Back in the early days of the Internet, Web hosts didn’t offer much in the way of real help for growing a small business, and small businesses were still in the dark about how having a Web site could really drive new business. Fast forward to today and if your company isn’t online, customers can’t find you and will just go to your competitor.
So, how can a Web host help your business actually grow? Ben Fisher, co-founder of the Web development and hosting company imSMB, says with the tens of thousands of companies that can provide hosting, look for a Web host that offers value-added services ranging from advertising to business advice. “Most Web hosts will offer you many free booster packages to get you going and ensure you actually use your website,” says Fisher.
Here are just a few of the value-adds you can look for in a Web host:
- E-mail marketing tools
- Advertising credits on search engines like Yahoo
- Discounted rates on press release distribution
- Free SEO reports
- Free text links
- Free website building tools
Most entrepreneurs pick a Web hosting company by getting a referral from another business. So if you’re happy with your Web host, why not join their affiliate program and get paid whenever you refer someone else to them? “While payouts can vary widely, from a percentage of the sale to a flat commission per sale, some SMBs are able to cover all their own hosting fees simply by referring a few people as customers to their own Web host,” says Joshua Sloan, a hosting industry veteran and marketing consultant at SloanTech.com.
Some rules and restrictions may apply, but there are many small businesses making hundreds to thousands of dollars in referral earnings from their hosting company. “In fact,” says Sloan, “many web hosts gain 20 to 35 percent of their new customers from referrals.” If you know how to paste a link into an e-mail, or set up a redirecting sub-domain, you’ll be ready to cash in on referral opportunities offered by your Web host. Just ask them – they’ll help you get started.
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