To most business owners, “getting a website” involves hiring a designer, approving the layout, and then watching the new business roll in.
Those are all important and enjoyable steps in the process, — but there are also small details you have to look out for. In fact, those minor details can sometimes make or break the profitability of your website.
To show you how – and to keep you from making a pair of incredibly common mistakes – here are two simple but important web design details business owners tend to overlook:
#1: Web Hosting
Would you pay a home builder to construct a gorgeous mansion in the worst neighborhood you can find? Of course not. And yet, lots of business owners will invest in a high-quality web design, and then sabotage themselves by going with bargain-basement web hosting for a few dollars a month.
Web hosting affects your site’s performance in more ways than you might realize. When your site is stored on quality servers, it loads quickly and is online almost all of the time. That fast loading can affect usability, customer satisfaction, and even search engine positioning.
At the same time, there are security considerations that come into play with web hosting. Not only do low-costs hosts often skimp on basic protections, but you could find your website sharing servers with “neighbors” that are involved in questionable business activities. As a result, your IP could end up being blocked, meaning that customers can’t find your website or receive your emails.
#2: Online Security and Website Maintenance
Online security is a big topic, but in this context we’re simply talking about basic measures such as setting secure passwords, backing your website up regularly, and updating your hosting software when prompted. Any of these is easy to overlook when you’re thinking about convenience instead of security, but they are all more important than you probably realize.
Secure passwords (those containing letters, numbers, and special symbols) protect you from hackers who use automated tools to “guess” the login details of your website. These are more efficient than you might think, and can crack a simple password in tenths of a second. Add in those extra layers of security, though, and you can stretch that time to months. The longer it takes a hacker to try to get in, the more likely they are to be detected (and shutdown) by your web hosting company. And it’s likely that thieves using automated software will simply move on than wait to crack a complex password.
Updates to hosting software (like the reminders you get to download patches to WordPress, for example) work in the same way. Along with performance improvements, they often contain important security improvements that repair previously-discovered vulnerabilities. When you skip these, you practically leave the front door to your website open for criminals.
Web hosting and security maintenance are simple topics, but they can end up causing you big issues if you overlook them. So the next time you get a new website, or make updates to your web presence, don’t forget to pay attention to the details… or work with the web design partner who will look after them for you.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)