When you create a small business there is a certain roadmap you need to follow. A business plan of sorts that may include: mission statement, performance objectives: product procurement, financial stability, customer base and marketing and advertising. Before the computer age was established, a small business owner need not worry about a web presence on the Internet. In the 21st century things are just a bit different. The business plan will look the same except some where in that plan has to be a Website and Website hosting plan.
We can split websites into three different kinds:
- Personal or Small Business WebPages sometimes called Homepages
- Dot commerce better know as E-Commerce
- Information websites.
Select your website host via online comparison. Get everything you need into a contract and pay the host. In that contract you need to make some decision as to how much web space you need. Many times if you tell the web host what your business is about and how much you expect to earn; they will be able to help you select the best plan. Don’t let them try and sell you products and services you don’t need. As your business grows then you can reneogoiate a different contact for added services and web space.
Criteria for negotiating a small business web provider.
If you don’t need a Limitless space contract don’t get one. The provider will get you to agree to an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) or in web terminology it just called ‘The policy’. This policy is an agreement on your part to use the web space you are renting, in a manner befitting its intended purpose. Once ‘the policy’ is in place, ask for an upgrade policy in case business starts booming and you need more products or services from your provider.
Setup rates or fees: Some web hosting companies will ‘conveniently’ forget to tell you about the set up fee they charge to get the ball rolling. Bring this subject up before any contract is signed.
Will there be POP (Post Office Protocol) email access? Make sure you can get your mail from any Internet provider not just the host’s preference.
What about the parameters on monthly web traffic. Find out what the hosts restrictions are before you sign on.
Customer Service and Support: As little as possible downtime and ask them how long it will take to repair any web issues. Are they a 24/7 provider or are they an 8 to 5 Monday thru Friday set up.
Do you get a control panel? For the seasoned webmaster, control panels aren’t needed but, the small business owner just getting started should demand one.
What kind of uptime guarantees do they have? If it is not 99.5% or higher get someone else.
If your potential website provider doesn’t answer all your questions or you just have ‘that gut feeling’ about them; start thinking about another provider. Start talking to other small business owners; see who they have as a provider. Are they happy with the service? How long have they been with them? Find out who they would go with if they had to do it again. Then go talk to those guys.
If you’re a business owner, small or large, the importance of a finding the right web hosting provider cannot be stressed enough. So, do make sure to find the right provider to go with.