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It’s the 21st Century: B2B Needs to Be Fun(ner)

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I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I can remember. Diets and fads and pills and boot camp and CrossFit…

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to Be Fun(ner)
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How I Grew My Dying Facebook Traffic

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facebook

Is it me, or does Facebook just want to keep you on Facebook?

Every time I post a link to my site, I get less and less traffic. And it’s been this way for years.

In other words, my organic reach on Facebook was dying.

And to make matters worse, they give you hope every time they launch a new feature.

For example, when they launched Facebook Live, you used to be able to get tons of views because they promoted it organically… but not really anymore.

The same goes with Facebook Watch. I used to easily get 30,000 plus views per video when Facebook Watch came out… again, not anymore.

Now I am lucky to get 10,000 views.

But hey, I can’t really hate on Facebook. They are a business and they have to do what’s best for them. So instead of getting upset at Facebook, I decided to run some tests to see if I could find a way to get more organic traffic.

Because there has to be a way, right?

Well, there is. 🙂

And here is my traffic from Facebook over the last 7 days:

facebook traffic

That may not seem like a big increase, but I generated 10,621 visitors the month before. In other words, I took my Facebook traffic from 10,621 visitors PER MONTH to 10,085 visitors PER WEEK.

I am getting roughly the same amount of traffic I used to get in 30 days from Facebook, now in just 7 days.

So how did I do this?

Taking control of your own destiny

As marketers, our faith typically relies on the big giants… you know, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram…

If they decide to change their algorithms your traffic could go up, down, or stay flat.

For that reason, over the last few years, I’ve been building up marketing channels that aren’t as reliant on algorithms.

For example, you may learn about new blog posts I publish through my email lists because every time I publish a new post, I usually send out an email blast.

Or it could be through browser notifications.

subscribers

Every time I release a blog post or a video… again, I send a message out through push notifications.

But why can’t we do the same with Facebook?

Sure, you can post on your wall or page like everyone else, but if Facebook doesn’t want to show it to people they don’t have to.

So, I decided to push really hard on Facebook Messenger, which gives you the same ability.

In other words, you can send a direct message to everyone on Facebook through their chat feature and share a message or a link to your website.

Something that isn’t too controlled by an algorithm… similar to text messaging or email marketing.

I built this list of 129,560 Facebook Messenger contacts and leveraged them to continually generate traffic back to my blog.

Now before I break down the exact steps I took to do this, the tactics here take execution and elbow grease. It isn’t rocket science, it’s not hard to do, but it does take a bit of work.

But first, let’s go over how Facebook Messenger marketing works.

Facebook Messenger

grow facebook messenger list

First, let’s back up on why Facebook Messenger is working so well today.

Facebook Messenger open rates are 50-80% click-through rates post elite stats.

When you send an email campaign, you can expect a 20% open rate on a really good day. On average, I get 28 to 31% with my NeilPatel.com email list.

In other words, if you send your email newsletter to 100 people, 20 people will open it. If you scrub your list and work really hard like me, roughly 30 people will open it, which still isn’t great.

However, when you send a Messenger message to 100 people, 88 people will open it and read it.

We’re talking about an 88% open rate on Messenger. That is crazy!!!!

Now over time, you will notice that it will go down, but it is still substantially higher than email.

But here is where it really gets interesting.

With email marketing, you’ll typically see a 2% to a 4% click-through rate. So for every 100 emails you send, you will get 2 to 4 clicks back to your site.

To give you a benchmark, again, I spend a lot of time fine-tuning my emails and I can get about 6 clicks for every 100 emails I send.

Better than the 2 to 4 percent most people get, but still not life-changing.

With Messenger? You can get 20% click rates.

Over time, you will see it go down, but it is still substantially higher than email marketing.

And it is not just marketing, it works with pretty much any industry. Here’s an example of a real estate company that leverages Facebook Messenger:

As you can see from the screenshot above, Facebook Messenger works like how you would chat with a friend on Facebook or even email. You don’t always have to promote or link, you could just have a conversation with a friend.

