Tag: Small

Should a Small Business Have a Blog in 2021?


https://www.sterlingsky.ca/

Should a small business have a blog? This is a question that we get asked all the time by both business owners and marketing agencies. Carrie Hill posed this question to the Twitterverse in November.

 

 What is the Value of a Blog for Local SEO (A Discussion)?

A lengthy and insightful discussion was started at the Local Search Forum in October 2020. There seems to be some agreement, as well as some disagreement about the value of a blog to a local SMB. Before we get into Sterling Sky’s thoughts on blogging for small businesses, here are some sample comments from the forum discussion.

“To be honest, I like to do 1 blog post per month minimum no matter the industry. The reason why is because it is fresh content thats posted to the site and has the opportunity to pop up for certain phrases, questions, or even the answer box.

____________

“For a contractor such as a plumber or locksmith, I would suggest doing a blog post on questions people ask. For example, Top 3 questions to ask your local plumber in Los Angeles or What Questions to ask your local plumber, etc.”

____________

“Anything that adds visibility to your site is helpful and blog posts are an inexpensive way of doing that. And they don’t disappear after a week like GMB posts.”

____________

“Blog posts also provide extra opportunity to create more keyword rich inlinking throughout the site. If structured properly it will help visibility overall, which should translate into higher local rankings.”

____________

“I’ll dissent and say I don’t think it’s worth it.”

____________

“We would write 2 blog posts a month for our client. Did it for 2-3 years. I was skeptical of the impact. We stopped and I removed all the blog posts to see what would happen. Nothing happened. No ranking shift up or down.”

____________

“Honestly, every time I see another marketing company writing blogs consistently for their local clients I kind of shake my head. Still waiting for someone to prove me wrong but hasn’t happened yet.”

Sterling Sky’s Approach to Content and Blogging

When it comes to deciding whether or not a small business should blog, I like to start off by thinking of this quote from Carrie Hill.

“Blog posts are timely – website pages are timeless. I do not like blog posts just to blog – it’s a waste of time. If that’s valuable content for your customers – turn it into a page.”

Lots of SEO companies offer blogging as a part of their monthly package.  I would argue that the huge majority of small businesses should not have a blog as a part of their strategy and here is why:

  1. A blog is useful when you have a large following that is continually wanting to get updated on your content.  Do the customers of a divorce attorney really want to get updated monthly or weekly on what is going on in the world of law? Probably not.  What about a pest control company? I might need to hire someone to get rid of my termites but am I really going to dedicate my time to reading articles continually on bugs? Probably not.  If your customers are not likely to want to educate themselves on everything related to your business, you probably don’t need a blog.
  2. Blog articles come with dates on them that show up in the SERPs.  As time goes on, the date on your article will become older and older, and in *most* cases this means it will also become outdated and irrelevant to users. old date in serp
  3. Blog articles don’t have the advantage of siloing, which is the strategy I recommend for all content on small business sites.

How Much Value Does a Blog Provide for a Small Business?

One of the trends we see when a business or an SEO agency blogs for the sake of blogging is typically a decent, continual increase in traffic. But that’s about it. So if traffic is the end-all-be-all metric, you’re golden. But let’s be frank, more traffic doesn’t always equal more business, especially for a smaller business website. Website actions, such as form submissions and calls equal business.

Here’s what we typically see when a website has a blogging strategy that is built around “blogging for the sake of blogging”.

Blogs driving lots of traffic but no conversions.

blogging for the sake of blogging

The blogs above drove a total of two form submissions for the entire 2020 year.

But what about assisted conversions? In the example above, the blogs assisted seven conversions for the entire year. What if the effort that was spent writing all those blogs was spent improving existing core pages and creating new core pages after identifying some content gaps? This has provided a metric ton more value in our experience.

What Type of Content Should I Be Thinking About?

Instead of asking a content writer to add 10 pieces of content about a specific topic to a website each month, it’s much better to have the strategy that has been adopted and preached about by some very smart people in the SEO industry.  The concept is that it’s better to have a few great pieces that get tons of traffic than to have tons of mediocre stuff that gets less than 10 visitors a month. That type of content also generally has a really high bounce rate and don’t forget that Google has an algorithm that fights low-quality content (Panda).  Here are the case studies that talk more about this strategy:

We have adopted this strategy on our own blog and it works extremely well. For example, almost 20% of our site’s traffic when we looked at a 30 day period came from this one guide that we wrote a couple of years ago.  We spend time and effort keeping this guide updated instead of doing something new.  The result has been more traffic, which has led to more sales.

With small businesses, the 2 types of content that continually perform well are:

  1. FAQs that have very detailed responses with multi-media. For example,
    1. Tree Service: How to prune a Japanese Maple
    2. Auto Insurance: Which insurance carriers offer accident forgiveness?
    3. Lawn Care: What Types of Weeds Does Fiesta® Kill?
  2. Guides.  A more in-depth list or checklist of things around a given topic. For example:
    1. Law Firm: Pennsylvania Child Car Seat Laws
    2. Insurance: Billing and Claims Contact Guide

I have also seen many sites for law firms where the majority of their traffic is coming from a few blogs they wrote years ago. Their efforts would be well spent in updating them so the information is current and the date on it isn’t 5 years old.

We always suggest testing some of these strategies before implementing them site-wide. If you have a piece of content on a blog that gets a lot of traffic, you can try testing a couple of different things:

  1. Updating the date published so that it is current.  Watch both impressions AND CTR in Search Console to see what happens as a result.
  2. Removing the date altogether and moving the piece over from the blog to its own page using the silo structure.  Make sure, of course, you 301 all the old URLs since they might be linked to somewhere. Also, don’t forget to update the internal links.

So What?

So should a small business have a blog? The answer is it depends. If a business has interesting news to share or things that would provide value to your customers that don’t fit into the core pages then go for it. Just stop thinking of blogging in terms of “blogging for the sake of blogging”. Focus on optimizing existing core pages, and continually analyzing the content gaps that exist between you and your competitors.

Finally, just to be clear, I am not making the case that blogs can’t drive business goals. They can and they do. But spitting out blog after blog isn’t the way to accomplish that.

 

https://www.sterlingsky.ca/
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How To Start a Website For Your Small Business in 5 Steps


Every business needs a website. If you’re not tech-savvy, you may not know how to start one. This guide will help you get started. Every step is explained so you know what to do and how to start a website for your business.

You can go on different routes when starting a website. There are many choices you can make and there are lots of options, which is why these kinds of guides are always different. We tried to make it as easy as it can be for any level of expertise.

Step 1: Get a Domain Name

The first step of starting a website for your business is getting a domain name. Your domain name should, in most cases, be the name of your business/brand. However, the choice is still up to you and if you can come up with something more creative than your brand name, go for it.

Use a domain name provider like Namecheap. They have other domain extensions aside from the classics like .com, .net, etc. You can use something like yourbrand.rocks. You can learn more about Namecheap and their domain extensions in our review.

Step 2: Get Web Hosting

Once you’ve chosen your domain name, the next step is to buy web hosting in order to host your own website. You can read our guide on how to choose a web hosting provider to help you narrow down your options.

