8 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Business Website Hosting

When choosing a web hosting provider, you should carefully evaluate your options before making a final decision. This isn’t always easy, as there’s plenty of jargon to deal with, which can make it hard to determine whether you’re actually getting a good deal for the price you’ll be paying.

The good news is that with just a little bit of information, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls when comparing hosting providers. Here are some of the top mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not Paying Attention to Hidden Charges

Sometimes, there will be additional charges associated with a hosting service that aren’t always clear from the start. These can include VAT and setup costs, as well as domain transfer fees charged if you want to transfer your domain away to another registrar.

Bandwidth charges are another common hidden charge. Some hosting providers limit the amount of data your website can transfer in a month and charge you extra for any overage. Bandwidth limitations can be a problem if your website grows in popularity and starts receiving a lot more visitors, as you may end up having to pay a high amount for the transferred data.

Choosing a Hosting Service With a Lengthy Contract

Many web hosting providers give big discounts if you pay for several years of service when you sign up. Some may even require that you pay for at least one year of service in advance. Even though this can save you money over paying for a monthly subscription, it’s not really a good idea.

When you first get started with a hosting company, you don’t know what type of experience you’ll have with them in the future. If ever you’re dissatisfied with the service and want to switch providers, it might be difficult for you to get back any amount you’ve paid in advance.

Not Considering Technical Support

Selecting a hosting company that has top-notch technical support is crucial, especially if this is the first time you’re using a web host and running your own website. No matter how good your hosting company is, there is a high chance that you’ll run into some type of problem at one point and will require their assistance. When you need help, using a hosting company with a support department that is easy to reach and answers your questions quickly will make all the difference.

A hosting service that provides around the clock support by different methods, such as phone, email and live chat may cost a bit more than a similar service with less support. But if you have a question about one of your hosting plan’s features or something isn’t quite working right, you’ll quickly see the value of a hosting service which provides high-quality support to all of its customers.

Relying on Reviews Made by Affiliates

The best way to find out whether a hosting company actually provides good value for the money is to read some hosting reviews. The problem is that not all reviews are neutral and unbiased. If you come across a website that just reviews a few hosts, with all reviews being overly positive and having a link to the purchase page of the web host, it’s certainly a site operated by an affiliate that receives commissions for every new customer they refer to a host.

When reading hosting reviews, it’s a better idea to consult several different websites. This will give you a more unbiased look at various hosting companies, helping you understand what their strong and weak points are.

Choosing a Provider Solely Based on Price

It’s not a good idea to assume that all hosting services are the same and just choose the provider with the least expensive options. Also, the highest priced hosts aren’t necessarily the best either, as some providers sell basic hosting services at highly inflated prices. A better approach to choosing a host is to think about what your needs are and then compare various hosting plans from different providers, as well as read independent reviews to get an idea about the quality of each company.

Paying Additional Fees For Products and Services You Don’t Really Need

Many hosting companies try to “upsell” during the checkout process. Be careful to review each page before clicking on the “continue” button so that you don’t buy any products or services that you don’t really need.

Many of the products offered during the upsell phase are hyped up by the web host as being worth hundreds of dollars, but are actually of little value. For example, some hosting firms charge inflated costs for website templates or directory submission services that you can easily find for free elsewhere.

Not Thinking about Scalability

One of the troubles of starting a new website is that it’s difficult to know how much your site will grow in the future. While your current hosting package may meet your needs for now, this may not be the case a few months down the road. For this reason, it’s very important to select a hosting provider that offers a variety of services and makes it easy to upgrade if you need to.

Using the Same Company For Web Hosting and Domain Registration

It’s common for domain registrars to also provide hosting services, but their packages are often overpriced and offer only basic hosting features. Many hosting providers also make it a huge selling point to offer a free domain name when you sign up for their service. However, this isn’t a huge benefit, as domain names are quite inexpensive and you can easily buy one independently.

Another point to consider is that having your domain and hosting offered by the same company can make it harder to switch to a different provider in the future if your needs change or you’re not satisfied with the service.

Selecting a hosting provider for your business website is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. To increase the chances of selecting a web host that is right for you and avoiding problems, you should do your research beforehand to avoid making mistakes that could prove costly down the road.

