4 Types of Online Marketing … and How We Can Help

EarthLink Web Hosting is designed not only to help businesses easily get a professional website online, but also to help them market their website and their business.

That’s why each of our web hosting and ecommerce hosting plans includes free online marketing tools.

In this post, we’ll highlight four types of online marketing – content marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing and email marketing – that are important for businesses to master and the EarthLink Web Hosting tools that can help you do just that.

1. Content marketing: Content marketing is a hot term these days, but it’s not always well understood – because it’s a very broad term. Wikipedia gives this definition of content marketing:

Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.”

The content marketing you are likely most familiar with is a business blog with regular text posts. But content marketing can take many other forms and formats, including videos, photos, PowerPoint presentations, infographics, white papers, case studies, webinars, podcasts and more.

What distinguishes content marketing from the more direct online marketing you do on your business website is that it focuses primarily on communicating with customers/readers/viewers rather than selling to them directly and overtly. Content marketing done well can generate awareness for your business, consideration of your products and services, and increased loyalty from current customers. Sometimes you’ll get direct sales from content marketing, but it’s usually a two-step (or more) process.

Content marketing can also help you with some of your other marketing efforts. Blog content can often be very helpful for your website SEO, part of your overall search engine marketing (SEM) efforts. It can also aid your social media marketing by giving you valuable original content to share with your social network followers. And it can likewise filter into your email marketing by giving you some non-sales content to include in email newsletters.

WordPress blogging software makes it easy to publish your first blog post

How EarthLink Web Hosting helps with content marketing: Our Web Hosting Control Center offers a simple WordPress installer to make it simple to add a WordPress blog to your EarthLink-hosted website. WordPress is the #1 blogging platform in the world. Your blog can then be the bedrock of all your content marketing efforts. See how to install a WordPress blog on your website and how to publish your first blog post using WordPress for help getting started.

2. Social media marketing: Let’s head back to Wikipedia for a quick definition of social media marketing:

“Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.”

Typically it looks like this: businesses establish a presence on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ in order to engage their online audience, build a following, and drive traffic back to their website and/or blog. You’ve bee a part of social media marketing if you’ve Liked a company on Facebook, retweeted a company tweet, or downloaded an online coupon from another social network.

As we noted above with content marketing, success with social media marketing (SMM) can aid in other online marketing efforts. Social network sharing is an effective way to promote your content marketing efforts. Every new blog post, white paper, infographic or other form of content you create should be shared with your social networks. Social media activity can also help you with your search engine marketing’s SEO efforts. Though the major search engines haven’t specified just how much it matters, they’ve all said that social media “signals” factor into the search algorithms that translate into search engine rankings. In other words, if there’s a lot of social network activity around your brand, you’ll be more likely to rank high for relevant terms.

social media integration with SocialStream and EarthLink Web HostingHow EarthLink Web Hosting helps with social media marketing: All of our Web Hosting services include a free tool, found in the Web Hosting Control Center, called SocialStream, that can help you simplify and streamline your social media marketing. SocialStream gives you one easy-to-use dashboard to manage your social networks and lets you post to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn simultaneously. See our Social Media Made Simple for help getting started.

3. Search engine marketing: There are two main forms of search engine marketing (SEM): PPC, which stands for Pay Per Click and SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization.

When you do a Google search, you see results based on both PPC and SEO. Typically at the top of the search results page and along the right side of the page, you see sponsored ads. Businesses have used Google AdWords program to bid on this search engine placement and will pay money to Google for each ad that gets clicked on, which is why it’s called Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.

All the other search results in the middle of the page are considered “organic” or unpaid results based on Google’s perception of how relevant those results are for the search. That’s where SEO comes in. SEO techniques can make it more likely that Google ranks your site higher in these organic search results.

basic-seo-easy-website-optimizerHow EarthLink Web Hosting helps with search engine marketing: While EarthLink Web Hosting doesn’t directly offer a PPC tool (you have to work with and pay Google or Bing directly), our website builder and other tools that help you build and maintain a quality website ultimately help you with PPC. Because you have to have high-quality website pages to link to from your AdWords and other PPC ads.

