Part 2: Secure websites on a small business budget

The Small Biz Conundrum: Staying Current Online

There’s nothing wrong with taking a proactive approach to cutting costs where you can within your business. But even with your small business budget, cutting costs around web hosting services could end up harming your business more than it would help.

Let’s look at ways you can work smarter instead of harder when it comes to creating or updating a website for your small business.

Business Website Security Tips

• Determine what you want your business website to do.
• Do your research on reputable web hosting providers.
• Don’t risk the implications of a misconfigured website to cut business costs.
• Consider the information your website will collect.
• Determine how the information you collect will be stored and shared.

Standing Up Your Website

If you are prepping to stand up your first business website (or looking to update an existing one), first determine what you want your website to do. Pick a website provider that both fits the needs of your business website visions and your small business budget. We recommend finding a reputable web hosting provider that will do most of the initial set-up for you.

To Pay or Not to Pay?

One of the many conundrums that you face as a business owner is managing your small business budget. And with 75 percent of small business owners pulling from their personal finances to start up their companies, we don’t blame you for wanting to cut costs wherever possible.

But the steps required to initially stand up a website correctly and securely can be confusing and time-consuming. It can also create opportunities for security holes and vulnerabilities if not configured properly – potentially giving fraudsters access to your sensitive data files.

Before you decide if you should pay for a web hosting service, consider the following factors:

  • Does my business have the expertise needed to set up and manage a business website?
  • Do I know, or do I have a team that knows, how to properly and securely configure my website?
  • Do I know, or do I have a team that knows, how to properly secure the data collected on my website?
  • Am I confident that my business can address the cyber risks related to my business website?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions, it’s best to stick with reputable web hosting providers like Wix, Squarespace or Shopify that handle the initial set-up for you. Wix is a free service, while Squarespace and Shopify offer free and paid service options. Paid plans range between $10-50 per month.

At the end of the day, the choice is up to you. But with the average cost of a small business data breach at $665,000, opting for a paid web hosting services may be worth it after all.

The Role of Your Business Website

Once you’ve decided on a web hosting provider (free or paid, we won’t judge), it’s time to decide what you want to offer on your website. Websites can be both content-based for marketing and advertising purposes, or transactional-based for sales and eCommerce.

Understanding the role that your website plays in your overall business will help determine the approach that works best for you. Do you want to increase brand awareness or engagement surrounding your products and services? Do you want visitors to know more about your business and core values? Are you hoping to reach new and existing customers via an online store?

Use these questions to get a head start on the next part of this series! Part 3 will walk you through how to secure your brand- and content-focused websites, as well as your business social media platforms.