How to Understand FatCow’s Green Web Hosting

By Jessica Ann
January 28, 2015

We here at FatCow like to think we’re pretty awesome. We provide tools for hosting and building personal sites, business sites and e-commerce sites. But the offering we’re most proud of is our move to green web hosting.

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What do you mean by GREEN?

Let’s talk about what exactly it means when we say “green.” We don’t mean jealous, or good in the garden, or queasy after a rollercoaster. When we say green we mean friendly to the massive combination of rocks and water on which we all live.

A company goes green by deriving part or all of its resources with environmentally sustainable methods. It can also mean that a company’s products or services are environmentally sustainable. Of course, sometimes it means both.

Sustainability focuses on renewable resources, minimal impact on the surrounding environment, natural, non-destructive energy production whenever possible. While much of the technology used to do those things has been around for a long time, many industries have been slow to adopt it. Green energy can be generated in-house, for example using solar panels installed on the roof of your home or office building. But it can also be generated by a third party and sold to businesses interested in offsetting their environmental impact in the form of certificates.

FatCow’s Renewable Energy Certificates

We wish we had hundreds of acres of rolling grasslands on which to install a massive collection of windmills stretching far beyond the visible horizon. We really do. But we’re too busy building and maintaining top-notch data centers to keep up with all that landscaping.

We purchase what are known as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Our purchase of RECs offsets our energy use by funding the creation of wind energy. That wind energy results in an overall reduction in the amount of fossil fuels used to power the energy grid.

We get our certificates from Community Energy Inc., who have been in the business of helping people go green for more than 15 years. The company has wind and solar energy projects all over the country. Thanks to our partnership with CEI, our webhosting is 100% wind powered.

What does wind-powered hosting mean for you?

Going green gave us all at FatCow a warm, fuzzy feeling. Well, it was actually more of a windy feeling (considering the source of our energy). But it’s hard to market a windy feeling, so let’s stick with warm and fuzzy. We think you’ll feel just as good about building a website with 100% wind energy, too.

But there are selfless acts we do because they are good, without regard to whether anyone ever knows we did them. Then there are win-win situations, where we can feel good about what we did and also tell the whole world. This isn’t as selfish as it sounds, you know, because the more people who work with companies like us who have gone green, the better off the planet will be.

See, win-win. In that win-win spirit, we’ve carefully crafted several badges you can place somewhere on your own website to let visitors know your web host is a fat, green cow. Market studies showed that while fat cows are cute, making the color green severely decreases their likability (possibly due to the association of green with…aliens).

Instead we use badges that simply and clearly state that your site is eco-friendly. You can see examples here. Select your own by logging into your FatCow Control Panel and heading to the Badges section. Congratulations, you’ve gone green with us, and now everybody knows it. This may inspire even more people to go green, which we think is awesome!

How to Use Sitelock and SSL with FatCow

By Jessica Ann
January 20, 2015

 

 

Every website has a reputation. It is a combination of search engine optimization and your standing with anti-spam services. If you don’t keep things tidy, you may be blacklisted. That’s why FatCow offers SiteLock Reputation Management.

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SiteLock Reputation Protection

Your reputation will continually improve as long as you keep secure and free of spam. When something strange does occur, deal with it quickly so you can recover. There are a few important steps you should take to get started with reputation management.

Our WP Essentials package comes with a free SiteLock Professional credit. Even the most basic SiteLock plan, the Find plan, includes scanning your site’s files for malware and speeding up your load times with a content delivery network. Compare [our other SiteLock plans](https://secure.fatcow.com/product/sitelock/) to figure out which is best for your site.

The SiteLock seal is a simple way to give your customers peace of mind. A new data breach is in the news every month, which means people are more careful about where they spend their money online. Use FatCow’s SiteLock services] to be sure you’re among the trusted.

SSL Upgrades

First, consider using SLL, or Secure Sockets Layer, encryption. It proves your site is what it says it is and secures communications between your visitors and your server. Once you have one you’ll have to make sure it’s valid. If it expires, communications will no longer be secure.

FatCow offers two types of SSL, standard and shared. Standard SSL works as described above. Shared SSL is present on all of your sites and basically certifies that your site is a valid FatCow subdomain. That’s geek-speak for “safe-to-buy-stuff-from.”

Quick SSL Premium is an intermediate step backed by the Equifax Secure Certificate Authority. It enables 128-bit encryption and a dynamic site seal with the date and time stamp of the last security scan of your site. And it comes with up to $100,000 of insurance coverage for loss of use, theft or corruption.

