Are you looking for the best small business web hosting? Choosing a web hosting service can be overwhelming if you’ve never had to do it before or have no idea what you should be looking for.
That’s precisely why I decided to write this post for you.
Because I’ve been there.
How To Choose The Best Small Business Web Hosting Service:
How do I decide on the best small business web host?
Let’s figure out the basics first;
Hosting is where a company hosts a blog, and you have control over pretty much everything. Unlike the free blogging websites (that I used to be on), where your content is hosted on their servers. If your blog is hosted on a free site, it’s entirely plausible that they can delete it whenever the heck they like.
The sad truth is that they own your content, self-hosted content is the winner.
FYI, I haven’t come across anyone who has had their content removed (who was a legitimate blogger, to begin with).
Before you decide upon a small business web hosting service you should know a few things:
#1. The Biggest Brand Name Hosts might not be suitable for you.
I had issues with Bluehost after I had signed up with them. After I had signed up to them, I had also signed up to be an affiliate.
At the time I wasn’t prepared to promote them at all and have since learnt that at that point, they were in the process of shifting customer service teams and hiring new staff that were highly trained and dedicated support for individual issues.
#2. First and foremost, you can’t decide upon a small business hosting company or package until you know what you need.
There are a few questions that you need to get answers to:
What kind of a blog/website are you building?
Do you need special software?
Does your site need special software?
How much traffic will the hosting company allow you to have before it affects your blog negatively?
If you get a lot of traffic will your blog slow to a stop or just break down completely?
For Heart Handmade UK I needed:
A self-hosted WordPress blog that allows up to 200,000 visitors.
Preferably, one that could handle a lot of photos.
For complete beginners, the general rule is to start small. Choose a shared hosting account that gets good reviews.
A shared hosting account is a low-cost option that is very simple to maintain. It’s very rare that it won’t suit a new blog or website and if you have experienced a lot of growth, you can always upgrade.
Do your research
A few qualities you should look out for in hosting reviews:
Tech Specs & Uptime: No site can offer a 100% uptime.
Honestly, it’s rare that you should experience downtime if you’re on the right hosting packaging.
Site hosting is often measured by “Nines”, according to Hosting Manual.
“how they translate downtime for 30 days:
99 percent – Two Nines equals seven hours and 12 minutes downtime
99.9 percent – Three Nines equals 43 minutes and 12 seconds
99.99 percent – Four Nines equals four minutes 19 seconds
99.999 percent – Five Nines equals 26 seconds
99.9999 percent – Six Nines equals three seconds.”
Do they charge for additional domains, support, backups, etc.. Call them. Ask questions.
Tell them what you think your site’s needs are going to be.
#3. What Kind Of Support Is Offered?
As I previously alluded to, good customer support is essential for a hosting company.
If you are researching third party reviews on particular hosts, check out what the reviewer has to say about the host company and their customer support.
#4. Site Speed:
Did you know that 40% of people will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load?
If you’re a crafter, the chances are you will end up with a lot of photographs to go in your posts.
Take it from me when I say they can be a killer when it comes to site speed. If you’re investing in hosting, you need to make sure that a site with a lot of images can still load quickly.
Finding a solution for that was a complete nightmare for my craft blog. In the end, I invested in something called the Genesis Framework which has laid a solid foundation for me to build my blog.
#5. Are There Upgrading Options?
What are your plans for the future? Are you hoping to grow a large Martha Stewart style website or happy to keep it small scale and work with brands etc.?
Will they be able to upgrade your account easily?
#6. What Features Do They Offer?
You should have a couple of front-runners in mind by now, what you need to do now is decide what makes one provider stand out from the others.
What makes this company special?
For a company like Siteground, it’s got to be their uptime and the live chat option (customer service is always available).
#7. What are the email features like with each company?
If you’re hoping to make a full-time income from your blog, it’s essential to have a dedicated email address.
E.g., [email protected] it looks much better when you are working with brands and shows that you mean business.
I also have a Gmail account that I use to sign up for newsletters and training so I can continue to grow my business through education from super smart ladies!
Can you have multiple email addresses?
#8. Double Check the pricing
Be sure to check out the sign-up price and the renewal price. Hosting companies like to offer cheap sign up costs to get you through the door and some end up hiking the renewal price way up.
If you start with the basic package at SiteGround, initially you will pay £2.95 a month, and regularly it’s £6.95 per month.
You pay yearly, and that can be a big jump. To begin with, it’s 35.40, but if you renew on the same plan, it costs £83.40.
