I Upgraded To HostGator VPS Level 3 Hosting

Jan. 30

My blog has been growing quickly! While the shared hosting plan I had on BlueHost served me very well for the past year and three months, it became really apparent in recent months that it was time to upgrade. Why? I’m enjoying 10,000+ visitors per month (thanks everyone!), I have advertisers on my blog, I aspire to start (slowly) making money from my blog, and my personal reputation is on the line with PPC Ian. As such, I decided to upgrade to HostGator VPS Level 3 Hosting. I couldn’t be more excited! My blog now loads faster and it will be far more consistent and stable. The end result: A better user experience for you!

What Is HostGator VPS Hosting?

So what the heck is this VPS stuff? There are three basic types of hosting: shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting. Shared hosting means your site(s) are hosted on a server with many other sites. Shared hosting is a great solution and you can get so much value for cheap. I actually have shared hosting accounts with BlueHost, HostGator (in addition to my VPS account for PPC Ian), GoDaddy, and iPower. I have over 80 active web businesses so shared hosting across multiple hosts (with add-on domains) is the ideal way for me to diversify and stretch my hosting dollars.

HostGator Web Hosting

What’s the downside of shared hosting? Most of the time it works really well, but from time to time your sites can slow down when other sites on the server get a surge in traffic. I noticed this happening with PPC Ian every few weeks. How do you solve this dilemma? Easy: Get a dedicated server for your site (which can be expensive) or VPS (virtual private server) hosting like myself. VPS basically means PPC Ian is one of several sites on the server, but the server is partitioned and my site has guaranteed dedicated resources just as if it were on its own server. Sweet stuff!

Why I Went With HostGator VPS Hosting

So, why did I go with HostGator VPS hosting? First and foremost, I have personal experience with their shared hosting plan and couldn’t be more happy. Second, HostGator has been getting a lot of great press in the Internet marketing community. John Chow has been blogging about HostGator quite a bit and if HostGator VPS hosting is good enough for John Chow, then it’s definitely good enough for PPC Ian!

Third, HostGator is the host that can grow as you do. When it comes to VPS hosting, HostGator offers 9 different plans. I started out with plan 3 (with the cPanel option). For $49.95 per month, I’m guaranteed 1.13 GHZ CPU, 768 MB RAM, 30GB disk space, and 500 GB bandwidth. This plan starts at $39.95 but you have to pay $10 extra if you want cPanel. As PPC Ian grows, it’s easy to upgrade to higher level VPS plans.

Another reason I went with HostGator: They transitioned my site from BlueHost free of charge. I filed a ticket on Friday and within 48 hours my site was transitioned over with great attention to detail. The technical support team at HostGator is top notch and I couldn’t be more happy with the free transfer process.

I Hope You Enjoy My Faster Blog

To close out, I want to sincerely thank you for your support. It’s because of my readers (like you) that PPC Ian has been such a success. I’m really pleased to offer faster load times and more consistency. I’m also going to be experimenting with some other technologies to keep my blog as fast as possible, such as the W3 Total Cache plugin. Thinking of signing up for HostGator? Fan of PPC Ian? I’d truly appreciate it if you signed up through my affiliate link!

HostGator Web Hosting

Online Marketing People Management Tips

Jan. 27

When it comes to online marketing, there are two high level career options when you’re first starting out: Affiliate marketing (start your own business) and the corporate route. I’m a huge fan of both, but prefer the corporate route. Today, I’d really like to highlight one of the main advantages of the corporate route: The ability to manage people early in your career. If you’re on a rocket ship career trajectory like myself, you can expect to start managing a team just a few years out of college (although it does take a little longer these days than when I started in 2004). When it comes to growing quickly, it’s all about leverage. Your team gives you that leverage. However, managing a team is definitely not easy, it’s one of the greatest (and most rewarding) challenges out there!

Today, I’ll be answering some questions one of my readers sent in recently, someone who’s new to people management and is managing his first employee. I hope this post highlight one of the big advantages of the corporate SEM route while providing some tactical people management tips.

Pace of Learning?

Leadership Management

This question really depends on the level of employee you are hiring. However, for the purpose of this post, I’m going to assume the person being managed is an SEM Associate (where I started when I graduated Stanford). It’s actually difficult for me to answer this question because times have changed. When I started my search marketing career back in 2004, SEM was a very new discipline. Due to the lack of SEM tools, documentation, helpful blogs, and overall industry knowledge, the training curve was much longer. Back in those days, you could basically assume that it would take three months to train a new employee before they could start adding value.

