March 30, 2017

Travel blogging: how to succeed without pain, have fun

This is first in a series of posts on travel blogging. Starting with the very basics in the present post, the series will take us to essential blogging kit for travel bloggers, professional tips, reliable resources on the web, and do's & don'ts

In preparing these posts, we have spoken to 9 travel bloggers (and the talk continues till the last post is written) to get their first-hand experience and tips/ cautions and have browsed a hundred good travel blogs to know their best practices.

This first post is for you if you are a regular traveler and want to have a travel blog for sharing your experiences and making money too. More experienced and established bloggers may find some information and tips given here rather elementary.

Before we go to actual work and tips, let's be realistic about what a normal travel blogger can achieve.

Travel comes first. The foremost thing that we want to tell you is that your lack of skills in blogging can be compensated but unless you are passionate about traveling, travel blogging is not for you. Once you start getting recognition and - if that is your aim - start making good money, the inspiration to keep blogging will come, but nothing will work long-term if you are not obsessed with travel.

Then comes blogging. Travel blogging is not just writing travelogues or posting pictures. For that, chat and social networking sites are much better options. Serious blogging requires hard work, discipline, time and of course commitment. Are you prepared for that?
 
travel blogging and photography
Photography is essential part of travel blogging.

If you have no doubts that you love travel and are committed to blogging, let's move on.

1. Ask basic questions beforehand, and find answers. 

When we start a business, we consider dozens of factors, don't we? Serious blogging is no less than a business. You MUST ask yourself some basic questions and find answers, even if you are in a great hurry to start your travel blog, even if you find this assignment boring and worthless.
     . What is my blogging aim? What is my target for the first six months, first year and two years, in terms of popularity, creating resources for my book, earnings or whatever my aim is?

     . Repeating it: Am I highly passionate about travel and will remain so for many years, or I am thinking of travel blog just to try to earn quick bucks out of it?

     . Do I have the technical, writing and photography skills needed for creating and maintaining a good blog? If not, how will I take care of that? (By hiring, taking a course, learning as I go, my girlfriend will help me in that, or in some other way.)

      Take days if you can't decide in one go. Talk to people. Look deep at the best blogs in the industry, especially from your area. Examine blogs that have content similar to what you will put on your blog. Assess what all you'd need to reach their level.  

      Decide how much energy, time and money you are prepared to invest in blogging. Is there going to be a long spell of inactivity due to exams, marriage, child birth, official engagements, relocation?

      If you come to the conclusion that you will be happy with being a hobby blogger but one who is acclaimed and talked about, you are relieved of the burden of monetization. But if you want to make travel blogging your primary profession, you must ask relevant questions in this area. You will  have to work at least 2-3 hours a day regularly on the blog. You will have to bother about all the technical skills. You will have accounts to maintain and to remember to make payments for blog hosting etc. You will have to keep thinking about how to 'sell' your next trip or e-book or whatever. 

      2. Come to specific questions on travel blogging

       . Where will I host the blog? 

      Blogs need to be hosted on the web space so that people can access them, and there are various options available.

      Hobby blogs can be hosted free on Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr etc. Even Facebook now has a blogging platform. Pinterest and Instagram suit you very well if you want just to post your travel photos.

      What this type of blogging requires is that you open a free account on one or more of these sites and start posting your content. In case of Wordpress and Blogger, you can spruce up the blog in many ways. If you are very new to blogging, this starter kit on blogging would do the required hand-holding.

      Professional blogs need a different approach. You can host your travel blog free on Blogger as it has free resources and the blog can later be mapped to an independent domain. However, since travel blogs need hosting of resource-heavy content (photos, videos), it is better to go for a self-hosted blog from the beginning. [You can visit this series on domain names and web hosting.] 

       . What will be my blog's identity? 

      Decide the name and URL (=web address) of the blog before opening the blog. You can change the blog's title any number of times you want, but changing the URL later can be very painful. 

      So, choose the URL carefully. It must be relevant to your blog in one or the other way. (It may relate to your location, name or content or a mix of these.) Keep the URL small and memorable. Let the URL not be such that it becomes restrictive when your blog grows. For example, the URL  tajmahal.com will become too limiting if the blogger started this blog on Taj Mahal and now wants to write about all monuments in Asia.  

      In the case of free blogs on Wordpress, Blogger etc, you can play with URLs as they allow you to open a number of blogs free, but if you choose to have an independent name (mytravelblog.com instead of mytravelblog.blogspot.com), you will need to pay for each URL that you register and renew the URL year after year after paying a fee.

