Creating the best Ecommerce Experience
Choose the RIGHT Host

The COVID era has presented retailers with a myriad of challenges. Many brick and mortar shops find they must pivot to online sales, but not everyone navigates cyberspace like a native. A business owner will soon discover that the expertise of a well-trained staff doesn’t translate to the online experience. Plus, it is hard to distinguish a business online that has spent all its efforts building a loyal local following IRL.

These challenges all begin with choosing the right host for your website. Building the virtual storefront and implementing the Ecommerce platform is quite simple. Even integrating payment processing with  an inventory database and shipping fulfillment it is not so far-fetched. But if you get saddled with the wrong service provider your end result will suffer. An inattentive host with a bad support record or poor User Interface on a dated set of building templates will just make the experience awful.

How does the proprietor begin? What can a store manager or business owner do to scale their business to an online experience? How can your ecommerce business service customers, fulfill orders and solicit new business? The questions are daunting but needn’t be perplexing.

It is important to do the research or find someone you trust to do it for you before choosing your web hosting. It is important to evaluate your needs and have a clear picture of criteria that will be important to the website that is best for your business. A business owner must ask and honestly answer some questions.

Only problem is that most business owners don’t have the experience to know what questions they need to ask. Here’s a short list:
  • What is the cost?
    Cost is almost negligible at this point from URL registration to site host, and data storage prices have come way down.
  • What is their customer rating?
    This is a tough question because all “rankings” use differing criteria so it is difficult to compare or contrast without a baseline.
  • How is their sitebuilder technology?
    Many hosts are using template-based site builders, which is why so many sites look so similar these days. But the best advice dictates that you do an eye-ball assessment of the templates to make sure the host provides an aesthetic that you like.

It’s good to differentiate Customer Service Ranking and the Customer Rating. Customer Service Ranking helps you to understand if the Host will be attentive to your needs. While the Customer rating is more of a popularity contest among the people that use them. The trouble with this rating is that usually people won’t give a review if they are happy with the service so generally this rating will skew toward the complainers.

A business owner, now webmaster, should also assess the builder tech, perhaps do a couple of demo sites in order to see if the template user interface is easy to use so that you can get the best result.

Certainly some of us in this day and age want to consider their “Green Cred”. The internet and all its servers and the related infrastructure associated with it consume a lot of power and generate a lot of heat, and so it begs the question, ‘Where do they get the power and what steps have they taken towards sustainability?’

Researching, reviewing, and understanding all of this is a daunting task and it is difficult to know where to begin. A small business owner is already wearing many hats to keep the business going and adding this to it is arguably the biggest reason many businesses don’t even bother with a website. But there are ways to make this process more manageable.

Create a weighted rating system and as you go through your research keep track of what you find. List all the criteria that are important to your project and assign a numbered rank to each. How important is sustainability vs. cost vs. ease of use? Maybe sustainability is the most important and ease of use also ranks high for you, so you might assign these the number 5. Cost is important, but less important to you, so it might get a 4. Once you have done this for all the criteria then you can start to look at the service providers and now you will rank these with a similar system, One host may have great green cred but be very expensive, while another is very affordable but makes no sustainability claims.

If Host One gets a 5 for sustainability and a 2 for cost while the other gets a 5 for cost and a 2 for sustainability, both end with a 7; but if you refer to the earlier ratings you see that sustainability is a 5 while cost is a 4. And upon further review Host One with a 5 in sustainability is now 5 x 5 and 2 for cost becomes 2 x4 for a total of 33. While Host two is 2 x5 and 5 x4 for a total of 30. In this way you can create an objective numerical ranking system for something that is completely subjective.

So it is a lot of work but it also is fairly important, because the host you choose ends up being the last host you choose in most cases. If you don’t choose the best host for your business and the type of website you want you might end up stuck in a bad relationship. Choose wisely.

Or you could always enlist the help of knowledgeable professionals that have been through it all before, e.g. we here at Web Samurai for Hire can help you navigate the ins and outs of building and maintaining  your website and help you get the  maximum for your investment of both time and money.