The current economic times calls for quite a bit of belt tightening – especially for those running small businesses. There are many different ways to trim the fat off of a business budget. One particular area of interest to those who gain most of their customers online is by locating a good but inexpensive web hosting company.
Getting the most “bang” for the buck is a priority. Keeping this in mind, there are four key areas to research when looking for the best quality web host at the lowest monthly cost. Features, customer support, reliability, and long-term cost are the four features one should explore within a new hosting company.
The more features offered at a low-cost web hosting company, the better. One should look for unlimited amounts of web space, e-mail accounts, bandwidth, and domains allowed to be attached to the main account. Obviously, the more features offered, the better the deal.
Along with numerous unlimited features, small business owners looking for economic web hosts should also seek out those companies that offer a number of scripting languages (PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python to name a few) and a listing of add-on scripts to make web page creation easier.
Support When Needed
The reality of web hosting is occasionally something goes wrong and customer support is needed. A web hosting company with few avenues for clients to contact the support team and receive much needed assistance equates to one that will cost a small business owner money in the long run.
The best web hosting companies will have an entire section of their own website dedicated to customer support. Email addresses, forums, FAQs, and tutorials should be clearly listed and easy to access. Of paramount importance is a toll-free number for customers to call. Ideally, one should find a web hosting company that not only offers all of these options but ensures that the customer can contact someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Imagine placing a small business online with a web hosting company that has an up-time percentage of less than 99%? As an example, an up-time of 98% means that over 12 months, a website can expect to be down and unreachable for a total of 175 hours – about a week. That’s an entire week where current and prospective customers are unable to find one’s product or service.
Most web hosting providers will guarantee a 99% or higher up-time – the best will offer a refund of some kind if their up-time guarantee isn’t met. To check a prospective web hosting company’s reliability, an online service such as HostTracker can be utilized. This site will compare hosting companies’ connections with an availability checker.
The final component to keep in mind when shopping for a web host is the total monthly cost. To bring in new clients, many hosting companies will offer monthly specials. Be wary of these deals as they usually only last about a year and then revert to a much higher monthly rate.
A good price range to look for is between $3.00 to $7.00 a month. When combined with good reliability, features, and solid customer support, an average of $5.00 a month for a small business web hosting account is going to be money well spent.
What it all boils down to is doing a bit of research. Look for web hosting companies showing a good up-time percentage, oodles of features included with each account, easy to find and use customer support, and priced for less than $10 a month. Tighten your small business belt and get to researching.