By now I’m sure you know how important your choice of web hosting company is to your business. But just in case you don’t, let’s review. At first glance, cheap web hosting may seem like a pretty good deal. Who doesn’t want to save money? However, there are some areas in which you, as an online business owner, just can’t afford to cut corners. Would you put water in the gas tank of your car just to save money? Choose a cheap web hosting company and you are doing exactly that. While you can cut corners in other areas of your business, your web hosting company is not where you want to do this, if only for one simple reason: with free or cheap web hosting companies, you are little more than a number, just another website.
Let’s take a look at how cheap or free web hosting companies make their money and how they do business. First, how can they offer such cheap prices? Or even free web hosting? There is only one answer: volume. They host thousands of websites, some smaller, some larger than yours. Do you think that in hosting thousands of websites, they can give you the personalized service that you deserve? Let me answer that one for you: they simply cannot. Why? Because the number of sites hosted, coupled with the low pricing simply makes it an infeasible business practice. Practically speaking, from a business standpoint, they cannot do this. It would not make sense to their bottom line. Second, large web hosting companies generally run lean and mean. That is, in business 101, they do more with less. They are not going to provide more people to service more customers when they can do the same job with less. Granted, customer service will suffer. But to them, this is a tradeoff that they make up for with volume.
Now let’s look at things from your point of view (an online business owner). You already know that time is money. You have probably already figured out that, sadly, time is not on your side. Thus, every time your site is down you are losing money. Even 5 minutes is too long for your site to be inaccessible to visitors (potential customers). Online business runs 24/7. Does your web hosting company understand that? More importantly, when you have a problem, is your business “just another website” to them? Or will they take personal ownership of the problem and solve it as soon as possible? What about follow up? Are you just another website in the heap? Or will they follow up with you to make sure that you are a satisfied customer and your site is running smoothly? Better yet, will they follow up personally, via phone call? Or will they just send an email – an automated one at that?
Many Internet business owners make the mistake of choosing a cheap web hosting company, thinking that it will help save them money. Often, it costs them more in the long run in the form of downtime, time spent waiting for answers from the hosting company and lost customers. Below are 6 tips that should tell you if you are “just another website” to your web hosting company:
* Time – Does your web hosting company have an “open door policy”? If you have a question, Will they have the answer or will they refer you to their Help Page URL? As an online business owner, there is nothing more frustrating than calling the web hosting company for help and then being told to go to a URL for help. If your web hosting company does this to you, then you are just a number to them.
* Accessibility – Is your web hosting company answering the phone promptly? When they do, who is it? Sales? This is a big tip-off. A web hosting company that really knows you and cares about your business won’t automatically try to sell you something and they won’t hide behind an answering machine or salesperson. A cheap web hosting company definitely won’t know you by name; they will know you by the domain that you have with them.
* Business Knowledge – Does your web hosting company know what your needs are as a website owner? Do they care? Are they hiring teenagers from the local high school to answer the phones (who can’t really help you)? Does your web hosting company have Internet Marketing experience? If you are with a cheap web hosting company, the answer is no, because they do their business by volume and can’t be focused on those kinds of issues. Kind of ironic, don’t you think, given the fact that you have a website in the first place due to the Internet?
* Advertising/Sales Tactics – As your business grows, how many services is your web hosting company trying to sell you? How many emails do they send you trying to get you to upgrade, pay upfront, etc, etc.? Better yet, how do they make their sales? I’ll tell you how: aggressive advertising and sales tactics. For a cheap web hosting company, it’s the only way, because it is all about the numbers. And you are one of them.
* Relationship-Driven – Does your web hosting company want a relationship with you or with your money? I bet by now you can guess the answer. The fact is, cheap web hosting companies make profits by increasing sales. If one customer leaves, so be it, because they have the volume to make that up. They really don’t have the time, resources or the inclination to really make sure they have a satisfied, long-term client in you.
* Patience – Lots of Internet business owners don’t know the ins and outs of web hosting. That’s understandable. When you talk to the sales department of your web hosting company do they use Plain English or “technospeak” that you don’t understand? Do they have the patience to explain everything to you? Or do they automatically assume that you should know and become more impatient the more questions you ask? To put is bluntly, do they make you feel stupid or dumb? If you are trying to give the web hosting company your business and they are making you feel stupid for asking questions, they may as well be saying “Next!” Why would they do this? Because your business is just another website to them. Generally, a business web hosting company that gives you personalized service, has answers to your questions (or ways of getting those answers) will serve your online business better. Having tons of options is fine, but even better is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that to your web hosting company, your business and its success is priority one.