Your web hosting service will largely determine the success or failure of your social media strategy, since they determine how much access to server resources you have to advance your business goals.
Your social media site forms a useful avenue through which you can promote your business within your niche. It gives you a platform where you can engage with your target audience on common interests, as well as interact with them through various channels in order to create authentic and meaningful relationships. This way, you can focus on strategically marketing your products and services to an audience that is already interested in what you have to offer.
Web Hosting Challenges
The challenge for most businesses is the strain that social media hosting places on server resources, especially for businesses which go for affordable web hosting packages. This becomes a bigger problem as the business grows and has more resource needs on the hosting servers, which may not be available.
There are different social media sites, set apart according to complexity among other factors. Most social sites should however, provide the following fundamental services to users:
- A friend or following system
- Notification system (the newsfeed)
- Communications system – email and/or private chat
- Photo and video galleries
There may be other services required, such as custom applications, each of which will have additional resource requirements in order to succeed. Remember that when more services are added, you’ll require more server resources to succeed.
Managing your own social profile requires a lot of effort and dedication from you as a business, with the cooperation of your web hosting provider. As it gets larger, management needs and resource needs can be expected to increase, and your web host must reliably be able to provide the following:
Social media sites rely on the strength of performance to attract users and keep them interested. This isn’t going to happen unless users can access content at high speeds. People on social media want the ability to communicate with each other in real-time, which means that high speeds must be available all the time.
The speed of a site depends on a number of factors, among them bandwidth and design. The buck starts with you and your design team: you must create a site that has its elements optimized for fast loading. The web host will then allow you to choose from a number of customized hosting packages or plans in order to provide enough bandwidth to run the social site.
The reason social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are succeeding is because of the stability that they offer. People on Facebook know that provided they have a reliable internet connection, they can always access their Facebook profiles and do whatever they need.
If you’re going to run an interactive website, much like a social media site, it is important that you give your subscribers the same level of availability. This means going with a web host that can guarantee high uptime percentages. Do not simply sign up with a provider because their website promises 99.999% uptimes. Research with their existing clients to find out how much availability they enjoy from that provider before signing on.
Generally, social media sites bring together people from all walks of life. However, because your social media site/interactive website is bringing together people with shared interests to provide a more efficient way of communicating, you probably won’t become as large as Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites.
Nonetheless, you should expect and plan for growth of membership as the site gains popularity. This is especially true if you have a large target audience. You may not need the large server resource allocations especially at the beginning, but this can change in an instant, and your web host should be able to upgrade your allocation on short notice to avoid unnecessary down-times because of insufficient resources.
Web hosting services typically provide a number of hosting plans (e.g. virtual private server, social media hosting packages, shared hosting and dedicated servers among others). Your budget will determine the hosting plan that you can take up at the beginning.
However, should your needs change and you need to change hosting plans in an instant, the host should be able to migrate you to the next plan within interfering with availability. As the site gets larger, you will need dedicated servers to be able to handle all the user requests efficiently. Talk to the provider about providing customizable packages according to your specific needs.
This is always a strong factor when running interactive websites such as social media sites. Your users must know that the information shared on the platform is completely secure, and respectful of their privacy requirements. They should have discretion regarding information that can be shared with the public and that which can only be shared with certain people. The hosting service them determines how secure this information is from infringement/unwarranted access by hackers and cybercriminals with ill intentions.
Websites and social media sites are available for access all round the clock, therefore, requests, concerns for calls for support can come in at any hour of any day. Some of those concerns will be addressed by you, while some will be upon your web host to resolve. You need to have a provider that can be trusted to provide guidance and solutions whenever they are needed. This means that you don’t have to wait 24 hours for the host to read your email and then respond.
Successful websites or social media sites are those which offer good user experience by giving high speed access, high availability, reliable security and scalability. When selecting your web host, these are the most important factors to consider. Hosting plan prices should only come after you have checked for the above. After all, what good is an affordable web hosting plan if you’re going to spend your days putting out fires as a result of poor service. Take time to consider these options, bearing in mind that while not all cheap hosting services are bad, not all expensive ones are good. The devil is in the details.
Daniel Mattei is an experienced web designer, online marketer with a background in social media marketing for profit maximization. Find out more about cheap hosting for your website.