There’s a lot to think about when you’re choosing a hosting company. Yes, the price, the package and the people have to be absolutely right for you. But, after all it will boil down to reviewing the platform the hosting company offer because that’s the tech you’ll be tapping into day in, day out. So, before you sign up to something new, take a look through our six quick pointers and make sure your new platform is the perfect fit…
1. Is it super simple and intuitive to use?
A great hosting platform should make your life easier. It shouldn’t be baffling to navigate, confusing to use or daunting in any way. Push for a platform that looks clean and simple, feels intuitive to use and guides you through the tasks you need to do without an instruction manual or a support call. Something you feel comfortable with, right from the get-go. It’s out there, honest.
If you’re part of an agency team, chances are that different people will have different strengths and tech comfort zones. Don’t let any hosting company tell you their platform is just for the tech-savvy members of your team, or make you feel you don’t have the right skills. That’s just not good enough. The best platform for your business is one everyone can use – not just the overstretched tech team – so break down those barriers and make sure the whole studio feels happy using it.
2. Will it save you time, so you can do more?
A simple, intuitive platform should be able to save you time, day in, day out. It should speed up your workflow, give you clear server information so you don’t waste time juggling, and provide a straightforward, easy-to-navigate toolkit that gets things done, fast.
After all, you don’t come to work to get bogged down in tasks that are more complicated than they need to be. You get up, get dressed and get to the studio to do great creative work for your clients, so demand a platform that frees you up to do more of that, every day.
3. Will it make your websites perform better?
This is a really important question, so push for an answer. It’s no good having a platform you love working with if it makes your websites harder to find or slower to use.
A strong, well-built platform should help your websites run faster and perform better, improving the end-customer’s experience and creating loyalty for your client’s brand. Faster sites score better with search engines too, so the right platform can really boost your SEO.
4. Will it make you less reliant on your hosting company?
It’s always good to be independent, so you can handle more tasks quickly in house, rather than waiting for a response from your hosting company.
Great hosting platforms make that happen, with simple one-click toggles for things like whitelisting, SSL activation and DNS. Even if you’ve never done any of those things before, a platform that lays out your options and makes it easy to switch things on and off will reduce your dependence on external help, saving you time and, potentially, cash too.
5. Can it help you organise your work better?
Explore new platforms to see how you can organise, set up and separate your work. It’s always useful to have clearly defined areas for different projects, clients and servers, so find out how easy that is to do – and whether it feels right for you.
If you’re a development agency, you’ll also want clear differentiation between live sites and development areas, so you can manage your projects efficiently, without getting tied in knots.
6. Is it backed up by reachable, reliable support?
Ok, so we said it’s not just about the people, it’s about the platform. And that’s true. But the people matter too. In an ideal world, you’d never have to pick up the phone or open a support ticket, because everything would work perfectly – all day, every day, forever and ever.
But life’s not like that, so you need to know that when things do go wonky, or you just can’t work something out, help is there – reachable, reliable and really good to work with. A team that won’t waste your time by pushing products that aren’t right for you, that won’t get in the way of you getting things done, and that cuts to the chase when that’s what you really need.
The best way to test the water is to talk to hosting companies, read their reviews and find out if they feel like your kind of people. When you find them, you’ll know.