How Website Hosting Services Provide Growth Hacks For Online Success
As we progress into the 21st century, the number of active websites globally has grown to billions of sites worldwide! The support for active websites has come from improvements with infrastructures, expansions to protocols, a globally phenomenon that is breaking down barriers to knowledge, and international commerce.
The barriers to entry for building a website are now negligible from a financial point of view thanks to open source software such as WordPress. This particular open source software version of wordpress requires a host and is essentially a content management system that features many free starter theme templates with literally thousands of front-end designs as a result of creative communities far and wide. These website templates are the front-end foundations of our online presence and the designs are continually evolving.
A couple decades ago, building a website was much more complex requiring custom design inputs and a developer. Websites of those times were not cheap for individuals and small business. Such customized websites are still in practice, but it’s more common for very complex websites. Still, the costs and time to develop are much less because even customized websites still use software code that’s already written.
The long term costs of having an online presence come in the form of hosting services and the types of marketing strategies used. With marketing aside for this conversation, hosting is a very important resource to decide on, not for its costs but for its impactful . After a decade of learning about hosting services, we’d come to terms with what really matters in hosting services to provide pillars for growth hacks, and among these are one particular service provider that we envy the most!
Website Hosting Team Support
When it comes to websites, you may be a business owner that inputs front end content on a website or you may be technically savy to the point where you design and operates websites. Regardless of your capabilities, if you are running your website through a hosting service, then there will be times when you need help solving problems with technical or functional aspects between your website files and the hosting service. This is because a healthy website is never an asset that is build once and renovated in 10 years. It is an asset that is dynamic and ever changing with improvements and adoption to market needs. That said, you will need help with problems from your hosting service from time to time.
A technical problem could be a highjacked domain, data migration constraints or something completely baffling, technical speaking. On the other hand, function problems also arise. This could relate to slowing performance from cpu capacity or limitations on additional websites; maybe your business exceeds your current subscription and you need a solution for the next phase of business growth.
You want to be able to solve these problems fast. Surprisingly, some services can leave you hanging for days and weeks around solutions. Some hosting services may state 24/7 support, but, you may only get access to a general admin representative that can only answer very general function questions. In Contrast, some services will give you access to a range of specialists from product solutions to technical support.
Quality of support matters a lot and you should be able to communicate with programmer level people to solve technical problems. When you cannot access true technical support, you are essentially accessing administrative or sales support; normally you can get those answers in a search bar.
A good hosting service should be able to provide both technical and functional support 24/7. With such support, it also indicates that the service company is also very innovative. This enables more swift problem solving and as a result can provide feedback loops into its services for continuous improvement. Your host is more that a service behind the scenes – It’s often a voice presenting knowledge and solutions.
Hosting Services: Advancing Technologies
In thought of continuous improvement, technology is advancing at great rate of speed. For those keen on Math, Moor’s law is now being challenged with Neven’s law. This means we can expect greater magnitudes of improvements each year with anything associated to online technologies.
The entire ecosystem of data has been adopting new business models that offer greater benefits across the value chains. This could impact the future performance of your website data, the benefits in reaching your audience and the storage of your data.
A good hosting service today has an innovative culture and is actively applying the best of technology communities of practice that will pass the benefits to you. When you are researching a hosting service, look to past news on updates and compare to latest updates and advances in technologies. A track record of keeping up with technology advancements such as blockchain and others are good indications that the service is both capable and progressive when it comes to innovations that pass benefits to its users.
Domains and Website Builder Platforms
In order to build and operate a website capable of good results, there are essentials to tie the system together as a complete package.
To begin, let’s consider the domain. The domain is not always a game changer in the creation of a website, but, the name itself can have many benefits. A domain name can support the vision for a product brand, business or other forms of needs such as online communities.
In itself, a domain name does not provide intellectual protection but it does provide marketing advantages. With a domain, it’s important to be careful where you source the name from. The last thing you want to buy a domain from a source and discover that it’s fake. The market demand for domains are attractive enough to invite scams that alter letters of domain names to capture you in a sale.
