Choosing a web host can be a difficult process. In the age of technology, eCommerce is taking the stock market by charge. Any profitable business owner or project manager knows that an internet presence is vital in today’s market. There are many agents and companies claiming that they have the best web-hosting service around. However, simply laying claim on such a notion is ridiculous. Each business or project is unique in its own right and thus, each has individual needs. It is important to sit down and think about the project’s needs as well as how you want your website to interact with visitors before selecting a hosting provider.
- Am I selling a product or distributing information?
Generally speaking, your reason for creating a web site is either to sell a product or to distribute academic or personal information. For those who are selling a product, a host who is targeted towards sales is essential. Hosting agents that are catered to sales provide a firmer base for conducting online transactions. They provide the power and backend service to keep the business ready and available, day and night. Websites that are designed solely for information need only a firm CMS system or ‘Content Management System’. This software is often ideal for those who are logging large amounts of information such as news articles or recipes for cooking.
- Will my website have many pictures, videos, and interactive tools?
Examine your initial thought process. Do you imagine a more plain text format, clearly laying out the information and nothing more? Or do you imagine a website that guests spend a good deal of time interacting with? Whether that be through surveys and polls, product specification and display, or contact lists? Determining this can also assist you with the first question. If your pictures are for aesthetics and not for the sale of a product, a CMS service or host is ideal because you would be logging photos, not displaying items.
Do I have my own technical support or will I need reliable, fast and responsive support from my web provider?
What does your project’s team look like? Have you hired or acquired an individual to maintain and code your website? Or will you need support from your web host? Regardless, you will need support. Servers are fragile and small errors in the function of a website can deter a visit entirely. Imagine you are filling out a survey, get to the bottom to hit submit, and the page does nothing or worse-directs to an entirely irrelevant page. Would you visit the website again? Most visitors would not, nor would they attempt to troubleshoot the problem.
- How much traffic will my website receive? Does the hosting
company have sufficient servers?
How big or small is your business? Do you expect Hundreds or even Thousands of visitors per day? If you are expecting to have thousands of customers, a provider without adequate support can crash your website’s success. Long loading times and insufficient connection are factors that can make a user leave your website altogether.
- How will my website and visitors be protected? What security
functions are available?
How secure is the hosting provider? If you have an email list or member system on your site, you will be asking for a user’s personal information. In order to protect them, what services will the host provide? Will the host make me aware of a breech in security? On the internet, security is credibility. Visitors trust when they become a member of a site that their information whether it be financial or personal is protected and only being used to better personalize their experience with your website. A host with faulty security can destroy your reputation.
Now, that a few main questions about web-hosting and design have been covered lightly. What providers of web hosting do other ‘project managers’ such as yourself like best? Two companies have shown positive reviews from their users and each is the best in its own respect, these being Magento and WordPress. On the surface, the platforms appear very similar. They each offer an online support community, are extremely customizable, and are very search engine friendly. However, the differences between these two platforms will become apparent when you sit down to design your website.
Magento began development of their software in early 2007 and in late August released the beta version of the software to the public. After a few years of success, eBay swiped a majority of the shares and eventually found the entire company in their hands. Magento is targeted towards those looking to sell products. The host provides a reasonable amount amenities and features and is recommended for those looking to sell products.
15 Unique Features to Consider about Magento Inc
1. Marketing Promotions Tools: This platform offers their users a coupon creator. With this coupon creator comes the ability to set pricing rules. You have the ability to restrict stores, time periods, and products for every coupon you create. Beyond that, Magento will create user demographics, granting you the ability to send certain coupons to certain age groups.
2. Analytics and Reporting: Your business report and overview of sales are neatly organized on an interactive dashboard. From this dashboard you track which customers have bought the most, your total number of order, your products damaged, and even the products you have lost.
3. Merging and Rollback of Content: The thought of lost information is frightening for most website owners. The ability to create a “staging site” to test new ideas before committing those changes live ensures that mistakes are avoided.
4. Catalog Browsing: With catalog browsing user of your website can search through your products by category and easily narrow down the product list to exactly what they need. With this tool, customers can even pit product reviews against one another and use ‘quick view’ to get a summarized description of the product.
5. Payment: Magento offers you many options in this department. You can have Magento process your transactions or you can use a third-party such as PayPal to manage these tasks. Everything appears on one check-out page and does not force a customer to leave your website in order to make their purchase. This provides you with more time to pull them into other offers or products.
6. Multiple Wish Lists: Do you ever shop for more than one person at a time? This simple feature will allow users to organize and simplify their shopping experience.
7. International Support: This platform can assist you in making a website that is multi-lingual and with currency exchange. With those inhibitors out of the way, you are given a wider range of customers and a chance to spread your business to areas it would not normally have been able to reach.
8. Shipping Service: With Magento, you can manage all of your shipping needs on a single page. You can ship to multiple addresses within one order and you can send multiple shipments in a single order. As an extra pat on the back, Magento covers your shipping costs and cuts the time it takes to manage these tasks in half.
9. In-house Customer Service: Not for you, for your customers! (Yours will still be great, too.) Your customers can track their own orders and ordering history with feature-rich tools that help eliminate some of the common questions you would be asked about orders in general.
10. Search Energy Optimization: Magento supplies a Google site map, has the capability to rewrite URL and give full control. Beyond this meta-data inscription from products and search engines can be provided. This helps to improve where you show on the search results and pushes you further up the page so that your business becomes one of the top results when searched.
11. Site Management: From one administration panel you can manage multiple websites and stores from one panel. Having everything together in one location help improve your productivity. Magento also provides services that make third-party applications simpler and more effective.
12. Mobile Commerce: Studies show that 95% of mobile device user access stores and websites through their smart device. Magento offers a fully supported mobile version that is equipped with all the needed tools to order products directly from a cell phone.
