Author Archives: Czaja Silvasi

The Modern Blog and Your Business

business_blog_photoBlog.  It’s a weird word with a lot of meaning.  Historically, blogs have been perceived as a digital journal for an individual to voice opinions, thoughts, or stories, and this definition holds true today, for some blogs.  For example, I have three personal blogs that I update regularly and they are just that, an online journal of my life.

But, I also have a professional blog designed solely to display my skills and services to the internet.  I use it to market my skills and display my knowledge.  This concept of the professional blog is becoming a regular occurrence for many businesses with an online presence.

But why?  Does it behoove your business to add a blog page to your website?  What content should you include, and how often should you update it?

First, ABSOLUTELY, you should have a blog on your website.  Groomers, caterers, graphic designers, even hosting companies (like this one) can benefit from a blog.  There are several reasons the blog page will benefit your business.

1.       Traffic:   You can increase traffic to your site by posting relevant or interesting content to your site’s blog.  Short posts full of interesting material, graphics, and media will draw more people to visit your site and see what’s going on.  If they are interested in what you have in your blog, they will explore the rest of your site to get to know your company.

 2.       Social Media:  Posts that are widely viewed are often shared on social media.  You can cheaply and easily promote your site, or an upcoming event, or your brand simply by having a post go viral.

Twitter and Facebook are two of the most prominent social media outlets, but if you use videos, YouTube is a great addition to your social media repertoire and if you use a lot of images, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites on the web.

However, don’t stop there, use social media to your advantage, Google+, Reddit, Tumblr, and StumbleUpon are other options to broadcast fun and interesting information about your business to a seemingly endless variety of demographics you wouldn’t be able to reach anywhere else.

3.       Search Engine Optimization: The big SEO.  The reason we put our sites online is to be viewed, and strong search engine optimization is a way to introduce your website to like-minded people.

Your strongest asset to both increase your rankings and the frequency of being crawled by search engine bots?  Content. Simple as that.  There are other factors in optimizing your site for search engines, but number one, focus on your content.  Interesting, keyword rich, relevant content will increase your rankings in your field.

However, there are some aspects of SEO worthy content that are best given by having a blog.  First, regular and frequent updates.  The more you update your site, the more it will be crawled.  Because you are continually updating your content you are showing search engines that this site is active and regularly monitored, thus increasing your ranking.

Next, linkability.  Remember when I mentioned a post going viral or driving traffic to your site?  This means your content is interesting and something people will read and share.  It’s linkable.  It’s easy to find, and interesting to read.  This will help increase backlinks and simultaneously improve your search engine ranking.  We call this a win-win.

Finally, a blog gives you more space to talk about a wide variety of topics that relate to your business.  Through this, you can also have a variety of keywords that you may not have been able to fit on your static pages.  This will introduce different aspects of your business to people who may not have searched for you previously.

Now that you have a blog, what content should you use?  Well, anything will work.  Give a short tutorial, maybe an image of one of your recent projects, or introduce some of your employees.  Let people get to know you and your business.  Open up the personal aspects of what you do.  This will give your readers someone to connect with.  It’s a blog, so there is more freedom and range in your topics.

Have a restaurant?  Give some cooking tips, recipes, or video tutorials.  Work in finance?  Have some of your experts offer budgeting tips, savings advice, or opinions on the current economy.  Work in construction?  Review the brands you use, show images of projects as they start, are in development, and the when completed.  Any of these topics will bring interested parties to your site, and better than that, if they find something interesting they are likely to pass it on and keep coming back to see your updates.

So, how often should you update your blog.  Ideally, you should update with a new post as frequently as possible.  Weekly or daily is best, but monthly will work as well.  Also, try to keep your updates on a regular schedule.  Don’t forget, every time you update your blog you should submit your site to search engines to be crawled!

Go out, add a blog page to your site and introduce yourself to the world.  Show the personal side of your company or show off all that knowledge you have on your field.  Open your site to the online community and draw new customers to your business!

Domain Transfers, Pain Free

imh_domain_concierge_logoHey everybody!  It’s me again, the weird one who talks about Doctor Who and breaking things all the time.

I’m here to help.

Have you ever transferred a domain from one registrar to another?  Has it ever gone easily?

I can already read your mind.  It’s like we’re connected.  If you said yes to the first question, you probably said no to the second question.

I know how domain transfers work, I’ve done them for customers before as well as transferred a domain myself.  I’m not going to lie, it’s a pain.

