Webhosting Checklist: 7 Essential Things to Look For When Choosing a Web Host

Web hosting: it’s not the most glamorous of topics, by any stretch of the imagination. But, it’s one of the most important points to consider when you are running an online business.

Make no mistake about it, the hosting provider you choose will be where your website stands and grow, or fall on its face. Here are several things to watch out for when you choose a web host for your business.

How to choose a webhost for your business site

1. Choosing The Right Server

Your business needs the right amount of server space to work properly. You can never have too much space, of course, but you will have to pay for it in one way or another. But, if you don’t have enough, you will see a lot of downtimes that will lose valuable sales opportunities.

2. Ability To Be Flexible

So, it’s essential that when you choose your web host, you take server space into consideration. There’s a fine balance to strike. For example, if you only have a few visitors, you might get away with choosing Windows VPS hosting cheap and under your budget constraints. But, if you find you go over your monthly limits, it is worth looking at increasing your plan to accommodate your needs. It might cost a little more, but what you could lose in profit will put that into perspective. Your web host has to allow you to make those changes so that you can increase or decrease your server space as your visitors rise and fall.

3. Security

Not all web hosts offer as robust security as others. But, with the current online landscape as it is, safety is something you have to take into consideration. Choose a service that offers SSL – Secure Socket Layer – protocol. It’s the bare minimum for any business, and many of your customers will look for this before deciding to make a purchase.

4. Check Downtime Records

All web hosts suffer downtime and outage issues at some point – unfortunately, it’s part of the business. But, it’s how they deal with these problems that mark out a great service from an underwhelming company. Excellent companies who take pride in limiting their downtime will be happy to tell you about it, and talk to you about their recovery periods. So, be wary of a service that has a lot of outages, and of course, also make yourself aware of the time it takes them to fix things.

Web host checklist

5. Check For Support

The nature of online businesses is that they are available at any time of the day. The trouble is, if your web host is only available for support during office hours, it isn’t much help. Just think about the problems it can cause. Let’s say you get a notification that your site is down at 6 pm. If your hosting provider isn’t around until the next morning, then you could be looking at well over half a day without your site. That’s a lot of missed opportunities, and your sales figures for the month is likely to take a hit. Make sure your service provider gives you 24/7 support every day, or you run the risk of missing out on a lot of potential sales.

6. Check The Nature Of The Support

Another point to consider is that not all 24/7 support services are created equal. It’s vital that you understand how that support will be given should you have a problem. In an ideal world, it will be someone on the other end of a telephone. But, in most cases, this is impractical – and understandable if your web host is a smaller company. However, the bare minimum you need is live chat or instant messaging. Avoid firms that promise email support, but don’t reveal how long they take to respond. They won’t be able to offer you help when you need it, and you will find yourself being frustrated when they don’t reply immediately.

7. Look For Shopping Cart Quality

A lot of web hosts offer free shopping carts with their packages. They are worth looking at, for sure, but it’s important to do some thorough research. In an ideal world, you will have a cart package that includes as many different payment options as possible. Think about VISA, Paypal, and everything between. It’s also worth pointing out that poor quality carts with questionable design tend to convert far less than higher quality carts. If that is going to lose you a lot of sales, then you should consider paying for a custom made service with more options.

Conclusion

The web host you choose for your business website plays a vital role in the success of your business. This is must not be undertaken lightly. Use the above tips when next you want to decide on a webhost. If you have any other suggestions feel free to add them in your comments below.

As you can see, there is more to choosing a web host than might meet the eye at first glance. It’s essential to have a long think about the sort of services you need, before making your decision.

Wrike: Software for Project Management and Remote Collaboration

Do you have a team spread out across the globe or even just across your city? And do you need a project management tool that will allow you to collaborate with ease and manage projects efficiently? Then, Wrike is just what you need.

Recently, I started a new project with a friend. And for the simple reason that we were separated by several miles, there was a need for us to use a platform that would make our collaboration much easier.  Of course, we’d worked on other projects before now but this particular one demanded more frequent sharing of files and more in-depth discussion about each task. We figured email just wouldn’t be enough to track all the various file versions plus all the back-and-forth communication so we set out to look for project management software that could help us.

