Blogopreneur’s New Logo

I redid a new logo for this Blogopreneur site today, as the first step to the complete facelift of the site.

My old logo, as seen below, was designed back in 2006 when I first started this blog.

Blogopreneur Logo

When I did that logo, I didn’t know what to expect – it was in the WordPress 1.5 era and I was very new to WordPress, business blogging and all the stuff.

So its high time.

Blogopreneur 2 Logo

I know, the new logo looks very much like the original one. I didn’t give it a total revamp because I still like the style. I just wanted to make it closer to a web 2.0 style with more gradients, and add a more serious look to it with a more serious typeface and sharper edges.

Give me your comments and feedback – which looks better?

Why Its Important to Get a Good Web Hosting Provider

Today is the last day of June, and this marks the first half of 2009 gone. And I’m glad to say I’m thrilled at the level of my business today, compared to what it was at the beginning of the year. No, I’m no millionaire yet, but enough projects to keep me very busy, hence the slack in posting here 😛

The point is, over the course of this half a year, I’ve have the luxury to work with no fewer than 20 different websites (some to a smaller extent), and these websites are hosted all across the globe. So I’ve interfaced with so these web hosting companies – their backend admin panels, ease of use, technical support and things like that.

Some of them were slow, and some have superb access speeds. Some were a breeze to handle, while others are really nutcases that really almost drove me crazy with technical support answers that go off the point for weeks without resolving the issue.

So having this experience, I really want to emphasise on this – getting a good webhosting provider from day ONE.

Web Hosting for Internet Businesses

If you had to open a retail shop, would you choose an cheap rental area that is frequented by gangsters who would come in and smash your items, causing you to have to close your shop once every 2 days, or would you prefer to select a expensive storefront right in the middle of town where you can get great traffic?

The answer is obvious. You can’t compare retail shop rental rates just by the meter. You need to know where the shop is, and what are the consequences of having your shop in that area.

Well, I’ve found the same would go for web hosting. No two web hosting a companies are alike, and even though they may give you the exact specifications in terms of web space, bandwidth, databases, email addresses and add on domains, they are different.

Basically, you pay for what you get. Pay peanuts, and you get monkeys.

One of my friends I’m working with happened to start on the “peanuts” web hosting plan years back when she first started her business. Of course, she didn’t know it then. I didn’t know too, because it was a provider I’ve not heard of at that time.

So when we started on the project, she gave me her login details and everything, so I could get direct access to her site.

Here is how bad your experience can get.

  1. I’ve tried to work on her site for about 8 occasions now, since we started about a month ago, and on almost every occassion, I experienced a server downtime of at least 10-15 minutes. Today, its been down for over 2 hours already (that’s what triggered this post!)
  2. I’ve been corresponding with their technical support for help on an unusual .htaccess issue – its been 2 weeks and 8 emails to and from them, but I’ve not got a good response. Different people handled my email every single time I replied, and none of them resolved the question directly.

And when I tried to log in to their web admin panel today, I got this:

Web Hosting

So, this is it. I’m getting my friend to switch to another provider.

Here’s what to look out for when selecting a web hosting provider

1. Real Reviews

Go on to forums like Web Hosting Talk, where you can get real reviews and comments from people who are using the provider you are considering. Many web hosting providers provide affiliate programs, so be wary of reviews that have “affiliate intentions”.

2. Peanuts are for Monkeys

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Getting a web server, bandwidth and web space cost money. Think about this. If the web host doesn’t charge you enough, how do they pay for their servers? If you’ve got a “awesome deal” to have unlimited sites for $1.99 a month, you better be prepared for monkey service and support.

3. Know the specifications

If you are serious about your web business, ask and compare server specifications. A Pentium 286 web hosting server running off a guy’s garage is definitely going to bring a different experience to one running in a datacenter. Ask about location, CPUs, allocated memory and bandwidth.

4. Test their support

When you have decided on a provider. Take the 1 month plan (don’t commit to 6 – 12 months unless you are confident of the services), and as soon as you get your account, test out their response time for support emails. If they take more than 36 hours to get back, it is time for you to get another provider.

What do I recommend?

Personally I use Hostgator on many of my domains and Singapore Web Hosting for domains I want hosted in Singapore.

I stick to these two providers because I have experienced good support so far, and good server uptime on my reseller accounts. But don’t take my word for it, go do your own research and get a good host.

Remember, if you are operating an Internet business, your website is your retail shop. Don’t scrimp on it. In fact, pay them well so they can give you a peace of mind.

PC Show 2009 at Suntec City

The PC Show in Singapore is now on at Suntec City! It has in fact started yesterday, from 11th – 14th June 2009, 12pm to 9pm.

PC Show 2009 Singapore

Unfortunately, because of my hectic schedule this time round, I’m gonna give it a miss.

According to the press release, this time, there is also a “Lucky Purchaser’s Draw” – stand chances to win $10,000 and other prizes like LCD televisions, camcorders and MP3 players with every $50 spent!

So have the effects of the downturn in economy sunken into Singaporeans? I think not! Yesterday’s CNA news still reported thousands of bargain hunters chionging to Suntec city before the gates are open for the best deals! :mrgreen:

But I think its good for me to stay away, keep my money and save it for my iMac at the end of this year!

Online Photo Albums and the Sink In Effect

Over on Smashing Apps a few days ago, they introduced a new photo sharing site – Expono.

Immediately, my thoughts where “Gosh, another online photo album and sharing site?”

Sunk in to Flickr
Photo Credit: rs-foto

Online services like photo sharing sites, microblogs, social networking sites, emails… all have a “sink in” effect. That means, the more you use it, the more valuable it becomes to you.

Let’s take this online photo example. I’ve already spent days uploading and renaming my photos on my Flickr account (thanks Shi for the coupon!)

And while I won’t say that it is a whole lot of photos compared to many other users, I would like to keep my photos in ONE place online, and it feels to me like a lot of work to get on Expono and re-upload the photos (or even import photos from Flickr, if that is possible).

Besides, I like my Flickr account because it has great support (in terms of tools, and linkages from other programs). So unless Expono promises something really revolutionary, I guess I’ll be sticking to Flickr. Even if it costs more or has less features. Similarly, I won’t be attempting to rebuild my Twitter network in Plurk, and nothing is going to make me drop my Gmail and start my messaging in something else.

I’m sunk in. Very sunk in. And its a scary thing if you think about it. If Gmail starts to charge $10 a month for their services, or Flickr raises its pro account price to $249.50 instead of $24.95.

But think about this when you launch you next online service. How do you justify for the switching cost? How do you get people sunk in into your competitor’s products to switch to yours?

Maybe getting people to switch to your product is not that easy, afterall. 😉

Botak Jones

Botak Jones has arrived in the coffee shop in my neighborhood. I’ve never tasted their food before, but today I tried their Caesar Chicken Salad.

Botak Jones

It costed me $10, when a good bowl of prawn noodles, or a filling plate of rice with mixed vegetables and meat in the stall next to it would cost me $3.50, at max. On average, their set meals would cost $13, when similar western set meals sold in the vincinity would cost $6. Yet I see school kids lining up by the troves to order from Botak Jones.

There is something they did which the other stalls didn’t.

No, its not about franchising or setting up branches. Its how they put it – “Damn Good Food at A Damn Good Price”. The salad was really nice, and it was filling.

And there was actually great customer service. This was the first time I’ve ever been told in a neighborhood coffee shop “If there is anything you need, just let me know”.

Now, that is something remarkable to exist in a coffeeshop. Had they set up their own outlets as restaurants, it would have been normal.

Great work!