Your Business Can’t Afford To Pick The Wrong Hosting Company – There are literally thousands to choose from, and each touts themselves to be the best. Some will entice with incredibly low prices for the most basic of hosting plans and assurances it’s all you really need for your company right now. Others will dangle the simplicity of a template collection for site building, saving you thousands since you wouldn’t need a designer messing with your business image.
Almost every site will push the claim of having the best uptime, often with cautions that ‘the other hosts’ don’t maintain their equipment as well, so your site may be regularly offline and inaccessible if you go elsewhere.
Let’s cut straight to how you better make sure you’ve protected yourself, and the company, by making the right choice – without spending months on research.
ELIMINATE 98% OF CHOICES IN MINUTES
Promises of great service are easy to fulfill when no problems are encountered, but the true test of Great Service happens when a glitch in the flow actually happens.
No matter how hard we try, every business owner knows bumps in the road happen in the real world. Whether it’s a delivery late for pickup, a customer changing their order at the last minute, or even the office or production equipment needing some unexpected and sudden quick maintenance or repair: your client doesn’t care about the details, they just want their order now!
It’s all part of daily business, but how we handle these hazards will determine how solidly we maintain our client’s respect and continued business. You can use that same strategy to help determine the strength and support of your Hosting candidates.
Though it’s only common sense that any Hosting company with a poorly done website should be immediately dropped from consideration, it should be the first item used to weed out poor choices. Forget the hype or promises: if the Hosting company is amateurish in their presentation online, they aren’t likely to be savvy in delivering the quality or support when you need it.
Now that the obvious is out of the way, we’ll focus on your best revealing tool. Look at what methods of communication the Hosting service provides: phone, email, troubleshooting ticket support, and the most powerful (though least often used exposing source) – the forum.
Hosting services deal with clients across borders and time zones. Though they may display regular office hours, the first question you should ask is how you can get support outside of their regular hours. Most solid Hosting companies have tech support staff on duty at all time. If equipment should happen to fail during the night, you need to know somebody will be working on getting everything back to full speed right away, not whenever the empty office shows up the next morning.
Likewise with email support: if nobody is there to respond when a problem should arise, you will be left without support until workers begin their day – which means your clients will also be left waiting.
If you email the Host during business hours, even with a general inquiry, how long are you waiting for a response. Test a company by emailing a simple question such as “How long would it take before I can use my account after I set it up?”
The answer itself is straightforward, but what you’re checking for is response time. If you don’t get a reply for more than a day (if at all), then you know you aren’t likely to get help for more critical matters.
This is your direct fast-track for specific account tech support. A Ticket support is given priority, and you should receive at least the first response from an actual tech staff member very shortly. Smart businesses may even register for the most basic short term account just to test the response time: it’s a good investment if a Hosting company is on a deciding shortlist.
GEAK SPEAK vs. NOVICE REPLIES
How well can your Hosting service communicate? Good tech service understands that most people need to be walked through online questions without a swarm of confusing technical settings and terms to follow. At the same time, if you or your staff are tech savvy, you’ll want to make sure the support staff can give you the specific technical settings without the slower hand holding explanations.
FORUMS: Your Best Behind-The-Scenes Spy
A Hosting company should have an active (and interactive) forum in their own site. This will give you immediate insight as to their professionalism.
- Organizational Strength: Look for organized topics, covering a good range of subjects such as Pre-Sales Questions, Server Status Information, Online Help Desk (with specific helpful sub-categories), Beginner and Advanced ‘How-To’ references, and even Site Programming and Code discussions.
- Pre-Sales Questions: The forum should (hopefully) have a section for questions by people and companies considering the host. This is not only a great way to get answers to the most common questions asked, but also a wealth of questions you should also be asking from your potential Host.
Pay particular attention to ‘Who’ is answering, and how fast they respond. Maintaining a good forum is time consuming, so you absolutely want to see a lot of swift activity by staff members. That’s a sign support and helpfulness is full priority within the Host.
Best yet, see if current clients respond to queries. When you see the Host’s own customers taking time out to respond, you know they’re satisfied and anxious to share their feedback and support.
- Negative Feedback: The most telling sign of all – a good Host should openly allow negative feedback and concerns about their services. That shows they aren’t trying to hide anything. Pay attention to how they handle the negatives: are they defensive, or are they calm and professional.
Beware of Hosts which show negative posts, and suddenly those posts are all deleted quickly. It’s questionable when a site only allows positive responses about themselves.
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