Author - hostbusters

Cashback deals on Cyber Monday (and Cyber Week)

Running a business can be difficult. As we’ve mentioned in our newsletter before, business owners would be smart to take advantage of cash back offers from various online cash back sites. For our US,,Canadian and UK users there are a number of good deals this week if you haven’t signed up for a cash back site. It makes sense to belong to as many as you are eligible for, since they all offer different amounts of cash back depending on the time of year.

Befrugal.com – get an extra $10 for signing up (once you earn $25 in cashback). This is available worldwide, but focuses on North American sites.

Topcashback.com – get an extra $10 in your account (once you earn $10 in cash back). This is available worldwide, but is geared towards US and Canadian users. Be sure to check out Budget for a $15 bonus on their Small Business Program.

Ebates.com – the only one on this list that doesn’t claim to offer 100% cashback, they do have certain days where they offer “DOUBLE” cash back and can be worthwhile as it’s sometimes more than regular sites.

Topcashback.co.uk – get an extra £5 in amazon GC when you earn £10 in cash back. Obviously related to the above .com, this site is geared towards UK users. It’s got some extra deals you won’t find on the US site including some free cashback offers.

Quidco.com – get an extra £10 when you earn £10 in cash back. A UK site, competing with topcashback.co.uk.

Top 5 Sites to List Your Business Online

Remember when you searched for a restaurant online, and decided not to go because it got 1 out of 5 stars? If you’ve never done that, you need to realize that people are searching for YOUR business online and you need to take control of those listings.
Most business directories would already have your business listed (unless you’re new, in which case you really need to get your business listed). Whether you’re listed or not, you need to claim your business online starting with these 5 popular directories.

1. Google

logo_googleGoogle is the first place you need to list your business. Even though Google has many different sites and apps (Google maps, search engine, etc), you only need to go to claim your business once and it will update on all their different properties.

2. Yelp

Yelp is a popular online review site. Many of your potential customers are going to check here first to see what others are saying. Taking control of your Yelp listing will allow you to reply to any reviews and engage with your customers.

3. Yellow Pages

Yellowpages is the online version of the original Business Directory you’d receive at your door. One thing to remember about YP is that their US and Canadian websites are completely independent (independent companies, possibly).

4. Yahoo

There was a time when Yahoo would have been the first website on this list, but that was awhile ago. Since then, Yahoo has undergone several changes and trying to list your business can be VERY confusing. We’ve written a guide to help you figure it out (don’t worry, it doesn’t cost any money…yet?).

5. Bing

Bing is Microsoft’s answer to Google. It’s had mixed success, as they’ve dabbled in cashback or reward schemes for visitors. Regardless of whether you’ve heard of it or not, there are people who use it, and you need to make sure your business is listed here.

Others

The list doesn’t end there, but those 5 are currently the main ones you need to start with. If you’ve got the time, check out the rest of these sites to claim or list your business.

How to list your business on Yahoo

*UPDATE June 6, 2016*
This only works for US based businesses (unfortunately, I have yet to find out how Canadians or anyone else can do this…so if you know, please share in the comments).
*END OF UPDATE*

Yahoo is used by over 1 billion people per month, but they’re also struggling to increase profits as they redefine parts of their business. Unfortunately, for the small business owner, this has two important implications:

  1. You have to make sure that your business is listed on Yahoo
  2. You need to figure out how to do that before they change it (again)

In 2015, Yahoo spun off its small business division into a company called Aabaco. To make it slightly more confusing, if you try to google “Yahoo add my business” If you like clicking links, and you went to Aabaco, you’ll realize that this is a PAID service, and offers a whole host of options. If you’re inclined to pay for someone else to do all of the work for you, feel free to use them. Otherwise, read on and we’ll explain how to get your business into Yahoo’s database.

Claim your business on Yahoo

  1. Go to http://www.yext.com/pl/yahoo-claims/index.html.
  2. Enter your business information and click the “Find My Listings” button.
  3. Now Yext will display a good example of FEAR marketing, trying to scare you into buying their product. Ignore all the Error messages and click the “Continue” button at the bottom.
  4. Now, you can enter your business information. Besure to use the same Name, Address and Phone Number you use for ALL your business listings (consistency is very important).
  5. Now you’ll see a price table showing all the various PAID options, but if you look closely right underneath that, you’ll see a link “Claim your Basic Listing only on Yahoo”.
  6. You should see a checkout page with “$0” as the price, and Yahoo basic listing as the item you’re purchasing. You won’t need to enter any financial information, so you can go ahead and “purchase” it.
  7. Yext requires you to verify your email address first, so check your inbox for an email from them, and set up your account password.
  8. Finally, at the end of this confusing process, Yext just needs to confirm that you DO own the business, which can do by phone or few other options depending on the business type.