13. Automated Email Marketing: The most important aspect for any merchant is completing a sale. This built in feature will increase customer retention using email reminders for customers with open shopping carts or wish lists.
14. Reward Points: The implementation of incentive programs for frequent shoppers can provide a substantial boost in customer loyalty. The easy to use interface allows the merchant to control a wide variety of parameters when administering the rewards system.
15. Encryption and Security: The strong data encryption that is employed by Magneto based upon AES-256, combined with SHA-256 based hashing gives its user peace of mind and helps to ensure no interruption with their website.
Magento Inc offers three basic editions of their platform. The first being the community edition. Anyone can modify the core system and get a good deal done. Adversely, there is always a version of a product that has more features and accessibility. The second, the enterprise edition, serves this purpose. Last, is an option that many small businesses adapt and that is the ‘go’ version which is the least customizable platform offered.
Magento is the optimal choice for people looking to sell and manage their products. It provides an excellent platform for individualization and is constantly expanding the services offered to both website owners and customers alike.
WordPress was initially released to the public in May 2003 and has grown exponentially in the ten years since its inception. It still belongs to the two men who created it and is considered ideal for those looking for a Content Management System to log their creative and informative works on. Though it is more catered to more basic needs, it sure is great at what it does.
15 Unique Features about WordPress
1. No HTML Coding or CSS required: In order to operate and create a website that is still impressive to those visiting on WordPress you need to know virtually nothing about the web design process. Anything that seems confusing is easily answered as most plug-ins, applications, and widgets install and maintain themselves.
2. Tons of Free Themes and Templates: Though they may not be exactly what you were looking for, if your budget is tight WordPress provides a large selection of pre-made themes and templates to help those with little design experience create a functional website. Beyond the nice ‘free’ price tag, the WordPress theme garden has many flowers budding and blossoming that are always open and ready for sale. These specifics and more expensive themes push the limits of the CMS system and make the web site extremely interactive.
3. Export Feature: The future is uncertain, but any content that you create will always be yours. The simple to use export tool allows users to consolidate their creation into a single folder that is interchangeable between all major blogging platforms.
4. User Registration and Interaction: Users who visit your website can create an account and actively involve themselves in the WordPress community. However, with or without a WordPress account users can comment on posts, surveys, and other writing pieces.
5. Easy Updates: WordPress is always sure to inform its users when a new security update is available and the updates install on their own after prompted, quickly and efficiently. Rarely are glitches or bugs found in their updates and I don’t believe anyone has an issue installing a new plug-in. WordPress also takes count and regularly backs up your data.
6. Tracking Statistics: The flow of information can sometimes be overwhelming, but with the maps, graphs and charts used on WordPress it is simple and easy to keep track of all the details.
7. Established on the Web: WordPress has been around for about ten years, and in that ten years has acquired many customers and users about its platform. This is excellent for those who are looking to share their creative works with the web, as it provides them with a large amount of readers off the bat.
8. Search Engine Optimization: Beyond its already prevalent success in CMS, WordPress also lets you create your own meta tags to improve your results when searched. This combined with their web presence pushes blogs and and creative projects further up the page when users type into the search bar.
9. Anti-Spam: The most important resource is time, and using features like Akismet allows the administrator is able to focus on important tasks rather than hassling with unwanted comments.
10. Good Return on Investment: WordPress has managed to keep itself at a great price. Normally, owning your domain is a something you can attain for under 100 dollars a year. Combined with the amenities and features, the domain cost practically pays for itself.
11. Great Online Support: The WordPress community is known to be extremely responsive and surprisingly enough have most questions you could think up already answered and organized. Another plus of its CMS system is that almost any wed designer or developer can easily associate and work with the system.
12. Social Media Integration: Not only can you link your website/blog to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr but WordPress actually has a function that will update these websites for you when you post or add something new to your site. This can useful for time management and save you a few more dollars in the public relations department.
13. Create and Use in Mobile Mode: WordPress is mobile device friendly both for the user and for the owner of the site. You can edit and change your theme, preferences, and plug-ins from the comfort of your cell phone. Your users will never have to worry about whether or not your website is compatible with their phone. WordPress is compatible with every network and device available on today’s market.
14. Multilingual Platform: WordPress recognizes that the background of its users is very diverse, and so to allow ease of use they offer over fifty languages and counting.
15. Website or Blog: This platform is fully integrated and brings all of its amazing features to your fingertips whether you wish to administer a blog or provide a more traditional website format.
Much like Magento, WordPress offers a basic format and a premium format. The basic format (uniquely) is free and still offers the same accessibility listed above. With the Premium version, more widgets and plug ins are available that stretch the CMS boundaries and open up third-party applications such as PayPal and personalization of your domain name.
WordPress is the optimal platform for sharing creative works and distributing information. Time Magazine, for example, posts a lot of articles that don’t make the magazine on their WordPress in order to keep readers informed in between issues. It also signals continuity and enables Time’s readers to be in contact with the creative work.
At the end of the line, everything comes back to your individual needs for your project.
If you are looking for a detailed site, with interactive and data processing qualities, Magento is the web host you should choose. With all of its features that improve customer interaction and browsing, it will certainly be an edition to any business whether it is adding an online portion to existing business, or creating an entirely online business.
If your needs are more for expression, WordPress will provide you with the community and tools you need to create a website that frames your work and flourishes in an already established community of users looking at your website and expecting to read. Not only will all your data be backed up and secure, but you will be also be provided with statistics and the ability to interact with your readers.
Remember, having a website does not end with creation. Long after you launch your web site you will need to maintain it. Taking the preventative and helpful features seriously from these providers will help save you time in the long run. Happy website designing!