25 Sep 2019

How to Get a Free Custom Email

When it comes to businesses, first impressions go a long way. I’m sure you can relate to meeting someone new and judging them on their firm handshake or crisp suit. Well, online businesses aren’t really too different. When consumers see your email address, they pass judgement and assess how much they think they can trust your brand.

Put it this way, would you have more confidence in a brand that had an email address like contact@yourwebsitename.com or yourname@gmail.com – probably the latter! In fact, 75% of consumers believe having a custom email address that relates to your website is a defining factor when it comes to brand confidence.

 

 

Custom email domains take your website’s URL and uses it as part of the email address. If we look at my own website as an example, my email address is hello@ukwebhostreview.com which gives a professional brand image. It may seem like a small detail, but I can assure you it makes a big difference.

If you’re wondering how to get a free custom domain email I’ll show you how below.

 

Best Free Domain with Email Hosting

Regardless of the type of business you run, customers expect you to have a custom domain. It doesn’t matter if your business is solely online or you operate a craft stand in a market hall. A website and custom email domain are essential tools to running your own business. Simply put, if your email address uses your domain name, it’s going to look professional. Nobody wants to see a Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo email address.

Custom domain emails show that you mean business (and you’re serious about it). If customers don’t believe or trust in your brand, they’re never going to buy from you. According to a study conducted by Boston Consulting Group, for millennials, brand authenticity is second only to loyalty discounts in importance when choosing companies to support.

Buying a domain name doesn’t have to be expensive. On average, they cost anywhere between 99p to £9.99 per year. If you’re not ready to fork out any money on a domain name, you can actually get a domain for free in just a few minutes. However, I’d highly recommend getting a domain with your hosting provider. Why? Because most of them offer a domain name for free as part of their hosting packages. Either way, you’ll need web hosting, so you might as well get one for free!

 

 

My personal recommendation is BlueHost. They offer the best of both worlds in terms of email hosting and free domains. They hold a solid reputation in the web hosting world and boast stable performance results for WordPress websites. Not only that, they give their customers unlimited email accounts and forwarding accounts. You’ll get to choose between three webmail solutions (or you can use your own) as well as POP3 and IMAP for security.

Visit BlueHost.com (£2.43/Month)

 

Find a Domain Name

Before securing your custom email domain, you’re going to need to find a domain name (if you haven’t already). As we’ve already discussed, your domain name is one of the most important steps to getting your free custom email domain. It’s going to represent your online presence and determine how people see your brand.

Choosing the best domain name can be difficult, as often they’re already taken. However, there are a few tips and tricks that I have up my sleeve that I’d like to share with you. If you’re finding it tough coming up with a domain name, you can use a domain name generator which might help to get your creative juices flowing.

Let’s take a look at some tips for coming up with a domain name:

  • TLD .com: Customers tend to trust .com domains because they’re familiar with them. If you’re able to get a .com TLD then it’s worth nabbing it whilst you can.
  • Keywords: When coming up with a domain name it’s worth trying to include some keywords. Not only does this make your site more memorable to people, it can also make a difference to your Google search ranking.
  • Prefix or Suffix: It’s quite common for your chosen domain name to be unavailable. You could try adding a prefix or suffix to your business name, for example cakestore.com could become thecakestore.com and still be recognisable by your customers.

 

Register Your Domain

Once you’ve chosen your domain name and have confirmed it’s available, you’ll need to register it. If you’re purchasing or obtaining your domain name through your web host, like BlueHost, there are a few features you can add. One of those features that I recommend is called domain privacy.

 

 

When you register a domain name, your name and address become public access. Someone can perform a lookup on your domain and it will tell them where it’s been registered and display your details. If you don’t want this to be accessible, you can opt for domain privacy. This masks your own information and uses your web host or domain registrar as the contact.

 

Setup an Email Account

As I mentioned earlier, if you get web hosting with BlueHost, you’ll get a free domain email. When you log into BlueHost’s dashboard, you’ll see the email section on the left. All you’ll need to do is enter your desired email and password and your email account is created. It’s really as simple as that.

 

Your email name represents what’s seen before the @ symbol, for example, hello@ukwebhostreview.com. If you’ve signed up to BlueHost’s basic plan, you’ll get up to 5 email accounts. People create multiple accounts for several reasons such as, a mailbox for general contact, sales, support, etc.

Visit BlueHost.com (£2.43/Month)

 

Best Cheap Hosting with Free Custom Email Domain

Starting a new business can get expensive pretty quickly. It’s hard to get a good balance of decent quality and affordable prices. However, if you’re on a budget, you don’t have to settle for poor products just because they’re cheap. When it comes to email services, you are going to need something stable and secure so it’s not worth sacrificing.

As I’ve already mentioned, many web hosts offer free custom email domains with their packages. This saves both time and money with the ability to combine three features under one roof. If you choose to go down the web hosting route, make sure you check out the best web hosting providers so you don’t compromise on quality.

 

 

There’s a few things to consider when you’re looking for the best cheap hosting with a free custom email domain. It’s not all about the cost, so let’s take a look at what you’ll need:

  • Spam filters
  • Number of email accounts (this will depend entirely on your own business’ needs)
  • Storage space
  • Forwarding accounts
  • POP and IMAP support

Web hosts tend to offer their own webmail access so you can check your emails. However, many of them are now compatible with third party email services like Office, G Suite, etc. If you’re more familiar with one of these programs, definitely check with your web host that you can use them.

Companies like iPage offer excellent support, so you can check with them before proceeding. iPage is extremely affordable starting at only £1.50 per month. You’ll get unlimited storage, bandwidth and a free domain name. iPage essentials email account offer 500MB storage per account, webmail access, POP3/IMAP, autoresponder, spam filter and virus protection.

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25 Sep 2019

Pros and Cons of Hosting Your Own Website at Home

How to Host Your Own Website

Thinking about hosting your website? If you’ve created your website and would like to make it public on the World Wide Web, then you’ll need hosting. Website hosting can either be done from your PC or by a hosting provider. However, there are many things that you’ll need to know before you decide on what option is best for you. 

You’ll need a domain name for starters. You can get a domain name for free, however, it might not be the sort of domain name you are looking for. A professional domain name can cost anything from $0.99 to tens of thousands of dollars. 

The easiest and cheapest way to get your website online is by buying shared hosting from a hosting provider. Shared hosting is when you rent out a portion of a server. The amount of space you need will vary from one website to the next. For example, a website with a large database and a lot of data going in and out is best placed on a Virtual Private Server or a Dedicated Server. On the other hand, if you’re just starting then you could get away with shared hosting until you know what your bandwidth usage will be. 

Why Would You Want to Host Your Own Website?

Let’s address this question for a start. You need hosting to make your website public, however during web development then it is easy to create and host your local machine. That way you don’t need to upload and download files to an external server until you are happy with your website. 

There are several pros and cons to hosting a website on your machine vs hosting with an actual website hosting company.  Hosting your website yourself can be very rewarding, however, it can be a daunting procedure. In this article, we’ll go over how to self- host your website, as well as the pros and cons of each approach to website hosting. 

Think of your web hosting is the home for your website. It needs an (IP) address, enough space for your business to grow, somewhere to store all of your files, to be online 24/7 and security measures to keep your online presence safe. Additionally, you need the functionality of various types of software to ensure that everything is running smoothly. 

Without further ado, let’s dive into how to make your hosting server from home or your office. 

How to host a Website using a Windows PC

Hosting a website on your computer can be rewarding, especially if you’ve made your website from scratch. Watching a website develop from idea to reality is always a thrill. You’ll need a WAMP server to host your website on your WindowsOS.

What is a WAMP Server?

WAMP is fairly straight forward and easy to understand. WAMP stands for Windows, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. This type of server environment is perfect as it installs all of the required software in one go. The “W” is the Windows part of WAMP, therefore if you’re looking to create a website in Linux then you’ll need to go for a LAMP server environment, where the “L” stands for Linux. Lets’ look a bit deeper at the “AMP” piece in the WAMP server environment. 

Apache – the “A” in WAMP is the apache piece. Apache is the core program that performs the hosting services. The full name is the “Apache HTTP server”. Apache is a free open-source web server software that is maintained by the Apache Software Foundation. Apache powers around 46% of all websites globally. Apache is cross-platform and works on both Unix and Windows. Apache is responsible for a smooth secure connection between the two machines.

MySQL– MySQL is the type of database used to house your web files. There are many uses of a database, basically, the database stores all of the web content, making the website dynamic (and hopefully) faster to access. Membership sites that need a login or eCommerce store require a database to function. 

PHP– PHP is the programing language that will be used on this server. PHP is a server-side programming language that can be used to produce both static and dynamic websites. You need to install PHP for your server to recognize the PHP programming language.

Awesome, you now know all about WAMP and why it is 100% required before you can host your website on your PC. Let’s now get started with the practical aspects of getting your PC to host your website. Firstly you need to install the WAMP software. 

Step 1 – Install WAMP Software

Go to this link and download the WAMP Software. 

Step 2 – Run WAMP Software

Double-tap on the downloaded WAMP software and run the .exe file. Simply select next and keep the default settings.  Choose your browser selection or select open to open your default PC browser (in my case that would be Google Chrome)

PRO TIP: Your PC’s firewall settings may reject some of the security aspects of the WAMP environment. You’ll need to make an exception to bypass the security alerts. 

Once WAMP has fully installed – fill in Start “WampServer 2 now” checkbox and then hit “Finish”. 

Step 3 – Managing your WAMP Server

You can change pages and create subdirectories by going to the local disk C “c:\\wamp\\www”. To check if your changes are live, refresh your browser. 

Step 4 – Create an HTML or PHP Page

To create an HTML or PHP page you can write the code in a notepad or syntax editor like Sublime. Using a syntax editor is much easier as you can color-code your text. When you save your document, go to “save as” and then give it a .php extension (eg. Projectname.php). Your saved file should be in

c:\\wamp\\www file location. 

 

Step 5 – Test Your Code

Check that you’re code is working and all changes have been made by going to http://localhost/Projectname.php – hit refresh to push changes through to your browser. 

Step 6 – Configure your MySQL Databases

When you open WAMP you can go to the menu and open the phpMyAdmin panel. In phpMyAdmin, you can open a new window and you’ll need to input a root password. If you want you can leave the field empty or set a password.  I use XAMP with phpMyAdmin rather than WAMP, when I open the admin it looks like this.

If you have WordPress then you’ll automatically be allocated a database. 

Step 7 – Setting Your Website to be Public

It is regarded as bad practice to use your home PC as a hosting server, mainly due to safety concerns. Using your local machine as a dev environment, on the other hand, is best practice. If you want to go for it an make your website publicly visible then double-tap the WampServer icon and then a dropdown will appear – select “Put Online”.

The second part of setting your website to be public is fixing a few lines of code in the Apache settings. If you don’t do this part then your website will show a “403 Forbidden” warning message. 

Find the httpd.conf file in the WampServer menu inside your Apache folder. Scroll down and you should see the following:

 


Order Deny, Allow

Deny from all

Order Deny, Allow

Deny from all

You need to delete this text and replace it with:


Order Allow, Deny

Allow from all

Order Allow, Deny

Allow from all

Step 8 – Change Security Settings 

Change your firewall settings as they will block web requests. You also need to forward port 80 to your PC router. Check the manual that you got with your router if you need more information on this section.  

 Step 9 – Restart Services in WebServer

Once you have completed Step 7 then it’s time to restart your services and see your website online. 

How to host a Website using a Linux PC

If you are looking to set up your website hosting on a Linux PC then you’ll need to set up a LAMP environment, as I mentioned above. This is how to set up your hosting on a Linux PC. 

Step 1 – Install Software Using the Terminal/ Command Prompt

First, open a new terminal/ command prompt and enter the following:

sudo apt install apache2 MySQL-server PHP libapache2-mod-php7.0

You’ll be asked to enter your password for MySQL. To check – restart the Apache server. Every time you change global configurations execute the following command (using .htaccess files)


sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Step 2 – Check Your PHP Server is working

It’s a good idea at this stage to make sure that you’re PHP server is working by adding a file in the PHP web server root directory. The file is simply a text file, that should have the following code, and should be added to (/var/www/html/):

sudo echo “” > /var/www/html/info.php

Go to your browser and paste the following URL – http://localhost/info.php

When you do this you should see a screen that shows you information about the PHP instance you are running as follows:

This will show you all of the modules that you are running, so you can go back here in the future if you want to find out more information about your PHP instance. 

Step 3 – Check Your MySQL Database is working MySQL

MySQL databases are required for the majority of sites out there. You can get static sites that don’t dynamically update, but these sites are almost unheard of these days. Some landing page software like Clickfunnels doesn’t use MySQL – but for this example, let’s go in and check that your MySQL databases are running. 

Open a new terminal window and add the following code:


$ service mysql status


mysql.service – MySQL Community Server

[…]

mrt 15 13:24:09 host1 systemd[1]: Started MySQL Server.

You should see that the MySQL server has started. You can manage your MySQL in the command line to manage your databases. 

