Standard & eCommerce Web Hosting: A Comparison

EarthLink Web Hosting now offers revamped web hosting products: Traditional and eCommerce Web Hosting plans. So, if your business needs a website, look no further.

With both “web hosting” and “ecommerce web hosting,” EarthLink offers both Do-It-Yourself (with our easy-to-use template-based site builder) and Do-It-For-Me (in which an EarthLink professional web designer constructs your site for you) options.

(Check out our comparison article if you want to learn more about these options)

Once you know who will be building your site, it’s time to select either a standard web hosting plan or an ecommerce hosting plan.

An ecommerce hosting plan includes the features of a web hosting plan with one main addition: ecommerce plans also include an online store (also called a “shopping cart”) that lets customers purchase products while browsing your website using a credit card.  This is great for businesses that sell hard goods (like dishes, books, teddy bears, etc).

A standard web hosting plan does not include an online store, and is good for service-oriented businesses (like massage therapist, dog groomer, or other appointment-needed business model).  The website promotes your business (and it will probably generate calls that eventually turn into sales), but is not a web “store.”

Ecommerce hosting plansare priced higher than standard hosting plans, but being able to sell online can quickly offset that cost, especially when the following features are also included:

  • StoreCreator Pro – Easy-to-use shopping cart builder.
  • Rapid SSL Certificate – Secures online transactions; increases customer confidence
  • One-Page Mobile Website *
  • Call Tracking – Call-tracking and analytics service helps you improve your online and offline marketing. You get a unique toll-free or local phone number so you can track and record customer calls. Includes click-to-call and other features.
  • Advanced Website Template Gallery – More than 5,000 templates to chose from.*
  • OneList – Enhances SEO with directory listings submissions to 60+ North American-based online directories.*
  • Announcer Pro – Send your customers engaging email newsletters using graphic-rich HTML email templates.
  • 1,000 Business-Class Email Accounts – Allows for comprehensive email system as your business grows.
  • 500 GB Website Storage – Standard website hosting plans include up to 300 GB of storage.

(* above designates features that are not included in our standard Website Plus hosting plan but are included in both Business Website Plus and eCommerce Website Plus.)

And if you want an eCommerce package with the Do-It-For-Me option, there are even more features in that website design eCommerce package.

What Internet Connection Fits You Best?

Internet connections are like cars: most people need one, but the kind that fits them best depends on the individual.  Find out what kind of internet is best for you with this quick breakdown:

Do you want solutions that are universal, easy, inexpensive and reliable?  If so, dial-up internet could be a good choice for you.  It’s not the fastest internet connection available (though EarthLink provides a free dial-up accelerator that lets you surf up to 7x faster than regular 56K dial-up), but it can be installed into any home anywhere in America (as long as they have a phone line).  And it’s cheap; with prices as low as $9.95/mo for the first three months, dial-up is the standard in easy, reliable internet access.

Click on the image to see high-speed internet options in your area!

Are you online a lot to check your social media profiles or watch videos?  Do you need a reliable connection, but require more speed than dial-up? DSL internet would be a good choice for you if you answered “yes” to these questions.  With speeds up to 100x faster than dial-up access, DSL is perfect for people who spend a lot of time online.  And with low pricing like $14.95/mo for the first three months, it’s a great value too!

If you like to spend a lot of time downloading from and uploading to the internet, as well as other activities (stream movies, play in-depth online games), then you may be happiest with a cable internet connection.  Though offers do vary by location, cable internet can start at only $29.95/mo, and can be up to 250x faster than dial-up access.  It’s the perfect solution for those who feel the need for internet speed.

Finally, if you live in a rural area that does not have access to cable or DSL, but would like more speed than dial-up access can provide, EarthLink offers satellite internet to make sure your needs get met.

With all these internet options, there’s certainly something for everyone!

Successfully Getting Your Business Online, Part 3

Welcome to the third article in our three part series “Successfully Getting Your Business Online”

Part 1: Domain Names, URLs, and Email Addresses

Part 2: Proper Branding and Web Design

Part 3: Customer Needs Determine Site Functionality

After your domain and email addresses are set up and your site reflects the branding guidelines you chose, the last step before launching your website is to make sure it will have the proper functionality.  How can you make sure it’ll function “properly”?  Let your customer needs decide the functionality!

One serious consideration will be whether or not your customers will expect online purchase capabilities.  An ever-increasing number of customers shop online because it’s easy and convenient.  If your business is part of a market that generally supplies its customers with an online store (aka, if most of your competitors provide one), purchase a hosting plan that includes a shopping cart (EarthLink Web Hosting has a great option!).  And while it is possible to add an online shopping cart to your site after buying a hosting plan, but you can save money including it immediately in your hosting plan, as opposed to after the fact.

If you don’t need an online store (for example, if your customers call and set up an appointment for a service instead of buying a physical good), just be sure to get a basic hosting plan to satisfy your needs (start by looking at EarthLink’s hosting plans).

So remember: chose your domain, brand your site, and let your customers’ needs dictate the site’s functionality!

Why Don’t Faxes Turn Into Emails? …Now They Can!

If you’ve ever been stuck between needing to leave the office and needing to stay to see a fax when it comes in, you’ll love EarthLink’s solution: Fax-to-Email.  Fax-to-Email is a “website service” offered by EarthLink Web Hosting.

Instead of being tied to your fax machine, fax-to-email converts every fax you receive into an email.  You can save on paper (and ink) while making your faxes more convenient.  Check your faxes in the office, on your laptop at home, or even on the go using your mobile phone (yes, it works on most smart phones!).

 

With EarthLink’s Fax-to-Email, you receive

  • A toll free number with the ability to send faxes to anyone in North America
  • An online interface to manage contacts, view, and archive faxes
  • Delivery confirmations
  • Option to add cover pages
  • Real-time usage reporting
  • The ability to send a fax to up to 20 recipients at once!
  • And support of MSWord, MSExcel, MSPowerPoint, PDF, JPEG, and TIFF files

Now there’s no reason to keep yourself tied to your fax machine!