There are two halves to buying your website: the domain and the hosting. The domain is your site name, and buying one is simple enough. You go to a domain provider like Godaddy, BlueHost, or NameCheap, type in the name of your choice, and see if it’s available or not. No one ever “owns” a name — they all expire eventually. Even Google forgot to renew its subscription one time. How much you pay for your URL will depend on where you are buying it from, how long you want to rent it for, and how “common” the name is. Anything that contains nouns is going to cost a pretty penny – if it is even available at all. A random garble of letters like “xjrrrfjft.com” won’t cost much, but won’t do very well for SEO rankings and comes off as a website with unsavory content. Once you buy your name, you now (temporarily) have a little slice of the internet!
Except, when you type in your domain name online, you won’t see anything. This is where hosting comes in, and it can be just as (if not more) important than a good domain for running a successful SEO campaign.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows your website to be published on the internet. Web host providers take care of the heavy logistical lifting of rendering code, matching IP addresses, and staying online through their servers – which are the tall, beeping towers you see in hacker movies. Most hosting companies require that you purchase a domain name before buying any server space; and, if you don’t have a domain name already, some companies can help you find one. All the domain providers mentioned earlier do just that, and usually at a reduced price.
Does that mean they are the best options?
Types of Web Hosting
Everything takes up space, even the internet. The servers that help make your business website run are tucked in somewhere deep inside a server facility (often referred to as a server farm). There are several options available for business owners who want to build a website, making it a friendlier environment for beginners now than it has ever been. That said, if you want some significant server real estate, it will cost you.
With shared hosting, you are sharing space with other website owners on one server. Shared hosting is the most affordable option as the cost of operating one server is divided between you and the other owners. However, more owners means more load on the server and a slower website. One issue of shared hosting is that if any one of the sites slows down – usually due to a sudden increase in traffic – then the other websites suffer. In turn, a slower website means a worse user experience under the perspective of Google crawl bots, which can hurt your organic search rankings. GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator, and NameCheap are the most popular shared hosting options.
Dedicated hosting is effective when you want to rent an entire server for yourself. Through this option, you have all of the server’s resources and don’t have to worry about other owners slowing you down. It also means you must pay in full for server maintenance, but the added cost is preferable over having your website go down for a half hour and potentially losing leads or e-commerce sales. You will also notice a significant increase in website speed, which can make a big difference in a visitor’s purchasing decision. WPEngine is a favorite choice among web developers who are looking for dedicated WordPress hosting.
This type of hosting is often used by colossal franchise businesses and mega corporations. Instead of renting a server, you buy a server that you have full control over regarding scripts and applications. The only renewable payment here is paying rent for whatever physical spot your server occupies.
Signs of a Reliable Host
Even if you choose dedicated hosting with a provider, you may find yourself with a sub-optimal website. When deciding between hosting providers, consider the following questions:
How is the customer service?
There’s no such thing as a perfect server. Somewhere down the line, a hiccup or stray line of code can break everything. The real question is how quickly you can get your website back up? A hosting provider with excellent customer service will be responsive, communicate in terms any client can understand, and is often available 24/7.
How are the upgrades?
Growing websites will require more server space after some time. The right hosting provider will make this transition easy, and often throws in some form of reduced payment to reward you for being such a loyal customer. Stay clear of hosting providers that aggressively upcharge you for upgrades.
Do they have a good reputation?
Hosting providers are businesses too, and the internet is not shy about expressing when they are not doing their job well. Once you have a list of hosting providers that interest you, check on their customer testimonials and look up what their average downtime statistics are.
Building a Website with SEO in Mind
When configured correctly, your business website can be a robust method for local clients to find you. It takes more than having a catchy domain name and a nice web page; understanding the aspects of technical SEO and how your potential customers and clients search is vital for success. Market My Market has helped business owners plan and implement digital marketing plans before their hands touch a keyboard. Find out how we can help you build your best website with a free digital marketing consultation today.