Build Your Own Business Website

And build for business success with Business Website Plus

Today we’d like to provide anyone thinking about launching a business website for the first time some tips by focusing on one of our top web hosting services: our Business Website Plus web hosting package.

We’re going to go through and highlight its features and try to explain why features like these matter to business owners so you can make more informed decisions and ultimately choose the best web hosting service for your business.

business website plus - web hosting serviceWEB HOSTING OVERVIEW

Our Business Website Plus package is designed for small businesses that want an easy and effective way to build, manage, and market their own website. It offers an easy-to-use website builder with advanced business web templates, an easy-to-install WordPress blog, email marketing and social media tools, and a mobile-optimized website.

BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS WEBSITE

When getting started with web hosting, you’ll want to feel confident you’ve got everything you need to get a really professional and effective website launched – with minimal time and stress. So you’ll want to look for features like these offered with Business Website Plus.

  • Website Builder: An easy-to-use website builder like ours can empower you to quickly create a professional-looking website. You shouldn’t need to know an HTML or anything about coding or websites. (If you really don’t want to do it yourself you should look for a web hosting plan that includes professional website design.)
  • Mobile Website Builder: It’s more and more important to have a mobile-friendly website to reach smartphone & tablet users. So you’ll want to make sure you have an easy-to use mobile website builder, too.
  • Website Templates: Templates make site building as easy as possible. Simply select the business-themed template that works best for your business and add your business and product information. Click. Publish.
  • Advanced Web Templates: Having more options is always good. Business Website Plus offers thousands of highly customizable, advanced templates along with the more basic templates.
  • WordPress Blog Installer: Even if you know you won’t start blogging right away, you should be read to do so. Blogging is a great way to promote your business, engage your customers, and get search engine results. WordPress is the #1 blogging software, and having a simple WordPress Installer lets you add a blog to your business website in no time.
  • Photo Gallery Installer: A picture gallery is another feature that can help you showcase your business. Having an installer to seamlessly set this up on your business website is key.

OPTIMIZING & MARKETING YOUR WEBSITE

Getting your business website online is a huge first step. Next is making sure you can optimize it so search engines rank it, effectively marketing to attract visitors, and measuring your success. So, you’ll want to look for web hosting features like these from our Business Website Plus plan.

  • Search Engine Optimization: Search engine optimization (a.k.a. SEO) are the techniques you use to help your web pages rank higher in search engine results. And higher rankings equals more traffic to your business website. Our EasySiteOptimizer too helps you with SEO; select keywords for each webpage, analyze site content and layout, and identify areas that require changes.
  • Directory Listings: While search engines are more important for most businesses, online directories can also help send traffic to your website and your local business. Easily submit your business information to more than 60 online business directories and GPS navigation systems at one time.
  • Email Marketing: Email is still an effective way to market your business and keep your customer base engaged. Our Announcer Pro tool lets Business Website Plus subscribers store 500 contacts, and create and send HTML emails (campaigns and newsletters). You can choose from 300+ easy email templates and get detailed reporting on your email marketing results.
  • Call Tracking: Get valuable insights into your marketing with a unique phone number for marketing campaign measurement; features include call recording, lead capture, call forwarding, voicemail-to-email, virtual receptionist, click-to-call and more.
  • Social Media Marketing: Social media is an important place to engage your customers and reach out to new ones. But it can be a lot of work. Our social media tool helps you manage multiple social media accounts from one simple interface. Post to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn networks simultaneously.
  • Website Analytics: Knowledge is power, right? That’s why you’ll want to learn as much as you can about your visitors. Use our website analytics tools to track site visits, duration on page, referrals and more so you can optimize your site.

In addition to these web hosting plan features, you’ll want to make sure you get a domain name (Business Website Plus includes a free domain and supports up to 10 domains), domain email addresses (Business Website Plus includes 200 of them, with 1GB of storage for each address), and enough storage space and bandwidth for your business website (Business Website Plus includes 300GB of storage and 3,000GB per month of bandwidth).

Whether you choose our Business Website Plus or another web hosting service, we hope this information helped you make a decision and we wish you the best of luck with your business online.

Let’s Chat … About Adding Chat to Your Website

If you’re an EarthLink Web Hosting customer, we expect you’ve come to appreciate how your website helps you promote your business, pull in new customers and keep current customers engaged and loyal.

