Your Business Website Is a Goldmine That Demands Suitable Web Hosting


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Your Business Website Is a Goldmine That Demands Suitable Web Hosting

It doesn’t really matter what you do or what you sell – you are in need of a professional website. There’s no question about it.

Why? – Well, because, people are addicted to the Internet. More than 2 billion humans use the Internet every day, and about 98% of them have at least once bought something online. So having this in mind, if you don’t really invest in your online presence, you’re basically turning your back to an insanely large market.

Everyone I know is constantly online. Whether they’re searching for something specific to buy, reading articles and blog posts, or just hanging out on social media – people are spending enormous amounts of their time surfing the Web.

They are accustomed to using the Internet in their everyday lives, which is great for anyone who has something to sell.

The Internet is a Goldmine

Even though it might not seem like it to some of you, but the Internet is shaping our opinions on what we like, what we dislike, and what we want to buy. It influences more sales than you think. For example, research has shown that in 2015 alone, 64% of all in-store sales were influenced by the Internet. That means that more than $2 trillion were spent solely on what people read online.

$2 trillion. In a single year.

Amazing, right?

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And the best part of it all? – By 2017, there will be more internet traffic than ever before. More than all prior years combined. Which means that it will influence a whole lot of new sales.

I totally get that. I’m also hooked on the Internet.

You could say that I’m addicted to information and all the benefits that come with using the Web.

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Even though I’m a person who remembers the time before the Internet – I can honestly say that I can no longer imagine my life without it. Today, it’s simply impossible for me to picture a world where I’m not able to acquire new knowledge about everything and anything I want in a matter of seconds. I also cannot imagine a scenario where’s impossible for me to instantly check my bank account, look at what’s coming to a local cinema this weekend, or order food in just a couple of clicks.

Having all this in mind, I think that we can easily agree on one thing – it’s of crucial importance that you, as a businessman who is looking to grow his (or her) company and generate new leads, truly invest in your online presence.

The Importance of Owning a Great Website

In a world where everyone has been given a chance to find their market and precisely targeted their desired customers on a local and global level, it’s basically dumb not make the most out of your opportunities.

Today’s customers, across all age brackets, use the Internet to find information about all types of products, services, and vendors. The Internet has given us, online businessmen, the opportunity to introduce ourselves to our potential consumers exactly when they’re searching for what we offer.

Awesome!

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But, even though this sounds great, there are still various different factors that stand in our way of converting those leads into actual paying customers. First and foremost of all, our direct competitors.

Thanks to the popularity of Internet, there are literally hundreds and thousands of brands all across the world that are competing with you for those very same customers. Some of them are better than you, some are not, but still – they’re all standing in your way. They all stand between you and making tons of new sales. That’s why you need to do everything in your power to rise above the crowd and dominate Google’s SERP for desired short and long-tail keywords.

The best way to do that is to create a website and optimize the Hell out of it.

Having a SEO-friendly, great-looking, and professional website can get you far in this endless digital sea of possibilities.

There are literally hundreds of reasons why every business should own a professional website. Influence, credibility, accessibility, low barriers of entry, additional business value, company voice, marketing, communication with customers, customer support, press releases, direct way for your potential shoppers to get familiar with your brand, products, and services – these are just some of the main advantages of owning a professional looking website. The list goes on and on.

Naturally, building a great business site is just the first step on your road to success, but hey – you have to start somewhere, right? How else are you planning to build your online empire if you don’t first create a proper foundation for it?

Just like when building a house, when putting together a website – you should start from the bottom up. The first thing you need to focus on is web hosting.

Sure, the Internet is all about content, but let’s get real for a moment – it doesn’t really matter how good your material may be, if you don’t do a good enough job of making it accessible online to everyone that could be interested in what you have to say or sell, it’s basically useless. That’s why you shouldn’t really mess around when choosing a provider to host your business online.

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The importance of choosing a good web host often takes a back seat to everything else concerning people’s websites. Even though we all know that reliable hosting is the cornerstone of every successful online business, it’s still something that comes last in our minds.

Picking The Right Choice

Making a decision which package and web hosting company to choose can be tough for a lot of inexperienced online businessmen. There are literally thousands of web hosting providers out there, and each and every one of them are promising 99% network uptime, unlimited resources, and top notch support.

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Even though this might sound like you cannot possibly go wrong whichever provider you chose, the truth is – a lot of these hosts don’t really deliver on what they promise. Siding with a bad hosting company can harm your business in many different ways. If you, for example, have an online store and your site goes down – you could lose a lot of sales. Your customers won’t be able to view your content or learn more about your products and services, and thus – they won’t buy anything from you.