We do offer free SEO tools that help you submit your website to 60+ search engines and online directories, and SEO tools that help you optimize your individual website pages for search engines. See our SEO Basics posts to see how to use EasySiteOptimizer for SEO, how to create sitemaps and submit to search engines, and how to do code validation for SEO.

4. Email marketing: Because it’s been around for such a long time, email marketing doesn’t have the buzz associated with the marketing techniques above. But it’s been around such a long time because it works. As we reported in this previous blog post about email marketing:

    • People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than people who don’t receive email offers
    • 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a marketing email

Email marketing can include customer newsletters, product offers, coupons, or more informational updates. Regardless of what type or types of email marketing you want to do, having an email marketing platform can streamline and simplify your efforts, and help you track your success.

How EarthLink Web Hosting helps with email marketing: All EarthLink Web Hosting plans include free access to our Announcer Pro email marketing tool. With Announcer Pro you can create graphic-rich emails, manage contact lists of email addresses, send email emails to these lists, as well as track and report the results. See this post for help getting started creating and sending your first marketing email with Announcer Pro.

Good luck with all your online marketing efforts. And let us know how you’re doing.

Is Your Business Like Salad Dressing?

business tips from the salad dressing marketWhat can salad dressing tell you about where your business is headed?

Possibly a lot.

And the answer just might be in two directions simultaneously: up and down.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported (subscription required) about how the salad dressing market is a good indicator of how many markets in the U.S. economy are bifurcating – splitting into a discount market catering to lower income consumers and a premium market catering to the wealthy.

The middle, where you find the most popular brands, is getting squeezed as hard as an almost empty bottle of ketchup.

In the dressing world, the low end is represented by private-label/supermarket brands, while the high-end is represented by fresh and organic dressings and more upscale or exotic flavors.

Premium dressings that you find on refrigerated shelves near the produce section of the grocery store are growing two to three times faster than the regular brands.

If you’re one of our business web hosting customers trying to grow your business online, you might want to think about this up/down market bifurcation and how it may or may not be affecting your business.

Are you well positioned to appeal to the cost-conscious consumers looking to pinch pennies and cut corners? Are you positioned as a premium product or service provider able to command premium pricing? Do you offer options to appeal to both segments?

If not, you may be able to use your web site to test out some alternate products that appeal to either the high or low end of your market, or both.

For example, you might test offering product or service discounts through search engine marketing with Google Adwords (see our previous blog post about getting started with AdWords).

If you can’t (or don’t want to compete on price), you may want to see if you can put together a more premium package that you try to upsell to current customers via email marketing (our previous posts about getting started with email marketing and tracking your email marketing results can help you with that).

See how you can innovate with your product or service (or your marketing) to set it apart from the shrinking middle and help you generate increased growth and higher margins.

Good luck. And let us know how you’re doing.

SEO Basics: Sitemaps & Search Engine Submission with EasySiteOptimizer Pro

basic-seo-easy-website-optimizerThis is the follow-up we promised last week in our post about how to use EasySiteOptimizer Pro’s Code Validation tools to improve website SEO. If you missed that, I recommend starting there and then coming back to this one. And if you haven’t yet done any keyword optimization on your website, you may want to go all the way back to this post about on-page keyword SEO using EasySiteOptimizer Pro.

So, I’ll assume that by now you’ve done some keyword optimization and code validation using EasySiteOptimizer and are ready for these next steps.

First, let’s generate a sitemap that contains all the links available on your website to ensure that Google and other search engines can easily index all your pages. Using a sitemap may improve your chances to rank in search engines for the maximum number of pages.

  1. Sign into your Web Hosting Control Center at with your EarthLink Web Hosting domain name, username, and password.
  2. On the Build tab, click the EasySiteOptimizer button.
  3.  From the Main Menu window, click the Sitemap link on the left side of the page.
  4. Click the Generate Sitemap button.
  5. You’ll see a confirmation that the sitemap was created and any previous sitemap was replaced.
  6. Click the Upload Sitemap button to submit the new sitemap to Google and other search engines.
  7. Click OK after you get confirmation the sitemap was uploaded.

The next EasySiteOptimizer tool you may want to use is the Submissions tool. It’s super quick and easy to use.

