Why We Love (and Recommend!) Flywheel Managed Hosting

Why We Love (and Recommend!) Flywheel Managed Hosting

This post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links come at no extra cost to you. These links allow me to share the products we highly recommend (and use) and support us to keep providing above and beyond service and extra goodies by receiving a small commission.

Before I get into why we now exclusively use an recommend Flywheel to all of our clients for their hosting needs, I think it’s important to cover some basics…

 

WHAT’S WHAT

  • Hosting – where your site resides
  • Domain(s) – the address of your website and where your URL resides. Your domain can be registered with a different host than your site. It’s not unusual to purchase a domain and keep it with one company over the years while you might move hosts depending on your site’s requirements, traffic, etc.
  • Email
  • as a business owner, you should host and own your own email @ your domain vs having a free email hosted by someone else (ie. Google / Gmail, Hotmail, etc).

 

 

Why we love Flywheel

For anyone starting a website or blog with WordPress, you will need hosting + a domain to get started. Over the past 10 years I’ve used various hosting companies for my clients and I, including GoDaddy, Hostgator, and Bluehost. But I can’t believe it took me this long to find Flywheel!!!

I, like most young internet entrepreneurs in the early stages of WordPress websites, started out with the cheapest solution I could find. At the time, that was a company called iPage, that offered me unlimited domains, websites and files hosted on one (shared) server for the paltry sum of $3.95 per month. I know that when starting out, money is tight and it’s hard to beat purchasing 3 years of hosting with Hostgator for less then $150. What I, like many of my clients and colleagues, din’t realize was that the low cost of most of the cheap hosting companies’ products comes at a huge cost in other areas, and an even greater liability and potential for disaster.

You may not think you need managed hosting until it comes time to need it.

Once I started getting a bit bigger and had a little more experience, I outgrew iPage and began hosting with Bluehost. It had been highly recommended by several other colleagues and I got a $50 commission for every client site I referred to boot. What a deal! Great customer service. Faster load times. All kinds of extra services and products. No issue with the server. Life with Bluehost was great for about a year…until the perfect storm hit. Bluehost got bigger and more popular. They sold to a huge hosting conglomorate and the once amazing customer service got worse and worse. They started spamming my clients offering them services that I offered, for dirt cheap because they were doing hack jobs that were being outsourced to India. Hold times to reach support was often at least an hour, and super unhelpful when you did reach someone. Then, not only my site, but my entire hosting account got hacked.

I turned to Bluehost, and not only were they not at all helpful, they essentially held my entire hosting account content HOSTAGE for almost two weeks, which included over 10 websites, and over 30 email accounts across 13 domains! I couldn’t log in to access my backups. I couldn’t log in to do anything. On top of that, Bluehost wanted to charge me an additional $450 to remove the malware/virus and then another $100 to retrieve the latest backup! I hired a WordPress developer and hosting pro to look at the “corrupt” files they sent me and he reinstalled all clean copies of WordPress. We reuploaded them and then got a new “scan” from Bluehost…it was pretty obvous that they were esentially lying and telling me my files were corrupt in an effort to extort more money from what they assume are mostly non-tech savvy customers. I was thankfully one of the lucky ones who knows their way around a hosting database and could restore my sites and emails – but not without a signifigant cost in time, productivity, money, and not to mention the stress and frustration.

Learn from my mistake: BACKUP YOUR SITES OFTEN, and WORK WITH A HOSTING COMPANY YOU CAN TRUST!!!

Since my Bluehost debacle, I had a few years of trial and error, and trying to find my web hosting “home”. I tried HostGator, LiquidWeb, Deluxe Hosting, and looked into a ton of Managed Hosting providers trying to find the right combination of features, support and cost. Most hosting companies have gone the “kitchen sink” route and will try to upsell you on many things including security & backups if you need them. The consistent feeling I had was a sense of fear and insecurity knowing that hundreds of other people were on my same server and I was setting myself up for a disaster again, and knowing that the tech support was getting increasingly poor with all of these other solutions, I got serious about finding a company I could not only host with, but bring on as a strategic partner in my business – not to mention recommend with full faith to my clients!!

