’m still using it, and plan to use it for the foresaeable future.

The Specific Need is the Driver

Circling back to A2Hosting, aside from the price tag I liked a lot of things about their service. For example, they gave free SSL, which I had to purchase and install separately now with EasyWP. For some people, these small details can make all the difference – like it did for me back in the day.

Now, I have more of a DIY approach to have more control over the stuff that I have.

At the end of the day, EasyWP is perfectly suitable for creating only one website based on WordPress with limited traffic. Doing this in a worry-free, straightforward fashion.

A2Hosting’s Shared Hosting is suitable for someone who is looking to operate a number of websites, so that all of the available resources can be utilized.

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The Almost Perfect Managed WordPress Hosting Solution on a Tight Budget

Recently I was looking at changing my web host. The reason for the change was simply to reduce my spend on web hosting.

I’ve had my previous web host for three years, and it was time to change things as I’ve gotten rid of all of my websites recently. I’d like to put all my energy on one thing only – Web Factors.

So I was looking for a web host that would fit the bill.

Managed WordPress hosting from a Domain Registrar?

The solution was right before my eyes. I host my domains with Namecheap, so the idea came to look at what options Namecheap has these days.

I knew about Namecheap’s hosting solutions from a few years back, but this looked something new and improved labeled with Beta. So after reading up on it, I decided to give it a try.

The package doesn’t promise unlimited everything, but everything it offers is real.

What I like about it

Firstly, I like the minimal, uncluttered user experience on the dashboard. It resonates with my idea on how I feel is best to create user interfaces and serve content to readers.

The dashboard is minimalistically designed – YAY!!

The dashboard serves only the necessary information.

The view of our website on the dashboard

Just to mention a few, the Overview page shown above includes only crucial information about the website, like the WordPress version, available storage, plan details, and renewal. We also have the option to change the status of our website from Online to Maintenance mode or even Offline. We can also delete our website here.

Moving along, on the Domains page we can select our available domains to use with EasyWP. As mentioned, only one domain per plan. We can also manage SSL certificates from this page.

Select domains and manage SSL certificates from the Domains tab

Next on the line is the Backups tab where we can create backup copies of our WordPress powered website and view all of the backups. The existing backups can be downloaded, deleted or restored.

Last but not least, we can set up SFTP access for a limited or unlimited time.

Not unlimited, but enough

With my previous web host, I was on a Shared Hosting plan with unlimited resources with a well-known web host. I was paying four times the amount of what I pay for EasyWP.

After trying EasyWP for the money, I felt that I was being charged too much for what I used and needed with my current web host.

Performance is solid, speed is somewhat better compared to my previous web host.

Don’t get me wrong: there is a place for each service, but I wasn’t using it all that it had, and what it had was also resulting in a lower quality speed-wise – which is a huge factor nowadays with users.

So all in all I’m glad that I’ve made the decision to move to EasyWP, and while there are limits to the monthly number of views, I find it highly usable for my needs, and recommend it to all looking for a fast, easy-to-use WordPress hosting experience specifically for one site only.