But first, underpaying for web hosting is also a BAD idea.
Website hosting comes in many shapes and sizes. When I'm lecturing and writing CE, I talk about hosting like luggage -- you get what you pay for. There are times in life where you can definitely save money (I'd argue that a Honda can get you to work just as easily as a Ferrari), but web hosting for your practice or business isn't one of those instances. Learn why you should avoid budget web hosting at all costs (no pun intended).
But What if You're Paying Too Much for Hosting?
On the other end of budget hosting is hosting where you are paying for website hosting - likely with an agency that is overcharging you because they are bundling services.
Of course if you are using these services and you are getting value from them, then you are not being overcharged. Rather, I'm talking about dentists, attorney, and similar professionals who are paying for some type of abstract "monthly services". So let's talk about the 10 ways to know that you are overpaying for your professional service website hosting. (this list does not apply to eCommerce sites or sites who frequently have more than 1,000 concurrent visitors).
Signs You Are Paying Too Much For Website Hosting
- If you are paying more than $99/mo for hosting, you're probably paying too much. Website hosting for your dental practice, medical practice or small business should cost around $99/mo. This fee includes keeping your website live on the Internet, loading quickly, and making sure it's secured with an SSL certificate (the padlock in the browser). It is also reasonable to expect backups and access to backups for this service.
- If you receive 20-page marketing reports that you never asked for, your'e probably paying too much. Many vendors (ourselves included) have access to software that lets us generate reports by popping in a domain name and then emailing the report to the client. These are usually reports that are loaded with data points that are not actionable, and as such, you shouldn't pay more for them. If you want reporting, most companies have an add-on that you can pay for.
- Do you have widgets that you don't know about? We have an awesome review widget that we offer for $15/mo, and we offer it separately because many clients already have a review widget from their review provider. So why pay for something you don't need?
- Domain Name Management is a crock. There's no such thing as "domain name management" just as there's no such thing as an additional "car lease management" fee. You buy your domain name for a fixed term (and you lease your car for a fixed term). You don't need to pay someone extra money to remind you to renew the domain or renew the lease.
- Google My Business Management should NOT be bundled. Google My Business (Google Business Profile) is a separate service that requires manual work. And depending upon what you are getting for the fee, you might not be getting value. So you can compare, here's what we offer with our GMB service.
- If you are getting keyword rankings in the absence of a comprehensive SEO plan, you're probably overpaying for hosting. Your keyword rankings are irrelevant if they are not viewed with conversion data in mind. That is, if we don't know how many new patients or new clients you're getting from these keywords -- or how much revenue you're getting from them -- then you're simply paying a computer to generate a report for you.
- You should not have to pay extra for backups. You should be able to login to your own site and generate your own backups as an as needed basis, or make an arrangement with the hosting company to send you a backup on an automated schedule. We send our client backups to Dropbox or Google Drive.
- Website maintenance that you don't need is a waste of money. We bill our clients for website maintenance (changing text, updating images, etc) on an as-needed basis. In our opinion, it's fundamentally unfair to bill a client for a service that they may not need or use. Paying for maintenance in this manner is like paying your plumber a monthly retainer just in case your sink starts to leak.
- Call Tracking. Call tracking is awesome. It's so awesome that I started a new, HIPAA-compliant company earlier this year simply to handle call tracking. And while I think everyone should have some type of DNI (dynamic number insertion) call tracking so they can see WHERE there marketing dollars are best spent, it shouldn't be forced upon you. Some practices really do need call tracking, while other practices don't. But shouldn't you be the one who gets to decide?
Website hosting is a critical part your practice's digital infrastructure that should be treated as such, so budget website hosting is a non-starter. That being said, bundled hosting packages where you pay for services you don't need or don't want are also a non-starter -- unless you are using the included services.
It's perfectly fine to have a la carte website hosting for your dental office, your legal practice, or any other service business -- yet still control your own website and work with any marketing company you'd like. Want to learn more? Just ask.