A business that offers training or any type of learning service can take full advantage of the internet to reach students. A well-designed website is not enough, however. As with any online business, a web host can act as your partner by providing the proper features, technical support, and resources.
But what are some specific elements you should look for in your web host? If you operate an online training business use these tips when researching your web hosting company.
Website Plugin Features
With any training program communication is a key element. Check with your web host, or any potential hosting company, to see if they offer available 3rd party plugins that make communication easy. That may include scripts for an online bulletin board or forum so students and instructors can post topics and follow up with additional threads. Live chat software can also come in handy when communicating live one-on-one or with a group. And sharing visual files with a photo or image gallery is also handy.
Strong Email Support
Also on the communication topic is email. Your host should offer a sufficient number of email accounts for all administrators and instructors of your training institute. It should also support email features such as auto-responders, or group alias emails.
With any instruction there will be file transfers between teacher and student. Be sure your host provides enough disk storage space for all your files. In most cases, a good hosting plan will offer unlimited storage space so you can upload digital textbooks, images, audio/visual files, and more, and allow students to upload their projects and assignments so instructors can access them easily.
If your website is down while your business is actively participating in instruction events, both you and your students (also known as customers) suffer. Be sure that your website does not fail due to host error.
A reliable host will demonstrate their superior server technology and data center, and back it up with at least a 99.9% uptime guarantee. A guarantee should at minimum refund a full month’s hosting fee if not met.
Shopping Cart Features
It is common for instruction institutes to sell items online. That may include buying and downloading instructional eBooks, hardcover/softcover books, purchasing courses, and even necessary instruction retail items. Your web host should offer eCommerce solutions so you can easily set up a shopping cart with the items you want to sell. While most hosts will offer basic shopping carts and merchant account free with a basic plan, they are limited to the number of items. If you sell a number of online courses or items be sure your host offers additional business resources so you can set up merchant accounts, accept Paypal, and list a large number of online selling items.