It was while searching for one that I got to know about Wrike. Having used the platform for some time now and seeing how useful it is to us, I thought it worthwhile to write this review because there may be others out there who are looking for an awesome app to manage their remote work.

Wrike - Project development app - a review

So What Is Wrike?

According to their website:

“Wrike is a work management and collaboration platform used by high-performance teams everywhere. Wrike makes day-to-day work easier, more transparent and efficient for thousands of companies.”

While that isn’t too detailed, a careful look however shows that those few words have much to say:

  • It is a work (project) management and collaboration platform
  • It makes day-to-day work easier
  • It makes day-to-day work more transparent
  • It makes day-to-day work more efficient

And you know what? This was enough for me to check it out!

Without time at all, I signed up for the trial version and then proceeded to invite my partner. The surprising part was that by the time I called to let him know about this development, he told me he had received an email from Wrike and had already accepted the invitation!

Fascinating, right?

And that was my first introduction to the platform.

Working with Wrike

At first, navigating around the platform was a bit of a challenge. This was because I was eager to get started and didn’t bother to watch the numerous video tutorials on the site. But after going through a few of those videos, working with Wrike became real fun.

As of this day, I have created a few projects (which, in Wrike are folders) and individual tasks. Basically, Wrike organizes all of your work into folders (and sub folders) that house individual tasks. This is because Wrike looks at project collaboration on the task level.
Creating folders, sub-folders and tasks is easy, just as Wrike promised. When you create a folder, you can choose to either share the folder and the tasks therein with your team members or make it private. When you make a folder private, sub-folders and tasks inside that folder will only be viewable by you.

Some of the project management activities you can do right on the platform include: creating tasks, setting schedules, providing feedback and discussing in detail what your task is all about, assigning task to team members and of course, tracking the progress of your work.

Working with Wrike

What Is My Opinion Of Wrike?

After a few weeks of working with Wrike I can confidently say this online project management tool is an angel to our new agency. It’s just what we needed at a time like this.

Like I mentioned above, we were searching for a collaborative tool that would give us project management functionality but which was also affordable. Something that would provide high value results but not put a hole in our budget. Luckily for us, we found this in Wrike.

Though my business partner and I live several states apart, with Wrike we’re able to jointly monitor the progress of clients’ projects and tasks without resorting to emails – the Wrike platform takes care of the email notifications.

We’ve also found that Wrike can be our partner in progress as we plan to expand our team and take on virtual assistants in the near future. This is the scalable structure of Wrike which is something that any wise project manager will love.

Imagine offering a free account that allows you to manage an unlimited number of projects? It will interest you to know that not many project management tools offer free accounts these days. For those that do, there are a whole lot of limitations.

Wrike offers 4 tiers of service. These are:

  • Free – 5 users and 2GB of storage space
  • Professional ($49 per month) – 5 users and 5GB of storage space
  • Professional ($99 per month) – 15 users and 5GB of storage space
  • Enterprise – You’re required to contact the company to discuss this.

Compared with a few other project management services we tried, you will discover that Wrike’s payment structure is truly useful as many of the others charge per user per month instead of a flat monthly rate. If you ask me, paying per user is really not appropriate for small businesses and startups.

What I Love About Wrike

Every day there is something to learn about the platform. For now here are some of the things I truly love about this app:

  • Quick and easy setup
  • Manage unlimited number of projects
  • Easily time and track your progress
  • Convenient email notifications
  • Integrates easily with other apps and services
  • Great pricing structure that is truly scalable

How About What I Don’t Like?

Frankly, for now it’s very hard to think of anything. Of course, at the initial stage, it was difficult figuring out how the platform worked. But once I discovered that there are numerous video tutorials that challenge was taken out of the way. What I do these days is take a few minutes a day to familiarize myself with the platform using the video tutorials (there are daily webinars as well) before using any feature.

To Whom Will I Recommend Wrike?

Considering the scalability of Wrike, the platform is great for anyone. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a large corporation spread across nations, Wrike has a place for you. The company is constantly improving features with the help of users’ feedback. So, who knows by the time you jump in there may just be some new features I haven’t covered in this review. Besides, once you learn to use the platform you will find it to be fun.

