Posts Tagged "web hosting plans"

Why Your Small Business Needs Web Space

When many small business owners take their first steps into realizing their dreams, web space is the last thing on their minds. This is understandable, but it’s also a huge mistake. Here, we’ll address why you need web space and what that site will ultimately do for you.

Real World vs. Online

A common misconception among new small business owners is that their restaurant, store or other real-world place of business will be all they need to establish themselves. Unfortunately, the days when this was true are long gone. In today’s world, where consumers can do virtually anything online, the lack of an internet presence can be a huge disadvantage. The online community has become part of the ‘real world,’ and your business needs to be a part of that world.

Consumer Trust

Years ago, it was considered a big red flag if a company did not have a phone number displayed someplace in their storefront, catalog or on their product. This displayed a lack of openness, and made many customers wary of trusting the company.

These days, the lack of a web space has precisely the same effect. Imagine that your friend stumbles across a brand-new restaurant, has an incredible dining experience and tells you about their discovery.  You’ll almost certainly look the restaurant up online. You may just be seeking directions, but there’s a good chance you’ll also want to read reviews and the menu. You’ll also be expecting, consciously or not, a few photos of the restaurant and perhaps the proprietor.

What if you found nothing? No website, no pictures, not even a Facebook page. How would you feel about trying out this new restaurant? If you’re like many diners, you might feel a bit wary, wondering precisely why there is no internet ‘evidence’ of this restaurant. Is it dodging a health-code violation from another area? In all likelihood, you would pass up the chance to check it out, sticking with a dining establishment you either know or can check out online in advance.

This pattern of thinking is true for virtually all types of businesses. Consumers have come to equate web space with a certain level of credibility. Given the simplicity of setting up a basic web page, there is no excuse for losing potential customers over the lack of a website. Browsing our recommended hosts will give you an idea of just how much a well-structured website can do for your business.

Consumer Convenience

In addition to trust, consumers greatly appreciate the extra level of convenience which a well-planned website can offer. In the case of a restaurant, they can read through the menu before they leave the house and, if necessary, make reservations online to save time. Other businesses can save customers time by offering e-commerce options, allowing them to purchase goods and services from the comfort of their own homes. These simple conveniences are huge when it comes to fostering a good relationship with consumers. As a society, we’ve become accustomed to the ease and convenience of online shopping, and no small business can afford to deny that convenience to their customers, would-be or otherwise.

Conclusion

Regardless of how small or new your business may be, you need web space. It adds to your credibility, fosters consumer trust and makes it more convenient for consumers to purchase from you. Social media sites are great additions to a business, but they can’t replace the reliable, trustworthy impression which a stand-alone website can create. Get started today. Our comparison tool is a great place to begin.

 

How to Choose a Web Space Provider

As a small business owner, you already know that jumping into a big business decision without proper groundwork is a bad idea. You’ve probably put a great deal of time and effort into other aspects of your business, so why should your web space be any different? These principles apply to every type of web space, including bloggers and other non-business sites. Here, we’ll review the most common rookie mistakes, as well as easy ways to avoid the hassle. Choosing one of our top recommendations can eliminate many of these mistakes from the beginning.

Shop Around

We shop for bargains everywhere…don’t make the common mistake of jumping on board with the first web space package you stumble across. This happens so often because many of us simply lack a background in tech knowledge. While you don’t need an IT degree to purchase a sensible web space package, you do need to take a bit of time to comparison-shop. Even if the first package you find does happen to be a great deal, resist the urge to purchase. The package will still be there after you’ve shopped around a bit.

Research your options just like you would research before any large purchase. Compare basic features and their prices, along with the more uncommon features you feel will benefit your web space. There’s no magic number when it comes to comparison shopping, but it’s a good idea to review at least three to five companies before making a decision.

Choosing the Best Features

A big part of creating the best possible web space for your business is choosing the right features. There are tons of site features available to you, from common to downright strange. Knowing which features will best benefit your business is key to making smart purchasing decisions.

You can start researching this step by visiting sites which offer similar products or services to your own. Bloggers can approach it in much the same way; visit and study blogs which you enjoy, find entertaining and visually appealing.

Study all these sites, taking the best features from each. Think about how each feature will benefit your visitors, and how it will generate more business or traffic. In addition, think about cost and maintenance. A great feature which is never updated or maintained won’t draw visitors—it’ll drive them away.

For those just starting out, it’s best to start small. Begin with a web space package which isn’t quite bare-bones, but doesn’t pile on the extras either. These mid-level packages give you room to grow without overwhelming you with maintenance tasks and higher costs.

Preparation is Key

Before your web space goes ‘live,’ it should be tested, re-tested and tested several more times. Test every single feature, using a variety of devices, browsers and platforms. In short, ensure that each and every potential visitor will be able to take full advantage of every feature. Once you’re up and running, this thorough testing should be carried out on a regular basis to keep up with updates and fixes. Properly maintaining your web space does require a bit of dedication on your part, but the increased business and visitor traffic you see will be well worth the effort. If your site is live and hasn’t been thoroughly tested, now’s the time!

Annual or Monthly: The Best Billing Cycle for Your Web Space

Depending on which company and package you choose to set up your web space on, you’ll have to make a decision between annual and monthly billing cycles. There are disadvantages and advantages to each type of plan. Here, we’ll take a look at the best—and worst—points of each.

Annual Billing

Disadvantages

In an annual billing cycle, you pay up-front for an entire year’s worth of web space services. These services may include each feature on your site. In other instances, you might pay for a year’s worth of basic service, then add on individual features later at an additional cost.

Some companies make an annual package look extremely attractive by piling on additional website features. However, take a good look at each of those features, and determine which ones you’ll actually use before making your purchase. In many cases, these extras are a great value. Sometimes, however, they simply float around, unused.

