Web hosting is the Cinderella of websites and online marketing. It's usually an afterthought, something that you take what you are given, or you go for the cheapest option. However, it provides the opportunity for long-term, ongoing SEO benefits.

Spend 1 minute going through the following to decide if your current hosting is up to the job. It probably isn't. You are probably wasting a golden opportunity.

The first thing is functionality. Does your website work on the hosting platform? There are many different technologies involved. Just as an Android app won't work on an Apple phone, it is the same with websites. Depending on how it has been developed, your options are constrained. This is a showstopper, and if you don't get this right, everything else is academic.

The second is security. Boring I know, but the more successful your website, the bigger the issue should something happen. Security has many facets, but you would be horrified if you knew just how many attempts were being made from across the world to hack your site today. These are unlikely to be targeting you specifically; they are just probing, looking for weaknesses to exploit.

A third issue is reporting. Although there are third-party tools such as Google Analytics, it is very useful to have website logs measuring everything going on. Then, should there be an issue (good or bad), you have the data to do something about it.

Finally, there is speed. You should accept the principle that a quick website is better than a slow website. Better for your site visitors, and better for your SEO. At its most basic, a website is hosted on a computer. Therefore, the better the computer, the quicker your website. However, another key consideration is how many other websites are hosted on the same server. Too many, and things may slow down.

As far as online marketing is concerned, speed is probably the most obvious area that you can improve. However, it interacts with the other three factors; but a 30% increase in site speed will have a big impact on your SEO.

If everything appears to be OK, then congratulations. But what if you have a problem? If you don't care about your website marketing, then it's not really an issue. However, you wouldn't have read this far, would you?

Usually I would suggest that you first contact whomever looks after your website. However, don't be surprised if they have no answers. Hosting is seldom given much thought. We could undertake an audit to establish where you are, and areas for improvement.

The great thing about this is that it allows tangible improvements to be made. Much of online marketing is a vague promise. Improved hosting can deliver measurable results. Bear in mind though that the above is just a brief overview. What can and should be done is much more extensive and involved.

You may now realise that website design and website marketing are two different skill sets. That is why web designers pass clients to us. Get in touch and I can tell you how we could help you.

By Kenneth Mackay, 1st September, 2015

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

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