Friday, February 18, 2011

Drag and Drop Site Builder Updates

We are excited to release an updated version of our Drag and Drop Site Builder. It will include a number of new features, usability updates, and some bug fixes.

The major feature improvements are ImagePerfect, photo slideshows, faster editing (with a few new tools) and six new themes.

New Features

New features in this release include:

  • "Header Image" header
  • New slideshow element
  • Improved text editing
  • Now allows linking to external websites in navigation
  • Optimized site publishing
  • Better image resizing and compression
  • Support non-icc CMYK jpegs in IE
  • Adjustable page title to improve SEO
  • Removed thick element border while editing text
  • Better support for IE PNG filters in custom themes
  • Added "Remove Formatting" button to text editor
  • Option to upload a file when linking to a file
  • Option to hide site from search engines results
  • Added default robots.txt
  • Added sitemap location to robots.txt
  • Now stores larger versions of images, adapt lightbox
  • Added image gallery "rectangle" aspect ratio

Usability Updates

Usability updates in this release include:

  • Improved button styles
  • New divider line
  • Ability to edit custom HTML with one click
  • Improved dragging/sorting behavior
  • More responsive dragging/sorting in all browsers

Friday, January 21, 2011

Does Green Marketing Really Have Value?

Websites hosted at IPOWER are powered by 100% wind energy. Our customers can add an eco-friendly badge to their homepage. Login here to get your badge.

IPOWER's Gone Green?
You bet. Granted, we're a web hosting company; everything's online. There are no earthly resources to expend ... except all that electricity. And so, for the last two years, we've been offsetting all of our electricity use with wind-generated Renewal Energy Certificates, becoming a "Green Power Partner" of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

These Renewable Energy Certificates prevent the release of 2,660 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year. The estimated yearly benefit to the environment is equivalent to planting ~2,390 acres of trees or not driving 6.1 million miles.

Your Website Is Green, Too
You have a choice in where you host your website, and with IPOWER, you're electing to host your site in an eco-friendly data center. If you'd like to spread the word, add one of three "green" badges to your site.

Is Green Marketing Effective?
Promoting environmentally friendly products or services can be a double-edged sword; it can be highly effective if done correctly, but it can potentially backfire if done disingenuously. Learn more >>

Green Marketing Resources
So how can you employ effective green marketing techniques? By learning from others: emulate the success stories, avoid the pitfalls. We've put together an eclectic group of green marketing resources, from case studies and expert advice to green WordPress themes:
  • Promote Your Green Website:
    We've experienced a tremendous amount of success with our own green marketing efforts, and we've heard from many of you who've received overwhelmingly positive feedback after adding one of our eco-friendly badges to your websites.

  • Install Green WordPress Themes: Give your WordPress site or blog a green makeover; these ten WordPress themes are perfect for green businesses and environmental non-profits.

  • Study History: Just last week, CBC's radio program, "The Age of Persuasion," explored the history of green marketing, examining what has worked in the past, as well as what hasn't. The program is 26 minutes long >>

  • Follow Five Simple Rules: Green marketing expert Jacquie Ottman, outlines her five simple rules of green marketing and highlights several case studies that put the "rules" in action, in this five-page .pdf article.

  • Tell a Story: In this September 2010 article, Shannon Arvizu points out that "Most clean tech marketing strategies lack a potent emotional or narrative component. Conventional green marketing [is limited to] facts or statistics ... [which] is not necessarily the most effective way of communicating the value of a green product to consumers."

  • Don't Forget "Regular" Marketing: In this June 2010 article, Beth Zonis reminds us that "it's important not to get too carried away with the green-ness ... of your offering, at the expense of explaining how well it solves your customer's needs."
Tell Us What You Think
Share your stories with us. Is green marketing something that can help your business? Have you had success with it in the past?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Simply Local Search

86% of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses. Will they find yours?

For only $99/year, IPOWER is offering our Simply Local Search service. Get listed today!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Secrets to Selling Online

Want to sell online, but not sure how it works or where to start? Our goal is to take some of the mystery out of ecommerce — particularly regarding how online transactions work.

Be sure to also check out the ecommerce section of our new user guide for additional information.

Why Sell Online?
Online Article"Retailers are discovering," writes Kerri Shannon in the NuWire Investor, "[that] it pays to be web savvy, as consumers are increasingly heading online instead of out the door to spend." With the holiday sales season almost upon us, can you afford to keep your store exclusively offline?

How an Online Transaction Works
Have you ever wondered what happens after you click that "Add to Cart" button? Below are the basic steps of an online transaction:
  1. The buyer completes an order via the shopping cart of the merchant's online store.

