If you’re starting a business (or, perhaps have a small business that you hope will grow into a larger business), you’re probably quite busy with your business plan, business development, networking, marketing strategy, and solidifying the more technical aspects of the starting a business process. You’ve probably developed a budget that includes all of the necessary items you’ll need, from product development and technology to taxes and service fees. And, likely, the cost of building a website is included in these calculations. If you’re overwhelmed by the expenses, however, you may take solace in the fact that it is possible to get cheap web hosting services that will provide top quality support for your small business website.
5 Affordable hosting options that stand out from the crowd.
FatCow – With unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space, FatCow’s web hosting services offer more technological support than most small businesses will need. If you couple that with an extremely user-friendly interface (complete with cow-based humor), ecommerce integration and 2GB of free Carbonate backup, and small business owners should find a lot to moo about. FatCow web hosting costs slightly under $5/month and even less if you make a long-term commitment, making it probably one of the cheapest line items on your small business budget.
BlueHost – At $6.95/month for a 12 month contract, and $5.95/month for a longer contract, BlueHost costs slightly more than FatCow, but its services are still quite reasonably priced, especially considering the plethora of features offered by the company. BlueHost also offers unlimited bandwidth and disk space, but a significant advantage of this web host is that its setup is one of the fastest on the market, with the ability to get sites up and running within 24 hours (assuming you have the skills to do so). In other words, there is no waiting for registration to complete as there is with many other web hosts. BlueHost also excels in its ability to present visual sites for photographers, hair stylists and other service providers, due to its incorporation of the Coppermine image gallery directly into its control panel. Small e-commerce businesses can benefit from multiple shopping cart options as well.
iPage – Entrepreneurs on the tightest of budgets will want to consider iPage, whose pricing may just be the lowest of any top rated cheap web host. Although price alone isn’t reason enough to choose a host, a significant advantage of iPage is its PayPal integration which will make it extremely easy for entrepreneurs to accept payment online without requiring a complicated credit card acceptance mechanism. Another distinct advantage of iPage is the drag and drop website builder which is found inside its control panel, making it possible for even first-time webmasters to build their own website, or to participate in the process so that they can reduce their programming costs. Traffic statistics in the control panel will also help small business owners understand their traffic so that they can adjust their website or marketing strategy accordingly.
The problem is there are no simple “right” answers for most Web design questions (at least not for the important ones). What works is good, integrated design that fills a need—carefully thought out, well executed, and tested. ― Steve Krug
GreenGeeks – Entrepreneurs who are as concerned about the environment as they are about their business will appreciate the energy-efficient web hosting services offered by GreenGeeks. Although their eco-friendly hosting is certainly what draws many customers to use the service, their competitive pricing and easy WordPress integration offer a few more incentives. GreenGeeks uses the popular cPanel control panel, also used by other inexpensive web hosts (such as FatCow and JustHost), and most of its features are comparable to its competitors, though some users complain that their servers are not entirely reliable.
JustHost – JustHost sets itself apart by offering perhaps the widest range of advertising credits of any cheap web host. Small business owners will likely appreciate this offering as a way to test out different advertising venues without wasting money on their trial runs. In addition to Google and Yahoo! ad credits which are offered by some other web hosts, JustHost also offers Miva, Bidvertiser and Miva ad credits, so that entrepreneurs can explore new markets in addition to the obvious options. JustHost also differentiates itself by having higher prices than most of its competitors, as well as a setup fee which is not standard. Still, start-up businesses shouldn’t shy away from these few extra expenses if they want to use this host which also offers multiple shopping cart options, visitor reporting, PayPal integration and several image galleries. In fact, if you believe that you get what you pay for, small business owners looking to build a website will a full range of features will definitely appreciate all that JustHost has to offer.
Just because you’re building a small business doesn’t mean that your website is trivial. In fact, for many small business owners, having a functional and beautiful website is a critical part of their business development. Choosing a cheap web host for your small business isn’t a compromise. Rather, it’s a smart business solution that will enable you to spend more money on more important issues while getting all that you need from a host without paying a premium.
Sari Holtz is a regular contributor to Consumer-Rankings.com, a website that offers comprehensive reviews about a range of services including web hosting, web design software, online tax software and more.