In the world of e-commerce success, multiple factors work together to contribute to the triumph of your digital marketing strategy. Some of those are obvious: social media, paid ads, and SEO, amongst others. Some aren’t so obvious… Like your web hosting provider.
That’s right—your website’s digital landlord can dramatically impact your business’s success. Your web host influences everything from reaching customers to converting leads, so it’s in your best interest to choose a worthwhile web hosting provider from the very start.
Choose a good one; it’ll be a solid foundation for your e-commerce store to build its empire. But choose the wrong one, and you’ll struggle to gain traction and grow fast. Here’s what you need to know to make the right choice.
The Role of Web Hosting in Shaping Digital Marketing Tactics for Online Stores
Your web hosting is the base on which your website is built. Here’s how your hosting (good or bad) influences your digital marketing. Understand these and take action further; you’ll be ahead of many digital marketers.
Website Speed and SEO
There’s no getting around it—Google (and other search engines) prioritize websites with fast loading speeds. User experience is critical for engagement, and a slow-loading website starts you and your potential customer off on the wrong foot.
If your website pages don’t load quickly (within 3 seconds), visitors will likely get bored, frustrated, or annoyed and leave. A high bounce rate is a red flag for search engines, so the next time Google crawls your site, it will mark you down.
So… Something as simple as having a slow-loading website can end up knocking you down the rankings, even if your on-page SEO is good. A slower site = less traffic, which means less chance to convert to sales.
While you can do plenty to boost your site speed, it all starts with your web host. A reliable host knows that speedy loading times are the foundation of a good customer experience, and they prioritize it.
Security and Trust
Cyberthreats are real—don’t assume it’ll never happen to you! Online stores are prime targets for cybercriminals, as they hold a vast amount of sensitive information, including valuable things like credit card details.
It’s not just better to have robust security—it’s a MUST. One data breach, even a small one, can shatter your trust in your customers. Plus, you may face legal action if your customers’ personal details are leaked, so take security seriously.
A secure web hosting platform is crucial. Look for hosting providers that offer well-rounded security features with multiple layers of protection: firewalls, malware scanning, threat detection… The more, the better.
It’s also good to dig into each hosting provider you’re interested in and see what customers say about them. Don’t limit your research to the host’s website—you can get a real-world view by seeing what real people say about them.
Marketing Automation and Integrations
Marketing relies heavily on automation tools unless you have the time to do everything manually (and who does?) However, not all web hosts offer integration with external tools, so double-check this carefully before settling on a host.
It’s a good idea to list the automation tools you plan to use before creating your website. That way, you can compare web hosts and focus your time and effort on the ones that easily integrate the tools you need without wasting time on the ones that won’t.
Consider your email marketing software, e-commerce platform, payment gateways, and other automation tools.
Uptime and Reliability
Downtime is an online store’s worst enemy! If your site isn’t available, nobody can buy, which means… No sales for that period of time. But it goes deeper than that—downtime can also lead to losing trust in your brand and even being knocked down the rankings.
If Google tries to crawl your site while it’s down, it assumes you’re not functional and might even remove you entirely from the rankings for a time. That means if you rely on organic traffic, you can say goodbye to it until Google crawls you again.
Choose a web host that offers 99.99% uptime. Don’t skimp on this—drop just one nine, and you add hours onto your annual downtime. Your online store must be up and running most of the day, so ensure your web host gives you just that.
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Scalability and Flexibility
If your store experiences a sudden growth spurt, your web host needs to be able to keep up. Choosing an inflexible host means their restrictions will limit you, so eventually, and you’ll be held back and unable to grow anymore.
Make sure your web host can accommodate your business growth. It should be easy to upgrade to the next tier or add resources to your current package. Don’t get stuck with an unscalable web host—you’ll shoot yourself in the foot!
The Role of Data Analytics
Data is like gold when it comes to marketing. This stuff provides the best insights into what’s happening in your store, and from there, you can adjust and adapt your marketing strategy to get better results.
Choose a web host with robust data analysis tools. Or a host that integrates easily with third-party analytics tools, depending on your preferences. And if you don’t know how to understand analytics yet, now’s the time to learn!
Avoid web hosts with poor customer support. Your host needs to be available at any time so you can quickly fix problems that arise before they cost you customers and sales.
Find one that offers phone, email, and chatbot/live chat options and is ready to help you 24/7. Check user reviews on this one to ensure they live up to what they say on their website.
Choosing the Right Web Hosting for Your Digital Marketing
Knowing how hosting influences your digital marketing is one thing. Another thing is finding a web host that ticks all the necessary boxes! Here’s what to look for when searching for the right web host.
Analyze & List Your Business Needs
Understanding what your business website needs is the best way to start. Be brutally honest here—don’t skimp on the things you need, but be ruthless about leaving out things you don’t need.
List out the things your business needs to function optimally. For example, if you’re an e-commerce store, you’ll need secure payment gateways, inventory tools, etc. You might need SEO tools and easy social media integration if you’re a blogger.
This list will look different for each business. Take some time to sit down and dive deep into it because this list is what you’ll use to pick appropriate web hosting service providers.
Research & List Web Hosting Providers
Once you’ve got your list of needs, it’s time to research web hosts. This can cut some time off your search because you’ll immediately be able to tell if a host doesn’t meet your needs. Cut out the ones that don’t meet your needs and list the ones that do.
You may need to delve into more than just the hosting provider’s website to find out what they offer. Read reviews, check review websites (like TrustPilot), and scour sites like Reddit and Quora for honest feedback from real people.
Compare & Check Hosts
Once your web host list has been compiled, it’s time to compare them and find the few that suit your needs. Sometimes, it’ll be easy to cross specific hosts off the list. Some might immediately look more attractive to you for a variety of reasons.
Cross out the ones that aren’t suitable after careful comparison. You may be left with a few web hosting companies at the end of this exercise. If you can’t immediately choose one to go with, compare plans offered by each host.
Find the Plan That Suits You
Some hosts are so on par with each other that it’s tough to pick one out straight away as being superior. In this case, go a little deeper and compare each web host’s plans.
Pit the lowest-tier plan of each host against each other, and the same with the middle- and top-tier plans. When you look more closely at this, Something will often stand out as a better or worse choice than the others.
This will allow you to either make your decision or cross more hosts off your list, getting closer to your final decision. It might seem like a long-winded way of choosing a host, but trust us—this is the best way to settle on a web host that genuinely offers your business needs without any extra fluff that’ll add dollars to your fee.
E-commerce Success – Conclusion
Your e-commerce success hinges more on your web host than you think. Choose a good one from the start, and you’ll build your online store on a firm foundation with plenty of room for growth.
Take the time to analyze a range of web hosts and find one that works for you. And if you’re already settled in with a particular web host and reading this, it might be time for an audit… And it’s never too late to move to another web host that might take you to even higher success.
About the Author
Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related on his website, Reviews for Website Hosting.