This is why their adoption rate is continually climbing in the United States.

That’s almost 140 million users that are projected to use Messenger.

Messaging apps are also surpassing social networks in popularity. Just ask yourself… how many times do you use WhatsApp each week?

But the key is to start now because it will become saturated just like every other marketing channel that works. So whoever builds the biggest list early on will have the best shot of doing well in the long run.

If you are already leveraging Messenger, great, just skip to the tips below to start growing your Facebook traffic.

If you aren’t, just like email marketing you are going to need software so you can send the messages on Facebook. You can start off with this free software called MobileMonkey.

Now let’s get into how you can build your Messenger list and get consistent Facebook traffic.

Tactic #1: Website Messenger widget

My own tests have shown that chat on a website can boost conversions 45%.

So I wondered, what would happen if I installed a Messenger bot on a website?

What’s great about adding this is that visitors get answers to their questions immediately, 24/7. Say goodbye to conversion bottlenecks.

But also, everyone who starts a chat on the site becomes a new contact in my Messenger list.

So how does this work?

Add a Facebook Messenger bot to your website with a widget.

Everyone who visits your website is invited to become a Messenger contact. Website traffic turns into Messenger contacts.

Most users are already logged into Messenger on their desktop or device. So when they have questions or want info and see the Messenger widget, they tap it and boom — new Messenger contact.

If your site is on WordPress site like 34% of the world’s sites, a WordPress plugin called WP-Chatbot is the quickest way to add Facebook Messenger chat to your site.

Install the plugin on your WordPress site and you’ll have Messenger chat on your site in just a few minutes.

This widget makes list building easy. An active website could get hundreds or thousands of new contacts from the visitors on the site who engage the chatbot every day.

Think about yourself.

Are you more likely to search for a contact form on a site, fill it out, and sit back and wait who knows how long for an answer to your question?

Or are you more likely to pop open the chat window, ask your question, and get an immediate response?

Tactic #2: Run Facebook click to Messenger ads

You can do a lot without leveraging paid traffic, but if you really want to put some fuel on the fire, a few hundred dollars goes a long way.

And for the purpose of this blog post, I spent $391.58 just so I would have some stats to share with you. 🙂

Facebook Messenger ads are a Facebook Ad format in which the user who clicks on the ad is immediately added to your Messenger contact list as opposed to going to a landing page where they may bounce or exit, anonymously.

Everyone who clicks the button on the ad converts when they send the advertiser a message — becoming a permanent Messenger contact.

The key part is… they need to send the advertiser a message. In other words, if you don’t get them to send you a message they won’t be added to your Messenger contact list so you won’t be able to send blasts to them.

That’s why you want to use an autoresponder. If which you automatically start talking to each person to increase your chance that they will get added to your contact list.

Here’s an example of an ad:

How much will Facebook click-to-Messenger ads run you?

I personally haven’t scaled a campaign too large yet, but with a $391.58 test budget, I’ve been able to generate leads for roughly 62% less than traditional Facebook ads.

But again, the key with all of this is in the autoresponder. Without that, your numbers won’t be too great.

Within MobileMonkey, use the bot content builder to create the autoresponder to your Facebook Ad.

Then create a new Messenger ad in MobileMonkey to connect your autoresponder to your Facebook Ad.

Next, pick the autoresponder from a drop-down of all your bot dialogues and connect it to your Facebook Ads Manager account.

The result is a low-cost ad campaign that drives more contacts into your Messenger list.

Facebook Messenger ads work time and again across industries, including e-commerce and service businesses.

Now, if you are like me and you prefer to do things a bit more organically and save some money, here’s how you generate more contacts without spending money.

Tactic #3: Use organic Facebook post autoresponders

Growing your list with a little ad spend goes a long way, but this next list building power tactic is totally free.

Anyone who comments on your Facebook Page posts instantly becomes your Messenger contact.

A Facebook post autoresponder adds people to your Messenger contact list if they comment on any Facebook post.

Here’s how it works.