So, if you are looking for an innovative project management software, then check out Wrike today. I know you will love it as I now do.

Comm100 Live Chat: Powerful Tool to Engage Your Website Visitors!

Which communication channels are you providing for your website visitors to reach you? Phone call?  Email? Indeed, both ways can keep you connected with your website visitors, but if you want to get more out of your website, you might try real time live support.

A Forrester study named “Making Proactive Chat Work” found that many online consumers want help from a live person while they are shopping online; in fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.

Comm100 Live Chat is a professional website chat application that enables you to offer real time assistance to your website visitors and talk with them like in a brick-and-mortar store. Well-used, it can help increase both your website conversion and customer satisfaction.

Quick Setup

After you sign up, just a few minutes taken to paste the code onto your website, you can see a chat button appear where your website visitors can connect with you.

Customization

As you begin offering live support, it’s important to create a design that’s consistent with your brand. Comm100 Live Chat offers you various customization options. You can fully customize your chat button, chat window, chat invitation, pre-chat survey and post-chat rating. You might ask how about adding your own logos? Well, Comm100 Live Chat enables you to use your own logo or banners in the chat interfaces. This gives your website visitors the comfort of knowing they are interacting with your business and helps to build strong brand recognition.

comm100_customizable_chat_interface

Canned Messages

If you find it time-consuming to answer the same questions every time, canned messages can help you. You can set up canned messages providing commonly needed information such as features and prices. When you are chatting with multiple visitors at one time, it can be burdensome and sometimes impossible to answer all queries in a timely manner. Also, website visitors are often busy and can quickly become agitated due to slow chat response, using canned messages can help you quickly solve that problem by allowing multiple messages to be sent to multiple website visitors with ease, while actually addressing their concerns.

comm100_canned_response

Typing Indicator

If you want to see what your website visitors are typing, then typing indicator in Comm100 Live Chat can actually help you. This allows you to predict what your website visitors want to talk about and to answer questions much faster. As you can start typing your answer before visitors have finished typing, it will reduce the time needed to answer each chat query.

comm100_typing_indicator

Auto Chat Invitation

Comm100 Live Chat enables you to automatically invite your website visitors to chat when you notice they need some assistance. Based on navigation behaviors of your website visitors, you can set invitation parameters such as where they come from, how long they have been stayed on your site, etc. For example, you can set an auto invitation to pop up if a visitor has been on a certain page for 1 minute and ask whether he/she need any assistance. This feature is especially helpful for sales people to identify and proactively engage customers with great purchasing potential.

comm100_auto_invitation_rules

Integration with Comm100 Ticket

Not all cases can be closed right on the spot. Some cases may need a week or longer to find the right solutions. To track and follow up on these cases is important for both support and sales.  Comm100 Live Chat can be seamlessly integrated with Comm100 Ticket, which allows you to convert live chats or offline messages to tickets for effective follow up.

With the integration of Comm100 Ticket, you can clearly know the details of each case, including status, assignee, correspondences, etc.  Such information is very important, especially when the case involves two or more agents. The integration ensures each case or sales lead is handled appropriately.

Stability & Security

Comm100 ensures that you can enjoy a stable chat service with a world-class data center, high quality HP servers, rigorous backup policies, dedicated server monitoring and maintenance and more. You won’t be suddenly cut off in the middle of chatting and leave your visitors there without serving. A licensee of Truste, Comm100 is committed to protecting your information security and privacy.

If you have any questions or suggestions about Comm100 feel free to post them in your comment below.

 

 

Facebook Fan Pages Revolutionized: Default Tabs out, Fan Page Timeline In!

If you think you’ve seen the last in the on-going rivalry between the heavy-weight social media sites, Facebook and Google, then you’re in for a surprise!

A few days ago Facebook introduced some major changes concerning Facebook fan pages. Coming a few hours before Google’s new privacy policy came into effect, shows that these two are not, in any way, ready to cede ground to the other.