Then after doing some research on competitors in my field, I came across FlywheelAlthough they are designed for web designers & agencies, ANY ONE can use them! I am in love. It’s an all-in-one managed WordPress hosting provider, meaning THEY take care of all the nitty-gritty WordPress website maintenance things you don’t want to. Instead of these other companies upselling you, these guys include it in the cost. See what I mean below 👇

 

 

FLYWHEEL FEATURES:

  • Blazing Speed – I’m amazed how quickly my website loads now that I’ve switched. With the other hosting providers my sites were loading between 10-15 seconds, now mine loads within 3.
  • Security – Instead of paying another service, Flywheel includes daily hacker-free security in the cost. They also will clean malware for FREE.
  • Backups – You guys. Flywheel include NIGHTLY backups in with this price!!! Hallelujah! No more losing your websites or blogs ever again! Most companies will charge you to retrieve a backup. They include it and it’s right on your dashboard with an easy way to restore it!
  • FREE Blog/Site Migrations – Let’s say you have your WordPress website or blog hosted elsewhere at the moment. No worries, once you sign on with these guys they’ll migrate it over to them and get it up & running FOR FREE. Most companies would charge you over $100 to do this!
  • Incredible Support from WordPress Experts – Have an issue within WordPress? Have questions about your hosting? Email support and get a response back from someone on their team quickly.
  • FREE SSL – Most hosting companies will charge upwards of $75/yr for this. SSL is what let’s consumers know your site is safe to browse & that their info is being encrypted. You can tell by seeing the https:// & green padlock icon
  • Built-in Site Stats –  You can see how many visitors you’re getting monthly, how much data you are using & more
  • A Beautifully Designed User Interface – As a designer, this is what impressed me the most. Most hosting dashbaords / control panels are ridiculously confusing and overwhelming to navigate – Flywheel is not only simple, it’s actually enjoyable to work in! They make managing your website/blog SO EASY.

 


 

THINGS DESIGNERS & DEVELOPERS WILL LOVE ABOUT IT:

  • Staging Site – Instead of downloading a maintenance plugin, you can now work on a site behind the scenes without worrying about it being live while you’re making changes. You can test the updates before making it live!
  • Free Demo Sites – Want to build a site for a client but they don’t have hosting yet? No worries. You can build a demo site and when you’re ready to make it live for your client, you can send it to them & have them pay for hosting for it to go live!
  • Collaborations with Separate Logins – As a designer you can set up hosting, create the website, then add your client as the owner so they can do payments. Then you’ll have access to their site as long as they allow you to.
  • White-Label Hosting – Want to offer managed WordPress hosting to your clients? Soon you’ll be able to set your own prices & bill directly through Flywheel.

 

 

THE ONLY ISSUES WITH FLYWHEEL:

Unlike other big companies, Flywheel has chosen to stick to what they do amazingly well, and that is super great WordPress web hosting. however, if you are used to having all of your hosting, domains, and email in one place, this can be something to consider and get used to when making the switch. The two things to keep in mind that I think are important when considering Flywheel are:

1. Flywheel does not do domains.

This means you cannot purchase domains through them like most other hosting companies. If you don’t own a domain, you can purchase one with Namecheap and point it over to Flywheel super easily!  If you currently have a domain from the following providers, please click the links to see how to get it pointed to Flywheel:

2. Flywheel does not do email.

However, you will definitely want to have domain emails @ your domain, and so for that, we suggest using Google Apps for business / G Suite, or whatever Google decides to call it tomorrow 🙂   you can send and receive emails as @yourdomain.com from any computer / phone / tablet / location. With G Suite, you will have a bunch of other amazing Google tools and apps for your business that we also use and love!

**/**

If you’re still nervous about doing this on your own, I can either put you on my hosting or set it up for you. Send me a message to get started.

Team Building Tea with James Allen

Team Building Tea with James Allen

James Allen entered the world of tea 12 years ago in Tucson, Arizona at an American tea company, Seven Cups. He began working with them as an apprentice and continued to assist the company in building their business and tea operations. It was two years ago that James turned his love and passion for tea into a company of his own, Far West Tea Traders.

The Inspired Brand team had the pleasure of inviting James Allen, the Tea-E-O of Far West Tea Traders to our office at The Network SYV, for a team building “tea”. During this session, we learned about James and the world of tea, while taking in the experience of a tea tasting for our very first time!

James Allen’s tea mission is “to inspire people globally to live healthier, more productive and more pleasurable lives by drinking small-batch loose leaf tea and sharing it with their friends”. James hosts classes and ceremonies for others to experience a comfortable and uplifting style of tea ceremony; considered a form of meditation awakening, and a peaceful retreat from stress in the world. The process of drinking successive infusions creates a journey in which the tea flavor, color, aroma, and full character is gradually revealed, shifting ones’ perspective by accessing personal insight and revelation.

