Web design is a satisfying career choice for many freelancers. It requires technical expertise, a good eye for visual design, and the ability to interact well with clients. If you do your marketing right, the career is lucrative. As with all challenging endeavors, it has a downside. Sometimes things can go horribly wrong.
The descriptive word “horribly” is not an exaggeration. When a client is relying on you for their business success, a mistake on your part can hurt you in a number of ways. You won’t get paid because you lost the client and you can get sued if your mistake caused the client great harm. The damage settlement could destroy your business if you aren’t properly insured for this.
Mistakes mean never getting repeat business and referrals from the client. This is a big loss, because repeat business and referrals mean that you can spend more time making money on lucrative projects and less time trying to drum up new clients. Finally, your reputation gets tarnished which diminishes your ability to find clients.
The Connection between Web hosting and Your Web Design Business
Web hosting is the foundation of a website. No matter how well you build the website, server problems can take the site offline, slow its loading speed, and cause a wide variety of other difficulties. If you outsource your hosting, then your business is vulnerable to the mistakes of an outside entity that you have little control over. You could host your clients’ sites on your own servers, but providing industrial grade reliable web Hosting takes you into an area that’s beyond your expertise and resources.
It’s assumed that web hosting is a part of your package. Many small businesses prefer to outsource all aspects of website development (except perhaps for content creation) and maintenance because they don’t have the skills, time, and inclination to do it themselves. Providing web hosting increases your number of potential clients. The downside to this is that when things go badly with your web hosting, things go badly for you too.
Things That Go Wrong with Bad Hosting
- Poor server performance – Poor uptime means that your client’s website can go offline during a critical money-making event. The repercussions of this on your business depends on the magnitude of the damages and financial losses suffered by your client. The server may also cause slow page load speeds. If the hosting provider tries to place blame on your website being too resource heavy, test this by setting up a blank webpage on a subdomain. If the page loads slowly, then the problem lies with the server. Chronic server problems means you’re spending your time putting out fires instead of making money on other projects.
- Poor customer service – When you must put out a fire, do it rapidly. Since hosting problems are beyond your direct control, you must rely on the hosting provider’s customer service. If they are unavailable, unresponsive, unprofessional, inept, or cultural differences make communication difficult, then this alone will eventually take down your freelance business.
- Inadequate backup system – If the hosting service doesn’t make frequent backups and doesn’t provide a convenient way for you to make your own backups, then a virus infection, a hacker attack, a server problem, or your own mistakes means you may lose the website entirely if no backups exist, or all the progress made since the previous backup.
- Poor security – Good security substantially reduces the risk of cyber attacks. Web hosting services should use a number of security measures that include encryption, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems.
- Poor ability to handle traffic spikes – For your client, traffic spikes are profit-making opportunities. For the hosting provider, traffic spikes mean you’ve exceeded your bandwidth limits. How the provider handles this issue separates quality hosting services from the rest. Rather than taking the site offline, a quality hosting service keeps it online and notifies you of cost issues. They should have or make available to you, an arrangement where bandwidth usage overflow is picked up by another server or handled in some other way. Remember that traffic spikes could be the result of hard marketing work on the part of your client. If the site goes down because of harsh measures taken by the hosting provider, you will have a lot of explaining to do to the client.
For questions about web hosting reliability and ours in particular, contact us today.