Our latest upgrade: ASP.NET 4.0 & SiteStudio

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Hello everyone!

We’ve received a lot of feedback from our customers regarding some of the aging features of our hosting plans, most commonly related to SiteStudio and ASP.NET. We’re excited to announce two server upgrades that will address much of this feedback, resulting in a better experience for everyone taking advantage of these features.

SiteStudio Patched

As several of you know, our website creator, SiteStudio, has looked a bit rusty lately, with known compatibility issues with newer versions of popular browsers. Recently, our IT team released a patch to update SiteStudio’s compatibility with the newest versions of common browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc). Before this patch, the ‘Rich Text Editor’ function didn’t work as you’d expect, and some users had trouble creating tables, even when other aspects of the Editor were working. With the new patch, these problems are now fixed, and the Editor should be completely usable again for all of our customers. Thank you to everyone for your patience while we worked to resolve this frustrating issue.

ASP.NET 4.0 for CP8 and CP10 Windows Customers

Customers using our CP8 and CP10 control panels can now take advantage of ASP.NET 4.0. This is an upgrade from the previous version of 3.5 and will provide an up-to-date work environment for customers using our Windows platforms. ASP.NET 4 provides customers with the ability to use parallel extensions, new Visual Basic and C# language features, and code contract support. More information about the new features in ASP.NET 4.0 can be found here:

http://www.asp.net/learn/whitepapers/aspnet4

To find out the Control Panel on which your account is located, simply log into your account, click on the “Manage” button next to your hosting plan, and look for “cp#” in the URL in the address bar; “#” will a number between 2 and 12 (if you don’t have a number, you’re on cp1). If you’re not on CP8 or CP10 and want to give ASP.NET 4.0 a try, contact our support team, and they’ll be happy to walk you through the process of migrating to a newer Control Panel.

We hope all of our Windows customers on CP8 and CP10 enjoy this new feature!

Have a great week everyone!

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Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – help?

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OK, so I admit it. I’m as confused by “social media” as everyone else.

I can’t figure out how to get millions of followers on Twitter, or how to get hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans, or why I should even try.

But I can read the writing on the wall, and I’m willing to learn.

My friend and IX Web Hosting guest expert David Bullock is a genius about social media. He’s the co-author of “Barack 2.0: Barack Obama’s Social Media Lessons for Business” – and he’s agreed to share his social media chops with me – and you – in a series of video tutorials and live webinars over the next several months.

In this short clip (just 6 minutes and 19 seconds long), he explains just what the heck social media is, why we need to pay attention, and how to start using it to grow our businesses. (I’m taking notes!)

Watch the video here:

If you find it valuable, don’t forget to register for the zero-cost webinar on “How to Develop X-Ray Market Vision” on January 20, 2010 below.

“How to Develop X-Ray Vision in Your Market”
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Noon EST (9 am PST)
  • Is an online market worth your time?
  • How much profit can you expect?
  • Messages that will attract the perfect buyer
  • What to show visitors to predispose them to buy

David will be co-presenting with Howie Jacobson, the author of Google AdWords For Dummies. Seats are limited, so please don’t delay and miss out.

Wishing you health, happiness and prosperity,

Fathi Said, CEO
IX Web Hosting

PS: If you can’t make the noon webinar time on January 20, don’t worry! Go ahead and sign up anyway and we’ll send you a video of it afterward so you can watch it whenever you want.

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Zero-Cost Online Business Webinar

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Ok, I’ve been promising this to you for some time now, and I’m finally able to announce it:

As an IX Web Hosting customer, you’re invited to our first “Online Success” webinar!

The webinar topic is “How to Develop X-Ray Vision in Your Market” and we’ve scheduled it for late January.

Which means I now get to reveal our “secret” presenter, David Bullock, author of the social media study and book titled “Barack 2.0″. David is a well-known expert in the Internet marketing space and I’m really excited to have him share his vast amount of online marketing knowledge with you.

David, together with Howie Jacobson (author of “Google AdWords For Dummies”), will be showing you exactly how they use Google and other tools to discover:

  • Whether an online market is worth entering
  • How much profit can you expect to make in a market
  • What your customers want (and can’t find right now)
  • The messages that will attract the right customers to your web site
  • What to show visitors on your web site that will predispose them to buy from you

In short, you’ll discover a 45-minute protocol for quick, zero-cost market research that can potentially DOUBLE the effectiveness of your website.

We’re making this webinar available as part of your regular hosting package, so you won’t have to pay a dime to attend. (In fact, you won’t even have to worry about using your phone minutes – you’ll listen in right on your computer.)

Space is limited though, so register now to reserve your seat.

“How to Develop X-Ray Vision in Your Market”
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Noon EST (9 am PST)
  • Is an online market worth your time?
  • How much profit can you expect?
  • Messages that will attract the perfect buyer
  • What to show visitors to predispose them to buy

If you can’t make the event, register anyway and we’ll send you a video of the presentation later.

See you on January 20, I hope :)

Happy New Year!