To restart your MySQL server enter the following:

sudo service mysql restart

You’ll need to use the admin details that you set up when you installed MySQL. You can get to the login screen by typing the following:


$ mysql -u root -p

PRO TIP: A lot of CMS software (like WordPress) auto-installs a MySQL database for you. 

Step 4 – Manually Create Databases

You can use PHPMyAdmin to create and manage your databases.  To install PHPMyAdmin enter

sudo apt install phpmyadmin

Finally, configure the /etc/phpmyadmin/config.inc.php file using the steps described here.

Step 5 – Using Your Domain Name

If you want to use your domain name for your website, then you’ll need to configure the DNS. Visit the domain name registrar that you bought your domain name from. 

You can buy a static IP to map your domain name or use dynamic with dnydns. As long as you have a static IP address on your local server, then you should be able to map your domain name DNS to your home IP address if you have configured your router. 

Step 6 – Configure Apache

You need to let Apache know where to find the directory to show to your website visitors. For this example, we’ll use yoursite.com as the domain name. Firstly, create a directory and create index.html. Then set up file system permissions as follows: 


sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/yoursite.com



sudo sh -c 'echo 

<h1>This is my self-hosted site yoursite.com</h1>
/var/www/html/ yoursite.com/index.html sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/ yoursite.com

 

You’ll now need to set up a Virtual Host file so that you can see your webpage. 


sudo cp /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/ yoursite.com.conf



sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/ yoursite.com.conf

Edit the file so that it looks like this:


ServerAdmin admin@ yoursite.com
ServerName yoursite.com
ServerAlias www. yoursite.com
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/ yoursite.com
ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

Reload Apache to view the changes that you have made:


sudo a2ensite yoursite.com.conf

sudo service apache2 reload

Edit your local /etc/hosts file by adding a line with your IP address and domain name. Be sure to change the “100.100.100.100” to match the IP address of your domain:


100.100.100.100 yoursite.com

Brilliant, that is everything now set up – go to your domain name http://www. yoursite.com (where yoursite.com is replaced with your domain name) and your site should be live.

PRO TIP: Your DNS can take up to 24 hours to configure, to make your domain name work. 

Pros and Cons of Hosting Your Own Website at Home

Pros
  • Rewarding experience
  • Great to create your website locally and check how it appears online
  • Educational, giving you an in-depth knowledge of server environments and code
Cons
  • Dynamic IP Addresses
  • Bandwidth constraints
  • Electricity costs
  • Security issues
  • Slower than professional hosting
  • You need to deal with your dynamic IP address or buy a static one. 
  • Power outages could mean downtime
  • You are responsible for maintenance

All in All

The whole process of creating a server and hosting your website is extremely educational, but it does come with a tonne of downsides. Self-hosting is not recommended for anything other than development environments. However, it can be a fun project to take on if you are a bit of a tech geek.  Professional hosting services come with a whole host (pardon the pun) of features that make hosting cheap, easy, secure, reliable and all in all more fun than having to take on the responsibilities that come with creating your server environment. 

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25 Sep 2019

How to Make a Minecraft Server (Step-By-Step Guide)

Minecraft is still going strong one decade after release. The sandbox lego-like game allows users to create infinite worlds and play in them. You can buy the Minecraft game via their main website for both PC and Mac. There are two ways to play Minecraft – Creative Mode, which I personally like and Survival Mode. 

The cool thing about Minecraft is that there is no one way to play the game and you can create worlds with their own rules and have your friends join in.The word Minecraft nicely sums up the game, as you “mine” for the materials to then “craft” objects in your world. As well as being the second most popular video game, Minecraft is a great tool for teaching kids. There is a global community of creators, and kids can learn anything from art and language to geography and coding through Minecraft. 

If you’re new to Minecraft the easiest way to get playing fast is to buy the game and play it, simple right?! If you want to create your world and don’t want to go to the hassle of setting up a server, then you can do so in the “Minecraft Realms” section. Setting up your own Minecraft server gives you the ability to create larger worlds and even host it on your domain name. 

In this article, we’ll explore various ways to set up your Minecraft server, no matter how you want to use it, for example via your PC, public, with friends, multiplayer, offline or for free.

Is Minecraft Free?

You can get a demo, lite or modded version of Minecraft for free. However, normally you buy the Java version from the official Minecraft website

One way to play for free is by joining in with another Minecraft game – for example, if your friend has a Minecraft server, they’ll normally be able to add you as a user. Minehut offers Minecraft hosting and allows people to add up to 10 users with a free account. We’ll discuss setting up a server in Minehut below.

Can You Play Minecraft Offline?

Yes, you can play Minecraft offline by selecting the “play offline” in your Minecraft launcher.

Minecraft works on just about every device

Desktops – Windows, Mac, Linux and Windows 10

Consoles – Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Switch and New 3DS

Devices – iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Gear VR, and Fire TV

Can You Make a Minecraft Server for Free?

YES! How awesome is that? You can make a Minecraft server in many different ways – for example on your PC or a free server. Minehut offers FREE Minecraft unlimited hosting for the Minecraft Community via their cloud servers. What’s more, you can have up to 10 players on your Minehut server.  If you want to add more users, then you can buy credits directly from Minehut. 

Minehut currently powers 787,532 Minecraft servers. They also offer DDoS Protection and a selection of cool plugins to customize your server. Minehut also comes with a supportive community forum where you can find answers to your questions or get involved with other players. 

How to Make a Minecraft Server for Free

Here is a step-by-step guide to creating your FREE Minecraft server with Minehut – in just seven steps. This guide is specifically for people who are using Java or Pocket Editions of Minecraft. The Pocket Edition is a good choice if you want to use your server via your smartphone. 

Step 1 – Visit Minehut and create an account. By hitting the “Get Started” button in the middle of the screen.

Step 2 – Verify your email address by cutting and pasting the code that they’ll send you to your inbox (check your spam folder if you don’t receive an email from them)

Step 3 – Login and create a server name. Keep it short and sweet, you’re only allowed to use 10 characters (numbers or letters)

Step 4 – Pick your server type by selecting it from the dropdown. Select Java or Pocket Edition

IMPORTANT NOTE – The Pocket Edition option is not always available

Step 5 – Hit the “Create” button to create your server

Step 6 – Refresh your page and then go to the dashboard tab. You’ll find the dashboard dab on the top left-hand side of the page.

Step 7 – Hit the blue “Activate Server” button. 

Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up your free Minecraft server with Minehut.

PRO TIP: You can go over and join the chat in Discord by clicking on the chat icon in the bottom right of the screen. 

Your Dashboard will look a little something like this:

Once you have set up your server, you’ll want to go into the settings section to configure it to your liking. Firstly you’ll want to grab your server’s address. To get your server’s address go over to the server status section at the right of your page. Your address should be next to the “Connect” title. Make sure you save your server address for future use and to share with friends. Here are some server settings that you can configure to make your server your own.

Changing the look and feel of your server

You can adjust your server’s appearance in Minehut by clicking on the “Server Appearance” tab. You’ll find it on the left of the page, and then you can change the following:

  1. Server Domain — you can change your domain name – to whatever you prefer. You’ll be using this domain name to connect to your server, and so that other people can connect too – so make it something catchy. This is the name that people will see if you make your server publicly listed. 
  2. Server MOTD — in this section you can write a short description of your server and your plans for it.
  3. Server Visibility — this section is important as it allows you to select a public server or an unlisted one. Unlisted makes your server private and only accessible via the link that you’d need to send to your friends. A publicly listed server will be shown so that other people can join in. So it just depends on how you want to play.
  4. 4. Server properties – Select “Server Properties” – then click a category tab and then selecting your preferred options – you can enable or disable server properties here.
  5. World settings – Hit “World Settings” to review the current settings. If you want to add a custom world seed you can do this by altering the text in the “World Seed” section. Save will save your settings and “Reset World” will cancel your new settings. 

PRO TIP: You can upload and save files in the “File Manager” section. However, it’s important to understand exactly what each file does before getting involved with the file manager section.

Alright, now your server is all set up and customized to your liking, it is time to connect and get creating. 

How to Connect to Your Minecraft Server on Minehut

When connecting to your new Minehut server, keep your dashboard open so that you can adjust anything quickly. Then follow the following steps to connect to your server:

Step 1 – Double-tap on the Minecraft icon to open Minecraft and select PLAY at the bottom of the screen.

Step 2 – Tap on Multiplayer

Step 3 – Select “Direct Connect” on the bottom right of the screen. 

Step 4 – Enter your server address (you should have saved it in the setup process above). 

Step 5 – Tap “Join Server” at the bottom of the screen 

Awesome! You’re all set.

PRO TIP: If you are having difficulty connecting to your Minehut server leave it for a while before getting started. If the issue persists then remove any unnecessary plugins as they can interfere with how your server functions.

How Do You Make a Multiplayer Server in Minecraft?

You can make a multiplayer server in Minecraft for up to 10 players for free using Minehut. If you want to add on more players then that will come at a small fee. If you have followed the steps above and created your free Minehut server, then you can add more players by clicking on “Server properties”, on the left of your page. Then select “Max Players” – you can add up to 75 players.

Below you’ll find the current prices to add people onto your server. 

  • 10 (Free)
  • 15 (30 credits/day)
  • 25 (50 credits/day)
  • 35 (75 credits/day)
  • 42 (110 credits/day)
  • 50 (135 credits/day)
  • 60 (170 credits/day)
  • 75 (210 credits/day)

Is Minecraft Educational/ Good For Kids?

Minecraft has a new “Education Edition” that is meant for use in school classrooms. Playing Minecraft offers an opportunity to learn in a fun environment. Students get to work on their creative abilities and mathematics while playing. 

There is a world of resources available to educators who wish to use Minecraft in the classroom, for example, entire lesson plans for Pixel art and grid paper to get creative. The lesson plans are organized by age and subject. You can learn Language and arts by playing “Finding Treasure” or Geography and social good by playing “Humans and Elephants”.

Make a Minecraft Server on Your PC in 5 Steps

You can easily make a Minecraft server on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer at home if you have some technical know-how.  Here is a 100ft view of what you’ll need to do:-

  1. Install Java
  2. Install Minecraft server software
  3. Configure your PC server & network
  4. Start PC server
  5. Check that you can access your server

IMPORTANT: You’ll need to be fairly tech-savvy to be able to create a Minecraft server.

What You Need to Set Up a PC Based Minecraft Server

Before you get started it’s important to check that your PC is up to the task. While you don’t need to pay a fortune for your Minecraft server – most basic laptops won’t do the job. You’ll need a decent desktop PC, preferably not the same computer that you plan to play Minecraft on (if possible).

 It’s also a good idea to connect your Minecraft PC based server directly to the internet using an Ethernet cable, rather than using wireless. The wired internet is still more reliable and powerful than wireless.

Home Server vs Externally Hosted Server

There are a few pros and cons that you should know about before deciding to create a server from home. Here are a few pros and cons to getting started with:

Pros

You are in complete control

Get started straight away

Cheap and easy way to host Minecraft

Allow as many people as you like to join your world

Cons

Your home network will be exposed publicly

Somewhat of a security risk

Very technical

Using a Hosting Provider to Host Minecraft

If you choose a hosting provider for your Minecraft server then you’ll need to choose a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or dedicated server. Shared hosting is not up to the task. This is a more costly option however you could get your friends to help pay for the monthly fee that you’ll incur.

Without further ado, let’s dive into how to set up your Minecraft server on your PC.  Firstly, we’ll start with a Windows PC…

How to Make a Minecraft server with a Windows PC

 

  • Check that you’re using the latest version of Java

 

If you have a very old PC then you probably don’t need to check and you can go straight to Java and download the latest version of Java. 

To check what version your PC is using the latest version of Java go to your windows control panel. You can access it by selecting the windows icon on the far bottom left of your screen. The windows icon looks something like this:

Open a command prompt and then type in java – version and then you should be presented with the Java version number that you are currently using. The latest version at the time of writing this article is “Java SE 8”.

Compare this against the latest Java version on the official Java website. If yours is out of date then download the latest version of Java onto the PC that you are going to use as a server.

How to Open a Command Prompt in Windows

Using the command prompt makes me feel like a real coder. It’s basically how the computer works behind Windows – the old Disk Operating System (DOS) system. 

Use the Windows key and X key to open the command prompt. Select command prompt on menu

Et. Voila! The command prompt should magically appear on your screen. 

  1. Create a dedicated folder for your Minecraft server files.

Create a dedicated folder on your PC for you to run your Minecraft server.  Store the folder in a place that you’ll remember – I’d advise your programs folder or desktop. 

  1. Download Minecraft server software

Visit the official Minecraft website and download the server software. It’s the same one no matter whether you’re using a Mac or Windows OS.

The software comes as a Java .jar file that you should save in your dedicated Minecraft folder. 

Once downloaded, locate the .jar file and double click to open. This will create configuration files that you’ll need to modify.

IMPORTANT: Next you’ll need to accept the End-user license agreement (EULA).  This step is required before using your Minecraft server. 

