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      35 Resources That Will Empower Black Business Owners to Thrive

      Black entrepreneurs and inventors have brought us some of the world’s most important innovations, from blood banks to color PC monitors. The history of Black entrepreneurialism stretches back centuries, and our lives would not be the same without it.

      There’s no denying that today’s Black business owners have hurdles to overcome, from accessing capital and mentorship opportunities to the instability and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, however, there are many grants and resources that can help you and your business thrive.

      Keep reading as we explore the impressive legacy of Black entrepreneurship, along with 35 resources to help support you as you launch and grow your company.

      Black Entrepreneurship Deserves to be Celebrated

      The importance of celebrating the legacy of Black entrepreneurship throughout Black history cannot be understated.

      The National Negro Business League, founded in 1900, predates the United States Chamber of Commerce. Its existence points to a long history of Black business ownership and a community spirit that saw Black Americans supporting each other in the face of racial inequality and discrimination.

      Black entrepreneurs have helped shape our modern world, and they have done so despite a history of racial segregation and discrimination. And today, Black-owned businesses help narrow the racial wealth gap, strengthen local economies, and create jobs within the community.

      Resources That Will Enable Black Business Owners to Succeed

      Whether you’re just getting started or looking to expand your already successful company, the right support can enable your business to thrive. We’ve gathered 35 resources — from grants and equity investments to training and mentorship — listed in alphabetical order below.

      resources for black-owned businesses

      Resources for Black Business Owners in the United States

      Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF)

      The nonprofit AOF offers loans from $5,000 to $100,000 in size, as well as interactive learning, business coaching, and mentoring. Ninety percent of its clients are diverse, with a focus on people of color and women.

      Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator

      U.S.-based businesses who are certified Black-owned and ready to sell products via Amazon (or are already doing so) can access a variety of support through this initiative. This support includes cash grants, advertising credits, free imaging services, and a year or more of advisory services to help your Amazon business succeed.

      After enrolling in this program, you can then sign up for BBA Connect: an initiative that gives you access to further training and mentorship, as well as networking opportunities with other Black Amazon sellers.

      Backstage Capital

      Venture capital firm Backstage Capital works with underrepresented entrepreneurs, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. The company funds businesses within all industries. Backstage Capital is primarily focused on U.S.-based enterprises, although it will consider international applications.

      Black Business Alliance

      The nonprofit, U.S.-based Black Business Alliance offers workshops and training, loans, mentoring and coaching, technical assistance, and events and networking. Many of these initiatives are free and targeted at small and medium-sized businesses within the United States.

      Black Connect

      The not-for-profit organization Black Connect is centered around networking opportunities for Black people across the United States. However, it also has some members in the Caribbean, Africa, and the U.K.

      Black Connect also provides funding through pitch competitions, while its Business & Entrepreneur Assessment program is a mentorship-based scheme that helps Black entrepreneurs launch their businesses.

      Coalition to Back Black Businesses

      Coalition to Back Black Businesses provides grants of $5,000 to$25,000 along with coaching for Black-owned businesses in economically vulnerable communities across the U.S. Launched in 2020. It is currently programmed to run until 2024 to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although businesses must be in economically vulnerable communities, at present, this includes 80% of U.S. zip codes.


      DivInc Accelerators

      Nonprofit DivInc provides three-month accelerator programs for early-stage tech founders who are people of color and/or women. The programs are full-time and include coaching and strategy sessions, networking, legal consulting, and a customized curriculum designed around your company’s needs. Many of the accelerator programs also provide a grant on completion.

      The organization also provides Validation Bootcamps for entrepreneurs with potential business ideas and runs the Startup Sistas networking group for female entrepreneurs of color.

      Elevate Together

      Elevate Together is a nonprofit initiative that supports Black and Hispanic businesses with five or fewer employees. It runs business workshops, provides technical assistance, and connects entrepreneurs with a small business mentor. It also gives access to professional networks and platforms, including ones for nontraditional lending sources. Finally, Elevate Together offers cash grants and donates products and services, such as office furniture and printing services.

      Foundation for Business Equity

      The Foundation for Business Equity supports Black and Latinx entrepreneurs by facilitating their access to growth capital and corporate and large public contracts. It also provides strategic advisors, direct service specialists, and peer-to-peer support.

      Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women

      As part of their One Million Black Women initiative, Goldman Sachs provides investment capital for Black female entrepreneurs. The program will run until 2031, and you can apply through Hope credit union.

      Hello Alice Black Business Center

      Via its Black Business Center and in partnership with the NAACP, Hello Alice provides business guides, a funding database, and a community for Black entrepreneurs to network in. The funding database includes grants and loans from various organizations and grants offered directly by Hello Alice.

      Lemon-AID Foundation

      The Lemon-AID Foundation provides loans, equity investments, and grants to support small businesses. It is primarily serving minority- and women-owned companies.

      Minority Business Entrepreneur Magazine

      This magazine publishes a wide range of business management articles targeted towards minority business owners in the U.S. What’s more, its classifieds page shares adverts from businesses looking to work with minority-owned suppliers and subcontractors.

