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Thinking of Going Self-Hosted? Follow this Checklist to find the Perfect Host!

Thinking of Going Self-Hosted? Follow this Checklist to find the Perfect Host!

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.


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Three Reasons your Small Business Should have a Website

Three Reasons your Small Business Should have a Website

In this day and age, the internet is the hub of all information. Wherever you turn, there are people on their smart phones and tablets, constantly searching the web. Social media is huge now too and it’s uncommon for people not to have a profile on at least on at least one of the major platforms. That’s why, whether you’ve had your small business for some time, or if you’re just in the process of setting one up. You really should put a great deal of thought into creating a website to go with it.

In this technological age, if you don’t have a website for your business you’re sure to miss out on so many perks it can offer. If you take a look around you, you’ll notice that all successful business have a strong web presence and there’s no reason why you can’t achieve that too. If you don’t feel like you’re able to put together your own website, you could always hire someone to help you set one up. You have to speculate to accumulate and building a website is always going to be a beneficial business expense.

Here are three reasons why your small business should have a website;

A web presence allows you to reach a wider audience –

One of the main reasons why your should have a website, including mobile websites, is that it will allow you to reach a wider audience. Traditional ways of drumming up business, such as dropping leaflets and word of mouth are always a good help, but you definitely won’t be able to reach as big an audience as you can over the web!

A web presence allows you to use social media to promote your services –

A huge benefit to having a website is that you can also build up a social media presence alongside it. So many people use social media these day and so it’s a sure-fire way to get the word out to even more people. Social media is a great way to promote your services too. You could run giveaways to get more people involved, therefore raising awareness of your brand. You could also run advertisements that are directed at a target audience. Social media is an excellent pathway to growing your business even further!

A web presence allows potential customers to research the services you offer, quickly and easily –

These days, if anyone wants to know anything, their first port of call is often the web. Using search engines to find information quickly and easily makes life much simpler for everyone. So having a website that people are able to search for, to find the information that they are looking for, is essential for grabbing the attention of potential customers. Spend some time making sure your website is user friendly and make sure it contains all of the vital information regarding your brand. This is sure to please your audience and help your build up a hefty client base!


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*This is a collaborative post. 

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5 Ways To Get More Free Samples Of Everything

5 Ways To Get More Free Samples Of Everything

Bargain hunters can’t get enough of free stuff. Nothing compares to the joy of getting a free sample in the mail or having the chance to try something free of charge in the store. But is there any way to make this happen more regularly for thrifty shoppers? The following are five tips to help you get more free samples of virtually everything!

  1. Contact Companies Directly

You might be surprised at how quickly companies oblige to requests from consumers asking for free samples. And if you think you’d have to do a lot and wait an extended period, you’d be wrong. You only have to contact the company directly and ask!

For the longest time, companies have sent out free samples as a means of boosting their sales. This presents a win-win situation for both parties involved. Consumers get to check out a product for free, allowing them to save money on something which they may not have a use for. Companies meanwhile, can rake in huge profits if those who received samples turn into brand advocates.

Go ahead and write your letter. You can even send an email or place a phone call. Just let them know you want free samples and the next thing you know, the company will be delivering their products right on your doorstep.

  1. Connect On Social Media

What business doesn’t leverage social media websites these days? These online platforms have proven to be an excellent marketing tool, allowing businesses to connect with their customers on a more personal level. As a consumer, you just have to look for your favourite companies, like their page, and interact with the rest of the community.

It’s common for companies to hold contests such as giveaways or raffles. In most cases, you will have to share user-generated content, leave a comment, or another form of interaction on their page. There are also companies who give free samples of their products in exchange for a genuine review which you have to post on your blog or upload to YouTube.

  1. Browse Freebie Websites

Yes, there are websites where you can find free samples and all sorts of other perks! However, you must practice caution when using these websites. Not all of them are legitimate. Watch out for any website that asks for personal information before giving away samples. In most cases, you won’t even get the promised product after providing the information they requested.

You may also want to read online reviews first. This allows you to weed out the bad sites from the ones you can trust. One example of a great site is WOW FreeStuff, where you can get free coupons, products, and other offers. Other popular freebie websites include Gumtree and Offer Oasis. Always remember not to give your bank or credit card details.

  1. Watch Out For Sampling Events

Many people think that they can only get free samples from online channels. In-store deals however, can still be had to this day. You only have to quick and resourceful to be one of the few people to get free samples. Companies may organise sampling events from time to time. Be sure to keep posted about their schedule. Some even conduct freebie events weekly or monthly. This is your chance to get a hold of their products without spending a penny.

During sampling events, consumers will have the chance to get free samples of the latest products from the company. Product demonstrations are also common in these events, enticing prospective customers to make a purchase.

  1. Subscribe To Email Lists

Coupons are everywhere! But as you may know, companies tend to limit the number of coupons they give away to customers. Many send out free coupons via email marketing campaigns. For this reason, make sure you join the email list of your favourite companies. You never know when they’ll send a message to your inbox that points to a free coupon!

Sometimes, companies go the extra mile, giving you freebies on your birthday or even your sign-up anniversary! If you think this will only turn your email inbox into a mess, then consider creating a new email account just for this purpose.

It’s always exciting to get new products from your favourite brands for free. But you still need to put in some work to get free samples. Make sure you follow the tips mentioned above to receive more free samples of pretty much anything under the sun!


*This post was written in collaboration with

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