Guest Author, Josh McAllister, is a freelance technology journalist with years of experience in the IT sector. He is passionate about helping small business owners understand how technology can save them time and money. Find him on Twitter @josh8mcallister

Simple Tips for Handling a Business Expansion

Running a small business is nice, but there comes a time when every business owner wants to expand their business into something bigger and better. However, there are certain pitfalls that make it really difficult for businesses to handle their growth, especially if the growth is a rapid one. With bigger business come bigger responsibilities, and your ability to delegate them properly to competent managers. This is why it’s important to have a strong plan in place before even thinking about business expansion, and this guide will help you find out some of the best tips you can apply to your business in order to grow it successfully.

Focus on the Customers

One of the most important things when it comes to expanding a business is to understand and keep up with current market trends. If you fail to satisfy some of the basic customer demands you will never be able to grow your business beyond a certain point. This is why it’s vital to know as much as possible about their potential demands, as well as what’s trending and what your customers might be after. Whether it’s great customer service or a competitive product that can match any other out there, you need to know what to focus on.

Plan Your Marketing Campaign in Advance

No small business has ever expanded into a large one without investing heavily in advertising their brand. However, many business owners make a mistake and don’t actually factor in how the marketing itself needs to change once you start expanding, which can lead to a total crackdown of your expansion efforts. This is why it’s important to plan your marketing campaign in advance and try to cover all stages of expansion and how your campaign is going to adapt to meet the demands of an expanding business.

Running a business today means being online, which further means that investing in SEO is clearly something you should consider if you’re planning to expand. More traffic means more conversions, which will not only increase your revenue – but also boost your reputation as a brand.

Identify New Groups of Consumers

Expansion basically means moving past your existing customer base and thinking about how to attract new customer groups to become loyal to your brand. To do this, you need to diversify your products and/or services to better match the new groups you’ve identified. If you manage to do that, while also retaining your existing customer base, you’ll effectively have multiple income streams which will push your business forward. It’s always best to design new products to match what’s trending right now, so it’s important to constantly analyze the market for opportunities if you’re to get an edge over your competitors.

Get a Bigger Office

If you’re caught by surprise by your sudden expansion and you’re all of the sudden in a dire need of getting a new office, you might lose valuable time and money at a point in time when you need to be focused on the expansion. That’s why it’s crucial for you to identify when the expansion is going to happen and expand your workspace beforehand. While you might love your small, sturdy office, it’s no place to be once you start growing. Companies like Pinkjunk Rubbish & Junk Removal Company, 1800 Got Junk, Junk King, and numerous others, can get rid of the extra stuff you no longer need and save you a ton of time when moving an office.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Social media is a powerful marketing tool today, one that’s also the best marketing platform for many consumer groups out there. Be super-active on social media channels that best fit your industry. So if you’re in the business of interior design – Pinterest and Instagram might be your best bet. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to social media promotions, so pay attention.

  • Always Reply to Comments – There’s nothing users hate more than their comment staying unnoticed, so have someone vigorously answer everything that needs answering on your channels.
  • Deal with Negative Feedback in Private – If a customer had a bad experience with your service or a product, the last thing you want is to start a discussion for all the public to see. It’s bad for business, so always try to contact the user privately and settle things over there.
  • Fresh Content – Try to actively post fresh content, as that’s one of the best ways to get you traffic and conversions, as well as affect your SEO efforts.

Conclusion

Many businesses in the past decade failed for the sole reason of being unprepared for their expansion. Every small business owner wants their business to expand, so the more you’re ready for it – the better chances you’ll have to stay ahead of the game. By following these tips you’ll have a greater understanding of what awaits you and how to tackle it if you wish to successfully grow your business.

Guest author, Chloe Smith, is a cycling enthusiast, business consultant, and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success.

3 Signs You Desperately Need Help With Your Business

Regardless of what kind of experience you have in the world of business, there will be times when you need a little outside assistance. There is no shame in this – it’s just part and parcel of the process of building an empire. But it is important to be able to recognise when you need help, and to have the strength of resolve to ask for that help at the right time, and from the right people. These in themselves are surprisingly tricky things to get right, and can take as much practice and devotion as any other aspect of business. The first step, of course, is to recognise when you need help in the first place.