To accept the EULA open the text file that should be located inside your Minecraft folder called “eula.txt”. Then change the text on the document from eula=false to eula=true.

  1. Public Servers/ Multiplayer Servers

If you want to share your Minecraft server with the world, so that other people outside your home can play with you then you’ll need to enable port forwarding on your server. 

PRO TIP: Only enable port forwarding if you are ok with the security risk. Otherwise, you can still use your Minecraft server locally.

Find out more about port forwarding here

Each router has its instructions on how to configure port forwarding, so look out the instruction manual for the router side. On the Minecraft side, you’ll need to forward TCP port 25565.

Open another command prompt to find out the local IP address of your server (PC) and type ipconfig in the prompt. 

  1. Starting your Minecraft Server

Step 1 – Open a new Windows command prompt.

Step 2– Under the Microsoft logo and info you should see C:\Users\yourpcname> where “yourpcname” is replaced for the actual name of your PC. My PC is called Ranna, as you can see in the screenshot above. Type in cd and the location of your server file. If you saved it in your desktop folder then you can find it by typing cd desktop. Find your Minecraft server. 

Step 3 – Start your server using the following command:


java -Xmx1024M -Xms1024M -jar {server file name} nogui
Replace {server file name} with your server file name.

Inviting people over to your new Minecraft World

Once you’ve set everything up you can invite people to connect with your server via your public IP, or if you are playing with people in your home you can use your local IP address.  To find your public IP address simply type “my IP address” into Google. 

Minecraft Server Status Checker

You can check if your Minecraft server is online or offline by pasting your server address into this free Minecraft Server checker service. This will work for any type of public Minecraft server. 


How to Make a Minecraft server on a Mac

  • Check if you have Java installed

If you have a new Mac then you’ll probably have Java pre-installed and you’ll be good to go.  However, if you have an old Mac machine then you’ll need to go to the official Apple website and download the legacy version of Java

  1. Create a dedicated folder for your Minecraft server files.

Create a dedicated folder on your Mac to run your Minecraft server.  Store the folder in a place that you’ll remember – I’d advise your programs folder or desktop. 

  1. Download Minecraft server software

Visit the official Minecraft website and download the server software. It’s the same software for both Windows and Mac OS. 

The software comes as a Java .jar file that you should save in your dedicated Minecraft folder. 

Once downloaded, locate the .jar file and double click to open. This will create configuration files that you’ll need to modify.

  1. Open TextEdit

Open TextEdit (Mac’s version of Notepad). 

Hit “format” and set it to plain text. Copy and paste the following:


#!/bin/bash

cd "$(dirname "$0")"

exec java -Xms1G -Xmx1G -jar {server file name} nogui

(Replace {server file name} with your server file name.)

Name the file start.command and save it in your dedicated Minecraft folder.

  1. Run start. command File

To run the start.command file then you need to open a new terminal. Type the following

chmod a+x

Leave a space after the above command and then drag your start.command file into the terminal window. Hit “Enter”.

What is a MacOS Terminal?

Terminal is the Macs’ version of command prompt. It opens the DOS screen. Use “Control + Option + Shift + T” open a new terminal window.

  1. Public Servers/ Multiplayer Servers

If you want to share your Minecraft server with the world, so that other people outside your home can play with you then you’ll need to enable port forwarding on your server. 

PRO TIP: Only enable port forwarding if you are ok with the security risk. Otherwise, you can still use your Minecraft server locally.

Find out more about port forwarding here

Each router has its instructions on how to configure port forwarding, so look out the instruction manual for the router side of port forwarding. On the Minecraft side, you’ll need to forward TCP port 25565.

Open another terminal to find out the local IP address of your server (PC) and type ipconfig in the prompt. 

You’ll also need to enter your server’s local IP address as the Output IP or Server IP for the forwarded port. This tells the router which device to point at. To find your server’s local IP, open the Terminal and enter ifconfig.

  1. Starting your Minecraft Server

Step 1 – Double-tap the “start.command” file in your dedicated Minecraft folder. A new terminal window should then open. If there are errors, that’s quite normal at this stage. 

Step 2 – Under the Microsoft logo and info you should see C:\Users\yourpcname> where “yourpcname” is replaced for the actual name of your PC. Type in cd and the location of your server file. If you saved it in your desktop folder then you can find it by typing cd desktop. Find your Minecraft server. 

Step 3 – Start your server using the following command:




java -Xmx1024M -Xms1024M -jar {server file name} nogui


Replace {server file name} with your server file name.



Inviting people over to your new Minecraft World

Once you’ve set everything up you can invite people to connect with your server via your public IP or if you are playing with people in your home you can use your local IP address.  To find your public IP address simply type “my IP address” into Google. 

Check That Minecraft Server is Working

You can check if your Minecraft server is online or offline by pasting your server address into this free Minecraft Server checker service. This will work for any type of public Minecraft server. 

Make a Minecraft Server With Linux hosting Provider

The security risks that are involved in setting up a public Minecraft server might leave you feeling a bit uneasy. But don’t fret – you can always set up your Minecraft server with an external host such as 1&1 IONOS or Hostinger. We’d suggest using a VPS at first unless you are looking to host the game with a lot of players, then a dedicated server would be your best option.

PRO TIP: Setting up a Minecraft server with a host is quite technical. The easiest way to set a Minecraft server up is with Minehut. However, if you’re confident that you understand server environments, then using a Linux hosting provider is a great idea. 

Pros

Your Local network is secure

You don’t have to manage the hardware

Added security features 

Scale your server up as you need more space

Have as many users as you want

Cons

Can be costly

Need to be fairly experienced

  • Connect  to your host with SSH

 

You’ll need to enable and connect to your web hosting account with SSH (Secure Shell). To do this you’ll need to know the following information:

Your Host (domain name or IP), Username (your primary FTP username), Password (your primary FTP password) and use Port 22.

You’ll require an SSH client to connect. We recommend:

PuTTy for Windows

Terminal for Mac

  • Install Java in 6 Steps

Step 1– Now that you are connected to your host via SSH as the root user enter:

apt-cache search openjdk

You should now see a list of OpenJDK packages that can install Java. 

Step 2 – Select openjdk-7-jdk – the OpenJDK 7 Development Kit.

Step 3 – Enter the following:

apt-get update

Step 4 – Install Then openjdk-7-jdk by entering:

apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk

Step 5 – Wait for prompt then press “Y” to authorize the installation. 

Step 6 – To check that Java has been successfully installed enter

 java -version

This should let you know that Java has been installed and the version that you’ve installed.

3. Create a Directory For Your Minecraft Server Files

Your Minecraft files will be stored in a directory on your server. Create this directory and then switch to that directory.

    mkdir minecraft

    cd minecraft

4. Download Minecraft server files

Run the wget command in your Minecraft directory to download Minecraft server files

wget -O minecraft_server.jar 

5. Install & run “screen”

Installing and running “screen” will allow your server to run when you are not connected. This is particularly important if you have lots of players and you want your server to support. To install and run screen use the following command:

yum install screen

screen

6. Run & Check Your Minecraft Server

java -Xmx512M -Xms560M -jar minecraft_server.jar nogui

PRO TIP: To change the amount of space you are using for your Minecraft server change the “Xmx and –Xms” settings. Make sure that you have enough space and change 560M for 2G to change your allocated space up to 2 Gb of RAM

Check your server is running with the following command:


stop

Edit the “server.properties” file and enter:

enable-query=true

Then save and restart your server. 

Check if your server is running on the free Minecraft Server checker service.

7. Give Your Server a Cool Domain Name

If you want to go the extra mile and create a cool new domain name to point to your server that is possible with your hosting provider. To do this you’ll need to purchase a domain name and point the DNS records to your server. 

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are many ways to set up your Minecraft server. Minehut is the easiest for complete beginners but is restricted to 10 players. Setting up a Mincraft server from home is great, but it has some security issues. If you want to set up a domain name and have your Minecraft server with a host, then you can do that with a VPS or dedicated server. 

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28 Aug 2019

5 Amazing Free Stock Photo Sites in 2019 (Inc Pros & Cons)

I am completely baffled why websites still produce and use cheesy stock photos with no real meaning behind them. When you can get high-quality free stock photos, why would you choose the cheap alternative. I’ve compiled a list of the most amazing free stock photo sites to prove to you that it’s entirely possible.

 

What Makes a Good Stock Photo

Before diving into the best stock photo sites, it’s worth knowing what makes a good stock photo. If you’re looking to print photos, you’ll need images with a resolution of at least 640 x 480 pixels. However, given it’s 2019, you’ll probably want higher (and most places offer this).

Photos should be well-focused and sharp. If you download a photo and zoom in and notice any noise, it’s probably not a decent image. As I’ve mentioned above, stock photo’s shouldn’t be cheesy and awkward. They’re meant to be used as representative images, and more often than not we don’t see this (even with premium websites).

Experienced photographers tend to have a good eye for detail. This is often represented in their work, capturing real-life without it looking cliche. Of course, it’s entirely up to you what you choose to use, but I don’t want to lead you down the wrong path.

 

1 | Unsplash

 

As featured above, it’s easy to see that Unsplash offer beautiful photos that are free to use. Their photos are actually donated by real and professional photographers. Although you may not find as many images on Unsplash as other sites, the quality makes up for this tenfold.

When you first visit Unsplash, the easiest way to search for a photo is by using their search tool. Simply enter in what you’re looking for and the results which show the most relevant images. If you don’t specifically know what you’re after, you can use their collections tool which categorises images by groups. If you sign up for an account you can create your own collections.

Unsplash has an iOS app which is really useful if you want to search for awesome stock photos on the go. What’s more, you don’t have to credit the photographer if you use any of their photos, but you can if you want to. I’d always recommend crediting the photographer as it’s a courteous thing to do.

High quality
Easy search tool
iOS app available

 

Visit Unsplash.com

 

2 | Pixabay

 

Pixabay has a wide selection of free images as well as vector graphics, illustrations, and videos. If you’re after landscape or nature photography, they have some very high quality photos available. I strongly recommend checking out their Editor’s Choice section for some inspiration.

When you’ve searched through their library and found an image you like, you can choose the resolution. Depending on the type of project you’re working on, you may need a high resolution. You’ll be asked to complete a Captcha then your file is ready to download. If you don’t want to keep completing Captchas, you can sign up to Pixabay with a free account.

Pixabay does contain some not safe for work (NSFW) images but you can avoid these quite easily. Simply check the Enable SafeSearchoption before looking for content. This is a feature that I find quite interesting as I hadn’t really thought about this before discovering it on their site.

Large library of images
Illustrations and vector graphics
Quality not as good as others

 

Visit Pixabay.com

 

3 | Pikwizard

 

Pikwizard have thousands of stock photos available amongst multiple categories. After going through their images I can confirm the quality is very high, especially considering the content is free. Thankfully Pikwizard aren’t into cheesy poses as they present more natural photos. If it’s people you’re after, you’ll find plenty of choice on their site.

If you find an image you like but want to make some alterations, you can use the online photo editor. Many of the tools and features are premium so you’ll need to pay for them if you want to use them. However, none of them seem to cost more than a couple of quid.

My main gripe with Pikwizard is their licencing as they have two different licenses which are free and CCo. CCo means the copyright has been waived whereas free means the copyright is retained by the photographer. Free images can be used because the photographer has agreed for them to be used without payment. Similar to Unsplash, there’s no need to credit the photographer but it’s always nice to do so.

Plenty of natural poses
Online photo editor
Licensing applies to some photos

 

Visit Pikwizard.com

 

4 | Gratisography

 

Gratisography might not have as much content as other free stock photo sites, but they certainly offer something different. Professional photographer Ryan McGuire provides surreal photos with a certain sense of quirkiness. This site is a great choice if you’re looking for something unusual and are sick of the cliches.

New photos are added each week to ensure content remains consistent and fresh. If you want to be notified when new photos or updates are applied you can sign up to his newsletter or follow his twitter account.

When you download photos from Gratisography there’s no need to credit Ryan McGuire. Again, and I’ll keep saying this, it’s nice if you do and I’m sure he would appreciate it!

Unusual photos
Fresh content each week
Small selection

 

Visit Gratisography.com

 

5 | Negative Space

 

Negative Space invites anyone with a camera to contribute. It’s a great place for amateurs to get started and a place to show off photographer’s work. Supporting each other is at the forefront of what they do, allowing people to share their creativity and for it to be used in multiple places.

If you want to subscribe to their newsletter, you’ll get updates on when new content is added. New images seem to pop up fairly quickly, unlike Gratisography which is a bit slower because it’s a one man band. If you visit the site and don’t find what you’re looking for, it’s well worth revisiting as chances are new images will have appeared.

Negative Space is one of the few photography sites that’s actually based in the U.K. This gives people more opportunity to find British scenery including landscapes, cityscapes and more. The website is helpfully categorised, such as, abstract, travel, technology etc.

