Every business in the modern world needs a website. Whether you want to sell products online, make it easier for customers to interact with you, or advertise the services you offer, having a good website is vital to success.
It’s no different when you’re a financial adviser or mortgage broker. Being able to put a friendly online face on your company and explain to potential clients what you can do for them is a great way to draw people in and, at the end of the day, increase your revenue.
If you want to have a great website that’s always available and loads quickly, you need a great web hosting provider. But with so many different ones available, how do you know which one is best for you? Later in this article we will review some of the biggest and best web hosting providers on the market, but first let’s talk a bit more about web hosting itself.
What is Web Hosting and Why Do Financial Advisers Need It?
A lot of companies think getting online is as simple as buying a domain name. But having a domain registered is only one part of creating a website. To get your website out there for others to see, you will also need some form of web hosting.
Web hosting, in its simplest terms, is storage space on the internet where you can keep your web pages and make them accessible for others to see. When you purchase a web hosting plan you are in essence renting server space for your web pages as well as any added extras that come along with it. The cost of renting this space will depend on your hosting company and the type of plan you buy.
The Cheapest Web Hosting for Mortgage Brokers & IFAs
A lot of financial advisers and mortgage brokers simply look for the cheapest web hosting they can find. But that's a mistake.
There are many cheap and even free web hosting services available and, while they will may do a decent enough job for a hobbyist or a small-scale blogger, they seldom have the right stuff for a business website. Most cheap hosting will include limits on the number of people who can access your site at any one time and also how much space you have to store your data. They may also ban the selling of products or have severe limitations on the e-commerce allowed.
One of the most common limitations you’ll find with cheap hosting is the amount of resources they provide for your website in terms of bandwidth, memory, and, most importantly, speed.
How Does Web Hosting Affect the Speed of a Website?
When you sign up for a web hosting plan you are renting a limited number of resources for your website. The more resources you have, the faster your website will be. Things like memory, bandwidth, and the type of server can all impact on the speed at which web pages load.
Website speed is important for two reasons:
- The human factor. Would you hang around for seconds (that seem like hours) just to see information about a product or service that you could have found in a million other places on the web? Most wouldn’t and so, if your website is too slow, you could find your prospective clients hot-footing it over to a competitor’s website before you can say, “Please don’t go.”
- The Google factor. Google likes fast-loading website and so having a fast website can improve the SEO of your pages. One of the main factors dictating where you rank in Google search results is user experience. If your site loads slowly, no amount of keyword optimisation will save it from ranking on page five (or lower).
Choosing a Web Hosting Provider
There are many different factors to consider when looking for a web hosting provider for your financial services business, including:
Each hosting provider will offer a different range of features and add-ons for your website. These can include things like automatic WordPress installation, automated backups, e-commerce tools, email mailboxes, etc. Think about which of these features you actually need and make sure you're not paying extra for things you'll probably never need like advanced e-commerce functionality.
Speed & Performance
We talked a little about this earlier when discussing site speed. The performance of your website is an important factor in determining how easy it is to use and should be at the top of your list of requirements when choosing a hosting provider.
Type of Web Server
Some web hosts offer dedicated servers for websites while others offer shared hosting. Shared hosting is generally cheaper but your website will be hosted on server space that is shared with other sites, so you may see a drop in performance. Most financial advisers' websites will run just fine on a shared hosting plan, though.
You don't want your website to be available when a potential client tries to visit it. So look for a hosting provider that offers good reliability and boasts as close to 100% uptime as possible.
The Best Web Hosting Providers for Mortgage Brokers & IFAs
To help you choose a web host, here is a roundup of some of the best and most popular providers available right now:
SiteGround is my personal favourite web hosting provider and is the one I use myself. They offer a perfect balance between features, speed and price and all their plans offer unlimited traffic. They may not be the cheapest provider on this list, but you get a lot for your money, including all SSD storage for fast page loading and server locations across the globe.
WPX often comes out as the fastest WordPress web hosting service in independent speed tests. This is mainly down to the fact that they utilise the latest SSD storage technology in their servers. WPX plans also come with built-in multiple domain hosting for people who have more than one website. The downside to WPX is the inflexible website management software and a lack of value for money for those with only one website.
WP Engine is another great web hosting provider for anyone running a WordPress website. Performance and speed are on par with our personal favourite, Siteground. In fact, the entire WP Engine experience is great and they boast excellent customer support, fast speeds, a range of server locations, and high speed SSDs. The problem with WP Engine is that they are more expensive than Siteground and as such offer less value for money.
If I’m being honest, Kinsta offers the best overall package out of all the hosting providers on this list. Their speeds are right up there with WPX and they have more bells and whistles than the other providers put together. But this service comes at a cost and their plans are easily the most expensive of the providers reviewed. If you’re running a larger e-commerce centric website, Kinsta may be exactly what you need. Otherwise, there are cheaper alternatives that are perfectly suited to the needs of most financial services professionals.
Bluehost is a well known name in web hosting due to heavy promotion and a high paying affiliate scheme. The affiliate scheme is so lucrative that I've even joined it myself, but… I can never really recommend them to anyone. Bluehost offers perfectly serviceable web hosting with all the features you would expect, but they do so at a cost. Price isn’t the only negative. Support can also be poor and site speed was found wanting during tests. You can easily find better hosting elsewhere for a cheaper price.