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Episode 236: The Importance of Having a Reputable Web Host and Domain Registrar with Jason Logsdon and Bob Clark

In episode 236, we are sharing a conversation that originated from a Clubhouse room recorded on 9/10/21 to discusses the importance of enlisting a reputable web host and domain registrar to help run your food blog.

We cover information about how it is 100% worthwhile to pay extra for hosting if your blog is your business plus why you need to know if your host and your domain are registered separately and if you want that.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Takeaways

  • When you go from a hobby blog to a business blog, you need to look at cost of service as well as what comes with it – customer service, availability, reputation, support which is important to peace of mind as a business owner.
  • Be careful who you’re giving access to your WP site. Once someone’ done, make sure you remove them from permissions.
  • Know your host. Know your registrar. Even if you’re not a technical person, this is important. Some people prefer them to be managed by the same place; others find value in them being managed separated.
  • Have a backup technical guy that you can reach out to when needed. Before there’s a problem, have the relationship established.
  • Back up your site regularly. But right before any work is done, especially do a back up so you have current content stored.
  • If you’re going to have affiliate programs you’re participating in, be sure you absolutely recommend them personally. It speaks to your reputation if you recommend a crappy company just for the affiliate money.
  • As soon as you can afford it, upgrade from shared hosting.

Resources Mentioned

Foodie Digital – support for food bloggers on SEO and WP support

Nerdpress – WordPress support for small businesses

Big Scoots – fully managed web and WP support

Google domain – custom domain and email

SiteGround – web hosting services

WP Rocket – caching plugin for WP

Namecheap– register your domain

Updraft plus – backup and restore plugin

Transcript

Click for full text.

236 Jason L, Bob C Part2

Intro: Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. We’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host. Megan Porta.

Megan Porta: Hey there, awesome food bloggers. Welcome to another episode of Eat Blog Talk. I am so happy to be here today to deliver this amazingly valuable episode that I recorded on Clubhouse on Friday, September 10th. Just a couple of days ago. So to preface it a little bit, I will tell you about my entire frustrating story with web hosting and domain registrars within the Clubhouse room.

But I was going to put a solo episode together on this topic and just realized I don’t know enough about web hosting and the whole technical backside of that to really deliver the amount of value I wanted to. So I enlisted the help of Jason Logsdon from Makin’ Bacon and Bob Clark from Clarky Media. We had another guest join us within the room to chat about these issues. So that whole conversation just came together with so much more value than anything that I could have delivered just from me to you. So that is the reason I put this Clubhouse room together. I purposefully did it knowing I was going to record and publish here on Eat Blog Talk.

So I really hope that you can find value from this. We are just diving into the importance of choosing a reputable web and domain registrar. So enjoy the episode. I will take this opportunity to remind you to go over to iTunes to subscribe, rate, and review Eat Blog Talk. So grateful for that. Thank you so much. And here is our awesome Clubhouse. 

Thanks for joining me today and us, everyone. I think today’s going to be a little bit different because we have a focus topic we would love to talk about, and I am going to be turning this into a podcast episode that I believe will be going live on Monday. This next Monday. Do you guys want to just give quick intros to yourself before we get started? I will let any one of you dive in. 

Chelsea Cole: So first of all, I just want to make sure I am meant to be onstage. When I saw it was recording, I was like, oh, I’m on stage.

Megan: I don’t know how that happened, but I love that you’re on stage. So if you’re okay being on stage, Chelsea, stay on stage and join us. That would be amazing. 

Chelsea: Awesome. I just wanted to clarify. So in that case, I am Chelsea. I am a food blogger at the blog A Ducks Oven. Then you can find me on Instagram at A Duck’s Oven as well. Like she said, I love sous vide and I just self published my second cookbook and it’s called Sous Vide Meal Prep. 

Megan: So excited for you that your cookbook is published. I know you worked so hard on that. So nice work, Chelsea. Jason, go ahead and give an intro. 

Jason Logsdon : Hey there. I’m Jason Logsdon. I run Amazing Food Made Easy, which is all about sous vide and modern cooking, mainly for home cooks. I also run Makin Bacon, which is to help food bloggers move their blogs forward. And I’ll definitely give a shout out to Chelsea’s cookbook. She sent me a copy of it, and I had seen it in electronic form before. It’s a great cookbook and I love the style and the design of it. So it was definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in using sous vide for food prep. 