  1. You post to your Facebook Business Page.
  2. Someone comments.
  3. A Messenger bot automatically responds and as soon as that person replies, they’ve become a contact in Messenger.

You can see an example of this tactic in action here:

The more engaging your Facebook post, the more likely it will be that people will want to comment on it.

These kinds of posts always get a ton of comments and contacts:

  • Quizzes
  • Contests
  • Riddles

You could ask fans to post a GIF in response to a question. “Describe your boss with a GIF.”

Or ask them to tell a story or ask them a question like “What industry are most of your clients in?”

Even just asking them “what do you do?” is super-engaging because people love to talk about themselves!

This store asks fans to name how many duck species are in the photo. Comment with your guess and get a discount code in the autoresponder follow-up.

You can create the Messenger dialog for this technique in MobileMonkey with the “FB Comment Guard” tool.

That feature is what allows you to add the autoresponder to an organic post.

I love this technique because it converts my hard-fought organic Facebook engagement into a list of contacts I can follow up with.

Tactic #4: Convert page fans into Messenger contacts

I’m a fan of cross-promoting, traffic-sharing, and allowing various marketing channels to build off each other.

After all, if someone follows you on one channel, they may want your updates on a different channel as well. This increases your odds of connecting with them and amplifying your content reach at any given time.

This tactic combines several methodologies for a boost to Messenger contacts.

If you’ve gone to the effort of building a robust Facebook page, you will want to convert these fans into Messenger contacts. Fans are great, but Messenger contacts are better because Messenger is personalized, interactive, one-on-one, and has way more visibility than Facebook News Feed.

Organic reach on Facebook is very low. Maybe 1%, of your fans on your Facebook Page will even see your post.

Using Facebook Messenger changes this. Instead of a low organic reach, you’re getting high-powered interactions that are personalized.

This is important because page fans aren’t automatically Messenger contacts. You have to invite them or connect with them in Messenger first.

Here are three ways to convert your Page fans into Messenger contacts.

First, and this one is pretty obvious, you can change the CTA button on your Facebook Page to “Send Message”.

Right now your Facebook Page CTA button might be sending traffic to your site with a button like “Learn More”.

Hover over the button until you see “Edit Button.” Then choose the option to “Contact you” and “Send Message.”

Customize the message that people will see when they click that button in MobileMonkey.

Boom. Now anyone who clicks the “Send Message” button from a Facebook Page will become a Messenger contact.

Second, create a Facebook Post Autoresponder (see tip #3).

This autoresponder was a simple invitation — Stay in touch! Sign up for Messenger updates.

Third, you can then use Page fan audience targeting of a click-to-Messenger Facebook Ad campaign.

Remember, your existing Page fans are more likely to take another step into more interaction with a brand that they know and trust.

Tactic #5: Turn your email subscribers into Messenger contacts

Email marketing has a low engagement rate.

Facebook Messenger has high engagement.

Would you rather send your content to your subscribers in a channel with a 2% click-rate or 20% click-through rate?

Ideally, you should do what I do and leverage them both.

Send your email list an invitation to join your Facebook Messenger list. Those who choose to do so will become email subscribers and Messenger subscribers, but their engagement level (and therefore your reach) will increase using Messenger.

One of the most effective marketing methods is to convert your existing contacts into more effective marketing channels.

Using MobileMonkey’s chatbot builder, you can create an opt-in page consisting of a quick and simple “Want to receive occasional updates?” invitation.

Link to that invitation anywhere you’d normally include a link.

Link to that invitation in a button, like the examples below.

And here:

Link to your Messenger experience in your:

  • Email signature
  • CTAs in blog posts
  • Business card in QR codes
  • Landing pages
  • Newsletter subscription forms

The list is as long as you are clever. And it works very well!

Conclusion

You are always going to deal with algorithms, but if you want more consistent traffic you need to take matters into your own hands.

Just look at me, I leverage email marketing, push notifications, and even Facebook Messenger marketing.

I’m now looking into leveraging text messaging too.

Sure, I leverage SEO, content marketing, paid ads, social media marketing… and every other major channel out there.

