By The Numbers:  46% of Google searches are searching for local results, while 78% of local searches result in an offline purchase.

A well-designed website has become important to help potential customers discover you, learn about your services, and ultimately convert to paying customers – even if your business operates on a local level. You’ve likely searched for local businesses on your phone, before making a decision on which to visit.

While customers now expect local businesses to have a website that answers these questions, an outdated or slow website can have a negative impact on your reputation. Choosing the right website software, the right website hosting platform, and ensuring it is maintained and loads quickly will help your business stand out from the competition.

WordPress

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) and website building platform that is popular with small and medium businesses because there are free versions, a vast number of ready-to-use plugins, and industry-specific website themes.

While basic WordPress websites are easy to set up without extensive coding experience, many businesses turn to WordPress professionals to create customized websites and expertly integrate services.

Every Second of Load Time Counts

If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you could be losing up to 40% of potential customers. For WordPress sites, website optimization includes choose the right plug-ins and choosing the right hosting platform. WPEngine is a hosting platform that is dedicated to WordPress websites to provide the best hosting experience and a range of hosting plans that balance costs and services.

Website Security Matters

Websites can be compromised through brute force hacker attacks, software vulnerabilities, using integrations to display inappropriate ads, and denial of service attacks. Each of these attacks erode customer trust in your company and discourage customers from returning to your site after a negative experience.

Your website is the digital face of your company to your customers, so it’s essential that they can trust your website to handle their data securely. Credit card numbers and secure ordering are often the first thought that comes to consumers’ minds when evaluating website security, but it’s important that your website is secure even if you do not have an online store.

Do you collect customer information for a newsletter or to email promotions? Your website must treat their personal data with care. Although there may not be financial, medical or other sensitive data on your site, consumers often re-use passwords across multiple sites so treat their account information as if you had sensitive data about them.

On the administrative side, a hacker can do a lot of damage to your brand by gaining access to your website dashboard and modifying what content is shown to website visitors or installing malware. You can avoid this by keeping passwords secure, limiting administrative privileges to only those employees who need them, and working with a managed hosting provider who helps you secure your WordPress site on an ongoing basis using a combination of security solutions to address the different threats.

“Good hosting is a must for small businesses today. Speed and encryption are both factors that Google uses in determining where to rank your website. Security is crucial – being hacked could harm your rankings or in some circumstances cause significant financial harm to your business.” – Mike Black, CEO of Inciting Marketing Solutions

Managed WordPress Hosting and Maintenance

arielMIS maintains a dedicated server environment at WPEngine, which allows us to offer higher levels of performance and service to our customers at an affordable price, with options for shared and dedicated servers to scale with your business’s needs.

Take the worry out of maintenance with arielMIS’s managed services. We provide WordPress site backups, platform updates, plug-in updates, and website monitoring. Next time a customer searches for your local business, they’ll find a working website that loads quickly and securely, making them more likely to be in the 70% of customers who visit a business based on information they found online.

arielMIS is a Managed Service Provider (MSP) providing businessCARE™ IT services to protect systems and keep them running smoothly and securely.