4 Things Small Businesses Need to Consider
One of the first tasks you’ll face when creating a website for your business is choosing a hosting service. Web hosting uses quite a bit of complicated terminology, which can make the process seem daunting to the non-tech savvy folks out there.
Thankfully, there are only four significant things for the majority of small business owners to consider when choosing a web host: reliability, storage capacity, customer service, and cost. While hosting can become much more complex, these four elements are the most important when choosing a hosting service for a small business.
Downtime is inevitable for every website, but some hosting services provide much more reliable uptime than others. The nature of your website will determine how high reliability should rank on your list of factors when choosing a web host.
For instance, if a business portfolio website goes down unexpectedly, the worst consequence would likely be some temporary frustration. However, an eCommerce website could potentially lose thousands of dollars in revenue if it goes down for a day. For this reason, it’s vital for online stores to have a hosting provider with excellent uptime records.
All web hosting companies should have their historical uptime percentages available for you to see. If you can’t seem to find that information on their websites, you can check them out here.
Be wary of claims of 100% uptime, as these are likely inaccurate. Scheduled downtime should also be taken into consideration with each host; these outages should be scheduled well in advance and during non-peak times of the day.
#2: Storage Capacity
Disk space and bandwidth are also principal considerations for your hosting package. The amount of space you’ll need depends on the number and size of the files you plan to have on your site. The more content (images, video, audio, etc.) and features (shopping carts, access logs, data tracking, etc.) you’ll be using, the more disk space your site will need.
Bandwidth is the amount of data transfer that occurs when people visit and interact with your website. The amount of bandwidth you’ll need is determined by variables such as your layout and site traffic, which can be difficult to determine when initially creating a website. For new business websites, it’s more efficient to begin with a lower amount of bandwidth and make adjustments as the site gets more traffic.
Keep in mind that most sites will never be large enough to require the “unlimited space” packages that many hosting companies offer. Most web hosting packages allow for scalability to accommodate website growth, offering upgraded amounts of space and bandwidth if necessary.
#3: Customer Service
Even the most experienced website builders sometimes encounter problems. As the owner of a shiny new website, having access to help when you need it is extremely important.
Hosting services typically offer different types of customer service, from knowledge bases to 24/7 telephone support. The best companies pride themselves on excellent customer service and offer multiple ways to get questions answered efficiently.
Customer service is an element that many people skimp on in order to get lower hosting costs. However, it’s essential for businesses to resolve problems as quickly as possible in order to minimize frustration and revenue loss when issues do arise.
Competitive pricing is undoubtedly an important factor for small businesses that are venturing into the online world. Pricing is often package-based, and it will vary from host to host depending on the available features offered with each package.
The features your website needs will once again depend on the nature of your business. A large eCommerce site or photography portfolio will require more complex tools and space requirements than a simple informative website. Important features for every business to consider are site building tools, domain registration, servers, bandwidth, (shared/VPS/dedicated/WordPress), disk space, email, and scalability.
Generally, it’s best to start with the lowest cost package that would work for your business; most hosts offer easy scalability in case you need more space or site tools in the future. After comparing a few hosting companies, choose the one that offers the best combination of costs and features for your business.
Hosting In the End
Ultimately, research is the key to choosing the best web hosting company for your small business. Carefully considering these four important elements will ensure that you end up with a quality service that perfectly suits your needs. By paying attention to the right details, the process of choosing a web host can go from nearly overwhelming to surprisingly simple.