If you have a business in this day and age, then you need a website to go with it. Having a space online for your customers to visit allows for easy access to information. It gives them the opportunity to find out what you offer and why they should be using your business for their needs, whatever they may be.

Getting your business online also opens up greats advertising avenues. Take social media for example, it’s estimated that over 2.77 billion people actively spend time on the likes of Facebook and Instagram. Just imagine how many more people you’d reach, if you could tap into an audience of that size. Getting your business online and into the realms of social media may be difference between a mediocre business and one that’s booming.


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What is a website host?

A website host is an organisation that allows people to access your site on the web. Website hosts provide you with space on their server for a moderate fee, which often includes an email address, site backups and a support service to help you keep your site running efficiently.

Choosing the right website host for you is extremely important, as it determines how good the user experience of your site is. A poor service can have a detrimental effect on your business, as customers are easily put off by slow running sites and sites that are down more than they are active.

An effective site makes the user’s experience simple, which means they’re more likely to use your business again and to recommend it to others.


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Checklist – what makes makes the perfect website host?

The first thing you need to do when you are searching for a website host is to make a list of all of the top competitors. Draw up a quick comparison; what do they offer? How much is it going to cost? Read the small print, are there any hidden costs? This will help you narrow down your search a little, allowing you to get into the finer points of the companies that you are interested in using.


Location –

Finding hosting in the right location is very important when it comes to choosing who will host your website. Hosts that use UK/Europe data delivery will operate much quicker than those that are based in other areas. Website speed is paramount when your intention is to run a successful online business, so location is worth keeping in mind when you make your final decision.

It’s also a good idea to use a host that operates in the same time zone as yourself. That way, any communication can be made quickly and easily, without lengthy time delays due to area.


Support –

Websites are pretty amazing things, when they are running correctly. Like anything else though, there are times when there are problems that are beyond your control. When this happens you need to know that the support from your website host is easy to access and that they’ll get you back up and running as soon as possible. After all, all the time your site is down, you are losing business.

Look for a host that has a twenty four hour live chat service, that way you can be reassured that they’re working on the issue in hand. It’s also a good idea to make sure they have an accessible telephone service. The easier it is to contact their support team, the better. 


Data backup –

As you build your site, you’ll find that there are so many modifications and alterations that you can make. The beauty of having your own website, is that you can design it just perfectly to suit yourself and your business. The problem with being able to make so many changes though, is that sometimes it can go wrong. When it comes to websites, it’s easy to make a simple mistake that can have big consequences.

This is why you should choose a website host that backs up your site at regular intervals. The more backups they have, the quicker they can get you back in business.


Security –

Internet security is a huge concern for any website owner. So before you choose your new website host, you should check out what site security they offer. Do they automatically update your site? This makes sure the security measures you do have in place are kept running as they should. Do they offer firewall protection? This will repel any unwanted users that are heading to your site. Make sure you have as much security in place as possible, protecting your site is protecting your business.


Speed –

Put simply, the faster your website runs, the better. A fast running site means you’re likely to get more traffic. It means that customers are more likely to stick around and that means it’s probable that your business will make more money. Speed is also a factor when it comes to website ranking, so make sure your host offers the quickest possible speed. Google recommends a server response time of under 200ms, anything above this and it could negatively affect your site. There’s more information on website speed tests here.


Customer reviews –

Reviews from existing customers are a good way to gauge whether a website host is up to scratch. Real life experiences of the good, the bad and the ugly provide a rounded view of the quality of such services. It’s important to remember that each individual has different requirements, so experiences will differ according to their needs. Having said that, you can usually get a good feel for a company by reading a handful of genuine reviews.


Expert reviews –

Recommendations of website hosts written by the experts are an excellent resource when you’re looking into a hosting service. These are often impartial reviews that seek to highlight what’s good and what’s not about each service. Experts often pick up on things that others miss too, so if something is too good to be true, here’s where you’ll find out.

Finding the right website host for you doesn’t have to be difficult, but you should follow these steps to make sure you’re investing in the right company.