I remember the time when Amazon went down. As stated in their report, for those 40 minutes when their website was out of service, they lost around $4mil.

The horror, right?

But that’s not all. Terrible hosting can affect your business in a lot of other negative ways. It can destroy your SEO rankings, corrupt and lose your valuable data – the list goes on for ages.

How Does One Choose The Right Hosting for His or Her Website?

That’s the question we’re are gonna answer in the remaining part of this post. How does a person figure out which web hosting provider and package works best for his or her needs?

Easily. First and foremost of all, you need to be clear about what kind of website you’re interested in building?

Basic Requirements: Storage

Before you start to even think about where to host your website, you need to have some idea on what you really need. Are you looking for something standard, or are you in need of something special? Are in need of some Windows applications o Linux? Any special software? What kind of traffic are you expecting to generate on your site?

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Once you answer these question, you can move on forward and start to review hosting companies and plans to figure out which work best for your website.

You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where your hosting package isn’t strong enough to support your website. You need to be aware of any limitations that could prevent your website from operating effectively.  

That’s why money should never be your top concern when choosing a web hosting option for your website. Your goal here is to figure out what works best for you. As a business, you cannot afford any downtime. Constant and fast accessibility should be the only thing on your mind here.

If your idea doesn’t require any special treatment, if you’re just looking to create a standard website for your business, you won’t really have any trouble finding what you’re looking for.

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There are various standard web hosting options available for regular users, such as:

1. Shared Hosting –  the cheapest and most popular option. You’re basically sharing a server with other customers of your provider. This is a solid option for small businesses and all those that are just starting. This option has its limits, which means that if you manage to really get your online business off the ground – you’ll outgrow its limitations. You’ll need to upgrade your service, which really brings us back to the questions above: “What kind of traffic are you expecting to generate on your site?”

Make sure that you truly understand the potential growth of your online business before you decide to go for this type of hosting.

2. VPS – a.k.a. Virtual private server, represents a virtual machine where customers have full control over everything. You can install whatever you want on it, as long as it’s compatible with its operating system.

3. Dedicated Servers – This is kinda self-explanatory. You’re renting an entire server for yourself, which means that you can host as many sites on it as you please. You have full access to its resources. This service is great for those clients that have big and popular websites that are in need of a lot of disk space. Dedicated servers tend to cost a bit more than other hosting services, but if you’re planning to really grow your website and earn some real money through it – you should go for this option.

4. Co-location hosting – when someone else services the server you provided.

Focus On Support

These are the standard packages. Every single one of them can be managed and unmanaged. It all depends on your host. My advice is to always go for the managed option and search for hosting providers that offer 24/7 tech support. Why? – Well, because the Internet never sleeps. You never know when something could go wrong.

However, just like with everything else in web hosting, people tend to talk a big game that isn’t really based on fact. A lot of web hosting provider claim that they offer intelligent 24/7 support, but in reality, their customers have to wait ages until someone responds to their requests. And once someone does, they come into with a level 1 tech gate “expert” with an answer script, instead of a real engineer who knows what he or she is doing.

That’s why you shouldn’t take anyone’s word for it, and actually test the quality and response time of a certain provider’s support, before you commit to a certain brand and offer. Look for providers whose support team has actually been awarded or celebrated by the community.

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Accessibility

This is extremely important. Making sure that your website is constantly online is your no.1 priority here. That’s why you should always look for providers that guarantee that your site won’t ever be offline. Even though every web hosting provider offers 99% network uptime, you need to be 100% sure if they’re telling the truth. Test their network, read user reviews online about their brand to see what’s really going there.

Online Reputation

When you figure out what you want and what you need, it’s time to create a list of possible hosting companies that could host your website. Now, this is where things tend to get a bit tricky. The logical thing is to google each and every brand name on your list and read the first two or three reviews that you find on top of your search results, right? – Well, wrong.

Web hosting is a unique niche. In this extremely price competitive market where almost every company offers very similar services, a lot of brands know that the only way to get ahead of their competitors is to generate a lot of content that says only the best things about their business. Next to that, they also know that bad reputation basically means death in this niche, so they go out of their way to create and promote terrible reviews about their competitors.

The only way to truly check the quality of a certain provider’s service is to actually check for how long that specific brand has been in business and find genuine comments from their actual customers. Looking at various active client testimonials, checking maintenance schedules and actual downtime statistics – this is the only thing that will paint you an honest enough picture about the provider you’re interested in analyzing.

