“12 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Website Host”
The Naked Facts of Internet Host Site
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Many business owners sooner or later will begin looking for a Host Site on the Web to assist them in setting up their company’s “Web Presence.” This can be a very pleasant experience IF certain “due diligence” items are done BEFORE any commitments are made, or monies are paid. Many small and medium sized businesses, as well as home-based businesses, are looking for a Host Site that will act like the Captain of their Starship and “make it so!” That is, they want someone they can trust and that is competent to take them by the hand (figuratively speaking) and create a website for them that is not only effective and looks attractive, but most importantly, that will achieve the goals that they have for the site – be it new leads, sales, or a place to disseminate information to their clients. Additionally, they do not want to pay any more than is reasonable and necessary for these services.
There are a number of things you can do before deciding on which company or Host Site to use for this purpose, but remember this: they will ALL most likely tell you that they offer great service, that they are the best, that they get tons of traffic etc. etc. You would be wise to NOT take everyone at face value unless you want to set yourself up for a possible expensive disappointment. YOU are the one that will be responsible for checking them out FIRST and, after doing your “due diligence,” decide whether or not to do business with that company.
The following is a suggested check list of things to look into, questions to ask, and considerations that will help you have a better shot at signing up with the right Host Site for YOUR needs:
1) If you can, first try to get referrals from people you know and trust that are currently using a Host Site and are satisfied with the service provided, and the results achieved.
2) Ask questions! Don’t be shy in this department. Any ethical, honest and professional Host Site will not mind answering your questions.
3) Ask for AT LEAST 3-5 references from clients that have been doing business with them for more than just a couple of months. Then CONTACT those clients and ask them about the results, responsiveness, service, honesty, integrity, etc. that they have experienced in their dealings with said company. You should get as much input as possible. If you contact a number of client references, you stand a much better chance of getting a clearer picture of how that particular company operates overall.
It is important to remember that the Internet is home not only to many fine companies and Host Sites, but unfortunately a great many fly-by-night operators, dishonest companies and outright frauds. Due to the fact that “Internet Law” is still being developed and tested, there are a great number of “gray” areas. Unethical companies know what, and where, these areas are and use them to your disadvantage, and can take you to the cleaners. You have very little, if any, recourse.
4) Find out about response time and resolution time to problems the clients may have had. This can be a very good indicator of how much or how little the company cares about their clients after setting up their website. All sites will experience problems at one time or another, but how fast and how honestly they deal with them is a prime indicator of their integrity.
A good example is WebHostingHub’s customer support department. According to WebHostingBillboarders, their staff is friendly and supportive despite being bombarded with questions! Their support team is available 24/7. That’s a very good example of a reliable web hosting company.
5) Compare rates for services. Don’t go cheap! But don’t lose your shirt either. Already Hosted reviews the top 10 affordable web hosting services. In this business, you can get great service at affordable rates by people that not only care about their clients, but know how to accomplish the various things necessary to assist their clients in getting results without draining your bank account. You just need to find the right company.
If you can find a company like iPage (see hosting review) that can give you a money back guarantee anytime, so much the better! Most hosting companies offer a 60-day money back guarantee. Do your research, it can save you a lot of money in the future.
Another similar company is Host Clear. An analysis of Host Clear shows that they advertise around $6/month but regularly offer discounts for as much as 50% off! Now that’s affordable indeed.
6) Check on the type and size of connections to the Internet used by the company’s Web server(s). You want one that utilizes redundant carrier “pipes” to the Net if at all possible. Additionally, one that has a backup generator and a UPS system if at all possible.
7) If you have an idea of some of the features you want or need to incorporate into your Website, either now or later, make sure that the company can and will provide them, or assist you in getting them.
8) TALK to whoever you will be dealing with. Sure, you can use email for most things, but NOTHING will ever replace a personal relationship and, at least in the beginning, it will be much easier for you to establish a relationship, as well as get a feel for the person if you can either meet them in person or talk to them on the phone. This should not be a substitute for the other things mentioned above unless you get a reference from someone you trust implicitly.
9) Check into how many clients the site deals with and how long they have been doing business on the Internet. You can also check with one of the organizations that track scams on the Internet to see if the company has been reported as being unethical in the past. Remember though that many people do post bogus “scam” reports on the net out of anger, mischievousness, or by their competitors.
10) Check on the variety and quality of web design featured on the company’s site. Does it look good? Did it take forever to load on your browser? Is the spelling on client’s pages correct? Are all images showing up? Do you see any random “code” (you should not see any). These are some of the types of things that can indicate whether or not the Webmaster is concerned not only with their own image, but more importantly, with yours. Again, contacting a number of their clients can be most illuminating.
11) How fast does the company itself respond to your inquiries? Check them out via email and telephone – this can be crucial if you decide to do business with them.
12) Analyze the company’s own website. Does it have most of the information you need already on it? Does it answer most of your questions? Is it user friendly?
As a final thought, don’t fall in love with “cool” graphics or whiz-bang special effects. While these all have their place, it is best to have them used judiciously as many Internet “surfers” are bored by many of the effects that in the past were new and a novelty.
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