As online shopping is experiencing a massive surge in popularity, more and more businesses are exploring new and better ways to reach the global shoppers. The easiest and most effective way is to build your business or ecommerce website where you can connect with your targeted audiences, sell your products online and also keep the customers informed about the latest discount offers. However, to ensure smooth functioning and getting optimum performance out of your business site, you need to consider some of the most important factors. These factors can be classified as the foundational stones of your digital business that determines its potential and impact. In this post we are going to mention some actionable tips that will help you to buy most relevant web hosting for ecommerce site:
Pricing and Discounts
One of the major questions that newest businesses consider is how to buy the cheapest hosting plans? Due to the rapidly increasing global competition, the hosting companies are offering crazy schemes and promo offers. Some of them are even advertising a $1 hosting offer while others are offering free domains with hosting plans.
Many hosting companies offer such discounts only on basic level hosting. It is good enough to start with but doesn’t support the needs when your business starts growing. For that, you need to buy extra resources/features/services at a separate price tag for each. So, check with your provider about what all the basic hosting includes and the cost of additional services. So, instead of getting impressed by the lowest starting costs, calculate the overall expenses needed to keep your business growing and achieve your entrepreneurial ambitions.
Lightning Fast Speed
Online shoppers can get extremely demanding when it comes to speed and stability. Slow loading sites can blow away numerous business opportunities making your enterprise poorer by a heavy amount. In the digital world, loading latency blunts the competitive edge of your business and sends it several notches down your competitors. So, speed is a decisive component of any web hosting plan- something that you simply can’t afford to compromise with.
Two major factors determine the speed: the plan you choose and the infrastructure used by your provider. For instance, a cloud hosting plan uses a cluster of servers that distributes the load and helps your site to load at optimum speed. You cannot expect the same speed when you purchase a shared hosting plan where a single server is loaded/overloaded with numerous websites.
Likewise, the infrastructure of your hosting provider plays a central role in determining the speed. The conventional Hard Disk Drive fails to cope up with traffic surges or heavy speed demands while its upgraded alternative SSD or Solid State Drive offers up to 300% faster speed which is massive.
Instant scaling is another factor to consider when you buy a hosting service for your business website. For instance, during the peak season or last-hour sale, you need additional resources to tackle the surge in traffic and transactions. Can your hosting provider instantly scale up the resources to cater to such demand surges? Can it promptly pull those resources away (to save costs) as the demand shrinks? Asking such questions will help you find the hosting company that meets your fluctuating business needs.
Optimum site availability
You build your business website to attract global audiences and enable online shopping. This core objective gets defeated if your site often goes off the air- technically termed as “downtime”. So, make sure that your hosting provider guarantees maximum uptime which allows you to capture most of the opportunities. Don’t believe just verbal assurances but demand an official guarantee with Service Level Agreement. In the case of business sites, the uptime translates to opportunities. So, ask for at least 99.9% uptime- better still go for a 99.99% guarantee if you can get it at a reasonable top-up.
Reliable Support Quality
Support is an indispensable part of an ideal business hosting provider. Neglecting this key factor can ruin your entire experience and affects your business interests. Think of a situation where your site goes off the air during festive sales or peak hours- delayed support during such instances can severely impact your sales revenue. Check how quick the support team is in responding to your queries. Do they offer multiple mediums of communication like phone, ticket, email, etc. – and are they active on all those mediums? How friendly the executives are? Do they just provide temporary quick fixes or offer lasting solutions? At the same time it is important that your hosting provider supports the technology/CMS specific queries as well. For instance, if you are using WordPress CMS then the hosting provider should have a dedicated in-house team of WordPress experts to help you with the technical questions. Some reputed hosting providers also offer specific facilities for self-management of your WP site, like WordPress hosting panel and site setup process and also offer support for any future WordPress issues in the future.
While having multiple mediums of communication is great, what matters is how sincerely the executives treat your issue. There are many good hosting companies out there with only ticket/chat support. However, they not only offer quick support but also enable a client to see the real status of the raised issue and the estimated time for resolving the same.
Most of the businesses- especially the new ones- can’t afford to hire a dedicated in-house team of IT security experts to protect their website/digital transactions. Your business site is the digital representation of your brand that enables you to earn sales revenue, establish rewarding partnerships and market your business across the globe. So, it is extremely important to protect it from hackers, attackers, and data stealers.
Ensure that your hosting provider has the right resources and expertise to offer failsafe security to your site. What are the security features of their servers? What security protocols the company follows? How do they cope up with the latest security threats? How frequently they update their security system and apply the necessary patches? Are they just providing a verbal assurance or ready to offer an authentic guarantee backed by SLA? All these things need to be considered while deciding the security aspects of your site.
You might not need it immediately after starting your website but as your business grows and the number of visitors increases, you would need additional bandwidth to support the traffic and transactions. So, make sure that your hosting provider offers enough bandwidth to comfortably support the traffic spikes without hiccups- at least during the initial period.
Once you outgrow the present quota you can always request more bandwidth but it comes at an extra price tag so confirm if it is justifiable. Also, do some research and calculation about the initial bandwidth demands of your website and how the host will tackle the bandwidth spikes. Will, it put a stop limit on the bandwidth or automatically allocate the extra bandwidth at additional prices? Just like other crucial things- the bandwidth details should also be documented in the SLA to avoid any future issues.
Enough Storage at reasonable prices
No two business websites are the same and their storage requirements can also vary greatly depending upon the number of pages, media files, and functionalities. If you just build a static site with 3-4 text pages and a few images then your storage needs would be very modest. On the other hand, if you plan to create a business site with interactive features, media files, many product pages, a shopping cart, and payment gateways then you may need a huge storage volume to accommodate all those resources. So, carefully assess your business needs and ensure you have enough storage to support that.
Easy and efficient site-building tools
Most probably you would need to invest in trending web designs as your website grows. However, initially you can comfortably avoid this expense by using free templates and site builders. Most of the reputed hosting providers offer site builders and some of them even offer it as a complimentary resource as a part of the hosting package. With a site builder, you can independently build your business website through an intuitive interface and a drag and drop process. You can also use pre-made design templates that require no creative efforts. Just insert the text and branding elements (product images, logo, etc.) in the placeholders and you are good to go live. If you need more creative freedom then design your business site from the scratch with easy editing tools and zero-coding.
Some providers offer you free site-building tools while others charge extra for it. What’s most important is the professional appeal and looks of the site. So, assess the quality of the site builder and the different design tools it is equipped with. Does it offer you enough creative controls to give a polished look to your business site? Are you able to fully customize the visual components to give it a branded appeal? How does the outcome look like- a raw DIY project or a branded business site? All these factors play a vital role in leaving the right impression on your targeted audience.
When you start an e-commerce site, it is very important to deliver a high quality experience to your visitors. While design and interaction matter a lot, the basic experience-builders like speed and performance are the building blocks of user experience that you cannot afford to ignore. You can achieve this by investing in the most suitable hosting for ecommerce site that meets the expectations of your visitors. An ideal hosting provider should be able to answer all your key web hosting queries and provides essential tips. In this post we mentioned some tips to find right hosting company for your ecommerce sites.