Industry Buzz

New Signup Functionality

WhopHost News -

We are proud to announce improved signup functionality for our clients. Till this moment when you signed for one of our hosting plans the system would generate a random password and send it to your e-mail address. Users tend to dislike random passwords since they are very often hard to remember. No longer will you have such problems as you will be able to sign up with your own password now. We have added the option for you to use your e-mail address as well as your Client ID in order to login to the system.

The New Tofino Sea Kayaking Website

Hosting Nation Blog -

One of the projects that we having been working on, in association with our partners Fusion Creative and Harbour City SEO is the new website for Tofino Sea Kayaking, a kayaking tour and rental company in Tofino, BC. The website was launched this week and we invite you to check it out, www.tofinoseakayaking.com.

The Secrets to Selling Online

iPower Web Hosting Blog -

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?"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 WorksHave you ever wondered what happens after you click that "Add to Cart" button? Below are the basic steps of an online transaction:The buyer completes an order via the shopping cart of the merchant's online store.An 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.The shopping cart submits the order to a payment gateway, which then forwards a request to the buyer's credit card company.A payment gateway securely transfers encrypted data, authorizing buyers' credit cards and processing the transactions. 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.The payment gateway informs the shopping cart that the transaction was successful so that the buyer and the merchant can proceed accordingly.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. 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 PaymentsWe 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 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 >>The holiday sales push will be here before you know it. If you want to be ready in time, set up your store now.

Experience our New Drag and Drop Site Builder!

iPower Web Hosting Blog -

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, Del.icio.us 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!

SEO Tips for Bloggers

iPower Web Hosting Blog -

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.

IPOWER Has Joined the Twittersphere!

iPower Web Hosting Blog -

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 twitter.com/ipowerhosting.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 ApproachWe 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: ipowerhostingAshton Kutcher: aplusEllen DeGeneres: TheEllenShowBritney Spears: britneyspearsCNN Breaking News: cnnbrkOprah Winfrey: oprahTwitter: twitterBarack Obama: BarackObamaRyan Seacrest: RyanSeacrestJimmy Fallon: jimmyfallonLance Armstrong: lancearmstrongThe New York Times: nytimesColdplay: coldplayAl Gore: algoreThe Onion: TheOnionPerez Hilton: PerezHiltonGoogle: googleNPR Politics: nprpoliticsPete Cashmore: mashableRainnWilson: rainnwilsonMartha Stewart: MarthaStewartTIME.com: TIMEWhole Foods Market: WholeFoodsKevin Rose: kevinroseJohn McCain: SenJohnMcCainMichael Arrington: TechCrunchBiz Stone: bizJetBlue Airways: JetBlueHave some recommendations? Add 'em in the comments :)

The Placebo Effect ... on Pricing

iPower Web Hosting Blog -

OK, so here's an interesting dilemma for many businesses out there, including us here at IPOWER.I just read this fascinating article from The Washington Post on "The Price-Placebo Effect." Most people understand the Placebo Effect as it pertains to medication studies: "control" participants are blindly administered a sugar pill instead of actual medication, and yet still experience improved symptoms, probably as a result of their belief that they have received real medication.The Price-Placebo Effect takes the same tack, but instead of medication being the agent of change, price is strangely the culprit. The Price-Placebo Effect, according to the article, is basically the notion that people experience more pleasure (i.e. larger activation in their medial orbitofrontal cortex) when they consume a product that they pay a higher price for, compared to those who pay a less-expensive price.While the article leads off referencing the uncomfortable Eliot Spitzer scandal, the more relevant story revolves around a study in which two groups of participants were asked to drink some wine: one group from a bottle priced at $90, and the other group from a bottle priced at $10. The participants who drank the $90 bottle not only indicated an overall higher level of enjoyment (as to be expected), but they also had experienced more activity medial orbitofrontal cortex than those who drank the $10 bottle. The catch? They drank the exact same wine.So what does this tell us about pricing our products? Well, for one thing, Apple's got it right. The price of their notebooks is significantly higher than it needs to be, and yet they don't have much trouble (a) selling them like hotcakes or (b) cultivating a dedicated (some might say fanatic?) userbase. In fact, it wasn't until the end of last year that they even contemplated releasing a notebook under $1000. So what's the story here? Great products justifying expensive prices? People paying for the "brand"? Or is there something actually physiological going on?It's tough to say, but notions like these definitely make us think about our strategies. The webhosting industry is a complicated one--commodization is driving prices down and requiring hosts to underprice their services. Two years ago it was ludicrous to advertise a price under $6/month. Now that price is considered expensive. And yet does our catering to the competitive nature of the hosting market mean our product is any less valuable to consumers than it was two years ago? In fact, no--our product is constantly improving and evolving and a hosting plan now is "worth" more than ever. It would be great to price our plans to invoke the "Price-Placebo Effect," but unfortunately, the likely result would be potential customers hammering the "Back" button as soon as the images start to load on IPOWER.com.So how do we tap into this pricing enigma? Have you tapped into it?

