Getting online for business

businessThere’s little doubt that whatever size of business you have today, a website is an essential part of it.  Online sales are one of the few growth areas in the economy, for nearly every sector, and clients expect a web presence (plus the 24-hour contact it provides) as part of your offering. So, before you jump on the virtual bandwagon, what do you need to know about finding the right provider?


Price is probably one of the most significant factors for most people. You don’t need any technical expertise to understand this one – you get what you pay for! High-quality hardware and in-house technical support don’t come cheap and if a provider is offering services for a few pence a month it’s unlikely they’ll be providing either. If your site is a significant factor in how you make money, don’t cut corners or costs.


Does the provider offer enterprise solutions or shared plans? Some providers focus on particular groups of customers; enterprise solutions are ideal for larger operations but might not suit a one man/woman blog. See what the company specialises in and find the right fit for you. Hosting packages vary and VPS hostingcan be the best for small to medium enterprises.

Technical support

This is significant, especially if you’re not an IT specialist yourself! Many, if not all, providers offer 24/7 customer service and technical support. Is it in-house, is it available over the phone as well as online via chat or email? If you’re no expert then the quality and availability of the technical support is crucial.


If you know nothing about this you’ll need to do some research and compare providers. Do they offer the best, latest, freshest hardware, or do they prefer not to specify (read, bits and pieces of old kit thrown together)? Hardware will affect the performance of your site and poor performance will drive customers towards the competition.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Most firms will offer a dazzling array of happy customer reviews; no surprise there then! Get your deerstalker on and turn to the detective’s best friend; Twitter. Blogs, forums and other online public spaces are also good places to find the real feedback from real customers. Some firms may be new and not have generated much of a buzz – in this case ask questions to see what pops up. If you can find little or no feedback, then it may be best to look elsewhere!