DIGITAL MARKETING – HOSTING
Website Hosting
What you need to know in 2018
Gordon Hall, 03/01/2018
OK, let’s cut to the chase. If you’re using cheap servers… or even worse, free servers/services such as Wix for your website hosting, then Stop it. You’re never going to get your business working, nay, thriving, in 2018, by hosting your business on a couple of tin cans tied together with a bit of string and prayer.

If you want your business to be taken seriously by Google, and by your customers, then quite frankly, you need to start taking it seriously yourself. And that starts with web hosting, because quite frankly, without decent hosting, you’re probably doing your business harm.

Webhosting is important – Stop using cheap services… just STOP IT!
The purpose of these blogs is predominantly to help small businesses achieve great results in digital marketing for either small change or even no cost at all. Why spend money when you really don’t have to? However, web hosting isn’t one of those corners that should be cut.

Whilst I fully understand the need to save a few pennies/cents, a good hosting solution pays dividends.

“If you’re using cheap servers…stop it.”

We restructured our entire hosting business because we saw a greater need

We have hosted websites for our clients for many years. But as the years rolled we saw the needs of our clients change. Therefore in 2017 we completely restructured our hosting solutions to cater for these greater needs, as well as providing a faster & more secure service.

Hosting is far more than just sitting a website on a computer for the world to see. Issues such as site speed, security, features, mailbox sizes and a host of other things need to be considered.

Ultimately the difference in price between a barely adequate hosting solution and a good one is less than the price of a coffee a week, so don’t let price dictate your needs. Start with the basics and build from there

When we looked at what we needed to provide for our clients in regards to hosting, we started with the basics, which meant:

Backup
Backing up your website isn’t optional (well it is, but it shouldn’t be). Anyone who has deleted an e-mail or word document by mistake knows how devastating it can be. Believe us – losing an entire website is 1000x worse! If your current hosting provider doesn’t offer backups, then either get them to add it on or switch.

And if you think you’re unlikely to have a problem with your website – that it will never get hacked or broken, think again. A security report from Sophos back in 2012 said that 33,000 websites a day were being hacked. The figure will be much higher now.

Make sure both your site files, as well as any databases, are backed up, and of course, it goes without saying… a backup is only as good as it’s recent restore. Test the backup works.

Storage
If you have a small website, a limited amount of space will be fine, but you may find extra costs come along at a later date when you look to expand the business. If you’re offered ‘unlimited storage’, just check the small print. You often find that unlimited usually means ‘according to normal site usage’. Go figure.

Bandwidth
Similar to storage – just how much of the server’s resources are your hosting company willing to give you? Again, be careful when a company offers unlimited bandwidth.

Email Accounts
There are two aspects of your e-mail accounts you need to consider. The first is the number of e-mail accounts provided – do you get 1 e-mail address, 5, 50, unlimited? The second issue is how large are the mailboxes? We recently moved our clients from 400MB, up to 1GB and now have provided every client with 10GB mailboxes as standard. Why? Because that’s what the majority of people need.
Don’t be in the habit of having to constantly delete e-mail messages just to keep within your quotas.

Easy Scripts
Many people want to host their own websites using a CMS such as WordPress or Joomla. To install this software on a fresh server and connecting to the database can be a hassle – especially if you’ve never done this before. Having a single click installation routine for scripts is quite common these days, and it’s a massive help as well as a real time saver. Make sure this is available to you.

PROMedia 66 offer all of the above in their standard package. Find out more about our hosting solutions.

There's no need for poor website hosting in 2018
A good quality server serves and protects!

Moving on up

WordPress accounts for nearly 1/3rd of all websites on the Internet and is the most popular platform by a long mile for small business owners. It’s got some very distinct advantages which we’ll cover in another blog, but suffice to say, if you’re starting out or looking at a website upgrade, you should be considering WordPress. However, with all Content Management Systems, you need to update the software, otherwise, you leave yourself susceptible to problems.

Maintenance
There are many companies out there which offer a regular maintenance plan. This usually involves updating the core code, themes and plugins, but may also include cleaning up spam comments, running anti-virus checks on your site and more besides. Again, this is something relatively straight forward. The question is, do you want to spend the time doing it (about ½ hour per month) and if something goes wrong, do you want to deal with it?

“Backup, backup, backup… and backup!”

Speed
If content is king, then speed is queen! The faster your website delivers its content to your customers, the more likely their experience of your website is improved. These days, many hosting providers can offer their servers with Solid State Drives (SSD’s). These are blindingly fast and can make a real difference.

We know you’re never going to be the giant that is Amazon, but we can still stand on their shoulders and learn from them. They found that site speed kills profits, and for every 0.1 second that their site slows down, it cost them 1% in sales. That’s approx. $1.6 Billion. Can you imagine!

Coming back to earth, a fast website is a great experience for your clients and if you can afford the extra few pounds to make it happen, it’s worth it. We moved this website to our faster servers (basically it’s the ultimate package we sell) and we’ve been really happy with the speed and reliability of the hosting – especially as the site is growing at the rate it is.

One last point on the whole speed issue, it’s not just a matter of better customer experience, but it’s a ranking factor for Google and other search engines. We’ll go more into detail in another blog, but if your website is fast, Google will rank it higher. Simples!

SSL Certificates
This is another important ranking factor for Google, and one that gives your customers peace of mind. The green bar and the padlock at the top of your website tells your customers you have their wellbeing in mind and that your website is the real deal. More than that it provides an extra level of protection for your website also.

SSL certificates needn’t be costly – in fact some hosting providers supply them for free, but all in all, we would recommend you sign up and have one for your website.

We can recommend
We’d love you to come and host your website with us. We offer three different packages based on what you may need and offer monthly payments at no extra cost. You can find out more here.

Flywheel - Managed WordPress hosting

However, if you’d rather do everything yourself, then we can heartily recommend Flywheel – a managed hosting solution for WordPress users (sorry everyone else!). They are superb in what they offer, reasonably priced and we have used them since we have restructured, and haven’t had a single issue. There’s no better recommendation than that!

Conclusion
So that’s it in a nutshell. We could go into much more detail, but the basics are there for every business. Get yourself a hosting solution that is stable, fast, is backed up. If you need more, pay a little extra and do your best. After all, your website is the shop window to your business, and often the first way your company is judged!

  • If you do nothing else, make sure you have a backup of your site
  • Faster servers means better customer experience
  • Make sure you run all updates. That means CMS, themes and plugins
  • If you can, get yourself an SSL certificate
As we work through the various blog posts over the coming months, we will demonstrate how things are done. To that end, we’re looking for willing businesses, of all shapes, styles & industries to be used as our examples. So if you’re looking for a helping hand why not drop us a line and we can help each other.
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