       . How broad should my blog's content and appeal be? 

      This too you must decide early to avoid confusion later on. You can choose to have the blog on a very narrow subject or it can talk about everything on earth or something in between. Think in terms of different niches and the ones you are interested in. As in the case of URL, let the field not be too restrictive. At the same time, the blog will lose focus and get lost in the crowd if you keep the field too wide.
       
       . How much money do I need to invest on blogging?

      On a hobby blog, you have a range to choose from, starting with no financial investment at all. 

      However, for professional blogging, you'd need to invest on the following -
      • buying and keeping the domain name (URL) [recurring cost]
      • hosting the blog on the web [recurring cost]
      • building the site/blog, buying a theme, plugins etc (web design) [mostly one-time spending]
      • promotional services including SEO, advertisements, email subscription, tech optimization; writing, proof-reading, audio-visual editing, creating e-books, etc [recurring costs]
      • buying software tools for photo and video editing, etc [one-time cost]
      • buying equipment and support, e.g. professional camera, high-end tablet, extra storage and power back-ups, sturdy internet plans [mostly one-time cost, some recurring]
      While some expenditure is unavoidable, you can buy some other services as you grow as travel blogger. If you develop expertise, you won't have to buy some of them.

       . How much time will I need for blogging?

      If you want to be an established professional blogger, you will initially need 4-6 hours a day, which should stabilize to 2-3 hours a day even while on travel, and many hours in between travels. Even if you hire people to do some of the tasks, you'd need time for planning, guiding, writing, travel management, etc.

      You will need to spend time on networking, reading, periodically assessing your blog, examining others' blogs, and other activities. We've dealt with networking separately below.

      Remember, you'd tend to waste a lot of time on some activities. Unless you manage your time well by advance planning and apportioning time to different activities, you'd spend much more time on something (e.g. trying to improve a bad photo's quality or in an unending argument in a forum).

      Blogging leads to many other activities (e.g. writing for a magazine) and since these become essential part of your 'blogging business', you'd have to find time for these too.

       . How much importance should I give to networking and engagement on the web? 

      Like all other bloggers, travel bloggers do online networking by commenting and receiving comments, being on forums and communities, through social networks and chats such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and so on. 

      Much of this networking is non-essential and wasteful. More so, if you are trying to become a  professional blogger. So, be clear which network or medium is best for being in touch with other bloggers and your clientele. Consider whether you are connecting to the right people and in the right way? Are your message effective in conveying your thoughts or getting an action from the recipients? Are you not wasting too much time on social networks?

      If you have been blogging intensely for a year or so, you'd find that you have more to give and less to receive by way of advice. Once you reach that point, you should start focusing more on building email subscription list, creating e-books etc to share your wisdom with visitors.

      3. Blogging and travel must complement each other.

      For sustainability and success of the travel blog, it is necessary that blogging and travel support each other and not compete for time and energy. 

      When you are planning a trip, you must plan the related blog post too. You should allot time for blogging at the end of each day and at the end of the trip. When taking pictures for fun and memory, you must click photos from blog's perspective too. 

      In many respects, a travel blogger is a travel journalist and so you must learn to think like a journalist. You must do a lot of pre-travel research. When on the trip, talk to people, learn a bit more about monuments and customs than an ordinary traveler, record small videos, eat local cuisine and learn how it is prepared, meet old people who are known to know special things about the place, and so on. You must learn to enjoy these activities so that the research for blogging does not become a burden and you also are satisfied with the trip as a traveler.

      4. Equip yourself well for blogging.

      As a travel junkie, you must already have all the things that a traveler needs, so we'd skip that. 

      From blogging angle, you must have a laptop/ tablet/ note on which you can jot down important points, take snapshots, create blog posts... The need for a good quality camera is obvious. If you do not want to invest in an expensive DSLR camera or find it a big bother, at least have an advanced compact camera. This type of cameras suit travel and yet have features not available on normal point-and-shoot cameras. No serious travel blogger recommends a mobile camera.

      You should know a bit of photo editing, and there are many free and paid editing software available. Professional photographers know Photoshop, the industry-standard photo editing software [or its free alternative, Gimp] but for blogging, you hardly need that level of expertise. It is always better [even when you are a Photoshop expert] to take care to snap photos with proper composition, light, distance/ zoom and in the right size and format. 

