What’s Right for Your Agency Website Hosting Needs?

You have a passion for what you do. Your vision, your values, and your plans for the future all ring true. You may very well be the perfect fit for the agency website hosting role. So, what are you supposed to know and expect as a website host for an agency?

You’ll need to consider some key points:

The CMS (Content Management System)

The first and most obvious decision you’ll need to make is which CMS to use. The answer to this question will depend on a variety of factors, such as your budget, the scope of the project, and, of course, your staff’s experience level. When it comes to agency websites, you’ll typically want to lean towards the lighter side of the spectrum. The most popular content management systems (CMS) for small businesses are Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix. All of these platforms offer something a little different, but they all boast attractive pricing plans and solid documentation. Additionally, you may want to consider a hosted CMS such as WordPress.com. This is especially convenient if you’re looking for a free WordPress solution since you don’t have to worry about installing and configuring WordPress to suit your needs. You just need to visit your agency’s hosting provider’s (e.g., Bluehost’s) website and follow their step-by-step instructions. Once you’ve signed up, you can download and install WordPress to your heart’s content. Plus, their support team is available seven days a week via chat or phone call.

The Database (Including Storage Space And How To Backup)

One of the most critical decisions you’ll need to make is what kind of database to use. The answer to this question will depend again on your budget, the scope of the project, and your staff’s experience level. When it comes to agency websites, you’ll typically want to lean towards the bigger the better. The most popular databases for small businesses are MyBB, Flywheel, and WooCommerce. These platforms boast an incredible array of features and are completely free for community users. Plus, their support teams are available seven days a week via chat or phone call.

The SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate

An SSL certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority (CA) is considered to be the absolute basic requirement for any website that handles financial data or forms that require client privacy. An SSL certificate offers the advantage of encrypting information being transferred between your site and your visitor’s web browser. Moreover, it provides visitors with additional security measures such as a secure connection and a trusted seal. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of managing your own SSL certificate vs. purchasing one from a trusted certificate authority:

  • Managing your own SSL certificate
    • Pros
    • You have full control over the certificate. You can install it on a domain that is already set up for business or purchase a wildcard SSL certificate that will work for all subdomains on a custom-made domain.
    • You can integrate the SSL certificate into your existing website’s design without any compatibility issues. Plus, there are numerous tutorials available online that can help you along the way.
    • Cons
    • It’s a hassle to maintain your own SSL certificate. Fortunately, there is an option. You can use an SSL manager to automatically renew your SSL certificate every month or yearly. This will save you the hassle of having to check for expiration dates and install the update on your site.
    • If you decide to use an SSL manager, make sure to purchase that company’s highly discounted SSL cert from their reputable partners. Doing so will save you tons of money in the long run. Moreover, ensure to purchase the newest and most up-to-date version of the certificate. Doing so will also ensure that it’s compatible with the most current web browsers.
  • The pros and cons of purchasing an SSL certificate
    • Purchasing an SSL certificate from a reputable Certificate Authority
    • Pros
    • It’s extremely convenient. The majority of the install and configuration is done for you. You won’t have to worry about any of that.
    • Cons
    • You’re not in complete control of the certificate. You don’t have full control over its settings, and you can’t integrate it into your existing website’s design. Plus, make sure to purchase the newest and most up-to-date version of the certificate to ensure that it’s compatible with the most current web browsers.

The bottom line is that your choice here really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to save money, purchase an SSL certificate from a reputable certificate authority. Alternatively, if you’d like to have total control over your website’s security measures, then you can go with the custom build option and install an SSL certificate on your own domain. Either way, make sure to follow the instructions provided by your chosen hosting provider. Doing so will ensure that you’re able to get up and running quickly and that your website performs as expected.

Email Communications

Email is one of the most important forms of communication both for business and personal use. It can be a quick, efficient way to share information and connect with others. Moreover, it doesn’t cost anything other than a few minutes of your time to send out an email, making it an appealing option for those trying to save money. That being said, you may want to consider paid email services such as ProtonMail or MailChimp if you’re looking for a robust solution that provides additional features such as scheduling, marketing automation, and analytics tools.

Website Load Speed

How fast your website loads is one of the most important metrics to consider when evaluating a website hosting plan. It can be an indication of how well a site’s design and content work together. Typically, users will wait 3-5 seconds or more for a page to fully load. So, ensuring that your site loads as quickly as possible is a key factor in driving engagement and revenue.

There are three basic steps you can take to improve the speed of your website:

1. Minimize Image Files

Images are one of the largest factors contributing to the overall load time of a page. Minimizing the amount of images in your site can help improve its speed. There are a variety of solutions available to those looking to do so. For example, you can use a service like MaxCDN to greatly reduce the amount of images on your site. When users visit your site, they’ll notice a marked difference in terms of performance.

2. Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network (CDN) is a collection of web servers that are situated near your visitors. When a user requests a file via HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol), the CDN will route the request to the closest server and store it in a cache. This caches will ensure that users can always access your content, regardless of whether they’re browsing from Germany or Australia (just to name a few).

The advantage of a CDN is that it offers an incredible amount of caching power, which can greatly reduce a site’s load time. Moreover, it’s completely free to use. However, as we mentioned earlier, images are one of the biggest factors contributing to a site’s overall load time. A potential disadvantage of a CDN is that it doesn’t cache image files, so it won’t work if you have a lot of images in your site. In that case, you’ll need to consider alternative options.

3. Combine CSS And JavaScript

Combining CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) with JavaScript is another great way to reduce a site’s load time. A CSS-enabled website can load faster than one that doesn’t use this option. Moreover, it can make your site more engaging and useful to visitors.

For example, you can use JavaScript to load a gallery of images in a carousel format. Without the use of JavaScript, a visitor will have to wait several seconds for the images to load in the background before they can start navigating your content.

In short, using JavaScript and CSS to load faster is an option that can greatly increase the usability and overall performance of your site. However, keep in mind that this can also increase your site’s complexity.