We offer True BusinessID with Extended Validation SSL for those whose sites require maximum security visibility. It provides all of the benefits of Quick SSL Premium, plus 256-bit encryption. These are issued by online security leaders GeoTrust Primary Certificate Authority.

True Business ID also enables a green address bar on your site, telling your customers that your site is highly authenticated, trustworthy, and safe. It is visual confirmation that your customers can trust you with their purchasing information.

A site seal which includes your company’s name and free technical web, phone and email support round out the True BusinessID package. But, just because we think you’re pretty great, there’s $50,000 more insurance compared to Quick SSL Premium, for up to $150,000 of coverage.

How To Make Your New Blog a Success

By Jessica Ann
January 12, 2015

 

We offer an awesome WordPress hosting package, but we know not everyone was born a blogger. There are some easy things you can do to make your blog successful. And there are some great ways to interact with other bloggers. Here are a few:

Consistency

The most important thing about a successful blog is consistency. You don’t need to write one hundred posts a day. But you should stick to a particular frequency. Start with one post a week, on the same day and around the same time each week.

It’s easy to get caught up in choosing a host (we already know you’re really good at that, well done!), picking out a theme, and customizing your blog to look and act exactly how you want it. But at the end of the day blogging is all about the content. What are you writing?

You have to enjoy the topics you write about. You have to want to write about it all the time if you’re going to remain consistent. More importantly, you have to be original, and tell readers something new every time.

Interacting With Other Bloggers

Half the fun of starting a blog is building up a loyal readership. But the other half is about joining the ranks of the millions of bloggers around the world. Whatever the topic of your blog, however specific, you’re sure to find others writing about similar subjects.

One way to find like-minded bloggers is to head to the homepage of your platform of choice. For example, if you have a WordPress.com account, you can use several different tools to find blogs like your own. View your Reader page and scroll down the left sidebar to the Tags section.

Type in a topic you’re interested in or that you cover on your own blog and browse the results. Visit some and subscribe to the best ones. Leave thoughtful comments on their posts. Don’t post links to your own blog in comments or you’ll risk being flagged as a spammer. People can find your blog through your profile. You just have to contribute to the conversation.

Bloggers who use Twitter (and you should!) usually put a link on their blog to their Twitter profile. Head over there and follow them. You can also do an easy Google search for “best [TOPIC] blogs” to discover blogs in your subject area.

The best way to interact with other bloggers is to find them and start commenting on their articles. You’ll gain readers, build a reputation and may even be asked to do a guest post on someone else’s blog.

Don’t Forget Visuals

There is plenty of data suggesting images help a blog grow traffic. The reason for this is relatively simple: images are more eye-catching than plain text, and they especially stand out on social networks. Break up the monotony of a Twitter feed or get added to someone’s Pinterest by including interesting images in your blog posts.

Once upon a time it was difficult to find images you could use on your blog without risking a copyright violation. Those days are over. For example, the social media company Buffer has compiled a list of more than 50 free image sources. There’s no excuse for publishing blog posts without an engaging image or two.

Quality visuals encourage your readers to share your content by making them more likely to get feedback like comments and repins. You can only look at so much plain text before your eyes start to hurt – and what you’re reading starts to feel like work. Do you know why a lot of people read blogs? It’s a break from doing work!

If you can publish consistently, seek out and engage like-minded bloggers and give your readers something eye-catching to share, you’ll be on your way to a successful blog. The first step though is to take a break from reading our blog and start writing something for yours. So go, write, and hit publish. Or if you need extra help, hire a writer or a creative agency to create content for you.

Good luck!

Create a website for your business

By moosnews
January 5, 2015

Can having a website help my business even if I don’t set up an online store?

Yes. But we know you want a more in-depth answer than that. Your business has to have a website to compete in the modern market or you’re invisible. We provide SEO services to sites that include online stores and sites that do not.

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Invisibility is cool in just about every situation, except when you’re trying to run a business. So even if you only need a website to generate leads, you still need a website. Local search is exploding, and you don’t need to have an online store to build a valuable online presence.

Consider this: someone needs your product or service and goes to her favorite search engine to find something well-reviewed and nearby. Your competitors all show up in her search results, but your business is nowhere to be found, because you didn’t have an online store to set up and therefore didn’t make a website.

This hypothetical situation may make you uncomfortable, and it should. The only thing worse than no one looking for your products or services is lots of people looking but never being able to find you. What’s the point of running a business that no one can find?