But I focus a large part of my efforts on controlling my own destiny and you can too.

If you haven’t started, start with Facebook Messenger. It works so well right now and I expect it to last for a while. The key is getting in on the right time and time is right now.

So what do you think about this strategy? Have you tried Facebook Messenger marketing yet?

The post How I Grew My Dying Facebook Traffic appeared first on Neil Patel.

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PayPal vs. Stripe For Ecommerce

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As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, building a website takes lots of hard work. This is even more so the case for those of you who are creating an ecommerce site.

In addition to your website design, architecture, and all of the standard website elements, you also need to figure out how you’re going to accept payments online.

If you’ve never done this before and you’re just starting some preliminary research, there’s a good chance that you’ll come across two names; PayPal and Stripe. These are both industry leaders in the online payment processing industry.

Both platforms will essentially let your customers buy products or services from your ecommerce shop, but the way that these services are provided are different from platform to platform.

So what’s the difference between PayPal and Stripe? Is PayPal or Stripe better for accepting payments online? These are questions that I hear all of the time when I’m consulting with ecommerce companies.

Truthfully, you probably can’t go wrong with either one. But with that said, I want to give you as much information as possible about each platform so you can decide which one is right for your ecommerce business.

Basics of payment gateways

Before we continue, I want to make sure you understand exactly how PayPal and Stripe work. There are two terms you need to know:

  • Payment gateway
  • Payment service provider

Payment gateways give ecommerce sites the capability to accept payments online. These gateways are like a middleman between a business payment processor and credit card network. PayPal and Stripe both have payment gateways, which you’ll need if you’re planning to authorize online payments.

A payment service provider (or PSP for short) on the other hand is a bit more involved. PayPal and Stripe are both PSPs as well. They link businesses with merchant accounts by providing the technology required to process online payments, as well as other forms of payment.

PayPal and Stripe group all of their merchants into one account, as opposed to each business having a dedicated account.

Basically, both of these platforms have everything you need to authorize payments as an ecommerce website.

PayPal for ecommerce

Paypal for Ecommerce

Even if you have no prior experience with running an ecommerce website, PayPal is definitely a name that you’ve heard before.

The company has always been known for payment processing. They have the reputation for being a safe and secure way for PayPal users to buy from merchants using a PayPal balance as well as a debit or credit account linked to their PayPal profile.

But PayPal offers much more features and services to accommodate ecommerce shops. So the days of PayPal only being suitable for things like eBay or other P2P payment situations are long behind us. Now they have a variety of plans for launching a business, whether you want to sell online, in person, or both.

You’ll be able to accept payments from credit cards, debit cards, PayPal credits, PayPal accounts, and Venmo as well.

With PayPal, you can design your own shopping cart. They have customizable solutions that are fully scalable for growing businesses.

PayPal offers three main plans for you to choose from. I’ll cover each one in greater detail below.

PayPal Checkout

Paypal Checkout

For those of you who already have an existing payment processor that you’re using to accept credit cards on your ecommerce site, PayPal Checkout might be a good option for you to consider.

Basically, you can just add the PayPal button to your current payments page with this supplemental plan. It’s easy to integrate with your existing ecommerce platform. Once the button is added, your customers will be able to use PayPal, PayPal credits, or Venmo to buy from your online store.

Conversion rates are up to 82% higher when PayPal Checkout is added to ecommerce sites. That’s because shoppers can complete the purchase in just a click or two, if they have PayPal on their phones or if they’re already logged into PayPal on their computers.

There is no setup fee or monthly fee for this plan. PayPal charges merchants 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction in the United States.

PayPal Payments Standard

The PayPal Payments Standard plan is made for merchants who don’t have an existing payment processor or want to switch providers.

In addition to the PayPal payment options, you’ll also be able to accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover cards. Adding the button to your website is as simple as copying and pasting some code. The checkout pages will be hosted by PayPal.

This plan will cost you 2.9% + $0.30 per US transaction. There are no monthly fees or setup fees for the Payments Standard plan.