As I’ve written earlier, this social media war between Google and Facebook is something that is definitely going to bring some positive thing for all of us! Who ever expected so many changes in a very short period of time? And who knows what more changes that we will be seeing in the days ahead? But one thing that is for sure is the positive impact this will have on our use of the internet both for business and personal interactions.

Facebook Fan Pages Changes: A Look into What Is New

When I first heard of the news about the new changes, I quickly took a look at this blog’s fan page and I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw.

Now, it will interest you to know that I was in the middle of redesigning the pages.  For the past 2 weeks I had been brainstorming for some very good artwork and so the first thing that surprised me was the fact that Facebook has thrown away the default tab and instead is introducing “Timelines” just as we have in Facebook profiles!

I really do not know why the default tab is being thrown away but from all indication, it appears that Facebook has something against the creative uses that many internet marketers are putting the default tab to. Seriously!

For example, here’s a graphic of what my facebook fan page looked like before the changes:

facebook fan page image

With this optin form for capturing email contacts:

fan page optin

But now, here’s a preview of what the page now look like (of course I will need to work on it again to bring it up to date!):

As you can see Facebook has given us some more work but we do expect things like this in this business from time to time and so it’s going to be some fun!

Here are the major changes

1. Cover Photo

With the default tab going Facebook now allows you to use a cover photo on your fan page. However, there are some restrictions. The cover photo may NOT contain the following:

>>> Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.

>>> Contact information or any other information that should be in your Page’s “About” section.

>>> References to user interface elements, such as “Like” or “Share”, or any other Facebook site features.

>>> Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.

If you want to use a cover photo, the idea size is 850px by 315px.

2. Default Landing Tabs Removed

This is one area many marketers may not find agreeable. With the ability to use HTML codes, many marketers used this tab as the “Welcome” gateway for their fan pages. Many built fanciful landing pages where they collected contact information from first time visitors and build very responsive email lists. Others simply used it to encourage first timers to “Like” the page. Unfortunately, there is no more default tab. Taking this with the restrictions placed on the cover page, it does appear that Facebook is trying to discourage, as much as possible, blatant marketing on the site. But is this really what marketers on Facebook are looking for?

3. Photos, Likes, and Apps Moved to Top of Page

Photos, apps and likes which used to be at the side of the page now take the top of the fan page. You can show up to a maximum of 12 apps at the top.  A little look at this will of course give one some ideas on how to you can draw attention to a particular app since you can decide which of the app should appear first. Marketers will have to find some creative use for this section.

4. Administrator Panel

Administrators of your fan page can now keep track of activities of the page from a new admin panel. From here the administrator can respond to writeups from people visiting your fan page and also view the latest insights about the page.

5. Fan Page Messages

One of the features of the new admin panel is that people can now contact you privately through messages. Any message sent will appear in your admin panel.

6. Ability to “Highlight” or “Pin” your favorite post to the top

I think this is another good one. Just as you can make a post “sticky” in wordpress blogs, Facebook now allows you to pin your favorite post to the top of your fan page. This is another way of drawing attention to your most important content on your fan page.

And Now, My Sincere Thoughts About These Facebook Fan Page Changes

As much as it does appear that Facebook wants businesses and marketers to create more interactions in the use of fan pages, I’m seeing a situation where Facebook is actually playing into the hands of Google considering what Google is doing with Google+ business pages.

If you’re familiar with how Google is pushing Google+ business pages using their search engine to encourage more businesses to build Google+ pages, you will readily agree that businesses and brands who desire more online visibility will definitely focus more of their marketing activities in their  Google+ business pages.

Of course, Facebook may still be banking on their big numbers and the understanding that with more interaction comes more brand awareness and therefore more business, but I do see more marketers throwing more into their Google plus pages.

Over to You:

So, what do you think about all these? Do agree with my observations or do see business and brands throwing more into their Facebook fan pages viz a viz what Google is doing? Post your views in the comments below.

5 Crucial Steps To Hosting A Successful Online Meeting Easily

Free online meetings is quick becoming the in thing. this is because they can help you make the right business decisions and trounce the competition. If you want to join the new wave of business success then you should be thinking of hosting your own online meetings or webinars.

Every blogger needs to create a lasting impression on her readers. Bloggers are fed up with generic ideas like “ways to drive traffic to your blog” and the likes.