For this guide, we’ll be using WordPress, since it’s one of the most documented and easiest CMSes to use.

Some notable hosting providers are:

  • iWebFusion for cheap, shared web hosting. If you don’t plan on creating a complex website with lots of visitors, you can safely use shared hosting.
  • Kinsta for fully managed WordPress cloud hosting. Go with this option if you want the speed and dedicated resources that a cloud server provides.
  • Vultr if you want to manage a server yourself and install WordPress yourself. This is not recommended if you’re a beginner.

You can explore other WordPress hosting options here.

Step 3: Choose a Theme for Your WordPress Website

WordPress has lots of free (and premium) pre-made themes you can use that would fit your business. Whatever your business is, be it a restaurant or a small consulting company, there’s a great WordPress theme you can use that would fit that category.

Some resources that would help:

Or you can just use google and find a theme.

Installing the theme can be done with a couple of clicks. Most themes use a visual editor, so you don’t even need coding skills to set it up.

Step 4: Design and Customize Your Website

Choosing and installing a theme is not enough. You need to customize your website (specifically the design) so your website stands out and better fits your branding. This includes using a custom logo and custom images and icons for your website’s sections or blog posts.

Penji is a great service you can use to get professional designers to design your logos and all graphics you need for your website. You can even use Penji for custom graphics for your marketing needs, including social media marketing.

Pay great attention to the design as it’s the first thing most people notice when visiting your website.

Step 5: Promote Your Website

Now that you officially started and customized your website, the next step is to promote it. This is arguably the most difficult step that takes a lot of time and skills to succeed at.

There are multiple ways you can promote your website. You can use SEO to gain relevant search traffic. You can use Social Media Marketing. This is where Penji would come in handy with their social media content design. You can even use offline advertising if the niche you are in is right and attract visitors to your website using offline marketing. Again, the options are unlimited.

This is the step you need to focus on. There’s no point in starting a website if nobody visits it. You should use your website to attract new customers or get new clients for your small business. There are upsides to owning a website even if it doesn’t help you convert, like branding and brand awareness. It can even be used for something as simple as contacting you or getting more information about the services you offer. Whatever the needs may be, there’s always a need for a website for your small business.

Workers Compensation Secrets for Small Businesses Revealed


Are you a small business with employees? If you are, you need to have worker’s compensation coverage to protect yourself, your employees and your business at all times.

Are you hiring a steady stream of contractors? The same holds true here as well. You should start researching worker’s compensation coverage, so that you’re ready the day someone gets classified as an employee.

Here are some of the worker’s compensation secrets for small business that shouldn’t be so secret. 

Worker’s Compensation Claims Aren’t Limited to Industrial Worksites 

The classic worker’s compensation case involves a construction worker falling off a roof or an industrial worker maimed by equipment. However, worker’s compensation claims can arise in almost any workplace.

An employee injured in a car crash while driving your delivery van can file a worker’s comp claim. Office workers are more likely to file worker’s compensation claims for repetitive stress injuries, but they could get hurt carrying boxes down stairs or getting sick when exposed to chemical fumes. 

Worker’s Compensation Claims Can Lead to Legal Battles 

Worker’s compensation claims can lead to legal fights. An employee can fight for greater compensation, and they should fight allegations that the workplace injury didn’t occur in the workplace. After all, a finding that the injury occurred off-site or is unrelated to work means they don’t have a worker’s comp claim. If the boss ordered people to work in unsafe conditions or pushed them to violate rules in place for people’s safety, the company doesn’t just have a worker’s comp claim when someone is hurt. They’re also liable for safety violations.

Employees often get legal help, because getting a settlement can be difficult. They may be unable to fill out detailed paperwork because of a traumatic brain injury or when taking pain medication. Or they may have trouble getting all the paperwork together to get the full compensation they’re owed.

For example, they may have requested compensation for their emergency room visit but not yet addressed the mounting bills for ongoing care. Insurers who are slow to pay bills create an undue burden on the employee, and this can lead to interest and penalties as well as legal bills for everyone involved. 

According to the NCS, the majority of worker’s compensation costs by cause through 2017-2018 were as a result of motor vehicles, burns, falls and slips, and more.

As you can imagine, in nearly all of these scenarios, the incident probably could have been avoided — which means there is no reason for employees to ever be injured while on the job.

Worker’s Compensation Is Similar to Every Other Insurance Policy You Pay For 

Worker’s compensation is a form of insurance. You pay premiums based on several key risk factors. One is location. The premiums will be based in part on the state you work in, because different states have different rules. The type of work is a major factor.

Some industries are much more dangerous; construction and industrial workplaces are two such examples. Logging, fishing, and agriculture have greater than average risks, too. Premiums are also based on your payroll. You pay more when you have more people to cover. Then there is one’s claims history. If you have more accidents than average, you’re going to pay far higher worker’s compensation insurance premiums.

On the other hand, if you work with the insurer to mitigate obvious risks, your premiums may go down. If you make changes and no longer generate a steady stream of claims, your insurance company will eventually lower the premiums. Workers’ compensation typically considers the employer’s liability to be limited, but bad practices that cause people to be regularly injured or oversight that results in a major accident can leave you liable. 

Worker’s Compensation Is Not Just For Big Business 

Are you hiring contractors? You may want to prohibit someone from being hired for a job unless they carry their own workers’ compensation insurance. Sole proprietors can buy worker’s compensation to protect themselves, too.



3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself before You Start Looking for a Loan for Your Small Business


There is a time in a business’s lifespan when you’ll have to start looking at financing options. This might be to cover for some unexpected event, or maybe you’re starting to eye a second location. Some business owners might want to start expanding their product line, or invest in marketing.

Royalty-free image

Too many people, however, don’t have a clear idea of how much they really need, or if they actually need financing in the first place. There are also cases where the debt could actually sink you. This is why it’s important that you give it some strong thought before you make a decision.

What’s My Business and Personal Credit Score?

First of all, you have to know that both your business and personal credit score could have an effect on your application. This is especially true if you haven’t had the time to establish a strong business history. You can get one free copy per year of your credit report from all the major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. You can get your business credit score from Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business and Equifax Business, but you’ll have to pay.

What Are My Options?

Now that you have a better idea of your credit situation, you can start looking at what you can actually get. You should also check if you have any assets that you can give up as collateral.

If you have bad credit and you want to go with a traditional financial institution, chances are you won’t be able to get anywhere without collateral, and you might still get rejected. Not to mention that the process might be grueling and lengthy.

If you have bad credit, you’ll probably have no choice but to go with alternative lenders. You have lenders like AdvancedPoint that will look at various other indicators of your business’s health to tell if you could be eligible. They might pay more attention to cash flow and reserves over credit history, for instance.

Whatever you do, however, make sure that you only apply for financing if you think you have a chance. If you’re uncertain, only use services that will perform a soft inquiry first to see if you could realistically get a loan. This will prevent inquiries on your credit report, which can affect your credit negatively.

Do You Actually Need a Loan?

