Server bank representing web hostingThe long-serving Yellow Pages telephone directory is all but dead, killed by the convenience of the Internet and the ease with which we can find vital information quickly. Realising the enormous potential of ecommerce, most businesses have secured web hosting and built company websites to help publicise their products and services – or to even sell them direct.

But now that almost every business is online, your customers are never more than a click or two away from landing on your competitors’ sites. So you must do everything possible to optimise the shopping process for your clients, or risk losing them – forever. Part of this process is to make sure your site looks and feels great, but this needs to be underpinned by a solid web hosting system.

Design: a good place to start

Tests carried out by the Carleton University of Ottawa, Canada, found that shoppers looking at a website formed an opinion of trustworthiness and appeal in just 50 milliseconds. That’s just five hundredths of a second in which to create a positive impression.

Design has also been shown to raise trust – “literature provides sound empirical support for our general hypothesis that web design cues effectively enhance consumers’ initial trust towards unfamiliar online vendors”, as an in depth study by the Vrije University of Brussels found.

The design of the site alone is unlikely to sell your goods, but it could be a factor in losing sales. So make sure you don’t skimp on website design costs.

Website loading speeds are even more important

One of the biggest factors in website success is the speed at which your pages load. Web users are notoriously impatient, and it is in your interests to meet their demands.

In 2006, people would wait 4 seconds for a page to load. By 2009, that was down to 3 seconds. More recently a study conducted by Equation Research found that web users – mobile or desktop – all expected web pages to load in two seconds or less. If pages failed to meet those expectations, shoppers would head elsewhere – 50% of mobile users would never come back.

The impact of slow websites could be even worse. 30% of people who abandon a slow website are less likely to purchase from that company across any channel including physical stores. Poorly performing web pages damage your online income and your brand reputation.

Improvements in page performance doesn’t have to be enormous though – even a boost of just 300 milliseconds can help to raise income. A 250 milliseconds gain is enough to start pulling traffic away from your competitors.

Your choice of webhost is crucial

The physical infrastructure that hosts your site plays a large part in overall performance. Most webhosts use shared resources to host client sites – but if too many are sites share too few resources, performance will suffer. Instead you need a webhost who allocates resources fairly – or who can provide a dedicated server that ensures you never have to share resources with anyone.

For more help and advice on how web hosting can improve the overall performance of your business, please get in touch. Our team will help you identify the service you need to boost website traffic and turnover.

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