For many small business owners, creating and maintaining a business website is one of the most confusing and stressful parts of starting a new business. Before site design even starts, a vast array of web hosts and domain registrars bring on a mind-numbing number of plans and options that you’ll need to sift through to find what’s right for you.
What’s more, you cannot focus solely on your business’s immediate needs or short-term goals. As much as possible, you need to future-proof your website by looking at your venture’s possible futures. Doing so can save you the hassle of lost time, lost income and lost productivity in the future.
Knowing what Your Site Needs Now
To choose the right web host for your business site, you first need to understand what you need your website to do right now. This will tell you what options you need in your hosting package. Ask yourself these questions:
- How large will my site be?
- Is my site an online business card, or is it the hub of business activity?
- Do I need to create e-mail addresses? How many?
- Will I need publicly searchable databases?
- Will my site host large amounts of high-memory content, such as videos or 3-D animation?
- Am I going to have a blog?
- Will I collect personal data over the Internet that I need to keep secure?
- Will people be able to purchase things from my site?
- Will I want to create a wiki for my site?
By answering these questions, you have the basic information you need to narrow down which web hosts offer you the best deals for the website you need now.
Planning a Site for the Future
Success is the best thing that can happen to a new business, but it can also be the worst. If you aren’t prepared to deal with success, it can all blow up in your face. As you peruse the different options and plans for web hosting, consider both the best-case and worst-case scenario for your business’s future and find out what upgrade options your web host offers.
Here are the questions you need to consider about how your web host will handle your business in the future:
- Will I be able to upgrade my package if my site gets more traffic than I expected?
- How difficult is it to upgrade my hosting package, and how quickly can it be completed?
- Can the web host handle high-volume traffic, or will it throttle my site and ultimately block potential customers?
- If my site goes into high speed, does the web hosting company offer any design or development services to help me make my website run more smoothly?
- Does the web host offer 24/7 customer service?
Finding the Right Web Host
With all this information in hand, you can narrow down your web host options today while keeping an eye on your site’s (and your business’s) future. Once you have your shortlist, hit social media, the blogosphere and in-person contacts to get real-world opinions on web host quality, true down-time estimates, the helpfulness of customer service and the ease of use of the site management interface.
If you’ve made the right choices, you should be well-prepared for the future success of your business without spending too much money in the present.