      National Black MBA Association (NBMAA)

      For Black entrepreneurs with or working toward an MBA, the NBMAA provides networking opportunities and training, scholarships, pitch challenges, and potential connections with venture capitalists.

      National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

      The NMDSC certifies minority-owned suppliers and connects them with larger corporations looking to diversify their supply chain. As well as operating within the U.S., it partners with international organizations to facilitate global trade. It’s worth noting that there is a fee for the certification process while paying further subscription fees gives businesses access to more opportunities.

      The organization also provides scholarships and grants, including ones targeted at young entrepreneurs (aged 19 to35).

      National Urban League

      The National Urban League provides counseling, training, mentorship, and support in accessing funding for people of color in the U.S. Additionally, their digital Advancing Black Entrepreneurs program is focused on business growth and sustainability.

      Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development

      The 8(a) Business Development program is designed to help majority-owned businesses controlled by socially disadvantaged groups, including Black Americans. It helps these businesses gain government contracts, as well as provides mentoring, training, technical assistance, procurement assistance, and more. The 8(a) status lasts for nine years, with no need to reapply during that time.

      US Black Chambers (USBC)

      The USBC offers training, mentorship, free certification as a Black-owned business, entry into a Black-owned business directory, and more. In addition, it runs frequent events to support Black entrepreneurs, from boot camps to networking opportunities. It also partners with many large brands, including Google, Amazon, and Verizon, to ensure business owners are aware of upcoming opportunities and how to access them.

      US Department of Transport (DOT)’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

      The DOT’s DBE helps businesses that are majority-owned by disadvantaged Americans apply for federally funded transportation projects, such as highway construction. Black Americans are automatically considered disadvantaged and are therefore eligible to apply.

      US Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

      The MBDA has various programs and initiatives to help minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. For example, business and industry-specific centers across the U.S. provide advice from experts. The MBDA also has diverse grants available and programs to help connect entrepreneurs with lenders and investors.

      United States Minority Chamber of Commerce (US MCC)

      The U.S. MCC is open to members across the U.S. and Latin America. It facilitates networking, provides regular business training, and hosts numerous events, including Women Leadership Summits. Plus, it shares information about potential loans and grants.

      Additional Resources for US-Based Business Owners

      Accompany Capital

      Women, immigrants, and refugees in New York can access small business loans and microloans via Accompany Capital, in addition to workshops and webinars. contains a database of all available federally funded grants, along with information and educational resources on how to apply. It is also available as a mobile app.

      Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

      LISC provides small business relief grants, digital-ready grants, and regional grants for small business owners. It also shares information about mentorship schemes, and business owners can go to their local LISC office for more advice and information on resources.

      National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)

      NASE members can apply for growth grants for your business and yearly scholarship grants for college for dependents. The organization also provides advice on business law, strategy, IT, marketing, tax, and B2B leads and discounts on various business services from partners, ranging from payroll providers to various health insurance plans.

      Operation HOPE

      Operation HOPE provides a series of programs to support communities across the U.S. in achieving financial dignity and empowerment. Aspiring and/or new business owners can sign up for their eight-week Entrepreneurship Training Program, specifically designed for individuals lacking capital or access to funding and business education.

      The HOPE Business In A Box Academies (HBIABA) also provides middle and high school students with business training, mentors, and even start-up grants. s.

      USDA Rural Business Development Grants

      If you live in a town or rural area and employ fewer than 50 people, you are eligible to apply for a grant for technical assistance, training, and economic development. This covers everything from land acquisition to feasibility studies, with a full list of allowed uses on the website. There is no maximum limit for the grant amount.

      United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

      Latinx Americans will find that the USHCC has many programs and resources available. These include Avanzar, an eight-month business accelerator program; procurement matching events and supplier boot camps; networking opportunities; technical assistance; and more.

      US Small Business Administration (SBA)

      We previously discussed SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program, but that’s not all the SBA offers. You can also access free business counseling and resources to help you plan, launch, and manage your business, as well as business loans.

      Your Local Chamber of Commerce

      In addition to Black and minority chambers of commerce, signing up to your town or state’s local chamber of commerce may grant you access to training, funding opportunities, and more.

      We Support Your Dream

      Whatever your online goals, we’ll be right there with you, making sure your site is fast, secure, and always up. Plans start at $1.99/mo.

      Resources for Black Business Owners Around the World

      Accion International

      Similar to Accion’s U.S.-based Opportunity Fund above, Accion International provides services on a global scale. Applicants can receive advisory services, targeted coaching, and financial investments. In addition, online toolkits are readily available for all businesses.

      Currently, the organization operates in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the United Kingdom.

      Black Business Network

      Black Business Network provides support for U.K.-based small and medium enterprises. This includes mentoring and skills development, events, and networking. The organization also recommends funding channels and releases reports on Black British entrepreneurship.

