IPowerWeb is one of the most cost-effective solutions for internet web hosting. They offer packages for as low as $7.95 per month for 12 months or $6.95 per month for 24 months. Included in the package are marketing discounts with Google Adwords and Overture and tools to set up a Paypal shopping cart (without having a business account), a java chatroom and guest book. It sounds great, right? Well, in many ways it is, but here are a few things you should consider before purchasing an iPowerWeb website hosting package.
Creating subdomains and subpages can be very confusing if you are a novice web designer using the iPowerWeb system. It was only until this week that I learned how to update my subpage names and I have had my site for about 6 months. In the web builder, subpages have numbered URLs rather than names (though you can give them names in your web builder). No where was it explained that I’d have to go into the Host Manager and then into the File Manager to be able to alter the URLs so that all of my pages didn’t read as “page1.html” or “page6.html”. Because of this problem, I was not able to change the order of my links in the frames on my home page (I was worried about customers were bookmarking the pages and not being able to find them if I reordered the numbers). And even though I found out how to give my pages real names, if someone goes to my page from the home page and clicks on a link, it still shows “page2.html”. It’s just that now, if I forward a link to “orders.html”, it will actually work as well as the page number. If you are a web designer, you can find ways around this, as I have seen other pages through iPowerWeb that don’t have this numbered URL problem. But if you use the iPowerWeb software, you just have to live with it.
If you are doing your editing through iPowerweb’s web builder and not designing and uploading a page through Dreamweaver or FrontPage, you should use Internet Explorer as your web browser. I use Mozilla Firefox for most web use, but even though I can create new pages in Mozilla Firefox, check e-mail, or look at the reports on my website traffic, many times, I cannot edit an already created page. When I go into the web builder and click edit, the editing screen will sometimes go blank if I’m in Mozilla Firefox. You’ll see your text for about 2 seconds then it will disappear. Even if you click the back button and the text reappears, when you click to save your changes, they won’t save! So, as a rule, only use Internet Explorer for editing pages. Other browsers are fine for checking e-mail and reports. I struggled with this for two months and even iPowerWeb tech support didn’t know why they could edit pages fine when they checked my site, but I couldn’t. I learned this one the hard way.
You should also know that if you use one of the templates offered by iPowerWeb to design your website, the templates are very specific and will not work for every business. IPowerWeb offers templates for agriculture, science industries, software and computer businesses. Unfortunately, if you have a service that is in a non-traditional industry (such as my Reiki healing website), it is difficult to find an appropriate template. You don’t want an image of a computer or a lab beaker or fruit to appear in the upper left corner of your website if you are doing a celebrity blog or a spiritual site. I have not seen any previews of templates through their site, so you won’t be able to search through samples before you sign up. Be cautious about using the iPowerWeb website editor for non-traditional industries. They are not general enough to work for everyone. I recommend having your site professionally done by a graphic designer, if you have the resources, rather than using the free templates that come with your web hosting package.
On the plus side, the interface is easy to navigate and iPowerWeb does offer tutorials on different aspects of using the website. The tutorials have detailed pictures designed to look exactly like your screen, so you can easily follow along. It’s good for people who are not technically savvy. I’ll admit thought that not every tutorial is helpful and not all the tutorials are immediately accessible from your iPowerWeb interface. It is a good idea to bookmark the iPowerWeb web hosting site so that you can go to their detailed help center index. It’s pretty good and offers much more than the tutorials listed in your Web Builder. The index also features the same step-by-step pictures to outline each feature. You may have to do some digging though if you go to the help answers index, so be prepared to sift through a lot of material. The iPowerWeb tech support is pretty good. Most of the time, they know their stuff. You can either receive help online or via a toll-free telephone number.
Advertising & Marketing
Another thing I love about my iPowerWeb package is the reports page and the marketing discounts. The reports page is organized by month and by day and gives you statistics on what time of day your site gets the most hits, how many unique visitors you have per day, which sites visitors click on to get to your web page versus how many people type in your website directly. There are also lists which show you the number of referrals from a particular search engine. So you can see how many times yahoo referred your site versus Google or Infoseek. It also details how many times your site displayed an error message. iPowerWeb pretty much offers everything you need to track your web traffic. My only request would be to have the option of organizing results by weeks instead of only by months. You can’t compare week to week results, though you will see a list of unique visitors per day for each day of the month. I like to see the entire results for each week rather than only for the month so I can see when I had a surge of traffic or lots of referrals from a particular advertiser during one week but not another.
Once you’ve got your website up and looking good, you can use the marketing link to get a $30 Google Adwords credit and a $50 Overture credit. You can also submit your website to popular search engines right through the marketing link instead of going directly to Google, Yahoo, Infoseek, Msn, or whatever search engine you use.
IPowerWeb web hosting is a great deal for people who want a simple website that is cost-effective. It has a few kinks in the design features, but in general the web interface is easy to use and the tutorials have step by step instructions so that non-computer savvy people can still make sense of it. Even with the limited selection of web design templates, it’s still a great deal at less than $10 a month.