When Selecting a Hosting Plan – CPU or RAM Most Important?

When Selecting a Hosting Plan – CPU or RAM Most Important?

There are a number of hosting plans available here at EWS (and other providers), and some of them let you specifically choose the number of CPUs and amount of RAM you get.  Considering how price varies quite a bit from plan to plan, a question we often get is if CPU or RAM should be the determining factor.

Let’s first define what’s what…CPU is short for Central Processing Unit.  The more CPUs you have, the more requests can be processed at one time. RAM is short for Random Access Memory, and it temporarily holds data for processing.  The more processes going on simultaneously, the more RAM you will need.

The goal is to find the CPU and RAM sweet spot for your particular website and needs – this applies to all specs really.  After all, why pay more to get the highest Managed WordPress package if the primary difference is extra storage and data transfer you don’t need?

CPU / RAM on Static Sites

If your site is static, meaning there is no CMS (content management system) and the coding for the pages “is what it is” (static HTML), then there is less need to be concerned with CPU allotment.

Similar with RAM, static sites tend to require less – but if you want advice on which is more important for upgrading purposes, then in this situation, we suggest more RAM.  Generally, hosting plans tend to increase RAM and CPU together, accordingly.  There comes a point where increasing RAM excessively will cause the CPU to be the limiting factor – roughly around 4-6GB of RAM.

CPU / RAM on Dynamic Sites

A dynamic site involves much more processing – these are resource-consuming websites, and generally have a CMS (content management system) or eCommerce solution in place.  There is more need to be concerned with this kind of website, as the low-end hosting plans are less likely to provide your site with what it needs.  Your site may function, but it will be slower and more likely to show errors to your end-users (that dreaded 500 Internal Server Error) because the plan simply can’t handle the load.

What to do is similar to what I just recommended for a static site, only CPU and RAM matter much more here.  We place emphasis on upping the RAM, but with the understanding that going over 6GB of RAM means you will need to pay more attention to CPU allotment.  Unless you are configuring a dedicated server from the ground up, most hosting plans take into consideration the balance between CPU and RAM.

Online Store Builder

Online Store Builder

Get a storefront online with our easy-to-use website builder that helps create your business’s virtual storefront. This service makes it easy to sell your products and services to customers around the globe. Use professionally designed lay-outs, add your products/services, set-up special features, and then start selling online! You can get started in just a few minutes with no technical skills required.

Step One: Choose a design

Using our intuitive online store builder, select from over 1,500 design and color combinations.  You can then choose from 14 category page styles and 11 product detail page styles to find the best layout for your products.  Then, customize your store by adding your logo and adjusting colors, fonts, images, navigation and more.

Step Two: Add your products

You can organize your products in categories and subcategories.  Specify product details, including SKU, description, pricing, options and inventory tracking.  If you want, you can create featured products, sale pricing and coupons – even determining product associations, cross-sells and up-sells.  Finally, use the Store Setup Wizard to walk you through your shipping, tax and payment options.

Step Three: Start selling

When you are ready, preview your store before you publish it live.  Your website will offer secure customer registration and easy-to-use customer checkout.  Depending on your payment set-up, you can accept major credit cards, PayPal Express Checkout and more.  Your store is set-up to ship to USA, Canada, Mexico, and more than 100 additional countries.  You can also view reports to track revenue, orders and website performance.  Yes, it is really this simple!

Let’s Get Started!

Does My Business Need a Domain Name?

Does My Business Need a Domain Name?

Because I represent a website services company (that offers a staggering amount of domain extensions and options), one might think that I will be biased and say: “Of course you need a domain name!!).  Well, that is partly accurate – I do think your business needs a domain name, but not because we offer them.  In today’s market, most consumers are searching for local products and services online.  Even if you do not plan to sell online, or maybe are even in an industry where this is not possible, having an online presence is absolutely essential for your target market to find you.

Consider this:

  • Unless you man your business in person and answer phone calls all day and night, your products and services are only accessible during your set business hours.  Having a domain name (and website) provides the public with valuable information 24/7/365.  Your website can be as simple as providing basic information like store hours, phone number, location, and details about what your business offers…OR, it can be more extensive where they can purchase products, sign-up for services, interact with you through online customer service, or even “get to know you” in your online blog.
  • Registering your domain name also serves to protect your brand.  Even if you do not plan on having a live website, you can park your domain name to ensure someone else doesn’t register and use it instead.
  • What kind of email address are you using right now?  Does it give your customers a professional image?  After all, yourbusinessname@hotmail.com gives a very different perception of your business than info@yourbusiness.com.  Registering your own domain name and setting up email is a very affordable and easy way of having a very professional image.
  • Regardless of how you plan to use your website, having a domain name is essential in promoting your business.  You can offer special coupons, advertise upcoming sales, discuss what is new, set-up online mailing lists, and more!  Add your domain name to business cards, flyers, mailers, etc.
  • You can capitalize on the rampant spending that is happening on the Internet by offering products and services for sale online, and expand your business nationally or globally.