This is the last, yet probably most important question that you can ask. The reason for your loan will make a major difference on whether you’re accepted or not, and you should take a loan for superficial or unproductive reasons. You don’t need a loan to make cosmetic changes to your office space; however, someone may be more inclined to give you a loan if you want to expand your service offerings, or pay for ads.

So, before you even start looking for a loan, you have to answer all of these questions. Once you have a clear answer, you can start shopping and look for the best options for you.

About The Author

vipul

Vipul is a professional blogger and online advertiser based out of Bengaluru, India. Always in a quest for new ways to make money, Vipul detail out all possible opportunities that can help anyone to earn passive income online. You can connect on Twitter, Linkedin & Facebook



13 Best Content Writing Tips for Small Business Websites


13 Content Writing Tips For Small Businesses | InMotion Hosting

If someone offered you an entirely free way to increase brand awareness and generate revenue for your small business website, would you hear them out? Can content writing tips do all that?

It may take some time and effort, but believe it or not, that’s exactly what writing great content can do. 

Whether you’re preparing to begin creating content for your small business website or just aren’t satisfied with your current content’s performance, producing great content is one of the most proven and cost-effective ways to attract a larger audience and bring in new customers.

It’s that simple — write great content and the results will follow. 

But you know what they say, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. 

Writing great content is challenging, but so is riding a bike the first time you try. And like riding a bike, writing awesome content becomes easier and more natural over time.

One of the best ways to improve at anything is to establish and stick to a list of best practices. With that in mind, here’s BLANK tips that can quickly help you learn how to create content for your small business website that resonates with your customers. 

Best Content Writing Tips 

Know your audience

Want people to read what you write and engage with the content on your small business website? Write content for them. 

Content that makes a reader feel as if the author understands them or feels their pain can go a long way in terms of conversion and retention. 

But how can you write for someone if you don’t know anything about them? 

If you know who your audience is or who you want your audience to be, it’s much easier to write content you know will resonate with them.

Spend some time diving into your audience demographics and analytics and really get to know who you’re writing for.  Once you get to know your customers, build your content strategy around subjects and conversations you know will be of interest to them.

Assess your current content 

Once you know your audience, it’s time to take an honest look at your existing content. You may have spent countless hours on the existing content on your website and you’re proud of it. Why shouldn’t you be? You know the work that went into creating it. 

But if you’re reading this article it’s likely that content isn’t performing as well as you had hoped. 

Take a step back and try to take to make an unbiased evaluation of your current content. If you have blog posts, are they strong enough as is, or do you find that a lot of them could be doing more for you?

Bring something of value to the table

An easy way to entice customers to read your article or engage with your website is to offer them something valuable. Is your content relevant? Do you have unique info or helpful insight? Are you able to answer a question or solve a problem for them? 

Establish the reason someone would want to read your content. The stronger the reason, the more likely the content is to perform well. 

Be a voice of authority

People tend to trust experts. If you’re an expert about the subject matter you are writing about, act like it. Own the spotlight and use it to make your business or product shine. 

Even better if you can make it personal. Why are you a voice of authority? Personal examples that prove to your reader you know where they are coming from and can help with their problem will build trust with your customers.

Incorporate an SEO strategy

It’s hard not to understate the value of a solid SEO strategy. With a little effort, SEO can take your writing from good to great without spending any money, making it a cheap and effective way to make your content work harder for you.

A great first step to SEO is learning how to choose valuable SEO keywords. If you want to write for your audience, knowing the keywords they are searching for can help you tailor the content to appeal to them. 

There’s plenty of free training online to teach you SEO content strategies, but until you’re a master, it’s helpful to use a reliable SEO checklist that can take the guesswork out of refining your content. 

An SEO checklist can help your content stay on target.

Write compelling headlines

All of your content should be as strong as possible, but if you have to focus on making just one area shine, make it your headlines.  

Think of fishing. You wouldn’t spend time finding a good spot, preparing your gear, and setting your lines if you didn’t bring bait you thought would entice a fish to bite your hook. 

Writing good content with boring headlines is like taking all the steps to land a fish, then sitting by while all the fish swim right past your unbaited hook. 

It’s reported that up to 80 percent of people read nothing but headline copy while only 20 percent will actually click through to read the rest, so your headline might be the only chance you have to draw the reader in or land a new customer. 

Link to relevant content and useful resources

If you want content that is truly valuable, give your customer everything they need in one spot. 

Providing links to relevant articles or sites and including helpful resources shows your reader you have kept their needs in mind when crafting your content. 

Not only does this give you a chance to provide your audience with additional resources and materials they find useful, but it also give you a chance to boost your SEO rankings and search results by linking out to sites Google deems to be valuable.

Add CTAs

A CTA (or call to action) is a prompt that encourages visitors to take a specific action that you have pre determined, like directing them to your products and services. It’s also a good chance to encourage your readers to use your business. 

Adding CTAs to your small business web pages makes your content actionable and gives customers an easy avenue to explore or purchase your product.

There are many different types of CTAs and they can be easily customized to fit your business.

A "call-to-action" (CTA) helps your readers decide what to do next.

Add images, screenshots, artwork etc.

As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That rings true for your small business website as well. 

No one wants to look at visually boring content, and good artwork can really boost your content. Not only does adding visual elements to your content make it look better, it helps with your SEO rankings

Keep it simple

Lengthy content can do well, but only when it has something of true value to offer. Don’t write long just to write long. Be concise and stay on topic.

If you can effectively say something in 500 words that someone else needed 1000 words to convey, your article has more value in the sense that it saves readers time.

Make text scannable

Obviously you want your reader to read the whole article, but if you can help them out just by presenting valuable info in an easy-to-digest manner, that’s a win. 

Utilize things like white space, bold headings, bullet points or any other kind of separator to break up your text and make it easy to consume. Your customers will appreciate it. 

Proofread, proofread, proofread

With 1.9 billion websites online, one way to make sure no one pays attention to your small business website is by posting sloppy content. 

Nothing hurts your credibility more than poor spelling or grammar, so take your time proofing your work. 

Our brains complete circuits subconsciously and it’s entirely possible for you to see content as clean that someone else reads and easily points out several needed corrections. 

Try reading your work outloud to slow your brain down. Once you’re sure the content is perfect, have someone else read it. 

Leave them wanting more

A good way to keep readers returning to your small business website is to give them content that leaves them wanting more. 

If you know your audience and understand their pain points, maybe you know how to answer the next question they are likely to have. 

You may have solved one problem, but if you can prevent them from having another problem by educating them them issue before they experience it, you can quickly develop loyal readers building a reputation as someone who proactively thinks about their wants and needs

Bonus tip: UPDATE

Just because your content is good doesn’t mean it will stay good. New content is created every day and it’s possible someone else may have written something better since you put out your content.

Continually checking your content to ensure it provides the most up-to-date information is a good way to keep your site from slipping in Google’s rankings. 

Sometimes, you’ll need to decide if content is worth rewriting or should be deleted altogether.

Final Thoughts 

No one starts out an excellent content writer, but a ton of people put in the work to become one. 

Writing great content is a process, and making the content on your small business website stand out definitely takes some effort. But with these tips and plenty of practice, it can quickly become second nature. 

