We all learn from our own mistakes in one way or the other. However, don’t you think it’s better to learn from others’ mistakes than doing it ourselves and then repent of them? If it’s about hosting your commercial website, you can’t afford making a single mistake. An hour of downtime can not only cost you much, but also put your online reputation at a stake.
There are several such incidents where small businesses and startups became victims of poor web hosting service. If you keep an eye on some of the web hosting reviews, you will learn and feel the pain points. Every eCommerce website owner must do this exercise to develop analytical skills.
You’ll not only need a good web host, but a reliable and easily approachable solution provider. Anything less than that will simply not work. If your friends said that it’s so easy to put up a website and get going in online business, please think twice before you go by the rumors and surprises. It takes a plethora of money, effort and deep understanding of the WWW to run a show on the web.
You, as a responsible business owner should be completely aware of the pros and cons of a web hosting solution.
In the proceeding sections, we will learn the common mistakes people do while choosing a web host and the tricks to avoid them.
Mistake#1: Expecting the Cheapest and Free Web Host Solution
Nothing comes free in this world (except for the free WordPress themes), so why should your hosting be free? If someone promises you a free hosting service, for sure you are going to encounter at least one the following problems in future.
- The web host may put unsolicited 3rd party advertisements on your website.
- You may not be able to run certain scripts for animation or video.
- There can be serious issues with website loading speed.
- Someday you may receive a warning message ‘Upgrading or Shut Down’ from your host.
- You may have no clue of when and why the server went down, leaving you as a silent spectator.
- The hosting provider may not respond to your concerns with utmost care in case you need quick technical fixes.
- You may not have the leverage to build or scale up your website, the way to want it.
- Search engines may not give your site an equal importance while ranking it on search engine result pages (SERPs). This is certainly a huge problem. If people searching for your product will not find your store listed higher in the SERPs, you will definitely lose some cash.
Can you afford to take so many risks and live on uncertainties at the cost of couple of bucks? Inexpensive but paid web hosting, so far, is quite affordable and risk-free. Modern hosting companies like Hostt, allow you to host your websites for free, as long as the domains are registered with them.
Mistake#2: Shared vs Dedicated Hosting – Does It Really Matter?
Actually, it does. When you are on a shared server and in the range of $5 to $50 a month, you are sharing the retail space with at least hundred if not thousands of other site owners. Now if one of the thousand sites on a particular server consumes maximum resources or encounters virus and malicious codes you will have to suffer the consequences. There will be sluggishness in the website loading speed. The technicians at the web host may also shut the server down for some business hours.
In short, your online store may experience several problems that cost you more than what you save with shared hosting.
Does this leave you any other options than going to a dedicated hosting? Of course, not. Ask yourself that if your site goes down for an hour, will that really affect your revenue and reputation. If the answer is yes, dedicated hosting is what you need. However, if you are a startup and selling less than 20 products in a day, you may not need to move to a dedicated server initially. You can always scale up when you need it.
Mistake#3: Not Communicating with the Technical Support
If 100% uptime guarantee is what you expect from your web host, you too have certain roles to play. Hosting service is a technical service, so you need a good technical support person who can assist you 24 x7. In case you stuck in between some operations, you should be able to talk to someone over the phone or access to quick live chat option for immediate help. It’s crucial that you have the emergency phone number handy.
Mistake#4: Not Paying Attention to Given Terms and Conditions
We all tend to ignore ToS while signing up for any service or deal. Sometimes this practice may turn out to be fatal. Generally, hosting companies highlight only those points that they want you to read, not what you need to know to avoid future issues. You should read Refund policy, Cancellation policy, ToS of agreement carefully and ask the provider for any clarification. It is your accountability to verify the service description, deliverables and related conditions before you make payment.
Mistake#5: Not Having a Clarity on Disk Space and Bandwidth Usage
If you have already subscribed to 50 MB disk space and 10 GB bandwidth, you are all set to run a big show. With 10 GB bandwidth, you do not have to worry about transfer limit even if your site gets thousands of hits in a day. But if you start with 2 GB bandwidth and will not upgrade shortly your will face the downtime problem.