People don’t even realise this, but you can lock in introductory offers when you sign up for a hosting service. So for an additional two years of hosting you can pay less than the next year’s renewal cost.
Three years would cost:
First year – £35.40
Second year – £35.40 – running total £70.80
Third year – £35.40 – total 106.20
as opposed to just purchasing one year on the introductory offer and renewing the following two years.
When doing that, three years would cost:
First year – £35.40
Second year – £83.40 – running total 118.80
Third year – £83.40 – total 202.20
Using the first option, you save £96.
Hopefully, you will be moving packages by that stage due to humungous growth!
Unfortunately, it’s the way of the world now that people will try to hack your blog. It’s important that your hosting company provides adequate protection to keep you covered. I’ve purchased additional security plugins just to be safe.
Check all of the available information about how the web hosting company protect their services. If you have any doubts, get on the live chat and ask them questions.
Check to see if:
they offer SSL Certificates (in case you are going to end up selling things via your blog)
they monitor their servers for unusual activity
IP blocking (so you can block IP’s that keep trying to access your site)
Is it intuitive?
A new site can be overwhelming at the best of times; you want an intuitive user interface that is really easy to navigate. It’s possible to find screenshots and examples via Google.
You also need to be able to install WordPress easily. Thankfully, hosts like Siteground and Bluehost offer one-click installs so that you can breathe a sigh of relief! (SiteGround will even do it for you).
11. What is the quality of their servers?
Your web hosting service should have good quality servers, designed to work together.
Established web hosting providers will have good quality servers, but be sure to check and see how long the company has been in business.
If they’re relatively new, the chances are that they have a few servers to get them going
ANYONE can create a WordPress blog quickly easily.
It is easy to use.
You will be self-hosted. If you want to monetize your blog, then you should have a self-hosted WordPress blog, where you have the control.
If you want to appear much more professional to readers, PR companies and brands then you should be self-hosted than being on Blogspot.
Siteground Is The Best Small Business Web Hosting Service:
Siteground is the best hosting company that I’ve encountered. Hands down. Clarity Avenue and Heart Handmade UK both run on Siteground!
They position themselves as a company offering high-quality hosting solutions.
Siteground provides a spectrum of hosting solutions, but you only need to worry about their shared Linux hosting.
The StartUp Plan gives you all the essential hosting features that you could need to accommodate a brand new website or an existing average-size blog or business website.
You will most probably outgrow this plan if you start attracting more than 10,000 unique visits per month on a regular basis.
If you are serious about blogging and are shooting for the stars, I would go for their 3.95 plan.
I’ve heard of bloggers getting 10,000 visitors in their second month so the bigger plan means you wouldn’t experience any downtime on your site if you receive large amounts of traffic.
Choose Your Blog Name
The more popular your blog becomes, the less likely you are going to change it. Because people will know who you are and changing that will mean building up your reputation again.
So pick a name and commit to it.
If you are a sewing blog, it’s a good idea to have a sewing related keyword in the name.
Doing this makes it much easier to find on search engines and on social media.
You don’t have to do that, but it’s a smart idea.
If you feel a little overwhelmed right now, please don’t worry.
Brainstorm Your Blog Name
Grab a pen and notebook to start jotting down keywords related to your chosen niche. If you are struggling with keywords, do a quick google search and see what keywords are recommended.
Still struggling? Try WordAssociations.Net
You can always go with your name, but I do recommend that you add some keywords that will make it easy for people to identify what your site is going to be about.
The next step is to use Namecheckr to see if the URL and social media profiles are available with your chosen blog name. NameCheckr checks every website and social account and lets you know if they’re available.
Setting Up Hosting On SiteGround
Hopefully, you’ve already figured out your domain name using the tools above.
My top tip for you choosing your site name is to have your blog topic or niche in your name.
When people read your blog name, is it crystal clear what you do?
Like Heart Handmade UK – a crafts and decor blog.
I think that the Handmade element indicates that handmade wares will appear somewhere on my site.
Time to register with SiteGround
SiteGround is one of the best hosting companies available right now.
I’ve registered a friend and his Tshirt company with SiteGround, and he’s had zero problems. When there was a traffic burst, we saw no problems, and he was able to upgrade easily.
Their Uptime is 99.99%
If you remember what I said about hosting companies and their uptime; 99.99% is incredible.
It’s infuriating when your blog goes down. When it goes down, you’re missing out on traffic, ad revenue, email subscribers and potential customers. With SiteGround however, they have an uptime of 99.99% for the month. Which is insane!
Over an entire year, SiteGround experienced 99.996% uptime which means they were down for about 20 minutes in total! For the YEAR.