First, you have to update all your WhoIs information to ensure that your contact information is up to date.  Then, you have to unlock or release the domain you want to transfer at your current registrar.  Then you have to get the EPP code and provide that to the registrar you are transferring to.

Then come the emails.  There are probably about a million emails you have to go through (give or take a few hundred thousand) from both registrars.  You will probably get an email from your current registrar asking if this is really what you want to do.  You will probably have to reply to that email or log in to confirm this.  Then you will get an email from your new registrar confirming that this is what you want to do.

Then you wait 5-10 days.  Then you get some more emails.  Then the old registrar tries to offer you a discount to stay.

Eventually, with enough tenacity, you will get that confirmation email from your new registrar confirming that the transfer has been completed.

Phew.

That’s a lot.  If at any point in that process, you miss an email, or take too long to respond, or it doesn’t go through, you (or your registrar) can cause the transfer to fail and you have to start all over.  I honestly believe that domain transfers are the leading cause for people being prescribed medication.  (I could be wrong there, but if you have ever had a domain transfer fail, you get where I’m coming from.)

We saw that problem.  We heard your frustrations.  We understand and empathize with you.  We’ve been there.  We know that everything is out of your hands because it’s out of our hands too.  All we can do is wait for the emails and let the registrars do their thing, and that is annoying.

So, we set out to fix it.  And thus, Domain Concierge was born.  It was like a technician’s fairy tale.  Do you hate domain transfers?  Do they make you Hulk furious?  Let us do it for you.

With domain concierge, you give us the keys and all you have to do is sit back and relax while we handle the transfer and registrar negotiations for you.

As the weather warms up, this is a dream come true.  You can sit on the beach, or at the lake, or take your family to Disney and not worry that you’ll miss one of the important emails from your registrar.  Heck, if you’re up for it, you could take a total stranger to Disney and share the love; maybe someone who wrote a super informative and mildly entertaining post about InMotion Hosting’s Domain Concierge service.  (You can reach me through the comments section.)

The best part of this?  You can do it all from your AMP login.  Yep.  You don’t even have to pick up the phone and call us.  A few clicks and we’ll take it from there.

I mean, you can pick up the phone and call us.  Support is here 24/7/365.  Call us if you have a question, or if you’re lonely, you know, whatever.  We’re here for you.

Search Engine Optimization: “Allintitle” Searches

We love search engine optimization. Sometimes it can get a bad reputation because so many people see it as cheating the system. However, honest, content-based search engine optimization guarantees your website will get noticed by the audience best matched with your business. So, that’s what we focus on and what we advise, honest SEO.

Where do I start?

When building your site, SEO should be part of your focus through the whole process. Build your content around your audience. But, before you begin developing content do some keyword research so you know which words to focus your content on. Once you’ve created your list and selected the words that have a high number of searches and are directly relevant to your website, you need to determine the competition level on that keyword.

There are so many factors in search engine optimization; it can make it difficult for a smaller or newer website to compete with certain keywords. So, when selecting keywords for your website, be sure to consider the competitiveness level, meaning the number of other sites with similar keywords.

How do I determine the competition for my chosen keywords?

For the purpose of this article, we are focusing on Google and using its free webmaster tools to determine which keywords to focus your content on. While Google’s webmaster tools will have a description that displays the competition level, an “allintitle” search will give you a more specific explanation of the number of pages that are also optimized for that keyword.

What is an “allintitle” search?

When searching for a keyword via the “allintitle” command, you will be given the number of pages that have that exact keyword in their Title Tag. Because the title tag is an important factor in SEO, this is a great way to determine how many other sites are also using those keywords. The more sites that use those keywords, the more difficult it will be to have page one ranking. Not impossible, but difficult.

How do I perform an “allintitle” search?

Performing an “allintitle” search is very simple:

  1. Go to http://google.com
    google
  2. In the search field type “allintitle: your key words” and run the search. (For this example, our keywords are “chocolate cake” because who doesn’t like chocolate cake?)aitsearch
  3. Google will provide the number of websites with that phrase in the title tags. Chocolate cake has more than 1 million pages with it in the title tags!aitresults

*Note: In order to prevent bots from running automatic “allintitle” searches, Google may block you from running too many in quick succession. One way to avoid this temporary block is to take your time between each search. Take a moment to document the results before running the next phrase. If you find that you are blocked, move on to something else for a while and come back to the “allintitle” searches.

