You have a small business. Your brick and mortar location does well but your business is not growing as fast as you would like. You have considered building a website, but it seems to technical or expensive to accomplish. The first step is to choose a hosting company.
Choosing the Perfect Hosting Solution for Your Website
Building a website requires space to store your information and make it accessible to your customers. There are two paths to hosting a website for your business. The first and most complicated is to buy a server and the networking equipment you need and hire an IT staff to manage it. This might make sense for a large company to keep it in house. The better option for small businesses is to purchase shared hosting. This allows you to have the server space you need without the expense of buying and maintaining the equipment. It also saves you the expense of having to hire and keep IT staff to manage all of the technical details.
There are many web host companies to choose from. You may even be familiar with some such as GoDaddy and Web.com. Shared hosting is affordable. You pay a small monthly or annual fee to store your website files on one of the hosting company’s servers. You generally have your own section of the server. The hosting company maintains the server and its connection to the internet saving your business a small fortune.
Now that you have decided to use shared hosting for your website, what do you need to know?
There are many web hosting companies available to host your website. There are also just as many available options to consider when shopping for a hosting company. Here are a few of the most important options to consider.
- Cost: Most host services are a few dollars a month depending on the service options you select.
- Support: Choose a host company that offers 27/7 online or phone support.
- Easy To Use Design Tools: Most hosting companies offer a drag and drop design program. This is important if you plan to design your own website and don’t have the technical skills to write code. Even better, if they have a one click installer that lets you install a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla.
- Email: Some providers only offer a limited number of email addresses while others offer unlimited email addresses with forwarders. Choose the option that is right for you.
- Security: Some providers offer security certificates for sale as an add on. This is especially important if you are processing payments through your website.
- Domain Name Services: You will have to purchase a domain name for your website. Some hosting companies offer registrar services. If not you will have to purchase your domain name elsewhere and then direct it to your hosts servers.
You Get What You Pay For
Avoid companies that offer a free website. I won’t mention any names, but we have all likely seen or heard their ads. These companies do offer you a free website, but without brand control. These websites are generally ad supported without you having any control over what ads are placed on your site. Further They generally don’t allow you to have your own domain name without paying a fee. Finally they generally only offer a limited amount of space before you have to purchase more at an increased cost.
We now live in a world where most customers Google before they shop. Many customers do their window shopping online and if you don’t have an effective website, your are losing customers.
Homestead Digital Media Services offers web hosting and design services as well as social media marketing and management solutions to help small businesses grow. Contact us to find out how we can help your business grow.