Web hosting is a service provided by companies that includes the connection between a small business and the Internet. The hosting company will allow you post a webpage or website online, allowing Internet users to find your company. The hosting company may just provide the servers and connection to the Internet, or they may also provide enhanced services that allow you to get a domain name (your website address and name) and they may also provide software that allows you to design and manage changes to your website and upload them to the Internet.
If you don’t choose to use the web hosting company’s software, you or your web developer can upload your web design to the hosting company’s servers by following the hosting company’s guidelines, policies, and accepted software. Once the uploaded files have been submitted online to the web host, the website or webpage is available on the Internet for your customers and clients to see.
The tools provided by the web hosting company, and even web building software packages make it easy for anyone to design and build web pages and load them on the Internet. These easy to use web builders allow you to customize pre-made pages, so you don’t need to understand HTML or how to do complicated programming. You can also hire a web designer to design the artwork and technical aspects of your website, which would provide a completely individualized look for your website.
Choosing the Best Small Business Web Hosting Company for Your Needs
There are web hosting companies that will charge just a few dollars per month for your website, and some that will charge much more. Generally the cost of the hosting is dependent on a number of things. Some hosting companies charge very little, but they will add banner ads to your web site, which might be okay if you are doing a personal site, but probably not the best choice for a business. Typically these banner ads would advertise similar businesses to yours, so basically you would be providing space to the competition.
Think about your company’s goals and what you need to accomplish. Will your site have just a few pages, explaining who you are and what you do? Or will you have hundreds of pages detailing product or services and need a shopping cart and some sort of payment method? Often the web hosting pricing is dependent on how much space you will use on their server. (A server is the computer that will hold all your web pages.)
It is also important for you to realize that if you choose a hosting company for your small business and determine after a period of time that you don’t like the hosting company, you can move your domain name and your website to a new company fairly easily.
As you are looking at the different web hosts, make sure you look at comparisons sites. If you plan to build your own website, look at the reviews and see how easy it it’s to use the hosting companies website builder. Some are much easier than others. The reviewers will make statements like the best thing about X company is that it offers unlimited email accounts, if don’t plan on using the email services or only need three email accounts, than this isn’t important.
Decide if you will need 24/7 tech support. If your website is critical to your business, you may not only want tech support, but may also want server redundancy (which means there is more than one server that your website will be stored on, if one goes down, the website is still up.) and other technical and customer support options. If the website isn’t critical, than you may be able to choose a hosting company that has great stats when it comes to up time, (meaning their servers are rarely down) but that don’t provide round the clock service or redundancy.
If you need shopping cart, or a way for the customers that go to your website to buy things, make sure the hosting company allows or supports that option. This includes anything you specifically require for your website.
The best small business web hosting company is one that will meet your needs, not only for designing and implementing your website, but for making simple and complex changes, as well as for reporting and getting the website listed in search engines.
As you are choosing a web hosting company for your business, look at the types of reports the hosting company will provide. You may want to check at what point browsers are leaving the site, if some pages get more hits than others, and more. Also check what guidelines the hosting company gives you for getting your website noticed by the search engines. This is an important part of driving traffic to your small business website.