Reputation takes time and effort to build up and can be quickly ruined. Even great business practices and excellent customer care doesn’t guaranty a good reputation. Reputation is also a volatile thing because it exists in the minds of others — minds that can quickly change.
On top of this volatility, many businesses aren’t proactive about protecting their reputation because it’s an intangible that’s difficult to valuate with a solid dollar figure. Because of this ‘softness’, business managers tend to place reputation issues on the back burner in favor of dealing with the more pressing matters at hand. How does reputation affect your business? On many levels as it turns out:
- It affects your ability to attract and retain top talent – Quality employees are ambitious with a keen awareness of how their employment history affects their career. Association with a highly reputable company helps a career while association with its opposite does not.
- It affects your conversions – When making online purchases, people are skittish particularly around businesses with a tainted reputation. They may not be aware of the full details or reasons behind the controversy, but it’s enough to make them go elsewhere. Conversely, customers will prefer you over your competitors with similar offerings if you have a superior reputation.
- It affects your prices – An excellent reputation allows you to charge more for your goods and services.
- It affects your costs – A good reputation places you in a better position for negotiating favorable deals with your suppliers.
- It affects your company’s market value – It’s human nature to dwell on the negative side of things and investors are no exception. Reputation, especially when it drops, affects the market value of your company.
How Web Hosting Affects Your Reputation
A variety of factors affect reputation, many of which have little to do with your business practices and ethics. Seemingly innocuous choices such as who you trust with your web hosting can backfire. If you are using shared hosting, your “neighborhood” can reflect poorly on your business. If your hosting provider unscrupulously hosts websites that sell illegal items or show “fringe content” on the same shared server as yours, anyone can do a reverse IP lookup to learn about your neighbors. This means instant damage to your reputation.
If your server can’t handle your traffic, your website’s loading speed will be chronically slow. Apart from the lost sales this directly causes, people may freely voice their frustration about this via social media. While a slow website isn’t necessarily the worse thing that can happen to your reputation, general knowledge of this fact will deter people from ever visiting your site.
Page loading speed and website availability can be severely reputation damaging if your customer satisfaction depends on these factors. For example, your site may provide software as a service, paid membership access, paid content, or any other form of paid access.
Security is yet another way that poor web hosting affects your reputation. While part of your website’s security lies in your hands such as keeping your content management system current with the latest updates and not importing infected files to your site, your web hosting provider must ensure that the server’s software is free of security vulnerabilities. The hosting service should also have effective firewalls that block Internet threats and have a proactive monitoring system in place.
Without a doubt, security breaches that compromise your customers’ private information or spread malware among your site’s visitors are severely damaging. The more people affected and the more well-known your business, the faster and further the news will spread. Reputation recovery from this is very difficult because part of the consumer’s trust in doing business with you is that doing so will not endanger their well-being. Your customer’s safety is your responsibility while they are using your site.
Using a secure and reliable web host is an essential component of protecting your brand reputation. Do your research and choose carefully. Contact us at Applied Innovations to learn about our reliability, security, and hosting packages.