Ideally, you would work only with keywords that have less than one thousand results. That is what we would consider “non-competitive”. However, that is not always possible, especially as more and more people are taking to the internet. A general rule to determine the competition level can be seen below:

  • Under 1,000 – Non-competitive
  • 1,000 – 4,000 – Mildly competitive
  • 4,000 – 6,000 – Competitive
  • 6,000+ – Highly Competitive

It is not always possible to stay within those ranges, especially if your most relevant keywords are something as popular as chocolate cake. In those cases, use more than one keyword phrase as your focus and balance the competitive with something less competitive. Also, you can use more competitive keywords on your homepage because homepages are usually given more weight by bots.

Another point to keep in mind when doing this research is that each page on your site will have a different focus, so you will want to do this research for each page and come up with 3-5 keywords per page to focus your content around; the more content you have on your pages the more keywords you can use.

Take the results of your “allintitle” searches to create groups of words based on competitiveness and then pick words from each group that will give you a nice balance of non-competitive and highly competitive words.

SEO is an intricate process that takes time. You may find as you write your content that the keywords do not fit the purpose of your site and you will have to perform some more research. You may also find other tricks that help to make your site more successful. Remember, there is no one formula for SEO success. Keep your content strong and relevant and only use the advice that works for you and your site will become successful.

The Importance of a Responsive Web Design to Your Business

So, you started a business and it was successful. Awesome!  Then, you decided to expand to the internet to increase your foot traffic, sales, or company recognition. Great!  Now that your business is represented online, the breadth of possibilities is practically endless.  A solid online presence is a great way to display the important aspects of your business and to increase the effectiveness of a marketing strategy.  We are in a mobile, digital age, so in order to meet the needs of your clientele, having a website that works on all any device, regardless of screen size is a necessity.  Developing a responsive site design is the way to achieve this.

Works just as well on the computer as it does on the tablet.

Works just as well on the computer as it does on the tablet.

What Is Responsive Web Design?               

What does it even mean?  There are so many terms for websites and how they interact with technology, (mobile devices: cell phones, tablets, netbooks, etc.) and that is the main principle behind the term “responsive web design”.  Here is a chart that explains the variety of terms that describe how a site works on a mobile device:

responsive_web_table

For the sake of clarity, we are going to refer to all sites who adjust based on the device accessing them as “responsive”.  The method you choose to build your site with is up to you; this is more focused on why you want your site to be considered responsive more than how you choose to make it that way.

How Will Having A Responsive Website Help My Business?

Your website is the first thing a lot of your customers will see before even entering your physical store, assuming you have one.  You, or your company, spent a lot of time and money developing a website that encompassed the values of the business, presented information cleanly, is easily navigated, and highlighted the most important features of your company.  You want those factors to be evident online no matter how your clients choose to access your site.  You want the site that appears on a computer to look just as good on a tablet or smart phone.  It needs to be easy to use and provide all the information that is important on the go.  Culturally, we don’t stop for anything anymore, and a responsive website allows customers to connect directly with your business without having to be in front of a computer.

From a marketing perspective, a responsive website can enhance the effectiveness of your marketing campaign by allowing potential customers to instantly connect with you.  There is no delay or attempting to remember to “check that site out when we get home”.  Your customers can see your add and immediately look at your website.  Modern marketing often utilizes mobile devices to make advertisements more effective, so a responsive web design broadens your marketing options.

If you aren’t using a responsive design, you’re running the risk of your site not displaying properly.  Menus, alignments, or images could be skewed or proportioned incorrectly, your client may have to scroll around to find content, or it may be so muddled it’s illegible.  By implementing a responsive design, you know everything will be laid out clearly and the most important information can be featured conspicuously.

A responsive layout for your website will also assist in maintaining brand recognition.  By making your site responsive you will be able to ensure that your site looks the same whenever or wherever it is accessed.  This is especially effective if you choose to have an adaptive layout as that will give you more control over the specific placement of banners, images, and text.

As technology advances, more options become available for handheld devices.  For example, the iPhone alone has gone through four different screen sizes and six different screen resolutions since its initial release.   Having a responsive website not only allows your customers to see your site at its best as a representation of your business, but it also means there is less of a need to continually redevelop new layouts to keep up with the ever changing technology of mobile devices.

How Do I Make My Site Responsive?

Making your site responsive really depends on how your site is being, or was initially built.  For example, if you are using a content management system like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, you will be able to find a wide variety of themes that are already designed to be responsive.  If you are going down this path, be sure to check any custom CSS that may dictate the layout of your site before making it responsive.

If your theme isn’t already responsive, you can make it so in systems like Joomla through custom coding or modules like Bootstrap.  Our Support Center has a helpful article on how to do this!