      Black Entrepreneurship Program

      The Government of Canada’s Black Entrepreneurship Program provides mentorship, training, and loans for Black-led businesses in the country. Some of these are only available for nonprofit businesses. The program also leads research into Black entrepreneurship within Canada.

      Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce

      Via the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, business owners can be matched with mentors, receive free business advice, attend workshops, and bid on corporate and government contracts. There are also entrepreneur programs for women and youth.


      Nonprofit organization Kiva allows entrepreneurs across the world to access microloans while enabling ordinary people around the world to crowdfund them. Borrowers in the U.S. pay zero percent interest rates, while borrowers in other countries may pay interest rates to a local organization partnering with Kiva.

      The Tools You Need to Succeed as a Black Business Owner

      Launching a business is an act of passion and hard work. The right resources can support you in achieving your goals, yet it’s your dedication that will lead you to success.

      Here at DreamHost, we believe our job is to help set you up to thrive. That’s why we created our Ultimate Small Business Resource Guide —  for comprehensive tips on everything from building a website to creating a marketing strategy, be sure to check it out!

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      The Website Owner’s Guide to Email Marketing

      Email is the sharpest tool in the box for building relationships, generating new customers, and increasing sales on your website. Here’s how to get started.

      Remember in 1998’s You’ve Got Mail when Meg Ryan‘s character waits impatiently for her dial-up internet to connect before typing an email to her virtual pen pal on a simple dialog box? Watch it now and cringe; we’ve come a long way, baby. 

      But while dial-up and AOL instant messaging are stuck in the stone ages of the internet, email isn’t, especially for you website owners out there — and here’s why.

      Email still has a very real place in society, with more than four billion email users worldwide, a number predicted to rise to 4.5 billion by 2024.

      New Email.jpeg

      Even though we tend to dread the sight of an overstuffed inbox, the reality is this: Email triumphs as a powerful tool of communication and persuasion for website owners and businesses. 

      And marketers understand this. 

      In fact, 89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation. This seemingly-archaic medium is increasingly relevant — unlike screen names or Myspace pages — for website owners looking to build customer relationships and augment sales. 

      Marketers consistently rank email as the single-most-effective tactic for meeting their awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention goals. They’ve branded it, fittingly, “the workhorse” and prove your marketing budget should include more $$$ allotted for an invested email strategy.

      And they’re not the only ones waving virtual foam fingers for email practices; more than half of consumers say they enjoy receiving emails from brands.

      But understand this: You don’t have to be a big-shot marketer to create and send email campaigns. Even beginners can use emails to generate slam-dunk sales or build a loyal blog following.

      So what exactly is email marketing? How can you encourage customers to sign up for your emails in the first place? Then, how do you craft sparkling newsletter copy while avoiding the spam folder? 

      Well, you’re in luck. We developed the Website Owner’s Guide to Email Marketing to help you understand and implement the fundamentals of email marketing. Read on and learn the ins-and-outs of segmentation, automation, sequencing, bounce rates, and how to craft that email your visitors are anxious to open:

      We promise it’s easier than dial-up.

      1. Email Marketing: Ground Level

      If you’re like 58% of adults, after waking up and resisting the urge to hit the snooze button, you’re rolling over groggily to grab your phone. Within seconds, you’re scanning your email inbox before your eyelids have even fully opened. 

      Checking Email.jpeg

      And now, with the increased usage of everything mobile, people are “always on” in terms of their inboxes: whether on commutes, in the bathroom (germy, but true), or in almost every social situation, they’re one micro-click away from checking their email.

      Email marketing capitalizes on habits like this in a major way. 

      At its most basic, email marketing involves acquiring the email addresses of potential customers as a way to share content with them and build business-to-customer relationships. And there’s a reason that this strategy is tried-and-true; it’s a good investment — for every dollar spent, email marketing averages an ROI of $38. Cha-ching!

      The numbers don’t lie: 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a direct result of an email marketing message. 

      Still not convinced that you need an email marketing strategy? Consider these stats:

      Consider a basketball analogy: Email marketing is like shooting a layup, versus a shot from half-court . . . blindfolded. One is targeted and direct — an almost guaranteed score — while the other is haphazard hit-or-miss. 

      Basketball Layup.jpeg

      Point made, yes?

      So, let’s get down to it.

      What You Need to Get Started

      If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably got a snazzy website up and running. If not, follow this guide to building a WordPress website in five minutes and then rejoin us. 

      Don’t worry. We’ll wait.

      All setup? OK, now it’s time to market your content and products to loyal followers.

      First, it’s smart to set some goals and make a plan for what you want to accomplish through your email marketing efforts. This will guide the type of messages you sent and how you target your subscribers.

      Second, you’ll need a reliable Email Service Provider (ESP). This kind of provider is different than your basic Gmail account — an ESP allows you to send messages in bulk.

      The most popular of these is probably MailChimp. Still, many ESPs offer various features — like security reports and levels of automation — so do your research and choose a service that provides the tools you want at the price your budget allows.


