Register a Domain Name that Fits Your Business

Register a domain name that will support your business, not one that could confuse customers…

Customers interact with and understand companies is through the internet; whether through a google search or by typing in the web address directly, a business’ URL is the first online stop for customers. So be sure you have one that reflects your business perfectly.

When you sign up for EarthLink Web Hosting or Ecommerce Hosting, the first step will be to either find an available domain name or transfer one you already own (fact: you get 1 year of free domain name registration when you choose an EarthLink website hosting service), and we want to make sure you have the RIGHT domain(s) with these handy tips:

  1. .Com Domain Names Are Best: There are many new top-level domains (TLDs) available (these are the .com, .net, .biz, and .info endings to URLS). But it’s still best to use a .com if possible. Most internet users will assume your website is a “.com,” and if this assumption is incorrect, they may not want to look hard enough to actually find you.
  2. Buy Domain Variations: If possible, buy the .net, .biz, .org and other top-level domain variations of your domain name so no one else can use them and potentially confuse people who are searching for your business. Also, try to buy common misspellings of your domain (e.g., HappinessStore.com and HapinessStore.com and Happinesstore.com) and redirect them to your actual URL (EarthLink Web Hosting customers can easily redirect domains in the Manage Domain section of their Control Center.)
  3. Have Keywords in your URL: If you have an already-established business, and you can’t get a .com domain with your exact name, try adding SEO-related keywords (the ones people use to search for you) or locations (if you serve a local market), such as HappinessStoreGifts.com or HappinessStoreNYC.com.
  4. Domain Name Before Company Name: If you are going to start a business that relies entirely or largely on the Internet, wait to name your company until after you own a URL. Ensuring your company name has a matching “.com” domain name is incredibly helpful in the long run.

Ready to start? Register a domain name now through EarthLink (even if you’re not ready to go, you can register the website and we’ll hold onto it for you until you are so no one else snatches it!)

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.

Web Hosting – Why EarthLink is a Great Choice, pt 1

The world of web hosting can be confusing, but it doesn’t need to be.  As you’re researching, EarthLink wants to point out 10 reasons why EarthLink Web Hosting is the best choice out there.  This week we’ll cover the first 5 reasons (the basics), and next week we’ll round off the list with the final 5 (the “frosting on the cake” reasons).

1. Experience. New tech companies seem to pop up daily; it can be hard to see who is trustworthy and who won’t make it through the year (leaving your service up a creek without a paddle).  But EarthLink has been providing web hosting since 1995. 1995.  18 years of experience speaks a lot louder than the ad campaigns of start-ups.

2. Do-it-Yourself and Do-it-for-Me professional Design Options. If you want to build your website yourself, you can code it, or choose from a wide selection of professionally designed templates.  (This is as easy as selecting a template, entering your business information, and clicking to push the site live.)  Or, if you’d rather have a designer make your site, we have in-house professionals ready to help you (all for a low price that’s included in the hosting package)!

3.eCommerce Options. Both our Do-it-Yourself and Do-it-for-Me hosting packages can include full ecommerce (in-site shopping cart) capabilities so you can process orders within your site.

4. Value. EarthLink has found the perfect balance between cost and capabilities.  We’re not the cheapest and weakest out there, and we’re not the priciest and fanciest, but we are the most experiences web hosting provider offering robust plans at affordable prices.

5. Free Domain Names. EarthLink isn’t going to nickle-and-dime you.  Your URL is free with any web hosting plan.

 

An Online Shopping Cart Can Make or Break Your Business

An online shopping cart can be the difference between making a sale and losing a customer.  If your business is a service (pet grooming, wedding planning, etc.) and you don’t ship physical goods, then you likely won’t need a shopping cart as part of your website.  But, if customers buy ship-able goods from you, you absolutely should include give your customers the option to order directly from you online.

It doesn’t matter if you build your website yourself or have a professional web designer build it for you: you need to know if your customers will expect eCommerce functionality (aka “has an online shopping cart”), and provide accordingly.  Customers are the lifeblood of your business, and making it convenient for them to give you their money should be a top priority!

EarthLink’s eCommerce plans let you accept credit cards through the web, and is the most convenient way for your customers to buy (since no “time” needs to be spent helping a customer when they’re shopping independently in your online store).  eCommerce web hosting plans do cost more than standard hosting plans…but the ability to sell online often far overshadows that cost with profits.

As a bonus, EarthLink includes many additional services in its eCommerce Web Hosting packages, outlined here:

  • StoreCreator Pro – Easy-to-use, professional ecommerce shopping cart builder. Includes links to help you sell with eBay.com and Amazon.com
  • Rapid SSL Certificate – Allows secure transactions through your online shopping cart; increases customer confidence in your website.
  • One-Page Mobile Website – Get customers who are online with smartphones and tablets.
  • Call Tracking – Call-tracking and analytics service helps you improve your online and offline marketing. You get a unique toll-free or local phone number so you can track and record customer calls. Includes click-to-call and other features.
  • Advanced Website Template Gallery – Choose from more than 5,000 templates.
  • Announcer Pro – Send your customers engaging email newsletters using graphic-rich HTML email templates. Includes contact management and reporting tools. Includes 500 contacts; our standard web hosting plans include up to 250 contacts.
  • 1,000 Business-Class Email Accounts – Allows for comprehensive email system as your business grows. Standard website hosting plans include up to 200 email addresses.