Network Outages & Your Smartphone

If you’re at home and can’t connect to the Internet, what you want most is really very simple: you want your problem to go away so you can get online.

But it’s also good to know what the problem is. Especially if the problem is a network outage.

What’s a network outage?

Network outages are when there is a problem affecting many people, using a particular type of Internet service, in a defined area. In other words, it’s when the problem you’re having is not just you.

And that’s good to know that right away, because then you won’t waste time trying to fix your computer or troubleshoot your connection problem or even waste your time calling us for support.

So you should remember our Outage Alerts page within the EarthLink Support Center.

And more than just remember it, you should bookmark it.  On your smartphone.

Your smartphone is the best place to bookmark the Outage Alerts page because if you can’t get online at home using your DSL, Cable or Dial-Up Internet access and you want to check the outage page … you won’t be able to check the Outage page … because you can’t get online to do so. It’s an unfortunate catch 22, unless you have another way to get online.

But now your smartphone can come to the rescue.

So, right now, you should open your smartphone’s browser (it might just say Internet on your phone) and enter this web address: 

When the page opens, bookmark it, add it to your favorites, star it, etc. – save it for easy access later however your smartphone browser lets you.

Internet access outages, network outage alerts

The Outage Alerts page is a simple list of our services – Dialup, Cable, DSL, Voice, Web Hosting, Email and EarthLink 4G – and a column showing the current status of the service. Most of the time, as is the case right now, you’ll see All Clear listed for all our services (as you can see in the screenshot above), meaning there are no known network outages.

If there is a known network outage, you’ll see the outage listed in the Status column. You can check back with your smartphone and see when the outage is fixed, and then connect with your home Internet access.

If you see All Clear and you are still unable to connect to the Internet, then the problem is likely something on your end.

We’ve done some previous connection troubleshooting blog posts that can be very helpful and save you time (and aggravation) getting the problem fixed. Most of the time, very quick and easy solutions work to get you back online.

Depending on your access type, try these top 10 dial-up connection solutions, these cable Internet access troubleshooting tips,  these tips for fixing DSL connection problems, and these Wi-Fi home networking troubleshooting tips .

We hope you never need this information. But it’s best to be prepared. Just in case.

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.

Watching for the Smartwatches

As an ISP offering high-speed cable, DSL, satellite, and wireless 4G internet, along of course with basic dial-up access, EarthLink knows how important Internet access is to you.

We even know how much you want to stay connected on the go, based on the success of our new 4G Wireless Internet On-the-Go service.

But do you need it on your watch?

Smartwatches - Samsung Galaxy GearSome of the biggest names in technology seem to think so, which is why there’s been so much news about smartwatches lately. This new kind of watch pairs with a smartphone to provide on-the-go connectivity along with on-the-wrist convenience.

In June, Sony announced its SmartWatch 2, which has a 1.6-inch, 220 x 176 pixel display, Android compatibility, Bluetooth 3 and NFC for connectivity, a projected 3 to 4 day battery life, but no camera, microphone or speakers. The SmartWatch 2 should ship later this month with a price tag of around $260. Cnet has a review of the SmartWatch 2 here.

Just yesterday, smartphone leader Samsung announced that its Samsung Galaxy Gear (shown above) line of watches would be available on September 25.

The Galaxy Gear will have a 1.63-inch, 320×320 pixel AMOLED display, compatibility with new Galaxy smartphones (not older Galaxys or other Android phones), Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity, 1 day of expected battery life, 4G of online storage, a 1.9MP camera, 720p video recording, a speaker and two microphones. All for about $299. Engadget.com has a hands-on review with video here.

If you’re curious about either, TechCrunch.com offers a face-off of the Sony and Samsung smartwatches.

Other smartwatches in the works include the Toq from wireless chipmaker Qualcomm, which is expected in October. Cnet has a review of the Toq here.

Looking for a less expensive smartwatch? Or one that’s iPhone compatible? In both those cases, you may want to check out the Pebble, which is currently available for preorder. The $150 Pebble, which was an early Kickstarter success story, is compatible with both iPhones and Androids, has a 144×168 pixel e-paper display, Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR and 4.0 connectivity, customizable watchfaces, and an expected 7-day battery life.

The most intense and persistent, yet unconfirmed, rumors have been about an upcoming Apple iWatch. TechRadar.com has all the iWatch rumors here.

Think you’ll get a smartwatch? If so, let us know what you’ll be looking for. Not interested? Share your thoughts too. We always like to hear comments from our readers.

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.