When you Google your name or your company name, do you like what you see? When someone looks for you or your company, they will see (nearly) the same thing you do. Every person and business has something to gain (or lose) with their online reputation. At the very least, you should monitor your online reputation with Google Alerts and occasional search queries. If you want to control and influence your online reputation, you can use SEO and social media to displace results from other websites with results from your website or your social networking profiles.
We use and strongly recommend the Genesis themes by StudioPress. Nearly all of our website designs are built on the Genesis platform, and our main website and support website both use the Prose theme. Our Premium Web Hosting customers can use any of the themes, as included with their hosting plan. You can view screenshots on our Genesis Themes page.
If you have your own website, then you probably own a domain name for that website. But you should also consider owning additional, related domain names – especially if your website is for a business. The main reasons are:
- Protection from Competitors. A competitor could purchase a similar domain name and use it to steal potential traffic or slander your brand name.
- Protection from Squatters. A domain name squatter could purchase a similar domain name and try to sell it to you for a large sum of money. This is more common than you think. There are many people out there who do this for a living.
- Traffic Preservation. A potential visitor could mistype your URL in their web browser, get an error page, and never end up at your site.
The .com domain name extension is the most common. However, .net and .org are also fairly common, and .info is often seen as well. Those are the typical extensions for US-based businesses. There are other extensions, such as .us and .biz, but those are rarely used or seen for legitimate websites.
If you use Gmail or Google Apps, you should be using labels and filters to automatically organize some of your incoming mail. Setting these up properly can save you a lot of time in the long run.
- Gmail (for personal email accounts, ending in @gmail.com)
- Google Apps (for business or other professional email accounts, at your domain name)
Why and How to Use Labels
You can use labels to organize and color-code your messages, which makes it easier to find them later. In Gmail and Google Apps, labels are used instead of folders. If you want to have a hierarchical folder-like structure for your labels, you can enable Nested Labels in the Labs menu.
You can manage your labels in the Settings > Labels menu, and you can change the colors of your labels by clicking on the colored icons next to your list of labels. You can assign a label to a message either by dragging that message onto the label, or by selecting the message and choosing the appropriate label from the Labels drop-down.
Why and How to Use Filters
You can use filters to automatically perform actions for certain messages. You can use filters to label, star, archive (skip your Inbox), mark as read, forward, and/or delete messages based on specified criteria. For example, you can automatically label incoming messages from a particular sender. If this particular sender’s emails are never urgent (i.e. a newsletter), you may want to have those messages skip your inbox as well. This way, you can keep your inbox cleaner, and you will be less likely to overlook important emails.
You will be able to improve your overall email productivity by reducing the amount of distracting emails. You can easily review your unread, filtered messages later. Any labels with unread messages are displayed in bold. If the unread message is assigned a child label (a label underneath another label), the parent label will also be displayed in bold, so you will know which of your labels has unread, filtered messages. Consider filtering these message types:
- Ads and promotions from online shopping websites
- Business customers
- Business expenses
- Networking or social groups
- Personal vs. business-related messages
You can set filter criteria based on the “to” address, the “from” address, keywords in the subject line, keywords in the message body, and whether or not the message has an attachment. Filters can be programmed with Boolean logic and certain advanced operators. For example, you can set a single filter to match messages from multiple senders, such as using “([email protected] OR [email protected])” in the “From” field.
Advanced operators for filters (can also be used for searching your messages)
If you want to build a website, there are many ways to do it. You can manually write HTML code to create each page, but this is extremely limiting and time consuming. You can use desktop software programs such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage, which eliminate the need to know HTML. These will save you time, but they still limit you from using many features. You can create a website with Flash or other proprietary software, which lets you do much more than the previous options. But building and editing Flash websites is also extremely time consuming and requires an advanced set of skills.
Then, there is the modern solution: the website content management system. Typically, this software is installed on the web server and not your computer. You install and configure it on your hosting plan, and your website is up and running. You can then edit your website by logging in through a browser, which means you don’t have to have special software installed. Usually, you can make basic edits to your website without needing to know HTML or another programming language. There are some proprietary (paid) content management systems, but the free, open source alternatives are much more popular.