(The founder of inPhocus Media, He’s an Expert in Digital Marketing, Hosting and SEO, Nathan has Worked with Companies Such as HostGator, BlueHost, SEO, Hosting,Vanderbilt University and Envato)
How to select the SEO keywords ?Best On Page and off page SEO Tips? and Best SEO Analytics Tools and Services?
Best Themes & Pictures Resources, Best Tools or Plugins to Speed up a WordPress Site, How long it takes to rang a website in terms of SEO? Is PPC will enhance the SEO ranking? What’s the difference between Shared Hosting, VPS, and Dedicated server Hosting?
With English and Arabic Subtitle
Nathan is the founder and lead business marketing consultant of inPhocus Media a Houston based digital marketing studio. Nathan is also the author of the book Freelance Jumpstart, which teaches startups and entrepreneurs how to increase profit and productivity by using software and wise business techniques. Nathan has worked with companies such as HostGator, Vanderbilt University, and Envato to name a few.
Nathan holds a master’s in business ADMINISTRATION (MBA) from the University of Houston with a specialization in marketing analysis. He often writes articles on marketing, business, design, analytics and branding on his personal blog, NathanAllotey.com.
Websites & Social Media Links
- What’s your background, what did you study and how did you start your journey in the INTERNET world?
- What’s your main focus now?
- Why you left the EMPLOYMENT life and decided to become a freelancer or entrepreneur?
- What’s envato? And how it works?
- In which department or division you worked for
- You worked for Envato, what was your focus?
- How to use envato efficiently?
- What’s HTML and CSS and Best FREE Places to Learn HTML & CSS?
- Best theme resources or sites that you recommend?
- Best and most affordable place to buy pictures online?
- Your favorite CMS and why?
- Best CMS for Membership Sites or Ecommerce Site or Blog Sites and Why?
- Best tools or plugins to speed up a wordpress site?
- How to select the SEO keywords for my site?
- Best On Page and off page SEO advice?
- Best SEO analytics tools and services?
- What other traffic or conversion advice that you can share with us?
- How long it takes to rang a website in terms of SEO?
- Is PPC will enhance the SEO ranking?
- Do you recommend any SEO COMPANY that offers reasonable fixed monthly plans? How much they charge per month?
- You worked in HostGator, BlueHost, SEO Hosting, what was your focus, which one from them is best and why?
- What’s the difference between Shared Hosting, VPS, and Dedicated server hosting?
- Which hosting I should use if I have a low traffic website and which hosting to use if I have a high traffic website?
- Which hosting service is the best for wordpress websites and why?
- As marketer do you have a package that you charge a percentage per lead or customer?
- How much do you charge for your web design and development services per hour or project?
- Who’s your no.1 mentor?
- What are the Top 3 apps that you use on your smart phone?
- What are the habits that you are trying to develop to stay efficient?
- What are your top 3 favorite books?
- What are the top 3 people that you are inspired by?
- What makes you really happy?
- How people can contact you?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Hi everyone this is Ahmed Al Kiremli and welcome to Be Efficient Tv. The mission of this web TV show is to boost the efficiency of your business and life through tips and tricks from leading experts. Today I have with me Nathan Allotey, he is the founder of in focus media, he is an expert in digital marketing, SEO and hosting. Nathan has worked in many companies, many hosting companies like host gator, blue host, and SEO hosting, welcome to the show Nathan. How are you doing?
Nathan Allotey: Thank you very much, thank you for having me as well I definitely appreciate it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s my pleasure. So what is your background and how did you start inter network?
Nathan Allotey: While my background is really mathematics and engineering, that is my undergrad degree, electrical engineering so I was always around technology and learning new things and I just like the creative aspect of engineering, taking an idea of something you are thinking about and making it a reality. I took an internship with Vanderbilt University, when I took the inter-chip I did research for them for engineering, they asked me to do many things that had to do with business related to Internet marketing for the research I was doing and I thought to myself I really need to learn a little bit more specifically about Internet marketing and business so I pursued an MBA at the secondary level and that’s when I dove headfirst into marketing and Internet and learning new tools as well, so I’ve always been around new technology but I started seeing certain trends pop up over and over where those skills would be needed.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Was there like any connection between the MBA and the Internet or just with a marketing and management?
Nathan Allotey: To be 100% honest when I was pursuing my MBA I really want to do IT management, I was around technology all the time and I thought well let me further my degree in technology but whenever I took the marketing classes I would always get perfect scores without even putting in much effort so I had a couple professors say hey maybe you should look at this and it just came naturally to me, I had a couple ideas plus they already like technology and I was interested in code on my own so just coupling that together with marketing just made that decision to go ahead and pursue that with marketing, they just came natural and people side of me so I thought I would pursue it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Through the research I saw, I know you read lots of books, this question was not on the list of questions and I always asked the people who have done the MBA, if you came back now would you do it again and what has the MBA added to your life, to your entrepreneurship, to the entrepreneurial life, not to the employment part of your life? As an entrepreneur would you go back and do it again or not?
Nathan Allotey: I would still do it and the main reason I would still do it is due to the fact that I had a heavy background in technology, I didn’t have time to take any business classes or anything of that nature, I was technology all the way but understanding certain things from a business level that you get a wider view of what you are doing so now it becomes I’m not just working on this piece of software that needs to be efficient, you see the reasons and the audience of who may appreciate the software so it helps you think in a different mindset so if I had to do it over I would do it over, I will admit though some of the things that I did learn, the information is out there and available, most people just don’t know it so it is available, it is not structured but if you were to find it in different places on the Internet and different places in books, the same information is available but I would do it just because it helped challenge me, someone who was heavy on technology and not so much in business so it made me a better business person and a better entrepreneur.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Why did you leave the employment life and how did you do the transition to be a freelancer or entrepreneur?
Nathan Allotey: To be honest I still dip in and out every now and then like for example right now I am working with a major retailer here in Houston Texas and I’m working with them mainly because it was a good brand, a good opportunity, they have been in business for well over 30 years and I’m doing web analytics for them, observing different trends they have and making recommendations so sometimes I work in house with them and their team but the main thing I would say is.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Sorry to cut you off, like you work with them off-line, full-time?
Nathan Allotey: Somewhat, they have a team they are building up, relatively new to the company so they have been in business and been successful but they haven’t had an Internet team so I’ve been working with them to go but up and get into decent size so we will see where that goes but I definitely do enjoy freelancing and the whole entrepreneur track, the main reason is because when you are working certain employment jobs are working for an employer, you get the same task over and over again and you don’t necessarily have creative control of how the whole project is going to go, you have one section of the project you complete that one section and then it moves on to the next person but as a freelancer and as an entrepreneur you have control over who you are working with, the type of project you are taking on but also you have a wide variety of projects and tasks, you may work with someone who is in the oilfield industry and next off you may work with someone who is in software so it really just depends upon the type of client work you are doing but you get more variety and more control so that’s worth it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you got the job and you got like what is your other focus like you do web development SEO analytics, what else do you do?
Nathan Allotey: You pretty much needed, web design, web analytics, I do some graphic design as well, but mainly came about because Photoshop some years ago I just learned how to use it and then I said hey you can use Photoshop to create web designs so naturally one from oh I created a web design in Photoshop, now I need to do the code behind it so that was a natural trend and I learned many things along the way so that mainly has to deal with SEO, web design, graphic design, I do some print design as well but also specifically dealing with branding so branding certain products for companies and then mapping everything out this is what the brand is, this is a look, this is the website and the website goes and feeds into certain SEO practices that we need to do so I tried to take them from beginning to start or redesign something that is not doing as well as I would like.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you do everything yourself or do you have a team with you or do you just outsource?
Nathan Allotey: A little bit of both, I have a team that I tend to work with all the time, they also have their own freelancers as well but we do come together at projects that I work on so I have my go to people as far as working on projects, I do also try to reach out and recruit different people that I haven’t worked with, it just depends upon the work that I’ve seen them do in the past, if we already have a prior relationship online with networking.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Would you like the most between let’s say if we divided it as web design, web development and SEO?
