Web Hosting Packages – Buy for Current Needs or Future Growth?

Web hosting packages vary in scope as much as businesses vary in needs.  It can be tough to determine the right package to purchase when your company is new (or in a phase of growth) because you need to decide if you want to select a web hosting plan that fits your current needs and upgrade as needs change, or to pick a plan you can grow into so you don’t have to hassle with an upgrade.

Here are three scenarios of a business that will help you decide which option is the best fit for you…

1) Your Business is a New Start-Up

As a start up, the goal is growth.  It can be tempting to try and cut costs when launching a business, but the time and stress of upgrading a hosting plan soon after purchasing it may not be worth the cost savings.  If you plan on growing, why select as plan that fits your current needs, when you could go one step up and have room to grow?

2) Your Business is Established, but is Getting Online for the First Time

If your business has been established, and you’re simply getting yourself online for the first time, select a plan that fits your current size. Unless you plan on moving most of your sales to an online store, or plan on revamping the way you do business, chances are you will know the commitment to an online presence you’ll need.  It could still be useful to select a plan a step above what you think you’ll need (especially if you’re adding an online shopping cart), but you can be comfortable selecting a plan that fits your current needs since you’re established instead of brand new.

3) Your Business is a Side Business or Hobby

Being a “small” business can be wonderful.  Either it’s a side business, jut for fun, or the online component of your business doesn’t need to be huge (though you do need an online presence, as it’s expected by consumers in today’s economy).  If you’re this type of business, feel free to select a small plan.  If it grows, congratulate yourself and then upgrade, but if you know going into it that your web hosting needs will be conservative, there’s no need to chose a more in depth plan until you have to.

Experienced Web Hosting from EarthLink

In 1995, before Google, before Facebook, before NetFlix and Wikipedia, when AltaVista was the top search engine and email was new…there was EarthLink Web Hosting.

For 18 years (practically as long as the concept of “web hosting” itself has even existed!), EarthLink has been giving businesses (and individuals) a quality option to host their website(s). Many other companies have popped up (and will continue to do so, now that the cloud is here), but no one has the tried-and-true experience like EarthLink.  Trust a brand new company, or one that’s proven itself for almost 20 years?

So, if you’re in the market for an experienced web hosting company to be your long-term, stable provider, look no further than EarthLink’s plans.  There’s bound to be one that fits your needs; after all, we’ve been around long enough to know!

 

Email Marketing – Don’t be Mistaken for SPAM

Email marketing is a convenient and cost-efficient way to reach your customers…if your message actually gets to them.  Knowing how to send a message without your customers thinking it’s a SPAM message is necessary, and EarthLink Web Hosting is here to help.

If you are directly replying to a customer you emailed you, you can rest assured your message won’t be mistaken for SPAM.  But if you are initiating email contact (through advertisements, helpful info, or updates), there are precautions you need to take to be sure your customers (and potential customers) see your communication as legitimate.  Here are the 6 ways to make sure your email marketing never hits their SPAM folder:

1) Email From a Recognizable Address

If customers visit “www.YourCompanySiteABC.com” to buy your products, your email addresses should all be “@YourCompanySiteABC.com”.  If they’re not, many customers might not trust the emails.  If you need help getting domain email, EarthLink has you covered!

1b) Use a “White Listed” Service

If you’re going to be sending out a large quantity of email marketing, use a service that has a good reputation,  (If you send out too many, your URL can be “black listed” for sending spam, just based on volume)  Constant Contact is an example of such a service. If you send out all the emails yourself, there is a good chance servers will mark your message as junk mail before it can even reach inboxes.

2) Never Ask for Personal Information

Never ask a customer to reply to an email with personal information.  Have them log into your site to submit (if you have that functionality), or call you directly.

3) Only Link to Your Website

Only send people, through email links, to places on your website they have seen before.  If you try to send them somewhere else, be prepared to get a low response OR calls wondering what you’re doing.

4) Check, and Double Check, Your Spelling/Grammar

Spelling mistakes are often a sign of spam, so avoid this by double checking your text.

5) Keep it Short

The more to-the-point your email marketing is, the more people will read it.  If you include long passages of “convincing language,” your email may come across as desperate (which is how many scammers come across).

6) Don’t Email Often

Even legitimate companies can spam (over-communicate and flood inboxes.  We recommend once to three times a month at maximum.

SEO Basics: How to Use Title Tags on Your Website

So, you’ve built your business website. Now you want some traffic.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of the traffic-generating tools you have at your disposal.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors outside your control when it comes to SEO. Others can be controlled but take significant time or effort.

But here’s one that’s both fully within your control and super simple: optimizing the Title tags for your business website’s homepage and product pages.

The Title tag determines what appears at the top of your web browser window when visiting a webpage. The Title tag is also what Google, Bing, and other search engines use as the main link to your website in search results. The search engines also use the keywords in your Title tag to categorize your pages, which is why the tag is important for SEO.

One of the biggest, commonly missed SEO opportunities is a business homepage that says Welcome or Home.

Those generic Titles don’t brand your website at all. Nor do they give potential visitors (and search engines) any idea of what your website is about.

There are some different schools of thought when it comes to the perfect Title tag, but in general, the best practice advice is to lead with keywords that are the most popular for the products or services you offer and end with your website/brand name.

If branding is most important to you or you feel your brand name is strong and want to feature it more in search results, then flip the order and use your brand first, then keywords.

You should keep the Title under 70 characters (including spaces). Anything above that will get cut off in Google search results.

Because you don’t have much space, you really have to prioritize the keywords you use.

Here’s an example of our EarthLink Business website. The Title tag of 69 characters leads with the keywords for the main business service categories we offer: IT, Data, Voice & Internet Services for Business – EarthLink Business.

This is how the EarthLink Business homepage Title tag shows up at the top of a web browser (in this case Safari):

EarthLink Business - title tag for business services homepage

And this is how the Title tag looks in Google search results:

EarthLink Business in Google search resultsKeep in mind, you should have unique Title tags for each of your pages, so you need to plan out which keywords to use for which pages. Reusing the same Title tags on multiple (or all) pages is another one of the most common SEO mistakes.

Using the EarthLinkBusiness.com site as an example again, here are Title tags for some of our important business service pages:

Most content management systems (such as blogging software) let you update Title tags by simply typing in new text in the Title field and updating the page.

In the source code for your page, the Title tag is found in the <head> section and is whatever you put between the <title> </title> tags.

If you need help finding popular keywords related to your business website to use for your Title tag, try using this Google Keyword tool.

Good luck with your SEO.