There exists a growing trend in the small business sector that we feel needs to be addressed before it’s allowed to continue.

A rising quandary we have encountered with a number of our clients and prospects is the use of sites like GoDaddy.com and Network Solutions. These web-hosting services seem to provide a picture-perfect need: a low-cost web hosting option with minimal maintenance and reasonably–priced additional services.

But while it may seem like a good deal on the surface, we would like to shed some light on this subject for our fellow business owners.

GoDaddy.com falls under the category of what many would describe as a “hosting farm,” not the most ideal situation for those seeking a hosting service. In an effort to take on more clients and increase their business, hosting farms cram hundreds of sites (upwards of 300) onto a single server.

Not only does this slow load times and decrease the overall performance of those overloaded servers, it also increases the likelihood of a server crashing—something that has happened on more than one occasion in the last six months for those utilizing GoDaddy.com for their web hosting.

When it comes to business in the modern age, keeping up appearances in the digital realm has never been more important. Technical errors on such a grand scale as a site crash or blackout create front-page stories for today’s media engines. With everyone afforded the same capabilities as the keenest journalists, news travels at the speed of light.

For instance, a simple visit to this site at any particular time of day can let you know if GoDaddy.com is down.

Additionally, given the fickle nature of the average customer, you can be dealt a severe blow to your customer advocacy efforts. Maintaining an open and fluid presence with your customers, in an almost 24/7 accessibility, has been key for the success of big businesses.

Small businesses too can take advantage of this trend through timely responses to customers, an active social media presence, and most importantly, a central hub of influence (or website) where customers can always visit on their own time.

Imagine a potential customer sees your advertisement, consults with an approving friend, and decides to visit your website to make their own judgment of your service. He or she is not 100% convinced, but figures that a visit to your site should be the deciding factor. The prospective customer finally makes it to your site only to be dismayed by an error. Were they misled? Are you out of business? In their eyes, you might as well be. Consider this one more potential consumer lost.

For our agency’s particular server needs, we rely on sites like Media Temple, and WP Engine whose timely service and reliable servers keep our clients’ sites on point and online.

The pervading trend that will soon come to be commonplace for small businesses is reputation management in the digital sector. There is no surefire way to inflict massive pain to your brand reputation than a malfunctioning website.

With a focus on user-friendly design and fan-friendly functionality, a downed website is the equivalent of shooting your business in the foot.