Nathan Allotey: I would say I like more so the design because throughout the years this is something that is not necessarily trained it’s just something that happens over time throughout the years I have begun to get an eye for certain things, observing something and saying I think it would look best if you did this based on the color theory or based upon what I know behind the mathematics and the testing of certain AB tests I think you should say this in your copy, I think we should work on this, the design should be these colors it should be laid out this way just because of the habits of people in the web so I would say web design is my favorite I would say.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you like to design a website like what is your strategy when you design a website, do you like to design it from scratch or do you like let’s say themes and then modify them because they give you more options or integration with mobile which makes your job easier later?
Nathan Allotey: There are different trade-offs, if I do it from scratch I know the code it’s their and I know I can make it into whatever I wanted to be as you mentioned mobile I can do that as well so there is an advantage of doing it from scratch, as far as a good timesaver like you mentioned taking a template or theme that does cut a lot of time because there’s already a framework there and I just need to turn it into certain elements of how I would like it to be. So there are different advantages, what is my favorite? I probably would say my favorite would be working with something that already exists in making it better so it can be a redesign or even a template.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You worked with In Vato, as well on the Internet, how does it work and what is In Vato?
Nathan Allotey: In Vato as you mentioned they are a large company that’s been in business for a long time, they are an Australian based company, they do 2 things now, at first it was just tools, providing tools to different web developers, photographers, graphic artists, different digital creative’s, they offer tools that would help make you better so if you are working on code maybe you have you need a form submission page they have the code specifically for forum submissions and you can buy from them and move on so they were targeted at developers and designers on the web, they branched out and they also have a tutorial and teaching side so you can also go to different websites and learn certain skills whether it’s web design or photography where the game development so they have grown, they either provide you with tools to be successful or you can learn from them in different tutorials.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: The learning division is it like membership or is it for free or how does it work and the design and code section, let’s say do they outsource people or developers can they post their codes of the things they can sell it there or how does it work and then they get a commission from each sale?
Nathan Allotey: You pretty much alluded to it, on one and they have different marketplaces so if you have written something whether it’s a theme or a website template or you’ve taken photos that you want other people to use on their websites as a stock photo you can upload it to their marketplace, set a certain price and as you mentioned they take a percentage and you can take him a percentage as well as far as the marketplace goes.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How much?
Nathan Allotey: The percentage does vary based on your performance, in the past it was about 40% but it’s increase to 50 and if you are more successful they just get better as time goes along so the more successful you are the higher percentage you can bring in, it just depends on how often you use their product.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: They have 3-D graphics, music, video, they are very like they cover everything in the have great stuff and which division did you work with them, what was your focus with them?
Nathan Allotey: My focus with them was working with their tutorial and teaching side as you mentioned you asked about membership, they have membership options, it has changed quite a bit but the whole base operation was they had a pretty popular blog in certain subjects so if you want to learn Photoshop they had a blog just for Photoshop and design, if you want to learn Adobe Illustrator they had a blog just based on illustrator, a blog based on photography and they would have free tutorials online but if you wanted more detail or you wanted to see the source code or you want to see the source documents of the Photoshop document you are working in that required membership so they had a premium set up where you could see a certain level of content for free on their blog but if you want to go deeper you had to be a member and I worked on the tutorial and teaching side of things with a lot of their redesign so a lot of the redesign I worked with them on the set up of how tutorials are laid out in the flow of the certain materials that go along with those tutorials so that was the work that I did with them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: From the US or were you based in Australia as well?
Nathan Allotey: Here in the US, I’m in the US at the moment so I worked remotely with them, they are based in Australia but they have many Roma people that work with them as well, I think they do a great job just keeping up with everyone even in different time zones, everybody still provides excellent support and does great work just to make the site run.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But remotely you’ve been doing tutorials in these things, you don’t do in office to shoot or do these things or do they have a certain system just to control you from him? How does it work?
Nathan Allotey: They set up certain criteria for you and they say this the level of quality we would like, some people already have their own studio so they can just shoot tutorials that way, some people screen cast, there are some tutorials written out in screen capture of the different steps on their screen, as far as some of the things that I’ve done I do have all the equipment to shoot so I can shoot myself, I even have a studio in my house that I built so I can use that, either way sometimes I do go to a studio or just use a certain set up a depends on what that story was about.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And they put you on a salary or are you commission-based based on how many episodes or tutorials that you do for them?
Nathan Allotey: What you mentioned you are pretty much paid a commission based upon the level of production you are producing or you did a course and the courses this many lessons in it and they pay that way, some of the development I did was behind the scenes of the site so mine was based upon hourly, that’s how it was set up.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And still know if somebody wants to work with you to do some tutorials they can still do it right?
Nathan Allotey: Correct.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Okay, what is HTML and CSS and what is the best replace online to learn them?
Nathan Allotey: HTML and CSS I would say if you are learning web design are interested in it or your job has anything to do with a website it would be beneficial to learn, HTML and CSS are the two basic code bases to run a website so every website you see on the web if you go there you right-click and you view source and you are looking at HTML, it’s connected to CSS, HTML is the framework of the site, how it looks, how does the text appear in the page, how to images show up and what are the size of the images? CSS style of how everything is laid out, certain fonts that you declare, the size of those fonts, what happens when you rollover an object so that is the difference between the two, the best places that I would say, I have many know that I’ve already learned I found out more, a couple I would name is In Vato, through their site called test plus, they have a great class, one thing that is for free they have is called learn HTML and CSS in 30 days, another place that is good is called code Academy, that’s a great place to learn as well if you are new to try to learn HTML and CSS, those are a few places on the net but those specifically is what I would say if you just want to look at the syntax itself, sites like HTML dog or DEV DOX, those are some places to learn the syntax.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So let’s say we are using the CMS of WordPress which is a control management system, inside WordPress the code is what?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So when I want to build my website, I’m an average user and I don’t know what is like the framework to use like which one should I use?
Nathan Allotey: I would recommend WordPress just because at least in working with certain clients it seems like that is the best solution for them that is the most easy to learn, also WordPress has grown fairly popular, I know over 60 million sites are using WordPress and it has a large community you can also learn from as well so I tend to go to WordPress though I do use some other things but WordPress is the main thing I would recommend people.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: All right, which framework to I use for my website if I am building a website how to choose this framework or let’s say CMS to build a website?
Nathan Allotey: If you are building the site and you’re thinking about a framework the main questions I would have is what exactly would you like to do, would you like to blog, would you like to just have a basic website that you don’t plan on changing, do you need a landing page or perhaps are you selling something online so you need e-commerce, so they supply your needs, I would recommend a certain framework of where to start, I think there’s a certain framework that can be modified to do all of the things I just mentioned but there are certain things that make it easier so if you are blogging I would say you probably should go with WordPress, WordPress started as a blogging platform and it is very good for that and it already is set up for that but also if you want a website, WordPress can do that as well just because of the way it serves pages and certain content if you are doing e-commerce more than likely I would recommend you go with Magento but that also depends on how many products your offerings what really depends upon your vision for your website, where you see it going in the future and that would be what I would used to recommend certain frameworks and tools to start with.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So for e-commerce, how about membership sites, and don’t you think that for example for myself I am comfortable with WordPress, I understand how it works, how to update the things, I don’t know HTML but I can change the pictures somehow and blog and do different stuff with it, so I feel more comfortable with it, whatever website I develop I try to go with it even if it’s e-commerce our membership, and even like our show website is built on WordPress however it is a membership site, so what do you think about that, I think like everything somehow with the time it is achievable by WordPress but how do I change to another one, what is the advantage or disadvantage of each framework?
Nathan Allotey: So I love WordPress, I use it all the time, I tend to try to recommend to stay within WordPress, you mentioned membership sites, I feel WordPress is great for that just because the way it is set up it already has user roles so you already have administrators, basic users, subscribers, editors, it already has that functionality so if you wanted to expand WordPress to build membership site I think it’s great, for that because it is always has the levels built into it, why not? E-commerce, WordPress is also good for that, there is certain functionality you can add on to WordPress to sell something if you would like on the web, many different plug-ins accomplish that, so WordPress is good for that as well, the only thing that I see that may cause me to recommend something else when it comes to e-commerce is the number of products that you have I mentioned a retailer I’m working with, they have thousands of SKUs and they are adding more so because there are so many SKUs, the way that Magento works in terms of servicing content it’s a little more straightforward for them because they have such a large number so in certain instance is I would recommend for example as I said Magento for e-commerce, it’s already built specifically for e-commerce and if you have a large amount of certain things it works well but I also found WordPress works well it just depends on the number products you are trying to spell.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So if it’s like for WordPress if I’m selling less than 100 or thousand products it’s fine to stay with WordPress but if I’m selling more than that I should go with Magento?
