Nowadays, e-commerce is king, and its rise was only pushed further by COVID. With most people stuck indoors for months on end, global e-commerce jumped to a whopping $26.7 trillion.
And even with physical stores starting to open once more, it is predicted that this number will only continue to grow. After all, e-commerce is not just convenient for consumers; it’s also a lucrative choice for entrepreneurs as it has lower overheads and fewer barriers to entry.
Undeniably, one of the most essential parts of e-commerce is your website and choosing the right web hosting provider has become more important than ever before.
Why do you need web hosting for your e-commerce site?
Web hosting is essentially a service that will provide you with a platform to run your e-commerce business. Overall, it’s more convenient for you since you normally don’t need a lot of technical knowledge when starting your website.
Your hosting provider already provides the server, website design tools, and features relating to processing and payment. They also offer templates that you can customize according to your shop’s needs.
As for your customers, having a virtual shopping cart makes for a hassle-free purchasing experience. It allows them to keep adding and reviewing products in one place before they check out.
With many web hosting options available, it may be difficult to find the right provider for you. To help you in your search, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Is it fast and reliable?
Some of your first priorities when finding a host is speed and reliability. According to this article on website speed, if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load then around 40% of people will abandon it.
To test your site’s loading speed, open it on different major browsers and platforms — including mobile, tablet, and laptop. If you cater to a global audience, you should also test the speed for major regions.
Frequent downtime isn’t acceptable for an e-commerce website either as it will also chase away any potential customers. On the other hand, an uptime of 99% may seem great. But if you consider the bigger picture, it could mean nearly 2 hours of downtime a week — so getting as close to 100% speed is truly the most optimal.
Is it secure?
You’ll be handling sensitive information such as names and credit card numbers. A good thing about using a web hosting service is they have security features that protect your website from viruses and hackers.
However, you’ll still want to check a few things, such as the access management system. Needing an SSH to log into your servers prevents hackers from infiltrating your site. Meanwhile, a web application firewall controls the traffic that goes through your web applications, limiting their vulnerability to cyberattacks.
Moreover, having authentic SSL certificates proves to your customers that their data is safeguarded. It’s worth noting that sites with SSL certificates rank higher on Google too, which means better SEO and visibility for your store.
Is it buildable?
You’ll want to choose from different customizable themes and templates to suit your brand, so you should pay attention to design flexibility as well.
Aside from that, responsive design is crucial as it means your site is tailored to function on any screen size.
Like we mentioned, the speed of your website may differ per device, but even its appearance and design can get compromised if not optimized properly. Buildability allows you to customize your website to give your visitors as smooth and great an experience as possible.
Can you easily integrate it with other apps?
The e-commerce experience isn’t limited to your website, so you should definitely check if your hosting provider allows integrations with other apps — specifically Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even TikTok.
As explained in this guide to social selling, social media is a valuable revenue stream for retailers and brands worldwide. It’s projected to account for 7.8% of e-commerce sales in the U.S. by 2024, so make sure your website is designed to complement social-selling from the get-go.
Through this, you’ll be able to transform social media engagements into sales and connect with potential customers even more.
Does it have a good support team?
You’re bound to have some problems on your website, and every minute that it’s not working right can cost you potential customers. A good web hosting provider will have customer service around the clock so you can reach out to someone anytime you need it.
But aside from 24/7 availability, you’ll want people who actually offer good and helpful services. You can check customer reviews on different providers to gauge the kind of support teams they have.
Does it have enough bandwidth and storage?
E-commerce websites take up a lot of space as they require you to upload multiple high-resolution product images. The bandwidth you need depends on factors like media files, web design, code, and even website traffic.
Having a bandwidth that’s lower than what you need will mean customers may experience lagging and low-quality visuals — which may discourage them from visiting your site again.
Try tracking your usage for a month to gauge how much bandwidth you would need, and how many average visitors you get.
Choosing a good hosting provider and the right type of web hosting is the first step to having a successful e-commerce site. Make sure not to rush through the process, since doing so might cost you more in the long run.