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.

Your Business Website as a Labor Saver

1st Labor Day in NYCHappy Labor Day!

In honor of the holiday (and the fact that you’re not likely to be doing a lot of heavy web hosting reading today), we’re giving you a quick list of some ways you can save labor when creating your website, along with some labor-saving features of a business website from EarthLink.

  1. Professional website design: The ultimate labor saving strategy for you – have someone else do it for you. With this professional design option, our web experts take care of everything needed to launch your website while you take care of your business. Ongoing, monthly website design and copywriting maintenance is also included to save you the labor for upkeep.
  2. Website builder: The next best thing (in terms of labor) to having someone else create your website for you would be to use our super-simple, template-driven EasySiteWizard Pro website builder. Just pick a template that fits your business, enter some information about your business, and click to publish a good-looking 3-page site.
  3. Location information: When your website prominently displays location information, perhaps including online maps and directions, you not only encourage visits to your store or office, you reduce the need to answer the phone to provide this information.
  4. Hours: Questions about your business hours can drive calls and staffing needs. Offering this information online can cut phone labor.
  5. Mobile website: Mobile websites that offer smartphone users the information they need without calling you extends the labor-saving benefits of the previous two bullets.
  6. SEO: The more you are able to get your website to rank “organically” in the main Google or Bing search results, the less extra work you’re going to need to do to market your business. Our SEO tools help EarthLink Web Hosting customers optimize their websites for search engine rankings. Not only that, you can use them to submit your site to more than 60 online business directories and search engines all at once – saving you time and effort.
  7. Social media: Save time promoting your business on social networks. EarthLink Web Hosting customers can easily manage multiple social media accounts from one simple interface and post to Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn simultaneously.
  8. Email marketing: Announcer Pro reduces the time and effort needed to set up and track an email marketing campaign.

We hope you have a great Labor Day with family and friends.

Web Hosting Definition – Plus Other Hosting Services

Web hosting definitionEarthLink has been a leading Web hosting provider since way back in 1995. So it’s sometimes surprising to hear that people still don’t understand the term web hosting.

But we hear that all the time. And we’ve acted on that information too.

In fact, that’s why our main website navigation that takes visitors to our web hosting services is labeled Web Sites and the first link in that menu say Get a Website instead of just web hosting or web hosting services.

So this post is going to focus on one thing and one thing only: the definition of web hosting.

First, here are some expert definitions…

According to Wikipedia (today, at least), web hosting is defined as:

A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web.

According to the PCMag.com Encyclopedia, the definition of web hosting is:

Making a Web site available on the Internet. A Web site contains pages of information stored in a Web server, which is a computer running Web server software connected to the Internet.

According to TechTerms.com, the definition of a Web Host is:

In order to publish a website online, you need a Web host. The Web host stores all the pages of your website and makes them available to computers connected to the Internet.

But to help define web hosting in a way that’s clear for everybody, let’s broaden the context further and talk about hosting in general.

Everybody, I think, understands what it means to host a party – you have the party at your house. But you are more likely to say you are hosting a party if the party isn’t a personal one, like a birthday party.

Recently, friends of ours hosted a fundraising party for a local preschool at their house. It wasn’t their party; it was the preschool’s party.  But, by agreeing to host the party, our friends were making the party happen at their home and making sure everything went smoothly – guests could come, eat, have fun, and donate money – for the preschool.

The school could have hosted the party themselves, but that’s not what they’re experts at. And they don’t really have the right space or facilities to host a successful fundraiser. So they turned to someone else to host their party for them.

That’s the same basic idea with web hosting.

With Web hosting or website hosting, a company like EarthLink agrees (for a monthly fee) to host the website of a customer at their web hosting facilities. When we host a website, we are putting all the files for the customer’s website (HTML pages, images, etc.) on our server computers in our data centers and making the website open and available to whoever wants to visit. Of course, our Web Hosting services offer much more – domain names, site-building tools, search engine marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, etc. – but the core web hosting function is keeping other people’s websites publically available on our computers.

The websites we host are not our own websites: they belong to our customers. But our customers – mostly small and medium sized businesses – need someone to put their website online and make sure it is readily available to visitors.

It’s technically possible for someone to build and host their own website. But to do it well and have the site perform properly and be easily available, you need to have the right (expensive) equipment and expertise. Most individuals or businesses don’t have that expertise, so they turn to an expert in web hosting to host their website.

It is also possible for a business to have a webpage for their business on a 3rd-party site like Facebook. But that’s not web hosting, because Facebook is letting you promote your business on their website rather than hosting a website that belongs to you. The web address for your business on Facebook would be something like www.Facebook.com/YourBusiness because it is Facebook’s website, not yours. When you are a web hosting customer, your website is hosted at its own domain name; something more like www.YourBusiness.com. That’s why, when you decide to host your website with EarthLink, we offer a free domain name with most plans, and your first step will typically be to choose a domain name for your website.