Now that you know how to write content that will draw users in, make sure you’re also avoiding the mistakes that can push them away
And if you ever have any questions about your small business website, let us know. We’re always here to help 24/7/365.



How to Choose the Best Cloud Based Server for Small Business


More and more small businesses are choosing to shift away from their on-premise servers to a cloud-based hosting solution. But what is a cloud server and is it the right choice for your small business? In this article, we discuss the ins and outs of cloud hosting so you can make the right decision for your next business server.

More…

See Also: Affordable Cloud Hosting

What is cloud hosting?

Cloud servers are a type of online server. Cloud services are designed using a centralized control panel which a small business user can leverage in order to deploy virtual servers “in the cloud”. Fundamentally, they are a collection of physical servers hosted in a secure data center at a cloud provider like ServerMania.  Each component in the cloud hosting experience is redundant across CPU, memory, and storage so that the entire server environment is secure and high-availability.

cloud services small business

Unlike a traditional on-premises server that you may be used to, Cloud services can be deployed in seconds as they are running as a virtual slice of a large collection of servers. A Small business cloud service is specifically designed to be easy to use so that even non-experts can navigate the platform.

Is cloud computing good for small business?

Cloud services are a great option for many small businesses. These servers help reduce infrastructure costs, increase uptime, and reduce the amount of time spent managing servers.

Reduced Infrastructure Costs

As every small business owner knows, managing costs and being able to deliver a reliable product or service to your customers is essential. Cloud services help to meet these goals because a cloud server can be scaled up based on business needs.

You can start a cloud service with 1GB of RAM and upgrade to up to 128GB of RAM without needing to switch hardware or experience lengthy downtime. Clouds also give small businesses the ability to deploy servers without expensive up-front hardware costs.

Increased Uptime

Cloud instances can also help your small business increase uptime and performance.

Every cloud instance is set up on redundant hardware so that a single failure on networking, CPU, memory, or disk space will cause your server to be automatically moved to a healthy server, reducing downtime and occurring without any intervention on your part.

A cloud based server for small business is also set up in our secure data centers to ensure that the server is monitored 24×7 for physical intrusion, environmental threats, and more.

See Also: Best Online Backup For Small Business

What can a cloud server be used for?

There are a variety of things that a cloud service can be used for by a small business, including:

  • Cloud storage for business
  • Secure file sharing
  • Running SaaS tools like an office suite
  • Web Servers
  • Email Servers
  • Database storage solution
  • Mobile device backups

Whether you want your server to be the best cloud storage for business, host an e-commerce site, or more, a cloud service can help you accomplish all of these goals.

See Also: Small Business Solutions

Which applications aren’t suited for a cloud server?

While almost any application can benefit from the high-availability and performance of a cloud platform, there are some applications that are best suited for a traditional dedicated server or a hybrid approach. 

Some examples of these applications include:

  • High CPU or memory-intensive applications – anything over 64GB of RAM is likely better suited and more affordable to run on a dedicated server
  • Compliance sensitive applications such as heath and financial applications – some industries require these applications to be hosted on a completely private infrastructure

Remember that you can always take a hybrid approach which leverages cloud computing for some aspects of your hosting and dedicated servers for other applications. This combination may prove most effective for your needs. 

What is the best cloud server for small business?

Choosing the best online servers for small business is sometimes not an easy task, but cloud services make this process a lot easier.

A Cloud server can be instantly scaled up to add additional memory, CPU, and disk space, so you don’t need to be too picky when selecting a server.

ServerMania offers a Cloud server starting at $5 per month. The best server for your needs depends on your application requirements. Here are a few options:

How to setup cloud server for small business

Getting started with the best cloud computing experience is easy:

Step 1: Create Your Account

Step 2: Start Deploying Servers

If you’re ready to setup a server for your small business, it’s never been easier to get started. Click here to learn more about the ServerMania Cloud and how you can be up and running in minutes.  If you contact our sales team, we can also set you up with a free trial so you can explore the ServerMania Cloud for 10 days.



Free SEO Help for Small, Locally-Owned Businesses Hurt by Looting & Rioting in 2020


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https://www.flickr.com/photos/pug50/4636347841/

If you’re part of a small and locally owned business that’s been looted or trashed by rioters in recent days – or if you know someone in that situation – I’m glad to provide some pro bono marketing / SEO help.  All you’d need to do is contact me, though you’ll probably want to read the rest of this post for context.

Many problems marketing just can’t solve, of course.  But I can think of at least a few situations in which a little well-executed local SEO or other online marketing helps your business get by for at least a while longer.  For example:

  • Your store or office is boarded-up or not staffed, so you need to offer a mobile, home-based, or online/virtual service.
  • Your store is destroyed, but you can sell some of your products online and ship them.
  • You’re fully operational, but nobody’s coming to your doors due to some combination of riots, police, the COVID lockdown, or nearby peaceful protests.

No business should be looted or trashed, and larger outfits often serve a purpose in minority communities.  But any medium-sized chain (or larger) business is less likely to have been seriously hurt by the rioting.  Larger organizations are not my clients, and that’s always been true of my pro bono work, too.

That’s why my offer is geared more toward family businesses and the like.  I’m thinking particularly of (a) single-location or other very “local” businesses that are (b) owned and operated by People of Color who (c) also live in the affected community or nearby.  But there is a know-it-when-I-see it factor here.  In any case, I’ll ask you for basic info about you and your situation.

Peaceful protests are important and noble.   Violent rioters’ hostage-taking is selfish and evil.  Looting and destroying makes economic hardships even harder, and that ultimately means hungry kids, not just broken or missing “replaceable stuff.”  Anyway, if your livelihood and family’s future have suddenly become collateral damage, I’d like to do what I can to help.

Again, I am not saying online marketing can solve every problem or even can come close.  But let’s at least make it one small-to-medium factor working in your favor.  You can contact me (or pass this along) and let’s discuss what we can do pro bono.

Two quick notes:

1. My universal caveat: my time is pretty limited. Time is a limiting factor in my longstanding Visibility for Veterans program, in my offer to certain businesses early in the COVID pandemic, and in my work for my many clients.

2. If you’re an SEO or other marketer and you also would like to offer some pro bono help, please let me know. It would be great to have a few skillsets besides mine, because every business owner’s needs are a little different, especially now. (Maybe we can even get a Google Drive doc of pros who offer this or that, in this amount or that, and affected business owners can just contact whomever seems like the best fit.)

Even if you don’t have a need for pro bono local-marketing help, if you’re a business owner in a situation like the one I described, I’m still interested to hear how things are.  Do send “just a howdy” if you feel like it.

Stay frosty.

How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of the Australian Stimulus Package

In light of the evolving situation around the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government has released a number of economic responses to support individuals, households and businesses and improve stability in this particularly volatile environment.

Continue reading “How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of the Australian Stimulus Package”

Best Web Hosting Services for Small Business (2020)


One key lesson I learned from reviewing dozens of hosting services is that a good web host might not always be the right web host.

Why?

Because different kinds of websites will have different needs.

Some web hosts might be good in certain areas – such as speed and latest technology; while others might focus on providing a stable server and cheaper rate. A “good web host” does not always guarantee 100% users 100% satisfaction.

