Mike and Tim Deliver Agile Message at HostingCon in San Diego

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From August 8th through 10th, 2011, all eyes in the hosting universe were on HostingCon, the premier conference and tradeshow for companies that provide website hosting, hosted messaging, and Software as a Service. Our very own Mike Harris, VP of Information Technology, and Tim Perry, Chief Technology Officer, were there with a message: Using Agile Project Management can make your hosting company, well, more agile.

Mike’s presentation was focused on the ways that Agile can be used to transform the customer experience through better methods of workforce collaboration while building software. Agile Project Management is way too deep of a subject to deliver in a blog post, so we have embedded the presentation below so you can see what the folks in the audience at HostingCon learned with Mike’s patented brand of precision presentation.

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Here at IX Web Hosting, we’ve been going to HostingCon since around 2005, and the conference never fails to deliver in terms of learning, collaboration, and networking. This year was no different, with a wide range of quality presentations from industry leaders (like Mike Harris) covering topics ranging from Social Media strategy to SEO to Public Policy and its implications for the hosting industry. Heck, they even had a massage center set up to ease the tension of sitting in those, well you know, terrible hotel chairs for two full days.

Much was learned, and a good time was had by all in attendance. After all, isn’t that why we go to these conferences? Not only to see and be seen, but catch up on the latest and greatest in the wonderful world of hosting.

As Mike puts it: “[…] HostingCon was a lot of fun and a great place to meet new people and network with colleagues. Both vendor and attendee participation increased over last year which seems to be a good indicator the industry is growing and full of opportunity. I was impressed with the quality of the presentations in general and the keynotes in particular. The focus of the conference seemed to be on cloud, creating vibrant ecosystems around products, platforms and tools, and offering service catalogues focused on consumer goals.”

Here are some pictures both brought from San Diego:


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IX Web Hosting Does the Relay for Life

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IX Webhosting @ Relay 4 Life

Dunking your manager in a large bucket of ice-cold water sounds fun, in theory.  You imagine him or her sitting in their elevated chair, peering down at their teams, smiling – trying to look strong despite the fear that set in the instant their foot touched the icy pool below.

Still trying to keep her composure...

Yes, in theory, this should be fun.  In reality, you simply don’t know how fun it is until you’re pulling out your wallet and bidding higher and higher to be the one whose aim sinks your boss into that tub.

Managers Beware

 

 

 

 

We weren’t just being sadistic meanies that Tuesday, we were also raising money for the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life.

Our in-house carnival was a huge success, raising almost $1000 in two hours by selling raffle tickets for awesome thinkgeek.com prizes, promoting some friendly gaming competition, as well as, of course, putting that dunk tank to noble use.

The next couple of days were spent planning for the big event – our local Relay for Life event [link], a 24-hour walk meant to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society.  Fortunately, the awesome carnival-themed banner our Customer Relations team put together
was still in good shape despite proximity to the dunk tank, and so it found itself atop our Relay for Life tent.  This tent would become the home of a few of our CR members who camped out all night to make sure that walkers from all organizations had pizza, soda and amusing facemasks.

Amusing Cat Face-mask, Donned by Derek (CR)

We had people walking on the track for the whole 24 hours and raised even more funds toward our goal for the ACS.

As we grow as a company, we have more and more members of our team whose lives are touched by cancer and who really want to get involved.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of our charitable initiatives come from our Customer Relations department, where compassion is a job requirement.  If you take a look through our pictures here, you might even recognize your own dedicated support representative smiling and making a difference.

As we walked around the track Sunday morning, our always-practical CEO, Fathi Said, approached us and asked: “What does walking around in circles do to fight cancer?” Stumped, we weighed the possible answers…walking is good for your heart, but this isn’t about heart disease.  People are more likely to show up for a charity event if there’s a predefined event, but that explanation seemed too heartless.  When we approached our booth, though, no answer was really needed.  We had a tent filled with sleepy team members who’d walked since dawn laughing together, chatting with and selling water to other walkers from other organizations.  It’s a healthy way to socialize and it’s a great way to feel like a team outside of the office.  It’s also a lot easier to sell cold pizza to hungry college-age walkers than it is to any other demographic (you might want to try selling your cold pizza there, Dominos, and not to my house.  Thanks.).

