Your hosting needs can vary greatly between eCommerce sites and blogging platforms. If you’re an e-tailer, whether you also have a brick and mortar establishment or not, choosing the right web host is critical. Should you make the wrong decision, your customers and potential customers aren’t going to point the finger at your web host—it’s going to be directed straight at you. Selling “things” online, whether services or goods, is tricky because the process can involve a lot of working parts, yet studies show that people won’t wait longer than the blink of an eye they deem necessary for a page to load.
Your goal should be giving customers a flawless experience online, and the right host can help you do that. While there are many things that come into play when creating a successful online shop, web hosting is a big one. Unfortunately, too many eCommerce website owners go with the first hosting option that pop ups. The odds of magically finding the best host for you in such a manner are slim to none. That’s like assuming the first person you ever go on a date with is “the one.”
All the Eggs in One Basket
In fact, the most important choice you can make when building a site is your web host. You can have the best CMS or blog platform in the world, but if your web host isn’t keeping up their end of the bargain, nobody will realize it. For the average eCommerce owner, knowing the basics about web hosting doesn’t have to be overly technical. There are actually just four major areas you need to know, and if you can’t get a straight answer about them from your web host, that alone is a big red flag.
First, consider the physical location of any potential web host. You should aim to get the majority of your audience and your web host’s location as close as possible. There are many talks about the benefits of off-shore hosting, but that simply doesn’t work for the vast majority of eCommerce sites. The closer the location, the faster your site will load on all browsers. If you don’t know where your audience, or your target audience, is then you need to find out. There are many ways to do so, from website analytics to marketing strategies.
Need Some Support?
How easily can you get ahold of customer support? Test it before you commit to a host by calling, emailing or video chatting (whichever method of communication you prefer). They should aim to serve you, it should be easy to connect how you like and you’ll have peace of mind should an emergency ever pop up. If they don’t have 24/7 services, you can bet hosting problems will happen at 3am on a Saturday morning.
Find out what other people are saying by looking at third-party review sites. No reviews can also be a warning sign. However, know that not all “bad reviews” are bad. If it’s clear that a problem happened but the host went above and beyond to professionally rectify it, that may show more promise than no reports of problems at all. Problems happen with hosting, period.
Finally, there’s that all important cost. You can spend as much or as little (down to zero) as you like. However, for an eCommerce site, there’s a good chance you need more than what the average freebie can provide. That being said, it should be simple to find a plan that works with your budget. Choosing a host based on these criteria sets you and your business up for success.