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.
WEB 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.
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.
But 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
- Sign into your Web Hosting Control Center at https://control.earthlink.net with your web hosting domain name, username and password.
- From the Build tab, click on the EasyLiveChat icon.
- From the new window that opens, click Install EasyLiveChat.
- On the next screen, click Configure EasyLiveChat.
- Next you should add an agent for your chat service. Click the Add button to get started.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Click OK to complete setup.
- 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.
One of the many free tools available to EarthLink Web Hosting customers in their Web Hosting Control Center is our easy-to-use IP Blocker.
The IP Blocker is one of the ways you can keep your website secure and protect your business. Using this tool, you can protect your website from being viewed from particular IP addresses or a range of IPs.
Why would you want to do that? We’ll, you may become aware, by looking at your website visitor logs or, especially, error logs, that there are huge numbers of requests for files that don’t exist.
Many of these “visitors” (likely robots) may be from countries like China or Russia, even though your products or services are not available in those countries. So these visits to your website are likely made by malicious spammers or hackers trying to find a backdoor to damage your site, hijack your mail program, or harm you in some other way.
So, whenever you are aware of any malicious visitors to your website, you can use the IP Blocker tool to block their access so they can’t return to cause problems for you.
How to Use IP Blocker
- Sign in to your EarthLink Web Hosting Control Center at control.earthlink.net with your domain name, username and password.
- Click on the Manage Site tab.
- Click on the IP Blocker icon (see screenshot above).
- Choose a location (within your /public directory) that you would like to protect. Note: Protecting any website directory blocks access to all its sub-directories as well. So, for example, if you protect your main /public/ directory, your whole website will be protected from being viewed by your list of blocked IP addresses.
- Enter an IP address you want to block in the text field and click Add IP. To block multiple IP addresses, click the Add more IPs link, which will expand the text field (enter multiple IPs separated by a space, comma or semi-colon). You can specify either full, individual IP addresses or partial networks. For example, entering 10.10.1 – will block the entire network 10.10.1.x but entering 10.10.1.5 will block only that particular IP address.
- Click the Protect Location button and the IP addresses you entered will not be able to access your website.
- Use the Manage Protected Locations section to block additional IP addresses or to remove IPs you had previously blocked.
Happy 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hours: Questions about your business hours can drive calls and staffing needs. Offering this information online can cut phone labor.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.