However, with all the advances in our industry over the years, the training curve has diminished tremendously. These days, I expect new employees to start adding value within two weeks. It’s important for managers in our industry to remember how far things have advanced and that it’s possible to learn much faster in our current environment.

In terms of overall pace, I like to inundate new employees with a lot of projects immediately. There’s really no better way to learn than to be thrown into the fire, so to speak. That said, I always stress quality over quantity. It’s important to hire A Players and an A Player will quickly get bored without a backlog challenging projects.

Online Marketing People Management Resources?

This is an awesome question and is very core to my motivation behind PPC Ian. There are many great books out there about people management. Two of my favorites are Winning by Jack Welch and High Output Management by Andy Grove. However, you’ll quickly discover that SEM is very different than other disciplines and requires its own unique management principles. Why? It’s a rapid growth career unlike any other. You typically have young managers managing even younger teams managing millions of dollars in spend. It’s because of this dynamic that I created PPC Ian with the goal of educating and empowering pay per click professionals. Stay tuned and also check out my Management category for Internet marketing people management tips.

How To Keep Them Busy For The Day?

This really ties back to the first question. If you hire A Players they must have a backlog of high value projects or else they will get bored, really quickly! You need to challenge A Players. How do you do this? Well, first things first: You’ll want to spend a lot of time with new employees. Typically, your own productivity will go down in their first few weeks. You’ll be spending a large portion of your day training them! Don’t worry, the long term leverage you will get far outweighs the negative leverage in the short run.

Second, you’ll want to classify projects into two groups: Recurring tasks and strategic projects. An example of a recurring task is sending out daily or weekly reports to the team. An example of a strategic project is launching a new campaign on Google AdWords. You can quickly fill up the schedules of your new employees by assigning recurring tasks. This is stuff you need done but is well defined and recurring (meaning it takes up a lot of time on a consistent basis). Over time, as your employees become more seasoned and independent, you’ll want to assign them more strategic projects.

What Tasks To Gradually Load On Them?

This really ties into the last question, great timing… In a new employee’s fist few weeks, they’ll work mainly on recurring tasks. Over time, they’ll do those recurring tasks in a fraction of the time it used to take them. This will free up tons of time to continue taking on more recurring tasks and also strategic projects. Just remember, we’re dealing with millions of dollars. There’s a lot at stake. Upon completion of their first strategic projects, you’ll want to review their work thoroughly. It’s only after trust and a great track record is established that I would recommend allowing new employees to make changes to production SEM accounts. The timing on this can vary, but I typically don’t let new employees make changes to production SEM accounts (directly) until they’ve been at the company over a month (and sometimes more).

What Should I Expect?

It’s of paramount importance to expect the world. I only hire A Players and expect a lot. By expecting a lot and pushing your employees to the max, they will grow quickly, add amazing value, and drive results. In turn, this makes you a success as a manager. The whole organization grows and everyone gets promoted! Just remember, everyone needs a break at some point so use your judgment. Moreover, we’re all human and we’re all different. Why is management difficult? No two people are the same. You’ll need to change your management style for each and every person you manage. It gets easier over time (once you’ve managed 10-20 different employees), but it takes time. Just remember to trust your instincts and that the relationship you establish with your employees is everything. To your employees, you are the company to them!

Image of Leadership Management © iStockPhoto – turkkol

My Stanford Online Marketing Videos (Post 3 of 3)

Jan. 25

Today, I’m excited to complete my three part series highlighting my recent online marketing presentation at Stanford Graduate School of Business. I first recommend checking out part one and part two of this series. In this six video series, I provide a multitude of online marketing quick win tips. These are tips that will help anyone drive affordable, effective traffic to their online business. Today, I’m excited to close out the series with two videos featuring social media, email, and outsourcing tips.

Stanford GSB Online Marketing Video Five

I cover a lot of social media topics in online marketing video five. Specifically, I cover TweetAdder, overall Twitter strategies, YouTube strategies, RSS feeds (and FeedBurner in particular). Also, I discuss lead capture via email marketing and in particular the AWeber platform.

Stanford GSB Online Marketing Video Six

Video six closes out with more AWeber email marketing tips and outsourcing tips. I’m really excited to discuss one of my favorite writers on Elance (one of the golden nuggets of my presentation) and also how to leverage Fiverr, a new $5 outsourcing platform, for video testimonials among other projects. I have literally been addicted to Fiverr lately and have been getting a lot of great, affordable, and time-efficient results from this innovative platform.