Nathan Allotey: Correct you should go with Magento if it’s a high number in my opinion, if you don’t have that many products then you can use WordPress, I’ve use WordPress for many things like conference registrations and selling T-shirts online, so that’s what I would say, you are on the right track in my opinion either one of those options but again the best thing is work with things you are familiar with, if you don’t want to learn Magento because you have many SKUs and it’s too difficult, make WordPress work for you are find another solution like shopify, so work with things that are easier for you and if it’s easier for you to manage as a business owner and entrepreneur and person working on the site day-to-day that is where you want to stay.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Shopify is hosted and they charge you a membership and they have all the solutions, it’s great for people to start with right?
Nathan Allotey: Definitely I think so and I always recommend people start small, whenever I work with clients, start small and then upgrade and move along, you don’t need some huge system to start out with, sometimes that’s last if you have a huge product offering in many different products that I would say start small and see what happens and tested out and then you have your answers and what your next move is.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Have you tested or used shopify before and like is a good for let’s say sites with high traffic, they can cope with that or there is problems because they are a big company, how do you see it?
Nathan Allotey: They have gotten better, I haven’t looked at them for some time, the current version they have right now is pretty good, they do pretty good maintenance on their servers and they keep things up, they make sure updates are smooth, they notify users of any changes, I think it’s good, I normally recommend people to go with it if they don’t want their own hosted solution or they aren’t yet ready for that, also you can make templates for shopify and upload them so you can tailor the look to be how you like it to be but once again you have to learn their system. If you aren’t ready for a hosted solution they are good but if you are then you can definitely turn it however you’d like it to be.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So 20% of sites are using let’s say WordPress, what are the other 80%, can you divide the other platforms or CMS is used? And why is each one use?
Nathan Allotey: There are quite a few other ones, WordPress I love as I mentioned, there are a few other ones like Drupal, Drupal is very similar to WordPress but the core offering is different. Joomla! is another solution, I’ve seen Joomla! get a lot better throughout the years, I remember when I first started looking at everything I thought WordPress was just easier and Drupal was second and Joomla! the way it was set up was somewhat difficult but Joomla! has improved a lot, just the way they have things set up in the backend so Joomla! is another one besides WordPress, others were popular in the past but not as popular as they used to be, Moodle is commonly used for online learning that’s another solution, I’ve seen certain people go with certain versions of ASP when they want to work on a Windows server they use the but I’ve also you seen people use WordPress on Windows servers because they dislike how it works, there’s a new platform called ghost that people are using to blog and it’s fairly simple, it’s minimal and it just makes sense so those are a few other ones that I’ve seen around online, more enterprise clients tend to use certain things like SharePoint and they use their content management with SharePoint, I don’t think it’s very straightforward at all.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How easy is it to shift between those let’s say a started with one thing and I decided to move to another how easy is that to be done and do you recommend any services or companies for that or like your company can do it?
Nathan Allotey: We have done that before move people from different platforms to WordPress, the main thing that will determine the level of difficulty is can you export all of your data and if you can’t is it in a certain format that’s easy to be ported over to WordPress so if you have your database can we map it to the new WordPress database or at the very least can export all of your pages and content so we can work with it and upload it and if not then difficulty would be manually, many nights of copying and pasting and downloading and re-uploading just to reformat it so it really just depends, whatever you go with just in case certain needs change always try to see in the beginning whether you own your content and can take it with you if you need to because there may come a day or you do need to take it with you so you always want to make sure you on your own content and can move it where you need to go so if they make it easy then something like WordPress, WordPress is easy but I’ve seen with some online website builders some manual processes.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So we decided about the platform and CMS, now where to find let’s say the best themes in pictures and resources online?
Nathan Allotey: But say pictures, I know a couple paid services but free is the best price so one place I like going to get free images is unsplash, it’s a good place to go, it’s curated by the people that make crew, the website where they curate graphic designers and connect them with companies to do projects so they curate that, those are some excellent images all HD from landscapes to people to technology so that’s a great place to go, pic jumbo is another place to go, for either HD or, that’s another place to go as well, another one if you are looking for technology or just starting up there is one called I believe it’s startupictures.com just for startups, that’s a great one if you are a startup and I think we are in the age of Internet startups, great photos for startups they show a lot of interaction and technology and people working with each other so those are some places to get photos and images.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about the paid ones?
Nathan Allotey: One place I like is photodune and you can go to Invato and see them lay out their websites, that one is laid out based on the level of quality you need so high reservoir lo-res or HD, based upon the quality you lead of course some other sites that determines the quality, a sister site of them is theme Forest, they had many different themes and templates available there as well so those are a few of the paid things that you can use to get a good start on what you are looking to do.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Other sources for themes.
Nathan Allotey: Another one I like is mojo themes, they have a little green monster mascot that’s when you know you’re on the right website but mojo themes is great, they have a large offering and plug-ins for WordPress namely is the one they are pushing and there are a few others, I believe themes kingdom, they have gotten a lot better, I remember when they first started they have grown a lot and then re-done a lot of their templates and themes so they are pretty good as well so those are a few I would say.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the best plug-ins to speed up WordPress websites?
Nathan Allotey: When you’re talking about speeding up a WordPress one thing I tend to use many times it is the Google pay speed application online just to see what is slowing down the website because it may not be WordPress itself it could be the images you are using not being optimized so I tend to look a little under the hood and see what are the areas that have a problem but one plug and I particularly like using is W3 total cash and when I say W3 total cash it is saving certain elements on your website so it doesn’t have to try to query the database and your system over and over again to reload everything when someone comes to the website so it saves certain elements, so W3 total cache is a great one that I tend to use also cloud flair works as a security layer but also as a CDN, a content delivery network and it works in a similar fashion with a save similar elements or on your site and when a visitor comes to your website they load the version or the elements that are closest to them so it’s faster, so cloud flare in conjunction with W3 total cash.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the perfect size for the pictures to be used in a blog or website and if I have problems with the pictures do I have to go manually and change the molars are a plug-in for that?
Nathan Allotey: There are a couple plug-ins for that for example there is a gzip plug-in which will compress on the server, if your server has that enable you can use certain plug-ins that will allow WordPress to do that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So it will keep the picture the same size on the site but it will reduce the size in terms of the megabyte.
Nathan Allotey: Through there are certain plug-ins based upon that they can be used for compression, I know one thing I tend to use is a couple of different things but the main thing that I sent to do is when I see an image are certain things of that nature, there are websites and there are plug-ins that come along with Photoshop that help with that, websites like tiny PNG.org, it’s a PNG file and you can go there or go to JPEG many.com, you can use that and basically what that is is if you have an image of a certain size you upload it to their systems, it compresses the image for you and then keeps the same quality so it compresses it but keeps the image looks the same so you don’t lose quality there and then you upload that version.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Yes but this process takes time like any of these plug-ins but say if I started my website for one year and I have lots of pictures there if I update this plug-in or download or install it on the site will it apply the effect of compression on all of the images or not?
Nathan Allotey: Now but going forward it will, the ones that are using gzip plug-ins those would add some compression to the images that are the there, besides that certain things like cloud flair and Mac CDN have plug-ins for WordPress those of plug-ins also because you don’t have to change much on the site itself and it handles image loading a lot faster.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And what is the perfect size for images that I should use on the site?
Nathan Allotey: It varies from what you are using, I try to keep them around 100 kB, some images based upon what it is will be larger but I try to keep it to 150 kB or lower, try to keep it somewhere along those lines, or when you get up till like half a megabyte it’s pretty bulky for an image but it is understandable based on what it is, if it is that large that is where CDN and certain image optimization comes into play because it start sticking up a lot of your bandwidth and some hosting plans have unlimited bandwidth, in those cases you may be fine but those that have a certain allotment of bandwidth then you just eating up your bandwidth really when you don’t have to.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Let’s go deeper into search engine optimization, what is your advice on page for SEO on page?
Nathan Allotey: I would say the different approach, because one thing people tend to forget and we easily get caught up in optimization of letting sure everything is laid out and Google can read it we make sure the file is correct that we often forget sometimes a human is also going to read this so when it comes to on page SEO I’m a big proponent for organization of content on your page so when you have organization of content on your page you should have a main title in the main header and you should organize your thoughts into different subsection so if you’re doing that make sure your H1 tag is the main title of the content you would like to deal with, when I say H 1 I mean the header tag for a blog post so make sure that is the main.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Sorry to cut you off, the H1 is the title of a WordPress site, is it by default H 1 or do you mean the one that you use in the body of the blog post?