There are plenty of ways to maximize the ability of potential customers to get in touch with you without an online store. For example, Google My Business allows you to claim your business on Google Maps, get reviews and maintain consistent branding throughout Google’s search products. Yahoo has a similar service, and tying these into your own website hosted with FatCow will make you a lot more visible to potential customers.

Our WordPress hosting plans can have your site up and running in minutes. If you manage to publish new content with even moderate frequency, you’ll get a boost in search ranking, becoming even easier for people to find you. More importantly, you can develop a unique voice and brand for your business that isn’t possible if you ignore the need for a website.

Online stores are great. But even if you only create a website, you can build a reputation and keep growing. And isn’t that worth your time?

 

The Basics of SEO

By Jessica Ann
January 2, 2015

Everyone who markets products or services online has heard of search engine optimization. It’s one of the most important aspects of any website, that’s why we provide our own SEO services. But whether or not you hire us to do your SEO, you need to know the basics about what it is and how it works.

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Search engine optimization is a method of organizing the information on a website so it’s easy for search engines to understand. This results in a higher rank in search results. It earned a bad reputation in previous years because many misuse it to unfairly boost the search rank of spam sites and scams. But such “black hat” SEO tactics are not necessary when you’re offering high-quality content.

There are two primary components to good SEO. The first is markup, and the second is user experience. If you achieve both, you’ll be on your way to better search ranking.

SEO Markup

Search engines are robots. Let that sink in for a moment. They don’t have emotions, they never need to eat or sleep, and if left to their own devices they’ll take over the planet.

Perhaps we got a little carried away with that last one. But the point is important. Search engines are robots and the only way to rank better is to learn their language. They look for certain pieces of information.

For example, use <title> elements and ALT descriptions to accurately identify your pages and other components. Also be sure to include keywords in your URLs, particularly those for which you want to rank high in search reuslts. Avoid using rich media like Flash and images unless the content they reference is available elsewhere on your site. Search engines can’t see inside those files.

Use header tags where appropriate to tell search engines about the major sections of each page on your site.

User Experience

Markup is important if you want search engines to understand what your site offers, but it’s not enough. SEO is also about what kind of authority people ascribe to your site. Sites to which many other sites link are presumed to be authoritative and of high quality.

That provides a powerful incentive for web masters to build sites that are actually useful to their visitors. The better your site is for the people who use it, the more people will link to it, and the better it will rank. The natural tendency for the most useful sites to become the most popular is referred to as high organic search rank.

Finally, the most useful thing to your visitors is fresh, new content every time they visit your site. All major search engines take freshness into account for their rankings. Maintain a blog about your products or services. Even better, maintain a blog about your industry in general. Consistent content that uses relevant keywords helps you do just that.

Now get to it.

 

 

Website building with WordPress and Weebly

By Jessica Ann
December 31, 2014

 

Websites are easier than ever to build. But some people need more complex websites than others. That’s why FatCow offers both WordPress and Weebly integration.

There are many factors to consider when you’re deciding how to build a website. What is its purpose? Who is the audience? Do you have help or will you maintain and update the site yourself? What’s your level of expertise with building and managing websites?

Both platforms let you automatically share blog posts to social networks. They also let others easily share your posts to their own social media accounts. And they offer search engine optimization, helping you to appear in search results related to your site’s topic. But that’s where the similarities end.

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If you’re building a complex site, consider choosing WordPress. It’s a full-fledged content management system (CMS) that allows you to create and manage large numbers of web pages and blog posts. It also lets you create multiple users.

That comes in handy when you’re planning a company website or a team blog. It enables elaborate editorial workflows, which explains why as much as 23 percent of all websites are built with WordPress.

WordPress has a massive community of people investing time and attention in it. That user base powers its forums, where you can get an answer to almost any question about the platform. They also write plugins which add functionality to WordPress.

And if you know HTML and CSS, you can choose from thousands of themes and then customize it. Even without any coding knowledge, WordPress has powerful customization settings. That makes it the perfect choice for people who need to stand out from the crowd.

Weebly

Weebly doesn’t pack as much power as WordPress, but that still means it’s a great choice. If you need a simple website that still looks professional, take a look at Weebly. It’s easy to use even if you’ve never built a website.

Weebly’s Drag and Drop Builder lets you see your site exactly as visitors will see it. You can manage Weebly after you log into your Control Panel. Click Weebly Drag and Drop Builder.

Weebly makes it easy to maintain your site with minimal assistance. They also make it easy to integrate eCommerce into your site, so you can sell goods or services. While Weebly includes a bogging functionality, it’s better suited to sites with infrequent updates.

Whether you choose WordPress or Weebly, you can’t go wrong.