Invites amateur photographers to submit work
U.K. based
Copyright protection applies to some content

 

Visit Negativespace.co

 

Pros & Cons of Stock Photography

As with most things, there are pros and cons to using stock photography. Stock photography is available for anyone to use; some sites allow you to download images for free whereas others will charge a premium. We’ve had a look at 5 amazing free stock photo sites to get you started. Paul Suggett from The Balance Careers sums stock photography up quite nicely:

Stock photography is like clothing you buy off the rack at a popular department store. No matter how beautiful it looks, you won’t be the only person wearing that design.

Some websites like Negative Space invite photographers from any background to submit their work. This is a great option for those who want to share their work and those that want to support amateurs. Other sites like Gratisography are run by the photographers themselves and don’t request that you have to credit them. The majority of stock sites hire photographers to submit stock photography to be licensed. This is then sold on to anyone who buys them.

Perfect for mock-ups and presentations
Cheaper than a professional photo shoot
Available to download instantly
Wide range of resolutions
Ideal for those with a limited budget

Not original work
Likely to be used by multiple people and sites
Lacks brand identity
Can be cliche and awkward

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04 Jul 2019

21 Best Domain Name Generators

Choosing a domain name can sometimes be the most difficult part of building a website. A domain name should be memorable but should also reflect what your brand or business represents. Unfortunately, a lot of the time you’ll spend hours figuring out your domain name only to find the name isn’t available. Sometimes it will be available for .co.uk but not for .com. You then have to go back to square one.

But, the good news is choosing a domain name doesn’t have to take forever. I’ve searched high and low for the best domain name generators to save you time!

Domain Name Generator #1: Shopify Business Name Generator

Shopify’s business name generator isn’t just for businesses. They suggest domain names that suit your needs. When you start off using Shopify business name generator you’ll be asked to enter a keyword. This keyword should have something to do with your website or business. For example if you run a bakery, your keyword might be cupcakes.

The generator will produce hundreds of results for you to choose from. The suggestions presented will be .com domains, but of course you can search on other domain registration sites for alternatives. The idea behind the generator is that it gives you suggestions of domain names that might work for you. Alternatively if you don’t like any of them, you should have been given enough inspiration to come up with your ultimate domain name.

Shopify will encourage you to sign up to their Shopify Shop with the domain names that have been suggested. You don’t have to sign up to Shopify; you can register your domain elsewhere and do as you please!

Domain Name Generator #2: Lean Domain Search

Similar to Shopify, Lean Domain Search asks for a keyword to get started. Their generator will produce hundreds (and even thousands) of domain name options for you. All of the domain names that are suggested are available as .com domains, so you won’t have to worry about whether they’ve been registered or not.

Shopify Lean Search includes some cool features too, making the process even more simple. You can filter using the following options:

  • Alphabetically
  • By name length
  • By popularity of domain name

If you like a few domain names you can save them as a list to revisit later on. If you’ve forgotten to save them but can’t remember what you searched for, you can go back through your search history!

Lean Domain Search will allow you to search for your own domain name ideas too, to see if they’re available. This saves time using multiple websites, making it an all in one tool.

Domain Name Generator #3: Nameboy

A little throw back to the 90s in the name! Nameboy encourages users to enter two keywords into their generator. This opens the door to a few more possibilities and combinations. Similar to the other generators, Nameboy will produce a wide selection of domain name ideas based on your keywords.

Their list is extensive and easy to navigate. You can easily see if a domain name that you like is available or not. Sometimes a .com name might not be available but .co.uk or .net is. They’ll also display a list of domain names that are up for resale, so you may still be able to nab your perfect domain name.

Nameboy’s tool can cleverly produce hyphenated or rhyming words based on your keyword input. Sometimes you may have an idea in mind but it doesn’t quite work. This tool can give you the ideas and inspiration you need to make a firm decision.

Domain Name Generator #4: Name Mesh

If you have a few keywords in mind but can’t make a decision, Name Mesh is your friend. You can enter 2-3 keywords for the generator to work its magic.

The tool can generate domain names based on a selection of variables. These include common domain names, different categories, short or similar names, domain names that are good for SEO, etc. If that wasn’t enough and you want to start a new search, Name Mesh will even provide you with some keywords to use. Search using the new keywords and see how it goes!

When you’ve concluded your search, you can filter the results by different types, including:

  • Domain name extension (.com, .co.uk, etc.)
  • Domain names that are unregistered
  • Domain name length

Domain Name Generator #5: Bust A Name

Bust A Name has a wide range of tools to help you find your perfect domain name. You can enter in keywords to start with in order to produce a list of results. You can then choose whether you want your domain name to start or end with your keyword (or neither).

Bust A Name allows you to choose how natural you want your domain name to be. You can also define a character limit (long domains can affect SEO). You can select whether or not you want to see taken domain names (perhaps for inspiration) and filter by extension like .com or .org.

If you have no clue where to start and don’t have any keywords, you can make a random domain name search. This will show available domain names and may give you the push you need to get creative.

Domain Name Generator #6: NameStall

You can start searching for a domain name with NameStall’s domain name generator. Simply enter a keyword and add your own filters to help you find the right domain. You can filter by popular keywords, categories, or types of words.

Similar to Bust A Name, you can choose whether the keyword should go at the start or end of the domain name. You may opt to have a hyphen in your domain name if it makes it easier to read or remember.

Once you’ve entered the relevant details, the list will show both taken and available domain names. If you want to register a new domain name you can do so through NameStall. Again, you don’t have to go through them if you don’t want to.

Domain Name Generator #7: Panabee

It’s cute interface will surely get a look in. Panabee provides a wealth of features including a domain search tool, domain name generator and a business name generator. You can enter in two keywords to start the domain name search.

The generator will present a wealth of suggestions for you to start deliberating over. If your chosen extension or domain name isn’t available, you can use a domain name registrar to search for more.

If you’re not interested in the search results from Panabee, you can search for similar or related names. This may spark some inspiration to hammer the nail in the coffin. Uniquely, Panabee will tell you if your domain name is being used across any social media accounts as a user or profile name (snazzy)!

Domain Name Generator #8: Name Station

Name Station has been mentioned on various popular platforms like SEOMoz, Mashable and TechCrunch to name a few. For this reason, I wanted to check it out (can you blame me)!

When you land at Name Station you’ll need to create a free account to get started. A bit annoying but it’s free so I can’t really complain too much. You can sign up using your email address or via social media on Facebook.

Once you’re signed up you’ll be able to use their domain name generator, check the availability of domains, and get keyword suggestions. Like most other generators, you can filter by extension, name length, and even search by categories.

Domain Name Generator #9: Domains Bot

At Domains Bot you can search for domain names as well as getting suggestions for domain names. Using their domain name generator is easy; enter a keyword and let the tool do the rest! You’ll get a list of domains related to your keyword, similar to your keyword, and even combining your keyword.

You may even find that you want to use new search terms after being inspired by some of Domains Bot’s suggestions. If you already have a domain name in mind, you can search to see if it’s available.

If your chosen domain name is available you can register it through the many registrar links, like GoDaddy. You’ll get suggestions on similar domain names before you commit to buying one (or it may confuse you even more)!

Domain Name Generator #10: Dot-o-mator

Dot-o-mator is a solid choice if you have no clue as to what your domain name should be. Trust me, we’ve all been there when you’ve got a business idea but don’t know how to brand it!

Start by choosing two categories – these will form the start and end of your domain name. Click search and you’ll be presented with a whole bunch of random domain names to choose from.

If you’re lucky enough to have some ideas in mind, you can search using your own search terms too. If you have a few domain names you like the sound of you can save them for later. This is always a good option if you’re not sure whether the domain is available or not.

Domain Name Generator #11: Domain Puzzler

Domain Puzzler offers a simple and easy to use interface. There’s plenty of options to choose from, but they do present an ‘easy’ option to get started with. All you need to do is enter your keywords and desired domain extensions (.co.uk, .com, etc.).

Once you hit search you’ll be presented with your list of domain name ideas and suggestions. What’s nice about Domain Puzzler is that they allow you to enter multiple keywords as opposed to one or two like other domain name generators.

Your keywords will be used to combine into multiple variations. You can save the domain names you like to your list so you can come back later if you want. There’s even a tool so you can compare the page rank of different domain names which is very useful!

Domain Name Generator #12: Impossibility

Impossibility is unique in the fact you can do a lot more within your domain name search. Once you’ve entered your keyword you can then add verbs, nouns and adjectives to your search. There’s a range of 4 letter, 5 letter and 6 letter options.

If you don’t want to be constrained you can choose to combine anything with your specified keyword. This makes for a lot more variety and hopefully will make finding your perfect domain name much easier.

If you like one of the domain names suggested it’s easy to click on the link to purchase. You don’t need to purchase through Impossibility, as always you can use a domain name registrar like GoDaddy or 1&1 (IONOS).

Domain Name Generator #13: Cool Name Ideas

A cool name and a cool tool. Cool Name Ideas is a business name generator with a built in domain name search. You can generate business names and it will tell you if the domain name is available or not.

One of the fun things about this generator is that you can enter in filters like:

  • Business size
  • Customer base

These will then be put into the generator to make even more relevant name ideas in your results. You can play with the advanced features too in order to limit character length and other customisation options.

Similar to some other domain name generators, you can see if social media names like Twitter handles are taken before purchasing your domain name.

Domain Name Generator #14: DomainWheel

DomainWheel has an attractive user interface, entering into the modern world of domain name generators. Start by entering your keyword (there’s already some suggestions) and search your domain.

You don’t just have to pick one keyword, you can enter several to get a good mix of domain names. I personally find more keywords generate more creative ideas. Once you’ve chosen a domain name, other options will appear. For example words that rhyme with your keywords or domain, different combinations, or even just randomly generated domain names.

When you’ve chosen your domain name you can register it to ensure no one else takes it. There are plenty of places to register a domain name, and even some sites that allow you to register a domain for free!

Domain Name Generator #15: Instant Domain Search

Do you already have a domain name in mind? If so, Instant Domain Search is a great place for you. If you know your domain already, simply enter it into the search bar to see if it’s available. The generator won’t give you new domain names based on a keyword search.

It will however provide alternatives if your chosen domain name has already been taken. But, if you desperately want the domain name you had in mind, the site will locate who owns the domain name that’s currently not available.

This might seem a bit strange but often people will buy domain names to sell them on for more. A catchy domain name is gold dust and people will pay a lot to nab a good one on the market.

Domain Name Generator #16: iwantmyname

Very similar to Instant Domain Search, iwantmyname is a place to search to see if your domain name is available. It’s got a simple user interface so you can easily see which domains are available and which ones aren’t. The green smiley face indicates if your domain name is available to purchase.

If your domain name is already taken (which is admittedly a right bummer), it will suggest alternatives through its generator. You can’t enter in keywords to generate new ideas but it will present similar domains.

Unfortunately you can’t track down who owns the domain name if it’s already taken like Instant Domain Search. You’ll just have to find a suitable alternative for now.

Domain Name Generator #17: DomainTyper

DomainTyper is a unique domain name generator and social network checker. I’ve mentioned that a few domain name generators can search to see if your domain name is available as well as checking if the username is available on Twitter or Facebook.

DomainTyper does it all! Type your chosen domain name into the search bar and it will see if it’s available. It will check a wide range of extensions where you can favourite the ones you like. If your name isn’t available you can make an offer to the person who currently owns it.

It also has its own generator to help you come up with some fun ideas. If you’re lacking inspiration this is a good place to start. Once you’ve found the perfect domain name you can check it against social media channels. It will see whether the username is already in use on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and more.

Domain Name Generator #18: WORDOID

If you’re struggling with a business name in the first place, WORDOID is a great starting point. It will generate a huge list of words to get your creative juices flowing. Although this might sound pretty random, sometimes the best names can come from a randomised tool.

Alongside the list of names, WORDOID will search to see if your domain name is available. It will check GoDaddy to see if they are taken or not and then how to buy them. If you want to enter in your own keyword to start the ball rolling, this tool won’t allow you to do so.

You can filter through the domain names to make the search a little less random. Filters include word length, resemblance match to real words, patterns and more. Uniquely, this domain name generator actually works in multiple languages. These include English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.

Domain Name Generator #19: Domainr

Domainr is a tool that is partnered with ICANN. When you search for a domain the list will show you whether a domain is taken or not. It will also display what alternatives there are if it is taken. For example helloworld.com might not be available but helloworld.uk is available.

If you don’t have a domain name in mind already, this won’t be right for you. This isn’t a generator that will make up names for you. It will simply display if your domain names are available or not and allow you to buy them.

Domain Name Generator #20: Domain Hole

Domain Hole is a tool I’d recommend if you don’t have a domain name in mind. Also if you have no keywords this will help you to find the perfect domain name. There’s plenty of features that other generators don’t feature so let’s take a look.

One thing I find is that people will have a domain name they want but it’s not available. Domain Hole can tell you if a domain name is due to expire shortly. You may see this and decide to hold on rather than instantly buy an alternative.

You can search for domains with domain and page ranking authorities. Other feature include backlinks and page flow. Domain Hole does require you to register a free account which is a minor annoyance.