If your site was custom built, you will want to contact your developer to see what options they have available to make your site responsive.  If you haven’t built your site yet, but know you are going to be working with a developer, be sure to ask if they include responsive designs in their services.

Responsive site layouts open a world of possibilities to your site and your business.  Not only does it allow you to ensure the online representation of your business is as neat and tidy as your storefront, but it will allow you to connect with more and possibly new demographics of customers.

Czaja Silvasi is a QA Representative who monitors InMotion Hosting’s Sales, Support, Billing and Web Design teams to make sure they are giving our customers their absolute best. When she is not busy at work, she enjoys Roller Derby and organizing over 15 pairs of Chuck Taylor shoes that she keeps in her closet. She also has a few awesome websites she runs, but they are not 100% work appropriate.  Czaja first joined InMotion Hosting in 2011 as a Customer Care Representative and recently celebrated her 2 year anniversary with the company.

A Few Reasons to Upgrade Your Server

Is your site or business growing in popularity?  Has your online presence, email, and website become such an integral part of your business that any interruption to service can slow your operations down?  It may be time to look into upgrading to a higher server level.

If your website is as popular as Regina George, it may be time for an upgrade.

If your website is as popular as Regina George, it may be time for an upgrade.

What does it mean to upgrade?

There are three primary server levels, shared servers (Business Class), Virtual Private Servers (VPS), and Dedicated Servers. Each level of hosting offers benefits to your website. Prioritizing your site’s requirements will help you decide which level of server to purchase. You may choose to start with a shared hosting package initially. However, as your company grows and your site becomes more successful and critical, you will want to consider moving up to a VPS or even dedicated hosting package to continue the success of your website.

While we do offer a variety of plan options on each server level, this article is specifically going to review the reasons for upgrading to a VPS or Dedicated Server option.  You may find that you need more websites, databases, or parked domains but not a higher server level.  In cases such as that upgrading to a higher shared hosting plan may be all you need.  Our Support Department is a great resource if you don’t know exactly where to go on your upgrade.

How do I know when I need to upgrade?

I’m so glad you asked.  Below I’ve listed 5 great reasons to contact our Support Team about your upgrade options.

  1. Stability, Speed, and Uptime.  At InMotion Hosting we have an uptime percentage of 99.9%, so while being on a shared server means you are more likely to experience small instances of downtime, it does not mean it is guaranteed to happen.  From a business perspective, more stability on your email services and website is often worth the expense of a VPS or Dedicated account.  You must balance the importance of the price of the package against the value of increased stability.
  2. To be able to run resource intensive applications.  If you are looking to expand your website, need to utilize a larger application, or want to be able to host videos or downloadable content, you may want to look into an upgrade.  This is not only to ensure your server has the resources to allow your site to run at its peak, but it also ensures your site does not interfere with other accounts on the same server.
  3. Direct access to the server.  In order to ensure that our shared servers remain as stable as possible, root access to the server is only available on VPS and dedicated accounts.  So, if you’re a developer and need more room to experiment or to install extra software, an upgrade may be necessary to achieve your goals.
  4. Multi-Site Development.  As a designer, developer, or reseller, you may need to upgrade as you get more clients.  Our VPS and dedicated servers do not have a limit to the number of add on domains you may host on one account.  Further, VPS and Dedicated servers come with access to Web Host Manager (WHM) so you can give your clients their own cPanel while maintaining control of the account on your server.
  5. Business success!  Obviously, this is the best reason to have to upgrade because it means that your business is booming and your site is so busy and receiving so many hits it is driving traffic to your company as it was designed to do.  If this is the case, congratulations!  You may need to upgrade to meet the increasing demands of your client base.  Similarly, if you are planning a large marketing campaign or know you will be getting national attention, you should contact us to upgrade before the campaign runs.  This will ensure that your site will always be available, even as traffic soars, without interruption.

Successsss

Whether you are upgrading out of necessity or for added stability, we have a selection of packages specially tailored to fit your needs with room for continued growth.  Like all aspects of your business, planning ahead to ensure that the hosting package you have will give you the desired outcome is the key to success.

Czaja Silvasi is a QA Representative who monitors InMotion Hosting’s Sales, Support, Billing and Web Design teams to make sure they are giving our customers their absolute best. When she is not busy at work, she enjoys Roller Derby and organizing over 15 pairs of Chuck Taylor shoes that she keeps in her closet. She also has a few awesome websites she runs, but they are not 100% work appropriate.  Czaja first joined InMotion Hosting in 2011 as a Customer Care Representative and recently celebrated her 2 year anniversary with the company.