Almost every web hosting provider has a unique selling point they use to attract clients. Whenever they promote their packages, it is these points that are pushed in the fore to catch your eye. They are also the features they hope will convince you to become a paying client.
On the other hand, there are a number of features they will offer which you can customize to make it both easy and appealing for your visitors to use your site. Let’s take a look at some of these features and see what you could do with them.
Allocated disk space
Web hosting packages come with a set amount of allocated disk space. There are many hosting providers that tout “unlimited” packages. They push up prices with the promise that you will be able to use as much of their servers’ disk space as you want.
Of course, they are gambling on the fact your website will never grow bigger than the average small-to-medium business (SMB) size website. Should it suddenly explode, you will be hearing from a sales rep. Of that you can be sure.
So, avoid falling for the “unlimited storage” hype. Settle for a pre-calculated size instead and only increase it when you need to. Plan beforehand how much space you will need, and if there is any wasted space, try to scale down to a smaller package or find use for the extra space.
Here too, there is a myth that for a few dollars more, your hosting provider will let you hog as much of their bandwidth as you may want. Again, should you be lucky enough to generate a sudden surge of traffic and use more bandwidth than they had anticipated, there will be some renegotiation.
The wisest thing to do is not to fall for the myth. Plan ahead and get a scalable (upward and downward) hosting package, and go from there. Increase the bandwidth when your website is flooded by Christmas shoppers and scale it down when the bandwidth is lying idle after peak season.
On one hand, it’s great to have all the bells and whistles at your disposal. But if your hosting provider is throwing everything and the kitchen sink at you for a few dollars more, don’t take the bait.
Unless you want to create an online business site with background processes that would make IBM proud, your site (like most websites) will likely only need a handful of extra features. And if you choose to use WordPress, one of the best content management systems (CMS) out there, most of these features will be available to you as free plugins.
So cut the extra features and unclog your control panel. Start with the bare minimum and only add the ones you will absolutely need as you go forward.
Shorter domain names
Another custom feature you should focus on is the length of your domain name. Now, we’re not saying long domain names are bad. But we’re also not saying you should pay exorbitant prices to get your hands on premium, shorter domain names.
What we are saying is that whenever you’re offered a domain name with your web hosting provider, don’t simply settle for the ones they have. Do some research and keep testing words and combinations of keywords until you arrive at a reasonable domain name.
First, opt for your brand name. If that isn’t available, try adding prefixes or suffixes like “LLC” or “INC.” If a .com domain name is off the market look for alternatives with .org or .co, and even look into Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs).
Apart from your domain name, you will also need to customize your web pages’ URLs. Don’t accept the default URLs which usually don’t make sense or are filled with numbers and letter combinations that confuse your visitors.
There are three advantages to making sure your URLs clearly spell out the domain, sub-domain, and web page titles in clear English:
- People who are visiting your website and its pages will know where they are simply by looking at the URL
- Others who click on one of your links on another (external) page will know what to expect before they head to your site
- Search engines love web URLs that have words – and especially keywords – in them, and will help rank your website higher
If you can’t get the domain name you wish for via your hosting provider, don’t hesitate to contact sellers on your own.
Don’t settle – customize
As a website owner or administrator, you should never settle for whatever your hosting provider tries to saddle you with. There is always room for improvement that will lead to a leaner, faster, and cheaper web hosting solution. Keep tweaking!