Posts Tagged "web hosting providers"

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!

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.

How Important Is Your Web Server’s Location?

Web space has a market in every country. The question is, should you purchase web hosting within your own country? Or are you better off getting it from one of the more established US-based providers?

Latency

Let’s start with the advantages of a local web server location. For you, at least, latency is going to be significantly lower than it is with out-of-country providers; after all, you’re sending signals a much shorter distance back and forth. That being said, it’s important not to overstate the significance of this. Modern broadband infrastructure has very low latency even across long distances. Unless you intend to run a demanding real-time service—for example, an online gaming server—latency isn’t that important.

Tech Support

What’s more important, though, is tech support. Any web host needs good, reliable tech support to be worth your money. Ideally, this should include live support. So there is a sizable advantage to having a host within your own country. Being in the same time zone prevents you from having to worry about the exact hours when live support is available, and having support in your native language can be extremely helpful.

All in all, though, you’re going to be better off looking at web space within the United States than at providers in most other nations.

Web Space in the United States

The US web hosting industry is much more mature than most others. These businesses have been operating for decades in some cases. There’s much more useful information available to you before you make a decision—you can consult years and years of customer reviews in order to figure out just how able they are to deliver on the features and performance that they promise.

Furthermore, the underlying broadband infrastructure in the US is relatively solid, and most of the large server farms are easily able to get more than enough bandwidth for their purposes. Other nations can vary in this respect, but generally they can’t produce the same results.

For English-speaking audiences, the largest proportion of your readers will likely be in the US anyway. This means that latency will be minimal for most of your intended users.

For non-English-speaking audiences, it depends on your language. For example, the US has a decent Spanish-speaking population and is relatively close to several Spanish-speaking countries, so having a US web server location isn’t bad for a website targeted at Spanish speakers. German, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as prevalent in the geographic region, so latency will be higher for most of your target audience. Again, though, latency only really matters with the most finicky of real-time services, so keep that in mind.

Conclusion

In the end, if you want to serve a non-English-speaking region and require live tech support in your native language—or intend to run real-time services which are hindered by latency—you’re best served by a local hosting provider. But otherwise, US-based hosts provide superior speeds, and have already worked out kinks that competitors in other nations are still figuring out. Just make sure that you select an established, reliable web host with good technical support.

Lowest Hosting Prices

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We all want to get the best value for our money. Whether you’re planning to launch a business website or start a personal blog, you probably want the lowest hosting prices if you’re just starting out.

Web hosting providers can afford to offer the lowest hosting prices because they know how to optimize servers and reduce overhead costs. Low-priced hosting plans contain all the features typically needed by individuals and small businesses. Note that lower prices don’t mean lower quality. The prices only serve to attract new customers. But it’s the quality of service that retains them.

Choose the right web host

Although many web hosts offer the lowest hosting prices, not all of them offer quality services. So choose among web hosts carefully. Here are the factors you should consider:

  • Customer support. Your web host should have a competent customer support team. One that operates 24/7 is best, especially if you live in another part of the world. After all, a single glitch on your website may result in losing potential clients and income. Web hosts with good customer support will make sure that your needs are fulfilled in the most convenient way possible.
  • Good uptime. Check your potential web host’s service monitoring performance. This will show you how often their servers have downtime. No web host has 100% uptime; after all, web servers have their limitations, and hardware upgrades are necessary for reliable service in the long run. But good web hosts make sure to limit their downtime.
  • Service backups. Occasional technical failures are unavoidable. Although you should always make backups yourself, it would also help if your web host makes their own backups of website data.
  • Disk space and bandwidth. Know how much disk space and bandwidth are allotted to you by your web host. This way, you can maximize your website’s potential even at the lowest hosting prices.
  • Domain names. Some of the web hosts that offer the lowest hosting prices also include free domain names with their packages. You may want to choose these hosts so that you can get your domain and hosting in a one-stop shop, as opposed to getting them separately.
  • Control panel. Having access to a control panel makes website management a lot easier. This will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
  • Reputation. Conduct a background search on potential web hosts. Read reviews to see how well they’ve satisfied their customers.

Remember, you want value for money, not just the lowest price tag. So make sure you select the right web host to suit your needs.

Recommended web hosts

Just Host
FatCow HostMonster InMotion BlueHost

The following is a table of the lowest-priced plans from our recommended web hosts. Note the differences in features and contract periods. We highly recommend Just Host’s Just Plan Premium ($6.95/month). But, as you can see, there are cheaper plans, so you may opt to choose them instead. Either way, all of the web hosts below are recommended.

We’ve done our best to ensure the accuracy of the information below, but we’re only human. Please double-check the information at the web hosts’ websites.

Just Host FatCow HostMonster InMotion BlueHost
Web Hosting Plan Just Plan FatCow Plan Professional Web Hosting Plan Personal/Cheap Hosting (Starter) Professional Web Hosting Plan
Subscription Price Per Month $3.45 $3.67 $5.95 $5.99 $6.95
Disk Space Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 100,000 MB Unlimited
Bandwidth Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 1,000 GB/month Unlimited
Email Accounts Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 50
FTP Accounts Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 1 Unlimited
Domain Registration Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hosted Domains Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 1 Unlimited
MySQL Databases Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited None Unlimited
To get the plan at this price, you have to pay for… 4 years 1 year 1 year 2 years 3 years
Link to Review Just Host review FatCow review HostMonster review InMotion review BlueHost review
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Just Host

FatCow

HostMonster

InMotion

BlueHost