Greater than 7 minutes, my friend!
Choosing The Right Hosting Company For Your Translation Business
Kept you waiting, huh? Turns out (although it’s not really a surprise) that blogging and working as a freelance English-Russian translator at the same time is not that easy as it seems. Finding a perfect balance between my English-Russian translation projects, marketing, networking and writing articles for this blog is a real challenge. But your amazing feedback and support on social media give me a ton of motivation to keep going. And I thank you for that. If you’ve missed my first two parts you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
But back to our today’s topic. Choosing the right hosting company for your translation business is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do for your website. Why is that? Well, because there are literally thousands if not millions of hosting providers out there. And to make things worse each and every of them offers quite a different range of services (and extra bonuses) which make it really hard to compare one hosting provider with another. Of course, there is a whole bunch of websites that offer comprehensive hosting shopping guides but my problem is that most of the time it seems like they’re simply promoting certain hosting companies one way or another. That means their opinion is not very honest. Even opinions of other users you read on forums or rating websites sometimes sound like someone was paid to badmouth one hosting company and praise another. Maybe I’m paranoid, I don’t know. But it certainly seems like hosting business is a tough world where companies will do everything they can to get ahead of the game.
But what the hell is hosting anyway?
I suppose this is the question I should have answered at the beginning of my blog post. Hosting means storing all the data of your website on a computer so they could be accessed through the Internet. So technically it’s like renting a place on a hard drive. You can host your website from your own computer by they way. But it might not save you much money, and it definitely won’t save you time. That’s why many people prefer going to hosting companies that offer different plans depending on the type of service you’re looking for. This is where the confusing part starts. The majority of the hosting providers I know, automatically assume that they’re dealing with tech-savvy users who know what they’re doing. That’s why every time you go to their website you’ll probably be overwhelmed by a sheer amount of technical terms they throw at you. Dedicated hosting? VPS? Cloud hosting? How could you possibly know all that stuff (unless you work in this field)? The answer is simple: you don’t have to know it. All you need to know is what kind of website do you need and what do you need it for. Do you need a simple one-page portfolio website? Do you plan to blog? How many monthly visitors will you have? Those are the questions you have to ask yourself. And this is where you can actually test your future hosting provider. Don’t know what this or that means? Ask their tech support! Technical support in my opinion is the single most important thing when it comes to choosing the hosting company for your translation business. Because when something is not working on my website, I need to know I have someone I can rely on. This is actually the reason I had to break up with my previous hosting provider. They outsourced their technical support to India and not only it was hard to understand them, but the level of their technical knowledge was so low that most of the time I was able to resolve my problems myself. Which brings me to this:
7 Important Things To Look At When Choosing Hosting Provider For Your Translation Business
1) Price. That’s an obvious one, isn’t it? The rule of thumb here: not too cheap and not too expensive. Jumping on the cheapest offer you can get isn’t necessarily the best idea, while overpaying isn’t very smart as well. Everything below 3-4 bucks is considered cheap. Everything above 15 bucks is way too expensive for your needs. My golden mean? I say around 9-10 USD per month should be enough. I’m paying 8 USD at the moment and I’m quite happy with the type of service and extra features I get for that kind of money. An important tip here: many hosting providers offer huge discounts at sign up because this is how they roll. Try looking past those discounts at the real monthly cost. This is what you will be paying after your first year. Unless you’re planning to change your hosting provider every year which is a lot of hassle if you ask me.
2) Knowing your needs. Are you planning on having one or multiple websites? How many domain names you want to register? How big is your traffic going to be? The answers to those questions will determine what hosting plan will suit you best. Those are the questions sales reps normally ask you when you’re shopping around at different hosting companies. To tell you the truth, you won’t have that much of the traffic. In the last month, I had something around 1000 unique visitors. That’s an incredible achievement by our industry standards. But this happens because I have a blog where I share something useful and actively promote it in social networks. It’s not like those 1000 people turned into my customers. If your only goal is to promote your services with just one single page then this number will be much less. So forget about those expensive cloud hosting plans and other fancy types of hosting services. The very basic hosting plan should suffice for the hosting needs of your translation business.
3) 24/7 technical support. Like I’ve said before, it’s the single most important thing for your website. Something not working? Your website is down? Have you been hacked? You’ll need a reliable support team to resolve all your issues quickly. Sometimes companies offer premium support feature for an extra fee (couple bucks a month). That way all your support tickets will be given the top priority. Sometimes companies offer premium support for free for a month or so. If you can get it for free I suggest you use it.
4) Website backups. Yes, you’re probably going to need this. Imagine you replaced or deleted some file by mistake or if your website stopped working because of the conflict between your theme and your new WordPress version after the update. Those issues can be easily resolved by restoring a backup copy of your website. Ask your hosting provider if they offer this type of service and whether it’s going to be an extra cost. Some companies include it in their plans, some don’t. I prefer to have this option enabled for my websites in case things go south or I get hacked. This way I won’t have to build everything from scratch again.
5) Room to grow. Although in the context of your translation business a shared hosting plan is pretty much everything you’ll ever need, you should ask your hosting provider if their plans offer scalability. Who knows, maybe you’ll be one of those bloggers with great marketing and business ideas and thousands of translators from all over the world will be looking up to you? Or perhaps you’ll be selling online courses and webinars on your website? Think about your future and decide whether you’ll need more power and whether your hosting provider can meet your needs.
6) Be careful with reviews. What I’ve learnt is that you have to take every online review with a grain of salt. There are a lot of websites who simply earn money by being affiliated with this or that hosting company. There are a lot of fake reviews out there as well. Some are obvious some are not. Try looking at the fine print or even better: ask people you know what hosting provider they can recommend. For example, I can recommend Siteground. This is my hosting company and I’m happy with them. They offer great premium support, my websites certainly run faster with them than with my previous hosting provider and there is also a ton of cool extra features, like daily backups and weekly hack alerts. They also offer free domain name registration when you sign up for one of their plans. And they offer pretty large discounts (around 60% off) for new signups at the moment. You can check them out here. I also suggest using the cool tool called Who Is Hosting This. It will tell you who is hosting this or that particular website. How can you use it? Well, let’s say you like someone’s website. It’s fast, and it works smoothly on all devices. By typing the domain name into the search bar you’ll see what hosting company that person is using to host his/her website.
7) Hosting your email address. Your email is important and you better ask your hosting company in advance what email solutions they offer. Most of the companies these days will allow you to host your own email and it will look something like this: firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s what most companies do. And this is what you need. But it’s better to play it safe and to ask in advance in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises in the future.
Alright, this is probably my longest post to date. Choosing a hosting provider for your translation business is an important step indeed and I want you to think very carefully before you sign up for a plan. Don’t fall for the cheapest offer. Be careful with reviews, it’s better to ask people you know and trust. Don’t lock yourself into 2-3 year contracts. Look at all the features you get and ask your host’s technical support questions if you don’t understand something. I know it’s hard but it’s an important decision you will have to make. This is an investment into your translation business so make it count.
In my next blog post I’ll talk about WordPress and HTML templates, as well as other content management systems (aka CMS). We’ll discuss their pros and cons for your translation business and I’ll explain what CMS I’m using and why. Check out the home reading material as well. There are some pretty useful tips in there.