Domain Name Generator #21: NameSmith

NameSmith is advertised as a business name generator. However it works great as a domain name generator which produces fantastic ideas from keywords. With nose domain name generators you can filter names by different types and categories.

With NameSmith they offer quite a bit more! Some of the filters include:

  • Prefixes
  • Suffixes
  • Fantasy names
  • Misspelled names
  • Rhymes
  • Portmanteaus

This makes things a little more interesting. I found that my creative brain started ticking a lot more from what they offered. Although you may not have considered this, NameSmith vow never to use your ideas or keywords by selling them on.

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26 Jun 2019

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website?

People often ask me how much it costs to build a website. The honest answer is that it varies. The real cost depends on your own wants/needs and your budget. Building a website can be done in a number of ways, not all of which are expensive.

What do you need to build a website?

First it’s important to establish what you actually need to build a website. In most cases you won’t even need to hire a web designer or web developer to do the work for you. You can save a lot of money by doing the work yourself (yes I know that sounds daunting).

Even if you don’t have a tech bone in your body, you can still build a website. That being said, if you don’t have a clue to begin with, you may take the wrong direction. That’s why I’m writing this guide so you don’t overspend and you don’t head the wrong way.

The main elements to start any website are:

  • Domain name (the name of your website, e.g. ukwebhostreview.com)
  • Web hosting (the people who host your website on the internet)
  • Website builder (if you want to create a website yourself)

Domain name

Choosing your website’s domain name should be the first step. You’ll need to know what your website is about and what it’s trying to achieve. Ideally your domain name should give potential visitors an idea of what your site is about before they’ve even landed.

There are plenty of sites that offer domain names for cheap. There’s also somewhere you can get a domain name for free! Most sites will give you the licence to your domain name for 1 year. Some may offer a longer period so take note. Once you purchase a domain name you have the right to use it and host your own website.

Web Hosting

Web hosting provides a secure place for all your website’s content and files to be stored. Choosing the best web hosting shouldn’t be difficult with our help!

When your site visitors type in your domain name, they’ll be taken to your website. Your website is hosted by your web host, therefore should be the best it can be for your needs.

There’s a whole bunch of different web hosting options available. Dependent on what your needs are, you may consider shared hosting, WordPress hosting, cheap hosting, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, or even dedicated hosting.

When deciding on a web host, you may want to consider the following:

 

  • Uptime guarantee (this ensures your website is live and visible to the world. A guarantee of at least 99.9% is recommended)
  • Cost (web hosting doesn’t have to be costly, but the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Weigh up the cost with other factors)
  • Features (find a web host that offers the right features for you)
  • Performance (if your site doesn’t have a good performing web host, you may lose visitors)

Website Builders

If you want to create your own website, I recommend using a website builder like WordPress or Wix. It doesn’t matter what your skill set is, website builders, make it easy to create your own website.

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a newbie, making a website the way you want it has never been easier. What’s more, when you sign up to a website builder, you’ll likely have access to handy SEO tools. Although website builders won’t be able to do it all for you, they’re a great way to pick up some hints and tips. Basic SEO features can be learned quickly and expanded on.

I recommend using the self-hosted version of WordPress. With over 30% of the web now powered by WordPress, there’s a reason it’s so popular. You’ll have complete control of your website and can choose one of their many free or premium paid themes. Whether you’re starting a blog or small business, or a large corporation, WordPress is a suitable option.

Signing up to WordPress.org is FREE. All you’ll need is your own domain name and web hosting. Most web hosts will actually install WordPress on your server for you, saving time and effort. You can browse thousands of themes and plugins via WordPress itself. Alternatively, there’s a whole bunch of resources available on the internet for you to peruse.

How much does building a website cost?

As I mentioned earlier, it depends on your needs. Using the methods mentioned above, it can cost anywhere from £50 up to a couple of hundred £. The bulk of the cost will come from your theme/template or the website builder you choose. That being said, compared to hiring a web developer that could cost you £5000+, it’s pretty affordable!

If you’re planning on building a small website, you’ll need to budget for the following:

  • Domain name (.com domain usually around £9.99 per year)
  • Web hosting (from as little as 80p per month with Hostinger)
  • SSL certificate (around £120 per year)

I’d personally recommend signing up to a web host who offers all the above for a fraction of the cost. Signing up to SiteGround will cost you £2.95 per month. You’ll get a free domain name and SSL certificate for the year! If you’ve already got hosting elsewhere, they’ll migrate your websites for free with an average uptime of 100% (in my own tests).

Once you’re signed up, you can install WordPress for free. Some web hosts will pre-install plugins for you, but I’d highly recommend the following to get you started:

  • Yoast SEO: Improve SEO on WordPress for free
  • W3 Total Cache: Improve speed and performance on your WordPress site
  • Akismet: Prevent unwanted spam comments on your WordPress site and blog
  • MonsterInsights: Connect your WordPress site to Google Analytics

How much does building an online store cost?

Creating a small basic website and an online store are very different things. What works for one likely won’t work for the other. That’s why I’m here to explain the difference for you!

Building an online store is a venture that’s going to be worthwhile. eCommerce is growing rapidly and is accounting for a large proportion of retail sales. If you’re looking to create an online store, now is definitely a good time to do so.

Similar to creating a standard website, your eCommerce site will need a domain name and web hosting. If you choose to use an eCommerce platform, they’ll cover the web hosting side so you don’t have to worry about that.

I would personally recommend signing up to Wix. They are the best eCommerce platform in my experience. I’d never created an online store before but found it super easy to do so using Wix. They’ve got over 100 million users so they must be doing something right!

Wiz’s eCommerce prices start from just £14 per month. You’ll get unlimited bandwidth, 20GB storage, a FREE domain, an online store, and 2 premium business apps for FREE. This plan is insanely affordable when you consider what you’re getting for your money. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Managing your products is really easy to do. Like I said before, I hadn’t build an online store until I came across Wix. You can change the images on your products, categorise them, create discount codes and offers, etc. It felt almost too easy when I was doing it, it was hard to believe I was building my own online store myself!

How can you avoid paying over the odds?

It’s quite common for people with any size budget to overspend. I myself am a sucker for getting carried away with website themes and plugins. A few £ here and a few £ there can quickly add up to hundreds or even thousands.

The best thing to do is to start small. I know that might sound obvious but let me explain. Let’s take web hosting as an example to start with. When you sign up to a web host like SiteGround, you’re presented with multiple pricing plans. The difference between their StartUp plan and GrowBig plans is £2 per month. That might not seem a lot but that’s a difference of £24 per year, excluding VAT.

You’ll need to consider what your website needs immediately. Do you need 20GB storage right now or will 10GB be sufficient? Remember, most web hosts will let you upgrade your plan at any point. You don’t need to dive in with the biggest and best straight away when you won’t be using it to its full potential.

Making use of people like me can be one of your greatest resources! Let someone else do the hard work of researching and testing out the best web hosts, domain names, website builders and eCommerce platforms. Once you’ve read through my comparisons you should be equipped with the best knowledge to budget effectively.

What’s the best option?

After exploring some of the possibilities surrounding the cost of building a website, let me help you decide the best route to take. I’ve experimented with a wide range of options from drag and drop builders, templates, CMS platforms and even custom built sites.

The best way to simplify this whole process is to break it down into a few simple questions. Hopefully by the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll have it all figured out!

Question #1: What’s your actual budget?

As well as the initial setup, websites need maintenance. Fees renew monthly or yearly, and technologies change (we spoke about this before). Really it comes down to two things:

  • Initial setup and design
  • On-going costs (monthly/annually)

If you have over £100 to spend and your budget allows for this, something like WordPress would be a good option. You can afford a decent premium theme, some plugins, and WordPress web hosting. If your budget can stretch a little, you may even consider manages WordPress hosting.

If you have £100 or less to spend, a website builder would be my recommendation. Your monthly or annual costs will include a theme, web hosting, and often a domain name. You’ll have to manage the site yourself, but you’ll have an all-in-one solution to hand.

Question #2: Do you want to manage your site yourself?

I touched on this briefly in question one. There’s various ways your site can be managed. You can hire a web developer or designer to do the work for you. If you choose this option you will have to consider how much work for other people they also have. Do your timeframes allow for delays and potential setbacks? This also links into budget as hiring a web developer is very expensive.

Many web hosts offer a managed solution. This means they manage the installation, backups and updates to yourself. You still have to create the site and apply content to it, but the fiddly back end stuff gets done for you. Managed hosting can be slightly more expensive than shares hosting, but its worth it if you don’t have time or don’t want to manage certain aspects of your site.

Question #3: What features do you want on your site TODAY?

There are plenty of features, plugins and apps you can download and install to your website. Whether you’re using WordPress, another site builder, or having your site built for you, there’s lots of add-ons around.

What you need to consider is whether these tempting features are necessary NOW or whether you can do without them until later down the line.

Although features are nice to have, it’s easy to get carried away. If you’re using WordPress and install too many plugins, it may slow your site down. If you install plugins that conflict with each other, they won’t work. You also need to remember to keep them updated or you’ll face security risks or they’ll stop working.

If you want to get your website off the ground TODAY, go for it. You probably don’t need all the bells and whistles right now and may even learn over time what you do and don’t need.

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29 May 2019

Best Affiliate Marketing Platforms of 2019

Affiliate marketing is hugely popular, especially for those looking to kickstart their online business revenue. The world of affiliate marketing has grown massively within the blogging industry, making it a key source of income for many.

Bloggers often struggle to make money during the first few months and sometimes years of their ventures. Passive income streams are available in many shapes and sizes which is why I wanted to investigate.

Whilst some people do make big money through their online business and blogging, I don’t suggest quitting your job until you become more established. Learning how to monetise your blog is essential in taking your first steps towards working for yourself.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be too complicated. You essentially partner your website with an affiliate marketing program or platform. They then connect you to someone that can sell your product or service. For example, you write an article or review about a new mobile app. The affiliate marketer would connect you to someone that owns or sells said app, and if purchased, a small cut off the profits comes to you. Other examples include clicking on marketing links or signing up to useful services like BlueHost’s web hosting.

Where to get started

Depending on your blog or market, certain affiliate marketing programs or platforms may be more suited to you. I’m going to cover a wide variety of the best affiliate marketing platforms of 2019 to make your life easier! Regardless of what type of blogger you are, there should be something for you in this list.

1. Amazon Associates

Amazon is one of the most well known brands in the world. For this reason, people place a lot of trust in them and will happily purchase from their online store again and again. From sweet hampers to drones, homeware to digital goods, Amazon has it all. Regardless of your niche, you’re likely to find it on Amazon which is what makes it the perfect affiliate marketing platform.

Sign up to Amazon Associates here.

Pros:

  • Up to 10% commission on a qualifying product purchase
  • All purchases will count towards your commission (even if it wasn’t the product that was clicked on from)
  • Huge selection of products likely to appeal to most people and niches

Cons:

  • Affiliate cookie expires after 24 hours
  • Payout options are limited to cheque, bank transfer or Amazon gift cards

2. eBay Partners

You may be wondering why such a large marketplace like eBay wants you to help them sell products. Well, companies like this are big and well known for a reason. They make money; a lot of it, and will continue to do so with your help. Using eBay’s Partner Network tools, you can help promote listings and get paid for doing so.

Sign up to eBay Partners here.

Pros:

  • eBay sells an insanely large range of products. Because products are listed by everyone and anyone, there’s not many products that aren’t for sale (legally)
  • There aren’t any complex rules around their affiliate platform. Simply share your listing link and if someone purchases from it, you’ve made some money
  • You’ll earn double commission for the first 3 months of signing up

Cons:

  • Sales get split 3 ways between you, the seller and eBay
  • You don’t get any commission if the auction takes longer than 10 days to end

3. Shopify Affiliate Program

Shopify is amongst the leading eCommerce platforms worldwide. The hugely popular software is used by bloggers and online retailers to sell products through an online store. Plenty of companies use Shopify so finding one that sells products or services related to your niche shouldn’t be too difficult.

Sign up to Shopify Affiliate Program here.

Pros:

  • There’s lots of money to be made. You’ll get the first two months of your referrals subscription fee
  • Shopify presents lots of opportunity and is the best eCommerce platform, making it trusted and worth referring to

Cons:

  • Your audience is limited to people who want to use Shopify to sell things online

4. Rakuten Marketing Affiliates

You may well of heard of Rakuten before. They are a leading online store who sell a wide range of goods including electronics, pet supplies, clothes and Lego. If you can think of something to buy, Rakuten probably stocks and sells it. Rakuten will happily pay you for referring people to purchase anything from them.

Sign up to Rakuten Marketing Affiliates here.

Pros:

  • Rakuten is very well known, therefore promotes trust in its consumers. Getting people to purchase from them shouldn’t be difficult at all
  • They offer a wide range of products from pet food to drones

Cons:

  • If you want to promote a variety of brands on Rakuten, you’ll have to sign up to them all individually

5. Leadpages Partner Program

Leadpages is a marketing tool that offers unique and powerful features. The tool allows pretty much anyone to create professional landing pages for any website. Regardless of expertise, skill or knowledge, it’s really easy to use Leadpages to your full advantage. If you have a digital audience that could do with creating or enhancing their landing pages, this is a great opportunity.