Nathan Allotey: Even in the body of the blog post because most of the time you create a post and you have a title, that’s a good question you brought up because certain things take the title of your post and they automatically make it H 1, certain other types of themes or architectures that are set up take the title of your post and they make it the title of the article so when Google was searching it’s the title of it that they don’t make it the H 1 so that is an important thing to look over otherwise you may have 2 H 1 tags, so look at how the pages set up, if you’re using a different architecture you want to make sure that the H1 shows up and you can use it multiple times but I would definitely recommend using it once and if you use it once let that be the main title or the main subject of what you are referring to in the whole article as best as possible and then under that you could use H2 tags for certain sub content or some thoughts of your article of your page and so forth with the H threes in the H fours is needed and if you have a quote as properly used, use block quote. I tend to recommend using certain elements for what their purpose is for, if you have paragraph text make sure it’s wrapped in a paragraph tag, if you have an image give that image of title but also give it an alt tag so Google can search that particular image and if you have an alt tag make sure you write content in the alt tag that describes what the image is. So Google can find that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Is it better to add a name to name the picture before uploading it?
Nathan Allotey: I would say both, when I work with clients some of the things that I work on I recommend and I use the images going to have either the title of the blog post of the image relates directly to it or the image is going to have some relation to what the actual image is in the blog post it’s tied to, I’m working on a blog posts, I’m using an image from the matrix, the movie series about Neo and, sometimes people try to do everything so I say you are not the one, in that image I say this is the matrix Neo and I also say some lines of what it’s relating to so it’s not just a random picture of the matrix, as pictures used in a blog article and I write a little more to discredit as well. That’s an example of something you can do to say this images related content.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about meta-tags and tags in all the different stuff like is it working now with Google or is it just a waste of time?
Nathan Allotey: I would not say it’s a waste of time, Google looks for about 200 things are more, I like to say every little bit helps, Google does not put as much weight on meta-tags and meta-descriptions as they used to but I would definitely recommend still doing that, not only because it helps but also a certain things like open graph and Facebook and other things, certain social media platforms are looking for those meta-tags and meta-descriptions to pull from when they are referencing a link to your site so they are still relevant, I would say, every little bit helps I would definitely recommend still using meta-tags and meta-descriptions, there are some platforms we don’t have to do that but for the most part I know that I still do that, it just doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to because Google recognizes people were trying to game the system.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So is that it for home page SEO or are there some more things to be done?
Nathan Allotey: There is a lot more you can do actually I had somewhat of a little list I had, let me see if I can find that. I had a list of some things just because there is so much on page optimization, let’s see, one thing this is more so on page, many people try to get traffic and traffic alone you don’t want just traffic, because anyone can get traffic you want targeted traffic that is actually going to stay so when it comes to on page SEO you actually want them to show up in a search engine and you want them to come but more than that, after someone clicks in the search engine that is where the real importance begins because if they are clicking on a certain article yes to show up in the search engine and you got them there, make sure that content is highly targeted to your audience, and by that I mean if you are talking about a particular subject matter sure you expand upon that, that it’s quality content, I always tend to tell clients the more important thing is that you are serving good quality because if you are serving quality you will naturally go up in search engines because people like your content and they will come back so writing top quality is good and targeted content is most definitely good, when I say targeted for example let’s say you have a blog posts or something and you are going to try to reach your Facebook crowd, someone comes from Facebook, maybe they are seeing something slightly different, then somebody who is coming from Google so make sure your content is targeted because they will feel that maybe this was written just for me and I will come back again, but something easy to do and that’s your style of writing.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about PPC, is it helping with the traffic of Google like if you are doing more PPC will Google give you more credit or will Google not give you points for that?
Nathan Allotey: PPC as you mentioned, pay per click, I do feel that it does go into the marks you make of building your brand and making your site more popular because let’s say you have a website visitor that originally found you with a click but then they see the content may come back so now they are coming back and they are turning into an organic visitor or they see your content pay per click and they like what you have so they tend to link to you, now you just turn someone who is pay per click into organic in the sense so I feel pay per click is important, it’s not everything because you are paying for visitors but it does help with SEO if nothing else to help gain and establish links and build your brand so does help.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about off page SEO?
Nathan Allotey: Once again this is more so strategy of what I recommend people so it’s more of a mentality of controlling the traffic you are getting off so this is what I would say, definitely use social media whether it’s Facebook or InstaGram or Pinterest or LinkedIn, whatever social platforms you can use is definitely good, I do have a warning, if you are going to use those specific platforms make sure you are active on them, make sure you are actually using them because of someone is on twitter and you haven’t said anything for six months that doesn’t look too good so whatever social media platform you use make sure you use it on a pretty frequent basis and you interact with people on it or its making you look bad so social media, I tend to tailor certain content to different crowds so if I write a blog article for my site I may change it up somewhat for the twitter audience and I may change it a bit for the Facebook audience, sometimes I keep it the same but once again targeting specific audiences off of your website just to make sure to pull the men they say that I’ve had a good engagement with them on this platform to let me go to their site. Social media is one big thing I would recommend doing, also serving up your content to make it easier for some of these later and what I mean by that is simply something like writing some of your blog articles or rewriting them around the central topic and offering it as a PDF download so maybe not someone is going to be around with their cell phones or their computer but if I can have a PDF of whatever you’re writing about an offering and it’s nicely packaged in but altogether at something I can take with me and share with other people but make sure if you do that of course you are referencing your website in that PDF that you are having.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So that helps for people to come back but it’s not going to help in terms of SEO but will help in terms of coming back hopefully it will create organic visitors with the time right so with any blog post you provide like a download icon for the same post you do that with all of your blog posts or only for specific materials?
Nathan Allotey: Specific material surrounding a central topic, so the good thing about a PDF is people tend to give more value to a PDF I don’t know what it is, I’ve seen some of the people that I worked with and talk to online they take the same blog post and package it as a PDF and now it’s attributed more value and I’m not particularly sure why exactly because sometimes it is exactly the same but people tend to give more value to a PDF also if you have a PDF and you are hosting of somewhere online Google will index that and someone can reference it and that still points are to your website as well if you have active links in the PDF also.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I want to ask you like how about the keywords, how to use, what is the strategy to pick up the key words, if I am let’s say now we have here in my show we have different topics most of them let’s say about efficiency and business but most of them most of the interviews are different if you can bear them some of them are about SEL some of them are about web development some of them are about health and fitness and different topics so basically we are targeting very broad market and how should we use or pick the right keywords is it like we target interviews for business people or what do you suggest?
Nathan Allotey: When selecting keywords I think in the past I definitely tend to use the keyword plan that went along with ad words but the biggest thing is discovering and finding out what are people searching for? If you can find what people are searching for whether you go to Google trends or use the keyword planner for ad words or you have an ad words account and you can start to see certain quality scores or the price of certain terms, I tend to go with a strategy that starts with okay first what are you trying to sell or first off is the audience you are trying to connect with then secondarily it is the audience you are trying to connect with, where do they live online, where they meet online, where they talk online, one thing I love to do is if I’m trying to develop a product or a certain blog post or offering, going somewhere like Reddit, going on Reddit and asking the question and listening to people’s answers or pay what is the number one problem people are having in their businesses or what is the number one problem you are having your business and for free people are getting responses saying I have a problem with my return of investment, a problem with some of the financials going on here and getting their answers back, using that to create content specifically surrounded by the areas they talk about so instead of focusing on certain buzzwords I’m answering people’s questions and making sure those questions contained what people are looking for, another strategy that has been around for some time is thinking longtail, using longtail keywords and specifically what I mean is not just saying mountain bike in Houston Texas but a certain brand behind a mountain bike and thinking ahead of what people might type, you may not get as many visitors that the visitors you do get when you use longtail strategy will be of better quality.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: If I chose let’s say longtail keywords it means that in every post I have to put this keyword longtail or how does it work, how should I focus on these keywords?
