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Web hosting is an important decision for your business – now more than ever! Prospects and leads are spending more time online than ever before, and this trend looks set to continue to rise.

What Is Web Hosting?

Great question. Imagine that your website is a house. Web hosting is the land upon which the house is built, and your domain name (www.example.co.uk) is the street sign that tells visitors where to find your house.

Make sense?

Now that we understand what web hosting, you can see that it is important that your website built on solid foundations. Here are the top 10 things to consider when choosing web hosting for your accounting firm.

1.  Speed

According to 47% of consumers expect a web page to load within 2 seconds or less. On top of this, 40% of visitors will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

There are many factors that affect how quickly but if your website is on a slow network, or on that is over encumbered, your visitors will go elsewhere.

Test the website of potential web hosts and some of their sites to see how quickly they load before you commit or switch hosting providers.

2. Space

Technology has moved very quickly in the last few years and the price of has gone down dramatically. All the components of your website will require storage space on the server, images, and documents. You may have a client area for people to log into to view their financial information. You will also need enough space so that your website can evolve and grow over time so make sure that your web host provides you with a lot of it.

3. Email

This is a must for every business and different web hosting provides will have different options available to you.

Find out if there is a limit to the number of mailboxes that you can have for your accounting or a limit to the storage capacity of the mailboxes. Also, be sure to find out what other email features are supported. Ensure that you have full control over them and can manage them all yourself.

4. Reliability/Uptime

it is no good having web hosting if it doesn’t work, so please make sure that you check how reliable your web hosting provider is. Every time your website is down you potentially lose customers and lose money – so the importance of this cannot be understated.

To discover how reliable the web host that you are looking at at how many customers they have (generally the more the better), do they guarantee uptime, are there any complaints about them on the web, can you ask their current customers about their experience with them?

Norm is to offer 99.9% uptime. This is the equivalent of 43 minutes downtime a month.

5.  Location

Location is important two reasons. Firstly, if your website visitors are primarily from the UK then it makes sense to have a UK based web host. Having the servers local to where visitors are located increases speed.

Secondly, you need the physical location of the servers to be safe and secure. It also needs to be safe. Safe from weather damage, and electrical faults. Does it have backup generators in case of power loss? Is it protected from flooding?

It is your responsibility to ensure that any data you hold is kept secure and confidential. You want to make sure that just anyone isn’t able to walk in and access your data, so the location needs to be secure.

6. Bandwidth

Imagine that you had a limit on the number of prospects or clients that could visit your office each day before you had to close your doors. This is essentially what bandwidth is for websites.

If you have too much traffic and use too much bandwidth, some web host providers will restrict access to your site or charge you more. They do this to protect themselves from having a customer that uses up all of the resources of their servers. When choosing a web hosting provider make ensure that they allow you to increase the level of bandwidth you use should you need it in the

7. Features and Technology

Make sure that your web host offers you all the options that you will need for your firm’s website. Have a look at their control panel, how many sub-domains you can have, how many databases, do they provide backups, is analytics, is there scripting language support, is it a Windows or Linux based platform?

If the web host doesn’t have or support the latest technology and feature available then they may not be the best option for you, although this will depend on your firm’s specific needs.

8. Price

Web hosting, as with most things, is generally a case of ‘you get what you pay for’. If you are paying slightly more than you should expect better service, better security, better support, more features. There are certainly exceptions to this rule, but it generally holds true.

Some web hosting companies will offer low price entry and then increase the price for subsequent years, so do watch out for that as well.

9. Support

Web hosting shouldn’t often go wrong but when it does you want to be able to reach out and get help. Be sure to check the level of support that comes with your web hosting package. What are their support hours? Is there a dedicated telephone number or email address to contact? how easy is it to reach someone when you need them?

10. Security

This is a growing concern for any business, even more so if you are storing sensitive customer data on your servers. Questions to ask include; is there , do they offer SSL certificates, how often are backups done, how often are server maintenance and software upgrades performed?

Conclusion

As you can see there are a lot of different things to consider when choosing hosting for your accounting firm. Shop around and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ideally, your web host will be a partner for your firm, working with you for the long term.

 

P.S. When you’re ready… here are 3 ways we can help you with marketing and growing your accounting practice:

1. Grab free copy of my book
It’s the roadmap to attracting better prospects, signing higher value clients and scaling your accounting firm. – Click Here

2. Take the test.
It will benchmark your firms ability to effortlessly attract, connect  with & convert high value clients using the Pioneering Practice Scorecard. – Click here

3. Join the tribe and connect with firms who are growing too.
It’s our new Facebook community where ambitious founders, owners, and partners learn to attract better prospects, sign higher value clients and scale their accounting firm. – Click here