FatCow’s Free Resources

By moosnews
December 11, 2014

Buying website hosting is daunting if you have never done it before. But if you have a website, particularly if you are setting the site up yourself, you will need to buy hosting. It is not an optional extra. Luckily there is FatCow.

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FatCow does things differently than other website hosting companies. For a start, it keeps jargon to a minimum. And let’s face it; there is a lot of jargon in the hosting industry. After all, who gave them permission to commandeer the word “bandwidth” when we all knew and understood it as a radio term. “VPS” sounds like an affliction you’d prefer not to disclose publically. And as for “content delivery network” – that sounds like a phrase dreamed up by an over-worked US Postal Service middle manager who is trying to impress his boss but got overly caffeinated instead.

FatCow’s attempts to cut through this jargon by offering simple products at easy-to-understand price points. They do all the other things that good website hosts do: domain name registration, software installations, security solutions etc. – plus they do a little bit more. That little bit more is giving away things for free. And who doesn’t like a freebie?

FatCow’s Free Design Resources

Unlike other freebies that you find on the internet, these are actually useful if you are building and marketing a website. They provide you an alternative to using defaults, like so many other websites on the internet, and to paying for resources. Combine these resources with a free site builder tool, or a free CMS like WordPress, and you can build a professional and unique website for the cost of your hosting.

What are the Freebies?

Anyone can download these freebies, whether you are a customer of FatCow or not. Just follow the links:

Web icons - Icons are a great way of breaking up the text on your page and making it more visually attractive. They are also helpful to users who are looking for information quickly and can spot an icon quicker than they can read text. FatCow’s free icon resource contains 3,296 icons in various sizes, colors and formats.

Font – Choosing the right font is a key part of making your website look professional, fresh and easy-to-read. There are standard fonts available, but if you want something different you can get FatCow’s free font. It is called Slimpact.

Photos – If you need photos for your website you have two choices: you can take them or you can buy them. If you need photos of data centers or racked computers, FatCow is offering 24 for free.

Theme – A professional WordPress website needs a professional theme. You can build your site using a free theme, but it will look bland unless you get deep into the CSS and HTML. The problem is professional themes cost money, except for the free one FatCow is giving away. It is called Firehouse.

Admin icons – The administration section of WordPress is bland, plus it could be more intuitive. Customizing the interface will make it easier to use and nicer to look at for you and your team. One way to do this is with icons, and FatCow is giving away 23 for free.

Logo – Getting a logo for your business, or upgrading an existing logo, is often expensive. There is a cheaper way though: just download the 50 free logo designs offered on FatCow, change the text, and upload to your website. It couldn’t be simpler.

So, FatCow makes buying website hosting easier by making the packages and processes as simple as possible. Plus they can help you build your website if you use the free resources they offer. In other words, if you have a cow in your backyard you do not need to buy milk. Now that you have FatCow, you can spend less of your money on website resources.

How to Change Your FatCow Spam Settings

By Jessica Ann
December 9, 2014

Many companies (and humans) try to defeat spam. But we still get a few unwanted emails. Spam is always annoying, but sometimes it can even be dangerous, carrying with it potential viruses or identity theft scams. That’s why we’ve integrated some spam control settings right into your Control Panel.

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Once you’ve signed into your Control Panel, click on Manage Spam Filter. Then select Yes, Scan My Email for Spam. This will tell our server to keep an eye out for all useless email messages – you know, the emails that you never asked for in the first place.

You have a few options about what to do with the flagged spam in your email (keep in mind that the first two options are not available if you’re using an Exchange server for your email):

  • You can have all the suspected spam sent to its own folder, where it’s stored for seven days and then deleted.
  • You can receive one email combining all of the day’s spam, called a digest, and have the original spam messages instantly deleted.
  • You can simply have all the spam deleted immediately.
  • You can receive suspected spam in your inbox with a subject line prefix of your choosing.

These last two options will work whether or not you use an Exchange server for your email. The prefix option keeps all of your inbound email in your inbox, and lets you distinguish potential spam from other messages. For example, using the prefix “SPAM:” would send a spam message with the subject line “Here’s a useless email” right into your inbox, with the new subject line “SPAM: Here’s a useless email.” That’s handy, but not very creative if you ask us. Consider using a more fun prefix, like “AHHH!!!!,” “Guess what’s useless?” or even “Unidentified amalgamation of meat products.” These ideas give your spam more pizzazz, and make unwanted messages easier to spot – and therefore easier to skip or delete.

