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We exist to make your business thrive and our greatest reward is our returning clients. Our focus is and always will be on our clients and not on industry awards and accreditations, which could account for why we’ve won so many of them…
27 Questions to Ask Before Choosing Your Website Host.
Hosting... Let’s be honest, for some it’s not the most exciting subject in the world. Maybe that’s the reason it’s often left to the end of a project for someone in IT to think about: “ah yes, we actually need to put this new website somewhere don’t we?”
As marketers, Heads of Digital and IT Managers, you can educate your internal team and appear more knowledgeable to the agency or hosting partner you choose. Knowing this information upfront will prevent egg on your face further down the line when the website goes down and questions are thrown around like everybody should have had an answer.
(Yes you’ve guessed it you’ll have those answers!)
It’s a fact – people buy on price…oh and service of course. But price first, especially when it comes to hosting.
A commoditised offering, a somewhat boring subject and for us mere mortals technically quite complex to understand. So what ends up happening? Well, in general people scan-read the details and select the best price in comparison to other hosting quotes they’ve received.
Let’s try to avoid that by ensuring you ask yourself these 27 questions and ensure you select the right provider, with the right level of service at the right price.
Traffic and Bandwidth
- What is the level of daily unique visitors to your site(s)?
- What is the highest peak in a single hour of unique visitors?
- Number of page views per visitor?
- What country are visitors predominantly from?
- Do you anticipate the site traffic growing over the next 12 months, if so, by how much?
- Do you operate high-traffic campaigns/newsletters (that have significant uptake) on a regular basis?
- Does your site offer digital downloads?
- Current bandwidth usage?
- Do you require a DDOS filtering service?
- What is the current disk space usage?
- Do you require long-term log storage (PCI-DSS compliance)?
- Do you require off-site backup storage?
- Do you need to run any specialist/alternative software on the server?
- Do your PCI compliance regulations dictate the use of a hardware firewall?
- Do you need a fault-tolerant, highly available or load-balanced solution?
Staging / Development Practice
- Do you need/have a separate dedicated environment for staging/development?
- Do you require a “Test Live” environment to match the “Live” environment (for final pre-live testing)?
- Is there a monthly budget?
- How has that monthly budget been determined?
- Which Platform and which version?
- Number of simple products in catalogue?
- Number of categories in catalogue?
- Number of attributes in catalogue?
- Number of attribute sets in catalogue?
- Number of Magento store views (Admin > System > Manage Stores)?
- Transactions per day?
- Peak transactions in a single hour?
Knowing the answers to these questions before you engage with a hosting partner will help ensure you select the right offering that suits your business needs and future proof business changes.
For all things Sitecore, including advice on infrastructure, setup hosting and development, speak to the experts here at Sagittarius. Advice can be free, choosing the wrong platform or hosting provider won’t be.
Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.
A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.
So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance.
What is a Content Strategy?
It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.
But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business.
Who are my Audience?
You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.
So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context.
Do I need to tailor content?
As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.
Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:
What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?
Who are they most influenced by?
What voices influence their behaviour?
What type of content do they consume?
Where do they consume content and engage with brands?
Different Content, Different Objectives
All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.
There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.
Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale.
Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels.
Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.
Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.
Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.
How do I manage all this?
Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.
Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.
Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.
If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.