      Needless to emphasize that you would carry accessories such as extra storage disks and batteries, writing pad and pen, and (if into high-end photography) tripod and zoom lenses. You'd also have a proper mobile internet package or data card. 

      That's all for now. We'd talk about specific aspects of travel blogging in our next post in this series sometime in April. 

      Found this useful and like to share with other bloggers? ------------->

      March 27, 2017

      Social and tech updates: new social media offers and more restrictions for a safer web

      Twitter is not going to be a paid service, for sure, but...


      It is reported that Twitter’s scheduling and tweet managing app, Tweetdeck, is coming with a paid version with additional features such as analytics, bookmarking, trends and alerts. This move has received criticism from Twitter fans that Twitter was sacrificing its open and democratic character in favor of money.


      It will be worth watching whether the paid for Tweetdeck is actually lapped up by professional Twitterati at all and, if yes, how it impacts the core values of Twitter.



      YouTube to trash unskippable 30-second ads

       
      How irritated, even frustrated, you feel when you want to watch a YouTube video and are forced to watch a 30-second video that you cannot skip! 

      The video platform has announced that it would stop this ad format in 2018. However, other ad formats including 6-second ads and skippable ads of longer duration would continue.
       

      Google announces a way to further compress JPEG images

       
      Google has announced that it is offering its new research product, Guetzli, for opensource use. Guetzli is an algorithm that creates high quality JPEG images with file sizes 35% smaller than currently available methods, enabling webmasters to create webpages that can load faster and use even less data, Google says.
       

      Real-time location sharing on Google


      While we are still with Google, this IT biggie is offering real-time location sharing on mobile devices as well as desktops, using Google Maps. It is not yet rolled out world-wide.


      Google Maps tracks visitors' locations
      Google tracks visitors on their way, real time.

      As the linked video from Google presents, you could use the ‘share’ button on Google Maps to tell your friends where you are on way to the birthday party, and they would see your movement for the next one hour or so that you decide. So, no more concerned calls like ‘Where are you?’ and ‘Hey, everybody else has arrived. You stuck in traffic jam?’ 

      UK is getting impatient with terror content on social media 


      Please recall that in December last year, IT/ social media giants had got together to identify terror-related content in the face of tough stand by European Commission and a number of court cases in many countries against them for harboring such content. 

      Facebook's CEO then told media that the platform was trying hard to filter out terror related stuff though it was a painstaking process because algorithm-based filtering was error-prone. Twitter, in its Terms of Service Violations report for the second half of 2016 (latest available) says, it has suspended as many as 376890 accounts for ‘violations related to promotion of terrorism’. 

      But UK government is not amused. 

      The Telegraph reports that the UK is planning to prosecute social media companies for showing extremist videos, in the wake of the recent terror attack in London. It is felt that though such content is removed in 24 hours or so, a lot of damage is done by that time. 


      Social media companies have a responsibility when it comes to making sure this material is not disseminated and we have been clear repeatedly that we think that they can and must do more. We are always talking with them on how to achieve that... The ball is now in their court. We will see how they respond. This is how the PM’s official spokesman has let the displeasure known, according to the paper.
       

      The UK Home Secretary then told BBC, they’d sneak into encrypted messages on chat sites: We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don't provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other... our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted WhatsApp.

      Germany to slap heavy penalty for hate content


      Germany has joined the crusade to keep hate speech or libel from social networks. It has threatened a fine of up to 50 million Euros on social networks for not taking down such content. A bill is likely to be brought soon to this effect.
       

      The Justice Minister says, Facebook and Twitter are not doing enough to remove content quickly when complaints are made, thus not paying heed to the voluntary code of conduct that was introduced two years back. 

      Instagram to blur sensitive pics


      Instagram blocks sensitive contentIn another example of proactive action (Well, it might not be that voluntary; remember the backlash on Twitter?) from social media platforms to remove inappropriate content, Instagram has decided to blur sensitive pictures. Such pictures coming on your timeline would have a blur mask over them and you would be able to view them only if you deliberately choose to do so by authentication. 

      This would apply to content with nudity and sex, animal abuse, people in undignified situations, and so on. This would be in addition to the options such as blocking offensive accounts and  comments.

      March 21, 2017

      Bloggers on Blogger, have you seen these fantastic new themes?

      Blogger, the free blogging platform of Google, has quietly added some contemporary themes/ templates. 