This is especially true when it comes to business website hosting. As a business owner myself – I truly understand why businesses are often cautious and picky about their web host. You need to stick with the right service at the right price and right quality. The “best” web host may not be the best choice.

After evaluating all the good web hosts around, I have come down to a list of companies that perfectly fit the needs of most small-business owners.

Web Host Entry Price SSH Access Host Email? Free SSL Cert. Free Site Migration Easy Site Builder
InMotion Hosting $3.99/mo Yes Yes Auto SSL & Let’s Encrypt Yes BoldGrid
Hostinger $0.80/mo Yes (Premium++) Yes In-House (Premium++) Yes In-House
Shopify $29.00/mo No No In-House No In-House
SiteGround $3.95/mo Yes Yes Let’s Encrypt Yes Weebly
Interserver $5.00/mo Yes Yes Auto SSL Yes In-House
A2 Hosting $3.92/mo Yes Yes Auto SSL & Let’s Encrypt Yes In-House
Cloudways $10.00/mo Yes No Let’s Encrypt First site only No
Wix $8.50/mo No No In-House Yes Wix

 

Disclosure

WHSR receive referral fees from some hosting companies mentioned in this page. Our opinions are based on real experience and actual server data. Please read our review policy page to understand how our host review and rating system works.

 


 

Table of Content

 

Guide – How to choose & How much to pay

Reviews – Find plan that’s right for you

 


 

Best Small Business Hosting 2020 – Reviewed & Recommendations

We will now dig in to each of these business hosting services. To make my reviews relevant and helpful, I will put in extra focus on features that are important to business, such as hosting performance, business-friendly features, after-sales support, and value for money.

1. InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting - Top Business Hosting.
InMotion Hosting – Business Hosting starts at $3.99/mo > Click here to order now.

Website: https://www.inmotionhosting.com

InMotion Hosting offers SSD-based Shared Business Hosting on their servers located at the East and the West Coast of United States. You have the option to choose one of them.

Shared plans are basically budget-friendly which includes one free domain name and one free SSL certificate. They also offer advanced hosting plans such as VPS Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting for websites in need of more CPU resources.

Regardless of the plan, their server uptime is mostly above 99.95% with good latency in the US.

InMotion Hosting service is backed up by all three methods of support (live chat, phone and email ticket). Contacting via phone call is the quickest way to get your problem solved professionally.

 

InMotion Hosting Review

Pros                        

  • Solid server performance – Good uptime (>99.95%) and response time (< 450ms)
  • Big first-time discount on shared hosting plans – save up to 50%
  • Free domain registration, SSL Certificate and automated daily backup
  • SSD storage and peered connection technology for up to 6x faster website
  • 90-days safe hosting period with no-question-asked refund policy
  • Free website migration – good for busy business owners

Cons

  • Server location in USA only
  • Must go through phone verification for account activation
  • Hosting price increases after first term

Plans & Pricing *

  • Launch Plan – $3.99/mo (50% off)
  • Power Plan – $5.99/mo (40% off)
  • Pro Plan – $13.99/mo (12% off)

* Exclusive discount.

More details in my in-depth Inmotion review.

Tip: Which InMotion plan is good for small / medium business?

For new and small businesses – Start with InMotion Power Hosting Plan – at $5.99/mo, customers can host up to 6 domains with free SSL for all domains and all essential e-commerce features ready.

Upgrade to VPS-1000HA-S or VPS-2000HA-S later as your business grows.

 

2. Hostinger

Hostinger Single Shared Hosting plan starts at $0.80/mo for new users > Click here to order now.

Website: https://www.hostinger.com

Hostinger is relative new but it has the cheapest hosting services in our list. Start at as low as $0.80/month, Hostinger Single allows users to host one website and one email account with 100 GB bandwidth. and upgrade to higher plans (known as “Premium” and “Business”) later.

Hostinger premium plan – “Business” is cheaper than the market average (signup at $3.45/mo) and comes with various premium features including MariaDB (for a secured database), SSH Access (for better security), free SSL, auto daily backup, and pre-optimized servers for site speed.

 

Hostinger Review

Pros                        

  • Solid server performance – Good uptime (>99.95%) and response time (< 600ms)
  • Extremely cheap to start off, Single Shared Hosting Plan starts at $0.80/mo for new users best for small businesses looking for great deals
  • Drag-and-drop website builder (developed in-house) to create a website easily
  • Extra security features, free domain name, and automated daily backup for Premium and Business plans
  • Free website migration – good for busy business owners
  • Flexible VPS hosting plans (6 different levels)
  • Top-level data backups for VPS hosting accounts

Cons

  • Single plan is cheap but rather basic – only suitable for those who need a simple static website
  • Hosting price increases after first term

Hostinger Plans & Pricing *

  • Single Plan – $0.80/mo
  • Premium Plan – $2.15/mo
  • Business Plan – $3.45/mo

* Exclusive discount.

More about Hostinger in my review.

Tip: Which Hostinger plan to go with?

If all you need is a simple static website to showcase your business (a flyer website), then look no further – Hostinger is your answer. The $0.80/mo Single Plan is the cheapest (but reliable) business hosting solution you can ever get.

Bear in mind, however, that you get what you pay for – some useful features, such as auto backup, unlimited cron job, and free SSL, are available only in Premium or Business plans. I would recommend you to go (or upgrade later) with Hostinger Business if you are serious about your business.

 

3. Shopify

Screenshot of Shopify
Shopify, the most popular ecommerce platform, is powering more than 800,000 online store in 2020 > click here to order.

Website: https://www.shopify.com

Although Shopify functions as a website builder it is technically more inclined towards those seeking to build an online store. This makes it very much in-sync with many businesses today which are competing in the digital space.

The ease of use that a website builder can bring towards building an eCommerce store cannot be underestimated. Most small businesses would not have the in-house competency to do this and outsourcing it would likely cost much more than what you could achieve with Shopify.

Aside from that you can also integrate your Shopify site with your retail POS system and make use of add-ons to manage inventory. This will let you move past the physical versus retail divide and provide a truly integrated experience to customers

 

Shopify Review

In retrospect, Shopify might not be right for everyone but there is no denying that it has a specific focus – and that is to help you sell. To me it seems the ideal partner for many businesses, especially since all their plans include eCommerce functionality.

 

Pros

  • Plenty of add-on tools available
  • Simple and powerful integrated payments – work with 100+ external payment gateways
  • Highly customizable stores with 70+ professional designed themes
  • Free SSL certificate and abandoned cart recovery for all plans
  • POS Integration available – Promote and sell on multiple channels (Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, etc) within Shopify

Cons

  • Cost is a little prohibitive unless you’re a dedicated e-Tailer
  • Losing profit margin – Shopify charges 0.5 – 2% transaction fees
  • Some add-ons cost extra

Pricing 

  • Basic Shopify – $29/mo
  • Shopify – $79/mo
  • Advanced Shopify – $299/mo

Learn more about Shopify in Timothy’s review.

Tip: Which Shopify plan to go with?

Shopify Basic is a good starting for most small-to-medium businesses.