Nathan Allotey: If you choose a keyword even if it is longtail make sure you are answering that specific question and also you are mentioning that in your blog post or your content or your page or your sales page, one thing I would say is do not overdo it on the keyword, mentioned it a couple of times and make sure you are expanding upon the ideas surrounding those keywords because if you are just randomly repeating the same keywords over and over it can be detrimental as far as Google looking at it and another search engines as well but I would say include those keywords in your post and in your content but also make sure any terms that may relate to that, those are also contained in there as well so mentioned a couple of times but have good content surrounding those as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How love the competition, most of the people you find 10,000 websites doing the same thing that you are doing or having many of the keywords that you are using, is that with posting more, will you beat them and be more range on the top like how will you tackle that when you have a website that is competing with so many other websites in the same area, what do you do with that?
Nathan Allotey: Correct so if someone is just starting out and they are not as large there is a lot to be learned from some of the giants on the Internet and people in the top spots, on the first page really, there is a lot to be learned from them but the same strategies they use pay not specifically work for you so once again the thing that is going to benefit people the most when trying to compete with those that are larger is serving more specific content, I also see the larger was get somewhat lazy because they are trying to spread their net wide and get everyone and most of the time when we work with certain people on the Internet we don’t have to get everyone we just have to get people that are going to be engaged to your content so we’re trying to compete against them, I do observe their keywords, let me see the keywords they are using, let’s just say someone is trying to sell T-shirts online, there are many T-shirt vendors online and many large companies online so I do use them and observe them and say what other keywords do they have, the top firms in their area, so I do say to clients okay you should have these keywords because the larger competitors have them as well but I also use those keywords to see what they are not doing or what they are not taking advantage of and whatever they are not taking advantage of because certain companies and clients are smaller I say you need to beat them in that, you may not be able to beat them as being the largest T-shirt retailer in the Americas but you can beat them as the best T-shirt retailer in your city so you might not be able to compete with them on a national or global scale that on a local scale you can beat them out and Google does have searches that are more tailored towards where you live.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So if I sell T-shirts in New York and I decided to use best T-shirts in New York as a keyword, should I use this keyword combination on every post on every page on my website or how should I use this keyword to mean, I selected, I picked up this keyword and I’m using it as the major keyword to focus on?
Nathan Allotey: I think a little bit of what you are referring to is the level of keyword density is site is going to have and I know Google uses that to determine some relevance as well, you could use it on every page, I tend to see people with what you just said, best T-shirts in New York they tend to use that on certain taglines, so they would say come to T-shirts are rest, the best T-shirts in New York in these it is a tagline or at least in the general description of the website it shows up on every page so that’s a smart way to do that or I have seen some people use that in the alt tag of their logo or something of that nature and then it shows up whenever stage again so that is another way you could use it and use it to your advantage, you can even break it down to the city level, when we are talking about larger versus smaller and local versus global, customer service tends to be a major thing that can beat out any of the big people any day because you are smaller yes you don’t have any resources that can compare to these large giants but you can beat them in service every time so if you can get them to come to your page with the keyword strategy that you mentioned certain terms on every page that is one way but also engaging with them and doing services another way you are going to be that the big boys all the time.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How long does it take to rank a new website on the first page of Google?
Nathan Allotey: It depends on what it is and the reason I say that is because at least in my understanding Google is going to rank sites based upon their level of trust so there is a brand-new website it is going to say okay one factor it’s going to used to determine the ranking is what other popular trusted websites are linking to this particular site and if those other websites are trusted then you will get a bump up as being a trusted site because it’s kind of word-of-mouth these other recommended sites mentioned you so you might be of importance, it will vary based on who is linking to you, but also the content you are serving, when I work with clients I tend to tell them we can set of everything perfectly but that’s just the beginning so you are going to see anything real until at least three weeks and then you will start to see certain results and trends after that I tend to tell people in a couple of months you will start seeing if certain strategies working or not and hopefully you have an ongoing strategy you are just uploading something in living it and hoping it’s the best but if you can continually work on the popularity of your brands and putting the word out there that is only going to feed into how popular you will become in the future so what I work with clients we set certain things up and we say we are going to continue the strategy but we are going to check back at the end of the month or every six weeks just to make sure everything is going, certain things we check on daily basis but checking every day you are going to get the results you are really looking for, a month to up to three months, you’ll see if the strategy is working or not.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What else to do off page in terms of link building if people are linking or sharing your site on a social media does that also work or only on their sites and what else to do off page?
Nathan Allotey: One thing I love doing is what you’re doing now, interviews or guest blogging, some people say guest blogging is not as popular as it used to be, that’s because it did grow so large but guest blogging for someone else or some other avenue that already has an audience if you can write some type of content for them or work with them or do some type of partnership and you can just present yourself to their audience and then at the end of it all have some type of reference back to your website that is a great way to get people to your website, we brought a PPC, any type of display ads will come into play as well, some at places like buy and sell ads where you can pay to send an email out to certain people audiences already or you can pay to treat about what’s going on in your website as well but once again I have found that if you use good quality content and reach out to people that are in that particular niche and let them be aware of it if it’s of great quality they will share to their own audiences and communities on their own and their you go they come back to your website as well so those are some things that I recommend
Ahmed Al Kiremli: how about tracking, which tools do you use to track the traffic and what do you look at in these tools to measure the real traffic or the real SEO progress of the site?
Nathan Allotey: Quite a few tools, I have my favorites so yeah here are my favorites, one thing I would say is of course Google analytics I use the daily and if you aren’t using Google analytics you should, why not, it’s free and more importantly you need to know how to read it a certain way but Google analytics is one that I use.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What to read and Google analytics?
Nathan Allotey: And Google analytics I think, they give you those based at you’re looking for, how many people are coming to my sites, what are the pages that are most popular, where people clicking, what is the visitor flow, how long are they staying on the website, those are the base metrics of what you’re looking at, a little more advanced techniques you can look at the demographics so Google will use click data from ad words and a few other avenues to estimate it was the type of person coming to your website, what is there age based upon certain benchmarks and that is another feature in Google analytics, you can say how is my site doing when it is benchmarks with the average of people in this industry that is another thing you can look at and Google analytics, when I also mentioned you have to know how to look at it just knowing who is coming to your site is one thing but you need to use the information to make an informed decision about how to change and reform your website, if you have a nice looking website and your set up goals meeting you want the user to have a certain action on your website and though you have nice content and it looks pretty and it looks nice if people are not doing the desired actions of what you would want it is time to change of the website so that is what certain tools like visual website optimizer come into play, that is a tool you can use to AB test and when I say that I mean you have a website and then you have two different versions of the page, a certain level of people get served page a and other people get served page b and you can see what is the more popular one and you continue to do that so that’s Google analytics visual website optimizer, I like Raven tools, Raven tools is great because you can connect so many things into Raven tools, your social media, your analytics, your ad words, you can tie all of those together and see if there any correlations with anything so Raven tools is another great tool, Moz, it used to be called SEO MOZ, there’s a tool called screaming frog, have you heard of that before?
Nathan Allotey: No. But I’m interviewing the founder of Moz in November.
Nathan Allotey: Definitely well they have a great set of tools, screaming frog has a paid version and a free version and you can use that to really see if there are errors in the website and whether you are setting things up the right way so screaming frog is a great tool based out of the UK I believe so that’s another great tool, majestic SEO and probably SEM Rush is another tool I’ve never used in the past but it’s something I’m using more and more every day because it gives you good information on your competitors.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And now you use them all or do you use auto compete or you use them all when you take over a project of SEO or you just picked some?
Nathan Allotey: It depends, one of the first things I do is if I’m working with a client I want to see where they are currently at an based upon what they asked for if it’s hey we need help on SEO, or we need help with the redesign, I still see some of those tools, the main tools that use on a day-to-day they always go to is going to be something like visual website optimizer because they have other tools like optimizely, but visual website optimizer so you can AB test, Google analytics, because it’s a great platform and Google is always improving it and there’s a lot you can pull from Google analytics and the virtual, Raven tools those of the things I tend to use so much just because they have a wide offering of what they already have, they are established and if you know how to connect all of them you can do many powerful things and make the websites better.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Anything else you didn’t mention in terms of increasing the traffic for a site that you would do that you can share with us?