Mistake#6: Not Sticking to the Basics of Buying over the Web
There are protocols that every online buyer needs to follow while dealing with vendors over the web. Here is a checklist below in case you want to revisit them.
- Can you find the phone number you can call to, and is it easy to find it on the vendor’s website?
- Can you find customer testimonials or third party reviews of the host?
- Can you find physical address of the business on the ‘Contact’ or ‘About Us’ page?
- Are you buying the service directly from the hosting company or a third party reseller?
- Do you find enough information about the technical support and customer service on the website?
- Do you see money back guarantee on the website?
These are only a few tricks among lots of others you may consider while re-evaluating your web host.
Mistake#7: Not Having Detailed Information on the Support Portal and Its Use
Every web host maintains a support portal for its users in order for them to submit tickets and get real-time update on its status. In case, you do not know what it really means to you, just ask your host about it over the phone or a live chat session. The bottom line is that you should be able to submit, view, review and respond to the tickets until the issue is resolved.
Mistake#8: Not Understanding the SEO Implications of Web Hosting
If you think that any affordable hosting package will work as far as the host gives you a 99% uptime guarantee, you are possibly wrong. Hosting problem can actually overkill your SEO efforts. Slow site speed, database connection errors, shared hosting with poor quality spam sites can damage your site’s credibility to human users as well as Google bots. With exceeded bandwidth limit, prolonged runtime errors, internal server error you may even end up at de-indexing your site in Google. No matter how big your SEO team is or how good they are at building links, without a reliable host in place, you sure will not succeed in marketing your products.
Mistake#9: Not Exploring Your Limitations
You may have encountered promotional texts like ‘Unlimited’, ‘Free for Ever’ while browsing various web host portals. Does this really mean that you get everything for unlimited use? Does it stand logically possible?Apart from bandwidth and disk space quota, you should watch out for the other limitations that do not generally show on sign up page of the host.
Feel free to ask your web host if you can:
- Maintain multiple POP accounts;
- Use Secure Shell (SSH);
- Add statistics to your account;
- Install new software on your own;
- Use shopping cart on your website.
In a nutshell, you should be able to figure out that your hosting company does not limit you from anything needful.
Mistake#10: Partnering with a New Hosting Company
There are brand new hosting providers who offer huge discounts, freebies, coupon codes, software, and cash awards to gain quick attention of business users.Their objective is to acquire a large number of customers and scale their business in order to make quick cash. Unfortunately, after a period of 6 to 12 months, they run out of server space and close down. It is important that you select a company that has been serving customers for more than 10 years and has gone through the pain of serving them successfully.
The above 10 mistakes are the broad level analysis of how majority of the business owners succumb to poor hosting solution. If you go deeper into the subject or listen to the victims in person, you will know more.
It’s always good to trust on your judgment than going by any advertisement or biased opinions. Once you read enough reviews, customer testimonials, blogs, tutorials and forum comments you will be in a better position to analyze and compare between a good and a bad host. If you have a gut feeling that the answers are not easily forthcoming from a host, you should discontinue the discussion and look for alternative.
Last but not the least, you should not miss out even the smallest things like a server backing up your website on a regular interval or sending you an auto update for disruption of service. All these factors determine if you have a good web host to partner with, and if you can really continue with the host for next 10 or 15 years.
Author: William Johnson
There are so many ways to boost traffic to your website. However, the basic rule of getting more income is having a steady flow of visitors to your online business. If no one views your site, maybe something went wrong? To take in the situation, let’s consider the key principles and tools on how to get more traffic to your site at low cost.
Making websites more noticeable and discoverable on the web is one of the most important tasks for online affiliate marketers and entrepreneurs. To rank among most visited, top-rated web resources, companies spend big on ad campaigns and different marketing schemes. Such approach makes it all worthwhile since now they are in high demand, well earning, and big hitting projects. Though, it often happens so that small startups are limited on budget and can’t afford spending a fortune on such strategies. Does it mean they are doomed to stay in the shadow for ages? Whether you are running a large-scale web project or a small startup, you always have a chance to boost your traffic at minimum cost. In this blog post we’ll tell you how to achieve success.