Your Feedback, Hard at Work

iPower Web Hosting Blog -

We've been soliciting feedback from customers, and we've been listening to your responses. Over the past couple of weeks, we've launched a couple key changes to our offerings, which we hope will improve your overall experience.1) The Activation Center: Activate Your Plan's Freebies in One Fell Swoop!We recently launched The Activation Center to help customers find and activate the free tools that come in their hosting plans. Located in the top stripe of your control panel (between the "Tutorials" and "Help" icons), The Activation Center opens up a list of products that you can add to your control panel just by selecting the items of interest to you and clicking the "Activate" button. Free tools include SubmitNet, Google AdWords $50 credit, Google Custom Search box, as well as a free 60-day trial with RatePoint, and a free 60-day trial with Constant Contact, which provides email marketing tools.Keep an eye out for more free tools in the Activation Center--we'll be adding new ones all the time!2) ServiceCentral: New Portal for Managing Your ProjectsWhen you purchase an SEO package (soon to be extended to a Design package or Professional Services), you'll get an icon called "ServiceCentral" in the "Marketing Services" section of your control panel. When you click on this icon, you'll be brought to a portal page, which, on the "My Projects" tab, keeps a list of your active and past projects and their statuses. From here, you can also add comments to your project and check out the latest status via comments left by your project team.The "My Team" tab keeps track of your team members, with access to their schedules and contact information. At the moment, customers can email and call most of their team members, but shortly we'll add the ability for customers to chat with team members and schedule appointments! Plus, uploading files you'd like your team to use in the project is a cinch--just click on the "My Resources" tab, and select the directory where you'd like to upload to.3) Akamai Quick Connect: Increase Your Site's Load Time for Visitors Everywhere IPOWER is one of the first hosts to offer this incredibly cool service, which allows visitors from across the globe to access your site nearly as quickly as someone sitting next to our servers. Akamai Quick Connect will be available to some customers starting next week through a special promotion we're running, and we'll likely roll it out to all customers by the end of March or early April.In case you're wondering how Akamai works their magic, here's a quick snapshot: Normal requests to see your website have to travel all the way from a visitor's computer to our servers and back. Akamai speeds up this process by caching your site's content (images, CSS, javascript) on its edge servers, which are located all around the world--so when someone in China, for instance, wants to see your site, the content will be retrieved from the closest Akamai server in China, rather than traveling all the way to our servers and back. HTML requests will still travel to our servers, but through Akamai's optimized network, which can easily locate and circumvent trouble spots in the network.4) WebSite Creator by CM4all: Two Small Changes Based Upon Survey FeedbackWe have plans to revamp the CM4all tool page in general, but in the meantime, we fulfilled two small customer requests which seem to make a big difference in the usability of the tool.Numero Uno: We made the "edit" link into a button so you can see it! Derrr ... not quite sure why it was a teensy tiny link to begin with, but at least you can see it now and know where to click to edit your site.Numero Dos: We made this new and improved "edit" button open a new window. Finally. Now you won't lose access to your IPOWER control panel when you want to edit you CM4all site.We hope these small changes across the board make a difference in how you use your IPOWER hosting account. If you have additional suggestions on functionality, definitely let us know through comments on the blog, in surveys, and as always, through tickets in your Support Console.

Servers - VPS Hosting now available!

WhopHost News -

Virtual Private Servers also called VPS Hosting is now available on our hosting. VPS is partitioning a physical server into multiple Virtual Servers having the appearance and capacity of a dedicated server. Each Virtual Server runs independent from the others on the physical machine. Also VPS has its own OS, and each server can be independently rebooted.

New InstallCentral Interface (More Apps, Plus It's Now Free!)

iPower Web Hosting Blog -

So the blog has been dormant for a little while, due to a myriad of reasons. First, we've been busy developing. Secondly, it's been the holidays (Happy New Year!). Third, we've been busy doing more development and fixing the mail issue, which for the majority of customers has fortunately been fully restored. (We're still working diligently to recover a few customers' email -- eternal thanks for being patient!)In any event, we've been hard at work here. And with that hard work comes some positive changes from time to time. Most recently, we've been busting our butts for a much-needed and overdue InstallCentral revamp/upgrade. InstallCentral, for customers who aren't familiar with the term, is our application installation center -- or, more plainly, the place where you can add cool thingys to your site like blogs, galleries, forums, etc. Best of all for you guys? It's now freeeeeee.OK, as a product manager, the free stuff is great, but the best part for me is that we have a new interface that makes browsing the applications a breeze. Instead of listing every application on a single page, forcing you to scroll to find what you're looking for, our new design uses a tabbed interface that presents applications by category, i.e., blogs, content management systems, forums, photo galleries, etc. And not only that, our new interface now employs a "My Apps" tab that lists all of your installed applications, version and upgrade information, plus quick access to log into the admin page for your application.Also, you may have noticed we removed the individual icons for each application you've installed from the "Scripting & Add-ons" section of your control panel. The goal was to unclutter that section of your control panel, and provide you one location from which to manage each of your applications. To access your apps, just click on the "InstallCentral" icon, and you'll be taken to your personal "My Apps" page.Oh, and did we mention that we've added 13 new applications to our installation center? Check 'em out:* b2evolution* PixelPost* Drupal* e107* Mambo* ZenCart* Simple Machines Forum (SMF)* ZenPhoto* MediaWiki* Moodle* OpenRealty* phpFormGenerator* SugarCRM

Online Sales Down So Far this Year? Don't Fret

iPower Web Hosting Blog -

comScore released a report today indicating that up until Cyber Monday (which was this past Monday, Dec. 1st), e-commerce sales had been down by about 2% compared to November last year. However, probably due to holiday sale prices many online retailers tout during the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy, Monday yielded a 15% jump over last year's Cyber Monday sales.Additional key findings from the report include:* Overall, retailers appear to be giving more aggressive discounts this year in an effort to encourage consumer spending; 51% of consumers surveyed indicated that the number of discounts and promotions seem higher this year than last year (compared to 12% who thought discounts were fewer).* 39% of those surveyed indicated they felt the crowds at retail stores were fewer this year than last year, whereas 7% felt the number had increased.Of course this is great news for our e-commerce customers here at IPOWERWEB. We truly hope your online sales end up following the post-Thanksgiving trend reported by comScore! Check out today's press release for more details on the report.And at the risk of irritating some of our readers with an upsell, if you haven't already, it might be a good time to take advantage of a couple of the discounts *we're* offering for e-commerce-izing your site .... If this annoys you, feel free to skip the following bullets ;)* CM4all E-commerce is available for 1/2 price off your first term (month, quarter, year) through Dec. 18.* Existing ShopSite customers can take advantage of 1/2 price off their first quarter or year for ShopSite Manager or Pro (call us for details: 888-511-4678).* PowerPay (our preferred credit card processing partner) is now offering the Authorize.Net Fraud Detection Suite--included with your payment gateway solution.Okay--you can open your eyes again.

Find Wikipedia (MediaWiki) a Pain to Edit?

iPower Web Hosting Blog -

If so, then good news for you! Looks like in the near future, MediaWiki, the free open source software used to create Wikipedia, will be bringing in some new software developers to determine some of the barriers to entry for first-time editors. The Wikimedia Foundation was been awarded a $890,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation to make collaboration easier for those of us who have some great knowledge to share, but may not quite understand how to use the funky MediaWiki editor. Check out the full article on CNET >>As you may or may not know, IPOWERWEB offers a bunch of open source applications through InstallCentral, our open source application installer. We don't have MediaWiki yet, but we're planning to add it (and a number of other applications) to our suite in the coming months. Keep an eye out--and hopefully by the time we add it, MediaWiki will have come out with a newer version of the software to make editing easier for everyone.

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