Managed Website Hosting
A website hosting service is “managed” then the hosting service takes care of operating the servers so you don’t have to. Since most of you (us) don’t have the technical skills to manage troubleshooting, server monitoring, software upgrades, security software installations, security audits, and backup services, managed hosting is necessary. Even if you do have the technical skills to manage all of these techie details, I guarantee you don’t have the time…You need managed hosting for your professional website!
NOTE: this article is NOT selling any website hosting service, or even endorsing a particular website hosting service. (We offer managed hosting service only for our healthcare brand strategy and marketing clients).
IMNSHO (in my not-so-humble-opinion), you want managed hosting for your professional practice website. In this digital world, your website is how you communicate your brand…it is your marketing. Sure, your brand is communicated on many levels in the digital world, by digital word of mouth; but if you do it right, your website is the headquarters for your brand…ground zero, where you have the greatest influence over how your brand is perceived. You don’t want to trust your professional brand to super-cheap website hosting.
The painful fact is that you can’t truly control your brand in the digital world. Your brand exists whether you like it or not, with or without you (don’t believe me? Just do a “vanity search” for your name or the name of your practice – you’ll find hundreds of links that you had nothing to do with!). But building a great website, a website that provides trustworthy, accurate health information that answers peoples’ health questions, goes a long way to making your website the go-to resource in your area of specialization.
What I’m driving at is the importance of your website to the success of your practice. Whether you’re in solo clinical practice, or you’re a huge multi-state health system, your website is essential to connecting with your future patients. It’s essential to being found.
Super-cheap “shared” web hosting means your website will be slow and insecure. Google won’t rank it. And it won’t be found. Read more to find out how quality website hosting will make the difference…
There are many ingredients to cooking up an effective website. And I’ve talked about many of those ingredients here…the essential elements of your home page; the importance of search engine optimization; how to assess your key performance indicators; how to build your email list; and more. But one element that is often overlooked (I have overlooked it until now) is the quality of your website hosting service.
The assumption here is that your website is developed on WordPress. For many reasons. If you are such a techie that you insist on developing your website on one of the alternatives, you don’t need this article! Even if you are a tech-guru, why would you use anything but WordPress?
Website Hosting Defined
Simply defined, website hosting is a service that allows you to post a website on the internet. A “hosting service provider” is a business that provides the technology required to view a website on the internet. Websites are hosted, or served up, from special computers called servers.
Benefits of Quality Web Hosting
You will see ads online for $5 web hosting all the time. And those deals are perfectly good for the hobbyist. But you aren’t running your clinical practice or hospital as a hobby. You’re in it to stay in business. So don’t treat it like a hobby by signing up for super-cheap hosting! You’re looking for these features to host your professional site:
The very best hosting services employ some level of security screening for their hosted sites. That is, for all of the websites that they host, they routinely screen for malware. Nice feature, worth anywhere from $20-$50 per month through a separate service. If you’ve ever had your website “hacked” and infected with a virus, you’ll think that’s a bargain.
Speaking of virus infections, having a recent backup can help get your site back up and running if / when it gets hacked. Like website security, backup can be provided by a separate service for about $5-$10 per month.
(3) SSL Certificates
An SSL certificate secures the transmission of information between your visitor’s computer and your website. If, for example, you are collecting Personal Health Information (PHI) on your website, it MUST be SSL-certified. Another example where you’d want an SSL-certificate is for selling products on your website. SSL-certified websites are easy to spot: their “HTTP” part of the url will be “HTTPS.”
Beyond the security feature of providing encrypted data transmission, having an SSL website is important for your SEO: Google is now using the HTTPS as a ranking signal in their algorithm.
The issue is that installing your SSL certificate can be challenging to install. Most of you will want your web-techie to do it. And even then, it can be a pain, depending on which SSL certificate you purchase and who your hosting service is. Best solution: use a hosting service that offers SSL certificates, installed, hassle-free.
Speaking of Google search rankings: the amount of time required for your website pages to load is a key factor in the Google algorithm. Faster is better. Super-cheap website hosting is ssllloooowwww…. Choose managed hosting service for your professional website! Virtually all of them employ a “Content Delivery Network” (CDN) for optimal speeds.
There was a time when we used relatively inexpensive hosting for our clients at windrivengroup. We had “re-seller” accounts with a couple of the big hosting services, and we used those for inexpensive client hosting.
Then we had several experiences that caused us to migrate all of our client sites to “managed hosting.”
The first problem was up-time. Sure, all of the inexpensive hosting services guarantee “99% up-time,” but if your business depends on your website (it does), and it goes down for a few days, or even a week, it hurts your business. And…a single website going down for even a month doesn’t change that “99 up-time” statistic, when they are hosting hundreds of thousands, or millions, of websites. But it can kill your business.
The other issue that cause us to migrate all of our websites over to managed hosting was having a couple of our websites ‘hacked.’ See security, above.
Bandwidth is the term used for the amount of information your website can deliver. It depends on the number of pages each visitor will view, and the number of visitors to your website. When you start adding content – information – to your website, bandwidth isn’t an issue. But as you continue to build your library of trustworthy, useful health information that answers people’s questions, you bandwidth requirements will grow. Share, super-cheap hosting won’t give you this room to grow.
Each web page requires an average of less than 100KB of storage on the hosting servers. Again, when you start out, your storage needs will be modest. But as you grow your library of helpful content, your storage needs will grow. As you adopt the habit of including informative images in your articles, your storage needs will grow. And, as you add downloadable eBooks to your helpful content, your storage needs will grow. Super-cheap hosting services seldom provide for these growing storage needs.
Let’s face it, [email protected], or aol.com, or even gmail.com, just doesn’t have the same professional ring as [email protected]! This may be one of the most important features to seek from your hosting service. Don’t look like an amateur to your patient community.
When your website goes down for some reason – not IF, but WHEN – it will likely happen over a weekend or holiday when super-cheap hosting support is not available. Managed hosting support services are available when you need them.
(10) Migration Service
The thought of moving a website from one hosting service to another is daunting: it requires some technical skill. When you decide to make the switch from common hosting to quality, look for a hosting service that will make that move – that will “migrate” your website – for you.
Quality, managed hosting is not super-cheap. For example, you can’t find quality managed website hosting for $5 per month! But remember…your practice or hospital is not a hobby. For professional website hosting, seek professional managed hosting. Managed web hosting can be found starting as low as $30 / month. In my opinion, that’s a bargain for the peace-of-mind, and for the quality of custom service!
You’d risk your professional practice website just to save $25? Really? I wouldn’t!
The fact is, we have re-seller accounts with several of the big super-cheap self-hosting services. I could be plugging one of those, and we would earn money for every one of you who read this article and sign up for hosting.
But I just can’t do it. Those services aren’t secure; they aren’t fast; they won’t grow with your practice; they don’t provide quality service; they won’t give you the peace-of-mind so you can focus on running your practice. In short, they’re not managed hosting. So we no longer use them, and I no longer endorse them.
NOTE: Please do not send inquiries for our managed hosting service: The windrivengroup only offers managed hosting services for websites that we build ourselves, and for our healthcare brand strategy and marketing clients. But: you owe it to yourself to move your professional website to managed hosting. Leave a comment if you want some suggestions for great, reliable managed hosting services.