Domain Email … What are You Waiting For?

Domain email hosting - get a domain name to brand your email.We know that our web hosting services are super-easy to use – whether you build your own website with our site builder tool or take advantage of our professional web design service options.

We know that web hosting provides a great return on investment.

But we also know that you still may not be ready for web hosting.

So, what about domain email hosting?

For some, getting a domain name to use for email is a smart first step before moving on to creating a website.

A domain email address can be a valuable extension of your personal or business brand, providing a more consistent and professional way to communicate with customers, prospects, partners and vendors.

Wouldn’t it be nicer to be You@YourBusiness.com or CEO@YourCompany.com than something like tcs7114@yahoo.com when you are communicating about your business?

As a potential customer, I know I’d feel better about doing business with someone using a branded domain than a free email service.

Not having a company email domain suggests you don’t really take your business seriously. And if you don’t, why should others?

After all, getting started with domain email is simple and inexpensive. For just $4.95 a month, our Domain with Email service includes:

  • 50 email addresses @ your domain name
  • Email mailing lists, forwarders and auto-responders
  • 1GB of storage per email address
  • Easy Web Mail access from any online computer or device
  • Built-in spam and virus protection

To learn more, these previous domain-related blog posts may be helpful:

One final word of advice: get your domain name as soon as you can.

There’s a lot of competition for good names. And it would be a shame if you waited too long and then couldn’t get one that works well for your business.

Good luck!

Choosing a Domain Name, Step By Step

Last Monday, we wrote about why it’s important to have a web site for your business on its own domain without relying only on Facebook or a free blog.

So what are you waiting for?

Maybe it’s because you haven’t selected a domain name yet?

Today, we’ll walk you through the very simple steps involved in finding and registering your own web site domain name from the EarthLink web site.

Hopefully, this will give you a gentle nudge to get you going in the right direction.

Web hosting - website services at EarthLink

  1. From the EarthLink homepage (www.earthlink.net), click Web Sites and then Domain Reservation & Email Hosting in the top navigation bar (shown in screenshot above).In the Domain Reservation box, click the Sign Up button (don’t worry: you can search for a domain name without signing up) to access our Domain Search.
  2. In the big search box, type in the domain names you are considering. If it is a 2 or 3 word domain name, make sure you type it in with no spaces (websitedomainname not website domain name).
  3. The domain name search results will show you which top-level extensions (e.g., .com and .org) the domain name is available for. Available extensions will be grey and unavailable extensions will be red. In the screenshot below you’ll see that for the domain name DomainNameExample, DomainNameExample.com is not available, while all the other extensions are available. DomainNameSearch is only available with .name or .telextensions.Domain name search results - successful domain search
  4. One thing to be aware of: if you search for a domain using the extension in the search (for example, you enter DomainNameExample.net) and it is available, the result will be shown in green, but if you don’t specify the lop-level extension the same result will be grey.Domain name search success.
  5. Click on one or more available top-level extensions that you are ready to reserve and then click the next > button at the bottom of the page.
  6. Specify how many years you want to reserve your domain name (longer is safer, so you don’t accidentally lose your domain if you forget to renew it) and click the add to cart button.
  7. From the following page you can add any domain extras you want and choose a web hosting or ecommerce hosting plan if you are ready to get started.

If you are ready to sign up for web hosting, you also have the option to initiate your domain name search by clicking the Sign Up button for any of our web hosting, ecommerce, or professional website design packages. You’ll get the same opportunity to search for your domain name before checking out.

If you weren’t successful finding an available domain name that you like, try searching again with some variations. Our domain name search results will typically give you a couple of additional domain names to consider. It may also be helpful to read our previous blog post with tips for choosing domain names.

 

5 Reasons to Build Your Web Site on Your Own Domain

Build your web site on your own domain for a solid foundation.

Build your business web site on your own domain -- to give it a solid foundation.

It’s safe to say that most small businesses these days know they need a web presence.

But there are a couple of mistakes that some businesses are making when they decide how to get their business online. And both mistakes are related to not having their site at their own domain name.

The first mistake is blogging with a free subdomain on a blog host like wordpress.com (or blogspot.com or another free blog provider). This is different than using WordPress to build a blog on your own domain, which is available for all EarthLink Web Hosting customers .

The second is relying entirely on Facebook.