Simply click on the Submissions tab at the top of the page, check the 5 boxes listed on the page, and click Apply. This will automatically submit your website to Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and AOL. (Keep in mind, submitting doesn’t guarantee that your site will be indexed, but it’s a great first step.)

After your site has been up for a few weeks, you may want to check in on your Google rankings. The simplest way to see if your website is indexed is to go to Google and search for your website by name. But EasySiteOptimizer Pro offers some additional support when checking SEO rankings. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Click the Optimization tab at the top of the page.
  2. Click the Google Rankings link on the left side of the page.
  3. At the top of the fields on the page you should see your Main URL listed (probably your website’s homepage). To check rankings for that page only, simply click the Check button without adding any additional information.
  4. Below the Check button you should now see numbers listed for Saturation, Back Links, and Page Rank (you may need to scroll down to see them). Saturation is the number of your website’s pages that Google has indexed. Back Links are the number of other websites that have links to your site. And Page Rank is Google’s quality score for your website (between 0 – 10, but you may see NA listed if your website is still new).
  5. You can use the Location field to get rankings for other pages on your website.
  6. Check the use www prefix box if your website defaults to www.
  7. You can add up to four additional URLs if you want to compare your website to other sites (such as competitors).

seo-with-easy-siteoptimizer-traffic-reportsAnd lastly, you can use EasySiteOptimizer Pro to get a quick overview of your website traffic.

  1. Click on the Reports tab at the top of the page.
  2. Choose a Month and Year with the drop-down menus.
  3. Click the Generate Report button.
  4. You’ll see a bar graph showing your daily website hits for the month you selected. It’s sometimes helpful to look for patterns (are Mondays always busy, weekends always light?) and signs of growth (though you may need to look back several months to chart growth).
  5. Under the graph, you’ll get a list of the top Referrers and their URLs, along with the number of hits they generated. (A referrer is basically a website that has sent traffic to you.)

Good luck with your SEO effort with EasySiteOptimizer Pro.

Using EasySiteOptimizer Pro for Website SEO – Code Validation

A few months ago in our SEO Basics post, we showed you how to use EasySiteOptimizer Pro – which is free for all EarthLink Web Hosting and Ecommerce Hosting customers – for on-page keyword SEO optimization of your website.

SEO Basics - using EasySiteOptimizer Pro for code validation SEOBut that’s not all you can do with EasySiteOptimizer Pro. Today we’ll show how to use the Code Validation features to help you improve your website’s search engine rankings.

So let’s get started…

  1. Sign into your Web Hosting Control Center at with your EarthLink Web Hosting domain name, username, and password.
  2. On the Build tab, click the EasySiteOptimizer button.
  3.  From the Main Menu window, click the Optimization link. You’ll see an overview of your most recent optimizations, an optimization statistics graph, and page quality rankings (as shown in the screenshot above).
  4. Click the Code Validation link in the left-side navigation or the button at the bottom of the page. Code validation is to identify common errors on your site that can negatively impact your search engine rankings.
  5. Click the checkbox next to the page that you want to optimize and then click the Begin Code Validation button.
  6. SEO website code validation toolOn the Code Validation page, you’ll see a list of Notes on the left (Errors, Ignored Errors, Fixed Errors, and Notices). Click on any of the notes or errors to see a description of the problem and solution. For example, it may say that you are missing ALT tags for images, that you have a low density of keywords in a tag, that your page Title is too short or lacking keyword density, that you are lacking enough body copy, that you are missing one or more META tag (such as description or keywords).
  7. For some problems, such as keyword issues, you’ll have a link to click on to go and fix the problem. For others, such as Title problems, you’ll have an opportunity to correct the problem on the Code Validation page and then click the Fix button. Others, such as increasing the amount of body copy on your page, may require you to go back to the EasySiteWizard Pro tool (also within the Build section of your Control Center) to make substantial changes to your page.
  8. When you have finished fixing the code validation issues, click the Done button.

After you are finished validating your code and fixing problems, you may want to move on to the next step within the Optimization tab of EasySiteOptimizer: creating or updating your sitmap and submitting it to search engines. We’ll cover that in an upcoming post.

For more help with SEO problems that turn up in your Code Validation steps above, see our previous post about how to use keywords for website SEO (this includes help with Title and META tags).