Sign up to Leadpages Partner Program here.

Pros:

  • Because of its popularity and unique tool it offers, Leadpages kind of sells itself so you don’t have to. Anyone with a website can make use of their tool
  • Their tool is genuinely really powerful so it makes promoting it really easy
  • 30% commission on each sale regardless of referral spend

Cons:

  • Because it’s only useful for those with websites, it means it’s only available to a niche market

6. StudioPress Affiliate Website

If your audience base has a large digital prescence, you may want to consider StudioPress’s Affiliate Website. Like Leadpages, it is a niche, but one that’s worth pursuing if you can. StudioPress creates professional, responsive, and darn right beautiful and customisable WordPress themes. Anyone looking for a WordPress theme or template will be astounded at what StudioPress can offer.

Sign up to StudioPress Affiliate Website here.

Pros:

  • StudioPress sells itself, making the task a lot easier for you. Encouraging WordPress users to look at StudioPress won’t be difficult as most fall in love with it instantly
  • The payouts on StudioPress’s affiliate program are quite nice. You’ll get a tasty 35% from each theme sale plus $75 on any site sale which can amount to quite a lot

Cons:

  • StudioPress is a niche product, so unless your audience are WordPress users, you may not be able to take advantage of the rewards

7. BlueHost Affiliate Program

BlueHost’s reputation is unrivaled; it’s number 2 in my best web hosting reviews. BlueHost’s web hosting (especially for WordPress) is incredibly affordable and flexible. They offer stable web hosting with unlimited bandwidth and storage for the price of a sandwich. Their WordPress installation is quick and easy, but if you do run into any trouble, their support is second to none.

Sign up to BlueHost Affiliate Program here.

Pros:

  • BlueHost’s affiliate program has a really simple process. All you need to do is sign up and share your referral link. There’s no complications to it and you can create your own campaigns with different banners should you wish
  • BlueHost is actually recommended by WordPress, so you can’t compete on quality and trust

Cons:

  • Again, another niche product. Unless your website visitors want web hosting, it’s not going to be much use
  • You’ll need to make a minimum of $100 in the first 12 months for a payout. However, they’re offering $65 for each referral so this shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve

8. ConvertKit Affiliate Program

If you’re looking for one of the market leaders in the email marketing industry, ConvertKit is definitely one of them. I guess you could say it’s a niche in some ways, but if your audience has a website or blog of their own, they’re sure to make use of ConverKit’s tools. They focus on being entirely customisable, offering a unique product to every user.

Sign up to ConvertKit Affiliate Program here.

Pros:

  • If your visitors require email marketing, ConverKit is an amazing tool that they can use. It won’t be hard selling ConvertKit to anyone that needs it because they do rock the socks off their competition
  • ConvertKit’s affiliate program doesn’t have a cut off point, so you can earn revenue from them forever

Cons:

  • It’s a niche product, but maybe not as niche as some of the other ones I’ve mentioned
  • They offer customers a 30-day money-back refund policy so all referrals need to pass the 30-day period before being validated

9. HubSpot

HubSpot helps companies grow on a daily basis. Their award winning platform provides a wealth of tools to businesses looking to kick start or enhance their sales and marketing techniques and lots more. They are an extremely well known platform and offer a generous affiliate marketing program. You can earn up to $1000 for each product that is purchased ($250 starter, $500 professional/CMS, and $1000 enterprise)

Sign up to HubSpot Affiliate Marketing here.

Pros:

  • Affiliate payout is very generous and can earn you up to $1000 per product purchased
  • Attracts a wide range of customers who are looking to start up a business or who already have a business. Not as niche as some other affiliate marketing programs

Cons:

  • There is a cookie life on all referral links of 90 days (though in all honesty, 3 months is a long time)
  • Pricing is expensive for those wanting to purchase, so although the payout is generous, you have to find people willing to spend a fair amount each month on their products

10. Google AdSense

Although not strictly an affiliate marketing program or platform, Google AdSense does provide the means to earn money. You can monetise your blog quite easily and quickly with Google AdSense. This tool allows you to insert adverts into your blog and earn money for every click your users make on each ad. This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme but it does provide the means for you to advertise on your blog.

Sign up to Google AdSense here.

Pros:

  • You won’t need a specific market or niche to make money with Google AdSense. They do the hard work for you and find the ads to display on your blog
  • Google is known by almost everyone worldwide (and anyone using the internet) so they’re a safe bet
  • You have the ability to disable adverts on your blog that aren’t suitable or appropriate for your audience

Cons:

  • Unless you have a lot of users visiting your blog, you won’t make that much money to start with

11. MaxBounty Affiliate Network

You may not have heard of MaxBounty, but their affiliate network is certainly up and coming. They work with some pretty well known brands including Norton, T-Mobile and McAfee (which is always reassuring). Their aim is to connect affiliate marketers with advertisers who pay well. So far they seem to know what they’re doing and people are flocking to their site to see what the fuss is about.

Sign up to MaxBounty Affiliate Network here.

Pros:

  • If you can earn a minimum of $1000 per month through MaxBounty for the first 3 months, they’ll give you a bonus of $1000
  • MaxBounty pay their affiliates weekly so there’s no waiting around like some other affiliate programs
  • You can choose multiple payout options with MaxBounty including digital payment methods

Cons:

  • They aren’t as well established as other affiliate marketing programs which may put some people off

12. ShareASale Affiliates

ShareASale is a well established company with over 17 years in the business. They offer a marketplace which has a ton of merchants selling pretty much anything and everything. You won’t have trouble trying to promote any of their products or finding relevance to your audience as there’s something for everyone.

Sign up to ShareASale Affiliates here.

Pros:

  • ShareASale has both digital and traditional payout options. It’s quite rare to find affiliate marketing platforms that offer digital payouts so when you find one, it’s worth holding onto
  • There’s plenty of choice in terms of merchants and products so you’ll be able to find something to fit your niche

Cons:

  • It can be quite complicated to set up the referral process with ShareASale. A small amount of technical know-how would be useful
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23 May 2019

16 Examples of Successful Blogs in 2019

Starting a blog sounds like a great idea (and it is)! But knowing where to start is often the difficulty according to what people tell me. I often find inspiration from other great and already successful blogs can spur on some creativity!

There are absolutely millions of blogs that exist on the internet. Many have been created and have dwindled off the radar due to bloggers becoming disinterested. However, there are plenty of very successful blogs that are still growing and making money for their owners.

Blogging is about creating content that makes people want to keep coming back. If you can create a blog that offers relevant content, shareable content, and provides useful resources for others, you’re going to be successful. Bloggers that make the effort to keep their blog updated whilst providing a good user experience (like keeping your WordPress up to speed) are the ones that are still alive.

I’m going to show you 21 examples of successful blogs that all provide something different to their users. Some blogs can make literally thousands of pounds/dollars a month and provide their owners with a steady income. I hope this list can provide you with some inspiration to start your own blog, or continuing to work hard on your existing blog.

1 | Tuts+

Tuts+ was founded in 2006 and provides useful tutorials and content for web designers. If you’re looking into how to learn coding, this is a very valuable resource and helps designers worldwide. Their marketplace currently servers over 2,000,000 customers buying web templates and tutorials.

This blog is successful because they provide relevant content to their target market. Their income mainly comes through their memberships and the commission the receive from sales. Of course, when they first started, Tuts+ wouldn’t have just had cash handed to them on a plate. They’ve continued to work hard and provide insanely digital goods across their platforms.

2 | Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine was also founded in 2006 (like Tuts+). Founders Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman created the blog to help those interested in web design and web development. They provide content that’s relevant and useful to those looking to learn more in these fields with articles, books, events, and even jobs.

In 2012 Smashing Magazine started hosting web development conferences. These take place worldwide and offer material from big sponsors in the tech industry. Smashing Magazine’s primary income comes from their memberships. Users can sign up to their subscription and have access to a wealth of tutorials from just $3 per month.

3 | Gizmodo

Gizmodo launched in 2002, mainly focusing on design and technology. Gizmodo became popular very quickly, and it’s for this reason that they decided to make their blog multi-lingual. It offers translated versions of its content in a variety of languages including French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Gizmodo’s fortune mainly comes from advertising. Their homepage isn’t packed full of adverts but you will find they tend to repeat themselves in smaller formats. Advertising is often based on your search or purchase history, aiming adverts at customers that are relevant and don’t appear ‘spammy’.

4 | Perez Hilton

Perez Hilton is well known for his controversial gossip, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree on this blog. The blog is run by Mario Armando Lavanderia Jr who had dreams of becoming an actor. Unfortunately that didn’t work out for him, but blogging definitely did!

Lavanderia earns most of his income through advertising on his blog. Popularity continues to grow as he makes regular appearances on TV as a celebrity gossip commentator. It’s estimated that he earns over half a million dollars per month through his blog alone!

5 | Mashable

Mashable was started in 2005 by Pete Cashmore. Cashmore was dedicated to producing consistently great content on a regular basis. The blog offers entertainment, technology, science and cultural news. There’s also sections on lifestyle, parenting, science, deals, and a shop page.

Mashable continues to grow by reaching out to its readers. They have a large presence not only on the Internet but also through social media. Mashable’s fortune comes from its advertisements on its blog, making over $2,000,000 per month.

6 | Moz

For those of you that have never heard of Moz, it’s probably the most popular and valuable blog about SEO. Rand Fishkin started his venture out as a family-run business focusing on design. It soon turned into an SEO shop, but the blog was what gained it’s massive audience that still stands strong today.

Moz’s income comes primarily from website memberships. As a member of Moz, you’ll have access to professional tools to help you with your own website’s SEO journey. There’s a wealth of material and resources accessible to ensure that you know everything there is to know about search engine optimisation, how to increase your reach, and much more.

7 | Huffington Post

Launched back in 2005, Huffington Post (known as HuffPost or HuffPo) provides a unique view on news and politics. Arriana Huffington sold the blog in 2011 for a whopping $315 million to AOL. HuffPost is an American news blog, edited from a Liberal perspective and covers topics including politics, entertainment, technology, lifestyle, comedy, and local news.

HuffPost makes it’s millions from sponsored advertising; you’ll notice on their website they have banners and digital ads. Huffington Post is probably the most successful blog of it’s kind and time. It’s value to date is over $1 billion which is incredibly impressive compared to other news blogs that exist.

8 | Engadget

Started by the same guy that setup Gizmodo, Engadget has proven to be wildly successful. Engadget provides it’s users with technology advice and reviews on tech and electronics. The blog was sold to AOL in 2005 and has been run by them ever since. Engadget covers the likes of technology gear, games, entertainment, videos and reviews.

As do many other blogs of it’s kind, Engadget makes a large profit from it’s advertising. Because of this, it can employ content writers and editors that are able to write about about everything technology related. They can research the latest gadgets and provide daily news and reviews to keep their users interested.

9 | CSS Tricks

Chris Coyier created his design blog called CSS Tricks. He’s one of the most well-known designers on the internet to date. CSS Tricks was started in 2007; at the time it was solely focused on CSS (hence it’s name). Today, CSS Tricks is a library of resources for web design and web development. It’s really easy to visit the blog and copy lines of code to use in your own website.

There’s plenty of resources to make use of, including CSS, Sass, HTML, JavaScript, JQuery, and PHP. CSS Tricks uses it’s existing user base and audience to launch new products, blogs, and companies. One of their websites, CodePen, has over 1 million users. In fact, CodePen has double the amount of traffic compared to CSS Tricks.

10 | CoinDesk

CoinDesk is one of the leading Cryptocurrency blogs around, in fact it’s probably the most successful one. CoinDesk receives a whopping 10 million visitors per month which is what makes them a leader in the industry. The blog was started by Shakil Kha in 2003; it was bought by Digital Currency Group in 2016 for around half a million dollars.

CoinDesk makes it’s millions by being the main source of Cryptocurrency news and updates. Their income mainly comes from advertising on their website and paid reports. They also sell tickets to the conferences that they hold, which of course makes quite a nice sum.

11 | Smart Passive Income

Pat Flynn, owner of Smart Passive Income, has been blogging for almost 10 years. The aim of the blog is to provide people with easy techniques to running a business online in order to earn passive income. If you’re looking to run a blog as passive income, this is the place to learn and make use of proven techniques.

Most of Pat’s earnings come from being a BlueHost affiliate, as well as using other email marketing tools. His advertising income comes from his Podcast, as well as Google ads on the website and blog.

12 | Making Sense of Cents

The blog Making Sense of Cents is aimed at teaching you how to save money effectively. Michelle Gardner focuses on how to be frugal in order to lead a better life, showing people that managing your finances can actually change your life. Initially, the blog was set up because Michelle herself wanted to improve her own financial situation.

It’s reported that she paid off her student loan of almost $40k by less than a year of online business. Her articles cover how to earn extra income and how to be in control of money, including emotional spending (which I’m sure we all do). The blog earns it’s income from advertising and affiliate accounts.

