So you are ready to launch a new website. It’s been perfectly crafted; every detail about its design, layout, user interface, and user experience has been carefully considered and examined. All stakeholders had a seat at the table – sales marketing, product managers, IT, etc. Every piece of content, graphics, videos, and images are all working in sync telling the same story, educating, informing and motivating your customers and prospective customers to connect, like and buy your products and or services. Call to actions have been deliberated, edited, tested, re-edited and finalized.
Everything has been taken into account………except where your site will be hosted. But with some knowledge and some questions you’ll know what to look for and what to ask when determining who is the right hosting provider for your organization’s website.
“But aren’t all web hosting the same” is a question I frequently hear from prospective clients. The answer is no. Do all cars perform the same? Do all computers perform the same? Of course not. So let’s get right to what can go wrong when you start with the assumption that your web-hosting provider doesn’t matter.
When Hosting Providers Go Bad
You Lose Revenues and Income
When a site goes down, especially one where your customers can order/purchase your goods and services, you lose traffic and lost traffic typically means lost business.
Your Organic SEO Takes a Hit
Not only does the sales and marketing team hate it when a site goes down but so does the SEO team. With your SEO built website and content marketing, you have taken every step to increase your organic (non-paid) SEO. The problem is that all the search engines frown on sites that are not up and running.
Your Site Responds Like Molasses…ssssssslllllllllooooooooowwwww
Many web hosts try to serve as many websites as possible with little regard to site performance. They price may look attractive but if the site’s performance is sub-par – long download or upload time you will lose customers. A prospective customer that clicks away from your site because of lagging response time is a lost sale and lost revenue. Moreover, search engines measure site performance and the results will impact a page’s search engine ranking – slow is bad and fast is good.
A poorly run web host may not back up your site as often as it should. Moreover, depending on the host, site security could be a hodgepodge of bubble gum and bail wire so to speak. Such a host is not a good place to reside should a hacker get access to the server and inserts malware, ransomware, Trojans or viruses. Your website is a corporate asset – a revenue generator in many instances – and it should be protected as such.
Now that you have been sufficiently scared by the ugly side of web hosting let’s go over the fairer side of web hosting. What indicates best practices and questions you should ask.
In The Know
Understand Hosting Options
There are many web hosting options available including shared, VPS (Virtual Private Server), dedicated and managed web hosting. None of these options are right or wrong. But a great web hosting company will be able to explain what each option is and which one is best for your site’s hosting needs. Web hosts that promote a one-size fit all approach should be avoided.
Superior Customer Support
Your website is a 24/7, 365 days a year sales, marketing, and education site on the Internet. It is there all the time, ready to respond when asked by customers at any time – day or night. It is your virtual billboard and more on the information superhighway. For this reason, it is critical that the web host you select has outstanding customer service. A good host will have live 24/7 support.
Strong Uptime Record
Look for hosts that have at least 99% uptime on average. It sounds high, but the reality is that there are hundreds of web hosts that hit that percentage. These are the provider you should strongly consider because to hit 99% uptime it indicates that they use best practices to manage demand and resource, they utilize top-tier security protocols, software an hardware. Moreover, it also means that they properly, vigorously and regularly – and higher. So ask what their uptime guarantee is, they should happily provide it to you.
As your site grows with traffic and content, the demand on the server can become extreme to the point of detrimentally impacting the performance and capabilities of your site. Talk to the host and ask them how they respond to such situations and what are the option for you. Many reputable hosting companies have levels from which to choose.
Use the knowledge, tips, and questions in this article when it is time to look for a web host. But make sure that finding the best web host for your site isn’t at the bottom of your to-do list. Choosing the best web provider for your needs will eliminate loss of revenue, downtime, and security nightmares that can reek havoc on even the best-designed websites.