Fathi-sign

IX Web Hosting

PS: Remember Howie’s recent video on how to get into Google in my last blog post? Keep an eye out for a post with another video – this time from David Bullock – real soon.

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Important Hosting Account Updates

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Fathi Said here, with a couple of important updates about your hosting account here at IX Web Hosting.

But before I share them, I want to acknowledge something that hasn’t made me very happy.

When I look at the world of web hosting, I realize that IX Web Hosting – my company, the one I founded and the one I run – is just about average. No worse than the competition, but not much better either.

We have a giant data center in Columbus, Ohio that looks really impressive, we have a big support staff to answer your emails and phone calls, and we offer competitive pricing, but when I look at all that from my customers’ point of view, I have to say: “So what?”

I didn’t go into business to just create an ordinary service. And yet that’s where I find myself in the last month of 2009.

And that’s going to change. In fact, it’s already changing. In two big ways.

First, we’re changing the way you receive support when you have a question or problem with your site or hosting account.

The new system is called “Support representatives” – and my commitment to you is that it’s not just a catchy name, but also a fundamental improvement that makes your life noticeably easier.

Second, we’re redefining our business model to move from “hosting provider” to “strategic partner” as you grow your web site.

When I sat down and thought about the contribution I want to make, it wasn’t enough to be a reliable place to stick your website. We decided to actually branch out from being just a “boring hosting company” and actually show you some of the killer techniques we use to get thousands of hits to our website each day!

You’ve created your web site with a goal in mind. Maybe to make money. Maybe to spread the word about an important idea. Maybe to connect people. Whatever your goal, I want to help you achieve it.

We’ve teamed up with some of the top online marketing experts to provide cutting edge strategies, tips and techniques to get more visitors to your site, and to get those visitors to take action once they get there.

So without further ado, here are the details about the two big improvements to your IX Web Hosting account:

Support Representatives

What if you had a personal contact at IX Web Hosting – an “insider” who knows your name, knows your business, and can pull strings to get you exactly what you need? We’re in the process of assigning a personal Support representative to each IX Web Hosting customer. Your Support representative will be an actual person who works in our Ohio office.

When you have a question or a problem, you can send them an email. You can phone them directly. Or you can IM them.

 

Your Support Representative is responsible (and accountable) to get you what you want as quickly as possible, and not to leave you hanging. Since they’re your personal “account manager,” you won’t have to explain your problem again and again as you get transferred from one technician to another. And if you get disconnected, your Support representative knows how to reach you, so you won’t have to dial the main number and be told your “wait time is approximately 26 minutes.”

Each Support Representative will handle your issue as if they were the owner of the company, because their bonus is based on how long you stay a customer, and how many of your friends you refer to us.

So the happier you are, the happier they are, and the happier I am. (I believe the business books call this a “win-win-win.”)

Now, sometimes our Support representatives sleep, or take vacations, or are “busy helping other customers” (as the phone company voicemail messages say). What then?

Without boring you with the details, we’ve set up teams of Support representatives who will pinch hit and report back to each other. And each representative has their own team of technical specialists around the world, whom you may also get to know. But the ultimate responsibility for your satisfaction rests with your individual representative.

Look for an email from your personal Support representative within the next several weeks.

Online Marketing Advice from Top Experts

As you probably know, just having a domain name and a website doesn’t guarantee that anyone will find your site.

And if you use your site for business, it’s crucial that people find it when they’re looking for what you provide.

We’ve partnered with some of the top online marketing experts to provide you with exclusive videos, articles, and even live webinars – all completely free for IX Web Hosting customers.

You’ll discover:

  • quick and simple tweaks you can make to your site so Google can find it and know what it’s about
  • how to “cut to the front of the line” on the three big search engines
  • how to get some of the most popular sites in the world to link directly to your site
  • how to find out where the traffic you should be getting is going right now – and how to stick your site in front of all those people
  • what to show visitors once they arrive at your site, so they stay, play, and pay

Here’s the first video for you to watch:

My friend Howie Jacobson explains some killer techniques. It’s only 7 minutes and 29 seconds long and reveals the first thing you need to know if you want to get your site ranked high on Google.

Also, look out for a survey I’m going to send you in the next few days. Please make sure to fill it out, this way we’ll know what kind of free “traffic getting” videos and webinars you want us to make for you. This is going to be fun, and I can’t wait to hear stories about you receiving boatloads of traffic.

I want to close this entry by stating publicly what an honor it is to have earned your business, and that we’re going to do much, much better in 2010. I’m truly jazzed by the opportunity and I can’t wait for you to share my excitement when you experience what we have planned.

Wishing you health, happiness and prosperity,

Fathi-sign

 

IX Web Hosting

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How Bored Are You?

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How Bored are You?

This may seem like an extremely odd question, but I was thinking (as I sometimes do when the weather is nice), why are you reading this blog?