Nathan Allotey: Anything else? I know that everybody has a budget but a very wisely put together pay per click campaign can go a long way and if you are utilizing that in the right way you should gradually spend a certain amount and then if you are really paying attention to the ads you are using and the copy you’re using and what is working on is not, the quality score meaning are the keywords you are targeting, does your ad match those very well? The quality score that you have, you should continually refine that and get to a point where you are spending less and getting the same if not more traffic so maybe upfront you are spending a certain amount but as time goes by you should really start spending less and getting the same if not more traffic if you are really paying attention to it, I know not everybody has the budget for that but it’s well worth looking into because there are so many things you can do with that in conjunction with organic as well so if you have paid and organic it’s a powerful tool using this together.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So how much does it cost, do you recommend any companies to work with, that they have a fixed or a different plan on a monthly basis, how much does your company charge for that as well? Share with that as well some detail some numbers.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So now it would depend on the client and the industry and what they specifically want, most of the time we are working with some type of business goal so for example someone could say hey we want to improve our website, we want to make more sales then our company in focus media, we need to tie that to some type of return on investment so we tend to charge more now for the whole project so let’s just say someone said we want to increase and lift 20% so we would have to look at their sales, their yearly sales if they have them available and see what they are getting any year and based upon the work we would do it would be anywhere between 5000, 10,000 or even more, it really just depends upon the lift they want to go for and we tend to anchor that against what they are getting, hey if we can get you 10% left in your sales by converting your website and your 10% equals 300,000 more dollars than you would have no problem.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: That’s beautiful, I like that. So do you have some plans that you charge per lead or per customer based upon the agreement that you analyze the site and then you give a code based on that?
Nathan Allotey: We tend not to say, if you use us, based on per lead this is what it is going to be, we tend to have a flat price, this is the flat price based upon everything we have evaluated, and I will say we are not so hard cut and dry, if there are certain projects that don’t have a specific budget if we really like what they are doing we will try to work with them, we may not be able to do everything under the sun for a them but we try to say at the very least here’s what we can do and on your end you follow this plan you can be successful as well so if we really like the project we enjoy working with different people in different industries wouldn’t mind trying to work something out also but it really just depends on what it is, we do use per lead, per sale when it comes to the proposal that hey we know that you get this much, we are pretty sure that if you improve your site it will increase but we tend not to use that as a marginal thing to determine our price, we tend to say this is the price, if you exceed it and do way better than expectations great, keep the money, you’ve earned more, that’s why we tend to go with the flat rate and we know we’ll get you some results.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You mean a flat rate on a monthly basis right?
Nathan Allotey: Correct, it depends upon how long the project is so some of them were just doing the work up front and then we develop a strategy and give it to their team and their team runs with the plan, other times it’s hey we need to put this in place, we don’t have anyone in-house so we will be coming back to you on a monthly basis so I know one project we worked on, it was a smaller business I believe upfront it started at about 5000 and then at an ongoing basis there were about 1500 but they were also given a plan of something they can move forward with, we do like working with businesses and we do like recurring clients but at the same time we really work to empower different businesses and we gave in train certain people and what to do.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So if they have their own team doing certain stuff you also guide those teams as well?
Nathan Allotey: Correct, we say this is what we have found that works, maybe you didn’t have a time to develop a strategy but with but that everything in the strategy will work, you can take this plan and run with it, you can take the reins and learn how to evaluate certain things but if not, no website is ever done, is never complete, is never the best, you’re always working on it to improve it so we may revisit them and they may give us a call six months on the line hey were doing the strategy, we want to improve it and work on a stuck again, so we come back in and reevaluate some things and take the strategy and move forward so those are some of the things that we do.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You worked in many hosting, before the hosting I want to ask you about the opt in Windows like when people use them to collect names and emails do you like them to be on the side in the sidebars or do you like them to pop up when a visitor is the website, some people use it with you cannot skip them you have to put the name and email, which one do you prefer and think that usually works with the traffic to collect more emails and names and emails?
Nathan Allotey: I’ve seen each of those methods you mention to be effective in different ways, I think from what I’ve seen if you have a pop-up people don’t have a problem with that as long as it’s not so much as an interruption to them, a lot of times when you go to a website, if I can click on anything until I put in my email that’s a great way to get emails but you will have that crowd of people that will go to 10 minute email.com, create a fake email and move on, if that works for you there are different results with that but if you’re offering a pop-up you have to make sure you are communicating joining the mailing lists are giving my email or whatever piece of information I’m giving is really worth it, you’re not just saying hey welcome to my site thanks for your email, learn more. You really have to develop something or product alongside of it or something that’s a premium, that’s what I tend to do, hey give me your email and I will send you great content or you will get this book or this video series that I have on my website or you will get a discount in the future, something that makes it worth their time so pop-ups can be effective but you have to pair that would something, usually on a sidebar it’s great but if it’s just on the sidebar alone, when somebody scrolls down it’s gone and they aren’t thinking of it so normally when I tend to do is if I have an article surrounded by some relevant content I want to place that particular email opt in at the bottom of the article even sometimes halfway through the article and I’m tailoring that question or I’m tailoring the header before someone opts into what they are reading. So just to make sure it’s relevant, I’m not only asking for your email but if you like what you’re reading you can get more relevant content like this if you give me your email and also I recommend everyone has a newsletter page so have a newsletter page and describe the benefits of what someone is going to get if they were to join your newsletter so don’t just say hey give me your email, blog, say welcome to my newsletter page, these are some of the things that you will get an list out some bullet points for them, these are some of the benefits you will get when you give me your email so when they give you their email they know they’re going to benefit, they are not just going to have to guess whatever you’re going to send out to them and remind them, you’re not just going to sell their email, because some people are fearful that they have enough coming into their inbox that they don’t want to be cluttered.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Let’s move to hosting, you worked with host gator, you worked with blue host, SEO hosting, what was your focus in these companies in which one did you like the most and what is the best hosting that you recommend?
Nathan Allotey: Okay well I did, people don’t believe me when I say this I really did everything for those companies when I say everything I learned a top-down approach of pretty much the whole company so I’ve done support where there has been people emailing or it’s been over the phone, people tend to say I was personable and they like putting people in front of me because people like talking with me but if that helps you understand the common problems that everyone deals with and that can be used to make your hosting better so I’ve done support, I’ve also done quality assurance, making sure everyone that is working for the hosting company is delivering the best answers to the client base, and coaching them up on the best things of what to do, what to say, training them on okay you recommend this product but really we have something way better over here or someone is trying to build a website, you don’t have to walk them through building a website, why don’t you recommend WordPress, help them install it and point them to a theme website that we discussed earlier, certain trends like that, quality assurance, I actually worked with retention, keeping customers, hosting is an industry where people can jump to anybody whenever they feel like based on the sale they are having or based upon if they’re satisfied so once again if you solve people’s problems they will stay with you and they’ll love you. Whether it’s solving a billing issue or helping them accomplish their website goals and I’ve also done some server administration and even migrating, early you mentioned is it easy to transition someone from one platform to another, I’ve done tons of that with host gator and some of the others I worked with, you mentioned all the companies, who would I recommend? Who would I say is best, depends on what you’re doing, SEO hosting was specific for the way they were set up is they give you different C class IP’s so you can have different relevant content all hosted on the same server but on different IP addresses giving you a bump in Google, that did work, that does work but with Penguin and some of the other, panda, things that Google came out with is not as strong as it used to be but it still works and it still relevant, who what I recommend? Let’s see, some of the companies I worked with have changed somewhat so I don’t think there as dependable service wise at least from what I’ve observed, maybe I need to go back to doing QA with them but some of the things I’ve seen service wise out of then it’s not as I used to be in the past so one place I would recommend were a couple I should say is site five, I’ve seen site five.com improved throughout time and they are doing very well now, site five is a very great place to go to, flywheel is another great place, WP engine, I love them I know many people who work with them, I worked with in the past.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: They are expensive.
Nathan Allotey: They are, WP engine is expensive especially if you just have a WordPress but I will admit once again their service is out of this world if you need something.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So is it like hosting is only about service in terms of speed, only speed, all this big companies they have like big servers and they serve and entertain so many clients, what makes this hosting faster than this hosting? Other than the service.
