By Romel Curambao
There are still a lot of small business owners who have not invested in establishing their presence online. It’s quite a pity, since the majority of industry leaders today agree, that having an online presence is necessary for the success of your business, large or small. Unfortunately, many of the small business owners who do realize the need for having their own website, frequently end up paying for unnecessary features.
Websites cost money to run. In worst case scenarios, websites can cause your business to operate at a loss and look unprofessional if you have chosen the wrong web hosting plan. The best way to think about your website is an online version of your company – one that cannot operate without an “office” or a workplace. This is where your web hosting plan comes in.
When looking for office space, location is obviously one of your primary considerations. A good location would make your business easier to look for and remember. Basically, that’s what a good domain name can do for your business. Domain names are your website addresses. They should include the name of your business or at least be relevant to the nature of your work. Just be reminded that domains may be purchased separately from web hosting services.
The best way to think about bandwidth is to compare it to the size of your reception area. The more bandwidth you have, the more clients or customers you can accommodate. When considering bandwidth, you should also factor in the type of products or services you are marketing. A company offering financial services would need a smaller reception area, compared to a company selling construction equipment. Likewise, you need more bandwidth if you make heavy use of multimedia files to market your business instead of relying on plain text alone. Generally speaking, 1 to 100 GB may be enough for most small businesses.
Your web hosting plan must include this if you wish to accept credit card payments online. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and certification for this means that your website can provide a safe payment platform for its customers. Do be aware that having a SSL certificate does not automatically enable you to accept credit card payments. It just makes your website safe for online payment transactions. To accept credit card payments, you would need to open merchant accounts with banks for that.
If you plan on selling anything on your website, then you will need e-commerce support. More likely than not, you will also need to integrate a shopping cart program with your website. Shopping cart programs make it incredibly easy for you to manage and track your online sales activities. They also allow you to evaluate essential data about your market by requiring customers to sign up for an account when purchasing a product or service on your website.
os Commerce is one of the most popular shopping cart solutions for websites today. It has more than 250,000 active users and offers a wide range of add-on features for customizing your shopping cart solution. Best of all, it also comes with an incredibly supportive online forum. It’s a good place to hang out if you want to learn about tips and tricks for e-commerce.
Believe it or not, but most small business websites have a need for at least one SQL database. This type of database basically helps you organize and keep track of data posted on your website. If you also use a content management system similar to Joomla or WordPress with your website, then a SQL database is definitely called for.
Think of this as the overall size of your warehouse – online. The more data your website contains, the more web space you need. Many small business websites are able to manage fairly well with 500 MB web space, but you can certainly sign up for more than that if you feel your business requires it.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
You should always take the time to ask what options – emphasis on the plural form of the word – a web host offers for uploading files to your website. There should be more than one as there may be times when you need to manage your website on the go.
Small businesses appear more professional online when they have personalized email accounts such as email@example.com. Depending on the type of web hosting solution you sign up for, you can get anything from one to an unlimited number of free email accounts for your website.
Finally, consider other special features that your small business website may need. Just remember to pay only for what you truly need and would be of use to you and your market. Also, speak to a broadband expert to ensure that you have the necessary type of Internet connection for managing your website effectively.
Romel Curambao is very passionate with his writings. A dedicated and devoted freelance writer, Romel is your perfect choice when it comes to anything that deals with making money online, blogging, social media, tips on anything and other interesting topics. He is currently connected to Broadband Expert, the best Internet connection provider.