PayPal Payments Pro

Payments Pro is the top-tier plan offered by PayPal. It allows you to create a fully customizable checkout experience on your ecommerce site.

Unlike the Payments Standard plan, website visitors won’t have to leave your site to complete the checkout process. It also has a mobile-optimized checkout process and easy shopping cart integration. Payments Pro gives you a virtual terminal, which makes it possible to accept payments over the phone as well.

With the added features, this plan costs $30 per month, plus the standard 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Stripe for ecommerce

Stripe for Ecommerce

Unlike PayPal, Stripe doesn’t have their services segmented into tiered plans. Stripe’s payment processing will be the same, regardless of what features you’re taking advantage of.

With that said, depending on which tools you want to use, it will cost more. But the nice part about this is that you’re only going to be charged for the features that you actually want, as opposed to paying for a plan that includes tools you don’t need.

You can easily add Stripe to your ecommerce site with just one simple integration.

Once that happens, the platform makes it easy for you to accept payments, process them, settle, and reconcile. You’ll be able to process credit cards and ACH transfers both online and via mobile app payments. In fact, big mobile app brands like Lyft are already using Stripe.

Stripe lets you build a checkout process from scratch, or select one of their pre-built templates.

The platform has features for invoicing and setting up recurring payments for subscriptions as well. Let’s take a look at some of those add-on features I was talking about earlier.

Connect

Stripe Connect is made so that marketplaces and platforms can accept money and pay it out to third parties. It supports ecommerce sites, crowdfunding, on-demand businesses, and travel or event platforms.

Take advantage of Stripe’s UI components that are pre-built, or use their tools to create and customize everything on your own.

Sigma

Sigma helps businesses analyze data from stripe using SQL. It can help improve the efficiency of business operations, finance departments, data teams, and product management.

It’s a great way for you to get to know your business better with data. Then you can make necessary adjustments based on your findings. Pricing for Stripe Sigma varies based on the volume of monthly charges.

Atlas

Stripe Atlas is made for those of you who are starting an online business from scratch. The startup toolkit guides you through the process of forming a company, establishing IP ownership, filling out the right documents, and getting a tax ID number from the IRS.

Stripe Atlas

Atlas also sets you up with a new bank account and debit card for your business.

There is a $500 one-time fee for using this service. Services like bank account maintenance, tax filing, and registered agents are not included in the setup fee. These are all billed individually at an annual rate.

Radar

Radar is Stripe’s fraud detection, prevention, and management tool. It’s designed to analyze your data and stop potential fraud cases before they are processed.

They take data from your checkout flows, payments, and financial partners to determine irregularities. Stripe’s partnership with major credit card companies and banks make it possible for them to identify fraudulent charges before you need to make a dispute.

Issuing

Stripe Issuing is made for ecommerce businesses that want to create, distribute, and manage both physical and virtual cards for in-house purposes.

You can use these cards for things like employee expense accounts. It’s supported by Google Pay and Apple Pay as well. It’s also worth noting that Stripe Issuing is a beta program that’s only being offered in the United States.

Terminal

For years, Stripe was better known for its online payment processing. But now they offer Stripe Terminal, which is a POS system for in-person payments.

This is a great option for those of you who have physical store locations in addition to your ecommerce shop. You can get everything you need both online and in-store from the same provider.

PayPal and Stripe compared

As you can see from everything that we’ve covered so far, these two payment service providers are very different from each other. But with that said, they have some things in common as well.

Deciding between PayPal and Stripe will mostly come down to personal preference and exactly what you’re looking for. Let’s take a look at some specific features to see how each platform stacks up against the other.

Price

The pricing for PayPal is very straightforward. Only the Payments Pro plan has a monthly fee, while all three plans charge 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Stripe also charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. But they do have custom pricing packages for things like volume discounts and multi-product discounts, which can be useful for those of you who want to take advantage of the products we looked at earlier.

According to research Value Penguin, Stripe is more expensive than PayPal.

