It’s impossible to build an online business without a great website. Before you consider getting a client, hiring anyone, or spending money on anything else, you must have a website that looks trustworthy. Otherwise, the people that do find your site will bounce off of that page just as quickly as they arrived. It’s really that simple.
But, before you can build a site, you have to have a web hosting company, which is an essential piece of the pie. Finding a good web hosting company for your small business is really an overlooked part of any online strategy. A bad host can ruin your site for a while, and a good host can make things so much simpler. So, how do you find a web hosting company for your small business?
Here are the top 12 things to look for in a small business web hosting company.
1. Shared Hosting Plans : I’m not a big believer in shared hosting plans. Why? Because you will have to share space with other sites, and some sites can slow down your site. But, shared hosting is a cheap way of setting up a hosting package, and that’s the number one reason why so many small business owners are lured by the shared hosting promise.
2. Dedicated Hosting Plans (Managed) : this is the better way to go because it means having your own server. You may think that you don’t need your own server (and you might not need one now), but you will in the future if you plan to get a lot of traffic. So, you can decide on the hosting package that works for you by figuring out how much traffic you will generate.
Here’s a simple way to break that up: most eCommerce sites will cause a lot of traffic (and that’s a good thing!). Some small business services will get a lot of traffic with the right content consultant and marketing plan in place. Most small business services won’t get a lot of traffic, though, unless you have an amazing blog or content that people can’t resist (so, really, your content is the most important thing).
3. Room to Grow and Expand : you may need more room one day, and a company that lets you grow is worth signing up with.
4. Help when you need it : what good is that online customer support if it only works during peak hours? Sometimes, things go wrong at the strangest hours of the night, and that means that your site might have issues that you can’t fix for hours. Yikes!
5. eMail account options : it’s nice to have an email that’s just for your business. Can you hosting company provide you with an email account that’s just for your business?
6. Google AdWords Options : advertisements on your site will help you make money. That sounds pretty good right? Some hosting providers can set you up with AdWords options, and that’s a good thing when it comes to generating revenue.
7. Uptime results : most hosting companies will make the 99.9% claim, but this can be compared to those commercials you see on TV that shout amazing rates at you. The real proof has to be shown, or else it’s no deal. To find out the exact uptime that a company can truly boast, check out SiteGeek.com for information. Why? Because most hosting companies aren’t going to show you the real stats!
8. Security solutions : it’s not possible for any hosting company to protect your site from malware and other security attacks all the time. That said, any decent company will have certain security features in place. If you sign up with a cheap hosting company that has no kind of security, you’re taking a big risk!
9. A solid reputation : believe it or not, hosting companies are some of the most reviewed companies out there. So, consumers will willingly head to review sites in order to complain or brag about a company’s services.
10. Client endorsements : most companies will list the names of big clients right on a homepage. Take a look at the clients that trust the company you are about to sign up with. Big companies won’t allow another company to use their name unless there’s something really good to report, so keep that in mind.
A site that loads too quickly can result in some SEO loss too. Just think about it: if a search engine is trying to visit your site, but your site won’t load or is always down, there’s an issue, right? You have to find a hosting company that will keep your site up and running at all times, so that search engines can find out what your business is all about. Slow site? No SEO tactics in the world will help you. See why its vital to find the right hosting company for your small business?