But you might also be missing the kind of one-on-one interaction you can have with your customers when they walk into your store or offices: asking them if they need any help, chatting about their needs, and answering their questions.

Well, there are ways to add back some of that customer interaction on your website. We’ve previously posted about adding PhpBB website discussion forums and adding online photo galleries as ways to add interactivity to your business website.

Add Online Chat to Your Website - EasyLiveChatBut perhaps the best way to incorporate that one-on-one interactivity on your website is to add EasyLiveChat.

As the name suggests, EasyLiveChat is an easy way to chat live with your website visitors, offering real-time support and guidance that can lead to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and sales.

How to Add EasyLiveChat to Your Website

  1. Sign into your Web Hosting Control Center at https://control.earthlink.net with your web hosting domain nameusername and password.
  2. From the Build tab, click on the EasyLiveChat icon.
  3. From the new window that opens, click Install EasyLiveChat.
  4. On the next screen, click Configure EasyLiveChat.
  5. Next you should add an agent for your chat service. Click the Add button to get started.
  6. Enter a name and password for your agent. You may also decide to add a maximum number of chats your agent can handle at once and an email address (though these are not mandatory). Click Finished when you’re done.
  7. Click the Setup tab (top right) to choose colors for your Visitor and Agent themes, add a logo, add a Chat subject label, add a Not in service message, allow chat transfers between agents, and decide what questions should be initially asked in all chats (such as requests for name, the customer issue, customer email address; choose Other if you want a custom question).
  8. If you’ve set up a support email address and included a request for customer email address, you can click a checkbox to have a transcript of the chat sent to the customer automatically.
  9. Click on the Agent/Client Code Snippet link to get the source code that should be put into your support pages. Copy the code that appears in the pop-up window and paste it into the HTML of your pages. You can change the text that says Client Login to something else, like Chat with Us or Start Chat if you like.
  10. Click OK to complete setup.
  11. Once setup is complete, agents can click back on the EasyLiveChat icon, and then Agent Login. Enter the username and password you chose in step 6 above to log into the EasyLiveChat service.

We’ll cover the details of how an agent can log in and manage chats with customers visiting your business website in a future post.

FTP Dropboxes – For Online File Sharing

Do you ever have documents, presentations or other business files that are too large to send by email? Wish you had a convenient online location to store and share the most current version your documents?

Then you might want to create some FTP Dropboxes.

An FTP Dropbox is a password-protected area of your Web Hosting space that you can access with an FTP program such as FileZilla or SmartFTP.

FTP Dropboxes make it easy to share files with colleagues, partners, and clients on the Internet.

With EarthLink Web Hosting services you can have as many FTP Dropboxes as you have mailboxes on your Web Hosting or Ecommerce Hosting account, from 100 – 1,000 depending on your plan.

Note: Any FTP Dropbox you create is associated with an email address/box and the dropbox will share the same email password. But your dropboxes do not use your mailbox space – they share your Web site’s disk space allowance.

How to Create an FTP Dropbox

  1. Sign in to your EarthLink Web Hosting Control Center https://control.earthlink.net/ at control.earthlink.net with your domain nameusername and password.
  2. Click on the Email tab.
  3. If you want to create a new email mailbox and FTP dropbox together in one step, click the Add Mailbox button.Add FTP Dropbox and Mailbox
  4. Enter the email address you want for the mailbox, create and confirm a password, check Add an FTP Dropbox to this mailbox, and click the Save button.
  5. If you’ve already created a mailbox and you want to add an FTP Dropbox, click the Edit account icon (looks like paper and pencil) under Accounts on the left side of the Email page.
  6. At the bottom of the new Edit Mailbox page, under FTP Dropbox: Disabled, click the Enable button.

Warnings: Before you share an FTP Dropbox, remember that the password for the FTP Dropbox is the same as its corresponding mailbox. Anyone with access to the dropbox has access to the mailbox and its contents.

Accessing Your FTP Dropbox

After you’ve created your dropbox, you will use an FTP program such as SmartFTP, FireFTP or FileZilla to access it.

