How much do you spend on web hosting every month? Most people I talk to consider anything over $5 a month to be excessive. Sound crazy? Well maybe, but when you consider the advantages to quality (or at least half decent) web hosting are still rather unknown by most business owners, you can understand why this is the case.
It happens all the time, you launch your new website, paid your developer and designer, registered that awesome domain name and probably paid for your web hosting up front on the project for the next 12 months. You’re not reminded about web hosting until the renewal comes around. Often clients don’t realise that it is an expense they need to budget for each year. Though it may not be a big one, it is worth ensuring you have the right type of hosting for your website.
The online component of your business depends on quality traffic right. You have setup your opt-in, positioned your newsletter subscribe nicely in the website footer or sidebar, write regular blog posts, share your content regularly on social media and yet, those pageviews and visits just don’t seem to increase. What could it be?
Have you considered that it could very well be related to your web hosting? Chances are you haven’t because you’re still reading this post. The post title would have been enough of a giveaway already…
Elements of SEO
Now there are many elements that need to come together for a successful and effective SEO strategy.
There are many on-page and off-page factors to consider. At a high level, these cover elements of your website such as:
- Mobile accessibility
- Optimised URL’s
- Backlinks, and
- Domain authority… just to name a few
One crucial element though is speed.
The speed of your site simply refers to how long it takes (a page) to load for a user. If a user has to wait too long for your homepage to load, for example, you are not providing a very good user experience. If this happens, they are more likely to move on and bounce to another site altogether.
There are many things you can do to ensure your pages load as quickly as possible. This includes; using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) like CloudFlare of Amazon CloudFront, caching your pages so they are served up to the user quickly and using a trusted WordPress framework (if your website is powered by WordPress).
Choosing a reliable web hosting company to take care of hosting your website is a vital part of ensuring your website is served up fast. If you want to provide a great experience to your website visitors you need to use a trusted, reliable web hosting service.
Using reliable hosting can not only improve your overall website speed but it will also boost your search rankings.
Where do you start when it comes to web hosting?
When it comes to looking for a trusted and reliable web host, it often comes down to two things; location and cost — where will my website hosting be located (geographically) and what will it cost.
The location is important. If your audience and a vast majority of your visitors are located in Sydney Australia (for example) then you would be looking for Sydney based hosting. If your audience is global, then setting up a CDN can address the issue of speed when it comes to delivering files to the user quickly.
The cost is important for obvious reasons. Remember, this is an investment we are talking about. But what cost is right for you and your business? Only you can determine that. But before you do, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you would want to choose a reliable web hosting provider.
Web hosting particularly impacts two things on your website:
Did you know that Google considers website speed as one of its major ranking factors? Therefore, if your site takes too long to load, your search rankings will be affected.
Just in the same way, if your site is fast to load, Google will reward you with favorable rankings.
To understand how fast and effective your website loads, head on over to GTmetrix and run a free performance analysis. It will only take a minute and provide some valuable insight into your website's performance. You can even download the report and hand it over to your developer for investigation and follow up into areas you can focus on to improve your page load times (and a lot more).
Downtime hurts! It hurts your search engine rankings because a search engine cannot access your site to rank or crawl it and it hurts your visitors because they cannot access your site or do business with you when they want to.
Your website could go offline for a number of reasons. Two reasons I want to cover here are, poor infrastructure and the wrong type of hosting.
Cheap and free hosting (yes there is still free hosting out there) does not adjust to your hosting needs according to your traffic volumes and often falls under the term, “shared” hosting service. It is shared because you are sharing the available resources on the server with many other users. Think of it as many different websites all on the one web hosting server. If just one of these other websites gets hit with a spike in its usage and blows out its shared resource allocation, there is every chance the site will go down and take yours with it. The hosting company will need to get involved and restore the websites and the server. Frequent downtime will, in many cases, lead to being penalized by search engines. Not good for anyone right!
This is always a risk with a shared hosting service. You can take precautions like that mentioned above and setup CloudFlare, for example, to ensure your website is available in cases like this, but should you need to?
Another option is to consider a Virtual Private Server (VPS). This provides a more reliable hosting service and removes the risk of another website taking yours down because it suddenly got popular.
A VPS does come at a cost though. Typically you would be looking at upwards of $100 per month to get started. However, if your website is that popular and this is a service you need, it’s a pretty good expense to have to incur.
Look around and Google website hosting providers and research the different types of services they provide. Be sure you can upgrade or downgrade accordingly and above all, have a backup plan.
I am not going to recommend any web hosting companies here in this post. It’s not a chance for me to get some affiliate link love. Rather an opportunity to encourage you to think about how much you invest in your website hosting each month and consider if you are getting your moneys worth. Remember, good hosting equals better SEO.
A final thought
So a final thought I would like to leave you with is, next time you consider how much you spend on your website hosting also ask yourself — what value do you place on good SEO?