The importance of choosing a reliable web host is not properly understood in the small business world. There’s so many offerings out there, it seems that one is much the same as the other.
Don’t make this mistake!
Getting the wrong web host can mean your website is out of action for hours, maybe days at a time. It means you’ll lose customers when the pictures for your products take too long to load. You could also be putting your reputation at risk of hackers and identity theft.
There are two primary metrics crucial to understanding why your choice of which web host to use is so vital: capacity and load time.
Capacity: (Disk Space) This is how much content your web page can store. Consider your web page like a barrel of juice. Every time you upload a photo, text or video onto your web page you are adding more juice into the barrel. Naturally, the capacity of the barrel is limited.
Load time: (Processing Power) Now imagine that every time someone comes to your web page, they are drawing juice out of the barrel. Some barrels have big funnels so that lots of juice can pour out at one time. Other barrels have small funnels. If you’re planning on a lot of visitors visiting your web page and accessing big files like videos, you need to have a big funnel so that the system doesn’t overload.
Keeping those two metrics in mind, here are the mistake small business owners make when choosing a web host.
Mistake 1: Choosing on price
You get what you pay for. Free web hosts will likely place advertising on your page and will have very little service if something goes wrong. Needless to say their protection of your data is limited.
Mistake 2: Plan Only One Year Ahead
Changing hosts can be costly and time consuming. When you think through what your company needs, think about what it may need in 5 years time and take external trends into account. Sure, you may not use video so much now but in 5 years time when all your competitors have product demonstrations instead of simple pictures, you might change your mind.
Mistake 3: Assuming All Hosts Are The Same
They may make the same claims but the devil is in the detail. Look at the specifications of how much space you get (capacity), how fast their servers are (processing power) and compare your preferred host to others. Other differentiators are in Tech & Customer Support and ability to upgrade / change your plan without being penalised.
Mistake 4: Thinking You Won’t Need Service
Sure you can take the risk that you’ll never need to upgrade your plan, you’ll never be attacked by cyber-terrorists or find the website inexplicably slow today… but that would be wishful thinking. These sorts of situations happen every day to thousands of businesses around the world and they can directly affect your bottom line. If you’re with a cheap company who take 48 hours to respond to an email-only customer enquiry that could mean two days without a website – or sales.
Mistake 5: Believe the Company’s Own Testimonials
These days you can find out what customers believe about any company for real by googling the company name on ‘Google Blog Search’ or looking them up on Twitter. Taking a few seconds to get a real opinion could spare you the pain of getting caught unawares by profit-mongering enterprises.
The best thing for your business is to invest in a reliable web hosting provider with full service and a strong reputation.