How to Increase Website Traffic with Minimum Budget
As long as you update your website with unique and captivating reading, you should see a natural increase in traffic flow. If you want to reach wider audience and get more profit, there are many other things you can do to give your site a boost.
This is one of the most proven ways of gaining visibility on the web. When properly organized and frequently updated with quality content, your blog could safely become the best channel to boost traffic. When reaching a post on a topic that’s trending and discovering something really helpful, people will most likely share this post with followers from social networking sites or elsewhere. Simply keep track of what’s in demand and write about it. You should know your target audience. Since you know who commonly reads your blog, you can decide on the content to share.
Sharing captivating posts on your own blog page is a win-win solution, however you can also try to contribute to other popular blogs in your niche. The benefits of guest blogging are endless. For instance, you can reach wider audience, share your thoughts and ideas, introduce your products/services, generate natural links, build relationship, etc. It’s clear that on someone else’s blog you are not in full control. Though, you will never lose if you try to introduce the auditory to something new and worthy of their attention.
People have always preferred interactive infographics to pure texts. These are known as a great way of engaging more viewers in. Additionally, it won’t cost you much to create one. You can either hire a web designer or make use of such online tools as Easel.ly, Infogr.am, Venngage, Piktochart, etc. to create a great looking infographics and increase your visibility. Another thing to mention is that visual content in more shareable in social media than written data. So, delivering your message in a ‘picture’ form you can build good following.
With so much being said about social sharings, let’s take a closer look at how exactly you can benefit from this to generate more traffic to your site. Those of you who are tough on budget should make special use of social media since it won’t cost you a penny to create an account. Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram or any other social networking site, interaction is the key. Once again, always keep in mind what auditory you’re targeting. Some people look for inspirational posts and catchy reading, whereas others prefer funny stories, pictures to laugh at or any other stuff of this kind. Mixing different types of content you will make your page look appealing and balanced.
Comment on Other Industry Blogs
A blog comment can generate more traffic than you think. Subscribe to other industry blogs, leave a comment when relevant and appropriate. A great comment ensures fellow readers will come to see your website. Spammy comments like “awesome post” won’t work. Make sure your comment represents your business in the best light. Alongside with sharing your thoughts on the topic, don’t forget to provide two links – one directly to your site and another one to the latest blog posts.
This is a highly effective strategy in the modern online world. Link building is all about providing links that point to your website or blog from other pages. You can make use of this while contributing to other blogs as well. The thing to remember is that everything should happen naturally as you write quality content. Here are several tips on effective link building:
- When placing links to your page on other websites don’t forget to link back. Make sure you exchange links with trusted resources only since linking to low-quality site can hardly help.
- Link back on blogs and communities related to your topic. Create a profile there, provide information about you site, share quality post, and give links to your project.
- Build link with other companies in your field.
- An RSS feed allows linking to your articles in a variety of other places. This should also come in handy when trying to boost traffic to your site.
Link to Old Posts on Your Site
When writing a new post, don’t forget to link back to the entries you’ve already published. This will make your posts more informative and let people stay on your blog for longer. The same can be done with old posts. Providing links to more recent articles you can keep the audience informed on when trendy out there.
Publishing a newsletter is one of the most effective ways of generating low cost website traffic. It may contain content and helpful tips to your blog subscribers. Additionally, you will never lose if you add a couple of links to your site. This will help users reach you fast and easy, click through your recent entries, and join the army of your avid readers.
Run Online Communities and Forums
This is a proven technique employed by the majority of online affiliate marketers. Starting a forum on topic related to your niche you can grow your online community. Answering questions and participating in hot discussions you will establish yourself as trusted authority. Interacting with the audience and helping out people in your community you can drive traffic to your website in an easy way. This is how it works – when posting a comment, your site URl automatically appears in the signature of your forum post.