Megan: Awesome. Bob, how about you? Do you want to give a quick intro? 

Bob Clark: Sure. Thanks Megan. Hey, my name is Bob. I’m a food blogger. I have a couple of them and I got some other blogs. I build niche websites and I’m a bit of an SEO nerd. So Clarky Media, I help bloggers with their SEO, but thanks Megan. Love being here. 

Megan: Thank you. Okay. So as I mentioned a little bit earlier, today’s going to be a little bit different. Usually these rooms are meant to be more just a potpourri of things that are going on in the food blogging world. But I had an experience this week that was just very frustrating. So I really wanted to give this topic some attention, and that is just making sure that you have a reputable web host and not just a web host, but a domain registrar, which I didn’t even realize that mine were separate until this week.

I learned the very hard way. So I just wanted to give this some attention. If Jason and Bob, you guys want to contribute. Chelsea too, if you have insights on this in a little bit, but first I just wanted to explain what happened to me and my site this week and to give it some focus.

So a little backstory is important. So when I started blogging like 11 years ago, back then nobody knew, I felt like what a web host was. I literally just Googled a web host for a food blog and just signed up with whatever, the first site that I came across. Which happened to be Just Host, which is a sister company to Blue Host.

So I went with them and I had them as my web host for many years. About three or four years ago, there was some issue with them trying to renew my billing. So they had tried to contact me and for some reason I wasn’t getting their emails. So my account there lapsed because of the billing issue and my account was deleted. So I was freaking out. I was up all night. I remember the exact amount of hours that my site was down. It was 16 hours. I was so frazzled. I remember not sleeping. I was on the phone with multiple people. Nobody was really understanding what happened or how they could help me. It was insanely frustrating.

So in the end, it’s funny because the person who actually ended up helping me solve my problem was my husband’s technical person at his company. I was just so desperate, I was like, please ask Jeremy if he can look at my account and just tell me what’s going on. He went into my account. There was something with an IP address. It was like a super simple fix. He fixed it and all as well. 

So in the end they didn’t even actually help me resolve my issue. So after that, I let it go. I knew I should change, but I didn’t and then about two years later, I had a similar issue and I was like, okay, done. So I switched my web hosting to Big Scoots, which is as you guys know a super reputable company within the food blogging space. A lot of food blogs use Big Scoots and I was super happy. Here’s one of my messages today. At the time when I switched my hosting over, I did not realize that my domain was still housed inside of Just Host’s system. Now fast forward to today or this week. I got another email, this time from Big Scoots saying, Hey, Megan, it looks like your domain has expired. Can you please contact your domain registrar to let them know they need to reactivate your account? I was like, what? My domain registrar? Okay. Seriously. I didn’t even know that I was still with Just Host on the domain registrar side. I contacted them. I said, here’s the issue. I need this reactivated ASAP; it was 48 hours you guys, before I got my blog back. So my blog was down for 48 hours this week. I talked to 10 different people. I counted in my phone log. 10. Nobody helped me. It was the most frustrating thing. So I literally would go talk to someone for 20 minutes to 30 minutes; go through my whole story. Each person gave me a completely different piece of advice.There were some people that were like, oh, everything looks great. Your site is up and running. I was like, no, it’s not up and running. Then the next person would say, oh, you need to change your name servers. Okay, great. Let’s do that. Then the next person would tell me something different.

It was so insanely frustrating. So I would hang up from person X and I would literally just call right back and get back on the phone with somebody else and tell my story all over again. It was crazy. So then I was also communicating with Big Scoots and they’re telling me, you just need to tell them this is what they need to do. It’s very clear. Every time I said that it was like nobody was understanding, nothing was getting resolved. So finally in the end, what I ended up doing was just having my domain transferred to Big Scoots, which added time to that traffic loss and revenue loss, but it was so worth it.

So now everything is with Big Scoots. Thank God. But I wanted to deliver this message. I think it’s really important for you guys to know that if you don’t know, even if you change web hosts, your domain still could reside elsewhere. To just make sure that where it does reside is a place of reputation, with good customer service, somebody who’s going to take care of you and actually listen to you and help you solve your problems. So here’s my story. I will let Bob, Jason or Chelsea chime in. I don’t know if you guys have had issues with web hosts or if you have other things to contribute, but you guys can go for it.

