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Whether you’re blatantly throwing money away on bad ideas or losing potential revenue by failing to capitalize on good ones, here are some surefire ways to make the least out of your investment.
How can you waste money by getting lots of stuff at a low cost? You’re about to find out in this next stupid idea.
Stupid Idea 7: Get The Cheapest Hosting You Can Find
Quick: do you know where your site is being hosted? How about another one: do you know what you’re getting as part of your hosting package? If you know the answer to one or both of those questions then you know more than most people. But here’s the real question: Are you getting what you need, and do you need what you’re getting?
Let’s start with the last part of the question first because it’s easier to answer. Do you need what you’re getting? Lots of bulk hosting providers (read: cheap) offer bundles that sound, to the average consumer, like a whole lot for just a little bit of money. Gigabytes of storage! Thousands of email addresses! Hundreds of FTP accounts! And all that for less than $20 per month. Who wouldn’t want all that hugeness for less than $20 per month?
Of course, you’re not “the average consumer”. You’re a smart businessperson with a website that’s part of what makes you money and helps run your business. You’re not about to be swayed by big numbers and small price tags.
So let’s deconstruct a typical hosting package.
Gigabytes of storage? We’re willing to bet that even if you have a web site with a custom database, content management, image repository and thousands of pages of content, you’re still not breaking double digits of gigabytes. So great, you’re getting 300 gigabytes of storage, most of which is completely unnecessary. Doesn’t cost you extra but doesn’t give you any benefit either.
Thousands of email addresses? Let’s just say that if you’re using even one thousand email addresses (or one hundred for that matter) and you’re still using generic out-of-the-box hosted email then you should fire your IT guy. By the time a company reaches a point where they have that many email addresses in use they’re way beyond the $20 per month hosting package and probably have (or should have) a mail server and a serious IT department to manage, troubleshoot, maintain, back up and protect all that email. But that’s another conversation.
For now ask yourself, on an outside chance, in the craziest circumstance, do you need a thousand email addresses? Doesn’t cost you extra but guess what? Doesn’t give you any benefit either.
Hundreds of FTP accounts? How many people do you want messing with your site files? All that a hundred FTP accounts mean is that there are a hundred ways to break things.
How many people will realistically be managing your web site? If it’s more than a handful, and a very small handful at that, you’re asking for trouble. Doesn’t cost you extra but… say it with me… doesn’t give you any benefit either.
Now let’s address the more relevant part of the first question, which is: are you getting what you need?
If your site is not set up with a 301 redirect so yoursite.com routes to www.yoursite.com then: no.
If you don’t have analytics reports (with access to someone who can help you understand and parse through them) then: no.
If your site, database or other files aren’t being backed up, offsite, regularly then: no.
If your site is hosted on a server that is addressable via the internet – which means that others can either maliciously or inadvertently access your site or database and corrupt it – then: no.
Beyond the obvious fact that any money you spend on something you don’t need is money wasted, imagine how much money you’ll waste rebuilding your site after the server crashes and you realize you’ve never had a file backed up a day in your life. Or the money you’ll waste marketing your site if you have no way to measure the success of that marketing through analytics and traffic reports. Or the nightmarish money-and-time drain of trying to un-hack your site after an intrusion.
“Cheap” hosting is usually a whole lot of what you don’t need and very little of what you do. So instead of taking a “save a few dollars now and repent later” approach, make sure your hosting provider is giving you the services that you need, tailored around your business and your site, and remember that the cost of a service is different than its value.
Do you know what you’re getting with your hosting package?
Read More In The “How To Waste Your Money” Series
- Stupid Idea 1: Hire someone to do it “cheap”
- Stupid Idea 2: Fabricate an FAQ section
- Stupid Idea 3: Just start building the site
- Stupid Idea 4: Worry about search optimization “later”
- Stupid Idea 5: Believe the person who tells you they can “get your site to be number one in Google”
- Stupid Idea 6: Don’t pay attention to your domain name, where it’s registered or when it expires
- Stupid Idea 7: Get the cheapest hosting you can find
- Stupid Idea 8: Write the copy yourself
- Stupid Idea 9: Don’t worry about whether your site or database is being backed up
- Stupid Idea 10: Insist on a news section or blog
- Stupid Idea 11: Brush off social marketing as something that’s too hard/not relevant for your business
- Stupid Idea 12: Be too busy to study your analytics and decide it doesn’t really matter anyway
- Stupid Idea 14: Say “I don’t know” a lot
- Stupid Idea 15: Launch the site, breathe a sigh of relief and cross it off your to-do list