Questions to Ask Before Transferring Services to Your Website Designer

Added on June 14, 2021

If you've ever worked with a website designer, they've very likely asked you if you would transfer your domain name(s) and hosting to them as well. While this is not always a bad thing, you should take the time to answer the following questions to make sure it's a good fit for you. Any reputable designer should not refuse to work with you even if you don't agree to transfer your domain name(s) and/or hosting to them as well.

A majority of the website designers are looking to make additional income by reselling a web hosting companies server space and using their domain registration services. Typically, they are looking to take over the technical management for you and mark up the price a little bit to provide them with additional profit.

Who you have your website(s) hosted with and where your domains are registered is critical to your business operations. We've put together a list of questions to ask yourself, based on past experiences we've seen over the years.

Questions to Ask About Your Domains

It's not always about going with the largest company or the cheapest price

1) Will you have access to your own domain name(s) if needed?

2) Will your domains remain registered under your name or will they be registered under your website designers name?

3) How much will you actually be paying?

4) If you decide to end your relationship with the website designer at some point in the future, are they going to cordially release your domain name back to you?

Keep in mind that anytime you register or transfer a domain name, it can not be transferred again for 60 days. This is true with any domain registrar.

5) Which domain registrar will they actually be transferring your domain to?

6) How do you get support if you need it?

7) What hours of support will they be able to provide you with and what is the average first response time?

Questions to Ask About Your Hosting

Not all hosting providers and networks are created equal

1) Who's servers are they actually using?

2) Will you have your own control panel and access to it?

3) What is the server uptime?

4) Who will provide you with support when you need it?

5) How soon will you get a first response?

6) If you want to change hosting companies at a later date, will they give you access to your data?

7) Who will be moving your data to a new server and will you be paying extra for this?

Questions to Ask About Your Website Security

Don't let this be an after thought or have zero options available to you

1) What security options are available?

2) What precautions are taken to minimize hacking?

3) In the unfortunate event that your website is ever hacked, do they have the resources and tools to help you restore your website quickly?

While it may seem easy and convenient to transfer your services to your website designer, that's not always the case. Some website designers are best at creating websites and that is their forte. It may be best to keep control of your digital assets and get support when you need it directly from the hosting provider. You can also give temporary access to your designer to make changes when needed (such as uploading files, creating a database or updating DNS). This is a decision that only you can make and it's best to put some thought into it before making any moves.

Evolve Hosting is a managed service provider so we are always available to help make any configuration changes you need and our business is built around keeping our customers and their assets secure. Security is not an afterthought. If you're hosting with us, using our domain registration services and/or security services, we're a quick support ticket away. We've got your back day and night, 24/7/365!

If you're a website designer or developer and would like to partner with us to offer your clients hosting and domain services, be sure to reach out to our sales team. We work with several agencies to help them and their clients keep their websites up and running and secure.


Ways to Securely Share Passwords

Added on September 11, 2020

At one time or another, you've very likely emailed a password to a website designer, friend or other agency. What you may not have known is that your password was potentially exposed to more than the intended recipient. How is that possible you ask? There are a few scenarios when you email a password:

1) More than likely, the recipient's email is not secure

2) The password is always sent in plain text which means it is not stored within a database using encryption

3) The password is sitting in someones inbox in plain sight

4) Your own email may not be sending with SSL encryption

5) The recipient's email account could be hacked after they receive your message

Now that you have more understanding of what can happen with these passwords, let's take a look at a few ways to make the process more secure.

Password Managers

Most, if not all password managers have a 'secure share link' feature that allows you to share passwords with others.

1Password: https://blog.1password.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-password-sharing/

Dashlane: https://support.dashlane.com/hc/en-us/articles/202699021-How-to-share-your-saved-items

LastPass: https://blog.lastpass.com/2016/01/tips-for-securely-sharing-passwords/

One Time Unique Passwords

Create a temporary login with a unique, temporary password. This means, don't use a 'regular' password that you use for any of your own accounts. It is best to use the password generator or if your software doesn't have a password generator, use the one from Dashlane: https://www.dashlane.com/features/password-generator

Once the user is done logging in and making any necessary edits, you can delete their account.

Call the recipient

The most secure way, yet a little bit inconvenient is to call the person on the phone and give them the password. This avoids the possibility of a hacker intercepting the password(s).

Further Reading About Secure Passwords

https://www.evolvewebhost.com/blog/password-do-s-and-don-ts


How to Create a Sitemap for Search Engines

Added on August 31, 2020

Creating and maintaining a sitemap for search engines is important to the success of your website. Depending on the software you use to build your website (Wordpress, Opencart, Joomla, Drupal, etc), there are many ways to get this done.

If you are using a content management system, consider the following:

Wordpress and WooCommerce: Try Yoast SEO or search the Wordpress Plugins

Opencart: Try UKSB Sitemaps or search the Opencart Marketplace

Joomla: Try JSitemap or search the Joomla Extension Directory

Drupal: Try Simple XML Sitemap or search the Drupal Modules

If you have created a website using your own custom code, the following is the format to use within a new file called sitemap.xml

Copy and update the following for each additional URL to list:

Once you're finished, upload the file to your server. If you already have the Sitemap URL submitted to Google and Bing, they will crawl it. Otherwise, create your Google Webmasters and BING Webmasters accounts and submit your Sitemap to them.


Facebook Image Size Guidelines

Added on August 31, 2020

Creating posts and having a strong social media presence is an important part of your marketing strategy. We want to pass along a few easy tips to strengthen the appearance of your Facebook Business page. Facebook has a list of different image sizes for your cover photo, profile photo, post photos, etc. This quick little guide will help you ensure that your images display properly on every device for every image you upload and post to Facebook. All sizes are in pixels.