Annual billing’s biggest disadvantage is its lack of flexibility. One-time billing sometimes means that you’re stuck with the service for an entire year—or at least stuck paying for it. This is often a sign of a less-than-reputable hosting service, and can easily be avoided by checking out our top picks. The best hosting services often offer money-back guarantees on annual packages, allowing you to check out the features and benefits without the risk.

Advantages

The biggest advantage of annual billing is cost. In nearly every case, the bundled price of a year’s worth of web space services is lower than paying month-to-month. If you are extremely familiar with the company and package, annual billing can be a great way to save money. Another advantage is the convenience of making a one-time payment and not having to worry about it for the rest of the year.

Be absolutely certain that a package is right for you before you make a purchasing decision. In addition, try to seek out companies with reasonable fees or penalties for early cancellation. These simple tactics will avoid feeling stuck, and can provide you with an extra layer of flexibility should your web space needs change.

Monthly Billing

Disadvantages

In nearly every instance, paying for your web space services on a monthly basis will cost you more money. Service companies want to retain your business, and offering annual packages at discounted rates is a great way to accomplish this goal. While this is the only major disadvantage of monthly billing, for those on a budget, it can be a deal-breaker.

Advantages

Ironically, although monthly billing costs more in the long run, it can be a budget-friendly option for small business owners who are truly strapped for cash, simply because a single monthly payment is lower than an annual payment. While this makes monthly billing attractive and sensible for many individuals, be sure to keep the ultimate total price in mind when structuring your web space budget.

As you can see, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a billing cycle. It all depends on which plan works most efficiently with your needs and budget. You can get started right way by checking out our comparisons of top plans.

 

Top 5 Web Space Mistakes

For those who aren’t already well-versed in running their websites, the web hosting market can seem complicated. It’s actually very easy to avoid making the biggest mistakes when looking for web space. Here are five of those, and what you should be doing instead.

1. Placing too much importance on a single aspect.

Yes, your site may very well require a lot of large video and audio files, and that would make having a good amount of disk space available very important to you. But it’s still not the only thing that matters. Good web space needs to have a variety of different things acting in tandem; you will regret it if you pick an otherwise substandard option because of one particularly attractive bullet point. Look for a provider that boasts an attractive feature set all around, not just in the one respect that you care most about.

2. Undervaluing tech support

Things generally do not go perfectly. Your web space should always come with solid tech support as a hedge against that. If possible, that should include live support via chat or telephone; however, even if those aren’t doable within your price range, a good ticket system and a sizable knowledge base are essentials. If the tech support isn’t up to par, then you want to look elsewhere, period.

3. Taking the host’s word for things

The job of a web host’s website is to convince you to give them your custom. They’re going to accentuate the things that they have going for them, and they’re going to downplay the things that they don’t. Once you’ve found an option that looks good, look up more information elsewhere. User reviews are ideal here. See what people who’ve already taken the plunge have to say about the quality of their service. The last thing you want is to be roped into using a substandard hosting provider because of the marketing. If you need to find a good web host fast, click here to see the web hosts we recommend.

4. Paying too far in advance

Yes, most paid web space is cheaper if you pay for it for years at a time—or more, for that matter. But doing so also locks you into them for the intervening time period; this is a big commitment, and it’s one that you should only really make when you’re confident that you won’t regret it. To start out, consider paying only for a few months; that way, if you decide that things aren’t working for you, it’s no hassle for you to move. Once you’re confident in your selection, then by all means go for the best bargain available—but don’t make big purchases prematurely.

5. Using over-specialized hosts that run single software packages

If you just intend to run a blog, a forum, or some other common piece of software, it may seem odd to go to the trouble of using general-purpose web space to set those up when you could just pick one of the many hosts that will run the same software for you, often free of charge. Dodging the hassle of managing your own software is attractive, but it’s still not worth it. You have very little control over “your” site with such a host; they choose when things are updated. They choose which plugins and themes you have access to. They choose which ads you run, and make all of the profit from those. You save a little work in the short term, but you’re going to make things much harder in the long run.

Should You Register Your Domain Separately?

The work you put into your website only matters if readers can find it. A good domain name is key to this. Domain names are the URL through which your website is accessed—for example, google.com. domain names are purchased from authorized registrars and are available relatively cheaply. If the domain you want isn’t already in use, you can register it with any major registrar, no problem.

Which registrar should you use, though? Despite the fact that they appear to offer the same services, many of them charge significantly different prices and offer you varying degrees of customer support and assistance.

The most convenient option is to use a company that provides both web space hosting and domain registration services. There are quite a few of these. Some of them even provide domain registration for free with a paid hosting package. One example is JustHost. With such a service, the work of configuring your hosting account to use your domain name is already done for you. As soon as you sign up, everything is in order. This is much easier for less technical users than trying to configure your name servers manually. It’s a simple way to save yourself a lot of time and trouble.

There are circumstances under which you’ll want to deal with the hassle of registering your domain separately. If you find an excellent web space package which doesn’t include domain registration, it could justify doing things the hard way. If that’s the case, you’ll need to set up the name servers for your domain. How you do this will depend on the interfaces provided by your host and registrar. They should provide fairly decent instructions.

Nevertheless, absent a special case that requires you to obtain your hosting and domain name separately, there’s really no reason not to do them together. Configuring name servers is much more technical work than most people are comfortable with. Depending on your technical knowledge, it’ll involve a fair bit of time and effort on your part. You can’t even see results immediately; it could take days for the name servers to update and point to your web space, which is a problem if you don’t do it exactly right.

In the end, if you have no reason to get them separately, or if you’re not confident in your ability to handle the more technical aspects of the process, you’ll find that getting your web space and domain as a package from one company is a better idea.