 

Congratulations, you navigated the mess Yahoo has made of their small business listings, and now Yahoo users can find you :).

What type of hosting is right for my business?

hosting_qmarkFiguring out what type of hosting you need can be difficult, especially if you’re just getting your business online. We’ve categorized the different types below, with pros and cons for each, but if you’re still confused, feel free to reach out to us and tell us a little about what you plan to do with your website, and we can suggest a hosting plan for you.

Free Hosting

Free hosting can be attractive to users on a budget, but beware, everything has a price. If you’re not paying with currency you will be through advertising or other means. The most common way for a “free” hosting company to make their money is to fill your site with ads; ads with content that you have no control over.  Your site visitors will be put off, your website won’t look legitimate, and it will only be able to handle a few visitors at a time. That being said, if you’re okay with all of that, feel free to sign up for free hosting.

Pros

  • Free

Cons

  • Unwanted Ads
  • Seems unprofessional

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is probably your best bet if you’re just getting started. “What is shared hosting?” you ask? A good analogy would be to imagine the server (the computer that hosts your website) as a swimming pool. Since it is shared hosting, you and many other customers will all use the swimming pool, which is owned by the hosting company. If the hosting company lets too many people in the pool, or if some of the customers take up a LOT of space in the pool, everyone else loses out.
A good hosting company will make sure that all the customers are playing fair, and will limit the number of customers who use a single swimming pool, but even then, there will be “peak” times when many websites are getting lots of visitors, so the pool will get crowded.
Not being in charge of the pool means you don’t have to worry about maintaining it, or taking care of any of the technical details. But at the same time, you can’t make any major modifications either.
Most shared hosting policies are governed by a “fair-use” policy, meaning that the words “Unlimited” are not truly unlimited. If you’re taking up too much space in the pool you’ll be asked to either move on to another company or buy your own pool.

Pros

  • Very Affordable
  • Low maintenance
  • Limited experience needed

Cons

  • Limited customization
  • Processing power shared with other customers

VPS Hosting

VPS Hosting (Virtual Private Server) is the next step up from shared hosting. If we continue our swimming pool analogy, imagine the pool owner roped off a section of the pool and said it was yours to do with as you want. Technically, you have less space to roam around the pool, but on the plus side you have guaranteed space for your website AND you can make some modifications. If you wanted to add a small slide in your pool area, or put up some lights, you have that ability (within reason). In the real world, the main benefit of this would be to allow for custom installations on the server. If you have no idea what any of that means, you may not need VPS. A good shared host will provide you with everything you need. But if you need to keep things cost-effective and shared hosting doesn’t allow you to install certain scripts or give you the custom access you need, VPS is your best bet.

Pros

  • Still somewhat cost effective
  • Dedicated resources at ALL times
  • Root access and customization options

Cons

  • Requires more expertise to set up and maintain

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated Hosting provides you with even more resources than VPS. In terms of the pool, this would mean that the ENTIRE pool is yours. If you’ve ever owned a pool, you know there are huge benefits. Depending on how much money you want to spend, your pool can be as big or as small as you want it to be, and you can customize whatever you want. If you’ve ever owned a pool, you ALSO know that there is one big downside – you need to maintain the pool yourself. This means cleaning the pool, testing the pH, maintaining chlorine levels…all the stuff you don’t have to think about if you use someone else’s pool. Well, in the hosting world, that means you need to understand how to set up a server, install all the options you need, and maintain things so that your website works properly. This would only be recommended for companies that require custom installations, and need the full dedicated server to meet the needs of their visitors. If VPS just doesn’t have the power you need, Dedicated Hosting is the option for you.

Pros

  • Dedicated resources at ALL times
  • Root access and customization options
  • As much processing power as you need

Cons

  • Requires more expertise to set up and maintain
  • Can get very costly depending on the hardware

Managed Dedicated Hosting

Managed Dedicated Hosting is pretty much the same as Dedicated Hosting, but with someone else doing the maintenance. It’s basically like hiring someone to take care of your pool for you. All the benefits of owning a pool, but with none of the extra work. Obviously, this comes at an added price, and you need to make sure the company that’s managing your server knows what they’re doing.

Pros

  • All the benefits of dedicated hosting
  • No maintenance

Cons

  • Even more expensive that dedicated hosting