Nathan Allotey: Sometimes it may not be particularly faster because we could sit down and do a speed test and you can see how you are .3 faster than you, well okay but I know more things you want to look for our uptime and dependability, everyone is going to promise 99% uptime but they are going to have that, you need to pay attention to server outages, if they do have a server outage are they notifying you of that, that’s important, some people wouldn’t mind a server outage but they want to know what is going to happen? No one wants to wake up in the morning and go to the website and it doesn’t work and they have no clue on why doesn’t work in all you’re saying is working on it. People just want answers for what they are paying for and what they’ve invested in so I have noticed certain companies that have said we are going to focus on a particular niche and we’re going to do this well, they are better prepared to deal with problems so if you’re at a big box hosting company your hosting e-commerce, WordPress, you may even be hosting some large news websites, some sports websites and video websites, it’s all over the place so the different problems that arise are of the huge variety and at least from what I’ve seen that every person or every server administrator is going to be the best at dealing with that particular problem but certain places as I’ve mentioned like WP engine and a few others, they say we are going to work with WordPress, we know WordPress so if you have a WordPress problem ask about it and we can answer it and we also know certain things that trip up the server that WordPress does so we know how to solve those problems because that’s the area we have chosen so I have noticed sites that say we are going to focus on a particular niche are more well-prepared in dealing with certain problems but I have to be honest right now I’m using shared hosting so I’m not on one of those niche websites, I’m using shared hosting because I know how it is on the front end and behind the scenes a lot of problems I have logistics on my own or I know who to contact, a lot of times if I contact support.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So the name of the service is shared hosting or you are using shared hosting?
Nathan Allotey: Know I’m under host gator right now. The main reason I’m using host gator is just because I know that I worked with them in the past that I know everything works, if I contact support if I even have to I’m telling them what to do I say hey I’ve noticed this on the website it’s more than likely right here so I’m saving them time because they say okay and they check there first and they are done but not everyone can do that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Of course. So what is the best hosting suggestions for let’s say small websites with not that much web traffic and the best options and best hosting for high traffic websites?
Nathan Allotey: Correct, I always recommend start where you are and then move along, if you are just starting out or just launching a product or you have something new or you’re just beginning a blog, whatever the reason may be, start small so start with shared hosting, shared hosting should be around $10 a month, not really higher unless they are offering you some type of premium support and a dedicated person to call but it really should be around $10, American dollars.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is shared hosting?
Nathan Allotey: I tend to explain it in layman situations so that’s how I tend to explain it if you are shared hosting you can think of it as you live in an apartment and you have roommates, because you have roommates everything costs less but at the same time you are using the same things, the same resources, the same electricity and water, you may want to go to the bathroom at someone is in the bathroom and everyone else has to wait so shared hosting is they purchase a server and they place many customers on a particular server and everyone is allotted a certain amount of space or a certain amount of resources and you have certain thresholds that you cannot pass whether it’s disk space or resources or CPU requests and things of that nature, a certain level or processes, you can only host a certain number of files, they will limit you in some type of way but the good news about that is you can get your website online for not that much money so it’s a great place to start, as you grow I tend to say you need to move towards a VPS or some type of virtual private server.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is VPS?
Nathan Allotey: It’s a virtual private server where they take a server and you can think of it as they slice it, certain aspects. So there’s not gonna be as many people on your server so you have more resources to pull from for your individual site and using the whole housing example you have now moved out of that crowded roommate apartment and now you’re in a condominium.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But it’s the same it’s also shared right?
Nathan Allotey: It’s also shared.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So what’s the difference, they give you more resources are bigger space? Bigger bandwidth? It’s the same thing but they played with it and they called it VPS or is it really something different?
Nathan Allotey: It’s really something different, it’s more like you got a section of a dedicated server, it really depends on how the architecture of the host set it up but it’s different, they are not exactly the same, most of the time you will have more control over something like a VPS, you’ll be able to install certain things, that’s one thing that shared host limits you want, they will so you can install that because it will ruin the shared environment but if you have a VPS most of the time similar to share hosting but you get the benefits of a dedicated server many more resources and I can install what I want and I can handle more traffic but if you continue to grow and which is a good thing, one day you will maybe moved to someone that’s in your particular niche or a niche for the architecture that you have like a certain host that specializes in Magento or they specialize in WordPress that we talked about so maybe you can move there or it’s time to get a dedicated server but if you get a dedicated server many times people are paying for a managed one meeting if there is a problem with that you can call and they will work to fix a problem that you have, some people get dedicated servers if it’s unmanaged a lot of times if you have a problem it’s on you.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So just for the audience to understand and me also to clarify that, a dedicated server is the same like VPS but it’s only for you it’s also managed by the hosting company but it’s only dedicated for your company it is never shared with somebody else.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: True, the whole servers for you but then with that sometimes different companies do different things but then you would have to remember you have to do server maintenance so a lot of times with shared hosting they are maintaining the environment for you but if you go with unmanaged which is normally cheaper than a managed dedicated server you have to keep up with software updates, different architecture updates, even sometimes security of your server, you don’t have someone constantly watching your server so there are different trade-offs but.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It will cost you more unless you are a big company and you have a big IT team working on it.
Nathan Allotey: True, as you grow you do need to move up just to make sure you can handle the traffic but if you do get a dedicated server make sure either you are aware of how to handle certain things or at least it’s managed or you have a team with your business that is managing that particular server. We can throw out any of the larger companies, Google Twitter Facebook, they all have different dedicated servers that they’ve chained together, they have server farms so they’ve moved to a point where they have many of their own servers but I remember when Facebook first started it was just on a couple like one server that was it and as a group they expanded so you would want to use the same mentality with your website and how much traffic you get.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So for WordPress you prefer WP engine as the best unless you have huge traffic?
Nathan Allotey: One of the best, one of the best I would say.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You know what I hate about these services, they charge you based on the visitors, the number of visitors it’s not like you know how much you are charged per month and this is what really I don’t like.
Nathan Allotey: I don’t like that either because if you have a website and you’re building traffic it depends upon what’s going on, I have many associates I speak with online when they release a new product they have many visitors but as time goes by they are working on a new product now so that same product doesn’t have as many visitors and than they really something else and it’s a story of releases, peaks and valleys so I don’t like that either to be honest I don’t like charging per visitor, I like to know this is the flat fee, this is the resources I get and if I need more than I will get more but I tend to like their pricing architecture as well, WP engine is one of the best, media Temple is very good as well because they have certain solutions and many other companies like rag space has it as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Even for WordPress you’re talking?
Nathan Allotey: Even for WordPress, yes they have good architecture because they will a lot you more resources, they break it down like that so I always tend to go with the host that okay I need to know how much resources my blog is taking up if it’s disk space and now get more disk space or whatever it may be if the visitors are causing more processes to pop up and that’s fine I can pay for that so I tend to like the companies that are offering resources based because you just buy what you need and if it’s a slow month put me back down and let me move forward, I tend to like that over visitor pricing. In my opinion.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How much do you charge for consultation per hour?
Nathan Allotey: Consultation per hour, it has ranged as I mentioned I try to work with different companies that can go anywhere from 75 to 150 at least recently. What I tend to do with clients, we go through a roadmapping session or it’s going to be what I call a discovery session where we sit down and we get to the point of what are your business goals and what does success look like in your opinion? I can get too subjective if I’m working with a client and they just want a pretty sight, they want a nice website. That’s too subjective. What are your goals? You want an eyesight to do something right so normally when I meet, that’s the initial meeting, we talk with one another and we map out the path of where to go so normally with that session it can be Skype like where doing or can be over the phone or in person if they are somewhere closer I need to fly it can be in person and we meet, basically if I’m flying out there or over here talking or what have you there’s different pricing but on average that session is going to be somewhere around $3-$500 especially if we are just talking like we are now because that’s helping you plan a roadmap, if you end up moving with the company, moving with my company then the proposal has different pricing but you can take that road map and use our company or go somewhere else if you want to but that’s just a small appetizer to get them acclimated to how we think so that this is the path we would take to reach your goals and if you like that then let’s talk about different pricing from there.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Who is your number one mentor?
Nathan Allotey: That is a tough question, I think that’s a tough question, I’ve had seasons of people like when I was first learning everything I would definitely say Jeffrey Way, Jeffrey way get a lot of those tutorials that are on Invato’s website, I learned a lot from him and he is a good teacher, he explains things in a very good concise way that I understand so at one point I would say Jeffrey way was my mentor. At a different point when I was pursuing the MBA studies I would say one of my professors named Steve Cach. He worked for Sega and Coca-Cola and many other people, Pennzoil, that’s Shell now, he worked with many major companies and just the way he thinks is very practical and it seems like it cannot be that simple, but a lot of times he produces results so it is that simple so a lot of times in marketing we think so abstract they but sometimes the answer is right in front of you so I would say he is probably my number one but right now I’m reading a book about a strategy of increasing your rates and that is by Brendan Dunn, so it really depends what season I’m in but if I had to choose I would probably say Steve Cach if I had to choose.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three apps you are using on your smart phone?