For instance, although there are several non-latin domain name characters approved by Internet authorities, these scams can mirror existing and active domains with special characters and successfully sell the domains online. To avoid, this, you can verify trust factors such as brand reputation and even verifying the spelling of the domain of your service provider.
Another important part to building your website is access to website applications with starter themes. Popular application examples are WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. Once you upload such applications, you can take advantage of pre-installed basic themes and then get started and advance your content and features. If you are new to websites, these platforms are designed with content management systems that are as easy as creating a word document.
Quick access to these website builders have great value to online success. This is because your website is an evolving process of building content and learning how to optimize your offering to go from capturing attention with competing content to providing benefits (conversions) to your audiences. It’s also a means to quickly test out ideas within markets. The process of validation is best done by getting to market as fast as possible. You do not want to be in a position where you are taking a long time to complete this step. Furthermore, depending on your websites purpose, having access to a range of website platforms as above can enable you to test out systems and quickly compare what’s best for you in the long term.
By comparison, some services may only offer hosting. This means you will need foundations of an application created ahead of time. Then, you would migrate the application to your hosting provider that support the application source; and then go live. In this case, you need more technical experience and or access to a developer. In contrast, access to domains and website applications within your hosting removes risks and saves valuable time.
Website Backup Solutions
Once you have a website application activated and published you will need to maintain it. In the process of website operations you may have your site in maintenance mode while working on theme changes. Many times, you would be adding fresh content to the front end; written and visual. Other times you may be working on adding feature to the theme to greater user experiences.
When doing this work, it’s very important to be able to easily backup your work. Some services allow you to backup your site within a click at any time. Other services may only backup your work once a day unless your service package is more advanced. But, many good hosts enable both automatic and manual backups anytime. There may be limitations on the amount of backups, but, being able to backup your data anytime is highly beneficial to operating a website. Manual backups are used in many cases.
For example, you may have a complex site where you update themes or plugins manually. Before you update, it’s good practice to do a manual backup. In case of a problem you can quickly revert to your backup while troubleshooting. Also, if you are working with developers and want to advance your website application, either yourself or your developer can create a manual backup before any work is carried out. You may also wish to move a backup copy to a personal external drive as an additional layer of risk management. As a benefit to hosting services, we prefer to have control of manual and automatic backups.
Website Security: Files and Networks
Website security needs to be managed with regards to spam and hackers to protect your content and users information before traffic requests your content and during the times when traffic can access your site; your website files. At the application level, you can to take steps to reduce bad actors from messing with your website.
One of the simplest important tools for security is your backups! If an intrusion does occur and messes around with your code, reverting to a backup copy such as the previous day is always useful. Backups are also useful as a solution when problems occur by mistake in code. You always want to be able to take a step back when needed.
Next, would be your type of domain. The common “https” versus “http” is part of a newer protocol with more secure benefits. Additionally, when you setup a website, there is a term called DNS; domain name system. This converts your domain name into the addresses used in requests on the Internet. If you type a website domain or click on a search, that then correlates to the DNS. This acts as a gateway to access your website files and eventually its visual information.
Moreover, DNS can be positioned outside of the actual website files itself. An example would be a cloud architecture that act as a firewall with a range of security settings. The requests would first enter this layer to stop malicious programs or wasteful bots from using up your bandwidth and or causing problems with your actual application files.
Globally, there’s a large community of security teams that collaborate on new security problems. A good hosting provider will be up to date on new security needs and have a system of preventative maintenance for website security within its hosting servers and nearby architectures. Further, top hosting providers will offer solutions for all the above in terms of security and be able to resolve problems for you quickly within its team technical support. When it comes to security, great hosting services can apply all the above.
What is Your Website Uptime
Your website is only useful when its accessible. Unless you really pay attention, you may not be aware of how much downtime a service provider has per year. Surprisingly a hosting provider could have downtimes weekly depending on its technologies, team skills and ability to prevent and solve problems.
Some service providers have uptimes of over 99% or 4 hours per year while others can have downtimes of 30 min weekly or about 48 hours per year. Personally, we noticed the productivity impacts on the later. Uptime facts are directly correlated to your success. Do your research and get these facts when seeking out a hosting service provider.
