Web hosting is just something you need to make your website live on the internet, right?
While this is true in principle, it is a very simplistic view. By taking the marketing perspective I suggest there is a good deal more to web hosting if you want your website to sit effectively at the heart of your business marketing process.
Here are 4 statements about your website….
- Your business website is a marketing tool
- Your website is a dynamic tool that should have new content added regularly
- It is important that your website responds quickly to users
- Issues with website performance need dealing with quickly
Let’s look at each of these in more detail…
Your business website is a marketing tool
Before we look at hosting specifically, I want to discuss the importance of your website in your business marketing.
Your website is your shop window. It is where customers and potential customer will visit to find out more about you and what you do. Even if you get business through referrals and recommendations, people will normally still visit your site to check you out. When people visit your site, they should get the right messages, that:
- You can deliver what they are looking for
- You are straightforward to deal with
The navigation and content of your site are the key elements that address these 2 points. Sure, the look and design of your site are important. These are what deliver the initial ‘wow’ factor, but it is the navigation and content that make a lasting impression. Getting these right is part of the marketing process. Marketing should be central to your website.
Integrating hosting as part of your marketing means your day to day website management and functionality become part of your marketing.
Your website should have new content added regularly
When was the last time you added new content to your website? Many businesses see their website as part of IT. From some perspectives, having hosting tied in with IT makes it a bit of a dead-end, the final step in your website development project. You pay for it then call for help when it doesn’t work. Often the hosting is not a priority for your supplier – or you even have to deal with it yourself. This approach can discourage updates.
It can take a while to get access to your website to make changes and there can be numerous hoops to jump through to make updates which should be done in just a few minutes.
By changing your view of hosting, moving it from the last step of a website project to the first step of your marketing process can sweep away these delays. Your marketing team is keen to make sure your website is working well as a marketing tool. If they manage the web hosting they can access the site quickly and easily to make changes as required.
Your website should respond quickly to users
It is important that visitors to your site don’t get frustrated by content that loads slowly. This doesn’t mean to say that every page must load instantly, it is a matter of judgement. The difference between a page loading on 0.1seconds and 2 seconds may be insignificant to a visitor. If the same page takes 10 seconds to load, they notice!
From an IT perspective, the goal may simply be to get pages to load as fast as possible – this can get expensive simply for speed. From a marketing point of view, the goal is to make sure the user experience is efficient and seamless. Marketing is about driving benefit.
Your web hosting plays an important part in the speed of your site. By integrating hosting into your marketing processes means focus is on the benefit delivered to site visitors rather than simply a technical challenge.
Good hosting means a reliable, quick, functional site which sends a good message about your business – that’s marketing.
Issues with website performance need dealing with quickly
If your website isn’t working properly or is performing slowly, this can be due to issues with the host server or issues with the website itself. Either way, having direct access to the hosting and the website will make fixing the problem easier.
The issue can either be viewed as an IT problem which needs repairing or a failure in your marketing to effectively communicate your business proposition. Clearly the latter is absolutely central to your business. The former might not get quite the same priority.
Viewing your web hosting as part of marketing has benefits:
- All parties see marketing benefit in the site working well.
- Updates and developments on the site designed to promote marketing are integrated with the ongoing marketing
- Updates normally happen more speedily in a joined-up way.
- Developments to the site are considered in the light of marketing value and benefit rather than just technical advancement.
All websites need to be hosted. The traditional approach is to organise your web hosting with the developer who built your website; the last stage of a website development project. In fact, once it is launched, your website is (probably) your single most important marketing asset. Having your website hosting with your web developer disconnects it from your marketing meaning that marketing updates and developments to your site can be slower and more challenging to complete.
Taking the marketing perspective and seeing web hosting as part of your marketing process shifts it to become an integrated part of your ongoing business development.
Please get in touch to discuss the most effective approach to hosting your website as a business marketing tool