Thanks again for watching my online marketing videos!

Videos in this post © PPCIan.com

My Stanford Online Marketing Videos (Post 2 of 3)

Jan. 22

I just presented online marketing quick win tips and strategies at Stanford Graduate School of Business. My presentation went really well and I’m thrilled to have the entire thing on HD video. In my last post (I highly recommend checking it out before this one), I shared my first two videos (out of six). Those videos focused mainly on PPC and Facebook advertising tips. Today, I’m pleased to share videos three and four! In just a few short days, I’ll share the final two. What’s included in today’s online marketing videos? Some really cool stuff: SEO link building, SEO tips and strategies, social media marketing opportunities, and more. Thanks for watching and a big thank you to Stanford Graduate School of business for hosting me!

Stanford GSB Online Marketing Video Three

In online marketing video three I cover some exciting link building topics. As you may know, link building is of paramount importance when ranking your website or blog on head terms. Specifically I do a deep dive into my ever popular blog commentating strategy. If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you may know I’m a huge fan of blog commenting and even ran a blog commentating contest that was really successful (I’m thinking of doing another one in 2011). I also cover other SEO link building topics including guest interviews and SEO-optimized press releases through PRWeb.

Stanford GSB Online Marketing Video Four

In video four, I cover both SEO and social media topics. I start out with more information about SEO-optimized press releases from PRWeb and then link building strategies via social profiles. The social profile strategy can actually backfire if you don’t have a long term, conservative perspective so I discuss how to do it right. Next, I transition into the SEO benefits of the Epik product portal platform, and close out with some social media tips including Facebook Fan Page optimization and gaining Twitter followers with TweetAdder.

Thanks again for watching and I hope you enjoy these online marketing quick win tips!

Videos in this post © PPCIan.com

PPC Ian Presents at Stanford GSB Again

Jan. 21

Back in May of 2010, I presented a two hour introduction to online marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business. The presentation went incredibly well and was a true honor and milestone in my career. I graduated Stanford with my BS in Computer Science so it was really exciting to go back and present at Stanford GSB.

PPC Ian at Stanford GSB

PPC Ian at Stanford GSB

Today, I’ve got some really exciting news: I just went back and presented again this Wednesday! That’s right, I got invited back in less than a year so I’m definitely on the right track. I’m very passionate about Stanford, online marketing, and public speaking so I’m truly excited about this accomplishment.

Even better news: I have six HD videos of my new presentation that I’m excited to share with you. The first two videos are featured in this post, and then I will include the final four within the next few days.

While last time I presented an extensive introduction to the various online marketing channels, this time I provided a plethora of quick win tips for entrepreneurs. I highlighted pay per click, SEO, social media, and viral marketing tips that are easy, actionable, and effective in marketing any small business. After my first hour presenting quick win tips, I spent another hour doing a deep dive of some of the students’ sites. I especially enjoyed this part because I got to see some really amazing early stage businesses from the best and brightest minds. (Since the business are early stage with some in stealth mode, I only have video from the first hour.)

I was fortunate yet again to have an amazing audience of around 35 or so genius GSB students from the entrepreneur, high tech, and marketing clubs, students who asked some really great questions! My sincere thank you to everyone from these great clubs and everyone at GSB who attended and hosted me, especially Courtney from Wokai.

Today’s First Online Marketing Video

I have two exciting HD videos to share with you today. The first video covers quick wins on Google AdWords and Facebook. When it comes to Google AdWords, there are few marketers out there who have been directly responsible for as much spend as myself. This is really where it all started for me and how I became a guru in the online marketing industry. I’m newer to Facebook advertising but am quickly learning. I have been promoting my Facebook Fan Page quite a bit lately and discuss some tips for gaining more likes!

My Second Stanford GSB Video

The second video covers more Facebook advertising tips, the Yahoo/Microsoft Search Alliance, keyword generation (via broad match), and blogging. I really hope you enjoy these videos and can’t wait to share the next four. Thanks so much for watching.

PPC Ian and Some of My New Friends From Stanford GSB

Below you can see yours truly with some of the students from Stanford Graduate School of Business. I actually spoke to about 35 or so students. We took this picture after the presentation with some of the students who stayed after to ask questions. I sincerely appreciate the great turn out and all the support from Stanford GSB’s entrepreneur, high tech, and marketing clubs! Also, I want to especially thank Courtney (next to me in picture) for organizing this event!

PPC Ian with Stanford GSB Students

Images of PPC Ian at Stanford GSB © PPCIan.com