So you have your business, and looking to move online…. now what? The next step in the process is looking for a hosting service, and if you are new to the game, it can be like trying to find a game trail in the middle of the summer, not easy. Luckily for you, we have brought together a great group of tips to determine what is right for you in terms of hosting, as well as what to look for in terms of services. We are going to go through four major tips to have on your checklist before choosing a hosting option that will be perfect for your business. If you do your homework, and come prepared, choosing the right service, and provider will be as easy as following a marked highway.
First, you need to determine what you are looking for in your hosting service. Since you have already picked your domain, now you need to determine what you are looking for in your site. The first type is a business website. These types of sites will have multiple pages, that will describe in detail what the company offers, and will normally give contact information for quotes, or inquiries etc. These types of sites are great for those who need to have specialized pricing for each customer, or someone who is doing a variety of tasks such as contractor and wants to show off their work to potential clients.
Secondly, the e-commerce site which has began to pick up steam in its popularity over the last few years and rightfully so. This type of site allows you to sell your product right to the consumers. As the world has gone away from the storefront, and moved to the online realm more and more businesses are finding success through this type of site. So much so, that the big box stores such as Future Shop and Best Buy are looking to shut down their storefronts to maintain a majority of their sales through their online domains. These sites typically are dominated by an online store, and have very little content outside of it.
Last but not least, is the blog. The blog has been around for years, but with changes to search engine optimization as well as their growth in popularity, the blog can be your new go to. These types of sites engage the customer like never before, and brings repeat clients to your site. These are becoming one of the fastest growing ways that large corporations engage their clients, and your business will benefit from this type of site as well. With personalized content, and longer posts this type of site is perfect for those looking to engage customers instead of selling a product on an online store.
You have determined the type of site you want… but what about the hosting options that are out there? For the new user these choices can be a headache, and luckily for you we have made the choices clean and simple. First, you have shared hosting. Shared hosting means that your site shares the same web server with a variety of other sites, but has its own piece of the pie. This type of hosting cuts down costs and allows for a cheaper hosting service. The downside is that if your site begins to get busy, the server will begin to lag, and eventually if it gets busy enough it will shut down. Although, for a beginning business, or blog this type of hosting is perfect until you start to grow exponentially.
The second type of hosting is Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting. VPS hosting allows you to have your own server, and thus operate your own operating system and customize to your heart’s content. This kind of hosting service is not physical, but rather is run through a cloud option. This is considerably cheaper than the physical servers, and will allow for a large amount of data to be stored on the site, as well as great up-time. The downside of these is of course there is a limit to their size, and thus if you are looking to host a huge site, you will find, that although cheaper, this is not necessarily the best option.
Last but not least, is the Cadillac of hosting, and that is the dedicated server hosting. This is normally reserved for physical servers, whether it be Hard Disk Drive, or Solid State Drive Hosting. You will have an ultra fast server, and the size is practically limitless. These servers are great, however if you are not a large company, or looking for the best in hosting, the cost for these servers is astronomical and better reserved for those demanding this type of service.
Third on the checklist is the web hosting options. We have looked at type of website, as well as the various hosting options, and luckily for you the hosting plans are typically easily laid out. Most web hosting companies will have a variety of plans that will be able to handle your company. Typically, they have three options, the first being a start up or smaller scale. These plans allow you to grow your site, and normally are the most economical of the three. Most of these plans are bare bones, but when you are first starting out this is a great option until you start to gain an online following. You will have a few pages of content, as well as a blog or contact page.
The second tier plans typically have more room for support and customization and are aimed at medium businesses that are already reaching a decent sized audience. These plans generally are a fair amount of money, but with the already increasing audience normally pay for themselves with revenue and customer growth within the first couple of months. Typically 5-10 pages of content, as well as a blog are included in this tier of sites.
Last but not least you have the third tier of plans which is the heavy hitter plans. These plans will be a full range of support and customization that will be able to reach a larger audience. Typically the support that comes with it includes a fully functioning store, numerous pages (10-20) as well as an active blog. Of course each hosting company is difference, and what they offer varies between each company, thus do your research and find the one that fits your budget, and needs.
Further to the plans, billing is something to consider as well. Normally, the companies offer a variety of billing plans that will allow you some flexibility. Typically you have the option of monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly. Of course, it is all up to you and what your budget can handle, and typically a company will want to change with growth, and thus the monthly options are the most common.
Last on the checklist is the services that you are looking for with your hosting company. Keep in mind that many of these hosting companies are experts in their field, thus you should see what else they can offer you and your site. One of the major things that many of these companies offer is website design. A good looking website is what will separate you from your competition, and with experts designing it, you will have a professional website that will drive customers to your store in no time.
A great site is one step, the next is coming up with a good looking logo that will help build your brand. Once customers see your beautiful logo, they will be looking for it on your store and on company vehicles as well.
These companies could also offer domain names, or domain transfers. This is especially important here in Canada, as a Canadian domain name has been proven to outsell international domains three to one. Securing a domain is crucial to your businesses success, and securing that domain is not an easy process. If you have the option, let someone who has the experience in transferring and securing domains do that dirty job for you!
Finally, these companies often will be able to nail down your SSL certificates for your site. This will make sure your site remains active and open for potential clients, and take some worry off of your hands. This is especially important with the ever changing search engine laws and regulations, as a good hosting company will be able to keep ahead of changes and minimize downtime.
We have looked at four great tips to have on your checklist when choosing a hosting solution. Those of course are; choose the type of site you are looking for, choose the hosting service that best suits your needs, choose the hosting plan and billing that will fit your company, and of course look at the different services that your website might need that the hosting service can provide. As stated before, if you can do your homework and have this checklist done, you will be well on your way to finding the perfect hosting company for your site.