Reliable web hosting.

As you can imagine, we deal with a lot of different web hosting companies while creating sites for clients. For a time, we even tried our hand at being a web host ourselves. We leased a server, installed the billing software and for a little over a year and a half, dealt with tech support issues, sites being down, email issues and generally the stuff that we were not good at. The last straw for our “web hosting division” was when our leased VPS went down and we were told we needed to switch to a dedicated server. Apparently, this process takes about a week. Now whether it really takes a week or not I don’t know, because we’re creative folks, not technical folks. What I do know is that we were very popular for that week, and not in a good way. See, people get kind of attached to their websites being up and accessible to clients and customers. When they’re not, they get pissed. And I didn’t blame them one bit. I was pissed too, because all of our sites were down as well. No sites, no email, no good.

I quickly began searching for an alternative, because I knew that I was going to be out of the web business after this. My previous hosting company managed to get everyone back up on a “temporary” basis after about 5 days so during the downtime I started researching hosting companies. If you’re just beginning this process take my advice: do more than price shop. Most hosting companies make about the same offer for shared hosting platforms, anywhere from $3 to $10 dollars a month. However, price per month should only be one of the things you consider. In my opinion, tech support is the real key to a money/value web host comparison. You see, the rubber really meets the road when you have technical issues. How fast does the company respond to support tickets? How fast do they answer live chat?

In my search for a new company, I’m pleased to say that I found the answer to my hosting needs. InMotion Hosting. They are a U.S. based (data centers on both coasts) employee owned and operated company. Employee owned and operated? Yeah, that means they care. They care because it’s in their best interest to make sure that if you have a problem, the issue gets resolved. I’ve been with them for over two months now and have had interaction with tech support via phone 3 times and via chat support 3 times. Whether it was by phone or chat, the issue was resolved quickly, and I love the fact that at the end of your session, tech support asks you to email their boss and let them know how they performed. My previous company didn’t do that. They took 2 days or more to even answer an initial request and then 2 or more days to resolve it. No bueno.

It’s not fun to think about switching host providers. We’d been with our previous web host for over 2 years. But somewhere along the way with our old provider, the tech support dropped off while the tech issues (sites going down) kept escalating. InMotion made it easy to switch and move all of our data, (and data from the clients who also switched to them).

If you’re looking for a reliable web hosting company, with customer service rock stars, check out InMotion by clicking their banner below.


History of Manchester United Jersey

With the World Cup still in full swing Chevrolet and Manchester United star in this great video showing the history of the Manchester United jersey. The Manchester fans sing “Glory Glory Man United” as they march to the stadium, where star Wayne Rooney debuts the latest jersey with the Chevrolet logo and ends by saying, “This shirt belongs to you. Always has. Always will.” A great spot by Chevy’s agency Commonwealth.

Embed Getty Images

Pop the champagne! Or wine (or your favorite beverage), because Getty Images is saving you from ripping off images on the interwebs. You can now embed Getty Images into your website, blog or social platform without feeling guilty for pirating images. From Getty Images, “Finally, everyone can enhance their online communications and express their creativity with high-quality imagery – at no charge.”

It’s really as simple as finding an image you like on Getty Images, copying the embed code (looks like this: </>) and inserting the code into your post, page, etc.

Thank you Getty Images – the quality of imagery on the web just went up a notch. For details check out www.gettyimages.com

Pay for creative work.

Design_for_free_billboardWould you work for free? If you do creative work (designer, artist, coder) you may have seen something like the following example that I see far too often in online forums, direct emails, or via face-to-face networking. It goes something like this:

I have a small business and I would like to re-vamp our Logo and such for our website, signage, business cards, clothing, etc. I’m hoping to find a new or aspiring graphic artist that would like to help create our new look, and at the same time build their portfolio. Sorry, but this is not a project I can pay for, but it may be good experience and an opportunity to build your portfolio and gain a great reference.

What kind of “great reference” offsets being paid for hours of work? If someone asks how much you paid for all this creative work do you say, “Oh, I told them I didn’t have much money so they did it for free and to build their portfolio.” Finding that out, will your next “client” ask you to work for free also? My advice for any designer/creative type engaged in business is simple: Get paid for your work. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting out or not. If the client/business is already established (in this case, needing a “re-vamp”), then they should have a marketing budget set aside for design work. If they don’t, you should still be able to negotiate a pay-for-design rate, get a signed agreement, and proceed to do what you’re contracted for, and only what your contracted for. Don’t let the client come back with excessive revision requests unless you’ve built that into your contract.

Let’s put it another way. Dave wants a house built. He finds an architect and a builder that are just starting out and requests to meet with them. At this meeting he says to the architect, “I want you to design a 2,500 sq. foot house for me.” and then turning to the builder, says, “And I want you to build it as modern as possible with granite countertops, walk-in shower and hardwood floors.” Then Dave adds the kicker – “I don’t have any money to pay for this, but this house will look great in your portfolios and I’ll give you a great reference.” Do you think the architect and builder are going to accept?

What makes people assume that creative work should be performed for free? A good designer can be an asset to your business –  like a good employee, accountant, lawyer, supplier, etc. One shouldn’t think of creative work as a “one-off” relationship. What if you need additional work like a promotional piece created for a new product? Are you going to place another ad looking for free design work? Or are you going to contact “your designer”, the one that you have a working relationship with, that understands your business because of the time spent working together on your branding/marketing materials. The designer who can get it done quickly for you because he/she understands what you need designed without a lot of input/micromanaging from you?

Graphic designers and other creative folks need to get paid the same as you need to get paid for your products or services. We have families to feed and bills to pay, just like you do.