First impressions count – now more than ever.
Your website and how it performs is far more than a shop window these days. It has a very real effect on the perceived credibility of your brand. Perhaps more than you even realise.
For example, did you know…
It takes about 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website – whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay and engage or leave and bounce.
88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
So as people increasingly look online to guide their spending decisions, it becomes more and more important to ensure that you are making the very best of impressions. And it’s not just perception and reputation on the line here, this will be impacting your bottom line.
A smooth-running website reinforces a good reputation for efficiency and means more happy customers, more money in your pocket.
Actually 7 years ago, it was said that slow-loading websites cost retailers £1.73B in lost sales each year. Imagine how much that must be now!
PERFORMANCE ON POINT
There are so many options out there and at differing price points that it’s difficult to know what’s right. Your biggest concern should really be performance.
Cheap and cheerful doesn’t necessarily leave you as cheerful as you’d hoped. It’s well worth taking the time to do a bit of research first.
SHARED vs VPS HOSTING
In reality, the choices out there can easily be split into two piles: shared and private server.
Most of the big names and popular choices from names such as IONOS, 123reg, GoDaddy, are in fact shared hosting. This is often much cheaper (from as little as £5 a month). Some of these same providers will also offer more expensive plans but you’ll need to dig for them and they won’t be as competitive as some of the others.
The alternative is private servers or virtual private servers where your site is hosted separately from any other and is given dedicated resource in terms of memory, capacity and bandwidth. These can be from £15 up to £100+ per month and some of the more well-known providers are WP Engine, FlyWheel and AWS.
SHARED HOSTING AND VISITOR ALLOWANCES
Shared hosting on the other hand means that your website shares its resources with many other websites. So if another site on your shared server were to get a flux of visitors, that would affect the resources on your website potentially slowing it down quite dramatically.
Another factor you’ll want to consider when choosing your hosting is the number of monthly visitors they allow for. Some servers, will limit the number of visitors so that if you reach or exceed the limit, your site will return a server error; others will continue to allow visitors but will slow the site down; still others will let you keep going and charge you accordingly.
SHARED HOSTING IS MORE VULNERABLE TO HACKS + BUGS
Likewise, having a shared site can leave you vulnerable to attack. If, for example, another site on the shared plan was to get hacked or get a virus, your site would be under threat of being infected or hacked also.
Social media and the web in general have taught us to expect everything in a flash.
47% of users expect a maximum 2 seconds loading time for an average website.
From a server perspective that means that a slow server is more likely to frustrate users, leaving visitors more likely to leave and less likely to convert into paying customers (or maybe even ever come back).
Search engines recognise this and performance and rankings now take into account your website’s ability to load and respond quickly. This means that the faster your website works, the more visible you are in online searches. That brings in more visitors and potential customers.
When shopping for hosting, check speed and any features for optimising speed.
BACKUPS, STAGING + UPDATES
Backups are a commodity that you take for granted until you really need them. Having frequent backups (screenshots of your site) stored means that if anything goes wrong, there is always a version on hand to go back to either to help investigate the issue or to simply restore and write over to revert your site to its last fully functioning version and mean you’re back up and running at the drop of a button.
Staging is a good facility to invest in also as it allows you to safely test changes in a safe environment before taking them live where they have an immediate impact.
A word of caution, that having good hosting, even having a private server, doesn’t negate the need to carry out regular plug-in and core updates to keep your website secure and working at optimum.