Thank your for taking the time to read this post. I hope it helped you understand how to maximize your online presence and tell apart those good web hosts from bad ones. If you have anything to add or ask on this subject – write your thoughts in the comments section below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

That’s it for now,
See you soon again,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.

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Brand Reputation – The Life and Death of Web Hosting

In today’s world where almost every brand and entrepreneur has been given the opportunity to conduct business on a global level, and where hundreds and thousands of companies are going after the same customers – even the smallest of things can make or break your brand.

This is especially true in web hosting.

The devil is truly in the details here.

Web hosting is an overcrowded scene where a lot of companies offer similar services. Or so it seems like that at first glance.

If you offer web hosting services for a living, you already know how difficult it can be to attract and retain customers.

All sorts of different factors come into play here.

The biggest one of all – trust.

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People don’t trust providers with their data.

Why? – Well, because the stakes are high. No one wants to expose themselves to any risk that could end up costing them their business. There isn’t a single soul in the world that would be ok with losing important data thanks to the incompetence of a certain hosting provider.

Even though a lot of the people from the industry tend to think of this as paranoid behavior, I kinda get it.

While there are a lot of web hosts that truly offer a reputable and upstanding service, there are also ones whose practices are poisoning the industry. Dated hardware, bad network, uneducated and unresponsive support – these are just some of the main traits of terrible hosting companies that harm their customers beyond repair.

Even though the choice of where to host your data is critical to the success of your website, a lot of people face extreme difficulties here. When choosing the right provider and package for their website, most inexperienced customers tend to get a bit confused. They aren’t really able to tell the difference between a good and bad hosting companies, so they turn to the Web looking for answers.

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Even though this sort of behavior is something that should be applauded, when it comes to web hosting – things tend to get a bit tricky.

Why? – Well, because, you don’t really know if the content you’re reading is based on facts or fiction. You don’t know if a certain testimonial is written by an angry customer or a just another yes-man.

Confused?

Don’t be. Let me explain.

Trustworthy or Not – The Constant Battle

Owning a business these days demands crafting a serious and reliable online presence for yourself and your brand. It doesn’t really matter what you do or sell, today’s consumers turn to the Web to browse and shop for goods and services.

Before they even start to consider a certain provider as a possible home for their website, a lot of people first browse through tons and tons of content. They read all these reviews in order to figure out which hosting brand offers the best quality/price ratio for their needs. Next to that, they read to learn what their customers are saying. Before completing an order, people first want to know how good does a certain web host treat its customers, is their network stable, what does the brand do to ensure the safety of user data, etc.

That’s why a lot of companies invest in content these days. They do everything in their power to create and publish material that has the power to answer their shopper’s questions and influence them to make desired decisions.

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It has become pretty clear to every single provider out there that he (or she) needs to do everything and anything in his power if he’s interested in staying active and relevant on this overly-populated and price competitive market.

There are no cutting corners here anymore. Every little thing you miss can come back to bite you on your behind. If you fail to make something work for you, you can rest assure that your competitors won’t. They will instantly recognize your weaknesses and turn them against you in order to push you out of the picture and win over your customers.

Despite how many links they create, or how many great posts they publish all over the Web – web hosts still need to closely monitor their user satisfaction and instantly act if things start to go south with any of their customers.

One Bad Review Can Cost You More Than You Think

Online reputation is everything in web hosting. It takes a lot of time and effort to build it, but it can also be ruined in a matter of seconds. It’s a tricky game that requires an open mind and a will to always go that extra mile. It doesn’t really matter if you spend days, weeks, months gathering great customer testimonials – one bad review can cost you a lot of new sales!

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It doesn’t really matter what’s the story behind a certain review, bad reputation isn’t something that can just be left alone or ignored. It harms your business on all sorts of different levels:

1.It affects your ability to make more sales;
2. It drives the top talent away from your brand;
3. It ruins your market value;
4. It discredits the overall quality of your products and services.

The list goes on and on. That’s why it’s always important to immediately act on the problem at hand.

Reputation management is something that demands your constant attention. Like I said above – everything is in the details. Regardless of how good you treat your customers, you can still find yourself in situations where you have to read some terrible review about you and your business.

How come? – Well, because, reputation is a volatile thing that exists in the minds of others. Even though you do everything right, there’s still a chance that a certain client won’t be satisfied with your service.

When it comes to web hosting, a variety of different factors can affect your reputation, many of which have nothing to do with the way on how you run your business or treat your customers.

