Websites and beyond: 5 tips for choosing a web solutions provider
Your website is integral to your business, whether you're a brick-and-mortar store looking to attract Local customers through the web, an online retailer or any business in between. Your web solutions provider should be a good partner and a strong source of support for your online needs. Check out these tips for entrepreneurs who are either looking for their first provider or are looking to switch to a provider that better suits their business. Who you choose will have a big impact on your and your customer's web experience.
1 You shouldn't have to be a technology whiz to get your business's website up and running. Look for a provider that offers a variety of templates to help get your site online. Templates should be easy to use and customizable. A wizard interface that walks you through the template is a great way for users who are new to building websites to get comfortable and get a professional-looking website up quickly. A provider that has experience with small businesses will understand your needs and be able to guide you through the process.
2 It's not just about having a place to park your website. Look beyond the basics to see what extras a provider offers. Free domain registrations, transfers and renewals are great bonuses with a year long contract. An e-mail solution as part of your hosting package will give your communications a professional edge that is a must for businesses today, since it allows you to use your own business's name instead of that from a free e-mail provider like Yahoo!. Be sure it comes with virus and spare protection to help keep your company safe. Search engine submission is another helpful feature to look for. Finally, look for a web solutions provider that can give you statistics tools. Those can help you monitor your website's performance and find out information Like where your visitors are coming from and at what times your site is busiest.
3 Your business is growing, and your web solutions provider needs to be able to grow with you. Your website might start out as a basic informational site, but you could decide you want to sell your products online or want to offer more advanced services to your customers. Check out what packages and services a provider offers. You should be able to move up to more sophisticated packages as your business needs increase. Look for the availability of e-commerce services and more advanced e-mail services that can handle your customer and employee growth as needed.
4 You know how important reliability is when it comes to dealing with your customers. Make sure you find a web solutions provider that knows that, too. Uptime, the amount of time your website is up and running and viewable online, is a great measure of reliability. Don't settle for anything less than 99.9 percent uptime. Also, ask what your potential provider does to protect your website data. Regular data backups are an absolute necessity.
5 In an online world of bits and bytes, it's still people who make things happen. Customer service should be a top priority for a web solutions provider. Whether you're just looking for more information on product offerings or have a question about your site, find a provider that has actual people there to help. Network Solutions, for example, goes beyond e-mail support to offer free 24/7 phone support that connects its customers to a real, live and understanding customer service consultant. That sort of dedicated service is worth seeking out. Entrepreneurs can't afford to wait hours on hold or days for an e-mail response. When it comes to your business, you need to be able to handle your web solutions on your own schedule