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You Are Spending Too Much Time On Non-Essential Tasks

If you find that you are routinely spending a lot of your day to day time on non-essential tasks, then it might be worth getting someone to help you with those tasks. By non-essential here, we don’t mean that they are not important for the running of your business, but that they do not directly involve your service, or your relationship to your customer. For example, you might be running a law firm, in which case you want to spend as much time as possible actually helping your clients. In this case, you will probably want to outsource your marketing, as marketing for law firms can take up a lot of time and energy – which you could be spending on your clients.

Your Sales Are Dropping For No Apparent Reason

One of the most distressing things which can happen in business is when your sales are declining and you can’t even tell why. When this happens, it often has a way of causing a significant amount of despair, and it can be one of the quickest ways for entrepreneurs to become disillusioned with their own organizations. If this starts happening to your business, the first step is to consider getting a consultant on board. It might be that their expertise – or just the fact of having an extra pair of eyes – will help you to identify the inherent problems in your business. You can then face those problems head-on, and so get your business back on track in good time.

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You Have Had An Influx Of Customers

Or, it could be the exact opposite situation: having many customers come to you all at once. Whether it is the result of good marketing, or just chance, having a sudden influx of customers is good news, but also a potentially very stressful time for you and your business. If this happens, one of your main objectives will be to bring some people on board to help you patiently and politely deal with those extra customers. You really want to get this right – succeeding at a time like this is a sure sign of a business that will stay around for a long time yet.

Getting help with your business is often the most sensible approach to take, and there is real value in learning when to do so, and when you can cope on your own.

That Blogging Business: Being Bigger, Better & Bolder With Your Blog

The modern world is amazing. Years ago, not many people would be able to take their hobby, and transform it into a business. Yes, some people would take their passion for sport or writing to a professional level, but not everyone. But that’s to the internet, chasing after your dreams is more possible than ever. Some people do start a blog with the hopes of transforming it into a legitimate business, but a lot of people start out with a passion for their niche or the simple love of writing. If you were in the latter camp, but you want to think about making your blog a business, let’s take a look at how you can make that happen.

Growing Your Readership

The first thing you need to be able to do is think about growing your readership. Because if you want your blog to be a business, you need customers. And it’s going to be your readers that will become your customers, so you should start to think of them in that way. If you’re going to make some real money out of your blog, you need to grow your audience. To do that, you need to set some clear strategies to follow now and in the future.

Improving Your Content

At the same time, you should always be thinking about how you can push your content to the next level. If you’re serious about growing your audience, you need to make sure you can provide some value to your readers, and you can do that with great content. Whether you think of new and innovative ideas or try to come up with posts and topics that haven’t been covered before, you should find that better content will help to push your business forwards.

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Being Innovative With What You Offer

Sometimes, the thing that’s going to help to take your blog off as a business, is innovation. Just as in the business world, you need to be able to give your customers something different. See this as something additional to, or complementary to, the content you provide. Over time, you may want to create a product, until then, you may want to offer downloadable items that can add more value to their experience on your site.

Planning For Progression

You also need to be thinking ahead as much as possible. It’s important to know where you want to go in the future. For this, you may need additional funding from somewhere like businessloans.co or to even look into taking on staff. But it’s important that you’re able to think about where you want your business to be, in order to get it there.

Connecting With Clients

But your readers aren’t going to be the only customers you have; you’re also going to want to land advertising clients too. Although your readers can buy products from you, and drive things like your affiliate or media advertising revenue, advertisers can also contribute a large amount to your income. So you need to think about connecting with clients as entrepreneur.com shows us as early as you can, even if it’s just laying the foundation for future business.

4 Ways Management Can Use SMS to Optimize Workflow

SMS texting is a valuable tool to manage your HR team and optimize communication throughout your company. When you implement an SMS texting platform, you will see how text messaging boosts HR functions and makes communication easier. When you have a busy company, you’ll be able to send out meeting reminders to staff, let everyone know in an instant if you need to close, and even communicate to employees who are working off site with ease.

