Finding the right web hosting company for your small business can be a daunting task. A simple internet search can reveal 1,000's of service providers offering to provide you small business web hosting.
If you are a successful small business owner, you don't have time to compare and evaluate all of your choices. This article will give you a way to quickly identify if a hosting provider will fit you small business web hosting needs.
Choose Your Platform
If you are a developer yourself or if you have a website you are transferring over, make sure you find a provider with the right capabilities. A Microsoft based site will not function properly on a LINUX server. However, if you don't yet have a site built and are planning on hosting a very basic site, the hosting platform will make little difference.
Website Creator and Site Templates
If you don't have the knowledge to create your own website design and layout, don't worry. Most of the good web hosting companies have fantastic tools available that allow you to simply choose a template and then drag and drop your content into place. These WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editors can save a small business owner days in frustrating web design.
If you can't do web design, make it a priority to find a provider that provides plenty of pre-built website templates (at least 500) and an easy editor. Most web hosting companies that provide these tools allow you to see a demo before you commit to buy. Try it out and make sure it will work for you.
Many small businesses overlook the importance of robust database capabilities in their small business web hosting providers. This can be a major mistake. Even if you don't plan on programming any database functionality into your website, many built in forms and email applications utilize these databases to function properly.
If you plan in doing any sort of lead capture and follow up system on your website (and you should) make sure your small business hosting provider provides either MySQL or standard SQL.
Free Domain Names
If you're creating a website, you need at least one good domain name. These can run between eight and twelve dollars a year. The top small business web hosting companies pay this fee for you as long as you are their customer. In fact, some of them provide you with three ( you should always have your website registered 3 times under .com, .net and .biz).
Marketing Support and PPC Credit
If you're looking for small business web hosting, it means you need to promote your company. The top web hosting providers not only furnish you with design tools, but they also provide credit to use with the top PPC (pay per click) and other online marketing programs.
Don't overlook this. If you're paying $10 a month for your site and are getting over $300 in marketing expenses paid for, it can pay for the cost of your website many times over!
There are many factors to consider when choosing a small business web hosting provider. This article has highlighted the top priorities, but we have also created a website that evaluates the pros and cons of the top small business web hosting companies (See the resource box / about me section for a link). I invite you to use that site as you evaluate your next steps.
As a website developer and consultant, Brian Anthony has extensively evaluated the majority of web hosting alternatives for small businesses. He passes that information on to his clients and provides in-depth reviews for small business web hosting here.