Profile Picture: 180 x 180

Cover Photo: 820 x 312

Shared Images (Used when you make a post): 1200 x 630

Shared Link (Used when you add an image to a link you are sharing): 1200 x 628

Highlighted Image: 1200 x 717

Event Image: 1920 x 1080

Using Facebook to compliment your web page makes for a stronger marketing campaign when promoting your business.


Google Business Listing

Added on April 19, 2020

Today, we want to show you how to claim your Google Business Listing and get a jump start on making your business noticeable across multiple channels including Google Search and Google Maps.

How often does a customer tell you that they couldn’t find you on the Internet, your hours were outdated or your phone number didn’t work after they finally located you online? As soon as you have a Google Business Listing, you can correct all of this! Google My Business is one of the most powerful tools for Small Businesses and it's FREE!

Who Should Take Advantage of This?

Every Business!

Disclaimer

This is not a replacement for full Organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This listing will help to increase your visibility through Local Google Search and Google Maps (Desktop, Tablet and Mobile).

Google My Business

Getting Started

The official website for Google Business is: https://www.google.com/business

If you already have a Google Account (for Gmail, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Google Drive, etc) sign in to it. If you don’t have a Google Account, now’s the time to create one.

Once You're Logged In

As soon as you log in to your Google Business Account, you'll see the main dashboard. If you haven't claimed any businesses yet, you'll see an empty table with a blue button toward the right that says 'Add Location'. Click this and then choose the link at the top that says “Add a Single Location”.

Find Your Location

Google gives you the opportunity to search for your business. Sometimes they already have the basic details of your location. If they do, select the listing rather than creating a new listing (you will end up with duplicate listings). If you don't see your business, click the link to 'Add your Business to Google'.

Locate Your Business on Google

Verifying Ownership

After you have selected your business or added it, Google wants to verify that you are the right person to manage this listing. There are 2 ways they'll do this:

  1. They mail a postcard to the business address with a verification PIN
  2. In rare cases, they will send you an automated phone call with the PIN number for immediate verification

As soon as you receive the Postcard or receive the call, log in to your Google Business Account and enter the PIN. Your listing will be live immediately. If your verification process is the postcard method, you can edit your listing details in the meantime so they are ready to go as soon as you receive your PIN and enter it.

Google Postcard Verification

Once your postcard arrives (typically 10-14 days), follow the steps listed here to finish the verification process:

Google Verification Process

Where Your Information Will Appear

Once you have claimed your listing, your information will appear in the following locations:

  1. Google Search
  2. Google Maps

Having this completed also helps drive traffic from mobile devices which is huge if your location is open to the public (restaurants, retail stores, libraries, bars, movie theaters, etc).

Google My Business Dashboard

Additional Features to Take Advantage of

Once your listing is under your control, you'll have access to many great resources to spread the word about your business. Here is a brief overview:

  1. Contact Information: You can make sure your address, phone number, hours, website address, target market and categories are all correct
  2. Photos: You can make sure your logo is correct and add pictures of your business and/or staff members
  3. Insights: View performance reports to see how many people are viewing your Business listing, requesting directions, calling you and more after they view your listing on Google Maps. If you have a YouTube page or you're using Google Analytics or Google Adwords, you can also see a snapshot of these accounts here
  4. Reviews: Manage your reviews and respond to your customers directly
  5. Products and Services: List your Menu, Products and Services along with descriptions and pricing
  6. Posts: Quickly and easily create Posts to provide updates about your business. Post events, sales, or general information.
  7. Google Assistant Calls: Let customers use the Google Assistant to book with you. Also, quickly update your listing by getting occasional calls to confirm your details.
  8. Virtual Tour Eligibility: Request a quote from Google to visit your location to produce a professional virtual tour of your storefront.
  9. Messaging: Enable messaging so that customers can contact you directly through your listing. Reply using the Google My Business Mobile App or on Desktop.

Google My Business Virtual Tour

Samples of Search Results After Claiming Your Listing

How Your Business Can Appear in a Regular Search Listing

This image shows an example of a Local Search someone might request. Our sample search was ‘arvada website hosting’. The results always show Google Ads First, Google Maps Results (where you could easily appear) followed by Organic Search Results.

Google Search Maps Results

Google Maps Listing

This is how your business will appear on the Google Maps page (maps.google.com).

Google My Business Maps Listing

A Search For Your Business Name

When someone searches for your business name, you will notice the additional information off to the right which increases your exposure.

Google Search Business Listing

Now that you have this information, it’s time to start the process for yourself and claim your business listing. You can also use your business location to help you create targeted google ads for your area, appearing on social media and other websites so that people in your community can find out where you are and become your customers.


Password Do's and Don'ts

Added on April 8, 2020

Due to the volume of hacking and password exploitation going on, we want to present you with the Do's and Don'ts when it ccomes to creating passwords, storing them and keeping them strong. Don't fall victim to a hack by something as simple as keeping your passwords safe and strong at all times.

Do's

  • Generate passwords that include Upper Case, Lower Case, Symbols and Letters
  • Make each password unique. Do not recycle the same password over and over
  • Use a password manager to help you generate and store your passwords
  • Do not email passwords if possible. Update shortly thereafter if you end up emailing any of them

Don'ts

  • Do not recycle the same password over and over from site to site
  • Do not use any passwords from this list: Forbe's Do Not Use Password List
  • Do not give your password out to others. If you do, update them shortly after
  • Do not enter your password on a website where there is no padlock in the URL bar meaning it is not encrypted

Following these guides will help keep your websites and email accounts safer overall. They are not a guarantee but will help a lot.

Remember to always connect over HTTPS wherever possible and keep all of your website software up to date. Remove unused files on your web server. If a website looks suspicious. do not enter any login credentials.