Shopify is, to be honest, pricier than most other site builders in the market. However it is also very much dedicated to the eCommerce scene and that can be a big plus for businesses, especially given their POS integration feature. The pricing structure is simple though and you just need to align your business needs to the right one.

 

4. SiteGround

SiteGround Hosting - Top pick for Malaysian and Singaporean websites.
Screenshot of SiteGround homepage > Click here to order now.

Website: https://www.siteground.com

SiteGround has achieved the highest customer satisfaction in the last couple of years with their helpful live chat support being one of the highlights.

Their servers use NGINX, HTTP/2 in conjunction with SuperCacher technology to maximize the website speed. It can save a big 7% loss of conversion that could just happen in 1 second of load delay (source).

All SiteGround plans feature one-click SSL installation and the shared plans have Let’s Encrypt SSL for free. Shared plans also come with a free automated daily backup service for better peace of mind.

 

SiteGround review

Pros                        

  • Great uptime (100% in most cases)
  • A straight 60% off on the first bill of any shared hosting
  • Choice of server location (America, Europe and Asia)
  • Officially recommended by WordPress.org and Drupal.org
  • Native 3-layer caching system for optimal performance (SuperCacher)
  • Let’s Encrypy Wildcard SSL (HTTPS) is auto-installed to all domains
  • Free website migration – good for busy business owners
  • WooCommerce-ready – Siteground pre-install and manage all you need for a WooCommerce site.

Cons

  • High renewal cost on shared hosting
  • SuperCacher is not available on the basic shared plan (StartUp)

Price

  • Startup Plan – $3.95/mo
  • GrowBig Plan – $5.95/mo
  • GoGeek Plan – $11.95/mo

More about SiteGround in my review.

Tip: Which SiteGround plan is best for small business?

SiteGround StartUp and WooCommerce Startup Package  are best hosting plan for small online businesses. SiteGround StartUp is great for hosting one business website – it comes with all essential features and suitable for business websites with less than 10,000 visits per month.

If you are running WordPress WooCommerce site (for retail businesses with inventories), go for SiteGround WooCommerce Hosting . All SiteGround’s WooCommerce plans come with auto-updater, pre-installed WooCommerce and Storefront theme, and Let’sEncrypt SSL.

 

5. InterServer

Screenshot of Interserver homepage > Click here to order now.

Website: https://www.interserver.com

Founded by Michael Lavrik and John Quaglieri, InterServer is a New Jersey-based company that’s been in the game since 1999.

Initially launching as a virtual hosting account re-seller, the hosting provider has grown over the past 17 years and now operates two data centers in New Jersey and is in the process of expanding to additional locations.

The best thing about InterServer is their solid server performance, guaranteed email delivery, and locked-in signup price. The company pledge that they will never increase their price during renewal and keep them under 50% utilization for sudden traffic spikes. Also, the new Guaranteed Email Delivery feature ensure important business emails you sent will not be trapped in recipients’ junk box.

 

Interserver Review

Pros                        

  • Good hosting uptime (>99.97%) and excellent server response time (<220ms)
  • Special discount: For new purchases, use promo code WHSRPENNY to try Interserver at $0.01/mo (first month only).
  • Flat price on all shared and VPS hosting plans (no increase at renewals)
  • Free website migration – good for busy business owners

Cons

  • VPS hosting panel is not beginner friendly
  • No live chat support
  • Server location in USA only

Price

  • All-in-one shared hosting starts at $5.00/month

More about InterServer in my review.

Tip: Which InterServer hosting plan is business-friendly?

Interserver Standard Shared Hosting Plan is good enough for any new, or small businesses. Priced at $5/mo ($4/mo if you subscribe 3 years), you’ll get all essential business hosting features plus automatic virus scanner, machine learning firewall, in-house caching, and guaranteed email delivery.

 

6. A2 Hosting

Screenshot of A2 Hosting homepage > Click to order now.

A2 Hosting has been around for a LONG time now (since 2001) and WHSR has kept up to date with them over the years. They have a solid range of plans that cater to almost everyone, ranging from basic shared plans all the way to dedicated hosting.

For businesses, this is especially good since if you like them there is a solid migration pathway for you to move along as your activities online scale up. Or you can keep paying current rates for great performance if your intention is just a stable digital

Our most recent tests on a A2 hosted site still gave solid speed readings. Solid Time-to-First-Byte (TTFB) readings are one of the key indicators of great hosts and A2 Hosting has been quite stable over the years.

Combined with their excellent uptime record and a choice from four data centres, you have a potent mix for the best platform to host your business site.

 

A2 Hosting Review

Pros

  • Great performance with typical TTFB below 550 ms
  • Well-optimized for best website speed
  • Reasonable rates and sign-up discounts
  • Try it out for free (anytime money back guarantee)
  • Free website migration – good for busy business owners
  • Choice of 4 different server locations
  • Even more options: VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosting

Cons

  • Site migration is chargeable when you downgrade
  • Live chat support isn’t always available
  • Turbo Plan does not support Ruby or Python applications

A2 Hosting Plans & Pricing

  • Lite Plan – $3.92/mo
  • Swift Plan – $4.90/mo
  • Turbo Plan – $9.31/mo

Learn more about A2 Hosting in this review.

Tip: Which A2 Hosting plan to go with? 

Prices at A2 Hosting cover a broad spectrum simply because of the massive number of types of plans they have. Small businesses can start of with one of their shared plans that weigh in from as little as $3.92 a month. From there, as your traffic volume scales up you can easily move from plan to plan.

 

7. Cloudways

Cloudways
Screenshot of Cloudways homepage > click here to order now.

Website: https://www.cloudways.com

Cloudways might not be a household name in the hosting industry but they are currently making strides in cloud hosting. Or rather, cloud management to be exact.

What Cloudways offer is the ability to create a cloud server for your website and have it hosted on six cloud providers: Amazon (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, DigitalOcean, Vultr, and Linode. If your website or project demands maximum power (for suddden traffic spike), then Cloudways ability to give you dedicated resources to improve your website speed and stability is a huge plus.

In addition to that, they also support a slew of performance-boosting technologies such as PHP7, Varnish, Nginx, Redis, Memcached, and HTTP/2.

If you’re not a technical person, Cloudways also supports automated installation for some of the popular CMS and apps such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Joomla, PrestaShop, and OpenCart.

 

Review Cloudways Services

Pros

  • Ability to choose multiple cloud hosting providers
  • Easy install process for WordPress, PrestaShop, Drupal, etc.
  • Affordable cloud hosting management platform (cloud hosting as low as $10/mo)
  • Pay as you go – only pay for the resources your business site consumes
  • Simplicity – Beginner and developer friendly with Intuitive UI
  • Scalability – Flexbile to scale up and down as your business grow (or slow down)
  • Free website migration – good for busy business owners

Cons

  • Easy installer is only limited to 12 apps/CMS
  • Doesn’t not have any root access
  • Confusing for first time cloud hosting users
  • Free site transfer only available for first migration

Cloudways Plans & Pricing

  • Digital Ocean – Starts at $10/mo
  • Linode – Starts at $12/mo
  • Vultr – Starts at $11/mo
  • Amazon – Starts at $37/mo
  • Google Cloud Platform – Starts at $33/mo

Learn more about Cloudways in my in-depth review.