      Next: Building a list of subscribers.

      Successful email marketing works like visiting someone’s house — you have to be invited first. Email marketing begins when a potential or current customer gives you their permission to send them emails. 

      Just say “Nooooooo!” to buying email lists or firing off spammy messages to those who haven’t granted you their permission. You want to nurture relationships that lead to sales, not alienate and annoy potential customers. (We’ll address this more in the “Slam That Spam” section below).

      For your website, you accomplish this with an opt-in form. You’ve probably seen a handful of different versions of these on nearly every web page you visit. 

      Optin Sidebar.png
      A sidebar opt-in widget on food blog How Sweet Eats.
      Optin Popup.png
      A pop-up email subscription form on craft site Thimblepress.
      Optin Popup 2.png
      A creative pop-up subscription option from Chronicle Books.

      Just as there is with crafting your email content itself, there’s an art to creating a winning opt-in message, like incorporating appealing visuals, a persuasive description — that offers subscribers some kind of additional benefit — and a compelling subscribe button (among other things). 

      OptinMonster is a simple — and effective — way to set up lead capture forms on WordPress (and other websites and e-commerce sites) that integrate with many ESPs. Easy peasy!


      2. The Nitty Gritty

      Just as there is with crafting your email content itself, there’s an art to creating a winning opt-in message, like incorporating appealing visuals, a persuasive description — that offers subscribers some kind of additional benefit — and a compelling subscribe button (among other things). 

      OptinMonster is a simple — and effective — way to set up lead capture forms on WordPress (and other websites and e-commerce sites) that integrate with many ESPs. Easy peasy!

      Email Segmentation

      According to OptinMonster

      “Email list segmentation is the process of breaking your subscribers into smaller groups based on specific criteria so that you can send them more personalized and relevant emails.”

      Emails that are more targeted will help you get the right content to the people who will be most interested in reading it, resulting in higher click-through rates and conversions (not to mention a decrease in the number of those hitting the “unsubscribe” button or sending your mail to spam). By segmenting, you can vary the content, like sending your newsletter or promotional content to the most receptive audience.

      So, what kinds of groups can you segment subscribers into? Here are a few examples:

      Online Shopper.jpeg

      Those are just a few ideas on the ways you can segment your email list (and there are tons more). 

      The goal of segmentation is personalization; each subscriber receives content relevant to them and will, therefore, interact with the content more. Picture it: fewer spam designations, more engagement, more successful email campaigns, more conversions, etc.

      This can also be accomplished with OptinMonster as it integrates with your ESP.


      Along with segmentation is sequencing, a tactic in which a series of emails are generated based on set intervals or subscriber behavior-triggered automations

      Sequencing helps you automate (less work for you) and get the right messages to your subscribers — the groups you’ve segmented — when they will be most effective. (More details here.) 

      Types of sequences may include a series of emails targeted at reactivating disengaged subscribers, encouraging them to attend a local event, or following up on a recent purchase.

      And it works; after one year of using automation, 32% of businesses reported increased revenue.

      3. Slam That Spam

      A major — repeat, major — part of your email marketing success (aka increased conversions, killer content, and a growing readership) is understanding — and avoiding — the spam folder. 

      So what is spam exactly? Well, in short, it’s unsolicited messages (meaning, no consent was given to receive them) sent in bulk. While sometimes amusing to read, spam is ultimately annoying to consumers, and no business wants their carefully crafted copy relegated to the black hole abyss of email spam holes. 


      It’s true: Consumers are deleting fewer promotional emails without looking than in years past.

      But with this, there’s good news and bad news. 

      So let’s consider a few (OK, several) roadblocks that can stall you from reaching your consumers’ inboxes.

      Understand the How of Spam Filters

      An important key is understanding how the filters work in the first place. While there are many triggers, here are some things they look for:

      Additionally, spam filters monitor subscriber behavior to improve their filtering formulas, tracking actions like the opening of emails, time spent reading the email, enabling of images, spam flagging, folders applied to email by the subscriber, forwarding of emails, etc. 

      And because these behaviors vary from subscriber to subscriber, a unique “email spam score” is given to each email sent to every individual subscriber. Sounds complicated, but there are things you can do to significantly improve your chances that your message will arrive successfully to your subscriber.

      Spam filters are smart. Some other instant red flags: over-the-top font colors (consumers don’t like this either), font color tags that aren’t formatted correctly, misspellings, overstuffing keywords, and risky word choices (best to avoid “free,” “prize,” “promo,” “no obligation,” and “buy”). 

      In addition, be conservative with punctuation and capitalization. Aside from the resulting in red-flagging, it’s just . . . ANNOYING!!!!! 

      See? We told you.

      Lastly, don’t play dirty. Attempting to outsmart spam filters (like inserting random characters and numbers into your content or subject lines or concealing text in an image) or tricking your subscribers by starting the subject line with “Re:” or “Fwd:” to suggest an ongoing communication with you just eats away at your credibility.