    Shopping CartAn online shopping cart is the software that assists buyers in choosing and purchasing products. At IPOWER, we provide you with shopping cart options, such as ShopSite and osCommerce, at no additional cost.

  2. The shopping cart submits the order to a payment gateway, which then forwards a request to the buyer's credit card company.

    Payment GatewayA payment gateway securely transfers encrypted data, authorizing buyers' credit cards and processing the transactions.

  3. Credit Card The credit card company validates the card and account, clears the card for purchase, then sends an acknowledgment back to the payment gateway that the amount can be transferred.

  4. The payment gateway informs the shopping cart that the transaction was successful so that the buyer and the merchant can proceed accordingly.

  5. The payment gateway initiates the transfer of funds from the buyer's credit card company to the seller's merchant account so that the payment can be deposited and finalized.

    Merchant Account A merchant account is a bank account designed to accept electronic payments for your business. When customers purchase your product online, the money they pay for that product is deposited into this account.
How You Can Accept Online Payments
We partner with iPayment to create a one-stop solution for you to accept credit card payments directly online. iPayment facilitates the entire online transaction process, setting you up with both a payment gateway and a merchant account.

We've selected iPayment because they can provide you with special low rates, only accessible through your IPOWER hosting account. Learn more about iPayment today >>

Accepting Payments via PayPal
PayPalPayPal is an additional option for accepting payments online. In this case, the shopping cart submits the order directly to PayPal, who then processes the transaction for you.

Many potential buyers already have PayPal accounts set up, with their credit card information saved. Upon checkout, they just log into their PayPal account to complete the transaction. You, as the seller, would have your own account with PayPal, where payments get deposited. Learn more about integrating PayPal >>

Holiday SeasonThe holiday sales push will be here before you know it. If you want to be ready in time, set up your store now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Experience our New Drag and Drop Site Builder!

So it's been a little while since we've updated ... we're sorry for the negligence! We've actually been hard at work trying to improve your experience with us here at IPOWERWEB. One of our latest and greatest achievements has been the launch of our new Drag and Drop Site Builder, the Basic version of which now comes in all of our hosting plans (even if you've been a customer with us for years--it's not just for newbies). In the past, we'd heard some honest feedback from customers, letting us know that, as a novice, it's just not easy to create a site right away. With that input in mind, we've made it our mission to give you access to tools that will get you up and running on the web within minutes of signing up your hosting plan.

So, what is the Drag and Drop Site Builder?
Simply put, our new Drag and Drop Site Builder allows you to create a dynamic, polished website by dragging and dropping the elements you choose onto your web pages. It's seriously simple. Unlike other site building tools, our Drag and Drop Site Builder's flexible interface lets you move fluidly from one design aspect to another, so you can add content, create new pages, experiment with design templates and more, in any order you like. The Drag and Drop Site Builder enables you to:

* Edit content with a point-and-click interface.
* Customize a variety of design templates with your own images and logo.
* Upload photos to create an album.
* Add custom HTML.
* Include a blog.
* Add an ecommerce element.
* Customize a contact form.
* Tie in all those other things you like to do online into your website, including YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more!

Not only that, but integrating these elements is a cinch; you just drag the element from the tool bar and drop it into place on the page--then click the element to configure or personalize it.

If the Basic version isn't enough, we've got Premium and Ecommerce upgrades available for more features. Currently the Ecommerce Element enables you to integrate Google Checkout or PayPal to turn your website into an online store. Simply drag and drop product blocks onto your pages, and customize images, descriptions and prices as you go. Also, this year we're working to integrate outside merchant accounts, so be on the lookout for this awesome feature in the future.

Interested in checking it out? You can find Drag and Drop Site Builder under the Web Site section of your control panel. For those of you potential customers-to-be, we're working on launching a trial so you can "try before you buy" ... We'll keep you posted (ha, no pun intended) on when it's ready to check out!

Monday, August 24, 2009

SEO Tips for Bloggers

Matt Cutts gave a talk this spring at WordCamp San Francisco 2009 (which he just republished in his blog the other day), during which he gave some great insight into how to help your SEO for your blog--in particular, if you use WordPress (since he *was* at WordCamp) . Below is a quick summary of some easy tips to keep in mind when blogging that may help increase your PageRank:

* Links to your site are key. The number of links in conjunction of the quality of links to your site are probably the most important determinants of your PageRank. If you have 10 links and your buddy has 20, but your links are from high-quality sites such as The New York Times online, then your links have more validity and weight--which means your site will likely be ranked higher than his. It's not always the number that matters; the quality of links is a big factor as well.

* Write about something you care about. If you care about your topic and know a lot about it, chances are that your readers will find your content interesting and continue to link to your posts. They key is to start small and write about something nichey; as you gain a following, you can expand your horizons to other topics, but remember: it's important to retain your own voice, opinions and to be interesting--that's what keeps people coming back and linking to you.