Some of the confusion about the definition of web hosting probably arises because for most small businesses, they don’t initially turn to a web hosting provider to host a website they have. They don’t, in essence, say, “Here, take my website and put it on your computers so everyone can see it on the Web.” Because they don’t have a website yet, what they actually say is more like, “I finally decided I need a website” or “I want to get a website for my business.” They don’t necessarily know they need web hosting – just that they need a website. So we help with that too. We make it simple for people to build a website (or arrange for one of our professional website designers to build it for them) and then we host the website for them.

Here are some real world scenarios (from least common to most common) for how people get started with web hosting that may further clarify what web hosting is.

  1. A business has a website already (they built it themselves or had someone else build it) and has already registered a domain name. When they sign up with EarthLink Web Hosting, they transfer the domain name for the site to us and then they use an FTP program to upload the HTML files for their website to our web servers (we give them the settings to do this). We then host their webpages so their site is available online.
  2. A business has a domain name already but hasn’t built a website. When they sign up, they transfer their domain name to EarthLink Web Hosting; then they either use our free Site Builder to build a website (Site Builder uploads it automatically to their webspace) or have one our professional website designers take care of everything for them. We then host the site that they build.
  3. A business has a website already but has not registered a domain name. When they sign up with EarthLink Web Hosting, they choose a free domain name for their website. Then they use an FTP program to upload the HTML files for their website to our web servers. We then host their website.
  4. A business doesn’t have a website or domain. When they sign up with EarthLink Web Hosting, they choose a free domain name for their website. Then they either use our free Site Builder to build a website or have a professional website designer do it for them. We then host the website that they build.

For more context about hosting, consider some of the other types of hosting services offered by our EarthLink Business division:

  • Cloud Hosting – Rather than a business buying, storing, and managing server computers at their own facilities, we help them create virtual or cloud servers that we host in our secure data centers. They get secure remote access to their hosted cloud servers and use them as they would physical servers at their business — to host applications, databases, etc.
  • Hosted Voice – Rather than a business buying and managing a complex and expensive PBX phone system on their premises, we offer a fully featured IP PBX system that we host for them. So the business gets all the advanced phone functionality without the hardware costs and maintenance headaches.
  • Hosted Network Security – Rather than a business buying and managing complex and expensive security devices at each location, we offer a fully redundant network security solution that we host to give all business locations the same level of protection.
  • Hosted Exchange Email  Rather than a business buying email servers and managing Microsoft Exchange for all their users, we offer a hosted Exchange solution. Businesses avoid costs for hardware, licenses, backups, antivirus protection, and ongoing maintenance. They also get added security since their email is hosted in an EarthLink Business SSAE 16-compliant data center.

12 Reasons to Get EarthLink Web Hosting

Happy Holidays from EarthLink Web HostingAn early Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating the holiday tomorrow!

In honor of the 12 days of Christmas (which traditionally start tomorrow or the day after Christmas), I decided to put together this quick list of 12 reasons to choose EarthLink for Web Hosting or ecommerce hosting. My apologies to all those features and benefits I didn’t have room to list here (there were so many on my complete list I almost expected to see “a partridge in a pear tree”).

  1. Experience and expertise: EarthLink has been a top web hosting provider since 1995. With almost 18 years experience satisfying our web hosting customers, we’re a provider you can trust.
  2. Helpful support: We’re a customer-first company that believes in providing customer support excellence. We offer easy-to-use DIY support tools, support by chat, and helpful toll-free phone support.
  3. Build your own website services: We make it simple (and affordable) for you to make your own business website with our free, easy-to-use website builder. Choose from our vast array of professionally designed templates, enter your business information to customize, and click to publish.
  4. Professional website design services: Our web design pros can work with you to build your business website based on your requirements and provide ongoing maintenance. Our low monthly pricing lets you avoid the steep upfront costs of most professional website design.
  5. Ecommerce web hosting services: If you need more than just a promotional website, we offer DIY and professional web design sites with full ecommerce capabilities: secure credit card transactions, robust online shopping cart, and more.
  6. Affordable prices: We don’t believe in cutting corners to be the cheapest, but at EarthLink Web Hosting we believe in providing you a great value. Our web hosting and ecommerce services are feature-rich, but you don’t have to be rich to afford them. It’s actually a great investment in the future of your business.
  7. Free domain names: When you sign up for EarthLink web hosting or ecommerce hosting, you get to choose a free domain name for your website.
  8. Free mobile websites: Most of our web hosting plans include a free mobile website that’s optimized for smartphones and tablets. That way even more people can find your website.
  9. Free SEO tools: Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you generate more traffic to your website. Our free tools help you optimize your business website for search engines and also list your website on 60+ online directories and GPS systems.
  10. Free social media tools: Our free SocialStream tool can help you take better advantage of the benefits of social media. Manage multiple social networks from one simple interface and simultaneously post to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  11. Free email marketing tools: Email is still an effective way to reach customers. Announcer Pro makes it easy to create compelling email newsletters, manage customer contact lists, and track in real-time the success of your email marketing campaigns.
  12. WordPress blog installer: WordPress is the #1 blogging software in the world, making it simple for you to build and maintain a blog for your business. Our WordPress Installer is designed to work seamlessly with your EarthLink Web Hosting account.

Happy Holidays from all of us at EarthLink!