      These themes come in four groups: Contempo, Soho, Emporio and Notable. Each has a number of sub-themes.

      new-blog-theme
      Notable theme: one option out of many


      blogger-theme
      Soho: new, bold, theme

      One area in which Blogger was supposed to be poorer in comparison to Wordpress was that it did not have modern looking themes. I have seen comments such as 'Blogger blogs are fit for a 16-year old blogger experimenting with her fashion, and not for serious bloggers and in no way for professionals'.

      blogger new theme
      Contempo: another Blogger theme group

      Those on Blogger platform had the facility to play with colors and layout but, yes, their choice for ready-made themes was rather limited. The new addition bridges that gap to a very large extent. With the ability to further customize the themes, bloggers on this platform can now easily create a new blog template of their choice, with dozens of choices of color, font, layout etc within each theme.

      Emporio theme on Blogger
      A blog on Emporio theme
      One word of caution: Minutely study the preview pane (it comes just before the tool tabs, as shown in the images in this post) before applying any new theme, because your assets on the blog may be re-positioned in a way you may not like. When such changes are minor, you can correct them through 'advanced' tools within 'theme' or through 'layout' tools, but when these are too many and big, it would take too much time and energy in fixing them.

      March 17, 2017

      These 9 actions just before publishing can make your blog post great

      The difference between a good blog post and a sloppy one 

      ...is sometimes just a word, sometimes the time it was posted, sometimes...

      Many popular writers/ bloggers are average writers but manage to write while articles written by a large number of skilled and expert writers remain unseen or are not shared. That is ironical, but true.

      In a big majority of cases, the good and bad articles travel the same distance and then one becomes very good and the other, average or bad. The turning point quite often is JUST BEFORE THE WRITER HITS THE 'PUBLISH' BUTTON!

      Never allow your good article turning bad only because you didn't take the last few actions that are so important for any article, including a blog post.

      1. Will you check grammar for just one minute please?

      There is no bigger put off than seeing a mis-spelt word or an expression that looks stupidly out of place. 

      The bad side of this coin is that most grammatical mistakes are there not because the author didn't know grammar but because he didn't check it before publishing. The good side is that it takes just one minute to check grammar if you know it. One last minute, before you publish your post!

      2. Hey, what about the language? Is it flowing, easy, standard? You need a bit of humor? Is it appropriate?

      Like the actor, who must act for the audience, the writer must write for the reader. No further arguments if you want to be a good writer, a good blogger. 

      Use your creativity, use wit, use persuasion. Depending upon the topic and the type of visitors your blog has, write the way it will appeal them. 

      In most cases, write in small sentences. Show more than describe in long passages. Break monotony with change in sentence structure. Illustrate with examples. Tell story, a flowing story. 

       If you have already written an article, why not look for these attributes? Maybe, changing a few expressions makes it less heavy, less verbose, more readable.


          


      3. Have you applied the right labels to the post?

      Let's now look beyond content. Put labels on posts so that you can group them and put similar articles in one section. (If you are not sure of the value of labels, visit this post on what all can be achieved by putting labels correctly on blog posts.)

      4. Does the article has proper links to useful resources?

      Links are one of the most useful features of the webpages, and not for no reason. They relate the current article with useful resources, thus adding value to the content.

      Check whether you have given links to relevant resources within the blog or elsewhere. If not, take just one minute in deciding what the best linkable places are and then link them. 

      One word of caution here. Google likes links, but they should be relevant and in moderate numbers (should not look spammy). 

      5. Why not put an image for relief to the reader's eyes if nothing else?

      In most cases, you can find an image to supplement the blog's content. It could be a graphic or a slide or a cartoon or a photo. Even highly research-oriented posts will do better with an image: in that case, it could be a graph or a slide or a photo of the machine or...

      If you do not have a ready-made library of good images, build one. If in a hurry, go to a license-free picture site (e.g. Pixabay, CreativeCommons), select a picture, look at the terms of licence and use in the blog.

      As in the case of links, use only relevant images. A model's photo will not go well with most types of posts.

      6. Now that grammar and resources are checked, why not look at formatting? It will take just a few moments.

      Like grammar, this is a badly neglected part of the blogging craft, and bloggers pay heavily for neglecting it. 

      In general, formatting should aid readability and should be standard across the article. It should not be too experimental and should not disturb reading.

      In your last-minute formatting check, you must check whether you need to
      • give sub-titles, 
      • break big paras,
      • increase line space between paragraphs, 
      • make some expressions bold/ italic/ in different color (please do not do it excessively), 
      • change font type and size for better readability,
      • add indent, 
      • put quotes within " " marks, 
      • put bullet points when listing items
      7. Have you taken care of attributions and credit if due?