      Instead, put your efforts into building a quality email list and sending out content that customers want to see pop up in their inbox.

      Build Your Own In-House Email List

      The permission-based approach is best. Make sure that the recipients of your messages have provided explicit consent to receive your communications through a sign-up or opt-in form. Encourage them to add your email to their address book.

      Resist the temptation to purchase an email list or scrape sites for addresses. This is often your message’s one-way ticket to the spam folder. Build your list ethically.

      Make Unsubscribing Easy

      No one wants a dwindling email list, but the reality is this: 50% of consumers branded a company’s email as spam because they couldn’t easily figure out how to unsubscribe to the messages. 

      Make it easy for your subscribers to part ways; it’ll save you the spam label and leave you with the most invested subscribers — plus, it’s the law!

      Don’t Send Lackluster or Irrelevant Content

      Consistency is the rule for creating content on your website. This make-it-or-break-it principle is critical for your email communications too. If your blog channels a friendly-neighbor tone, you should have an email voice to match. Keep your messaging consistent, so you don’t give your readers branding whiplash. 

      Secondly, honor your subscribers’ time. As it has been aptly said, minutes of your customers’ time are like dog years on the internet — woof. 

      Our digital diets are only programmed for rapid-fire “tastes” of virtual content, so your subscribers’ time reading your content should be well-spent. Honor their minutes by making your emails worth reading. Otherwise, it’s “Email, meet Trash Bin.”

      Also, understand that you really only have a few seconds to grab their attention in the first place. Research shows that most people have a group of “trusted advisers” from whom they will almost always open emails — secure this spot and your customers’ attention is yours. 

      Using a Reliable Email Service Provider (ESP)

      In addition to checking your domain name for blacklisting (you might also hear this referred to as a denylist), you should use a reputable ESP. Need help choosing the right provider? Check here. You could also consider getting third-party accreditation, which can help deliverability. 

      Understand the Rules

      More than just staying clear of boring or unrelated content, you need to be aware of the rules surrounding email marketing and how your content could potentially be violating established spam laws. With most — if not all — email providers, you will need to verify that you are abiding by the law.

      CAN-SPAM Act applies to “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” Simply put, all emails must comply. Each email in violation can incur a fee of upwards of $40,000! Gulp.

      Here are the must-dos and don’t-even-think-about-its for staying on the right side of the law.

      1. Don’t Deceive or Mislead

      Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” routing info (the domain name and email address), and subject line must all accurately reflect the correct information, including the business the message is originating from and the content of the message. Be truthful and clear. 

      2. Identify Ad Content

      You must communicate clearly and visibly that your message is an advertisement. 

      3. Give Your Location

      In your email, you must include the physical address of your business (whether that be a street address, P.O. box, or private mailbox you’ve registered under Postal Service regulations).

      4. Tell Subscribers How to Opt-Out

      It’s not just a good idea to have an easy unsubscribe method. Letting your subscribers know, clearly and conspicuously, how to opt out of future messages is the law. You must give subscribers the choice to stop emails, and you must explain how (by using a clear, contrasting font to distinguish it on your email, by giving a return address to reply to — which should be a human reply-to address — or providing another internet-based way). 


      Additionally, make certain that your own spam filter does not block opt-requests from subscribers. Another element of the law is honoring these requests swiftly (within 10 business days) and not requiring additional demands from the subscriber, like fees, personal information, or other actions besides visiting a single page or sending a reply email. You cannot transfer or sell the former subscriber’s email address.

      5. Understand Your Personal Obligation

      Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re working on improving (or starting) your business’s email marketing strategy. But, on the off chance that you’re merely reading this for fun (totally understandable) and you’ve hired someone else to manage your email marketing, understand that you still possess the legal responsibility to comply with the law. Even if it’s just your product promoted in the email messages, you could be held legally responsible for violations. You can read up on more details here.

      6. Keep Your Email List Updated

      It’s important to stay connected with your subscribers and keep your email list as up-to-date as possible, as email addresses change often. Hey, that young professional doesn’t want to use their “starwarslover6[email protected]” address forever. A stale list can lead to too many hard bounces (emails rejected for permanent reasons like invalid or inoperable email addresses) and raise your spam score.

      7. Think Timing

      Sure, your subscribers might not like a lengthy email every day, but sending out a rare email every few months could hurt. When your messages do show up, your readers might not recognize the “From:” designation and send you straight to spam or delete your message quickly, damaging your stats and credibility. 

      8. Consider Size

      If your email content is too large, it could result in a soft bounce, a temporary delivery issue that signifies that your content got as far as your subscriber’s mail server but was then bounced back. Reasons for soft bounces may also include full inboxes or an offline server. The email provider you use should attempt to resend your email over a period of days, but be on the lookout for repeat bounces and remove them from your list. (Read more about bounce rates in the Metrics section below).

      9. Be Wary of Inserts

      Videos, embedded forms, and attachments aren’t smart things to include in your email messages. Forms and videos often aren’t supported for security and compatibility reasons. Plus, there’s mobile to think about (more than that later). If you have an additional PDF or worksheet you want to share, upload it to your site and provide a link in the email you send out. 

