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Your website is the online hub for your business. As such, it has a lot of roles to play — building brand awareness, helping customers find you, showcasing what you do, and effectively marketing your products and services. While the average revenue for a small business is around $3.6 million, research has shown that the average revenue for a small business with a website is closer to $5.03 million. It's safe to say that having an effective website can be a tremendous asset to your company.

But what makes a website effective?

Some things that come to mind are design, functionality, the right content, and killer SEO, but don't forget about website hosting. While it's certainly not the most glamorous side of website development, it is easily one of the most important. 

Hosting can make or break a website. Even with the best web design in the world, a bad hosting service can severely affect your site traffic and conversions.

Web hosting is essentially a way to house your website. Websites are "hosted" on special computers called servers. Whenever someone types in your website address or clicks on a link to your website, their computer connects to your server, delivering your website to their screen. It’s important that your website hosting provider is reliable and secure so visitors can see your site quickly and easily.

Here are five important qualities that your website hosting provider should have:

Uptime – In the online world, every site visit counts. The last thing you want is for your customers to see an error message or, worst yet, a blank screen when they come to your site. Not only is it important for your site to load, but it must also load quickly. While file sizes and plugins can affect site speed, one of the biggest factors is the server your site is hosted on. If there aren’t enough resources on that server, it can slow your site speed down dramatically.

Security – Cybercrime can be a big threat for online businesses these days. It’s important that your website hosting provider be secure so you can have peace of mind that your website is protected from hackers and other forms of cybercrimes. Not only is this important for the sake of your website and company data, but also for your customers who may be entering credit card numbers, passwords, and email addresses on your site.

Automatic Back Ups – It always pays to be prepared. Automatic back-ups are one of the best ways to ensure your important data is safe should anything happen to your site. You may accidentally delete something or your site may be hacked. A website provider that handles automatic back-ups for you can be a valuable resource in the event that something like this happens.

Scalability – As your business grows and website traffic increases, it is important that your website host has the bandwidth to support this. Statistics show that 75% of online consumers will abandon a website if they experience delays at a peak traffic time. You shouldn’t have to worry about spikes in traffic causing your site to crash.  

Support – Finally, be sure your website host provider offers friendly and fast support when you need it. Nothing is worse than having an issue with your website – especially if you’ve just sent out a promotional email or are hosting an event. The right website host can ensure your website is always live and available for its visitors, no matter what.

While you are managing the day-to-day of your business, a website hosting provider can manage the ins-and-outs of your website, keeping it stable and accessible. Be sure to keep these five qualities in mind when searching for a website hosting provider.

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