Even though the majority of small businesses in the US don’t have a website (shocking!), those that do could use some help with marketing. A website in itself is indeed a marketing tool, but one that’s not wielded at an optimal level. It can help build brand awareness, connect you with customers, show off what your company can do, and is great for attracting the press and investors.
When building a website, there’s a lot to consider—functionality, design, content, and SEO. Marketing managers are skilled at all of these niches, but an often overlooked aspect is web hosting. Before choosing a host, make sure the right questions are asked. For starters, find out about uptime and security promises. A slow site that’s regularly offline or doesn’t offer scalability can destroy your marketing efforts.
Who’s to Blame?
If your website visitors regularly get error messages, they’ll assume you’re the one dropping the ball (not your web host). Over 99 percent uptime is a must, and you also need to ensure your web host prioritizes security. Cybercrimes are plentiful, and hackers don’t just target big businesses. In fact, they know that smaller sites/businesses are usually easier to breach. It’s your company and customer data (think credit card numbers and email addresses) that are vulnerable.
A quality web host should have security features that fix malware and addresses other vulnerabilities. Protecting domain privacy can help avoid phishing attacks and identity theft. Overall, a VPS hosting solution is going to have better security than a basic shared plan. You also need to know if your site content is backed up automatically from your host and how often. It’s not a given, and something you desperately need. What happens if your web content gets accidentally deleted from a hack or glitch?
Technically, backing up your site content can be a DIY project, but it’s a lot easier if it’s auto handled by your host daily. It should be part of their disaster recovery plan.
You need a host that can scale up or down with you. Different levels of features and service should be offered, and there shouldn’t be a fee just to scale. Upgrading and downgrading can become necessary with little to no notice. You should also find a host that won’t charge a cancellation fee. Tiers should be easily spotted and transparent.
Finally, make sure your host provides around the clock support. If you have a site issue in the middle of Saturday night, you shouldn’t have to wait until Monday morning to get it fixed. Imagine if you’re ready to send out a newsletter, ad run, or if there’s a big marketing campaign you want to launch. You shouldn’t have to wait just because your host is having issues.
Web hosting and marketing are completely intertwined, yet many marketers don’t see it that way. It’s a necessity for anyone with an online presence, yet is rarely discussed in marketing meetings. Are you sure your host is on your side?