If you’re lucky, your hosting is affordable and reliable… but is it helping boost your SEO rankings? Let’s chat about how to tell if you have great website hosting for SEO, or if it’s pulling you down in the search results and causing other problems.
Website hosting can make a huge difference: it can take your website from slow loading times to high, and even more crucial: from repeated server errors and page timeouts to smooooth virtual sailing — so your visitors are actually able to check out what your business can do for them (and then hire you)!
So you see, website hosting is important because it’s more than just where your website lives — it helps enable your website to run well and fast and give your users a dope experience.
Ahem, if you’re still on Bluehost, GoDaddy, Dreamhost, Hostgator, or another hosting atrocity, read on because you and your website deserve much better.
Great website hosting for SEO is also great website hosting for other reasons, including amping up your security so hackers are less likely to infiltrate your site. Which is huge and still happens all the time — a friend of mine just had her website hacked a few weeks ago!
All these reasons and more contribute to where you rank in Google, Bing, and other search engines. And the higher you rank, the easier your ideal peeps will find you.
So let’s get going!
Great website hosting for SEO: What to look for
This is essentially the most important point, because you’ll learn about every other factor this way, so I’m putting it here first.
It doesn’t matter what the hosting company’s sales pages promise if their reviews blow goats, amirite? So always research those reviews.
And speaking of reviews on great website hosting for SEO, here are mine:
- Siteground (my favorite and what this website runs on; they have great prices and service, to boot!)
- Liquid Web (also very good, what I used previously, costs a bit more)
- Flywheel (quite nice but this is managed hosting, which is more expensive and means you don’t get cPanel. If you wanna be hands-off? Totally worth it. Specially rad for designers and agencies.)
- WP Engine (also managed hosting, but I find it has a less intuitive interface than Flywheel)
I’ve even met the ladies representing Siteground and Flywheel at WordCamp Miami and they are lovely, remembering me year after year and even recognizing me from our corresponding via email (shout-out to Mila, Francesca, and Jess!). Talk about cool people that actually care about who you are! So always be nice to your customer service reps 😉.
Which brings me to…
Rad Customer Service
This is huge. HUGE. H.U.G.E.
Because if (when) your website crashes, you’re gonna be in a panic, and think of how awful it would be if you had to file a support ticket and wait 24-48 hours to hear back!
You need a hosting provider that will answer the phone 24/7 (without keeping you on hold for an hour) and help get your website back online in minutes, not days.
Do you remember the last time your website crashed? That surge of panic and dread that people would see the white screen and your biz would lose credibility? … Even worse, maybe a client told you about it, immediately provoking that god-awful impostor syndrome! (Hi, again, impostor syndrome!) Cue screams: Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!
Listen, it happens to everyone. It’s basically inevitable (the downtime and also the impostor syndrome! 😂)
The trick is to minimize the likelihood of your website going down, and your host plays a very big role here. Better hosts, including Siteground, offer higher uptime guarantees — you can typically go as high 99.9% (if not higher — Liquid Web offers 100%) and that’s what you want.
If your website goes down and no one can access it, that means Google can’t access it either, so this can affect your rankings.
The lesson? Pick a great hosting provider, even if it means paying slightly more per month, so you (and your business) can rest easier.
First, your servers should be fast. For instance, GoDaddy’s servers for WordPress sites are known to be slow, so do your research (or save time and take my word and that of other geeks with many years of experience dealing with these servers).
Second and last, server location matters: the closer your visitors are to the server running your website, the faster your website will load for them, and vice versa.
Unless you have cloud hosting, your website has a physical home in your hosting company’s data center. Consider where most of your visitors and prospects are located, and try to pick a server location relatively close to them.
You may have heard of Content Delivery Networks (CDN) and these are great for helping visitors all over the world have your website load quickly for them. To have great website hosting for SEO, pick a company that offers a CDN service with your plan (like Siteground!).
Do they have your back(ups)?
When you pick a company that goes all out for you, you’ll find that awesome website hosting for SEO comes with important perks, including but not limited to:
- Backups (and easy, quick backup restore): If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know how important backups are and how horrible life becomes when you need a backup but don’t have one. Plus, having your site down can hurt your rankings. So get a plan with backups!
- SSL: Google takes notice and prioritizes websites with SSL. So these days, it’s necessary but also a hassle to set up on your own. The solution? Go with a killer company like Siteground or Flywheel so you get SSL for free and can enable it in seconds!
- CDN: Like we just discussed, it’s rad for helping your site load faster across the globe. Companies like Siteground offer free Cloudflare CDN even with their cheapest plan, whereas Flywheel offers it for $10/month.
- Intuitive interface: in other words, when you log in, can you find what you’re looking for or do you feel like you’re gonna cry in desperation? All software takes a little getting used to, but some are definitely more user-friendly than others. You can always ask to see screenshots before you commit, so you don’t get a nasty surprise after you’ve forked over the money for a yearly plan. And if you’re used to cPanel and like it? Make sure you get that with your plan (unless you’re on managed hosting, in which case FYI you don’t get cPanel).
As you can see, amazing website hosting for SEO comes with many things. What’s nice is that, sure, it’s a lot — but once you know it and pick a company, you set it and forget it, resting easy because your site is being taken care of (which means your website visitors are being taken care of too!).