Stripe vs Paypal cost

It can be argued that Stripe has more to offer, which might justify that higher amount. But when you compare the cost per transaction rates head to head, both services are even.

Support

Both PayPal and Stripe offer excellent customer service and technical support options. They each have their own variation of a help center, with different tools, guides, FAQ, and resources needed to troubleshoot on your own.

You can also get help using:

  • Email
  • Live chat
  • Phone
  • Social media

Based on all of this, I don’t think that I can definitively say that one platform has better support than the other, so this category is a tie.

Ease of use

Stripe and PayPal are both easy to use. But with that said, Stripe is definitely more developer-friendly, meaning it could present more of a challenge to ecommerce store owners who don’t have that type of technical knowledge.

PayPal is as simple as copying and pasting some code to get set up, which is about as straightforward as it gets. So I’d say PayPal is better for beginners, while Stripe has more customizable options for developers.

Contracts

Both PayPal and Stripe offer pay as you go contracts. So you won’t get locked into anything long term and can cancel at any time. You also won’t be charged a cancellation fee by either service if you decide to do so.

This category is another tie.

Reputation

PayPal always had a reputation for its P2P payments through third-party platforms like eBay. Although now they’re taking aim at providing more services for ecommerce sites. Stripe has always been known for ecommerce solutions, but not offers POS solutions as well.

Both of these companies have the tools, services, and resources you need to run an ecommerce shop. They both have exceptional online reviews as well.

PayPal is the most popular digital wallet in the United States and is the most popular mobile payment method in North America. There are more than 277 million PayPal users worldwide.

Based on these numbers, I’d have to give the edge to PayPal in terms of reputation. But by no means am I saying that Stripe doesn’t have an excellent reputation as well.

Conclusion

If you have an ecommerce shop and you’re trying to figure out the best payment service provider, both PayPal and Stripe are top options to consider.

At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to personal preference. Based on the information I gave you above, you can decide which plan meets your needs the most.

I can’t definitively give an edge to one platform over the other. I’d strongly recommend both options.

For those of you who still aren’t sold on PayPal or Stripe, you can review my guide on the best payment methods for your ecommerce site to find some alternative solutions.

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4 Steps to Finish a Practical Project Instead of Fantasizing about a Lofty Idea

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If I set out to practice yoga for an hour each day, I would practice zero hours of yoga each…

The post 4 Steps to Finish a Practical Project Instead of Fantasizing about a Lofty Idea appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Bluehost Web Hosting Review (2019)

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If you’re on the hunt for a new web hosting service, Bluehost is definitely a top option to consider. This platform powers more than 2 million sites across the globe.

All web hosting services are not created equally.

I see so many new webmasters make the mistake of just going with the cheapest web host or the web hosting site that appears first in their Google search results.

For something as important as web hosting, you can’t rush this decision. It’s crucial that you take the time to weigh your options in order to find the best web hosting plan for your needs.

That’s what inspired me to write this guide. Since so many of you will likely come across Bluehost during your search, I wanted to give you as much information about this web hosting service as possible.

I’ll explain all of their hosting plans, pricing, and discuss the best parts about using Bluehost. I’ll even tell you about a couple of cons associated with Bluehost, just to make sure you have all the facts before you sign up.

Bluehost Web Hosting Plans

Not every website has the same web hosting needs. Bluehost knows this and has three different types of web hosting options for you to choose from.

  • Shared
  • VPS (virtual private server)
  • Dedicated server

Choosing which kind of web hosting plan to go with will vary based on how much you want to pay, your expected site traffic, and the type of website you have. If these terms are foreign to you, I recommend reading my guide on everything you need to know about web hosting. This will give you a more detailed description of the differences between these hosting options.

Shared hosting

Bluehost shared hosting

If you have a new website and you’re on a tight budget, shared hosting might be your best option. Bluehost offers four different pricing plans for its shared hosting services.

  • Basic — $3.95 per month
  • Plus — $5.95 per month
  • Choice Plus — $5.95 per month
  • Pro — $13.95 per month

I know what some of you are thinking. If Plus and Choice Plus are priced the same, wouldn’t you automatically go with Choice Plus?