Send Out Meeting Reminders

In a busy company, it can be easy for your employees to get overwhelmed with the number of meetings being held. When you want to be sure that employees attend all necessary meetings, a quick text message reminds your employees that a meeting is about to occur. In addition, if you have an employee that has to attend specific trainings, you can keep them up to date using an SMS platform. You’ll be able to send out a reminder to specific employees about a training coming up and make sure that everyone has the trainings that they need.

Use SMS Texting for Emergencies

Text messaging boosts HR functions and allows you to reach all of your employees in an instant. Text messages are opened at a rate of more than 98%, which makes it clear that this is the best way to reach your staff in an emergency. If you have a security risk, a quick message sent out to your employees can let everyone know that they need to shelter in place. When you want to close for the day because of weather, you’ll be able to reach your employees fast before they leave for work in the morning.

Survey Employees to Make Your Business Stronger

You can send out a text message that includes a link to a survey to learn more about how satisfied your employees are. You can send out a text message after implementing a new strategy, asking your employees for feedback. When you want to know what your employees are thinking, a quick SMS survey can give you the answers you are looking for. When you aren’t sure if a new technique is working, just ask your employees and they will let you know.

Send Out Job Notifications Through Text Messaging

You can share job notifications with potential employees who have shown interest in your company through text messaging, or you can send out a message internally first. A text message can share a link to a new position you have open, and anyone that wants to consider the job can apply right through the link. It’s a great way to share internal job postings, as everyone will get the same access to the text message. When you use a job board website, anyone that signs up to receive text messages from your company will receive messages about new jobs.

Make Decisions Through Polling

When you have decisions to make for your company, send out a poll to your employees for input. For example, a quick survey to find out what your employees prefer for lunch at a training can make your employees feel taken care of. It’s easy to send out a quick text message, and it’s even easier for your employees to answer. While you can send out an email to poll your staff, text messages are read more quickly and more often.

Text messaging is an easy way to reach your employees and improve communication. Send out a quick survey, or let employees know about an upcoming training. Keep your employees informed through text messaging.

To learn more about how integrating an SMS software can improve HR communications, click here!

Author Biography:

Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.

 

Powerful Ways To Push Your Online Company Forward

Online businesses have become a huge part of today’s market, and running one successfully requires you to stand out from the ever-growing competition. With many businesses selling a similar product or service as you, you have to find what separates you from them and use it to attract customers. There are several ways to help you differentiate yourself from your competitors and expand your business, but it completely depends on the type of product or service that you’re selling. This guide was made to help you turn things around if your business is stagnating, or even if you’re just starting a new one.

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Get to Know Your Competition

Every successful business owner will be able to tell you their main competitors from the top of their head. To be able to know where you’re heading, you need to know what you’re up against. The reason for this is because you want to stand out. If your competitors are using certain keywords or slogans, you want to stay as far away as possible from those because it’s going to be bad for you and them both. Since building a brand requires you to stay unique, it’s always good to know what your competition is doing and do it better.

Invest in Your Customer Service

Getting an audience is a tough task when you’re just starting an online business. But that’s not where it ends, because now you have to retain the audience, and the best way to do that is to have a great customer support. Treat your customers better than your competitors and they’ll most probably remain loyal to your product or service. People often underestimate the power of reputation, and word of mouth advertising is actually a great way to build it. An honest recommendation from a satisfied customer will guarantee you new customers, especially in the age of social media.

Build More Traffic

You can have a great product, excellent website, and wonderful customer service, but if you don’t have enough traffic you won’t be earning money. Building traffic is a process that requires focus, strategy, and persistence since you’ll potentially need a lot of trial and error to get it right. If you do manage to build lots of traffic, it will become considerably easier to generate income. If for some reason you can’t commit to this task entirely, there are companies out there like Agseosydney which will guarantee increased traffic on your website. They’ll optimize your SEO and help you manage your online reputation, thus directly increasing your income.

