Affordable Web Design is at your Fingertips

Building a website for your business can be daunting. Is it better to risk a lot of money on a designer or a lot of time on a built-it-yourself option? Too often, designers are prohibitively expensive, and website builders can look unprofessional.

EarthLink Web Hosting makes your choice easy with two solutions: an affordable, professional-grade do-it-yourself design tool, or an affordable professional designer. Let’s compare them…

Independent Designer / Design Firm

PROS:

  • Design is their only product (so it’s likely good!)

CONS:

  • It could be difficult to get one-on-one time
  • Turn-around may be slow
  • This is the highest-priced option
  • Designers may have an esthetic they don’t like to deviate from

Designers Within Your Web Hosting Company

PROS:

  • They are invested in your business (for example, EarthLink offers web design services to compliment their web hosting plans, and prefer to support you in all areas instead of only supporting hosting)
  • They have incentive to keep you as a client (ex. If a designer loses your business, he only loses your deign business; if a hosting company loses your design business, they will probably also lose your hosting business!)
  • Pricing is lower than design-only options
  • Other services (such as internet marketing) can also be added to your account (and costs are cheaper bundled!)

CONS:

  • Turn around time may be slower than desired

Yourself, With Easy-to-Use Tools

PROS:

  • EarthLink offers tools (ex.Net Objects Fusion) that let you to create your own website on your own time with no design experience required
  • Turn around time is up to you (and you can alter it at your discretion)
  • This is the most affordable of your options

CONS:

  • You will spend a little bit of time learning how to use your chosen tool(s)

Happy Birthday to the Web – World’s First Website Back Online

Original proposal for the Word Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee.

Original proposal for the Word Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee.

The Web turned 20 this week, on Tuesday April 30.

It was on that day back in 1993 that Tim Berners-Lee, father of the Web, and CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) made the very first website public.

Though that historic world’s first website went offline long ago, it was recently recreated and is once again live at its original URL. We encourage you to take a look back to the future: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

No, it’s not much to look at. But it is one of the major milestones in the history of both technology and culture.

Also of historical importance on this anniversary of the Web is Berners-Lee’s original 1989 proposal to CERN to convince them to back his idea for the Web (which at the time he was calling “Mesh”). See the proposal for the Web.

It’s astounding to think: Just 20 years ago there was one lone website. Today there are an estimated 630 million websites, according to CERN.

Also astounding: EarthLink’s 20-year anniversary is just 11 months away in March 2014.

I knew EarthLink was founded in 1994, but it was just this week as the news reports came in about the 20th anniversary of the Web that it struck me just how close to the very beginnings of the Web EarthLink started.

And we’re still going strong.

From all of us here at EarthLink: Happy Birthday to the World Wide Web!

Your Business Website: Who Should Design It?

Unless you’re a professional or advanced web programmer and designer, getting a website for your business (or hobby) can seem like an impossibly difficult task.  The first step is always getting a URL and a hosting plan, but once that’s completed…how do you get an actual functioning design live and online?  Traditionally, the answer was “Spend money on a professional designer.”  But now EarthLink offers professional or do-it-yourself web design as a part of it’s web hosting product, so there are two additional choices.  Which is right for you?   Here are the pros and cons of your choices:

Independent Designer / Design Firm

PROS:

  • Design is their only product (so it’s likely good!)

CONS:

  • It could be difficult to get one-on-one time
  • Turn-around may be slow
  • This is the highest-priced option
  • Designers may have an esthetic they don’t like to deviate from

Designers Within Your Web Hosting Company

PROS:

  • They are invested in your business (for example, EarthLink offers web design services to compliment their web hosting plans, and prefer to support you in all areas instead of only supporting hosting)
  • They have incentive to keep you as a client (ex. If a designer loses your business, he only loses your deign business; if a hosting company loses your design business, they will probably also lose your hosting business!)
  • Pricing is lower than design-only options
  • Other services (such as internet marketing) can also be added to your account (and costs are cheaper bundled!)

CONS:

  • Turn around time may be slower than desired

Yourself, With Easy-to-Use Tools

PROS:

  • EarthLink offers tools (ex.Net Objects Fusion) that let you to create your own website on your own time with no design experience required
  • Turn around time is up to you (and you can alter it at your discretion)
  • This is the most affordable of your options

CONS:

  • You will spend a little bit of time learning how to use your chosen tool(s)

What option is the right fit for your business?

Should Web Hosting Cover Your Current or Future Needs?

Getting a business online is a lot of work.  When starting a new venture, or deciding to give your business a new online presence, there can be so many Web Hosting options that choosing feels overwhelming.  How much storage space will you use?  How many email accounts will you want on your domain?  Should you select a web hosting plan that fits your current usage needs and upgrade later, or pick a plan you’ll grow into so you won’t have to go through the hassle of a future upgrade?

Solve this by answering an easy question: what stage is your business in?  Here are three scenarios that can cover most situations (if you want more info, email “social@corp.earthlink.net” and we’ll help you out!):

1) Start-up business

Start-ups are focused on growth.  It can be tempting to try and cut costs when first launching your business, but the time and stress of upgrading a hosting plan soon after purchasing it may not be worth the cost savings.  If you plan on growing your business, why pick a plan that fits your current needs when you could select one that gives you the room to grow?

2) Established Business Getting Online for the First Time

If your business is already established, and you’re getting it online (to a better hosting provider or for the first time), chose a plan that fits your current size. Unless you’re going to add an online store or drastically alter your business structure, you probably know the breadth of the plan you’ll need.  It could still be useful to select a plan a step above what you think you’ll need (especially if you’re adding an online shopping cart), but you can be rest easy by selecting a plan that fits your current needs since your way(s) of doing business are solidified.

3) A Side Business or Other “Small” Website

Being a “small business” can be rewarding.  Either it’s a side business, jut for fun, or the online component of your business doesn’t need to be huge (though you do need an online presence, since it’s “required” by consumers in today’s economy).  If you’re this type of business, go ahead and pick a small plan.  If your business does grow, congratulate yourself and then upgrade, but if you know going into it that your web hosting needs will be conservative, there’s no need to chose a more in depth plan until you have to.