Give out Freebies
Everyone likes freebies. Each time you provide free stuff, make sure you’ve included a link to your official website. This will not only help you make your business more noticeable, but also generate traffic at low cost. Depending on your niche, you can provide articles and reports, give out eBooks, run free online classes or seminars, provide free audio and video materials, shareware, free website templates, and more.
Well, that’s it for now. These were 10 most popular techniques to generate low cost website traffic. Implementing them in your online business strategy, be sure you will never lose. We recommend trying a couple of the aforementioned tips and test which ones will generate maximum profit. There are dozens of other techniques to boost traffic implemented on the web. Which ones do you make use of? What would you recommend trying out first? Share with us under this post.
If you’re looking to generate new leads and increase traffic to a website, social media is one of the most effective ways to do so. Managing your presence on a social network can be a bit difficult, especially when it comes to focusing on engagement with fans.
The most popular tool for social media management is HootSuite. It has become the most popular tool because HootSuite makes it easy for businesses and people to execute strategic campaigns across various social networks—all from a single dashboard. With HootSuite, you can track conversations, measure campaign results, and schedule posts. HootSuite offers enterprise, pro, and free solutions that feature different levels of analytics and insights to help you understand what’s working for you on social media and what isn’t.
Buffer is all about scheduling content to post on various social media platforms. Buffer allows you to place content in a queue, and then it will automatically post your content throughout the day in a way that makes it so you don’t bombard people with updates. Buffer also has analytics tools that let you learn about post engagement and reach.
TweetDeck is a tool, owned by Twitter, that allows you to manage Twitter feeds. TweetDeck has filters to help you focus on what is most relevant to your brand. You can also schedule tweets and receive alerts about new tweets. Twitter recently closed the TweetDeck mobile app to have its team focus on Windows and Mac desktop versions of the product.
4. Social Flow
Social Flow lets you watch conversations in real time, so that you can better predict the best times to publish content. This is important because knowing the best time to publish content will yield higher click-through rates and engagement. Social Flow has some major clients, including Mashable, National Geographic, and The Economist. Social Flow also provides tools to help help marketers figure out how to spend money on promoted content on Facebook and Twitter. The ability to figure out how to spend money on promoted content is the real defining feature of this tool.
Crowdbooster is a simple social media analytics tool that gives you suggestions on how to boost social media engagement. The product provides recommendations for post timing, user/audience insights, and suggestions on how to optimize post delivery.
A lot of people start a new business with the notion that they need to set up a Facebook page, Twitter profile, etc. They think that they need social media to be successful. While a lot of businesses can benefit from having a social media presence, it’s not always necessary. An ecommerce company can obviously benefit tremendously from having a strong brand and social media following, but professionals like plumbers and lawyers really don’t need to spend any time building a social following since they rely largely on word of mouth referrals.
Before deciding which social networks you should join, spend some time seriously thinking about if it’s worth your time or not to create and maintain a social media presence. If you come to the conclusion that it’s worth the time and effort, you should start to think about which social networks will benefit your business most.
The blog over at Digital Insights has some stats that are helpful when deciding which social networks to utilize. Below are the top social networks, ranked by how many monthly active users they have:
- Facebook 1.28 billion
- Google+: 540 million
- Twitter: 255 million
- Instagram: 200 million
- LinkedIn: 200 million
- Pinterest: 40 million
Facebook is by far the largest, so it’s definitely a good starting place for building up your social following. Digital Insights provided some impressive stats on Facebook that show why Facebook is a great promotional platform to reach a lot of people:
- 1.01 billion mobile monthly active users as of March 31, 2014
- 72% of online adults visit Facebook at least once a month
- The number of Facebook users in India alone is over 100 million
- There are more than 50 million Facebook pages
Picking which network to use by size is a good starting point, but there are some other things you should consider when making the decision of which networks will benefit you and your business most:
- Is your demographic using the network you’re considering?
- Are your customers using the network you’re considering?
- Does anybody else in your industry use the network you’re considering?
These are somewhat broad questions, so to hone in on how the various networks can benefit your business, we broke down what type of content lives on each network in the infographic below: