If you’re running an eCommerce business, you must have a good internet connection. You’ll need to update the site frequently, editing photos, site code, product descriptions, and more. A slow connection makes these tasks difficult and frustrating. With that being said, how do you decide on the best local internet provider for your business?
ISPs come in all shapes and sizes, from giant corporations to smaller operations with less coverage. Depending on your area, you could have very limited options or plenty to choose from. Let’s start with the basics on how to find a provider, decide your needs and budget, and get yourself set up with a great internet service plan.
Use Internet Advisor To Find Providers
You’re a business owner, you don’t have time to sit on a search engine and look for a new provider. That could take hours out of your day, not to mention calling around to providers and getting quotes and comparing rates. Let’s skip all of that and instead use the right tool for the job: internet advisor.
This simple ISP search engine tool will help you locate the best internet providers in your area. You can search by zip code, and the tool covers all 50 states. You’ll get the names of the companies in your area, a quick price glimpse at their popular services, a phone number to call, and a link to the company’s website.
You’ll also get an availability number to let you know how likely you are to be in the coverage area. Stop wasting hours browsing hundreds of web pages when you can use one comprehensive tool and get the exact results you’re looking for.
How Many Options Do You Have?
Now that you know how to search for an ISP, it’s time to look at your options. If you’re in a more remote part of the country, there’s a good chance you might have limited options. How many providers are available near you? 1-2? 3-4? More? What options are available as far as connection type?
Generally, internet connections come in one of five formats: cable internet, satellite internet, mobile hot spots, and dial-up (yes, this still exists).
Decide What Your Needs Are
Once you know what your options are, you need to decide what you want from your ISP and your service plan. Do you plan on using a lot of data per month? You’ll probably want a plan without data caps. What kind of connection works best for you? If you’re always working in the same place, cable or satellite are probably best. If you’re always on the go, a mobile hotspot connection is the best option.
Since you’ll be using your connection for relatively basic internet-based tasks, you might not need the fastest connection on the market. The faster the speeds, the more expensive the plans become, which is why it’s so important to know exactly what you need from your service plan.
How many people will be accessing your network at once? If it’s only 1-2 people, a basic connection will do fine, but if your eCommerce business employs dozens or hundreds of employees, you’re going to need a more powerful network to keep up with the demand.
Set A Budget
You’ve got your features and requirements nailed down, so it’s time to set a budget. What’s the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend on your new internet plan? This will vary depending on the size and profitability of your business, of course. Some ISPs actually offer introductory rates (usually good for the first year of service) that are cheaper than the regular plan.
You’ll also need to include any equipment or installation costs. If you’re in a brand new building, you’ll have to run cables and connect equipment. Your provider will more than likely charge you to send out a technician for the initial set up.
Compare Plans and Rates
You know your options, what you want, and how much you’re willing to spend. It’s time to compare the providers, plans, and rates in your area to get the best deal. What should you look for? Generally, you’ll want to focus on just a few important features:
- Customer service record
- Cost in comparison to similar plans
It’s very important to pay close attention to the customer service record of the company you choose. After all, you don’t want to sign up with a company that doesn’t care about its customers!
Above all else, don’t be afraid to ask questions during the sign-up process and even after during your service period. You can always call and ask any questions you might have on your speed, billing cycle, costs, or the terms of service.
Your provider is obligated to answer questions about your service (you’re paying for it, after all), so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone if you’re confused about something.