      Attributions are a must, from both ethical and practical angles. You must give credit when you copy others' content, even when it is permissible under fair use norms and the law. 

      Be sure that you have taken permission of the owner for using the image/ video clip/ long passage that you have used in the post. When in doubt, leave it out.

      8. Can you afford to forget optimization when you write for the web, can you?

      As we said in one of our earlier posts (why promote the blog), you need to be discovered even if you write the best blog in the world. 

      For being discovered, you need to promote the post among friends and others. That is an on-going process. What you need to see just before hitting the publish button is whether the post has expressions around the focus areas. In simple words, what you need is to do is to select one or two key expressions (keywords) for which you'd like the post to come on search pages, and then see that these expressions are there in the article. It also means that your title and sub-titles are such that they catch attention and also support the keyword or key phrases that are unique to that post. 

      SEO is a big topic, and so we refer this post in case you are not sure what search optimization is: SEO tips for bloggers

      9. Is it the right time for posting? 

      Finally, be sure that you are pressing the publish button at the right time. This is very important if your target viewers belong to a fixed location or visit websites at a particular time of the day or your topic has high relevance only during a particular time of the year. 

      You won't publish a post on Christmas in the month of February and on winter ailments in summers; that's obvious. But what we often ignore this point when the time relationship is subtle. For example, our visitors' location and their web-surfing habits.

      If you have a post ready but you discover that people would be looking for such type of post at some other time, schedule it for that time.

      March 10, 2017

      Social Media Updates: WikiLeaks, Social Depression, Pak ban...

      Big brother is watching you!


      The Orwellian prophesy that one day all actions of citizens will be watched by the government finds resonance in the latest Wikileaks expose.

      Hailing it as the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency, WikiLeaks has said that CIA had been cyber-spying by infecting computer systems at global scale with viruses, Trojans, vulnerabilty-exploits and other malware. WikiLeaks has found that the several hundred million lines of code which CIA used for this dirty hacking has itself been hacked.

      The code is essentially different types of malware that CIA used to infect systems, including desktop, mobile and TV platforms. Since this all has got leaked, there is the risk of its proliferation and unscrupulous use. 

      WikiLeaks founder, Julius Assange says, The Central Intelligence Agency lost control of its entire cyberweapons arsenal. This is an historic act of devastating incompetence to have created such an arsenal and stored it all in one place and not secured it.

      More proof of social media impacting emotional health


      We have earlier reported about how use of social media is linked with social and emotional disorders. Among them, you'd recall wide-spread rise in eating disorders noticed among girls.

      A new review study finds a small but statistically significant correlation between social media use and depressive symptoms in young people. What it means that young people are more than likely to get depression with heavy use of social media.
      If you are interested in the original paper, you can visit this link: Social media and depressive symptoms...

      Too much social media influence? Image: Pixabay

      Add to this another recent research paper (such links might break after a while) confirming a link between social media use and social isolation among American young people. 

      Pakistan on the verge of banning social media over blasphemy?


      A Pakistani superior court judge has threatened to ban social media if it indulges in blasphemy and stop people indulging in online insult to Islam from leaving the country.

      In Pakistan, blasphemy against Prophet Mohamed is punishable with death.

      Five bloggers have specifically been named in the lawsuit that the judge was hearing. Media reports say, authorities have already removed their 'blasphemous' posts on mostly Facebook.

      Ironically, the judge called blasphemy as an act of terrorism, and terrorists and religious fanatics label any liberal voice as blasphemous so as to quell all opposition.

      [Cambridge dictionary defines blasphemy as something that you say or do that shows you do not respect God or a religion]

      Twitter is trying to make its platform safer: an update


      Twitter has announced a number of safety features    that include filtering out abusive content and reducing the spread of tweets from abusive accounts.

      Hope, the micro-blogging platform has taken seriously the bad press and social reactions that it got recently for its inability to check unsafe content.

      March 2, 2017

      How to choose the best among web hosting offers in 2017

      Once you feel that your blog is growing fast and it cannot be handled by free platforms, the first thing you look for is a good web host, isn't it?

      There are numerous sites on the web telling you which website hosts are the best. We can't dispute their reviews but advise that in mnay cases, such reviews and recommendations are colored; they have some hidden commercial relationship with the web host they recommend

      How to select the web host most suited for your needs


      Consider various factors that are relevant for your blog, and then pick the host that suits your needs. We had earlier talked about what all you should consider while selecting a web host; check each host for these because shifting blog/ website from one host to the other again and again can be painful.

