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.

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.

Website Statistics – The Numbers Say You Need to Have a Website

Sometimes the numbers just don’t add up. Like these website statistics…

I recently read that 97% of Internet users in the U.S. now go online to shop for local goods and services. That’s virtually everybody.

Yet by most accounts (there are slightly different numbers from survey to survey) 50% or more of U.S. businesses still do not have a website.

You’d expect those numbers to align much closer, wouldn’t you?

If 97% of people are going online when they want to buy, wouldn’t closer to 97% of businesses be there to sell to them? But they’re not. It’s not even close.

And it’s not because people are only looking for the big national brands or top online retailers: that 97% is for people looking to buy local goods and services, the very customers that small businesses should be most trying to reach. Yet about half of all companies are giving up that potential business to their competitors by not having a website. Go figure?

It’s also not because these people would be hard to reach: The same survey reported that 90% of these shoppers use search engines to find their local goods and services. All you’d need to reach them is a simple business website that has been set up properly so search engines can find it.

EarthLink Web Hosting provides all subscribers a simple, template-based website builder that makes it quick and easy for anyone to build a business website – with absolutely no experience necessary. (There are also options to have a professional website designer take care of everything for you.)

Our web hosting services also include easy-to-use tools to help businesses reach out to their customers, including search engine optimization (SEO) tools to help small businesses get their website in front of the 90% of shoppers using search engines for local goods and services.

According to the numbers, getting online works: Businesses using the web are expected to grow 40% faster and almost twice as likely to create jobs.

So, if you’re still waiting…what are you waiting for? A great deal? Then how about this:

Right now, the 50% of you without a business website can get 50% off any of our do-it-yourself web hosting and ecommerce hosting plans. Plus, a free domain name for 1 year.

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.