Building an inbound ready website that captures and nurtures leads is great, but before you go slapping bumper stickers around town, you’re going to need a place for that baby to live, breathe and grow. This means finding some hosting. If your website is live already then you’ve probably already purchased hosting somewhere. If not then it’s something you’re going to need to look at acquiring.

Web hosting isn’t typically a bank buster by any means, but knowing what you need is still important when it comes to your budget. So how do you know what you need for hosting when putting together a website that will attract visitors, convert leads, close sales and excite those new clients into becoming promoters of your brand? The last thing you want is to have a list of monthly fees longer than a Ritchie Blackmore solo.

That's what Bell and Rogers are for.

So what is hosting, and why do you need it?

When you sit in front of your computer and start browsing the interwebs, what you’re doing is downloading web pages from a web server. Every website lives on some form of server that users connect to in order to get information. This is where the term ‘hosting’ comes from. It’s the server that hosts a website.

Companies can own their own servers that they may keep in house, but depending on the size of the business this can become quite costly and time consuming to maintain. The other solution is to buy or rent space from a hosting company, which for most people, makes the most sense. Many hosting companies will literally own rows upon rows of servers that are set up in air conditioned bunkers around the world so that if one system fails, another one can kick in and prevent loss of service.

So you can keep browsing Lolcats while the Russians invade Oregon.

What should you look for?

Hosting packages come in all shapes and sizes and offer a range of different features at various prices. Before you go shopping for hosting, sit down with your web developer and discuss what kind of hosting package will be best for your business. Here are some questions to help:

  • Is your website running on a Content Management System (CMS)? The installation of many CMS products requires the installation of certain programming languages like PHP, ASP, or .NET. Ask your developer what language your CMS is using.
  • Are you planning to host your own email? Some businesses have a separate service that handles their email like Gmail, Hotmail, or even your internet service provider (around here Rogers or Bell Aliant.) Gmail has an excellent track record for serving business email, but if you would prefer to have your web hosting and email all in one place, some hosting companies may charge extra for hosting email for you.
  • What kind of traffic volume are you expecting and what type of content are you providing? Some hosting packages may involve a bandwidth limit. If a lot of people are visiting your site and downloading videos or large documents all day as part of the inbound process, you could blow through your allotted bandwidth pretty quickly. There are also many low cost hosting packages out there that feature unlimited bandwidth.
  • How big is your site and how much content is there? Some hosting packages also give an allotment of space to store your files. There are also unlimited options.

Now let’s get down to the brass tacks. For a small to medium sized business, there are numerous hosting packages out there that will give you everything you need and more for approximately $10-30 per month. This includes covering all of our questions above like programming languages, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited data transfer and plenty of disk space. Try looking at Siteground.

Web hosting can seem a little bit overwhelming at first glance. It can look like a lot of technical mumbo jumbo for the average entrepreneur with Megabytes and FTP’s and such. Hopefully the above questions will help clear the air and help you get the best bang for your buck as you begin your inbound marketing quest. Feel free to ask us any more of your hosting questions in the comments below.

But before you go building websites and buying hosting packages, make sure your marketing strategy is targeting the right people with this free guide:

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