Jason L : As a blogger, especially when we get started, a lot of times it’s a hobby. So we go with inexpensive. We’re always trying to save money, which isn’t a bad thing. Overpaying is never good. But as this becomes more and more of a business, I think it’s important to look at the infrastructure that you have, and, none of that stuff is things that we, most of us at least, care about or interested in. That’s not why we became food bloggers, is to understand the domain registration system or anything. But sometimes, you might pay, I don’t know, five times more with Big Scoots than you would with something like Blue Host. When things go wrong, they’re the ones that are going to get you out of it.

You’re not always paying for just traffic. You’re also paying for peace of mind. You’re paying for backend support. You’re paying for when things go wrong that a company will have your back. I think it’s just important to look at that across a lot of different things. I say the same thing when it comes to sous vide. When people ask me what machines are better and is it really worth a hundred dollars for an Inova or 600 for Poly science versus going to Walmart and buying a knockoff brand there for 25 bucks. As I say, if things are going, that twenty-five dollar machine’s going to be probably just as good as the hundred dollars or $200 machine. But when things don’t go right, then those other brands are going to be better because they’re brands that care about customer service.

They’re brands that I know people there and like when my Poly Science had issues, I emailed David Pietranczyk, who’s their head chef there. While not everyone can email him, he’s in my Facebook group. So the 41,000 people that are in my exploring sous vide Facebook group can all tag him in that group directly and he’s going to respond to them. So having someone that has your back is going to, not just actually cares about you and your system is worth the little bit of extra money along the way, in my opinion. 

Megan: Yes. Very well said. So important to point out because Big Scoots does come with a high price. When I first saw their pricing, I was like, what?! I’m not paying that. But then now, having gone through strife. Absolutely. I have no problem paying that amount of money because of this. Because they have great service. They actually care when my site is down. They are the ones that emailed me. So yeah, I totally agree with that. Bob, what are your thoughts on all that? 

Bob C: I’d have to say Megan, I’m sorry, you went through that. 48 hours of no Mediavine. That’s gotta be tough or wherever ad network you have. So that’s rough. One thing I want to throw out there with food bloggers is, I do audits for food bloggers and I’ll be in there. Now you go into their WordPress and they have all these people that have access to their WordPress.

Who are these people? I let someone in to fix this and I see Big Scoots in there all the time. I understand a lot of times the technical part, bloggers don’t understand it. So they’re like, yeah, just go fix it. But I can tell you that sometimes they get in there and they don’t fix the right things or they do the wrong things. Then we give them access to our admin. They should be removed from there. Sometimes there’s bad actors. I’m not saying that’s what every company does. I’ve had a good experience with Big Scoots.

Actually had a migration that went kinda messed up between SiteGround and Big Scoots and it was back and forth, but I wouldn’t allow them access because I really don’t want them in there. Cause I like to know what’s being changed. But anyway, I went through a lot of time and actually I’m like, I need to talk to somebody. I don’t even know if the owner of your company knows what’s going on here and then it ended up, he was on the phone with me. He’s actually the owner. So it was really cool. He ended up being a real good guy. He actually gave me like a few months of hosting with Big Scoots after that migration.

But anyway, the point of my story is things can get messed up. You really should know. Who is your registrar? Who is your host? I actually suggest, the domain holders should be separate from your host, but I’m not saying Big Scoots is a bad company. That’s not what I’m saying. But I think it’s good to be separated. People should also have a backup guy. Have the guy that you know, that, Hey, if you had to pay him a few bucks, he could go in and he could go in and fix it. Cause their reputation or get a relationship with somebody that knows those things so you’re not trying to scramble at the last minute, trying to figure out who the guy is. If you have five or 10 people in there, they can really mess things up.

One other thing I’d say is make sure you backup your WordPress and all your blog posts whenever you’re doing anything with anybody. You can actually, as a blogger, just go in there and download a file of all your posts. Cause that’s our gravy, right? All our recipe posts and put them on your computer and at least have them there and then put them in the cloud too, on drive or something. So during the whole nightmare, if something really bad happened, at the very least you would have all your content. 

Megan: Okay. Two questions for you, Bob. First of all, how often do you recommend backing up your WordPress content? Number two, why do you recommend having a separate web host and domain registrar? 

Bob C: For the simple point, say something really bad happened with Big Scoots. I could go use another host cause my domain is somewhere else. It’s not tied into the Big Scoots. So if they had a problem with everything, I can’t just get my domain out of there. So that’s the reason. There’s a ton of reputable companies out there. Namecheap, I think, is probably the best to hold your domain. So that’s why I keep them separate. Backing up your content, there should just be Big Scoots. I know they, I guess I couldn’t say for every plan, their shared hosting is a really good rate, like five bucks or something. But they’re managed hosting, I think it’s like 35.

But my sites that are on there, they back them up in two different locations and then you can actually back it up in the app. Very common plugin for food bloggers or bloggers is called Updraft plus, inside of WordPress. Then you can back that up to your drive. So now it’s in three spots. But also when anything weird or migration or anything else goes down, I just grab all my content. So not the whole site, just the content, which all the blog posts and you can die out. You can just pull them right off out of your WordPress and put them on your computer just to make sure you have your content.

Then it’s always a good idea, maybe monthly or depending on how much content you have, you can download that, put it somewhere and then delete the old one. Just keep that on your own computer or drive or something. 

Megan: That’s awesome. Thank you, Bob. I have a question about companies like Nerd Press who manage the background technical side of WordPress blogs. Do they do stuff like that? Do they do regular backups? Do you guys know? 

Jason L : My understanding is that they do. I haven’t used Nerd Press, but I’ve talked to Andrew a few times and it’s my understanding that they do regular backups, that they’re there to make sure, one that your site’s up to date, but then also to make sure that your site can be recovered if something goes wrong pretty much at any time. Don’t quote me on that, but that was my understanding of a lot of their services. 

Chelsea: Foodie digital does that for me. They backed everything up and they made sure that all of that’s good to go. They actually helped, I just transferred hosts and they helped me with that entire process.

Megan: Cool. Thank you. Hey Justin, how are you today? What’s going on?

Justin: Hey, good. How are you? I was just going to, actually Bob said what I was going to say about having a separate domain registrar then your host. I used to build websites and so many times clients that would have their hosts and then something happens with the host and you have no control over your website, even if you have a backup. You couldn’t point your domain name to a new server. So personally I use Google domains. It’s $12, just a flat fee with everything, but it’s a really great interface. It swings to your Google account so you can easily access all the settings. Then you can just point that to your web host, but having those separate just as a safety for if something happens and it just gives you that control which is really nice. Then also with backups, it’s super important to test, to make sure your backup actually works because I’ve had a backup before and I’m like, okay, something happened. I need to revert to that. Then it didn’t actually execute or work. So actually making sure how t o get the backup back online. Then Bob went through them all, but all the different backup sources, your host should back up and then use Updraft plus that goes to the cloud. Then even using something like a duplicator plugin, which you can just download an entire site backup. I’ll do that every month just to have locally in case something does happen because when you don’t have your backup, that’s usually when something happens. So that’s all that I was going to say about that. Good info.

Megan: Hey, that’s awesome, Justin. So I have a question about Google domains. I have not heard of that. $12 a year, that’s great. What kind of support or is this where having a guy comes in? The tech guy to manage that sort of thing. 

Justin: You know how Google is; unless you’re on some enterprise plan, they don’t really have support. So it’s not really for your website. It’s more just like that’s where you register your domain or you can easily transfer it in. I think some of the other ones like Namecheap are cheap initially. Then they go up, at least that was what GoDaddy did. So $12 a year is not bad; but I’ve never really needed support with the actual domains. They have all the settings in their help documents and then it’s usually, your web host, have you ever had to change those settings or if you’re adding Mailgun or one of those external mail services, they say what settings to add, but there’s not really any support. But I’ve never personally had a need for domain name support. It’s a really nice interface where you’re able to update the settings and all the different records. They’re called the records, the A I don’t even know what they all are. So yeah, there’s not really support there, but I don’t know if any domain registrar offers much support.

Megan: I was going to challenge that a little bit, because that was the point of my whole story earlier that I did need support. I am not a technical person and I just needed somebody to tell me what the heck to do. Is there something wrong with an IP address? I had no idea. 48 hours of downtime because of my domain registrar. Maybe this is where it just gets really important that you have somebody, even if it’s not with the domain registrar, who can help with this, because I was definitely lost. 

Justin: For sure. Sorry, I didn’t mean you don’t need any support. I don’t know why the web host wasn’t able to help you, but you were on Big Scoots already, or now you are. 

Megan: Yeah. My web host has been Big Scoots for the past almost two years. So yes, I was with them already. 

Jason L : I feel in general too it’s really good to have someone on. You should have a doctor before you get sick. It makes things a whole lot easier if you already have a doctor. I think it’s the same thing for having a tech person. But I do think, Megan, your experience is a little unique for a domain registrar that most of them aren’t going to just completely F over their customers by deleting the account and removing everything. If your domain expires on Google domains or GoDaddy, or Namecheap they don’t just delete all your information and say you’re SOL; they make it pretty easy to restore and stuff. So I could see that being a unique rabbit hole due to using a company that tends not to care about their customers in any way whatsoever.

Megan: Definitely. On the eighth person of 10 I spoke to, I think it was, they confessed that when something expires with the billing, that there is a reset in the system or something like that. Where all of the IP addresses get reset and the name servers. I was like what?! Why can’t you just restore that? I got the runaround. It was crazy. Knowing that your content or your settings even aren’t going anywhere. I just wanted to touch on this too, because I actually Googled my previous domain registrar, Just Host. Just to see what it said, what came up about them. One of their top results was that they are known for having 24/7 support. That’s how they get a lot of business because they’re like, oh, we’re here around the clock. But I’m like, okay, you’re there around the clock, but you’re super unhelpful. At times extremely rude. They were so condescending overall. I did get maybe two of the 10 people who were actually trying to be helpful, but most of the people I talked to were incredibly rude. So yeah, 24/7 support doesn’t mean that you’re getting quality care or quality support. Just wanted to point that out too. Jason, you had some stuff to contribute about affiliates and how some companies use affiliate payouts to keep running.

Jason L : Yeah, I think it’s something I wanted to talk about when you told me what the subject was, that I think BlueHost is known for. That a lot of bloggers use them because a lot of bloggers have recommended them. One of the main reasons for that was because they had a really good affiliate program. Whether or not they were good 15 years ago when they first started it and had the affiliate program. I think a lot of people agree that they haven’t aged well or handled the influx of profit well, but because of the affiliates, a lot of people still sign up. I think it’s something to keep in mind, just from two aspects. One is, whenever you read reviews, keep in mind what the motivation of the person doing the review is. This doesn’t mean they’re like only bad people doing it. I’m a huge fan of Pat Flynn, and I respect a lot of what he does, but he recommended that for five or six years, and even after I had heard really bad things about the company in general and they were one of his top money makers. I don’t think he was doing it maliciously or even probably was giving up much. Think about why people are reviewing things the way that they are, and try to see if you can get comments from actual users that aren’t getting anything out of it. From the flip side, remember that as food bloggers, we often have affiliate links.We write reviews about things. Keep in mind some of these experiences of how you are going to feel if one of your fans buys something from a company that you’re only promoting because they have good payouts. They’re going to be disappointed. I think that’s something that we can run into trouble with when we start going down the affiliate route. There’s nothing wrong with affiliates, but I think picking and choosing ones that you really believe in is key to having success there and to feeling good about promoting products. I always try to keep in mind, if my mother-in-law sent me an email and said, Hey, I want to buy X. What brands do you recommend? What would I reply to her? When I have to look at her across the table at Thanksgiving dinner. If I’m not going to be willing to recommend something to her, then I probably shouldn’t be recommending it to the people on my site. So it’s just two sides of that coin, I think it’s good for us to keep in mind as bloggers.

Megan: Yeah, that is a great reminder. Just another reason to be authentic. I think this message of authenticity has grown so much in our space and just in the entrepreneurial space in general. But that’s why. Because when we’re not authentic about what we’re backing and promoting, then it shows. I remember when Bluehost, I don’t know, this was probably five or six years ago, they were reaching out to food bloggers and doing that exact thing. Hey, do you want to be an affiliate? You earn a lot of commission. I don’t remember what it was. People who didn’t even use Bluehost were writing reviews on them. Just insincere, not genuine. So I think that’s a really great point to bring up Jason. So thank you.

Bob C: Could I touch on that? I don’t know how good my audio is either. I’m in my truck, but personally, anybody that recommends Bluehost, I already understand that maybe I shouldn’t consume their content, promote them. That’s just a personal thing. I just know affiliates are really good for this company. The payout for BlueHost is crazy. As long as they were with that domain, as long as they’re with BlueHost, you’re making money. It’s an incredible affiliate program, but the way I look at it, anybody that’s in the game that refers them out, I’m not even going to consume their content anymore. There’s a lot of big names that do it. So all the things that are on Clarky Media that I recommend, they’re all the things that I use and I would never put Blue Host on there as my affiliate for hosting, because it’s just a horrible experience. Same as GoDaddy for hosting. I don’t even think they are good for domain names, but yeah it’s nice because after a while, and you’ve been in the game awhile, I can start to understand who’s motivated which way and who has the values Jason’s talking about. It really helps you understand who to get your recommendations from. I just want to share that.

Megan: We’ve named a few reputable web hosts. Do you guys have other ones that we can just throw out there because people will be listening to this as a podcast episode? So Big Scoots is great in my experience, and I know a lot of other bloggers are really happy with them. What else do you guys have for places that are reputable and they have good service and quality hosting? 

Bob C: I think you nailed it too on customer service. That’s a big one. So the only other one I’d recommend is SiteGround. Their customer service is really good. You can get on a chat with somebody really fast. I had Bluehost supposedly get better, but I had a domain stuck on there and it was like, you spend an hour trying to get to talk to somebody. It was just horrible. Yes. I recommend SiteGround but the only problem with SiteGround is you go down that like the go geek plan, then after a year the price gets really jacked up.

So you have to negotiate with them every year. But the customer service was really good. But I can’t recommend Big Scoots enough. You speak to someone that speaks really good English when you deal with customer service. They’re right there. The whole game changer of being able to put your site on a staging site with a push of a button. So you can update all your plugins, make sure everything’s running nice and smooth before you push it over. That’s really slick with Big Scoots. So those are the only two I recommend at the moment. 

Megan: I had to send an email of apology to Big Scoots because I bothered them so much this week. I felt terrible, but they were so nice. They’re so responsive. I second all of that, Bob. Jason and Justin, do you guys have anything to add to the list? 

Jason L: I’m not on WordPress so I’m in a different ecosystem of hosts and stuff. But I’ve used Engine Yard for the last eight years, probably for my rails hosting. I highly recommend them. They, again, have good customer service when stuff breaks; they fix it when I break stuff on accident. They help me fix it, instead of just telling me you did something wrong, you’re an idiot. So I always appreciate that. Then I also used a Linode for a long time and they were very good for hosting. So probably doesn’t apply to most people on the call, but I give companies shout outs that have done a good job for me over the last decade. 

Justin: I also recommend Big Scoots, that’s who I switched to from WP Engine, who I really used to like. They were super fast and then they started getting very expensive as your traffic grew. So they’re better for enterprise, but they also started acquiring a bunch of companies and it just went downhill for me at least. Switching to Big Scoots improved speed slightly and just their customer service has been so awesome. You email and you hear back with a good answer and or they go in and just fix stuff for you that it’s been a really good experience. So that’s who I go with. I have other friends who are with other companies, but they always have a little something that they don’t love. I just hope they stay great because I know as companies grow, they can scale and hopefully they can scale and keep up the great customer service.

Megan: Awesome. Thank you for sharing that, Justin. I would love to invite anyone in the audience who either has something to contribute to this conversation, or maybe you’ve had a good or bad experience that you want to share that you think would help food bloggers navigate their way through hosting and registrars and all of that. So if anyone wants to come up and share or ask questions, we have some technical people up here. Bob is particularly good. I’m not, don’t ask me the question. But maybe someone up here can help you. Then I just noticed that I spelled ‘Foos blogging convos’. That’s awesome. 

Bob C: I was going to change it yesterday, but I was like, I shouldn’t change it. 

Megan: I literally didn’t even notice until 10 seconds ago. That’s super funny. It just adds to the character of the room. What else do you guys have as far as web hosting? I would love to stay on this topic if we could and just really milk it and provide information that is going to help food bloggers, especially if they’re just getting started or if they’re like me and they have no idea that a domain could be housed separately from their web. I did not know that. So anything else you guys have? 

