If you’re anything like the marketers I know, you live and breathe on the web.
Your Internet presence is crucial to your business, whether or not you sell directly online from your site. And being online with guaranteed uptime of 99.9% or better is an important business asset.
Think about the nature of your business for a minute: without a speedy web site, could your site offer its services and products? If your web site goes down, for an hour, four hours or an entire day, what happens to your customer base? What happens to potential customers if you’re launching a campaign at the time of the outage?
These questions came to top of mind for most marketers I know last month, when it became clear that there was a significant service outage from the well-known US-based web service host provider GoDaddy. Many users were impacted on September 10; not only just users of GoDaddy’s own web hosting and email services, but also many web sites with domain names registered through GoDaddy but hosted elsewhere, according to PC World. And with some 53 million domain name records handled by the company, that’s potentially a lot of absent websites.
The outage was later described by the company as “a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables.” Whatever the reason, many web site owners were pretty upset at the downtime caused by the outage, leading some writers online to discuss their desire to choose a different web host.
Like company extensions of your human persona, your business website is your face, social media acts as your larynx and digital marketing campaigns are your arms reaching out.
The glue that holds it all together, the brain that brings together the organization, processes and creativity is the web hosting! Scoff if you’d like, but without the web hosts we all use, our company’s web presence would falter and our customers might fritter away, as in the case of RunningShoes.com’s CEO who estimated that its site lost potentially $50,000 in sales from the GoDaddy outage that day.
Choosing a reliable web host for your online business should be among the most important moves you make as a business owner of company leader. Inexperienced staffers need not apply here. Grab your IT team and ask them:
Which hosting services does our business need?
Which services are our competitors using?
How much Web reliability is crucial to your success?
Do you recommend private, shared or dedicated hosting?
Small to medium business owners who lack time or inclination to manage their servers can engage web hosting firms for online marketing tools like:
domain registration and web hosting/web design,
SEO enhancements like Pay-Per-Click programs,
SEO strategic services, social plugs-in and blog publishing,
email marketing, microsite hosting and more.
More companies are doing away with shared hosting models for their own hosting, handled in the cloud. These virtual private servers (or VPS hosting) allow companies to have more control over their site, host multiple sites (very handy for campaign microsites), eliminate bandwidth scarcity during peak traffic times and have faster, more consistent site load times.
Successful companies use this practical VPS hosting to their advantage. You might find less costly rates at some shared hosting companies, but inconsistency in reliability and performance issues may be what you pay for. VPS hosts offer monthly rates as low as $15.95 and upwards, for a range of needs for particular sites.
Your main goal of all this research is to eliminate website downtime, which can happen for a variety of reasons. Among them are
regional data center failure or shutdown;
actual hardware failure of your own server, or
heavily-trafficked server activity leading to shutdown.
Server downtime may not be as crucial to information-based sites as it is to transaction-based sites. Often, businesses cannot fully prevent such issues, but they can minimize the possibility by choosing a professional website hosting service.
Are you selling a ton of merchandise off your site? Then you may want to look to larger hosts that offer more specialized tools for your site’s shopping cart experience. Tools like shopping cart software, payment options, secure servers and database builders are just a few of the e-commerce tools you’ll need in this area.
Once you have reliable web hosting set up, then your company can move toward an integrated marketing operation that combines the online tools mentioned above with a close look at your company’s value proposition. What does your business do that makes it better, different or more valuable to customers than your competitors?
Once you know that, you can start to develop keywords around your business. Make your product and service compelling enough for people to search for your firm, and watch as your rankings from as people search for your unique stand-out offering.
Having a thorough plan for virtual private servers for your website can make or break your business. With a plan B in place for that eventual outage down the road, you’ll be sure your site stays up and running on an alternate server somewhere.