We had a wonderful time and if you want to get involved, you can donate to the ACS directly, or check out our donation page for the Relay for Life here!

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Book Review: The Six-Figure Second Income

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We’re starting the first of a series of book reviews.  Today’s book is one that is meant for those that have the desire to start their own revenue generator but have not had that much experience with their own online business before.  It’s meant for people who have the drive to turn an hour a day and every day experiences into six-figures.  Specifically, it’s about creating a profitable information product.

My friend, Jon Rozek, has written a book: The Six-Figure Second Income: How to Start and Grow a Successful Online Business Without Quitting Your Day Job. I’ve known Jon for a while and he’s helped me out quite a bit with my business…this guy is an expert and this book is valuable.

This book hits many points that I started into in my email to you about PayPal last week.  In short summary, this book walks you through the process of creating an “information product” that will solve other people’s problems (as it perhaps solved yours), creating a website around that product and then marketing that website so people know you exist and actually buy from you.

Keep in mind, this book is for the development of a profitable information product, but the process he discusses for marketing to your buyers is critical to any business.  If you’ve never done email campaigns, news and sales letters, autoresponders, “launches,” pay-per-click marketing, etc., this book might just be a very valuable learning tool for your business.

Jon has decided to give a bunch of bonuses to those who purchase his book on Tuesday, September 21st. The biggest bonus is that they’re giving away a free seminar where he and the co-author, David Lindahl will answer your questions, discuss topics from the book and give you the opportunity to network with other like-minded people.  The seminar is just outside of Boston on Friday-Sunday, November 5-7.  If you’d like more information, just shoot an email over to questions@sixfiguresecondincome.com.

I had my fiancé read it first because she’s a really fast reader and extremely opinionated, but when I saw it was taking her longer than one sitting to read it, I thought something was wrong.  It also always seemed to be opened, face down next to her rather than…well, finished, so I started to worry that Jon and David had produced a dud.

Instead, I saw that she was working on many of the points Jon had written about with her own business ideas and was pausing only to be inspired.  This is exactly what you want out of a book.

We have both read many similar books, but none were as realistic and thorough.  This book literally walks you through the simple process of making money online without working that hard, but doesn’t make the mistake of promising that by the last page, you’ll be a millionaire.

You definitely can become a millionaire following his exact steps and Jon and I know many who have, but it’s not realistic for everybody.  It is, however, important to note that many of the bonuses these guys are offering include audio interviews and advice from the guys who have had 7-figure+ success with this process, so no one wants you to think that it’s impossible.

I just hope you don’t have some moral or religious aversion to making money without shedding any blood, sweat, or tears. (Page 14)”

Read more about the book and its reviews here: http://www.amazon.com/Six-Figure-Second-Income-Successful-Business/dp/0470633956/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top.

If you have a business-related book that you’d like our staff to check out and talk about, let us know in the comments.

Fathi Said, CEO

IX Web Hosting

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Paypal Integration: For Our Business and Yours

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We’ve just integrated Paypal into our system, so you can now purchase domains, hosting plans and soon, even renew your existing plan with your Paypal account! There were a couple of reasons that we didn’t integrate it sooner, but in retrospect, they were all bad. I wish I had gotten this project rolling sooner.

Did you ever think about using Paypal to get paid on your site? It’s strikingly simple and if you’re interested in learning how to do it, keep reading.

Paypal

When I started IX Web Hosting, Paypal didn’t even exist.  It’s a really good time to be a business (forget the economy!).  The integration of Paypal has already coincided with a sharp increase in sales (let me also give credit to the bustle of the Fall season for that, though) and a warm welcoming from a couple of you who were hoping for this change.  It was easy to integrate and had a big impact.

