Hosting is often one of those "IT problems" that no one really thinks about until it's a problem and now you're working in panic mode to get your site back online. Every minute offline means missed visitors which turn into missed dollars, especially for an e-commerce site. I know that most small businesses are operating on a tight budget, which means you're trying to cut corners wherever you can, but trust me when I say that your hosting company is not the place to be pinching pennies! It might not seem like that big of a deal, but when you are scrambling to get your website back online and can't get anyone on the phone that $100 you saved each month by going with a cheap hosting company is going to be far from worth it.
Here are 4 reasons why going with a cheap hosting company puts your business at risk:
No customer service.
I know that if something goes wrong on my site I can call my hosting company at anytime, day or night, and speak with a developer right then and there. Just like anything else in life, what you pay for is what you get. I pay several hundred dollars a month for my hosting, and most of the time I never have to reach out to customer service, but the few times I did, I got reached someone right away and the issue was resolved quickly. The same can't be said for a cheap hosting company. I once had a client who, through no fault of their own, had their site go dark for several days. It took four days for someone at their hosting company to get back to them!
It's also possible that your cheap hosting company is either based overseas or outsources their customer service, meaning if/when you do reach a customer service rep, they might not actually be in any position to help you.
Cheap hosting companies are usually much more prone to outages and security issues than more expensive options, so by default your website is also more at risk. What's the point of having a dozen dead bolts on the front door if you forget to lock the back? I've had several clients over the years whose site got hacked because someone got into the hosting company's system and snuck through all the security measures their developers had set in place like they weren't even there.
Even if you have a long sales cycle, think about how much business your website brings into your organization each month. What is the dollar value of every visitor and every lead your site gets? Chances are it's a lot more than the $150 or so you saved by going with the cheap hosting company. For many companies, their website is the center of all their sales and marketing activities. Can you really afford for your livelihood to go dark for four days or even four hours?
Usability is incredibly important for SEO, and believe it or not, your hosting company does have an impact on the usability of your website. If your site does go down for some reason, will all of your onsite changes be lost when your hosting company gets it back online? How often do they back up your website? Will you lose one hour's worth of changes or will the last two weeks of work be lost forever? Will your site be littered with 404 errors because something is wrong on their end? A site with a lot of dead links and connectivity errors is hard for the search engines to crawl, which means that some portions of your site might not get indexed properly, affecting your presence in the SERPs.
These are just four reasons why a cheap hosting company can be dangerous to your business. As the holiday shopping season approaches e-commerce sites should definitely evaluate their hosting needs. Hopefully your SEO will deliver a plethora of new visitors to your site this season--does your hosting company have your back?
Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, one of the premier full service SEO firms in the United States. With over 12 years of experience Nick Stamoulis has worked with hundreds of companies small, large and every size in between. Through his vast and diverse SEO, search engine marketing and internet marketing experience Nick Stamoulis has successfully increased the online visibility and sales of clients in all industries.
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