Before I came to work for Add People, I worked for a hosting company in the middle of Manchester. This was where I built up the foundations of my knowledge about the Internet.
I think that many people are guilty of not thinking about their hosting. Once you have gone through the hassle of getting your website built exactly how you want, you usually settle for hosting with whoever is the cheapest and easiest. Sometimes this is great and you have no issues…..but not always.
What would you do if you had just spent a large portion of your marketing budget on some advertising and your website went down? Would you be able to talk to your web hosts? Do you even know how to get hold of them?
These are the types of questions you need to be asking yourself.
Unfortunately, the hosting providers who are most likely to go down are also the ones that often do not do telephone support (funnily enough…) They are also often the ones that are the cheapest.
One question that I would always ask when thinking about how much to spend on hosting is “how much money would I lose if my website was offline for 1 day during my busiest period?” Think of it a bit like breakdown insurance – hopefully you will not need to use it, but what happens if you do? Saving £100 today, might mean losing £1000 tomorrow – is it worth it?
The potential loss in revenue from a single day of downtime is only one point to consider. If Google try to crawl your site when it is offline it can cause your organic rankings to fall causing a prolonged drop in revenue.
Another point to consider is where your website is to be hosted. If your primary market is in the UK, I recommend you don’t host your site outside of Europe. America offers such cheap hosting because of the resources they have available. However, if you want to come up naturally for searches in the UK, hosting in America will make it that bit more difficult (and we all know that obtaining good rankings is complicated enough as it is!)
In a previous post, The Need For Speed, I talked about Google introducing speed as a ranking factor – herein lies another factor that you need to take into account when looking at hosting. Many companies will offer unlimited bandwidth but there is no such thing. You might be able to use as much bandwidth as is available without additional charge, but if hundreds (or even thousands) of other companies are using the same bandwidth supply, what is left for you to use is minimal.
My old boss always used the analogy that website hosting is like the premises your shop is in: If you are on Oxford Street, London, it is going to cost you a fortune to lease the building but you are pretty much guaranteed traffic; If your shop is on a no through road on the edge of town with no other businesses around, traffic will be minimal but rent will be cheap – which would you rather?