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.

Website Security: How to Use Our IP Blocker

ip blocker - website security tool for web hostingOne 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

  1. Sign in to your EarthLink Web Hosting Control Center at control.earthlink.net with your domain nameusername and password.
  2. Click on the Manage Site tab.
  3. Click on the IP Blocker icon (see screenshot above).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Click the Protect Location button and the IP addresses you entered will not be able to access your website.
  7. Use the Manage Protected Locations section to block additional IP addresses or to remove IPs you had previously blocked.

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.

Social Media Made Simple with EarthLink Web Hosting

social media integration with SocialStream and EarthLink Web HostingWhether you have a large, multi-location business, a small local retail store, or you’re an individual service provider like a lawyer or accountant, you should at least be experimenting with social media.

Social media can be a great way for all kinds of businesses to connect with and engage customers and potential customers, to showcase your brand (even if it’s just your personal brand), to promote loyalty, and to distribute promotions. Along with your company website, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer you an additional online channel promote your business. But managing your business’s social media for multiple social networks can be a lot of work to keep up with.

The good news if you’re an EarthLink Web Hosting customer is that all of our hosting and ecommerce plans include a free tool, called SocialStream, to help simplify and streamline the process of managing your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn social networks from one easy-to-use social media dashboard.

How to Set Up SocialStream

  1. Sign into your Web Hosting Control Center at https://control.earthlink.net with your web hosting domain name, username and password.
  2. From the Build tab, click on the SocialStream icon.
  3. Click the Social Networks link.
  4. Click the Connect button for each of the social networks you want to connect to your web hosting account (you will need to have signed up for the social networks first). If you ever want to disconnect a network, simply come back to this page and click Disconnect.connect social media accounts to web hosting account
  5. A new window will pop up for each network you select, asking you to allow Social Media Tracker to access your account. Click Authorize or Okay. (You may also need to sign in at the same time if you are not already signed in to the service.)

How to Post to Multiple Social Networks

  1. If you are already in SocialStream, click the Communicate tab at the top of the page. If not, sign back into your Web Hosting Control Center and click the SocialStream icon and then the Communicate link.
  2. Simply enter your post in the Add New Comment box (following the appropriate limits, such as 140 characters), select which networks you want to post to (or click the Select All button to post to all of them), and click Post Status.
  3. You will see a confirmation message indicating your post was successful.

How to Track Your Social Media Posts

After you’ve started posting to your social networks, you’ll probably want to keep track of how they are working. SocialStream makes that simple, too.

  1. If you are already in SocialStream, click the History tab at the top of the page. If not, sign back into your Web Hosting Control Center and click the SocialStream icon and then the History link.
  2. Click the Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook icons to see information for one network at a time or click Show All.
  3. You’ll see Posts, No. of Replies, Likes and the Time of the post. The most recent posts are on top.
  4. Click the Follower Posts tab to see the users who are following your posts on your social networks and any replies to your posts.

Let us know how social media working for your business by leaving a comment below. Good luck!