Jason L : Yeah, I think something that is worth reiterating that Justin touched on when he moved to Big Scoots, that it sped up a little bit. I think it’s important to remember that not all hosts, especially these days, are the same. As Google moves more into site speed matters and the core web vitals, having a host that will deliver your content as quickly as possible is more and more important. So even removing the customer service and the ease of use, and some of those aspects, having someone like Big Scoots that does serve pages faster than other other hosts is a very important consideration to keep in mind. That could be worth some extra money a month. 

Justin: Related to the speed, recently, I don’t know, probably somebody who used WP rocket, when I was on my old site, I recently redid my WordPress theme to try to get faster because I was on an old bloated theme that had way too much in it. So I’ve migrated to get faster with the core web vitals score. It’s definitely improved a lot. Then WP rocket, which is a caching plugin, it’s a premium caching program, but it’s pretty cheap; it’s $40 a year. I would definitely recommend it. They have been changing their settings every month it seems like. They’re trying to give you the tools to make your site fast with what Google is looking for. I’ve been messing around with that a lot. I’ve been actually with tech support from WP rocket, because I was having an issue and they helped me out. They were great support, but I went from being in the sixties and my score to unpromotable and now it’s like in the nineties a lot of the time. Just by changing some of these settings, it’s very confusing. So that’s where having a tech person to help you out and actually go through and tweak those settings. It’s delaying JavaScript and all these different, very technical things, but it makes a huge difference in your score. So that combined with a quality web host that can serve it up fast can make a really big difference. That’s super important now that core vitals are all rolled out.

Bob C: I like to throw out there, Megan, keeping on the hosting side, you get what you pay for. So if a food blogger is cut to the point where they’re on Mediavine and they’re making a couple grand a month, you really should invest in getting some decent hosting. One thing that people don’t think about, when they’re doing shared hosting, now this is like touch and go and SEO. Some SEO experts say, nah, it doesn’t affect that. Some say it does; but you don’t know who you’re sharing that server with. So it’s shared hosting. You don’t know if there’s 30 other casino sites or pornography sites on that server. Some say it can affect your SEO, some say it can’t, but what I’m trying to get at is, once you start moving up and spend a little more money on your hosting, you really do get what you pay for. That’s why as soon as you can get off shared hosting, I highly recommend it. I’ve tried to figure out if it really affects my traffic or not. But there’s just too many variables to be able to test it, to understand if it did make a difference being on the shared host. You don’t know who’s on it. So I couldn’t really pinpoint and say it was because I was sharing hosting on a certain host. But that’s something to think about. You really don’t know who is on that server. 

Megan: All great points. Thank you guys so much. I was thinking of putting a solo episode together about this for Monday, and I was like, I don’t know enough about this topic to really talk about it aside from just telling my very frustrating story. So I really appreciate all of this.

I just wanted to say too, that one lesson I learned from this week has nothing to do with the technical side, but it was all about just surrender. When our sites are down, it’s so hard because that’s traffic and revenue and especially, it was on a holiday. Labor day, which isn’t huge for me, but still I usually get a little bit more traffic on holidays.

It was really hard. I just got to this point, I don’t know, it was probably 24 hours in where I was like, you know what? This is not the end of the world. It is going to get fixed. I have to let this go and not lose any more sleep. It was so hard to do that, but I just wanted to mention that too. That we all get to these points in our journey with food blogging, whether it’s something like this or with a Google algorithm change or whatever it is, where we just have to let it go and stop clinging and wanting to strangle people’s necks. So I just wanted to mention that too.

Bob C: Just throw it out there, Megan. Send me your domain, send me a message of your domain. I got some tools I can check some things for you on the outside just to see if everything played nice and went smooth 

Megan: oh, you’re amazing. Yes, I will definitely do that. Does anyone have anything else before we say goodbye? I think we can end early, or if there’s more value to add, I’d be happy to let you guys come up or those of you on stage. Then Justin, I just wanted to make sure that you’re okay with me publishing this as an episode on Eat Blog Talk. I’ve already run it by Bob and Jason. So just making sure.

Justin: Of course, it’s totally fine. 

Megan: Thank you, Justin. I really appreciate you coming up and adding just everything you had. As I said, I am not a technical person. So awesome stuff today. Thank you for being here. If you guys are good, then we can say goodbye and we’ll see you next Friday.

Outro: We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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