Nathan Allotey: They are pretty simple, I love the mail application for Gmail, I use that everyday, if I’m on a desktop I can type and I get the same features in the mobile app so if I need to talk back and forth with somebody I use that, he frequently and I like that, Google analytics has an app so sometimes if I’m out and about and I’m wondering about something and I don’t have the ability to login on a desktop and look then I can pull out my phone and pull up Google analytics and I see how the website is doing, great and I move on with that. Besides that I have attacked management app with teamwork I don’t know if you’ve heard of that, teamwork PM, a project management software, you use the software on your desktop and they have an app that goes along with that and you can just keep track of certain tasks that you have to do throughout the day.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I use Asana.
Nathan Allotey: I love Asana.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Why do you use teamwork, what is the difference?
Nathan Allotey: I’m a Samsung and android person and so I love android, yes there are benefits to using an iPhone that I dislike android because I’ve made a couple apps for the android really for certain clients and to me it was just easier, Apple tries to control everything but that is a great business so the Asana app for android I’ve noticed some bugs with it that I didn’t like so I still use Asana to this day, I use it to map out all my tasks and assignments certain people so I love Asana and plus Asana is free, they have a good free offering as well, they’re paid offering is great but there free offering is great too.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the habits you are trying to develop to stay efficient?
Nathan Allotey: 2 main things, writing consistently.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to do that?
Nathan Allotey: I have many friends that encourage me to do that but in the past I would work on projects and I would just finish them so I would just finish the project and the only thing you are going to see maybe is a small case study or a summary of this is what I did for a client but what people have been telling me is hey you learn all the skills, write more and teach other so they can benefit so another words I learned a lot from the online community and the Internet in the WordPress community, e-commerce community, as Seo community, let me contribute back to that same community by writing articles on topics people want to learn about because there is somebody who is just like me five years ago or six years ago trying to learn all of these things and I didn’t know so I need to write for them because there is always somebody who is just now starting to learn so that’s one thing, writing more consistently about certain topics even if they’ve already been discussed, because I have my own views, my own perspectives and my own clients in which I learned thing so I need to write for my own perspective and secondarily another habit of trying to build also is capturing the creative process, I’m someone who likes to take on a project and I only want people to see it when it’s done and it’s finalized and it’s completed, I’m a little bit of a perfectionist that I need to do more of saying this is how it looks in the beginning, here it is in this stage and the stage and here’s the final project so I need to map out more of the creative process and I’ve been doing more of that but I need to also talk about that as well, have looking at something and this is what it looks like and this is where we are and I need to share that with the public as well so people can see how I handle problems and how I solve those problems.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Your top three favorite books?
Nathan Allotey: Once again that is hard for me to answer, if I had to choose of all time that’s hard to answer, there are many books but there are three books that I’ve read recently that I absolutely love and I’ve continually read them over, the first book is called authority and that is by Nathan Barry, authority is a book about writing a book so it’s a book on if you want to quickly write a book about a particular subject and launch that book to your niche audience it maps out what to do, Nathan Barry has had some success doing that, he wants to book a couple of times and even a third time and he was able to leave his job and just write books.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s not only because his name is Nathan that you like him?
Nathan Allotey: True, it’s funny whenever we are in an online community I’m like hey please say which Nathan you are talking to but now he had good success with that book and now he is writing books and marketing full-time and he was a web designer so it shows the value of expressing your thoughts and teaching others because you never know what someone is going to learn from your experiences so that’s called authority. Another book I love this book it’s called double your freelance rate that is by Brendan done, I mentioned it a little earlier but double your freelance rate just talks about really you need to change the way you do things in your business to solve problems not just be a commodity so if you are a web designer some people will come to you and say I need a website, they don’t really need a website, there is some and all that they want and that’s what you need to get them to focus on, otherwise you become a commodity, make me a graphic, make me a website, make me an e-commerce store, you don’t want to be a commodity, you want to solve business problems because if you can anchor things and solving problems you can use that to require more because you have more value, you solve problems you are just making the graphic, you’re making graphics that are going to entice people to click on something so that’s that book talks about it’s very good, very well put together.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: The third one?
Nathan Allotey: Elements of user on boarding, it is a very relaxed funny book by Samuel Kulik, the elements of user on boarding, me and Sam are pretty good Associates we talk all the time and I like that book because he discusses you are writing a webpage and you’re trying to get that person to see that they will be better or their business can be better by using your product, don’t talk about the features, talk about the benefits so a lot of times he talks about the on boarding process of getting a new sign up to your email or any participant or somebody to your community for your membership site he wants to the process of the good and bad of what you want to have when you’re signing somebody up for a new service.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three people that you are inspired by?
Nathan Allotey: Top three people, I would say there’s a guy I don’t know if you’ve heard of them his name is Sean McAfee, he is a letter and a designer so he tends to draw certain lettering and custom lettering and logos and brands, he has transformed himself into an entrepreneur and I listen to his podcast pretty frequently and I pretty much like everything I see from him because he is like me, he likes working with high-quality, Sean McAfee, his website is Sean Wes.com so if everyone is looking, it’s Sean Wes. So that’s a good person that inspires me to do better, I mentioned Brendan Dunn, Brendan Dunn inspires me to do better because he’s at a point in his life where he’s doing very well and consulting and any time I look at him it doesn’t look like it’s unattainable, if you have business goals he’s a good person to look at because he’s not a rarity, you can learn from some of the things he’s talking about and apply them and they work. They actually work. The last person I would say inspires me is a friend I have and it’s also a friend I have and I’ve consulted for his business and made his business better, his name is Obina Okongbu, that’s a person that inspires me because I’ve seen him when he was young, he does videography and cinematography and things of that nature so I can be a wedding or video for your business, I saw him when he first started when he was tinkering around with his Canon rebel trying to learn it and to see the things he is doing now and it’s been less than three years, the things that he’s doing now and I’m even consulting with him on certain things, he made a big jump, he made a large jump, he was able to leave his job and work full-time doing what he loves so that’s another person that inspires me as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the things that make you really happy?
Nathan Allotey: Really happy, I just enjoy making things better, that’s one thing that I, I was trying to realize for a long time what is it that I like to do, I like making things better so for a website that’s improving people’s websites for my friends and talking to them listening to them and hanging out and doing certain things so what makes me happy is just making things better and seeing the return on it so that’s the thing I would say.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How can people contact you, last question?
Nathan Allotey: How can people contact me? You can go to my website, that is nathanallotey.com, that’s my website right there. So that’s my website you can contact me there I’m also on twitter if you would like, Nathan Allotey on twitter, and very responsive on their I interact with the community, I’m also on dribbble and that’s dribble with three b’s, and he community I’m in, I’m very active because as I mentioned I don’t want to be a part of a social community and not engage because that only hurts your brand.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Dribble as for what, the community?
Nathan Allotey: Okay, drivel is really for designers, different types of designers even if you do photography so they have an interesting community, you join a platform and have a certain number of people you can draft so in a sense it’s this self duration of people that are doing good work online.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And you can sell or people by this work on the community or is it just a social media for designers?
Nathan Allotey: It social media but there are different things you can do to say this is a product available and you can buy it. Some people say hey look at my work, also you can find designers there so you can find designers and developers there also, you can hire people by searching through their index so that’s another way I look for people and I’ve connected with them and also you can say hey I made this thing, it’s a new service and you can buy it so you can also do that as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much for this great interview Nathan is the longest interview on be efficient TV so far ever, it’s the longest ever the longest ever because really I like enjoy the information and details and thank you so much for your time I really appreciate it.
Nathan Allotey: No thank you, I do appreciate it and also thank you for everybody that’s on the be efficient TV community, I was honored more than honored to be asked to be interviewed so I do appreciate it and whatever else you need or any advice or anything just let me know and I’ll keep an eye on be efficient because everything was good from what I’ve seen.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much.
Nathan Allotey: Thank you for what you’re doing.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thanks everyone, be efficient and stay efficient and see you soon with another leading expert.
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