Follow the Latest Trends

There’s a new meme circling the internet that has millions of people jumping out of their chairs? Then you absolutely must know about it. If you’re to be successful in advertising your product, especially when it comes to social media, it’s imperative to keep track of current trends and potentially use them to your advantage. Being uninformed is no longer acceptable, especially when it comes to online businesses. Talk to your employees and encourage them to share their insight when it comes to current online trends.

Specialize Your Products

Ask yourself, what kind of problem will your customers solve if they pick you over your competitors? Let’s imagine that you’re selling cleaning products. If you advertise your company just as a cleaning products seller, how does that put you in an advantageous position compared to your competition? However, if you’re selling eco-friendly cleaning products that don’t negatively affect our environment, you’re good to go. Why is that? Because you just solved a problem for someone who lives by the green living philosophy and needs to clean their house. And by doing it, you effectively made yourself stand out from the crowd. So think about the ways on how to customize your products, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor too.

Conclusion

It takes time and focus to launch and grow a successful online business. This guide was made for you to help you make your business stand out from the crowd and show your unique qualities to your customers. Sometimes, an idea will fail and you’ll need to recognize that moment and learn from the experience, so that next time you may succeed. Just remember that if you have a strategy in place for both your products and your customers, you’ll already be a few steps ahead of your competition.

Is Quality Web Hosting Important For SEO?

Businesses should never underestimate the importance of online presence for their success. But being merely present isn’t enough. Your website has to be noticed by potential customers, and in time, its popularity will surely grow, as well as the business itself. So, what else is important other than the presence? Well, quality, of course. This includes ease of navigation and an organized and visually pleasing site. Is this enough? No. Where you decide to accommodate your blog also plays a big role, especially in a world where search engine optimization is essential for every business, that is, if you want to generate traffic. Let’s see exactly how your web host impacts your SEO.

High uptime percentage

If your website is often inaccessible for a long time due to problems with the server, the search engine spiders can notice that during one of their checkup visits. They will then record it as unavailable and move on to the next site. What does that mean? Well, your web page will probably be recorded as unreliable and your rankings will go down. As a result, your website will not be ranked highly in search results, and you will lose a lot of potential visitors. A good website host should offer at least 99% uptime.

Loading speed

In 2010, Google explicitly specified speed as a ranking factor, and this is something that has been a long time coming. Users love fast websites, and low loading speed will only chase them away to another page. Too busy servers can be blamed for this situation. However, while the loading speed does, in part, depend on the web host, it is not necessarily the provider’s fault. The coding and configuration of your website can play a significant role in the total loading speed.

IP address

What’s so special about the IP address that could impact your search ranking? Well, believe it or not, it’s the physical location of your web host. In order to get higher rankings, you should choose a web host that is located in the same country as your company. IP location can impact another SEO factor – speed. Targeting the users in the same country where the host server is located will enable faster loading times.

SSL as an important SEO factor

More and more websites are using https to protect user data in web traffic. That is why Google has marked SSL as an SEO ranking factor. Although it is still a minor ranking factor and it doesn’t have too strong an influence, it looks like it will become very important in the near future. You can move your site from http to https but it will require some changes to make your website fully operational.

Security

Poor website security can really hurt your SEO. Google will not hesitate to penalize websites which are susceptible to hacker attacks, spam messages, and fake backlinks. If something like this happens, you will probably need a lot of time to identify the fraudulent page and have it removed. This gives Google time to impose the penalty. Websites that are prone to malware are also backlisted by search engines. If you choose a reliable SEO friendly host that has security technology options available, you should be able to avoid all of the mentioned problems.

Tech support

Although tech support isn’t an SEO factor per se it can play an important role in the way you manage your website and handle challenging situations. Let’s suppose your website goes down. You’re trying to get tech support on the phone and no one is answering. By the time someone finally picks up the phone, Google has already figured out your site is down which pushes it lower down the ranking list. That’s why it is imperative to find a web host that offers 24/7 support that actually works. If your website goes down, there will always be someone to react straight away.

Although a critical factor in determining your website’s SEO rankings, web hosting is often overlooked. By making an informed decision and constantly checking your hosting quality, you will help increase your search result rankings, and ensure that users enjoy the experience of your website and always come back for more.

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Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog