When it comes to web marketing, the effectiveness of a web hosting service is intricately tied to the success of a campaign. The impact of hosting issues on a business’s advertising efforts can be either obvious or hidden. So it is first and foremost important to evaluate the overt effect your hosting service has on your PPC or SEO strategy. But it is just as crucial to consider how your web hosting service will help or hurt your marketing programs behind the scenes.
Fast And Steady Wins The Race
The speed at which someone can access and browse your website is always an important factor for maintaining a successful and reputable web presence. But the important of speed is amplified when it is considered relative to PPC/SEO web marketing campaigns. In 2012, the average cost of a PPC ad was $0.84 per click. The average conversion rate varies by industry but let’s assume that on average 3% of those clicks turn into sales (or members, subscribers, etc. based on what your website offers). If 500 people click your ad per month, that’s 15 conversions at a total cost of $28 a pop. Not exactly cheap. Now let’s put these metrics into context of how valuable web hosting speed is to your marketing campaign.
You’re out there designing ads, analyzing market trends, and brainstorming ideas to ensure you have the best ad to catch your consumer’s eye. You’re doing a great job and tons of people are clicking your ad and finding themselves on the About Us page of your website. But it’s taking a full minute for your site’s homepage to finish loading. The consumer is still interested so they wait. But then they click on the tab for more information about how much lessons cost. And they find themselves waiting…again. They really want to know how much a lesson is so they stick around. They find the lesson they want so they click the tab to sign up. More waiting. At this point, they are just a couple clicks away from becoming your next customer but their patience runs out. They go back to Google and search again. This time, they click through to a different website…and it’s your competitor’s. The page loads immediately and moments later, they’ve secured a surfing lesson for next weekend.
Your web hosting service has just lost you a precious customer. And because you pay per click, that means the more brilliant your marketing campaign is, the more money you end up losing when those clicks don’t convert. So if you’re up to speed but your web hosting service isn’t, it might be wisest to re-evaluate.
Hosting Uptime: 24 Hours A Day
Investing in the right web hosting service helps you keep the site visitors that you’ve worked so hard to attract. Another thing to look out for in optimizing your web marketing is what kind of track record a hosting service has on its uptime. While the occasional server time-out or crawl error might not have a mission-critical impact on your PPC campaigns, it can make a tangible mark on your SEO strategy. If your site is down because of server issues when Googlebot tries to crawl your pages, it can impact SEO rank negatively. Not to mention the wrench it can throw in your brand image.
Similarly, if your hosting service uses “masked redirects” or “masked forwarding,” Google will have a hard time ranking your site accurately… if at all. Google recommends always hosting your content directly using your domain name. A forwarding service that uses frames will generally make crawling, indexing and ranking of your content using your domain name impossible. Reviewing your use of redirects is a Best Practice of any SEO strategy. And a web hosting service that causes negative interference can have a direct and lasting impact on your SEO campaigns.
Bells And Whistles
When you’re investing time and money trying to drive customers to your site, you want to back that up with a strong user experience. Hosting issues like server time-outs and slow speeds will definitely detract from your marketing efforts and at worst, will destroy your campaigns completely. But some web hosting services can actually boost your campaigns. So let’s assume you’ve done your research and found some web hosting services that offer speeds and uptime percentages that you can actually work with. The next thing to consider is what types of marketing tools they provide in addition to their general, baseline features. For example, some web hosting services offer pre-built shopping carts so that you don’t have to worry about creating an efficient, user-friendly checkout experience from scratch.
Location, Location, Location
The Internet has revolutionized the consumer experience. But at the end of the day, people are still people and ultimately, the factors that have traditionally driven a successful business are the same in the Internet age. Just as retail stores must maintain a clean environment and organized inventory, web-based businesses need to make sure customers leave with a desire to come back. “Web hosting, web hosting, web hosting” might not have the same ring to it as “location, location, location” but the message holds true.