After your domain and email addresses are set up and your site reflects the branding you want to represent your business, the last step before launching your website is to make sure it has proper functionality. And what defines “proper” functionality? Your customers’ needs do! Let your customer needs decide the functionality, and make sure your web hosting provider helps you fit those needs.
The most important consideration is whether or not your customers will need online purchasing capability. An ever-increasing number of customers shop online because it’s easy and convenient. If your business is part of a market that generally provides an online store (aka, if most of your competitors provide one, or if you sell physical goods that can be shipped), have a hosting plan that includes a shopping cart (EarthLink Web Hosting has a great option!). And while it is possible to add an online shopping cart to your site after buying a hosting plan, but you can save money including it immediately in your web hosting package, as opposed to after the fact.
If you don’t need an online store (for example, if your customers call and set up an appointment for a service instead of buying a physical good), just be sure to get a basic web hosting service to satisfy your needs (start by looking at EarthLink’s hosting plans).
So remember to make sure the web hosting services you select help you accomplish the following: choosing the right domain, branding options for your site, and site functionality based on your customers’ needs!