      10. Test Before You Send

      Lastly, it’s smart to use a service like to test your email for possible spam triggers.

      Not Spam.png

      And for the record, we’re web hosting experts, so talk with a legit attorney if you really want to get into the minutiae of spam law.

      We’ll Support Your Dream

      Whatever your online goals, we’ll be right there with you, making sure your site is fast, secure, and always up. Plans start at $2.59/mo.

      4. Putting Pen to (Virtual) Paper

      It’s time to decide the type of content you want to send out. A good tip is to analyze your email reports and website analytics to see what content did best — and get writing more of that. Here are some email communication best practices that will earn you more opens, more engagement, and more satisfied subscribers. 

      Be a Stickler for Good Grammar

      This isn’t seventh-grade English class, but it’s important to put in the work to make sure your content is error-free and professional. You want your subscribers to trust you and keep returning to read. Get a second pair of eyes and use an editing checklist to help you spot mistakes. Nothing turns off a subscriber more than a misplaced comma or spelling error. Can you say amatuer amateur?

      Write Like a Friend

      While you still need to be professional, it’s also important to write conversationally and not like a robot. Add personal touches that help show your personality and approachability. Also, use the word “you.” Turns out it’s pretty convincing.

      Promptly Journals.png
      The emails from Promptly Journals make you feel like a VIP, not just a subscriber.

      Learn From the Pros

      There are a lot of companies out there who are doing email marketing well. Here are a few. Learn from the best and adapt your content to adhere to winning principles and make your emails — dare we say it — fun to read! 

      Make it Visually Appealing

      If your subscribers wanted to slog through dense copy, they’d read a textbook. Remember, they’re “snacking,” so avoid clutter and make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for with text breakups, visual cues, and a clean design. 

      Invite Readers to Take Action

      Just like a good story needs a good ending, don’t leave your email with a blah finish. Give a clear call-to-action prompt that engages your subscriber to do more. I mean, that’s why you’re sending the email in the first place, right?

      Take Your Subject Line Seriously

      Subscribers decide whether your emails are worth their time and attention in 0 to 3 seconds. One, two, done. Another scary fact: 70% of emails get flagged as spam based solely on the subject line! So make it enticing and relevant. Again, learn from the pros.

      Some important things to keep in mind when writing subject lines:

      Subject Line.png

      5. Think Mobile

      You’re already aware that your website needs to be geared toward mobile users — the same goes for your emails. 

      But why?

      Many consumers are now reading email exclusively on mobile devices and are pretty picky about how your messages look on their devices: more than 80% of people reported that they will delete an email if it looks wonky on their phones. Yikes.


      You know the principles of optimizing your site; here’s how to optimize your messages for mobile.

      6. Gauging Success

      You’ve crafted your winning email and sent it out into the interwebs — now what? How can you judge the success or failure of your email marketing campaign? What should you look for? Like any marketing effort, it’s important to analyze your results and improve any needed efforts, but what metrics are most important?


      Here is a quick-guide glossary of metrics you should keep an eye on in coordination with your personal goals.

      Bounce Rate

      As we mentioned before, bounce rate (both hard and soft) indicates the percentage of total emails that were undeliverable — permanently or temporarily — measured by the total number of bounced emails divided by the number of emails sent. Sometimes this is a server issue, sometimes it’s a spam issue. 

      Unsubscribe Rate

      This number — the rate at which people remove themselves from your email list — is a good correction tool; it can help you know which emails were causing subscribers to ditch your list and correct those issues in future communications.

      Open Rate

      The percentage of email subscribers who open a given email. But this can sometimes be misleading, as an “open” is counting as a subscriber who receives the images embedded in a particular message. But it can clue you into what subject lines are most effective, which days your emails are opened, and the average percentage of your email list responding to your messages.

      Click Rate

      The number of times links in your message are clicked on. This is important for understanding your subscribers’ level of engagement and how they are interacting with you — and acting on your invitations to buy, visit, or give feedback. 

      Action Over Time

      A timeline of engagement with your emails; this stat can assist you in planning when is the best time to send campaigns.

      Spam Score

      Not all email marketing service providers will provide you this number, but it’s worth thinking about if you can get your hands on it. Before you hit send, it can indicate the likelihood of your message getting slammed by spam filters. A Spam Complaint metric can also be used to correct past errors that caused your subscribers to designate a certain message as spam. Based on these numbers, you can adjust your content format.

      It might also be important to keep track of email client data; with this, you can see how successfully or unsuccessfully messages might be appearing on different client types. Also, encourage your subscribers to give you feedback so you can learn and improve your communications the next time around.

      Lastly, here are some tools that can help you keep track (if your service provider doesn’t already) and benchmarks that help you see how you stack up in your industry.

      The Last Word

      Take a breath. Email overload, we get it. You can always bookmark this guide and refer back to it when you’re ready to take the next step in improving your communications with subscribers. 