13 | Pinch of Yum

Pinch of Yum is primarily a food blog, showing images of delicious food alongside recipes. Food blogs tend to be fairly popular as they have a large reach and most people can relate to them. Lindsay Ostrom (owner of Pinch of Yum) has already made six figures from her blog through her love of food photography.

Lots of Lindsay’s traffic comes from social media sources like Pinterest and Instagram, both of which are image heavy. She has over half a million Instagram followers which is incredibly impressive. Pinch of Yum uses both advertising on it’s blog as well as affiliate marketing with the likes of BlueHost and Amazon.

14 | Just A Girl And Her Blog

Abby, who owns Just A Girl And Her Blog, writes about all things DIY, home decor, and home organisation. In recent years, this topic has become quite popular, as I’m sure you’re aware if you caught Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Abby pushes a focus on the things that we easily miss in our everyday lives at home, showing visitors how they can improve their homes whilst enjoying making it so.

Abby posts regularly on her blog, keeping her readers entertained. She makes an enormous $35k per month, just a few years after the blog started. What makes her blog so popular is that she puts things in simple terms, allowing the likes of anyone to be able to understand her point of view.

15 | Single Mom’s Income

Back in 2012, Alexa started a blog called Single Mom’s Income. The purpose of the blog was to give others a view into the life of a single mother living from paycheck-to-paycheck, and how to break the cycle. After Alexa got divorced, it spurred her on to get out of her daily rut and inspire others. She now receives over 150k monthly visitors.

Alexa talks about her life experiences and how people like her can make money without the usual 9 to 5 full-time job. There’s plenty of opportunity out there, including part-time jobs, side jobs, and freelancing. The blog’s main income comes from advertising and freelancing products/services.

16 | True Valhalla

True Valhalla creates and sells HTML5 video games. Matthew designs all of his games from scratch; in order to make money, he sells the right to the games to other gaming portals. True Valhalla truly shows you that anyone can make money online if you set your mind to it. Finding your own niche is a good starting point!

The income from the blog can be quite up and down; some months Matthew can earn up to $30k per month. Matthew earns a small amount of income from advertising on his website, but the majority of his revenue comes from selling his products and services.

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19 May 2019

21 Ways to Advertise Your Business Online in 2019

We are very lucky to be living in a world where online advertising is so vast. Even if we look back just a few years ago, online advertising offered quite slim pickings, relying on pay-per-click advertising and not much more! However, there are now loads of ways to reach out to existing and potential customers online.

Technology is constantly evolving, and so are ways to advertise your business online. Adverts are becoming more easily tracked, able to be customised, and provide a lot more value to customers and business owners. Now that a large proportion of the world has gone mobile, it’s opened up a whole new way to reach out to people.

Let’s take a look at 21 Ways to Advertise Your Business Online!

1. Google Search Network

When you perform a Google search you may have noticed the green writing display the word ‘Ad’. These adverts show at the top of a Google search result and will be the first thing most people see or take notice of.

Google themselves decide which adverts to place here based on a real time auction process. This is processed from the keywords used in performing a Google search. The results can change minute by minute as the value of each term and keyword changes.

Regardless of your budget, you can take part in the auction process. However, for certain keywords, those who are willing to put in the most money will likely win the bid.

In order to maximise ad spend via GoogleAds, determine which keywords are most relevant to your product or service. Which words are searched for more than others, and which are less likely to have too much competition.

2. Bing

Bing is Microsoft’s competition to Google. It uses a very similar model in terms of bidding, keywords, and a search/display network. Adverts are displayed on Bing, Yahoo!, and AOL. Although Bing may not have as far reach as Google, it’s still worth investing in.

AdEspresso states that Bing users can reach over 60 million users who aren’t accessible through Google. When someone buys a PC, the operating system is likely to be Microsoft Windows. Windows uses Internet Explorer or Edge as their default browser of which Bing is the default search engine. For those who can’t be bothered to change it, this works in your favour.

3. Facebook

Facebook is a brilliant choice for targeted advertising. Facebook allows you to select demographics by age, location, and interests. You can narrow your interest search down to the finest details; cats, gardening, parenting etc. You can even target people who might display certain behaviours like whether they’re interested in buying a new house or thinking about going abroad.

Your Facebook adverts can appear in a variety of locations as shown in the image above. Ad success on Facebook is more about the relevance of your ad to the user viewing it. Facebook have a relevance score which is quantified by how much you want to spend.

4. Instagram

Facebook now owns Instagram and has done since 2012. Instagram ads can be seen in news feeds or in stories. The most favourable ads on Instagram seem to revolve around branded or sponsored content. Sponsored content happens when a company pays ‘influencers’ to advertise their brand. They do this by speaking about the brand, showing images of the brand, and generally having a large following.

Costs are roughly the same as those of Facebook as they use the same Ad Manager. Although having a popular celebrity would be great to advertise your brand, that’s likely not to happen. Instead you can find smaller influencers on Instagram amongst its 1 billion users.

5. SMS advertising

Reputable brands often turn to SMS or MMS messages to advertise. I’m sure if you think about it you can recall a time you’ve received a text message from a company advertising special offers on their website or in store. Clicking on a link from a text messages takes little effort from the end user and can encourage them to browse items they may not have considered beforehand.

It’s estimated that 4.68 billion people will be using mobile phones in 2019. That’s an insane amount of potential reach or at least a great statistic to encourage you to use SMS advertising.

6. Geo-targeted advertising

This type of advertising focuses on a very specific area. We’re not talking users based in the same country, or even county/state, we’re talking a few miles away at most. Geo-targeted advertising is ideal for local businesses who aren’t necessarily interested in reaching worldwide status.

You can target people nearby to your location easily with geo-targeted advertising. Maybe your business has an offer on, a discount, or even an event. You can let potential nearby customers know and they may just decide to make a visit.

7. Retargeted Ads

Have you ever noticed that you’ve viewed an item on a website and it seems to appear in targeted adverts when you’re browsing the Internet? This is known as retargeted advertising.

The idea behind retargeted ads is that you have shown an interest in a product by viewing it. But for some reason you didn’t make a purchase. Maybe you were pushed for time, couldn’t decide, or were saving it for a later date. Retargeted ads remind customers of a product they showed interest in, in the hope they’ll revisit the website again and make a purchase.

8. Chatbot advertising

Companies are using chatbots to answer FAQs, provide simple information, and even advertise. When you view products online, you’re not just viewing them for yourself. You’re letting the company know what you’re interested in and therefore opening yourself up to marketing.

If you have customers browsing a particular product online, for example a necklace, you can use your chatbot to your advantage. The chatbot can pop up at any time whilst browsing and suggest something to keep your customers engaged. It could provide a link to a bracelet to match the necklace as well as offering discount for purchasing both.

9. Branded Apps

Although it may seem like a tall task, creating your own branded app is great for business as well as marketing. Companies often use branded apps as a place to advertise information, latest news, and even a wallet to store reward cards.

Mobile apps aren’t that hard to create, especially with today’s technology. If a customer enables push notifications and has your app installed, you can send them reminders to keep engaging with your brand.

10. QR Codes

QR codes are a great link between online and offline behaviour. A QR code can be scanned anywhere that a person has their mobile device.

QR codes are easy to generate and there’s plenty of apps available that can be downloaded to read them. If you put a QR code in your store or on a leaflet, a customer could scan the code for upcoming offers or to be added to a mailing list.

11. Email Data

Email is used everyday all around the word. Having a method available that can capture email data is really important. You can integrate something like this very easily to your website.

Having an email signup option means you can collect your customer’s email data and therefore build up a mailing list. Mailing lists are great to inform customers about upcoming news, events, and offers.

12. Email Marketing

Building on from point 11, now that you have your email data, you need to create emails to send to your customers. You’ll need an email marketing service like Mailchimp to get started. Mailchimp often comes as part of your web hosting package so check this out beforehand!

It’s important your email marketing isn’t considered spam to your customers. Make your emails worthwhile and offer your customers something they want. It’s easy for them to subscribe as well as unsubscribe!

13. Video Marketing

Videos account for a large portion of how online time is spent. Video marketing can come in several forms; via your own YouTube channel, on your website, or through social media.

Remember you don’t need to create stunning videos with tonnes of effects. A simple video blog or small advertisement showing exciting news and products will be plenty to keep customers engaged.

14. Twitter

I’ve mentioned other social media channels on this list, and Twitter doesn’t get the chance to escape I’m afraid! Twitter may not have as large a reach as Facebook or even Instagram but it shouldn’t be dismissed.

Twitter is a great way to retweet interesting content, create hashtags for your products, and encourage reviews from customers. The important thing to remember about Twitter is to continually engage with your customers and followers.

15. UGC

User-generated content (UGC) is when users write about or share information about your business. This act often happens organically (on its own without intervention or payment) but can be encouraged.

You could offer something in return for users posting content about your brand. Perhaps create a featured section on your blog or website and offer a reward to the winner each month.

16. Social Media Giveaways

As advertising usually does, this comes at a cost, but a small one. Giving away merchandise from your business to existing or potential customers is a great way for them to advertise your brand for you, as well as promoting it on social media.

All you have to do is create a competition or such on social media and let your customers battle it out! The winner will receive something free from you; an item, discount, etc. and will hopefully continue to engage on social media whilst advertising your brand.

17. Customer Testimonials

Although this isn’t direct advertising, if customers or potential customers read other peoples (hopefully positive) experience of your business, they’ll likely make a visit or return.

Testimonials aren’t often on the forefront of your customer’s minds but a gentle prompt or reminder could be enough. If you’re not getting enough testimonials, you could offer a discount in return for your customers writing one for you.

18. Contribution

People like it when they feel like a brand is representing a good cause and is engaging with people on a regular basis. It’s important that you contribute to meaningful discussions, forums and blogs as well as advertising your brand at the same time.

It’s not too difficult to set a small amount of time aside each week to find relevant information that you can contribute to. A few words can actually go a long way and will also provide back links to your website if done online.

19. Write a Blog

Creating content is a great way to engage with customers, let them know about upcoming news and events, as well as advertising your business. Creating a blog is really easy to do, there’s absolutely no excuse not to create a blog in 2019.

One of the key things about blogging is making your content relevant and useful. Don’t write just for the sake of it, write about content people want to know about and want to engage with. They’ll in turn share your content, creating back links to your website as well as advertising your business online.

20. Guest Posts

Having guest posts on your blog is another sure fire way to gaining authoritative back links and high quality content. You should only really aim for high quality sites when using guest blogging as a marketing tool. You’ll need a site with high domain authority and a zero spam score.

Guest posts can give your business exposure it might not have otherwise received as well as back links which will increase your SEO. And with a higher SEO score comes more visitors to your online business.

21. List your Business

It might seem a bit old fashioned now, but including your business in directories is actually more important than you might think. If your business isn’t listed in an online directory, people may struggle to find you.

Online directories like Google My Business, Yelp, and Thomson Local are great starting points. Make sure you only list your business where it’s relevant though. You wouldn’t want to advertise your clothing business in a tradesman directory!

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10 May 2019

9 Proven Online Businesses For 2019 (that you can start today)

Building an online business is not much different to building a bricks and mortar style business. One thing holds true in both cases, you must pick a niche that you are passionate about. The main reason is that, when things get tough you’ll hang in there if you are dedicated to the business.  Online business is rewarding, fast paced, scalable and the best bit:

Work from anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection

With so many different opportunities to choose from it is easy to suffer from “shiny object syndrome” and fleet from one idea to the next. I’m sure you have a tonne of amazing business ideas. However, it is important to stick to one area and be consistent before expanding into other areas.

Choosing the best online business idea that suits you is easier than you might have previously thought. It’s all about spreading a message, service or range of products that you feel will enhance lives.

The more lives you can enhance – the better your online business will do #online #business Click To Tweet

A few things I’d like to mention before we get started. Creating a website is great, but the main thing is getting people over to it. To even things out a little, it is important to balance your online business activity out. By that I mean – you should share your business with people who can benefit. Find out where they are (online and off) and let them know about your online business. Also you’ll need to split your activities up and wear three hats, namely:

1. Money making/ working

2. Administration

3. Marketing

Without further ado, here are:

7 Ways To Start Your Online Empire In 2019 Click To Tweet

1. Start a Blog

BEST FOR; People who are looking for a long term sustainable business, love writing and have a passion or idea to share with the world

It’s not too late to start a blog and share your message with the world in 2019. In fact there are many ways you can get up and running – TODAY & FOR FREE. So there are no excuses.

The main thing about your blog is being consistent in creating content. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get organised (wink-wink) you can easily schedule both your blog posts and social media posts to advertise your articles. So if you’re like me and like to get everything done in one go – you can.

There are free tools that can help you stay organised with scheduling such as Sendible and Hootsuite, where you can schedule all or some of your social media activities. Hootsuite offers a nice 30-day free trial. However if you are super organized then your calendar will look more organised.

How long should your blogs be?

This is a great question, as Google’s algorithms change continually. In 2019, the perfect length of blog is 1705 (believe it or not). The minimum blog post length should be 300 words; however Google prefers blog posts over 1000 words. The SEO keywords in your blog are equally as important as the length.

