Do you remember what used to happen when Digg.com Digged you? and lets not forget StumbleUpon. Yes the cheap web hosting account overloaded and the sites were down even suspended (my personal experience). Yes, seems that the Social Networking has experienced quite a growth during the last year, year and a half. We can see that the “viral” thing about it is to use E-Mail/Contacts/Database type of service advertisements and are quickly spreading in the work society. Well it seems that in our world about 40% of the population happens to be in that age group. The percentage of Computer/Internet educated people is increasing with each year, and its percent over the overall population is getting significant. Twitter seems to be exactly this type of website and shows excellent Social Networking success story.
It is interesting that nowadays the first (the most experienced) online marketers are able to transfer their visitors from one service to another with the use website visitor tracking. Its impact on the “webmasters” is really interesting as it offers some self-advertising possibilities. Given as an example I can tell you what happended in my case – “friend invited me to signup with twitter”, then you have me check it out, and eventually “register new account” then “import my existing contacts” about my new account with twitter. And again the whole thing runs over and over again.
Based on these facts most online marketing models should include a largest budget on social media networking. If you are a online marketers and you are still not in the game then its about time to start! Note that this might not be as simple as you thought it is, so that be careful and check what type of server load your website can handle before it collapses. Take a good note on the Twitter server is overloaded message and you can imagine that what their network is experiencing in terms of server load. Lets not forget that those big time players have their own datacenters and their server power is quite huge, which a normal website will not require (well if you do then I want a back-link :), and even their cluster (server model) did not resolve the whole issue as we it got overloaded.
We have few clients who are really good at Social Networking. They are actually one of the first businesses to start developing their own networks, which later on gave them huge advantage compared to newcomers. In short I can just tell you that if you build a successful “viral advertising” model then I can almost surely guarantee that you will get tons of visitors. You should note that this type of advertisements are good for any type of company if they are marketed carefully in their initial phase.
If you are already in the business, then most probably you are quite familiar with the server connection issues which happen to be something quite problematic if you have good amount of monetized traffic and each minute of downtime costs you. The funny thing is that most probably you have can be blamed if this happens, and that will be most probably because you didn’t get too technical to find out what your website hosting package really includes. For quick estimate I can surely say that if you’re paying around $3.00 to $7.00 a month then your hosting package most probably will hold up to a 2,000 visitors a day with no more than 10 simultaneously connected visitors. That’s not much at all considering that the visitor-to-customer conversion rates are about 3% to 15% margin. In a situation where you get more than 2-3,000 daily visitors then its good time to think about switching to a Cheap VPS Hosting service rather than Shared Web Hosting package. In some cases special website component installation requirements may push you early towards upgrading hosting services, but the majority is just a sudden web hosting service stop when your account suddenly increased traffic and caused your web hosting account to overload its maximum CPU or other resource type usage. If you do get good amount of increasing traffic don’t wait for your website to overload! It is a GREAT idea to upgrade your hosting plan early so that when the high traffic comes you would not need to find new web hosting company and move your high traffic website in few hours! Yes if you’re good at what you do, then you will eventually have to upgrade your hosting to a more professional level. Yes its costs more but you are making much more than that every single day, so is it better to pay now or loose much more money if your hosting package overloads?
Well, I got carried away because I’m felt that same pain every time we get a new webmaster crying that their website got suspended and are loosing money unless the website is back online ASAP! It is horrible to see how fragile your online marketing plan is without the strong support of high quality hardware. Yes it costs more, but it is most definitely times more reliable that the shared hosting plans.
One bonus advice for webmasters who really don’t know what hosting plan they are on, and if you are on a shared web hosting plan, is that you should investigate few hours to read your hosting agreement and terms of service, as well as the acceptable use policy (well there are limitations on what you can post on your website and its a business standard to have one). For such example I can give that the most Shared Web Hosting plans are extremely limited in server resource usage as their power is equally shared with other websites/clients. From my own experience I found that a average shared hosting server must support at-least 150 clients on each one in order to pay the electricity, internet connection and hardware lease. Considering that all companies offer Technical Support which usually is around 50% of the overall budget we get to at-least 300 clients per server in order to pay for server and support, I’m not even considering any other budgets which are a must (advertising, management, etc.). Taking into consideration all that you end up in a really risky scenario. It seems that your website resource limitation is pretty much 1/500 of the whole server. I’m not exactly sure how much connections/traffic a server can take but I’m sure that it won’t hold more than 1000 simultaneous users — that’s 2 users per account.
During the last three years I’ve found out that only few companies stand out as reliable web hosting providers. That seems to be the ones which combine experienced technical support and invest fair budget on high quality server equipment. The most important ones seem to be (TODO: make a list of web hosting companies!)