Services to Consider: Domain Registration, Website Builder, Online Shopping Cart, Professional Email

– M. Webby

Domain Name Transfers

Domain Name Transfers

We appreciate you trusting us with your domain names, and we look forward to providing you with exceptional service from here on out!  This guide will walk you through the process of transferring your domain name to an account here at eWebsiteSolutions.com.

Transferring your domain name can be a bit tricky, especially if it’s your first time. That’s why we’re here to give you a hand. We recommend reading this entire guide before you transfer a domain name from your current registrar to us.

NOTE: If your domain name is already registered here and you want to move it to another account with us, you must complete an account change, not a transfer.

The image below provides a brief overview of the domain name transfer process. You must take certain actions in your account at the other registrar, and you must take other actions in your account with us.

Preparing to Transfer Domain Names
This section helps you prepare for and purchase your domain name transfer to us. By paying special attention to these steps, you can ensure a smooth transfer process and prevent delays.

NOTE: ICANN regulations prohibit transferring domain names registered or previously transferred in the last 60 days. For more information, click here.

1. Ensure that the administrative contact (admin) for your domain name has a valid email address in the Whois database.  Both registrars use this email address to send you important information about the transfer. If it is invalid, contact your current registrar to update it.

NOTE: If your domain name has private registration (also known as privacy), a service that hides your personal information from the public, you cannot verify your administrative contact’s email address in the Whois database. You must contact your current registrar to cancel the private registration, and then you can update the email address, if necessary.

2. Unlock your domain name at your current registrar.
3. Get an authorization code (also known as an EPP code or transfer key) from your current registrar, if required. Some domain name extensions, primarily country-code top-level domain names (ccTLDs), do not require an authorization code. Some registrars display the authorization code in your account with them, while others email it to the admin email address upon request. For more information, see the next section.
4. Purchase a domain name transfer from our website. If the extension you want to transfer is not listed, you cannot transfer the domain name to us. When you purchase the transfer, select one of the following nameserver options:

Keep the existing nameservers… — If you have a hosted website for your domain name (here or elsewhere), select this option to ensure that your site does not go down during the transfer.
Change … to park nameservers — If you have email with us for the domain name, are using our Off-site DNS, or created a Premium DNS transfer template prior to the transfer, select this option.

NOTE: If you select this option and are not using Off-site DNS or a Premium DNS transfer template, we park the domain name on our parking nameservers and create a default zone file in your account with
us. You can use the Zone File Editor in the DNS Manager to customize the new zone file.

5. We send an email message to the domain name’s administrative contact (admin) after you purchase the transfer. The email contains the transfer IDs (transaction ID and security code) you need to authorize the transfer in your account with us.

Tips for Getting an Authorization Code
To transfer a domain name to us, you might need an authorization code (also known as an EPP code or transfer key) from your current registrar.  Some registrars display the authorization code in your account with them, while others email it upon request to the administrative contact’s (admin) email address for your domain name.

NOTE: Some domain name extensions, primarily country-code top-level domain names (ccTLDs), do not require authorization codes.
Contact your current registrar to get your authorization code.
Insider’s

Authorizing the Domain Name Transfer
This section helps you authorize and complete the domain name transfer in your account with us. To complete the transfer authorization, you need your transaction ID, security code, and
authorization code (if applicable).

NOTE: For most domain name extensions, a transfer between registrars takes five to seven days from the time you authorize it. The process and time required for transfer completion can vary for certain extensions, such as country-code top-level domain names (ccTLDs).

1. Log in to your Account Manager.
2. In the My Account section on the left sidebar, click Domain Transfers. The Pending Transfers page will display.
3. For the domain name you want to authorize, in the Status column, click Authorize. The Transfer Details window will display.
4. Click Authorize transfer now.

5. In the Transaction ID and Security Code fields, enter the transfer IDs we sent to the administrative contact’s (admin) email address, and then click Next.
6. Enter the Authorization Code from the current registrar (if applicable), select I authorize the transfer…, and then click Finish.
7. Click OK.

