From accountancy firms to vets, professional service businesses have become increasingly reliant on their websites as a means to promote their services and acquire new clients. While the content and design of a website are important for its success, equally vital are the services of a web host. A good web host can provide the security your business needs, ensure your website stays online, offer technical support to deal with any issues and much more, helping your business flourish and protecting your online reputation. To help you choose a hosting solution that’s right for professional service companies, here are seven essential hosting features that you should look for.
1. Robust security
As a professional business, the good standing of your company will be of the utmost importance. In today’s online world, that means ensuring that you comply with regulations, such as GDPR, and that you keep your website and the personal information it gathers secure.
Unfortunately, the growing sophistication of cybercriminals means there is an increased need to defend your website from ransomware, phishing attacks, malware infections and hacking. These can result in cybercriminals stealing data, corrupting files, taking over websites and even deleting them. The consequences can be catastrophic. 60% of businesses that fall victim fail within six months and those that survive often face severe disruption, expensive restoration, reputational damage and fines.
Choosing the right web host can have a significant impact on the security of your website. Look for a vendor that provides a comprehensive set of security tools, including a strong firewall, intrusion prevention, malware scanning, email scanning, spam filtering, SSL encryption, email signing certificates and more.
2. Room for expansion
The rapid shift to a digital marketplace means its highly likely, regardless of how much your business grows, that you will need to expand your hosting provision in the future. The consumer demand for better customer experiences means, to stay competitive and relevant, all professional services are having to offer a wider range of online services to their clients. These include website chatbots, customer-facing tools, online consultations, video explainers and a growing number of other services that need to be accessible via your website and available 24/7. At the same time, the growing reliance on data for making business decisions means professional service companies are collecting more data and making increased use of tools like data analytics and AI.
Adopting these tools and technologies means expanding your hosting provision. You’ll need bigger hosting packages with more storage and you’ll require faster-performing servers that can handle greater demand, such as VPS, dedicated servers and the cloud. What you don’t need is to have to migrate everything to a new vendor whenever you expand. Ideally, therefore, you need a vendor that offers all these forms of hosting and which makes it easy and quick for you to upgrade to a more powerful solution when it is required.
3. Remote backups
Remote backups are the most important insurance policy you can provide for your website. If your site, applications and server data are lost, whether that’s due to hardware failure, malicious activity or accidental deletion, having an up to date backup means you can have it back online swiftly and with little disruption to your business operations. Without a backup, such a disaster could put the future of your business at risk.
The best backup solutions can be scheduled to occur automatically at regular intervals, are stored remotely from your own server, are encrypted for security and tested for integrity to make sure that what you have backed up is not corrupted.
4. Guaranteed uptime
The internet is a 24/7 marketplace and that means it is important that a professional services website remains available to customers at all times. Failure to be online can lose business, annoy customers and damage your reputation.
While essential maintenance, such as security patching, means there will be short periods when a web host has to take your server offline, you should still expect uptime guarantees of 99.9% or greater, depending on the type of hosting (shared, VPS, dedicated server or cloud) you have chosen.
5. 24/7 expert technical support
Professional services business, perhaps better than any other type of company, will understand that it is always best to use an expert. When it comes to running a website, especially as technology becomes more advanced, you will at some point need support to deal with an urgent issue or make an improvement.
When it comes to web hosting, it is vital that you choose a host that provides 24/7 technical support. This way, should anything go drastically wrong, you have the peace of mind of knowing there is a qualified expert available there and then to help you fix the problem. What’s more, as you begin to deploy more advanced technology, technical support can help you make the right choices for your business objectives.
6. Easy to use control panels
As a business, you’ll want to focus on providing your professional services, not wasting hours trying to figure out how to manage and make changes to your website. The key to this is to have a website control panel that makes managing your site easy. Industry leading control panels, like cPanel or Plesk, are easy to navigate, intuitive to use and come with in-built help. What’s more, they provide an unparalleled range of tools so that you can do more from a single interface.
7. Professional email address
Email has become the standard way for businesses to communicate with customers. For professional service companies that need to maintain a respected identity, an email address that contains the name of your business domain (e.g. @professionalservices.com) delivers the professional impact and gives your communications increased legitimacy.
Make sure your service provider offers domain-based email addresses and that their email service has all the features you need. This includes the ability to integrate email with platforms like Outlook and which provides spam and malware scanning and blacklist checking. You’ll also need enough email addresses for all employees, adequate storage and features such as file sharing, calendars and tasks.
Good web hosting ensures that professional service businesses establish and maintain a professional online presence. If you are looking to begin your online presence or are wishing to upgrade to a better hosting solution, hopefully, the points raised here will help you find the right web host and hosting package.
If you require a web host that offers all the solutions mentioned above, visit our homepage to see our range of hosting options.