Being able to accept online payment from your customers is for sure the most essential part of operating your business online.  You lose a lot of business every time you ask a customer to call in or come into the store to make a sale in almost every single business case.  The audience we can reach is bigger now than ever before.  Don’t think people weren’t trying to sell web hosting in stores[1] at one point.  They were… and they became really irrelevant really fast.

So many of our clients have what is called a “brochure website,” or a website that tells you a bit about the nature of their business or what they do, the history behind it and what kind of services are offered, but isn’t actually selling anything via the site itself.

I personally don’t understand this.  If you have something to sell, why not put your site to work for you? That’s like going through the trouble of having kids and not making them do housework (just kidding Department of Labor!!).  It doesn’t cost much or anything, depending on how you do it.  The payoff is great if you’re willing to put a little effort in… and there’s no reason not to put that effort in especially in today’s economy (which we should have forgotten by now).

Imagine the convenience for your customers and the growth potential for you if you were to start accepting payments online… or even just start making gift certificates for your products or services available on your site! People who were once only visitors to your site are now potentially paying customers and your best salesman is now working 24/7… for free.

<b>The "Good Part" </b>

The "Good Part"

It’s sad, but I’ve noticed that over the last decade, the power of a website is so seldom harnessed by their owners and instead, business owners dredge through more “traditional” paths that don’t make them much money and more often than not, lead them to giving up before they even get to the good part.

Hopefully, you’re reading this and ready to start getting paid.  Paypal is probably the best, easiest, most painless way to get started accepting payments online. There’s a free plan that allows your visitors to use their credit/debit cards or their Paypal account to purchase your stuff and it’s actually easy to set up.

So how easy is it?

Well, a quick summary would tell you that depending on how you’d like to integrate Paypal, it will either be very simple (about a 15-minute commitment): using Paypal’s shopping cart and easy HTML integration, or semi-simple: installing and integrating into your own shopping cart from our Easy Apps. You’ll also find that it can either be free or cheap ($30/month).

The free solution, “Website Payment Standard,” can be popped right into your existing shopping cart or installed using Paypal’s easy setup.  You don’t have to go through any kind of credit check to get paid and your customer will follow these simple steps to purchase things on your site:

Buy Now

  1. Your customer clicks on the “Buy Now!/Subscribe” button that is available on your site via either your shopping cart or an HTML integration of Paypal (“HTML Integration” is literally just using their “Buy Now!” buttons to link to their shopping cart).
  2. Your customer is then sent to Paypal’s shopping cart on the Paypal website (with your site’s header and footer still in tact — the process will be seamless to the buyer, but there’s not much you can do with the shopping cart look and design.  This is why many people choose to use their own shopping cart).
  3. Your customer is sent back to your site to complete the process (usually to a “thank you for ordering!” page that you’ve created).
  4. The cash from the sale goes into a Paypal account that you’ve created at the beginning of this process.  Paypal will issue you a debit card if you want one and you can transfer funds online from your Paypal account to your own bank account.

Paypal has a great in-depth tutorial here, but you can also watch their demo -which is pretty cool- to make sure it’s the right kind of thing for your business.

Also, let me know in the comments if you’re not at the Paypal / “Get Paid” phase with your business. If you’ve read up to here and you’re not selling something now, you’re motivated enough as far as I’m concerned to start making money with your site.  I need to get you to that point because the more successful you are, the closer you are to your goals, the happier you are… and if I can have anything to do with that, well, you know the rest.  :)

Talk soon,

Fathi Said, CEO

IX Web Hosting


[1] Mostly telephone and internet service providers.  Look around, you can still find a few!

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Webinar Comments Post

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Ok, so have at it! Let me know what you thought of the webinar!

Thanks for your feedback!

Fathi Said, CEO
IX Web Hosting

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At IX, we take care of our customers. And dedicated support is one of the ways we prove to you again and again that we are here to help you every step of the way, regardless of your skill level. With IX dedicated support, you get a support technician personally assigned to assist you. You get their name, number, email, social media connections, and work schedule! It's just one more facet of our service which proves our deeply rooted belief that being a great hosting provider requires more than just cutting-edge technologies, but the best in support and service.