When it comes to investing in your online presence, most business owners tend to think about everything else but web hosting. They focus on design, paid traffic, content monetization – basically everything else instead of a solid foundation for their website.
I don’t know when this exactly started, but nowadays the importance of selecting a good web host has taken a backseat to almost every other website related thing.
I find this phenomena quite hard to understand.
If you think of your website as your digital home, then you have to visualize your hosting as the foundation and the roof for that very same building.
No One Wants a House with a Leaky Roof and Holes in the Floor
In my experience, most small businesses end up making the wrong choice in the beginning because they do not properly evaluate their needs. They tend to think only about the price of certain web hosting deal, instead of how a certain provider will affect their business.
As I already wrote on this blog, choosing a suitable web hosting can be a tricky thing. Why? – Well, mainly because there are so many companies out there to choose from. Some of them are good, but most of them are just awful.
Although it’s tempting to select a free hosting service for your website, there are A LOT of factors that suggest that you’d be making the worst possible choice for yourself and your business.
Selecting the right web hosting company is one of the most important tasks you have to perform when working on your website. It can be difficult for inexperienced online business professionals to find the right hosting plan for their website without asking for help.
In order to demonstrate the real value behind having a great hosting solution for your digital home, I have decided to reach out to a few online businessmen and ask them just how big of a role good hosting plays in their and their clients success:
We run a site which gets 25K users per month, and close to 40K pageviews. We do know and understand the importance of a great host. Here are the top reasons for us choosing a great host:
Having a fast site is critical for a positive user experience. When users have to wait for a site to load for more than a couple of seconds, they lose faith in that site. This perception is not really conscious. It’s just tedious to use a slow site and users simply abandon it. Several studies have proved this over and over again. A close location to your target demographic is also very important. If your primary visitors are in the UK, host your site in a European (preferably UK data centre)
There are times when a site gets a surge of traffic. If the web host can not handle the load, it’s going to slow down the site. This will kill the sales or traffic which you had worked so hard to get.
These two reasons by themselves are great sales enablers. You won’t miss any sales whilst making the most of the leads you get.
The rest of the tips are bad side effects of choosing a bad host – these are experiences we’ve had in the past with cheap hosts.
Most users don’t really understand web security. Installing and forgetting a WordPress or Joomla site is a deadly mistake. A good host should handle critical security updates on your CMS, besides proactively blocking any unpatched vulnerabilities to prevent your site from getting hacked.
One would hope that one does not need support often. Unfortunately, at the point when you need it, you really need to find good support. Cheap hosts typically man their support centres with junior stuff and have long support response times. At those critical points when your site is down, you’ll need excellent, responsive support. You can’t skimp on that.
Cheap hosts are more likely to not care about the sites they host. These could be spammy sites sending lots of garbage. Without your knowledge, you could be sharing IPs with these bad sites. This will tarnish the reputation of your own website, resulting in low mail delivery rates, potential blocking by web filters and other nasty consequences.
A stable, fast hosting plan is invaluable for getting conversions on your website. Site speed is often considered a ranking signal, and research has shown that site bounces increase in a correlational manner to load time.
After 4 seconds of load time, you’re likely to lose 25% of site visitors before they ever reach a page on your site.
A hosting plan capable of accommodating speed upgrades, that has upgraded servers and the ability to incorporate caching and a CDN, will help you even before you’ve started marketing your site, and speed capabilities will help keep visitors that would have otherwise been lost.
If, for instance, you have a 1 second load time for the life of your website, you’ll have about a 5% bounce rate due to load times; compare that to a 25% bounce rate with a 4+ second load time, and that’s a lot of lost potential conversions lost over time, about 20% more!
Hosting is something I talk about with my web design clients a lot because it can be a hard decision and a very important one.
It is a hard decision for non-tech businesses because there are seemingly limitless options when it comes to web hosting, and they often only compare pricing rather than features offered. Or, they go with the big name that they’ve heard advertised on TV because of brand recognition, regardless of whether or not it’s a viable choice for them.
While cost is certainly a major factor, especially for entrepreneurs and small businesses, it obviously shouldn’t be the only factor. If a business is not hiring a separate designer/developer to help with their website and guide their choices, they need to consider a variety of factors.
One, is the host optimized for the type of site they want to use? Does the host service WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or any of the myriad other content management platforms? Or, do they cater more towards the code it from scratch website builders? If you sign up with a host that doesn’t support your preferred method of site building, then you have wasted time in getting your site running, and money by spending it on a solution that wouldn’t work for you in the first place.
What other services does the host offer? Does your business need someone to design and build your site for you? Does your host provide that service? What about domain-specific email? What about security options? Is your site safe from hackers? Is your client information protected? Knowing what your business needs in *addition* to hosting is critical.
Is it reliable? Seriously, do the research! Get recommendations from people in the profession, or from people with experience hosting their websites. You don’t want to sign up with a host whose servers are regularly on the fritz. No matter how much awesome content your website generates, if it’s not live, it’s not being seen.
One thing I stress with my clients is the importance of having a self-hosted site. They can sign up with a DIY platform like Wix or SquareSpace, but they are taking a risk. If those platforms went down tomorrow, their site would go, too. Even if there is a recovery option, users don’t have the freedom to backup their site to secure locations of the server in the event that the host goes down, like is available for a self-hosted site. A site on a DIY platform depends on the platform to exist, whereas a site that has been backed up properly can be launched from another host with minimal time and effort.
Serious businesses need great hosting. Your web hosting is the foundation your website sits on. Customers want a solid experience and if you don’t give it to them, then your competitors will. Your web host is responsible for serving up your website to your customers quickly.
Your web hosting is so important that major search engines even take your website’s speed into account on your search engine rankings. On top of all of these facts sits security. If you get onto a budget host that doesn’t understand security, then you are leaving your business open to potential threats.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want my business’ name in the headlines with the words Data Breach after it. There’s plenty of places to save money, but quality web hosting isn’t one of them. There’s too much at stake.
As a small business owner who mainly conduct business through the Internet, I understand the importance of a reliable hosting service.
Plenty of businesses underestimate the importance of inventing a highly reputable web hosting service. They don’t understand that page speed is an indicator Google looks at when they rank them in their search engine.
Recently Google has even de-indexed websites that took too long to load. Having a fast loading website is an SEO requisite. Not only that having a reliable hosting service will keep your website running smoothly 24/7.
Using a reputable hosting service will save you ample of time and headaches when support is necessary.
I have witnessed plenty of online business go for a very cheap hosting service assuming they will save business capital. In the end, they wasted valuable time attempting to fix their hosting issues due to its instability.
You get what you paid for is a great motto to keep in mind when shopping for a web hosting service.
Lastly, you have to remember your website is dependent on your hosting service, do not skimp out on finding a credible hosting service because in the end it will be worth every penny.
Thank you for reading this blog posts. If you have anything to ask or add on this subject – feel free to reach out.
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.
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