Success begins with proper understanding of how people react to new trends and what motivates them to take action. The first copy I wrote failed woefully, because I failed to take crucial steps. I don’t know about you or what you desire in your business. But here are five crucial steps to host a successful online meeting without biting your finger.

free online meeting software

1.    Have an Attack Strategy

Yes, with an attack strategy, every online meeting idea will scale smoothly. But when you blindly invite people to come without proper planning, you’ve already failed even before starting.

An attack strategy could be a way to capture readers’ interest. I’m not talking about capturing their details as in list building (very vital though), but engaging your guests is the first assignment that needs to be pinned. Online meeting isn’t about gathering people together to rank about the political situation of your country, except you’re a politician. But it’s a time to flash your mind back – analyze your life, what you did well and what you failed to do.

2.    Invite the right people

Drive traffic to your blog have become a cliché. But we can’t stop talking about it. Truth is: you don’t need thousands of people to make a successful online meeting. In fact, stop asking people to come and visit your blog. Do something to earn that trust in a natural way.

Instead of inviting everyone that may not be inclined to participate, buy your products and subscribe to your services-recommendation, stay off course and aim for the right persons.

I know the difference between targeted traffic and generic traffic. I’ve a micro blog with 6 pages online, the daily traffic is just about 14 but I still earn over $400 from this blog alone. Aim for few responsive and credible webinar candidates and accelerate your success.

3.    Online meeting, Take Time

Online meetings rely on time.

Time is the currency of the earth. If you waste your time, you’ll have to struggle to get it back. You can earn all the money you want, network with powerful bloggers and business entrepreneurs. But you can never manufacture a single minute. You can use a popular site that offers free GoToMeeting.com promotion code and GoToWebinar discount code. It takes away the stress and delivers result on time.

We’re all given the same amount of time per day. 24 hours is barely enough for some people to get success, while others utilize only a fraction of it and today, they’ve millions and their impact in life is phenomenal.

Take time when putting together an online meeting. Don’t be in rush just because of hidden promises of riches from so-called marketing gurus. It’s true you can make money organizing a webinar or blog contest, but there is a due process that comes with it. Take your time, plan your attack and initiate success easily.

4.    Examine your thoughts

What is going through your mind as you plan to gather people together? A friend of mine had an idea to host a guest posting contest in 2010. Before I knew what was happening, I saw his banner scattered across several blogs. When I asked him what he has in stock, his reply wasn’t realistic.

Unfortunately, this guest posting contest didn’t go too well. He failed woefully and decided to quit blogging because he thought it was difficult. I ask you again, “what is your thoughts right now.” Do you think it’s easy to predict how people would react to your latest webinar ads? Think about this as you decide on what you want.

Don’t be too hasty in making decisions. Take your time isn’t an insult, it’s a nudge to tread carefully.

5.    Eliminate Fear No Matter How Little

The sky is always falling for some people. Are you one of them?

If you want to succeed online in meeting with people, organizing a webinar or hosting a guest posting contest, you’ve got to eliminate fear. You see, no matter how little, fear can destroy your chances of becoming a millionaire. If you ask successful stock investors and bloggers, you’ll discover that their success-path is similar.

Fear has killed and will continue to destroy dreams. If the Wright Brothers considered fear, there wouldn’t have been air-craft today. Or do you plan on inventing one yourself?

So, take away fear. Webinars are powerful and when properly harnessed, it can make a tremendous impact in both your personal and social life. Take heed to this advice, fear is a killer, kill it before it comes lurking around your formidable business.

When Webinar Fails

When a webinar or online meeting fails, who is to blame? Well, several factors contribute to it but the most common is “lack of preparation.

The better you’re prepared in life and business, the closer you’re to success. Get prepared, stay focused and achieve whatever you want this year – make that webinar count, it’s a priceless business decision. See you at the top!

 

Michael Chibuzor shares valuable information on web conferencing, online meetings and webinars. He invites you to check out GoToMeeting.com promo code and GoToWebinar coupon codes to enable you organize your own meeting without  much ado. Its’ time to take your online business to the next level, organize your online meeting today.