      And in case you scrolled all the way down here looking for the TL;DR, we’ve got you covered. Here are the key takeaways for starting your own email marketing program. 

      Now, back to that inbox.

      RE: Your Feedback

      How have these email best practices gained you more subscribers or sales? What’s helped you successfully stay out of spam folders? Forward us your ideas (see what we did there?) on Twitter or join our Facebook group for site owners.

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      The Website Owner’s Guide to DNS Propagation

      Unless you’re in the information technology field, it’s possible to go your whole life (blissfully) without hearing the words “DNS propagation”.

      That is, unless you migrate your website to a new web hosting service. Only then do you learn that the lightning-fast internet you’re accustomed to has this thing called propagation, and it moves like a turtle.

      The good news is that it’s really not that slow. DNS propagation isn’t instantaneous, but it has a lot of ground to cover. By understanding what’s involved in DNS and how propagation works, you’ll be able to use this knowledge to better secure your site and offer stronger performance for website visitors.

      In this article, we’ll explain what DNS is, how it works, and most importantly, what it means for your website. We’ll also offer some tips to help you ensure DNS security for your site. Let’s get to it!

      What Is DNS?

      DNS is an acronym for Domain Name System. It’s the directory of every domain name used to access websites across the internet.,,, and your own website’s URL are all stored in the Domain Name System.

      It’s called a system because it involves a hierarchy of nameservers that work together. They ensure that when you type “” in your browser, you’re served the content from our site and not from any other of the millions of websites out there.

      When you type a domain name in your browser, DNS gets to work. It facilitates communication between your computer (or another connected device) and the server where the website is hosted. How does this happen? DNS matches domain names with IP addresses. Let’s take a closer look at that process.

      Your Great Idea Starts with a Domain Name

      Don’t let someone else register your URL. Search DreamHost’s 400+ TLDs to find the perfect fit for your website.

      How DNS and IP Addresses Work Together

      Each device connected to the internet has a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address, expressed as a numerical value. IP addresses help to route information requests over the internet. Queries (like typing a website’s name into a browser) are returned to the sending IP address – the device you’re using.

      IP addresses are assigned by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for each network device. IP addresses can be updated or changed too, so this makes keeping up with them an ongoing process.

      For example, if you use your laptop at home, it’s assigned an IP address by your internet provider. If you take that same laptop to work and join the network there, your laptop will be assigned a different IP address by your employer’s internet provider.

      Websites have IP addresses too, since they also are stored on computers connected to the internet. When you type in a domain name, it doesn’t know where the website is located. What you really need is the IP address for the site. Then you can send and receive information.

      Rather than having to remember numeric strings (IPs) to designate website addresses (the servers where websites are stored), we use domain names. This makes it much easier to visit the many websites that we frequent. The process is similar to looking up a contact on your phone.

      Instead of memorizing all the phone numbers listed in your contacts, you can use a series of lookups. Let’s say you wanted to find Joe’s number. To call him, you might:

      • Open your contacts.
      • Tap the letter “J” for Joe.
      • Scroll through all the “J” contacts until you find Joe.
      • Tap Joe’s name to open his contact card.
      • Tap the phone icon to call Joe.

      DNS progresses through a series of lookups as well, until it finds the one unique number (IP address) for the website you’re looking for. In other words, DNS translates every domain name into its assigned IP address through a series of queries and servers.

      DNS Lookup in Action

      DNS lookup happens behind the scenes when you type a domain name into a web browser. The request is sent through a series of queries and servers. Namely:

      • DNS recursor (recursive resolver)
      • Root nameservers
      • Top-Level Domain (TLD) nameservers
      • Authoritative nameservers

      The DNS Recursor (recursive resolver) handles the initial DNS query from the web browser. This is similar to tapping your contacts app to start your search for Joe’s phone number. You have a name, but you need a number.

      For example, the nameservers for all of the domains managed by DreamHost, including ‘’, are set up using the following:


      Back to our phone example, if Joe’s name is saved in your Favorites, the search is over. You have his number in hand, and you don’t need to look it up in your contacts listing. The DNS resolver acts similarly.

      Before your query is sent out to servers across the web, your DNS resolver checks for a “hosts” file on your computer, an index that isn’t often used now. Next, it will search your computer’s DNS cache to see if the IP address is stored in your browser.

      When the DNS resolver exhausts its search through your computer, router cache, and internet provider’s nameservers, the query is then sent along to the appropriate root nameserver. There are 13 root zones for the global internet. Each of them has a root DNS server.

      These root servers answer queries for the records contained in their zones. The root nameserver looks up the authoritative DNS server that contains the IP address for the domain name being queried. The root server knows where to send the query based on the Top Level Domain (TLD), such as .com, .org, or .net.

      Authoritative nameservers index domain names based on TLDs. The root domain (the website name, plus the .com or other TLD extension) is located on the authoritative nameserver. Its corresponding IP address is returned to the sending IP address, your computer. Finally, you have Joe’s number.

