When it comes to running your small business, there are many ways you can save money. Budget web hosting isn't one of them.
What is Website Hosting for Professionals?
Whether you are a doctor, lawyer, dentist, veterinarian, chiropractor or any other professional service provider, you need a website in order to keep your patients or clients informed, and to help you generate new business. Web hosting or "website hosting" is the process by which your website stays live on the Internet. At the lowest level, every website is a collection of files, and these files need an "address" on the Internet so people can navigate to your website and interact with it. Thus, your web host is the provider whose job it is to make sure that your website loads quickly when people visit it, that your site stays secure and free from malware, and that your site is updated regularly for performance and features.
What is "Big Box Website Hosting"?
Big Box web hosting refers to budget hosting plans that are in the $1.99-$9.99 per month range. These are providers such as GoDaddy, Hostgator, and 1and1.com, and many small business professionals mistakenly use these providers thinking that hosting can be done on the cheap -- which it can't.
With our definitions out of the way, let's talk about the top 10 reasons you need to have private website hosting for your small business.
- Loading time and speed. Your website must load quickly, and big box providers often provide slow website hosting because you share resources with hundreds if not thousands of other websites. Users won't stick around for a website that takes many seconds to load, and google times how fast your website loads as part of its user experience ratings.
- Support. You might pay less for the monthly hosting bill, but if you ever need website help, you'll pay through the nose. Last week WordPress pushed an update that broke tens of thousands of sites across the Internet. As we provide private website hosting, we notified our clients, updated their websites, and took care of it at no charge. Nobody had down time for more than 30 minutes. Contrast this with a client of ours who hosts with a big-box provider - he was charged $150 and his website was still down 24 hours later.
- Performance and resources. Our client website load lightning-fast because our hardware and software is optimized for WordPress and we ensure that our web servers never reach more than 75% utilization at one time. Contrast this with big-box providers who try to jam as many websites as possible on a single server. In this case, if one website is eating too much of the shared resources, all of the other sites on the server will suffer slow speed and performance degradation.
- Updates. Someone has to be looking out for your website, and as part of our website hosting packages we actively monitor your website to make sure it's online and that it's up to date. Contrast this with big-box providers who charge extra to monitor and update your website.
- Backups. You are rolling the dice if you don't have your own copy of your website backup. As part of our professional website hosting offers we take three levels of backups: 7 day rotating backups stored on the server, rotating 6 month backups stored securely offline, and a second external-backup process that run nightly, storing 7 daily, 4 weekly, and 6 monthly backups. We also offer our clients access to their backups at any time, at no additional charge. Big box companies, by comparison, will charge you an additional fee for backups.
- Emergency restoration. It's rare that a website goes down, but if and when it does, we have tools in place that notify us immediately. And if the site is down because of something out of the clients control (i.e the recent WordPress update) we proactively restore the website to the most recent backup at no additional charge. By the time you are able to get in touch with support with a big box provider and explain to them what's wrong and pay the troubleshooting fee, you're website has already been down for way too much time.
- A human touch. Professional website hosts like Short Hills Design have humans who you work with and not chat bots or widgets that make you go through a list of questions. If one of our clients has a hosting problem, they open a support ticket with us and a human answers the ticket, and human updates the client as we make the fix. Big-box website hosts don't have people on the front line. And if they do, you are often speaking with a low-level tech who doesn't have the information you need (or gives you incorrect information) and then you need to have your issue escalated to someone else and you have to repeat the entire problem, hoping that this person understands. Which brings us to our last reason...
- Your time. Your time is your most precious asset and it's one that you can never get back once it's gone. Our website hosting packages start at $99/mo for everything a small business needs to get their website online, and to have their website stay online. The next time you think about saving a few dollars per month on website hosting, I want you to consider two things:
- How many potential clients do you LOSE every day because your website takes forever to load? If you converted just ONE of these visitors into a new client or new patient, would it have made up the cost of private web hosting? For professional service providers like you, the answer is 100% yes.
- How much time did you waste this year on hold with web hosting support or dealing with chat bots and hold time on the phone when you could have been running your business? What is your time worth? Could you have made more money running your business in this time than you would have spent on private web hosting? For professional service providers like you, the answer once again, is 100% yes.
There are many ways to save money for your small business, and skimping on website hosting isn't one of them.
In fact, one of my favorite ways is to do so is to print a quarterly run of our expenses by vendor so we can eliminate services we no longer need or use regularly. But the one place you should not skimp for your small business is with website hosting. Your website needs to be working for you at 100% functionality all day, every day, and this is something that big-box providers cannot provide on a consistent basis. And while you will need to pay a little more for this reliability, is losing new clients and wasting your time worth the savings? I doubt it.
So if you are a dentist, accountant, physician, attorney, or any other professional and you are looking for website hosting, contact us for a free consultation so we can see how we can help.