      In the present post, we'd take that discussion forward and help you select a good web host for your website or blog. As always, our recommendations are fully unbiased and are not influenced by any advertisement that might appear on ITB. These recommendations, updated as of 2017, are meant to suit small or medium sized enterprises and bloggers.

      Web host: a place in the web world. Photo:Pixabay

      1. You won't have issues with shared hosting.

      Shared hosting is good for users who don't want to spend a lot of money on hosting packages and don't mind some of its traffic and data transfer limitations. VPS hosting is great for businesses that want more power than shared hosting, but don't want to deal with dedicated hosting's prices. Dedicated hosting is both powerful and pricey; it's reserved for sites that experience incredibly high levels of traffic per day. Managed WordPress hosting is for those who want to build their sites on the back of the popular WordPress content management system (CMS), but don't want to bother with a lot of the back-end stuff (such as updating the apps and CMS, and enabling automatic backups). In cloud hosting, you pay for only as much resources you use but is at present more expensive than shared hosting.

      2. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package.


      All major web hosts have more than one plan. You can upgrade the plan once your blog grows bigger than what can be handled by the smaller plan. So, there is no need to spend extra bucks from the beginning unless you think you'd become very big very soon. 

      There is a catch though in this arrangement: some web hosts start charging exorbitantly once you upgrade. In fact, you should be checking bigger plans than what you plan to buy initially and be wary of web hosts that have steep up-gradation costs.
       
      3. Server location is a very important factor.


      In olden times, you could buy hosting plans from only one location where the server of the web host was located. Now most big guys have servers in many countries, at least one in each continent (except Antarctica, of course). For example, if you are not located in the US and click on a link on a web host's advertisement in this website, it might take you straight to the web host's site meant for your country, and the rates might be better than what are seen on the ad. 

      In most cases, it is more cost-effective to buy from a server in your location; it might also give you better customer service and in your native language. 

      But be doubly sure that the local guys are as good as the main one. Check online forums and review sites, make local inquiries and also call them up. Why we advise this is because we have seen many reports that some hosts have unreliable franchisees or inefficient local units outside their headquarters.

      4. Most bloggers are served well by Wordpress CMS, so website builder might not be of much use.  

      If the web host is giving you a website builder on a cost, you need to assess whether you really need that. Small businesses and all bloggers will seldom need a website builder that has features beyond what Wordpress CMS can give - and it is free. 

      If you host your blog that is made on Blogger platform, you can continue to use Blogger's tools. In general, you won't need many new features. Of course, if you need new features, e.g. latest templates or e-commerce features, you should not hesitate to pay for their tools.

      So, do not pay for a website builder if you don't need it. But if you are a big or growing business, it might help to go for the web host's website builder and even get the website built by experts.

      Why not have a look at this series on migrating the existing Wordpress or Blogger blog to a new host?

      5.  Site up time is one of the most important things to consider. Big web hosts, all of them, boast of a fantastic up time. Though there are reports of poor service when their servers sometimes go down or get slow, they still are the most reliable lot. Small, local, web hosts might have a problem here.  


      How do the biggest web hosts fare in 2017 ?

      In a post last year, we had discussed  good/ bad features of some of the biggest names in the web hosting industry: Bluehost, DreamHost, GoDaddy, HostGator, InMotion

      All these web hosts are still the toppers and we retain the list. We won't rank them according to price and features as we have seen a full range of good and bad reports about all of them and we believe that location, type of plan, personal needs and level of understanding about technical aspects are big factors in the quality of output - so the quality of web hosts is difficult to judge in absolute terms.

      The hazard of ranking will be clear if you see these reports: There is a site, HostingFacts, which finds HostGator's cloud offer as one of the cheapest and with the best up time, fastest load time and fast service, leaving all others much behind. While it finds Bluehost with a poor load time, not so great up time and poor customer service, another reviewer Top Web Hosting finds Bluehost as the best web host! WhoIsHostingThis is gaga over SiteGround, finding it feature rich, most liked by users and much above the ones mentioned in this article.

      Just a small addition to our earlier understanding of these biggies. We find that HostGator has improved its customer service and has added new features. GoDaddy is big and reliable too, and it scores over others in domain name registration more than web hosting. But make your own assessment especially if you are in a country other than the host's headquarters.

      All the best!