In the past, the Internet was viewed by businesses as a sort of auxiliary tool that you could either use to target a certain niche demographic or forego in favor of a different method.
Today, having a strong online presence is absolutely necessary to get the most out of your marketing efforts. In fact, there are entire companies built around providing services in web design, SEO, and making sure you're performing at optimum efficiency on the net.
It can be overwhelming, however, to get serious about building your brand online if you haven't already been devoting time and energy toward it.
You need to be concerned with your site's design, user experience for your audience, and landing pages (and how to get people to them).
But, it all starts with figuring out how to choose an Internet provider that can satisfy your company's needs.
Not sure where to begin? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
Let's take a look at what you should keep an eye out for when it comes to Internet providers.
Type of Internet Connection
This is one of the most important aspects of an Internet service provider (ISP) to consider when making a decision.
But, the type of connection that you need is dependent on a few different factors, such as the size of your company, your geographical location, and how much business you actually conduct online. In general, you'll most likely be selecting one of three choices.
Cable is often considered a mid-tier Internet connection with a high amount of reliability. If you aren't in need of cutting-edge technology and blistering upload/download speeds, cable will be just fine for your company.
Many ISPs have cable packages that boast 50-100 mbps download speed and anywhere from 2 to 10 mbps upload speed.
This means you can have a large handful of users uploading/downloading simultaneously, which will ensure you maintain your company's productivity.
DSL is the cheapest modern type of Internet connection. Since this type of connection requires the use of telephone lines in order to provide service, the quality of the service often depends on how far away you are from the provider.
Thus, this service is not ideal for larger companies or those located in rural areas as there will be a noticeable dip in performance compared to other options.
For small businesses that are located in urban areas, however, DSL can be a solid choice (especially if you're on a tight budget).
Fiber connection is often the most expensive option, but it also provides that fastest download and upload speeds as well as the fastest broadband speeds.
Telecommunication companies have been using this type of Internet service for years, but it's recently gained popularity with small business.
Since the bandwidth provided by fiber service is so high, your company will be able to handle heavy Internet usage by multiple employees without skipping a beat.
Equipment and Installation Expenses
Surprisingly, many people forget that you can't just make a few phone calls, submit a payment, and then suddenly have Internet service. In order to determine if what you're paying for the equipment and installation is fair, you'll need to take a look at what they're offering.
Some ISPs only offer a basic modem when it comes to equipment. Others may provide a Wi-Fi router with ethernet ports and also offer firewall protection. The problem is that two separate ISPs could offer more or less equipment for the same price.
So, if you find yourself paying more for less, you might want to take your search elsewhere when it comes to Internet providers.
Luckily, many ISPs will waive the setup fee as long as you sign a contract for a minimum amount of time (typically twelve months). If you've found a company that fits your budget and service requirements, then this shouldn't prove to be an issue.
Type of IP Address
You can think of a computer's IP address (which stands for Internet Protocol) as an ID that is used to locate and communicate with that device.
You have two options here when it comes to business Internet: static and dynamic.
As the names suggest, static IPs are permanent, while dynamic IPs are able to fluctuate. Although you can choose whichever you want, Internet providers prefer to give out dynamic IPs because it results in fewer management obligations on their part.
It also makes it more difficult for someone to gain unauthorized access to a business with a dynamic IP address. Cybersecurity is a big concern these days, so make sure to keep this in mind if your company is prone to hackers.
But, a static IP address is more stable and is often required in order to accomplish certain tasks optimally, such as running backup web servers, VPNs (virtual private networks), and hosting a domain name server.
If your prospective ISP doesn't offer a static IP address at a reasonable price and you happen to need one, it would be wise to seek service somewhere else.
Despite the astronomical increases in innovation and productivity that the Internet has experienced over the past two decades, unwarranted problems still arise from time to time.
We've all been there. We perform the same task day in and day out, but something suddenly stops working correctly (or refuses to work at all), resulting in an irritated phone call to someone else so they can resolve the issue.
Many ISPs advertise that they offer 24-hour customer support. But, take a moment to research whether you'll be speaking with an actual human or simply a computer program. While convenient, automation won't do much to help fix anything other than basic issues.
It Can Be Difficult Figuring out How to Choose an Internet Provider
But, it doesn't have to be. With the above information in mind, you'll be able to know exactly how to choose an Internet provider that can satisfy all of your needs.
Want to learn more about how to make the right decisions for your business? Check out the employer section of our blog!