This is a guest post from Claire Broadley.
Setting up a website can be a challenge, and choosing the right business web hosting is just part of the puzzle – particularly when there are so many different web hosting companies to choose from.
In order to select the right service for your business, you’ll need to carefully assess your requirements before you start paying for a host.
1. What’s Your Budget?
Although you can obtain hosting space on almost any budget, it’s a good idea to have a firm grip on the amount you plan to spend.
If you’re not sure what to set aside for your website hosting, go for a shared hosting plan that will provide you with unlimited bandwidth and disk space. Over time, you might want to upgrade your hosting to a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server, but low-cost shared hosting is a good bet if you’re on a budget.
2. Do You Have Any Design & Development Resources?
Who will be creating your website? Do you have a dedicated web developer resource, or will you be designing and creating the site yourself?
The way you set up the site will determine the investment of time required to get it to a professional standard.
Rather than cutting corners to save time, choose a hosting plan that supports your method of creation. For example, if you don’t have the money to hire a developer, pick out a host that provides all customers with a free site builder tool. You should be able to set up a reasonably good web presence in a couple of days with a site builder.
3. Have You Checked The Host’s Reputation?
Have you checked your host’s reviews and ratings? With so many hosts on the market, customers are spoilt for choice, so it makes sense to choose the very best host in your price band.
Hosting review sites offer detailed ratings about web hosts, including impartial assessments of performance, any guarantees they offer, and the quality of their hosting plans. Once you know your own requirements, it makes sense to check a host review website to make sure you’re making the right choice.
4. How Much Content Do You Need?
Once your site is up and running, you’ll need to populate it with content. As well as the static pages, it’s a good idea to regularly post fresh content on a blog.
Even if you don’t have the time or money to start a blog now, you should aim to accommodate a blog later on as your site grows and matures.
Most hosts offer free blogging software as a one-click installer, but you’ll need to plan ahead and incorporate your blog into the overall strategy for your site. Don’t forget the factor in the cost of producing content on a regular basis.
5. Do You Have Analytics?
When setting up a website, there are various analytics and statistics tools you can use, including Google Analytics.
Many web hosts also offer additional analytics tools, such as AWStats, which can help you to get a rounded view of your visitor behaviour.
Don’t forget: once you’ve set up a website, it can be difficult (sometimes impossible) to cancel your package or move your site to a new host. Making the right choice now will save you a lot of time and money later.