All Bluehost plans go up in price once you renew. The advertised prices above are just the introductory rates. It’s worth noting that Plus renews at $10.99 per month, while Choice Plus renews at $14.99 per month.

Bluehost has managed shared hosting platforms, meaning you won’t have to worry about managing servers or anything like that.

VPS hosting

Bluehost VPS hosting

VPS hosting from Bluehost is the middle-tier option of the three plans. There are three pricing options for a Bluehost virtual private server.

  • Standard — $19.99 per month
  • Enhanced — $29.99 per month
  • Ultimate — $59.99 per month

The biggest differences in these plans are the cores, SSD storage, RAM, bandwidth, and IP addresses.

With the Standard plan, you’ll get 1 core, 30 GB of SSD storage, 2 GB of RAM, 1 TB of bandwidth, and 1 IP address. Cores, SSD storage, and RAM double at each tier for the Enhanced and Ultimate packages.

Using Bluehost for a VPS gives you dedicated server resources. You’ll be able to use your RAM, CPU, and disk space, no matter what other users on the same server are doing. VPS hosting also has increased security, since you won’t be sharing an operating system with any other Bluehost users.

Dedicated hosting

Bluehost dedicated hosting

Picking a dedicated server plan from Bluehost means you’ll be taking advantage of their top of the line services. These plans are made for those of you who are tech-savvy and want complete control over your server.

  • Standard — $79.99 per month
  • Enhanced — $99.99 per month
  • Premium — $119.99 per month

As you can see, top-tier plans come at higher price points. With VPS hosting, you’re maxed out at 120 GB of SSD storage, 8 GB of RAM, 3 TB of bandwidth, and 2 IP addresses. But dedicated servers from Bluehost go all the way up to 1 TB of storage, 16 GB of RAM, 15 TB of bandwidth, and 5 IP addresses.

These plans will probably exceed the needs and uses for what most of you are looking for. But with that said, as your website grows and your traffic scales, you might want to consider a dedicated server in the future.

Benefits of Bluehost for web hosting

Now that you have a better understanding of the plans offered by Bluehost, it’s time for us to discuss what makes Bluehost a great choice for web hosting.

Low pricing options

If you have a brand new website, you don’t need to be spending thousands of dollars per year on web hosting. With Bluehost, you won’t have too.

As you’ve already seen, the introductory rates for Bluehost shared web hosting starts at just $3.95 per month. Being able to host your site for less than $50 is a great deal.

All Bluehost shared hosting plans come with a free SSL certificate and free marketing credits. When you factor in the storage and bandwidth you’re getting, that’s a fairly decent value for the price.

Overall, this is one of the lowest prices you’ll see for a legitimate web host.

Great security

Even though Bluehost has some inexpensive pricing options compared to other web hosts on the market today, it doesn’t mean that they’re inferior when it comes to crucial security features.

I’ve already mentioned that an SSL certificate comes standard, regardless of which plan you choose.

Furthermore, their plans have a feature to hide the personal information that you used when signing up for a private domain. Lots of times hackers will target this information from website owners.

Bluehost has features to prevent malware attacks, as well as tools used for automatic daily backups. You’ll also get a security tool that offers spam protection for the email address associated with your website.

Again, this is all a great value considering how much these plans go for.

Top loading speeds

Page loading speed is something that always needs to be taken into consideration when you’re shopping around for the best website host.

If your site takes too long to load, it’s going to kill your engagement metrics. People will abandon your site, and you won’t be able to drive conversions. It’s as simple as that.

So let’s take a look the response time for a Bluehost test website.

Bluehost response time

The average response time for Bluehost so far in 2019 is 352 ms. To put that into perspective, refer to my SiteGround web hosting review. SiteGround’s average response time over the same period of time was 662 ms, which is still fast.

Bluehost nearly cuts that time in half.

Easy to use

You don’t need to be a tech expert to host your website with Bluehost. Nearly anyone, regardless of their experience level, can find a beginner hosting plan from this platform.