      What DNS Propagation Means (And How Long It Really Takes)

      DNS propagation refers to the amount of time it takes for a DNS change to update across the internet. For instance, if you move your website to another host, your DNS settings will change because you’ll have a new IP address.

      Your website has several different DNS records that might be updated, and you should be aware of these records and what they do:

      • A record: lists your website’s IP address
      • CNAME records: lists your subdomain or other aliases (can be used to point one domain to another)
      • MX records: specifies which mail server will handle your domain’s email
      • TXT records: attaches information to your domain, such as verification records

      When a DNS change is made, propagation can take up to 72 hours. However, it usually takes less than a few hours. Some obstacles may delay complete propagation. Let’s look at a few of the most common factors involved.

      • Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Internet providers keep DNS information cached so they can provide faster page loads for their customers. Sometimes, they may ignore TTL settings and keep DNS information for several days.
      • Domain Name Registries. When you update your DNS information, the update is sent to your domain registrar. It then publishes your nameserver records to its root zone. Some domain registrars don’t publish DNS updates immediately.
      • Time to Live (TTL) settings. This setting determines how long DNS information is allowed to “live” on a computer or DNS server. A higher TTL saves lookup time by keeping the information cached. This helps deliver faster results to the user. The downside is that a higher TTL setting prevents the DNS resolver from getting the most up-to-date DNS information.

      If you update your DNS records, a delay in propagation means that website visitors may be getting outdated information. You can check DNS propagation progress using an online tool, such as Google Admin Toolbox or DNS Checker.

      How to Flush Your DNS Cache

      Your DNS cache speeds requests by caching information locally, rather than relaying the requests through the DNS every time. When changes are made to a website’s DNS settings, your cache is not immediately updated, so your information may be outdated.

      To solve this, you can flush your DNS cache by following the directions for your particular operating system below. If you’re using Chrome for browsing, check out these instructions to clear your cache.

      Windows 8 & 10

      Click on Start, and when the Run box appears, type in Cmd and hit Enter. At the command prompt, enter ipconfig /flushdns as shown below.

      Flushing the DNS cache in Windows.

      After the command runs and returns the prompt, type Exit and press the Enter key to close the window. Instructions are also available for earlier versions of Windows.

      MacOS X 12 (Sierra) and Later

      First, navigate to Launchpad > Terminal, then type the following:

      sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder;sudo killall mDNSResponderHelper;sudo dscacheutil -flushcache

      Flushing the DNS cache in MacOS.

      That’s all you need to do!

      OS X 11 (El Capitan)

      You can start by going to Launchpad > Terminal. Then enter:

      macbook$ sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

      Alternately, you can find directions online for older versions of MacOS.


      Linux currently doesn’t cache the same way as Windows and MacOS, so you’ll need to find out how your particular machine should be flushed.

      What to Know About DNS Security

      The Domain Name System is constantly assaulted by Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. These target DNS servers and try to disrupt the system so that domain requests are denied.

      There are several steps you can take to minimize your risk from these DDoS attacks. First, use a secure web host. This is your first line of defense, and your website host should proactively ensure tightened security.

      Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access to your site’s files by adding an extra layer of security. The first layer is using your secure username and password to log in. The second layer is provided by an authentication application, such as Google Authenticator. Many users also use YubiKey, a hardware authentication device.

      You can also use a third-party security service like Cloudflare, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that helps protect against malicious traffic and attacks. Cloudflare also speeds up your website. You can enable it through your DreamHost panel by going to Manage Domains.

      A web application firewall.

      Finally, a Web Application Firewall (WAF) like Cloudflare’s can add additional security by monitoring website traffic between applications and the internet.

      Next-Generation DNS

      DNS security is a growing concern, as DDoS attacks are on the rise. Many businesses use free DNS services for their websites. Not all of these free services have the resources to enhance security. Alternatively, premium services can offer:

      • Better security measures, pointing your domain to more secure nameservers
      • DNS failover, to keep your site accessible in case of a system disruption
      • Better performance due to faster resolution times

      The Domain Name System is key to keeping internet traffic safe, secure, and accurate. As hackers and other bad actors continue their assaults against DNS, businesses and individual website owners may consider how they can help ensure security and stability for their sites.

      Next-generation domain services play an essential role in developing products and services to ensure DNS security and keep the internet safe and accessible.

      Stay in the Know

      Join our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!

      Domain Registration, Demystified

      DNS propagation ensures up-to-date information throughout the internet so that when someone sits down at a computer and types in your domain name, they’re routed to your website. All of this happens behind the scenes through the Domain Name System’s queries and servers.

      You can ensure that your DNS is accurate and up to date by managing your domain names with DreamHost’s domain services. Find your new domain name and get competitive pricing on registrations. Plus, you can stay secure with free Domain Privacy Protection and optional domain locking.

      If you registered your domain name somewhere else, we’ve got you covered too. You can transfer your domains to us and manage them all in one place, right from your DreamHost panel!

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