* Naturally incorporate keywords. When you write about a particular topic, make sure you incorporate relevant keywords and search terms within your post naturally. Think about it from the reader's perspective: it's no fun to read a "keyword-stuffed" article when every other word is the topic at hand. Instead, use similar terms that might be used interchangeably when people search; for instance, if you're talking about USB drives, maybe use "thumb drive" in one sentence and "flash drive" in the next--they're all synonyms for the same thing, but different people may search using different terms.

* Optimize your URLs. Think about how your URLs are structured. Google can't tell where words start and end ifyouhavethemallmashedtogether. Dashes-between-words is therefore the way to go. Additionally, you may want to modify tenses of words in your URL to apply to a wider range of searches--so, using "change" vs. "changing," even if "changing" is in your post's title.

* Write in plain terms. Ok, so we all know you're a super-expert in your field, but on your homepage it helps to meet the general populace halfway. It's okay to get all super-technical and obscure within a whitepaper or a research paper, but if you do it throughout your entire site, chances are that Google is going to have a tough time turning your content up in relevant searches (and the rest of us will be left wondering what your site is even about). It helps to mix in some common language (especially on your homepage) so you can attract a greater audience.

* Post often. If you write interesting articles every day or every week, people will be visiting and linking to your site more often than if you post every, say, 6 months. It can be tough to make the time (trust us--we're guilty too), but it'll probably be worth it in the end if you're continually posting relevant, interesting content.

To learn more SEO and WordPress tips, I recommend watching the entire video of Matt presenting, which he posted in his blog a few days ago.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

IPOWER Has Joined the Twittersphere!

We're a little late in announcing this--mostly because we wanted to see if our customers felt our presence on Twitter was worthwhile--but here we are, tweeting away, with 454 followers strong! And you can follow us, too, at

So What Is This Twitter Thing?
Twitter is basically a free microblogging social media/marketing tool that lets you post "entries" of whatever you want to say--as long as it's 140 characters or less. Other Twitter users can subscribe to "follow" your posts to see what you're writing about, while you can follow other Twitter users to see what they're writing about. All the posts you follow are aggregated into your very own "Twitter Feed," which chronologically lists the posts in their 140 character snippets. Think it's nuts? Even the British Royal family is doing it!!

Why Do I Care?
That's a great question. The answer is, you don't have to! Twitter is basically whatever you make it--if you want to just follow your friends or kids and see what they're up to throughout the day ("eating a sandwich, yum!"), then it can be a fun way to stay connected to people who are important to you. If you'd like a way to learn and collaborate with other people who are interested in the same things you are, then it's a good way to make connections (just search for whatever keyword you want, and follow people who write interesting things about that topic). For us here at IPOWERWEB, it's a great way to stay connected to our customers and reach out to them on a regular basis.

Our Twitter Approach
We want to make sure our customers are happy. And we figure the best way to do that is by listening to them in their natural habitat: The Internet. We proactively search the Twittersphere to find happy or unhappy tweets about IPOWER, and reach out to those customers to let them know we're here to help. Occasionally we'll use our account to tweet news about what we're up to--improvements to the platform, new services, etc.--depending on who's manning the feed. We have members from all across our organization tweeting away, so you'll get the flavor of a few different personalities (we often sign our tweets with a carrot and our initials; for example: ^MMI).

So come, follow us on Twitter, or sign up for an account. It's a pretty good time.

Some people you might like to follow (popular twitterers):
  • IPOWER, of course: ipowerhosting
  • Ashton Kutcher: aplus
  • Ellen DeGeneres: TheEllenShow
  • Britney Spears: britneyspears
  • CNN Breaking News: cnnbrk
  • Oprah Winfrey: oprah
  • Twitter: twitter
  • Barack Obama: BarackObama
  • Ryan Seacrest: RyanSeacrest
  • Jimmy Fallon: jimmyfallon
  • Lance Armstrong: lancearmstrong
  • The New York Times: nytimes
  • Coldplay: coldplay
  • Al Gore: algore
  • The Onion: TheOnion
  • Perez Hilton: PerezHilton
  • Google: google
  • NPR Politics: nprpolitics
  • Pete Cashmore: mashable
  • RainnWilson: rainnwilson
  • Martha Stewart: MarthaStewart
  • TIME
  • Whole Foods Market: WholeFoods
  • Kevin Rose: kevinrose
  • John McCain: SenJohnMcCain
  • Michael Arrington: TechCrunch
  • Biz Stone: biz
  • JetBlue Airways: JetBlue
Have some recommendations? Add 'em in the comments :)