Open the FTP program installed on your computer, and enter the FTP Dropbox Settings listed on the Account tab of your Control Center, under Client Settings (on the left side of the page). Your settings will look like this (substitute your domain name for your-domain.com and your mailbox name for mailbox):

  • FTP server: ftp.your-domain.com
  • Username: mailbox@your-domain.com
  • Password: your mailbox password

You can also use a Web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome to access an FTP Dropbox via a special URL:

ftp://mailboxname.yourdomain.com@ftp.yourdomain.com

Note that the first part of this URL is your mailbox email address with a period instead of an @ sign. When you visit this URL in a Web browser, your Web browser will ask you for your mailbox password.

Disabling a Dropbox

Keep in mind that when you disable an FTP Dropbox, you are not deleting the files in the box. You are merely disabling access to the dropbox. To delete the contents of a dropbox you must sign in to your domain via FTP (or by using the File Manager) and delete them from the /dropbox/mailboxname directory. When you sign in via FTP, the /dropbox directory will normally be one level up. To get there, click Parent Directory in your FTP program.

Survey Says … Find Out What Your Customers Want

Learn what your customers want with an online customer survey.Focusing on real customer needs and desires is a proven strategy for business success. But how can you be sure you know what your customers want?

Just ask them. With an online customer survey.

EarthLink Web Hosting can help – with an easy-to-use Customer Survey tool built into our Web Hosting Control Center.

We’ll show you how to create a new survey with our survey templates, how to customize your survey, how to manage your surveys and how to generate reports with survey results.

How to Create and Customize a Customer Survey

  1. Sign in to your EarthLink Web Hosting Control Center https://control.earthlink.net/ at control.earthlink.net with your domain name, username and password.
  2. From the Build tab, click the Customer Survey icon.customer survey tool
  3. Click Create New Survey.
  4. Type the name of your survey in the first text box (this name is for your use and isn’t customer-facing).
  5. Select a survey template from the drop-down menu.
  6. Enter a survey title in the text box. This is the text customers will see on top of your survey.
  7. Enter some text to describe the purpose of your survey in the Introduction text box. Your survey description will appear below the survey title.
  8. Enter a privacy statement or other comments. This text will appear below the last question in the survey.
  9. Click Next to proceed to the next step, which lets you customize your survey template and add your own questions and the types of answers you want to allow.
  10. Click where it says Type your question and then click the Edit question icon (looks like blue gears).
  11. Type your first survey question into the top text box.
  12. Select the type of answer you want: checkbox (lets users pick multiple answers), radio button (allows only one answer), text area or text field.
  13. Enter a possible answer and click the Add answer button. Repeat for as many possible answers you want to display.
  14. Click Accept when you have finished adding answers for this question.
  15. To add another question either below or above the one you just created, click one of the two buttons to the right of the Edit question button: one has a capital Q with a + sign below the Q and the  other has a capital Q with a + sign above the Q.
  16. Repeat the process of editing the question and providing possible answers as you did above in steps 10 – 14.
  17. Repeat the process of adding additional questions until you have completed your survey.
  18. Click the Next button to save your survey.

After your survey is saved, you’ll have the option to create another survey, go to reports, or manage your survey.

If you want to edit and/or publish the survey you just created, click the Manage Surveys link. This will bring you to a page listing all of your surveys.

  1. Click on the survey you’d like to publish, download, email, copy or delete. You’ll see icons on the right side of the page that correspond with these actions. Hover your mouse over any icon to see what it’s for. The first icon for the survey you just worked on should say Draft.
  2. Click the second icon, a green circle with a triangle on it, to publish your survey.
  3. You should get a confirmation that the survey was published along with the URL for the survey. Click OK to close the confirmation window.
  4. If you want to edit any of your surveys, click on the survey name and then click the Next button. Make any edits you have on the Survey Properties page and click Next again. Click on any of the questions you wish to edit and click the Edit question icon. Click Next when you are done editing the questions and/or answers.

After you’ve had a survey up for a while, you’ll want to view the results. When you’re ready to do that, click the Reports tab or Reports link on the Main Menu of the Customer Survey page.

  1. Select a survey from the list of available surveys.
  2. Click Next.
  3. A new page will show you how customers answered your questions.
  4. Click Next to get additional statistics until you reach the confirmation page at the end of the report.

Good luck with your surveys. Let us know how it works for you by leaving a comment below.