James personally selects loose leaf teas that stand out with a distinctive and memorable character and supplies them directly to the customer. His loose leaf teas are pure, unadulterated, unflavored, and simply extraordinary! James sources all of his teas on a seasonal basis from dedicated, responsible, and innovative tea farmers and master craftsmen whose methodologies and principles generally align with the highest of true artisan tea making standards. James guarantees that his teas are either certified organic or meet comparable standards even if the farm has not pursued organic certification.

James’ passion for this longstanding tradition was infectious, and we were engaged and fascinated by the multitude of benefits and inspirations that came out of such a simple and beautiful ritual. We were fascinated to learn about the history and world of tea, and to have a chance to explore the different styles and tastes from white, green, oolong, black and pu-erh. In the past, we called many things that we infuse in hot water a tea. But James taught us that “it’s only tea if it’s made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis – an evergreen plant indigenous to China and India”.

Now, to the art of tea tasting with James Allen…

James instructed us to arrive with a clean palate; additionally he suggested that we treat the teas as that the aroma mingles with what the tea tastes like on our tongues. He also informed us that “slurping” was the way to go, and the only way to truly taste the tea. Slurping cools the tea and runs it over your tongue, allowing it to fully touch every part of your palette.JamesAllenTea

Traditional tea serving styles include a variety of teaware, chosen to enhance the art of tea. James presented each tea in a vessel specifically chose to match its category and individual character. Tea requires pouring away the water used to warm the teapot, tea brewer and cups, and the first rinse of the leaves. For this reason, James used a slated tea tray with a water collection basin to make it easier to serve the tea. His other “tea gadgets” included a Yixing Pot that was aged over 30 years, as well as a variety of Artisan Tea Cups, which all are available on his website for purchase.

Once James set up the proper teaware, the tasting began! We tasted 6 different types of teas, in the following order:

  • Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Black – Freshly cut fruit wood aroma with a hint of spearmint. Soothing notes of cinnamon, black cherry vanilla, rose, and slightly savory herbs. The tea has a very rich, mellow, balanced character reminiscent of mulled wine and/or stewed apples and prunes.
  • Enchantment – Dan Cong Oolong – An abundance of mineral, floral, and ripe, stone-fruit flavors in the cup that lingers in the mouth. Full bodied, well balanced, light roasted, honey, ginger flower… thick and pure with a sweet after-finish.
  • Charcoal Roasted Dong Ding Oolong – Toasted caramel, coffee, brown sugar and apricot… the rich, bold, dark, earthy, toasted character of this charcoal roasted tea makes it perhaps the heartiest, most robust brew of all oolong styles. The complex qualities are complimented by mellow, full-bodied characteristics that put this tea in a class of its own. This tea is the best for those who want a comforting cup of no nonsense tea. This is the tea that can make you understand the phrase “mouthfeel”. It is like your old jeans that get better and better and never let you down.
  • Sun Moon Lake Red Jade – Ripe plums & figs with notes of raisin, honey, cinnamon toast and caramel with aromatic notes of eucalyptus and mint. Medium-bodied, earthy and highly complex. Exquisite velvety red brew that yields several complex infusions when prepared correctly.
  • Menghai Ripe Puer – This loose leaf puer is Te Ji grade leaf which is nearly the tiniest of all leaf grades. These Menghai area tea leaves were carefully harvested, sorted, and processed as a wet pile. It’s a very tippy grade Te Ji and produces a rather comforting, robust brew. Its’ flavor is a creamy, smooth, rich, delicate sweetness, chocolate powder, novel character, powerful but with a thick bite that lingers in the mouth even after pairing with food. This is the classic “Menghai” taste with a medium level of fermentation. This puer tea is very approachable because it brews easily, quickly, and is rich with no bitterness. The aroma is like chocolate nibs, humus soaked in a summer rain.

After our one-of-a-kind alchemical experience was over, we felt grounded, calm, content, and thoroughly fascinated with the healing powers of “tea”.

We learned that tea not only reduces stress, calms anxiety and improve mood – but it also boosts immune systems, reduces inflammation and even improves memory. Our positive and amazing experience with James turned us into fellow tea enthusiasts, and has inspired us share and expand the tea “movement” with the rest of our community. The Network SYV will be hosting a series of 3 tea events with James Allen and Far West Tea Traders on a monthly basis beginning in September of this year….stay tuned for more information!

Manos Unidas Peru : Site Launched & Live!

Manos Unidas Peru : Site Launched & Live!

Since October of 2015, our Chief Inspiration Officer of The Inspired Brand, Claudia Miro, has had the honor of serving on the Board of Directors of Manos Unidas, International; a US-based non profit exclusively supporting Manos Unidas Peru.

Manos Unidas Peru, founded in 2008, is a legally registered Peruvian non-profit organization, serving as the first and only private/non-for-profit school for special education in Cusco, Peru.