So, what’s wrong with not having your site at a domain you own?

These are the top 5 problems with not creating a web site at your own domain…

1. Branding – We are Facebook fans at EarthLink. EarthLink and EarthLink Business have Facebook pages we’re proud of.

But if Facebook is your only online presence, you are diminishing your brand and putting it second to another company: Facebook.

As cool as it is, your Facebook page is at a Facebook.com URL. As well designed as it is, your Facebook page has a Facebook logo in the top left corner where you would expect to see your logo. We encourage you to get a business page on Facebook, but your brand also needs a place of its own to be #1. So build your website at your own branded domain.

With a blog at yoursite.wordpress.com you can avoid the issue of having another company’s logo a the top of your page (blogspot.com blogs have blogger.com logos and other blogger.com links), but the Web address will still be a wordpress.com URL. Since  your URL represents your business in many places, that’s not an ideal situation.

2. Confusion – This issue is closely related to the branding issue. When your webpage or URL is not entirely your own, it can cause some confusion. And when there is confusion online, business suffers. You especially don’t want someone thinking they may have gone to the wrong site if they end up at a wordpress.com URL – especially with phishing scams and other online security issues.

3. Control – If you don’t own it, you don’t control it. And that’s certainly the case with Facebook.com. If it were fully your page, you wouldn’t have put Facebook’s logo at the top, would you? You may be a fan of the Facebook timeline format, but many businesses aren’t, and they’re still stuck with it. Likewise, many businesses weren’t happy about changes to the tabs and other design and functionality changes Facebook has unilaterally rolled out.

It’s safe to say, Facebook will continue to change their site, which means they will continue to change your site, whether you like it or not, if Facebook.com is your only presence.

On your own domain, you decide what you want and what you don’t. On Facebook, Facebook decides.

This is a less obvious issue with a free subdomain on wordpress.com since the page looks more like your own and you can choose from a wide variety of themes and layouts.

But WordPress can still change requirements and you would either have to accept them or leave (which presents very real problems for your business). WordPress.com also runs its own ads on free subdomain sites (though you can pay to remove them).

4. Analytics – Facebook has recently released what they call Insights for business pages. Insights offer some visibility into your Likes, reach, and demographics of your audience, but it’s not nearly the amount of information and insight you can get from a full-fledged analytics program such as the free Google Analytics, or the built-in analytics available in our EarthLink Web Hosting Control Center.

WordPress.com offers more robust Stats than Facebook, but they still may not be everything you are looking for.

5. SEO – Facebook business pages and WordPress.com subdomains can both rank on search engine results pages, but each has limitations when it comes to search engine optimization or SEO.

Compared to a website on a domain you own, Facebook presents a more limited opportunity to develop content targeted to specific keywords to help your SEO. Facebook limits the number and kind of pages/tabs you can have.

Facebook also presents some challenges with Google search result sitelinks. Sitelinks are the extra links Google sometimes returns along with the link to your homepage. Ideally these are the most important pages on your website.

With your own domain website, you have some control over these links through Google Webmaster Tools. But Facebook pages sometimes appear with sitelinks under your main Facebook page that aren’t even from your page at all.

EarthLink’s Facebook page sometimes appears alongside links to unrelated pages that look from the search results like they are affiliated with us. Since we don’t control Facebook.com, we cannot exclude these links in Webmaster Tools.

With a subdomain site on WordPress.com, the biggest SEO issue comes if you want to move your site to your own domain after you’ve developed lots of SEO-enhancing links to your wordpress.com site.

WordPress.com does now offer some services to help you establish 301 redirects so you don’t lose the value of your incoming links, but it is an add-on service that you’d need to continue paying for as long as you want the redirects live (which could be…forever).

Your biggest SEO problem using either Facebook or WordPress.com would be if they went out of business (or changed their business dramatically).

It certainly doesn’t look likely, but it has happened before. Geocites was once an enormous provider of free websites. Then they disappeared. Google is still running blogger.com, but they have recently closed down many other businesses, so you never know. It is also possible that future problems with other sites on the larger blog domains could spill over and negatively impact SEO on your site.

When you own your own domain name, you own it independent of the company that hosts your site. Even if you sign up for EarthLink Web hosting and choose your business’s domain name in that sign-up process, it is your domain and will continue to be yours as long as you keep renewing your domain registration, no matter what hosting company you use.