More and more small businesses are moving online as a way to better serve their current customers, and to entice new customers into the fold. New e-commerce techniques have created an online marketplace that offers small business owners the opportunity to compete on both a national and international stage. But the small business owner who is considering moving their operation online faces the challenge of finding the right web designer and a reliable web hosting service. Previously, this required working with multiple companies, each offering a different service necessary to getting a business’ website up and running. Now, Internet Service Providers have begun to offer their own web design, web hosting and e-commerce management services, giving small business owners easy access to the tools they need for online success.
ISP Web Hosting
Web hosting is the primary service offered by ISPs for their small business clients. For many smaller businesses a web hosting service not only makes technical sense, it is a smart financial move. For a modest sum, your ISP can maintain your business’ internet presence on their servers and with their staff. This gives your business all of the benefits of a commercial website, but without the prohibitive costs of purchasing and installing hardware and hiring a staff to maintain it. Turning to your ISP for web hosting also allows you to keep the majority of your web services under one roof, making them easier to manage and coordinate.
When considering an ISP for your web hosting needs, make sure they offer a full range of services, and that they are prepared to keep your site maintained and online without incident. The ISP hosting service should supply you with an adequate amount of server space for your website, as well as a predetermined traffic allowance to keep your online business running smoothly and efficiently. With increasing cloud storage, hosting packages generally run from 50GB to 200GB of server space, with a 2GB to 6GB traffic allowance. For most small businesses the lower end of this spectrum will be more than enough computing power to keep a website up and running smoothly.
Web Design and Your ISP
The proper design of your website is critical to its success. A website not only needs to be attractive, it needs to be highly functional and user friendly. A pretty website that is difficult for potential customers to navigate is almost as bad as having no web presence at all. Many ISPs now offer web design services to their small business customers. It is always tempting to want to be hands on with all aspects of the creation of your website, but expertise definitely pays off in this area, and the smart business owner should rely on their service provider for design assistance.
For small businesses setting up an online retail presence, potential ISPs should be able to provide easy to understand and simple to use software packages that will allow you to build and maintain a customer friendly virtual shopping environment. The software should make it easy to add products and update stock levels, calculate shipping costs and finalize transactions with a credit card. When setting up an online retail presence you will also want to be certain that all of your transactions are protected by Security Socket Layer. The ISP you choose should be able to guarantee the security of your customers personal information. If the Internet Service Provider you are considering does not offer this level of service, it may be time to choose a different ISP.
Business Growth and Your ISP
Finally, you should think about the possible growth of your online business before choosing your new ISP. Hopefully, this small step into the online business world will be just the beginning, and your business will soon be growing, Look for Internet Service Providers who can offer your company increased services as your online business grows. You don’t want to find yourself needing to change ISPs, or look to outside services to meet your company’s growing needs.
Small business owners who are moving their businesses online should look for an ISP that offers the best in web hosting, design and maintenance services. Your ISP should have a proven track record of reliable service, as well as a history of growth and innovation. When it’s time to move your business to the web, choose the Internet Service Provider that is best prepared to help make your online presence a success.