Checking the Progress of Your Transfer
After you authorize the transfer, we send a request to your domain name’s registry, and then they notify your current registrar. Your current registrar might send a request for transfer approval to the domain name’s admin email address. Then, your current registrar sends an acceptance or rejection notice back to the registry, and then the registry notifies us of the transfer status.

On the Pending Transfers page in the Domain Manager, you can track your transfer’s progress.

1. Log in to your Account Manager.
2. In the My Account section on the left sidebar, click Domain Transfers. In the Pending Transfers Grid, the following columns display information for each domain name pending
transfer:

Status — Displays the domain name’s current status in the transfer process. For more information about a domain name’s transfer status, hover over its progress bar, click the ? icon, or click the Action Required or Error link that displays (if applicable).
Admin Email — Displays the admin email address currently associated with the domain name. This is the email address to which we and your current registrar send important transfer information.

If you come across any problems, we are here to help!  Please let us know what we can do for you!

Resource: Troubleshooting Domain Name Transfers

Designers, Websites, and You!

Designers, Websites, and You!

If you aren’t some kind of techno-whiz yourself, opting to have a professional designer build your website’s a great idea. Not only do you get a fantastic, functional site at the end of the process, you also spare yourself the tedium of trying to do something incredibly complicated yourself.

Before you involve someone this closely with your business, though, it’s a good idea to understand how the relationship typically works.

Contract Work

Most small-to-medium-sized businesses can’t afford to keep a designer on staff, so they hire one. You should look at this like any other kind of contract work. The contractee does the work you need, and you pay for their services. Pretty simple.

However, make sure you understand what your designer’s services entail — just like you would a mechanic or A/C tech. By asking the right questions up front, you can avoid unpleasant surprises (like additional costs) later on. Here are some basics:

  • Do you bill per hour or by flat-rate?
    • If it’s per-hour, what’s an estimate for the cost?
    • If it’s flat-rate, how many revisions on your original design do you offer?
  • Do you offer copy writing?
  • How do we need to get images for the website?
  • How much do you charge for updates?
  • Will you maintain my website (e.g. patches)?
  • Who do I contact for technical issues?
  • Do you include any search engine optimization?

Ownership

Because there’s no tangible product at the end of your website’s creation, who owns what piece of your website can be convoluted. Clarifying ownership of your website’s original content, domain names, and hosting account up front helps avoid any disputes down the digital road.

Domain Names: The owner of a domain name is known as its “registrant.” This is the person who or entity that has the legal rights to the domain name. We always recommend that the person who owns the company the website represents be listed as the domain’s registrant. This way, if you decide to use a different Web designer in the future, you don’t have to worry about your former designer having total control over your domain name.

We also suggest that you keep the domain name in an account you have access to. If the designer needs to access it, you can assign them as a Domain Name Account Administrator.

Web Hosting: Web hosting (or just “hosting”) is where your website’s files “live” so they’re visible on the Internet. Often times, designers just include hosting and factor that cost into your bill. Others want you to purchase hosting yourself and just give them access to it.

Who controls the hosting matters less than who owns the domain name, but it’s a good idea to know in advance how your arrangement with the designer will operate.

Website: Unlike either your domain name or web hosting, ownership of the files that comprise your website can be murky territory. It’s possible that the designer can give you a copy of your website’s files and you’re free to do with them whatever you wish — including having another designer work on them at a later date. It’s also possible that the designer literally has no access to the files and they’re not portable to you, another designer, or another host. It’s important to establish an agreement about the ownership of your website’s files before you agree to anything.

You should understand the intricacies of working with a professional website designer before making a decision. That way, you’re more likely to build a successful relationship with your designer — and establish an amazing digital presence.

Avoid These SEO Tricks!

Avoid These SEO Tricks!

Search engines have become very important to the way people use the Web. Of course that means there’s a lot of value to getting in front of all of those millions of potential visitors.

Unfortunately, some people try to manipulate search results, create spam, and try to game the system to make money.

Search engines, however, are very good at detecting and penalizing sites that employ manipulative techniques.

