Web Hosting for Small Businesses: 5 Questions to Ask Make sure your customers can access your website
Before your small business website can go live online and be visible in all its well-designed glory, it needs to be hosted. Web hosting provides storage space and access so that your website can exist online and your customers can see and visit it.
Different size businesses will have different needs in terms of the amount of storage space your website requires. For example, a website like Amazon.com has very different capacities than a florist's local website, or the website for an independent lawyer's office.
Your hosting provider focuses on handling your website's technical backend, and should manage any technology updates that might be necessary. Many web hosts also provide a diverse array of services. Often these services will help you choose a domain name, provide building and design tools so you can create your site from scratch, and also offer small businesses functionalities like email, online shopping carts, and customer relationship management software (CRM).
Before you choose a web host, here are 5 critical questions to ask.
What requirements does your business have?
Like we mentioned with Amazon versus a small business website, it's important to recognize the size of your online audience, and to determine if those numbers will grow. Think about the type of content that will be living on your website: is it mostly written text, or are there lots of high resolution photos and videos?
2) What types of security does the host offer?
Make sure that you're trusting your site with a web host that has a stellar reputation for site security. You'll want to know that your site is safe from cybercriminals, and protected against viruses and malware. Plus, if you're accepting credit card and debit card payments, you'll want to know that your host offers a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to secure data as it's transmitted to and from your website.
3) Is there support?
Should something go wrong with your website -- perhaps it goes offline, or it appears to have been hacked -- you'll want to contact your host's support. Check to see if your host offers 24-hour support services, and whether those services are online or phone-based. Plus, ask if the support team is US-based or international.
4) What other functionalities does the host offer?
As a small business, your site might require business functionality like a discount manager, contact management tools, CRM software, and an appointment scheduler, to name a few. Find out whether your host offers any of these features, or if they simply offer hosting services.
5) What is the cost?
It almost goes without saying that you'll want to know how much your web hosting services will cost you. Still, there different hosting services offer different payment plans. It's important to know if you will be paying a flat monthly fee, and what factors determine the fee. For example, the fee may increase depending on how much storage space you require, and if you're using any additional functionalities or tools.
Navigating the world of website hosting services can be overwhelming. There are many hosts that offer a medley of services and price plans. Small business owners can relieve themselves of this burden by building their website using an automated platform like Ocoos, which offers an off-the-shelf website solution that is fully hosted.
In addition to hosting, Ocoos offers sales and business tools that are already integrated into the platform, including CRM software, a discount manager, and appointment scheduler. Your site will be optimized across browsers and mobile devices, and any changes or upgrades in technology are handled by the platform -- the owner never has to worry about it.
Plus, Ocoos offers a full-service concierge that will design and build the website for you at a low cost. If questions or issues arise, Ocoos offers 24-hour, US-based phone and online support.