Today, Manos Unidas Peru consists of three programs:

  • Camino Nuevo – the first private / non profit educational facility in Cusco for special education (est. 2009)
  • Inclusion – preparing students to the best of their ability to be included within regular education classrooms and schools (est. 2011)
  • Phawarispa – a Youth Work Training Program; empowering students to integrate into society through work experience (est. 2014)

Manos Unidas’ original website was full of rich information and great images, but unfortunately it was a bit outdated, so a lot of the content was getting lost. Founder Celeste Marion was ready for a website makeover! Celeste knew if she were to update the website platform to the latest and greatest technologies, integrations, and make it mobile-friendly and responsive, it would create more ease, efficiency and opportunities with her communications and fundraising efforts.

Our main objective was to create a more engaging, interactive, and beautiful space for MUI supporters, donors, volunteers and friends. We aimed to create a platform that showcases up-to-date information about the programs, the kids, and how supporters can get involved. Our secondary objective was to make Celeste’s job a lot easier, by having a website that simplified and streamlined her communications efforts; a key for any nonprofit working with lean support staff and budgets.

We are beyond proud with the end result, and are thrilled to announce the launch of their *shiny* new website! Check out our portfolio for more information on this project, and Please visit www.manosunidasperu.org and learn more about Manos Unidas, their programs, the kids, and how you can support and donate to this amazing cause.

In gratitude,

The Inspired Brand Team

Brand ME Bootcamp : January 2016

Brand ME Bootcamp : January 2016

Make this your year to SHINE ONLINE!

Kick off 2016 with a powerful 4-week program designed to give you clarity, inspiration, and focus around all that you and your brand can be on the web. If you are planning a branding or website project this coming year, this program is a MUST! In this fun, interactive, and inspiring virtual group program, you will:

Week 1:

  • Define your Brand Story – create powerful messaging and a story that engages.
  • Define Your Voice – Develop your slogan and signature brand “voice”.

Week 2:

  • Design Your Brand – Create your brand style guide and inspiration board.
  • Design Your Logo – Come up with 2-3 creative concepts for your logo.

Week 3:

  • Social ME – Optimize your LinkedIn, Facebook & other social profiles with compelling copy and graphics.
  • Shine Online – Analyze how you are currently showing up online, and learn how to be in control of your online presence.

Week 4:

  • 1-on-1 Coaching – Get brand feedback and insight real-time from knowledgeable consultants, designers, and fellow entrepreneurs.
  • Get It Done – Discover cost effective ways to get your branding & website DONE.

Four Monthly Content Calls

Video Tutorials + Resources

Occasional Freebies & Treats

 

w

Networking Opportunities

 

Learning Events

 

Retreats (coming in fall 2016)

 

The Inspired Brand : Our Brand Story

The Inspired Brand : Our Brand Story

2015 was the year we walked our talk

This past year was an amazing, but grueling and “heads-down” time. 2015 offered the chance to dig deep into our creative process, and apply everything we do with and for our clients to our very own business.

I began freelancing as C.Miro Consulting almost 7 years ago, and when I began, I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into. I began like most freelancers do: with a little bith of technical skills, and very little else. It’s been quite the journey ever since, and I have learned an immense amount of lessons and skills along the way. After taking a break to pursue non-profit work for a couple of years, I relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Central Coast and essentially re-established my business from scratch. It was a big transition both personally and professionally, but also a great chance to start fresh with a new perspective, and community. After getting my feet wet on a few projects, I began to feel that I was naturally out-growing C.Miro Consulting. I was very clear that the model and format of my current business was not what I wanted it to look like long-term, and that what I felt emerging was bigger than just me.

Over the past year, my team and I have done the deep, and at times tedious work of turning our business upside down, and designing our very own, custom dream brand and website. We started from the inside out, putting a business plan together, defining our target audience and markets, refining our offers, and of course, designing how we wanted it all to look and feel…

The result is “The Inspired Brand”…a design agency, strategy consultancy, and training firm all in one. It is a labor of love that we are thrilled to be able to share with our clients and community, and to launch our little baby into the world! We know it is of course never ever “DONE”, and that our brand, website and business will continue to grow and evolve as they all do…but we are thrilled to share with you a very important piece of our next chapter, and that we can now serve our clients with a greater focus, more refined service offerings, and an even deeper knowledge and empathy for the process we take our clients through.

Thank you for taking a moment to share in our exciting news, and we look forward to sharing even more fun stuff soon…

Big Hugs,

claudia-signature-gold
Claudia-Bio-circle

Pin It on Pinterest