SiteGround only went down 12 times last year, compared to Web Hosting pad that went down 2000 times in a year. That’s impressive!
The support team is incredible
As I mentioned before, they have a 24/7 live online chat which can be an absolute lifesaver, especially if you’re a small biz that relies on your blog for your income.
I’ve managed to lock myself out of both of my blogs for 24 hours after attempting to install a plugin from another website that opened in WordPress, so the fact I could get in touch with the hosting company immediately and get it fixed was a complete lifesaver!
Are you ready to get started?
It will take a total of 10 minutes to get set up, so grab a cup of tea and get started. Open a new window and keep it split screen.
Check out the video or continue to read below:
Decide on the plan you want
I recommend WordPress bloggers start with the GrowBig plan because you pay for one year hosting up front and the GrowBig plan allows you room to grow.
Click on the little plus at the bottom of the grey box to see all the features for each plan.
The GrowBig plan is a great plan because it can accommodate up to 25,000 visitors a month. Heart Handmade is on over 100,000 visitors a month, and I want to keep growing. Upgrading is not a problem.
This particular plan includes something called a SuperCacher. What’s a super cacher? According to Siteground;
It’s very budget-friendly starting at £3.95 a month.
By registering through this link you can save 60% on the normal price!
SiteGround is already well known for their customer service, but their GrowBig and GoGeek plans come with even more support. Priority support is available for the GrowBig and GoGeek customers.
Remember what I said about locking in prices? If you are serious about blogging, then lock in three years worth of hosting at the introductory price.
Time To Register Your Domain
Type in your new blog name, or your current blog name if you already have one.
If your website name is available, you can move on to step 3.
The Account Info:
Fill out your account and client information.
Next, fill out your payment and purchase information.
Before you can submit payment details, you need to agree to their terms of service.
Woo! That’s the hosting purchased. Now we install WordPress, and then you can access the back end of your blog and start customising!
The best part of choosing SiteGround as your blog host… using the LiveChat option, they will install WordPress for you!
When you get chatting to a member of the SiteGround team, ask them if they can set up your WordPress site for you and send over your login details.
And that’s it! The whole process.
If you want to do it yourself:
It’s not that difficult to do.
First, go to the My Accounts tab and navigate to the cPanel (control panel),
Click on WordPress in the section titled ‘AutoInstallers’.
Click on the Install button.
After you install, fill in the information that follows.
Choose Protocol.Keep it the same.
Choose Domain. From the drop-down menu.
In Directory – if in doubt, leave it blank.
The Site Description –You can leave this blank and update it later via WordPress
Admin Username – This will be the username you use to log into your WordPress blog backend. DO NOT use your email address here or the username that you use on social media as hackers will be able to access or guess those details easily.
Password – This is the password to access WordPress dashboard. Like I’ve said before, you should use a program like LastPass to generate strong, secure passwords and save them safely.
Email – Enter your email address.
It is possible to install your theme via SiteGround, but it’s just as easy to do it via WordPress.
Click Install and BOOM! Hosting Done!
A NOTE ON PASSWORDS
I use something called LastPass*, which has a master password and then stores allll the passwords you have. You can generate insanely strong passwords. Do that.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL THE RESOURCES I USE TO GROW MY BLOG DAILY.
That’s the hosting taken care of. A Round of applause and another cup of tea for you! Now you get to the fun part of customising your blog!
After you set up your hosting, go to http://http://www.YOURAWESOMECRAFTBLOG.COM/wp-admin.
Then login with the details provided by SiteGround.
When you access the admin section, you should generate a secure password.
Navigate up to the top right-hand corner where it says ‘Howdy, admin’ and click the little menu.
You will create your site tagline and when you scroll down, you have the ability to generate a really secure password.
You should consider purchasing the Genesis framework*. I purchased it for my craft blog Hearthandmade.co.uk to increase site speed and improve the overall structure of my blog.
It’s possible to purchase themes for the Genesis framework*.
The theme that is used on Heart Handmade is called Glam Theme*. The StartACraftBlog theme is called Victoria by BluChic.
Play with your new site and get excited! If you are thinking about designs and logos but have no idea what to do, you can purchase pre-made logos or find designers on sites like Etsy* and Creativemarket*. I use both of those sites regularly.
A Round of applause and a second cup of tea for you and maybe a packet of biscuits! Now you get to the fun part of customising your blog!
Now you get to the fun part of customising your blog!
I know this was a huge post and hopefully, you stayed with it! Don’t forget to add to Pinterest and share with your friends if you found it helpful.