The prefix option is also handy if you want to do more advanced management of spam messages. You can use email filters that search for your specific prefix and perform automated actions on those messages. You could, for example, automatically forward potential spam to a different address, send it to a “Check later” folder, or mark it as read. Whatever you choose, get rid of Spam before it takes over your inbox. You won’t be sorry.

Adding Your Exchange Account to Your Apple Device

By Jessica Ann
December 2, 2014

Microsoft and Apple are usually only mentioned in the same sentence as alternatives to one another. But with FatCow’s Mail Central, these two lifelong competitors are combined to make your life easier. 

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You should know that while Exchange should sync reliably, there are a few limitations. The most important one is that all of your existing contact and calendar information will be overwritten. If this scares you, back up your stuff before proceeding. Finally, you can only sync one Exchange account to your Apple device at a time. Also, iTunes will no longer sync your contacts and calendar to your desktop computer. 

Ensure you have the Exchange ActiveSync upgradeMail Central has a section called Exchange Setup. Head over there and note your Microsoft Exchange Server, full email address and your password for that mailbox. You’ll need these to add the account to your Apple device. Now get out your iPhone or iPad. Open the Settings app and go to Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. Select Add Account and choose Microsoft Exchange.

Enter your full email address but just ignore the Domain field. You’ll have to enter your User Name, which should be the part of your email address before the “@” symbol. Type in your password and come up with a Description of the account. Call it Work or Personal or The Email Account of a Genius. We won’t judge you. Just make it easy to distinguish from your other accounts. 

Select Next and wait patiently while your Apple device talks to your Exchange server. You shouldn’t actually hear any talking during this process. If you do, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. Consider taking a nap (after you finish reading this article). 

If all goes well, your Apple device will ask you what you want to synchronize. You can sync any combination of mail, contacts or calendars from your Exchange account to your Apple device, or you can sync them all. Once you’re done, tap Save. 

If your Apple device can’t connect to your Exchange server, we suggest a momentary frown. It’s important to express your feelings. Once the disappointment has faded, you’ll notice the device is asking you for your server setting. Try entering the Microsoft Exchange Server we told you to take note of in the second paragraph. Tap Next again and everything should connect. You’ll be asked to choose what to synchronize and then you can tap Save. No more need for that frown – so get rid of it. And smile instead. You’re connected.

Buying a Domain with FatCow

By moosnews
November 17, 2014

Maybe you had domain when you came to FatCow. Maybe not. It’s convenient to manage all your domains in one place. That’s why we give our customers the ability to buy domains from right inside their account. Here’s a guide for purchasing a domain from FatCow.

Domain-names

Get started by logging into your FatCow Control Panel. Click on Domain Central and select Register New. This is where you’ll enter the name of the domain you want to buy. Be careful here, though. There are restrictions on what you can put in a domain name. For example, you can’t use special characters, spaces, or non-English letters. You can use lower-case letters, numbers, and hyphens. For example, your name with a hyphen between each letter will work, but it’ll look weird. So, maybe don’t do that.

After choosing your domain name you’ll need to select an extension. Most people prefer the .com if it’s available, but we also sell others, such as .net, .org, .biz, .co and more.  If you want to spice things up a bit, take a look at some of the new TLDs to hit the Internet. TLD stands for “top level domain” and these can be used in addition to any .com domains that you may already use. The new TLDs provide a much more interesting and descriptive domain name. And there’s a good chance that you can get the word or phrase that you want. Some examples include: .photography, .university, menu, .fitness, and .dental. When you’ve selected your domain and extension click Register.

Click Add or Add to Cart next to each domain you want to purchase. Note that some domains come with optional domain privacy. Domain privacy will allow you to keep the contact information for each domain private by using FatCow’s information as a proxy for your own. If you have a business address this may not matter much to you, but if you only have a home address to provide, consider taking advantage of the domain privacy offering at FatCow. If Add Domain Privacy is checked when you add a domain to your cart, your purchase will include a domain privacy charge.  Click on Checkout when you’re done adding domains.

The next screen will allow you to decide how long you want your registration to last. You can buy domains for a minimum of one-year terms. You can buy longer terms to decrease the amount of renewals you need to do in the future. If you’re planning on using your domain for a long-term business, it may be worth it to buy a longer term. Then choose Continue, verify your information and choose Continue again. Now you’re on the billing screen, where you’ll enter payment details. Select Checkout and your order will be placed. You’ll be charged immediately and the domains will show up in your account’s Domain Central within minutes. Sometimes it takes up to 48 hours for a domain to fully register onto your account. We don’t like it any more than you do. But we’ll get it ready for you as fast as possible. Enjoy your new domain!