Tip: The best Cloudways plan for small businesses? 

Any Cloudways entry level plan is good for small business. At this time of writing, Cloudways Digital Ocean and Cloudways Vultr are running on the cheapest price. For $10/mo and $11/mo, you’ll get 1 GB server RAM and 25 GB storage to host your small business websites.

 

8. Wix

Wix - recommended website solutions for small business
Screenshot of Wix homepage > Click to order now.

With a 22% market share in the competitive website builder business, Wix is one of the top dogs around. It has been in the business for more than a decade now and offers users a chance at creating a stunning website in just a few clicks. Well, perhaps more, but that’s the general idea – simplicity!

The visual editor was designed to allow anyone, even those with no coding knowledge at all to quickly adapt to. Piecing together your site can be as easy as selecting a template and modifying it from there ala Lego style.

The basic editor gives access to everything a usual site will need, but if you have extra requirements that aren’t found there, Wix has an App Market that lets you incorporate extended functionality through a sort of plugin system.

Hosting is packaged together with Wix’s role as a site builder, so it’s basically a one-stop shop for website creation! This is especially useful for small businesses whose core competency is not in tech.

 

Review Wix

Pros

  • Good range of pricing options
  • Extensive option drag-and-drop user interface
  • Sitebuilder and hosting packaged together
  • Pre-built templates to choose from
  • Powerful features can be added through plugins from the App Market

Cons

  • Does not allow exports of data (you’re stuck with Wix)
  • Multiple issues with SEO
  • Online stores can get pricey to construct

Wix Plans & Pricing

  • Combo – $8.50/mo
  • Unlimited – $12.50/mo
  • eCommerce – $16.50/mo
  • VIP – $24.50/mo

Read Timothy’s in-depth Wix review here.

Tip: Which Wix plan to go with? 

Wix starts at absolutely zero cost but that plan is very restrictive. Paid plans suitable for businesses (without Wix Ads) start from as low as $8.50 and scale up to $24.50 per month.

 


 

Critical Hosting Features for Small Business Hosting

Let’s get to know some of the must-have features in a good business hosting.

1- Cheap Price

Budget is always a big issue for small businesses. So, most owners will consider the overall cost of building a website (which include web hosting cost) in the first place. However, because of the importance for business reputation, pricing may have to take a back seat to other factors when it comes to web hosting.

There are a number of factors that you need to consider when calculating the cost of a website, and all of them can vary wildly, depending on how complex or simple your needs are.

2- Reliability

Every big thing starts small. Good reliability and higher hosting uptime are the foundations that you must have to get your website bigger and better.

Downtime can have a more significant impact than you think.

Aside from the frustration you may face from users who are unable to access a site which is down, you will also have to factor in other things like potential loss of revenue, brand reputation damage and even possibly a drop in search engine rankings.

SiteGround Hosting uptime
SiteGround has one of the most reliable hosting services in our book. Here’s the uptime score (100%) of my site hosted at SiteGround in March 2018 > Click here to visit SiteGround.

3- Scalability

Your business will grow, so your web host must be able to cope with it. For starters – always start small with an affordable shared hosting and upgrade (ie. to VPS or cloud hosting) when your business takes off.

Businesses that start off (especially small businesses) seldom need to pay for expensive top-of-the-line hosting right off the bat. It would be far more prudent to move from plan to plan progressively as your needs evolve.

Cloudways - Best Flexibility
Cloudways is best in term of scalability. Host and manage your business websites on Google, Amazon, Digital Ocean, Linode, and Vultr’s infrastructures via Cloudways > Click here to check out Cloudways.

4- SSL Certificate

There are multiple factors that can generate trust for online websites. An SSL certificate is one of them and has become an increasingly important factor today.

This is important to take note of because there are various types of SSL and some of them can be quite expensive. SSL certificates are especially important to business sites that deal with customer data or financial information.

SiteGround business features - auto-installed Let's Encrypt SSL
You can install, manage, and update Let’s Encrypt Standard and WildCard SSL easily (at no additional cost) with SiteGround built-in SSL control panel. To access, cPanel > Security > SSL / TLS Manager > Certificates (CRT). Click here to visit SiteGround.

5- Backup Service

It will be definitely hard to sleep if you have a good amount of money at stake. Automated backup services will ensure you that whatever happens, you won’t lose your website.

Different hosts have different backup capabilities and processes so this is something important to take note of. Most hosts will offer basic backups for free, but for a business site I would recommend investing in additional capabilities and also keeping an updated copy offline as well!

Compare Hostinger features and pricings
Free daily backup included in Hostinger Business Hosting plan (signup at $3.45/mo) > Click here to visit Hostinger.

6- Ease of Use

Web hosting is basically space and the capacity to allow traffic to reach your website. It’s like the plot of land that you build your hose on. However, there are hosts that can help make your life much easier in your quest to build a website.

Most small businesses won’t have dedicated IT staff and having to outsource web design can get expensive. Today, many web hosts are including website builders into their packages so customers can build basic sites more easily.

Create a website easily with WordPress or Weebly at SiteGround. These sitebuilders are pre-installed in all SiteGround shared hosting plans > Click here to visit SiteGround.
Save money in web design – Wix offers hundreds of professional designed templates in various categories > Click here to visit Wix online.

7- eCommerce Viability

Again, this goes back to what additional functionality you need for your site. Being able to sell online can be a big plus for businesses.

If you’re looking to build a site that has eCommerce capabilities, you need to take into consideration other factors such as inventory management, payment processing, shipping processing, flexible shipping and tax rates,  customer segmenting, dropshipping integrations, and much more.

Shopify has the best eCommerce solutions in market. The store builder comes in 50+ languages, integrates with over 100 payment gateways and dozens of dropshipping apps, and offers advanced inventory management capabilities > check out Shopify now.

 


 

Which Hosting Service Is Right? Understanding Your Business Website Needs

So there you have it, the web hosting services that we think will perfectly suit the needs of any small-to-medium business owners for their website.

But of course, in order for you to choose the right web host, you need to know the needs of your business first. As I’ve mentioned earlier, smaller business websites tend to have peculiar needs and identifying them will go a long in choosing the perfect web host for you.

Some other points that you need to consider before choosing your web host are:

  • What are the software you need for your business? Pick a business hosting plan that allow you to auto-install those software.
  • Where is your customers located at? Pick a website hosting that has servers close to your audience / customers.
  • What is your business growth plan? Look for a host with VPS and dedicated upgrade options – so it allows you to grow with minimum hassles.

The more you understand your business and its needs, the better and easier it will be to choose the right web host.

Last but not least, you should always remember that there is never a one-fix-all solution for your website. It’s all about finding the right balance of good features in a web host while still fulfilling the needs of your website.

Case Study #1: Hosting Solution for Static Business Website

Business website example - understanding your business hosting needs
Example of static business (flyer) website – Dave’s Locksmith Service (source).