Here are examples of things you should not try to do:

  • Keyword Stuffing — Keyword stuffing refers to identifying valuable search terms, and then shoving those search terms into your content or meta keywords tag as many times as possible, even when the keyword has no relevance to the content of the site.
  • Hidden Content — Hidden content is the technique of displaying content to the search engines that the users don’t see, such as additional keyword phrases. Typically examples include using CSS to display the content way off the viewable area of the page, hiding the displayed content with CSS, or displaying the content in the same color as the background (ie: white text on white background).
  • Link Farms — The importance of links has prompted people to swap links with as many sites as they can find, including sites that are not relevant. Some webmasters create multiple sites of low-value content exclusively for the purposes of interlinking those pages.
  • Buying Links — Some people pay for links on other sites just to try and raise their search engine scores. This method is different than a sponsored link, or an advertisement, as they usually try and pay for these links to display in online content like natural links without any labeling that the link was paid for.
  • Make Pages Just for Search Engines — Some people get so wrapped up in the search engines that they forget all about their users. If a page is over-engineered for the search engines, to the point that it loses value for the users, the users are not going to want to spend much time on your page. Even if they land on your site, they’ll go elsewhere for their business.

What’s the worst that can happen?

The search engines have a lot of very smart people and have gotten very good at detecting and penalizing sites that use manipulative techniques, like those outlined above. Don’t try to outsmart the search engines. In some cases your site can disappear from the search engines for months, if not years, depending on the severity of the offense. The best advice is to stay within Google’s webmaster guidelines and build your SEO strategy around sound principles, like having great content and proper meta tags. Remember, the search engine doesn’t have to rank you for anything!

Round up for Charity

Round up for Charity

round-up

Round up for Charity makes it easy to support great causes! During checkout, you can round up your order to the nearest dollar and donate the difference to the charity you select. You’ll barely notice the difference, but together we can make a significant impact.

You can donate to one of the following charities:

  • The National Breast Cancer Foundation saves lives by increasing public awareness, educating women about the importance of early detection, and providing mammograms to those in need.
  • Hope for Haiti has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Haitian children and their families for more than 20 years. When you donate, 96% of every dollar goes directly to the Haitian people.

NOTE: We reserve the right to add or remove charities from the Round up for Charity cart promotion at any time.

Key SEO Terms

Key SEO Terms

ALT Tags — If your browser cannot display an image from a website, then the ALT tag displays the description of the image as text. ALT image tags also make it possible for the visually impaired to understand the images on your website. The ALT tag should be only a few words describing the content of the image. ALT tags contribute to the keyword count on the Web page. So, using relevant images with appropriate ALT tags can increase the overall keyword count on your page.

Backlinks — Links to your page from other sites on the Internet are called backlinks. Search engines use links to indicate general popularity. Search engines take into account where the link is coming from, which page it’s pointing to, and what the actual text of the link says.

Black Hat — In SEO, black hat SEO refers to using deceptive techniques to fool search engines into ranking a site higher than it deserves. These techniques are usually short lived. Search engines are constantly updating their ranking algorithms to eliminate the effectiveness of black hat practices. Search engines ban sites that use black hat techniques.

Hidden Content — This is another technique common among black hat SEO. This practice involves placing content on a Web page that is hidden to normal Web viewers, and is only visible to search engines. The hidden content artificially increases search result rankings. Search engines have gotten very good at detecting these type of techniques. Using hidden content can cause your site to be penalized, including exclusion from search results.

Keywords — Chosen words and phrases that describe what your Web page is about. These keywords are the actual terms people search for in the search engines that relate to your web site. Once you identify the keywords, they should be placed in the Keywords meta tag.

Link Bait — Content that is posted to a web site with a controversial or inflammatory title or content, that is intended only to draw links and traffic. Most of the time this is used as a derogatory term for content that has no value except to get people angry or excited enough to link to or visit the content.

Link Farm — This is another black hat SEO technique. It involves setting up multiple sites whose main purpose is to contain links to other sites. This technique tries to take advantage of the relative importance search engines place on links. Changes to search engine algorithms have been made to detect and devalue these sort of links, rendering them useless from a ranking perspective.

Meta Tags — Contains data that describes your page to other systems, such as search engines or RSS feed readers. This information about your Web page is invisible to the typical user. Some of the common meta tags from a search engine standpoint include keywords, description, and title tags.

PageRank — This is a proprietary measure used by Google to indicate how much authority a page has, based on incoming links (backlinks) from other sites on the Internet. The outwardly-visible PageRank number that Google exposes through its tools no longer has much real-life bearing on rankings. However, it’s still well known and some people mistakenly focus on this number to improve on their search results rankings.

Pay Per Click (PPC) — Sponsored listings on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). These links are contained in a different colored background on Google. These links are not actual search results, but instead are paid listings. The search engines are paid every time people click on these links. While they are paid listings, relevance may still play a part in how high on the page these listings show up. Running some PPC ads can be a good supplement to an SEO campaign.