That’s definitely not the case with all web hosting providers on the market today. There are plenty of web hosts out there that are specifically designed for advanced webmasters.

Whether you’re using WordPress or taking advantage of the Bluehost website builder, everything will be pretty straightforward and easy to follow.

Excellent support

Even though Bluehost is easy to figure out, you may still find yourself in a situation where you need some help or guidance.

In most cases, you should able to find an answer through their knowledge base page. This is essentially a support center that has how-to guides, tutorials, and articles with instructions for troubleshooting and FAQ. Simply search what you’re looking for, and there will likely be a resource to help you out.

Furthermore, Bluehost has 24/7 phone support, which is great for those of you who like to be talked through problems.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably just take advantage of their live chat agents. It’s a fast and easy way to get an answer without having to leave their website.

High uptimes

You can’t give a web hosting review without referring to uptime rates. Take a look at where Bluehost stacks up compared to other web hosting providers in this recent study.

Bluehost uptimes

Bluehost ranked second on the list with a 99.991% average uptime for the year. That percentage is identical to MidPhase, which ranked first on the list.

Furthermore, you can see that Bluehost only had seven total outages on the year, which was the lowest for all hosts in the top five, including the top-ranking provider on the list.

It really doesn’t get much better than that. So if you host your website with Bluehost, you can rest assured knowing that your site isn’t going to have much downtime throughout the year.

Money-back guarantee

Like most web hosting services, you won’t get a free trial to try them out. But with that said, Bluehost does offer a 30-day money-back promise.

So if you’re on the fence about using Bluehost, it’s comforting to know that you’ll get refunded if you’re not ultimately satisfied in the first month.

But with that said, it’s worth noting that the refund only applies to web hosting costs. So if you use Bluehost for a domain name or other add-ons, those purchases are final.

WordPress hosting

If you’re using WordPress, Bluehost is definitely a top option for you to consider. That’s because this web host is just one of the three “official” recommended choices from the WordPress website.

Bluehost WordPress hosting

DreamHost and SiteGround are the other two recommended web hosting services on this WordPress resource.

With that said, you can still use nearly any other web hosting service on the market to create your WordPress website. But it’s definitely a positive sign that Bluehost is recognized as a WordPress partner.

Other considerations

While Bluehost has its fair share of positive characteristics, it’s still not perfect. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention some of the shortcomings of this web host.

High renewal rates

I briefly mentioned this before when we were discussing the different plans and pricing options. Like many other web hosting services, Bluehost jacks up the prices once you renew your subscription.

Depending on your plan, the monthly rate will change as follows:

  • $3.95 to $7.99
  • $5.95 to $10.99
  • $5.95 to $14.99
  • $13.95 to $23.99
  • $19.99 to $29.99
  • $29.99 to $59.99
  • $59.99 to $119.99
  • $79.99 to $119.99
  • $99.99 to $159.99
  • $119.99 to $209.99

As you can see from this list, in some instances the price more than doubles. So it’s in your best interest to commit to a longer term plan if you want to get the best rate for the longest amount of time.

Bluehost offers plans for 12, 24, or 36 months. So if you know that you’re ready to commit to this web host, I’d recommend going with a three-year contract when you first sign up. It will save you money down the road.

Costly site migrations

It seems like the majority of web hosting services out there will migrate your current website to their service at no cost. This is a major selling point for new customers.

However, Bluehost does not offer free website migrations.

For $149.99 they’ll migrate up to five websites and 20 email accounts. This gets handled by experts at Bluehost, so you won’t have to do any heavy lifting.

But with that said, you do have to pay for it, which can be a turn-off for those of you with an existing site.

Conclusion

Simply put, I definitely recommend Bluehost as a web hosting provider. There’s a reason why it’s one of the most popular services on the market today.

Bluehost has exceptionally fast loading times as well as one of the highest uptime rates we’ve seen in the last year.

They offer different hosting types, plans, and options to meet the needs of any website. I’m sure you’ll be able to find a plan from Bluehost that is suitable for your web hosting needs.

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