Shared and Dedicated Hosting
If you are building a website presence for the first time and anticipate your website traffic to be below 20K users per month, a shared hosting service should be just fine. A shared hosting simply is a server that share the needs of multiple website file requests from various clients (owners sites). Shared hosting servers are designed so that it maintains performance for the file size and requests of a website. As you add more content to your website with more traffic requests to see your website, your file storage and bandwidth usage grows until eventually your site slows down when it runs out of resources. Usually, you can upgrade to buy more resources on a shared server.
And then, sometimes website performance may slow down if suddenly requests are made for many of the websites at one time. If these peaks have great impacts on business, then an owner may decide to try a dedicated server. A dedicated server enables you to have you own dedicated server. With this type of system, you can have more control on predictive performance with regards to your file sizes and market demand, and optimize your website for best conversions.
As a means to technical capacity and innovation, a great hosting service will offer both shared and dedicated hosting with varied capacity packages to accommodate different forms of website traffic and content growth.
Sites and Traffic Limitations
Website growth in traffic is not always a zero to sixty in five seconds result. Often, website traffic growth starts off slow as bots begin to cache content and pages get optimized for organic traffic and user retention. And then, traffic limitations on servers become an important factor once a website takes flight from growing popularity.
Just as some service packages are limited to file sizes, many hosting providers will have caps on how many users per month it allows. When you are choosing a hosting service, it’s good to know what these caps are on traffic in addition to file size and bandwidth so you can anticipate strategies for growth. If you are an owner with big market penetration goals, you’ll want to make sure your hosting can provide you with solutions that meet your traffic targets at different stages of growth.
Hosting Service that Over Delivers
We’ve tried a handful of hosting providers over the last decade. Of those, many were good; one stands out as great. Among these services, some focused specifically on applications such as WordPress while others offered more widespread solutions. Service prices varied by multiples of 2 or 3 times.
We conclude that high price does not always correlate to better solutions for your hosting needs. Some high price providers did not offer in-house backups and its third party solutions offered a once daily backup and would not allow customization. Yet, another provider more or less leased you access to an application within its servers; a important topic if having ownership and full control of your website application is important. We like to be able to mess around with our code to its full capacity. But, we also understand that less is more for some business strategies.
Furthermore, a specialist host can be focussed on markets (online business owners) that are less hands on and knowledgeable or quite the opposite. For the less hands on approach, if there are bundled products like server and application, the products tend to be less friendly to organic growth and build more for push marketing; social media and cost per click strategies.
When hosting providers tend to be specialized and require more hands on knowledge, we found that the service provider was indeed great all around with providing hosting service. It would tick the box on most of our requirements of a great hosting platform. However, when operating a website or a group of sites having access to a broader range of products and services comes in handy. For example, widespread products providers often allow multiple site installs per package with WordPress installs while specialized sites only allow one install per package and you need to migrate your website application / theme to its server. So, if you want to build new online websites fast to validate ideas or such, a more broad based hosting service can be a better choice!
What we learned most from building websites over time was that a great hosting provider did not need to be extremely focused in one area, Instead, it needs to have widespread solutions for all stages of development. It also needs to bundle solutions from domains and backups to bandwidth and file space and so on as your needs change.
The more successful you become in solving problems for markets online, the more you understand the need to test and validate new strategies continuously. This is where access to applications and control over its code is invaluable. Along the way, you also realize that a good hosting provider is truly comes in the form of a team. At one point in time, your host helps you solve problems; in the form of technical problems and sometime with business solutions like building a complex products site.
To this, after trying a wide range of hosting services, we reverted back to one provider, GoDaddy. Over time, the services of GoDaddy were above and beyond in our experiences. Having this service was like having an extended team to solve problems and build market solutions 24/7. Overall, we found its technology always on track to the best evolving tech in the market and we could always find the best products for current needs from testing new brands to growing a mature business. Godaddy ticks all the boxes in what we consider essential to a great hosting service and ecommerce growth productivity!