What Will You Write About?

You have two choices here, create unique content OR go ahead and copy people that inspire you. Both approaches will take dedication – but the main thing you should do in either case, is write about subjects that are of interest to you.

Monetizing your blog 

OK, great, you’re thinking about starting a blog, or already have one and want to make the most of it. But how do you make money from your blog? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

·         Advertising

·         Digital Products

·         Donations

·         List / Community Building

·         eCommerce – Sell Physical Products

·         Membership

·         Sell Your Website

Pros 

✔ Get started for free

✔ Learn more about subjects that interest you

✔ Share your expertise and help others

✔ Work from anywhere in the world – live the “laptop lifestyle”

✔ Fans and traffic compounds over time (if done correctly)

✔ A great foundation to branch out into other areas in the future

✔ You don’t need to speak to customers

✔ Set your own schedule

Cons 

✘ You need to be interested in writing or hire someone that is

In most cases you’ll need to drive traffic to your blog

✘ It is a long term project, so it might time to build a following and make money

2. Start An Online Store

BEST FOR; Hardworking people who are comfortable dealing with physical products and customers

Again, the main thing (with any online business) is choosing products/ services that interest you and benefit others. Logistically an online store or “ecommerce” as it is known, is a lot more difficult than starting a blog.

You need to think about products, shipping costs, packaging, inventory, storage and so much more. If you want to go into ecommerce, then you need to be happy with that.

An eCommerce business is basically the same as starting any shop/ store, the only key difference is that people don’t normally visit your warehouse in person. When you ship the products you’ll need to ensure that this is handled professionally and the chosen company are competent and cost effective. Additionally, the postage and packaging, tax and other costs must be considered when deciding on a price for your products.

PRO TIP: 

Check out what others are doing on Amazon and on their personal sites to decide on pricing.

If you’d rather not set up your own ecommerce website to start with, then you can create a store on Amazon or Ebay. The benefit of starting this way is that you will have access to the site’s audience. In the case of Amazon, they have done so much advertising, it’d be silly to miss out on that opportunity. Even if you are thinking of starting your own ecommerce website, then it is a good idea to also sell on Amazon.

How Will I Get Customers Over To My Ecommerce Website? 

This is a great question, because often people start up an ecommerce store and then wonder why there is no traffic. Realistically, nobody is going to find your online store unless you advertise it. The best ways to advertise your online store are SEO, Social Media/ Google Ads, Inbound Content Marketing and taking advantage of massive sites like Amazon and Ebay.

How Much Does it Cost To Start An Ecommerce Store?

You will need hosting, an ecommerce solution and also a domain name. The domain name will be your brand identity – so that part is important. On the other hand, you can set up an online store easily with a solution like Shopify. Shopify now has 800,000 store fronts and does all of the hosting and tech stuff for you. They have a free trial, which means you can get started for FREE today (Which is amazing).

Pros 

✔ Building your online store is rewarding, both financially and as a business owner (there is something about tangible products)

✔ You can get started for free or minimal cost, as many hosts scale as you grow your business

✔ Delivery day is exciting if you are selling products that you are passionate about

✔ The opportunity to grow a massive business is very realistic

✔ Can be coupled with other online opportunities to drive traffic, like adding a blog

Cons 

✘ Products can get lost in the post

✘ Good customer service is required

✘ Suppliers can take time to deliver or run out of stock

✘ You’ll need a good secure, dry space to keep your products in

Alternatively if you don’t want to hold products you can dropship….

Dropshipping is where you advertise product and you don’t personally have it. When the product sells, you simply ask your supplier to send the product to your customer. For many this is a very lucrative way to do ecommerce, as they don’t have the financial outlay of buying and storing products. On the other hand – if you choose to dropship, the process is out with your control and you can find yourself stuck in the middle of the dropshipping company and your customer.

3. Affiliate Marketing

BEST FOR; Someone who has experience with sales funnels, SEO and online marketing principles

There are many avenues to venture down when it comes to affiliate marketing. Basically as an affiliate marketer you are getting in-between the supplier and buyer and taking your cut. A bit like drop shipping. Sorry to harp on again here, but it is preferable to select a market that you are really passionate about.

It is easy to get started with Affiliate Marketing and it can be incorporated in a blog. For instance, if you are in the health niche, then you can promote people’s detox or weight loss products and take your cut. The customer gets the product at the same (or lower costs) and you get to take some money home. Often Affiliate marketers can take home 50% or more of a digital product and quite a bit less if you are promoting a physical product.

How Do I Advertise An Affiliate Product? 

There are many ways to advertise affiliate products, such as sending a mail out to your email list, promoting on your Facebook business page (not your personal page), creating sales funnels and through your blog. Google Ads, Youtube and Facebook ads will be your best friend if you are an affiliate marketer.

PRO TIP: You’ll need to understand basic SEO, Sales Funnels and Copywriting to be able to succeed in this niche.

Pros 

✔ You can get started for free

✔ Places like Clickbank are a powerhouse of affiliate activity – you can find products in every niche

✔ Get started straight away

✔ Can be incorporated into other online business activities

Cons 

 ✘ Physical products normally offer a low commission

✘ There are some big dogs out there spending a fortune on advertising with tried and tested strategies

✘ Advertising can be expensive

4. Publish A Book

BEST FOR; People who love writing and have a story to share or something to teach the world

Always wanted to write a book? Today it is easier than ever to self-publish. Sure you’ll want your book to be amazing, but you can do this easily by setting aside time every day to focus on writing your book. When compounded, 20-30mins of writing per day amounts to over 150 hours (even with some time off).

The publishing part is now super easy thanks to platforms like Amazon. You can publish your book inside a day, easily. However, before you write your book it is a good idea to validate your idea. Also, and most importantly you’ll want to make sure that there is a sizeable audience.

In some cases it is good to niche down, however when it comes to books, you can niche down too much and create a book for a tiny audience. This guide is extremely valuable if you are looking to self-publish a book.

[81% of Americans Want To Publish A Book #selfpublish #author #book #publish]

PRO TIP: If you want to sell physical copies of your book, then bear in mind Amazon take quite a while to create a proof and send it out to you. There is an added fee for their expedited service, however – you’ll want to set at least a month aside to get the proofs looking perfect.

Pros 

✔ With just a few books you can create a great recurring income

✔ Very low start-up costs

✔ Your book is an asset or IP that you can build on

✔ Tell your story and inspire others

✔ Be able to say you are an author

Cons 

✘ Very time consuming

✘ Mental blocks can seriously get in the way of writing and promoting your book/s

5. Create a Course

BEST FOR; teachers, coaches, consultants or people who already have a book

If you’ve written a book, then you can use this as the foundation of your online course (especially if there is a lot of interest in your book). Online courses are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people come online. Your online course can also be turned into a live workshop, or vice-versa.

There are three parts to creating an online course:-

1. Advertising

2. Website

3. Course Materials

An online course can be a fantastic tool to share your knowledge (and turn a profit at the same time).  You can use a free or basic website and teach over Zoom or Skype and then create course materials on your laptop. To encourage collaboration and interaction,  you can also create a Facebook group for classmates to meet up and support each other.

Teachable is a great resource for people who are looking to start an online course. Alternatively you could share your course on somewhere like Udemy.

Pros 

✔ You can turn your book into a course

✔ Share your knowledge with an unlimited number of people

✔ No product outlay

✔ A course is IP that can build a nice portfolio of recurring income

Cons 

 ✘ Time consuming

✘ Can be overwhelming with all of the moving parts

6. Start a Podcast

BEST FOR; people who don’t like to be on camera but want to take advantage of a growing online platform

Podcasts are becoming popular as people are increasingly busy. Podcasts are great for people on the go. Simply listening to a podcast on your smartphone is so much easier than watching a video if you are short on time.

In short, podcasts are great for people who like to multi task. Consistency is key with a Podcast, when you get fans – they’ll want to listen at a specific time every single week. The good news is that you can record your podcast with your phone or if you want to edit it then you can use free software like Audacity.

6 Million UK Adults Listen To Podcasts (according to Ofcom) Click To Tweet

A podcast can be added to your blog – and so your online empire begins!

Once you know your niche and name, you’ll need to decide on your podcast show format. This is a good example of a podcast show format. A simple podcast can be done in an interview format. With a guest or interview based podcast you’ll never be short of people to reach out to so that you can share their expertise with your audience. You’ll also need a podcasting website, if you don’t already have one – you can set up a free website to get started promoting your podcast and show schedule.

Pros 

✔ Start for free

✔ No video required, so you don’t need to get dressed up every time you go live

✔ Free software to record and edit

✔ Use your phone as a microphone

✔ A booming industry

✔ Meet lots of new people with similar interests

Cons 

✘ You’ll need a high-quality microphone (unless you have a great phone)

✘ Building an audience takes time, consistency and patience

7. Start a Youtube Channel

BEST FOR; people who like to be on camera and have a message to spread

First off, I’d like to state, that becoming a Youtuber isn’t for everyone. It can take years to get your channel off the ground, so there is a lot of commitment required. However, for some people they are passionate about making videos, maybe that’s you, if so – I’m jealous.

Youtubing is a fantastic skill to have. Over time you can build your Youtube channel up and then branch out into some other avenues like we have discussed such as a blog, ecommerce store, digital products or merchandise.

Now is a great time to become a Youtuber. Many marketers are stating that they want to take advantage of Youtube and influencers. Youtube is extremely popular and can lead to a wealth of opportunities, such as speaking gigs and expansion into other online businesses. The best way to start a Youtube channel in 2019 is by using an iPhone. When speaking to the BBC I found out that they often cut videos from iPhone – so you’ll be creating professional content with very little kit.

Pros 

✔ Get better at storytelling

✔ Build your brand

✔ The best way to reach a large audience

Free and easy to start (so long as you have a good quality smartphone)

✔ Have to think about your character and presentation

✔ Very little outlay

Cons 

✘ Can be embarrassing if you are not used to being in front of a camera

✘ You’ll need to be consistent

✘ Video editing can be time consuming

8. Become a Freelancer

BEST FOR; people who want money upfront and already have a developed skill

In 2019 there is no longer a need to meet your clients in person. So there is now a lot of opportunity for people to share their skills to benefit others. Any area of a business can now be outsourced, from HR to graphic design – so no matter what you are good at, or what you want to try, there is a lot of scope for earning a decent income online. Here are just a few jobs that you can do online as a freelancer:

App Developer/ Programmer

·         Copywriter

·         Marketer

·         Graphic Design

·         Social Media Manager

·         Accountant

·         SEO Expert

etc…

Sites like Peopleperhour and Upwork make it really easy to connect with people who want to hire freelancers. You can make a profile for free and get started within a day. Payment is normally taken via Paypal and a cut will be given to the platform after you have successfully completed the job.

On the other hand, you can also create a Freelancer website to help you get higher paying clients. If you decide to go this route you can still use the freelancer sites and direct people to your online portfolio based website.

Pros 

✔ You can get started straight away (for free)

✔ There are many freelance platforms that you can find jobs on

✔ Get paid for the work you do quickly

✔ Work from anywhere

✔ No boss

✔ Choose your own clients

Cons 

✘ No job security (if that is even a thing anymore?)

✘ Days off and holidays are not paid

✘ No company pension

✘ Money can fluctuate

✘ You have to run the whole business and wear many hats.

9. Coaching or Consulting

BEST FOR; people who want to help others and make money at the same time

Starting a coaching or consulting business can be very rewarding. Consultants and coaches can make a lot of money (if they are good). What’s more there is a lot of scope for expanding into other areas. For example you could write a book on your expertise and use it to generate traffic to your consultancy website.

You can help people in just about every area of life, however you’ll need to choose your own coaching niche. Did you know that Opera Winfrey has a coach for every area of her life? When you need a little extra accountability or guidance, your coach is your guide on the side. You can lean on your coach. A coach can offer group or 1 to 1 coaching in all areas of life. There are even Fortnite coaches out there (believe it or not).

How do I get traffic to my consultancy website?

The best way is for you to set time aside to help others for free. So for instance you could provide assistance to people on forums or in Facebook groups. Make sure that you choose groups and forums that have a lot of traffic, so that you can reach more people.

Pros 

✔ Very low start-up costs

✔ High income potential

✔ Lots of scope to expand your business

✔ Help people from all around the world via Skype or Zoom

✔ Work from the comfort of your own home

Cons 

✘ You’ll need to be very confident in your sector

✘ Building rapport and positioning yourself as an expert can be time consuming

In Conclusion

There is now so much opportunity to make a great living online. However, it can be daunting to know what is best for you. Make sure you take time to figure out what you want to focus on. Pick a niche and the type of platform that resonates with you and your audience. If you love writing, then you could start a freelance copywriting business and a blog. On the other hand if you’d love to help others, becoming an coach or an online consultant could be the best route.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Start your online empire today with one of the above ideas, you can always add to it when you have the foundations laid.

Best Online Business Ideas of 2019 – Start Your Digital Empire Click To Tweet

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