Small Business Web Hosting
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While large businesses often have dedicated web servers and IT personnel to run their web sites, small business web sites are often run by the business owner or by staff members who also have other responsibilities. Small businesses usually do not need their own web server and do not want the extra expense and hassle of maintaining a server. Also, small businesses may not have the time or expertise to manage all of the aspects of setting up and maintaining an online store. That is why free web hosts that cater to small business can be a great asset for small businesses going online.
Small business web hosting offers a number of features to help small businesses run their online stores:
- Domain name registration helps business owners go through the process of getting the URL for their web site if they don't already have one.
- Web page templates help web site managers create their web pages without learning programming languages or web site design.
- WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors allow text to be added to the web page without using HTML or other markup languages.
- Ecommerce web hosting usually also offers easy file uploads so business owners can easily put images and other files online.
- Media galleries allow small businesses to include many pictures or videos on their web site to display or promote products.
- Many business webhosting plans include a SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate, which is necessary for web pages to be encrypted for more secure online transactions.
- Shopping cart ecommerce software allows customers to select the products or services they want to purchase and to check out.
- Some eCommerce hosting plans are set up to work with certain payment gateways, which process online transaction, while others let business owners choose and set up their own payment gateways.
- To receive online payments, a small online business needs a merchant account. Ecommerce hosting plans sometimes offer merchant accounts to qualified customers for an extra fee. If not, the web site owner must get their own merchant account.
- Another great feature in some hosting plans is web traffic tracking and statistics to help small businesses improve their online presence and increase online business.
- Email accounts included with business hosting plans set up email for the store's online presence so web site managers can communicate with customers and send order confirmations.
- Some eCommerce hosts offer plans with a feature for customers to register on a web site so the online business can send out newsletters or sales flyers to potential customers.
- Once a web site is created and running it needs to be registered with search engines so people can find it. Most web hosts provide this service.
- Small online businesses also need some kind of virus and firewall protection for their web site so it is not an easy target for hackers. Many business hosting plans include this kind of protection.
When you are looking for a small business web hosting plan, consider the following questions
What does the business need from a web host? Is the plan compatible with what the business already has, like accounting or web page creation software?
- How much does it cost? What are the set up fees, monthly fees, and transaction fees?
- How good is the customer service and support? Is it phone, live chat, or email support?
- Does it give the business room to grow? Is there a limit on the number of items the web site can display, the number of customers that can register, or how much space the business gets on the server? Are these limits reasonable?
- What is the web host's reputation?
- What up time does the web host promise? This is the amount of time that your web site will be available, and should normally be 99% or better.
By considering your business's needs and priorities you should be able to find a small business plan that's right for you.
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