Regardless of the fact if the customer’s reasons for disliking your service are reasonable or not, he (or she) is still entitled to his (or her) opinion. He has the right to write anything he wants about your business online, and you cannot do really anything about it, except try to win him over.

So, how can we do that? How do people turn the negative into a positive? How to get people to once again see the value in doing business with you?

There are a lot of different practices web hosting brands use to fix their reputation problem, here are just a couple of ones that have proven to be good for us:

1. Show your Customers that You Care

Even though a lot of hosting companies deal with negative reviews and comments on daily basis, most of them don’t really try to talk to the people that publicly disliked their business. They don’t even try to reach out and discuss the problem at hand with their dissatisfied current or past user.

Instead of that, they get really annoyed and start basically a war with the person who wrote bad things about them on the Web.

This is a terrible thing to do.

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Be sure to take a minute to really review what you’re going to say. Remember, your goal here isn’t really to defend yourself – you’re trying to resolve a certain problem.

I know this seems a bit odd, but all most people want is to be heard and acknowledged. If you address your troubled clients concerns in a respectable and professional way, show him (or her) that you care, throw in a gift for their troubles, and really do your best to make things right again – 7 out of 10 users will delete their previous comment and continue to host their business on your servers.

2. Create More Sites for Your Business, Own Related Domains

If you politely approach the person who wrote a bad review about your brand and he (or she) still won’t take it down, you need to take things to the next level. You need to create some other domains and websites for your business.

Why? – Well, because, creating a crop of new website with your brand name in their domain will help you overpopulate Google’s SERP with results that you want your current and potential customers to see when googling your business. This sort of thing will flush all those negative comments to the 2nd or 3rd page of SERP, which are, as practice has shown, rarely visited by searchers.

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Naturally, don’t forget to create your Wikipedia page and accounts on all popular social media networks. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Vimeo, YouTube, Quora – all these sites are known to end up high in SERP almost immediately, so be sure to truly invest your time, money, and efforts into making them really work for you.

Also, be sure to claim your local profiles, local directory listings, and create your online business cards on such sites like about.me and dooid.me, because they rank high in Google’s eyes.

3. Blog Your Way to Success – Harness the Power of Google+ Authorship and Google Direct Connect

As I already said dozens of times on this site – blogging is important. Especially to small-medium sized businesses which are looking to make it big online. Apart from generating new links on your website, increasing your website traffic, conquering relevant keyword searches, improving your SEO, and showcasing your worth in front of your desired crowd – blogging can easily help you create leads and win over new customers.

How? – By building trust between you and your customers.

A lot of brands really invest in this department. Especially guest blogging.

Why? – Well, because guest blogging gives great writers the opportunity to showcase their knowledge on other party’s credible site, and thus – expand their network, win new leads, and build up their online reputation.

Blogs create a lot of links and that’s why they’re always rated really high in Google’s SERP.  They can give your sales and ORM a really big boost if you leverage them right. That’s why I do my best to blog on all sorts of different domains.

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If you, like me, want to rank a few blogs for your name, all you have to do is create them, and link them to your Google+ profile via Google authorship. When linking your domains together, make sure that your name is in the SEO title of the main blog. But, if you truly want to make this work for your company, if you truly want to leverage the power of blogging and bury all the unwanted reviews about your business way down in SERP – you should ask a few of your best employees to start blogs with your company name in their title.

4. SEO the Hell Out of Your Good Property

If you want something to rank. You need to build backlinks for it.  

That’s SEO 101.

I do my best to find all sorts of different ways on how to interconnect all my good content and give people the opportunity to easily come into contact with my best work. The same goes for Google.

5. Do Interviews

Podcasts, webinars, citations, blog posts – agree to everything! Regardless of the format in which they make it online, interviews are great reputation builders. Especially if they’re hosted on high-authority domain sites or credible news sources.

Why? – Well, because, apart from the obvious SEO reasons – they’re all about you and your business. You’re the star of the show. Everything is in your and your interlocutor’s hands. You have the chance to represent your business in the best way possible on a site, online magazine, blog, or news portal that generates some serious traffic. Apart from that, interviews gather a certain number of readers who could easily become your new customers.

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The part when a certain website owner or editor includes your name, position, and brand in a text, and publishes it on his site – that’s heaven for your business online. This type of content automatically ranks well in Google’s eyes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you have anything to ask or add about online reputation management – be sure to write what’s on your mind in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as I find the time!

That’s it for now,
See you soon again,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.

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