Hosting your Lead Generating Website
Enterprise Hosting is an important part of online marketing. When business owners and marketing teams publish a new marketing website, it’s easy to get caught up with the design of the pages, because when it looks great, many people assume it really is great.
Once the website is published, most business owners and marketing teams unroll their sleeves, settle down, and it’s back to work as usual. This is when the hosting provider either remains a silent hero behind the curtain, or their incompetence is inconveniently thrown into the negative spotlight.
Learn more about the Big 4 Leverage Points to discover the 4 key areas your team should be focused on to build a truly great website.
6 Key Factors in Web Hosting a Successful Marketing Website
- Speed. Enterprise hardware with the capacity to handle spikes in traffic is a must. Avoid shared hosting and virtual dedicated servers because in order to make these services profitable, the hosting companies sell over 100% of the server’s capacity and hope the tenants never use their full share at the same time. Think of airlines and those desperate passengers that don’t get the seat they purchased since the flights are oversold.
- Managed Daily Backups of all files and databases. You website files and databases MUST be protected.
- Server Security. No FTP accounts. The server can only be accessed by secure methods such as SSH or SFTP, preferably using public/private keys with multi-factor authentication, rather than passwords.
- Network Security. What good is a solid steel front door on your house if there’s an open window in the back? Any insecurity in the network will be quickly found and exploited by nefarious hackers.
- Real time scalability. If a spike in traffic comes through, your hosting should be able to handle this without a hiccup. And if you’re running successful inbound marketing campaigns, traffic spikes should be happening frequently!
- Expertise. The people running the show should understand things like CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), minimizing footprints, minimizing number of requests to build the page, image size optimization, lazy loading, mobile optimization, and a vast array of additional techniques that keep your website data secure and the pages loading super fast!
5 Warning Signs Your Web Hosting is Not Very Good
- It’s called “Shared” or “Virtual Dedicated” hosting. These are for businesses that are not serious about digital marketing.
- It’s $5 per month, or in general, it’s a very cheap service. You get what you pay for. It’s common sense if you think about it. Your website, a potentially growth fueling lead generation machine, should cost more than some snacks at 7-11.
- You have a “Control Panel” such as Plesk or cPanel. These are great tools for bloggers, mom & pop shops, and amateurs. They’re not for real business owners like you.
- You can connect to the server using FTP. Run! Your hosting provider doesn’t take security seriously, which puts you, your website, and your customers at risk.
- Your website takes more than 1-2s to load. 1 second is achievable with ultra-aggressive caching and optimization. Bottom line – If it’s not fast, fire your current team and work with a reputable firm. Slow hosting kills conversion rates.
- TIP* You can use Pingdom to test the speed of your website.
Web Hosting, the Marketers Forgotten Hero
As your business grows, your website traffic will grow as well. The web is constantly under attack. Many people do not realize this, but if you bring a brand new server online, it’s not uncommon to see the attacks trickle in within the first 24 hours! As more scanners detect your server’s existence, the attacks ramp up. That’s just how it goes.
For example, one of Glowhorn’s clients has a very successful online marketing website – it’s a lead generation machine. While the servers are constantly under attack (and being securely and successfully mitigated), just recently our client’s website came under attack, too.
Here, you can see they had a steady stream of visitors coming in, and web pages were being served up super fast, as usual, and the leads were pouring in:
There’s nothing unusual at all about that report, and for someone looking at their own analytics, they may assume everything is running fine. HOWEVER, THAT’S WRONG. During that same time period, their website fell under a massive DDOS attack originating from overseas, as seen here for the exact same time period:
Panic! The website is down! We look like fools to our customers and thousands of web visitors will never give us a second chance!
Well that obviously wasn’t the reaction! The actual website visitors never knew the website was under attack. There was no downtime. The pages continued to load super fast for real visitors and the leads continued pouring in. As far as all the legitimate users were concerned, the site was operating perfectly normal. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, resources were automatically scaled up and the hackers were being thwarted by our advanced network security layer. It wasn’t long before they realized our Enterprise Grade Hosting was not going to be shaken so easily, and after 4 days, the attack ended and they presumably moved on to weaker prey.
Do you think your current hosting can handle a spike from 5k requests up to 70k+ and maintain the visitor-to-lead conversion rates?
Cost of Enterprise Hosting Versus the Cost of Downtime
Does your website generate qualified leads? What is a lead worth to your company? How damaging to your brand is an unpleasant website experience, or worse, error pages! Under a DDOS attack, your potential customers may not be able to access your content. These attacks can last for many days, sometimes even weeks. Therefore, it’s essential that you have the proper hosting in place to make sure your marketing website is always looking and performing its best, and is able to continue bringing in those leads. The value of those leads that we saved for our client during that DDOS attack are worth far more to them than the annual cost of the enterprise hosting service, not to mention the less tangible negative brand value that would have been realized if the website slowed down or delivered error pages.
Hare Wins, Tortoise Loses
Also, remember, DDOS attacks aside and all other things being equal: a fast website converts more leads than a slow website. For any serious business, it’s a no brainer – you must have enterprise grade hosting.