Is it because you’re secretly hoping that maybe, one day, it will contain information relevant to your account? It will, I promise. As much as I love delving into difficult topics like MC Hammer pants and the curious patterns of squirrels, I am fully aware that customers are interested in things that involve THEM. This is why we’re working on getting a customer forum, our status blog and our Twitter status account up and running for you. We greatly appreciate your patience while we set these things up. We would also love to get your feedback about these ventures. What are you interested in? How would you most like it presented? For example, would you like to see a status blog that churns out facts about system functions daily or would you like something more interactive where you can leave comments or interact with other customers?

Or are you reading because you’re in some way dissatisfied and hoping that we’ll address your concerns here? If you take a look at the comments we received on our first post, you might notice that many of them were cries for help—feedback voiced in our very first medium between customers and staff that isn’t LiveChat, a phone call or our ticketing system. This was a big indicator to us that we were doing something wrong. What was being expressed on our blog could have been voiced on the phone or through any other avenue of support, but obviously, those channels were not satisfying some of you. This too will be changing. Our support is getting better each day because, well, you all know why. We want you to be happy. You employ us. The changes we are making to our customer support will be big, they will be noticeable and they are already happening. If any one of these items proves untrue, I trust that more than a handful of you will let us know and more than two handfuls of our staff will get moving on making them so.

Or is it because you lost your job? OK, this is a stretch, but losing your job frees up several hours in the day for blog-reading, starting a home-business online or scowling at those that insist on constantly flaunting their new stuff.

The economy is so bad, I might actually have to break my 2 dollar bill!

So those are not real tears, but that is a real $2 bill and that is indeed a real used-tissue...

So those are not real tears, but that is a real $2 bill and that certainly is a real used-tissue...

We record the reasons that our customers leave so that we can better tailor our product to prevent cancellations. Well, guess what one of the leading reasons for cancellation is? “I can no longer afford hosting.” Most of you already know that we’re one of the least costly hosts available, so it is thoroughly depressing to hear this as a reason for ceasing to host with us. Still, even more depressing is giving away free hosting to those who cite their inability to afford it only to hear that they “no longer have a need for their account” because they couldn’t get their home business off of the ground. Well, providing detailed information and resources about making your home business work is also on our agenda. We’ll have to count on Obama to take care of the economy.

When I was younger, I genuinely thought that my father was a superhero and that I was placed on the planet to get him fired from his company so he could fulfill his true calling full-time. In that notion, I was not far from the truth. He has several skills that would be impossible to use all at one company (especially with a talent list as diverse as his: wind-harmonica out of a car doing 80 mph, moustache grooming, writing, child-lecturing, JavaScript, SQL, oil painting…). My point is that people with diverse skill sets can be liberated by job loss because they can use the internet to employ themselves in their own business, or even just to secure an even better job by creating a site to strengthen a résumé.

Here’s a good example: Let’s say that you got fired from your job and now need to justify the monthly cost of hosting. Here are a few things you could do:

  1. Set up a site to slander your former employer. This, while obviously a joke, is something people really do! Instead of taking that route, I would actually suggest creating a site or blog that outlines your work experiences—things you have learned, things awry with their current business model (you might want to avoid naming the company specifically if you still want them on your list of good references) and advice you would give other employers. Creating a community out of a site like this is easy as there are several people looking to release steam about being released from employment. That community would be a valuable asset for those that have entrepreneurial/superhero aspirations because more could be done than just commiserating with your visitors. There’s an increasing market for job counseling and HR consulting, and whether you earn revenue from it or not, you’ve contributed something to the global community as well as enhanced your résumé. Imagine what: “Built an online community from zero to four-thousand by providing valuable, original resources and consulting. Please see www.HireMe.com/about for more information.” could do for your résumé…
  2. Create a site to show-off. Set up a site with a forum to discuss hobbies with friends, organize gatherings or anything related to things that you’re good at. Throw videos, pictures, artwork, lessons (if you have a teachable hobby) on your site and then bask in self-satisfaction.
  3. Resell your hosting account. Do you know someone who is constantly talking about his/her ideas but not actually doing anything with them? Sell them a portion of your account to get them started! They can still develop their domain with your hosting and you won’t have to worry about bandwidth or transfer (because it’s unlimited) and you set the price. You can even buy a domain for someone as a gift and host it on your account, free. No more need to read holiday or special-occasion wish-lists. Just give everyone hosting! That includes Mom (Mother’s Day is coming up in the US!), your brother, your 7-year old daughter (she has to learn sometime!) , etc…

I think it’s safe to say that most of you could come up with better ways to use your hosting account. When we get our customer forum ready to go, please feel free to inform fellow customers how to make the most out of their account; if not for us, then for the economy.

Thanks for reading!

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We're Always There When You Need Us The Most!

Your Dedicated Support

At IX, we take care of our customers. And dedicated support is one of the ways we prove to you again and again that we are here to help you every step of the way, regardless of your skill level. With IX dedicated support, you get a support technician personally assigned to assist you. You get their name, number, email, social media connections, and work schedule! It's just one more facet of our service which proves our deeply rooted belief that being a great hosting provider requires more than just cutting-edge technologies, but the best in support and service.