Dave has a locksmith business and set up a website to expand his customer base. Since he is only looking to increase his client base, it is likely that a simple digital presence can be all he needs to start off with.

These basic requirements will only require that he has a domain name and web hosting. Ideally, a simple site done up form a template would be good, but even the most basic shared plan would do.

A site like this could cost as little as a few dollars a month to maintain.

Best for static business websites: Hostinger, Wix, A2 Hosting.

Case Study #2: Hosting Solution for Blog + Business Website

Example of blog + business website – Bone Zappetit (source)

Julie Cortana started an organic superfood dog treat online store to offer users a chance a giving their pets a special something. Selling her treats online required that she be able to list and make sales through her site.

To do this she turned to Wix. The sitebuilder allowed her to build Bone Zappetit with little technical skill while the App Market helped power the blog and other eCommerce features she needed to market her site.

The cost involved in starting something like Bone Zappetit could range from as low as $12.50 per month and scale up as the business grows.

Best for static business websites: Hostinger, Wix, A2 Hosting.

Case Study #3: Hosting Solution for Complex / High Volume Business Website

Example of high volume / complex website – Bitcatcha (source)

Covering many aspects of web hosting and related industries, BitCatcha is a good example of a small business with a high traffic volume website. In order to meet resource demands it is hosting with SiteGround, one of the best in the business.

SiteGround offers a good spread of hosting plans ranging from shared all the way to powerful and scalable Cloud hosting options. It is a good example of a web host which offers solid features and performance to those who rely on them for their livelihood.

Best for high volume business websites: InMotion Hosting, Interserver, SiteGround.

Case Study #4: Hosting Solution for eCommerce / Online Store 

Example of online store – Japan Objects STORE (source)

A very recent addition to the circle of Shopify online stores, Japan Objects STORE was intended to showcase Japanese culture, arts and design. However, it also has traditional clothing items for sale, such as Kimonos, Yukatas and Obi Belts.

That the site is new might not be surprising, but it can give you a good idea of how great a site (plus eCommerce store) you can build with Shopify. Beautifully elegant and with good use of a combination of imagery set in a minimalistic layout, Japan Objects STORE is clean and crisp.

Best for eCommerce websites: Shopify, SiteGround (WooCommerce), Cloudways.

 


 

Basic Price Guide: How Much Should You Pay?

By this point you probably already know that there is a vast range of web hosting that you can buy into for your business site. Knowing that and your own business are two of the key factors to getting your first site up.

At the beginning we all start small and for web hosting that’s in the budget shared web hosting space. Typically, prices here range between $1 to $10 or more per month, depending on what you get with the package. Normally, WordPress shared hosting follows this pricing scheme closely, although managed WordPress hosting will cost more.

Once you pass the shared hosting stage then the next logical progression will be VPS hosting. VPS hosting offers more power and security than shared hosting plans but will cost more as well. This can be daunting as the technical skills required are usually higher than for shared hosting. Opting for managed VPS hosting can be expensive and range from between $20 to $100 per month.

Remember that these are just rough guidelines, and choosing the best match for your business goes far beyond price alone.

Learn more in our recent hosting price survey.

Business Hosting Cost References (2020)

InMotion Hosting (with Exclusive Discounts): $3.99/mo – $13.99/mo

InMotion - best overall hosting for business
InMotion Hosting offers very reliable hosting at reasonable prices, which would be the sweet spot for businesses. Launch Plan (starts at $3.99/mo) comes with a free domain, free SSL, and capacity to host 2 domains > Click here to visit InMotion Hosting.

Hostinger: $0.80/mo – $3.45/mo

Hostinger has one of the cheapest shared hosting plans in market. Priced at $0.80/mo, Hostinger Single Plan allows you to host one website with 100GB bandwidth. Personally I think Hostinger is best for businesses that want to host a simple static website > Click here to visit Hostinger.

 


 

Recap: Compare Best Small Business Hosting

Web Host Entry Price SSH Access Host Email? Free SSL Cert. Free Site Migration Easy Site Builder
InMotion Hosting $3.99/mo Yes Yes Auto SSL & Let’s Encrypt Yes BoldGrid
Hostinger $0.80/mo Yes (Premium++) Yes In-House (Premium++) Yes In-House
Shopify $29.00/mo No No In-House No In-House
SiteGround $3.95/mo Yes Yes Let’s Encrypt Yes Weebly
Interserver $5.00/mo Yes Yes Auto SSL Yes In-House
A2 Hosting $3.92/mo Yes Yes Auto SSL & Let’s Encrypt Yes In-House
Cloudways $10.00/mo Yes No Let’s Encrypt First site only No
Wix $8.50/mo No No In-House Yes Wix

 

Further Reading

Growing your business online? Here are more relevant reads.

 



How Can Small Business SEO Services Help Me? – ShoeMoney

Think your small business doesn’t need SEO services? Think again.

There are 1.75 billion websites out there, with thousands more going live every day. If you aren’t actively optimizing your site with SEO, guess what?

No one will ever find it.

Small business SEO services aren’t optional anymore. If you want to get your business site in front of as many eyes as possible, you need the help of an SEO expert.

What can SEO services do for your business? Here are 4 things you can expect.

1. Increased Online Visibility

3 in 4 users never click past the first page of search results. Even on that coveted first page, the first five results get 67% of the clicks.

What’s the takeaway? If your business isn’t listed on the first page of results, you’re missing out on the bulk of potential customers seeking your services. Most won’t even know you exist!

SEO companies understand Google’s ranking methods and algorithms. They know how to optimize your website, both on and off the page, to appear higher in the search results. This will ultimately drive more traffic to your site.

2. More Functional Website

Does your website only look great on a computer screen, or is it also optimized for mobile use?

Nearly 55% of users access the internet from a smartphone or tablet. If your website isn’t easy to view and navigate from a mobile device, you may lose visitors before they ever explore your site.

SEO services can improve the appearance and functionality of your website across all devices. They’ll make sure it loads quickly and correctly and is easy to understand and navigate.

3. Provides Measurable Results

How much do you know about Google analytics or online marketing campaigns? Do you have the time (or desire) to learn?

SEO services for small businesses take all the guesswork out of your marketing efforts. They know exactly how to analyze the numbers and where to make adjustments.

Your SEO company can provide you with a detailed breakdown of your site’s traffic and where it’s coming from. They can measure the performance of your campaigns so you can see where those advertising dollars are going (and if you’re getting a good ROI).

4. Enhanced Local Awareness

People love supporting local businesses, but first they have to know about you!

Your SEO consultant won’t just help to boost your general online presence. They’ll also make you easier to find in your local city, state, or region.

This might include getting you listed in local business directories and running ad campaigns targeted to your locale. They’ll also ensure your business listings are consistent everywhere you appear online.

Small Business SEO Services: Final Thoughts

The days of making a simple website that drives a lot of traffic to your business are over.

With so much competition online, you need to be proactive. Small business SEO services will optimize your site for Google and (most importantly) improve your ranking in the search results.

The higher you appear in search results, the more people will discover your business. That’s an investment that’s well worth it!

Did you find this article helpful? Be sure to read our other posts for more great information.