Redirect — This is a command that a web server can give to a web browser (or search engine) to tell the requestor that the content has been moved. There are different types of redirect, meaning different things such as Moved Temporarily (302) and Moved Permanently (301). When you move content on your site, you need to check with your server administrator to make sure that the old pages are redirected to the new location using a Moved Permanently (301) code.

Robots file — This is an optional file that you include on the root of your web site (in the main domain, not in a sub-folder). This file contains suggestions to the search engines including which pages you would not like the engines to include in their index, which pages you would like them to index, and the location of your sitemap file. This file is also used to block search engines entirely.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — This refers to the process of making your web site more accessible to search engines. This can include optimizing the text content of your site to include proper keywords, optimizing the code structure of your site itself, and finding ways to attract incoming links to your page.

Search Engine Result Page (SERP) — The page on which the search engine displays the results of a visitor’s search.

Sitemap — This is a file that lists the pages on your site, along with each page’s relative importance. This optional file can help search engines find all of your site’s pages. You would use this file during search engine submission.

Spider — A spider is a virtual browser program search engines run to crawl through the links on the Internet and compile information about the pages they find to index and rank the content.

Submission — Most search engines have a form you can use or a Web service you can call to submit your website to them. This is nothing more than letting the search engines know that your website is up and active so that they can add your site to your list of pages to index. Submission does not guarantee search engine listing or ranking. Those factors are decided entirely on the individual search engine ranking algorithms.

Search Engine Optimization Tags

Search Engine Optimization Tags

Several tags are considered important to successful search engine optimization. You can use the Search Engine Visibility Keywords and Optimize Tags tools to create the best tags for your website’s content.

Title tag
The Title tag defines a Web page’s name, which displays in the top bar of a Web browser. The Title tag should provide keywords that represent the theme of the actual contents on the Web page. The Title tag in Search Engine Visibility is limited to 65 characters.
Description tag
The Description tag defines the site information most search engines will display when they list the site on their search results pages. The description should include as many site keywords as possible, but the main purpose of the Description tag is to convince search engine users to select your site from the search results pages and take a look inside. Generally, the Description tag should not exceed 155 characters, including spaces.
Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are a standardized way of marking up on page content. Rich snippets tell the search engines more about your website and what content you have on your pages. When the search engines return a list of relevant results, your rich snippet information displays and gives a preview of what they can expect to see on your site.
H1 Tag
The H1 tag describes what the Web page is about. The H1 — or header — should include relevant Search Engine Visibility-generated keywords. But, don’t make it too long. Your H1 tag shouldn’t be longer than a short sentence.
Image Tag
The image tag should include alt (alternate), title, and src (source) attributes. Search engines use the text in image attributes to categorize the images on your site, so they should contain relevant keywords.
Search Engine Vision

Search Engine Vision

Search engines have developed a lot of sophisticated techniques for weighting and valuing pages on the Web. But they all come down to basically two categories:

  • What does your Web page say?
    The actual text content of your Web page and HTML code. What content does your site convey to the user?
  • Who is linking to you?
    What sort of other Web pages are linking to yours? Do they have the same topic or a related topic?

Content

When you look at a Web page, you see the page displayed on your computer screen. You can read the text, look at the images, and figure out what that page is about.

Search engines don’t see Web pages the same way a person does. In fact, search engines cannot actually see at all, at least not visually. Instead, they read the HTML code of the Web page, and the actual text that it contains.

All the search engines can read is text. They also can look at the HTML code (which is also text) of the site to try and get some clues about what that text means or which text is most important.

Search engines can sometimes use the HTML code to get some clues about other elements on the page, such as images and animation. For example, search engines can look at an image tag and read the alt text attribute, if the page author supplied it, to get an idea of what the image is.

img src="catpicture.jpg" alt="Picture of a cat"
However, this is not a replacement for actual text content.

Links

Web links from other sites are also important clues that search engines use to figure out what your page is about, or how important your page is for a particular search query. In a search engine’s view, a link from one page to another is basically a “vote” for that page.

If you have a page about cows, and a local farmer’s Web page links to your page from their website for more information on the topic of cows, that is an extra vote for your page.

More links = more votes.

Not all votes are equal votes, however. Most important is how relevant the link is. For example, a link from a page about video poker software doesn’t have much to do with dairy products or cows, so a link from that page to your website about cows does not count for very much at all, if anything.

Some Web page owners put a lot of time and effort into chasing down links from other Web page authors, swapping links or trying to get listed on directories or have articles posted to sites like Digg or Reddit. This can be helpful for your site, but you have to remember to focus on your own page content first. If your Web page doesn’t have much value to other site authors, they are unlikely to link to it.