For ecommerce site owners and administrators who plan to grow their online stores, the sheer number of web hosting solutions to choose from can make the decision-making process challenging, to say the least.
While many ecommerce outfits simply go with the first option they find, it makes sense to give this aspect of your online store as much attention as you do when choosing a brand name or web URL.
By doing your homework and making an informed choice, you could save yourself many potential headaches and issues that can come back to haunt you down the road.
Here are three important things to consider before settling on a web hosting solution:
The speed of your website not only plays a crucial role in creating a great user experience for your customers, it also has an impact on how search engines rank your site. While it's just one of hundreds of factors that Google uses to decide your placement on the results page of any given search query, it's still an important thing to consider.
Fair or not, it's understandable, since search engines are also in the business of trying to provide a positive experience for their users. In a nutshell, search engines want to send users to credible sites that not only provide users with the type of information and products they're seeking but to websites without long lag times, since web users have less patience than ever.
The revenue ad sales implications of a slowly-loading web store are nothing to scoff at. Believe it or not, 47% of web surfers say they expect websites to load within two seconds or less. And research shows that 40% of users will abandon a website that takes three seconds or longer to load.
So, the bottom line is, the faster your site loads, the better. Stats also indicate that even a one-second delay in site speed can result in a 7% drop in conversion rates. Those figures can add up quickly, significantly impacting your bottom line.
How fast your site loads can depend on a number of factors, including:
- Your web host
- The types of files you use
- The number of files you use
- The size of the programming code itself
While you can optimize your site by controlling your file system and code size web hosting is out of your hands, since it's usually handled by a third party. You want that host to be fast.
While no web host can guarantee they will be up and running 100% of the time, many web hosting service providers boast a 99.9% "uptime guarantee."
In theory, that figure sounds impressive, but it pays to keep in mind that this uptime number refers largely to the hosting providers servers being up and accessible. It doesn't apply to other issues your website may experience (like hacking, malware, etc.) that could cause your site to go down. When choosing a web hosting provider, it's essential to ask what type of guarantees they can offer you in cases where the server goes down.
That said, keep in mind that even a small amount of downtime can have a real effect on your ecommerce revenue. The difference between 99.9 percent uptime and 99.99 percent uptime average 40 minutes per month, which can make a difference in a 24/7 industry like ecommerce.
This is especially true during peak traffic times, when downtown is most likely to occur.
While the cost of downtime can vary widely depending on timing and the specifics of your ecommerce operation, 81% of companies polled say that 60 minutes of site downtime can cost them over $300,000, while 98% say 60 minutes can cost them over $100,000 in lost revenue.
No matter the current size of your ecommerce business, your web presence should be built with scalability in mind. As your business grows and expands, either in terms of the number of products you offer for sale or volume of sales you make, it's likely your needs will change over time.
When deciding on a web host, be sure to choose a platform that has the ability to grow with your business, which will eliminate the need to cope with loss sales due to downtime while you switch to another provider who has the capacity to meet your needs.
Let's say your business is fortunate enough to get national media attention, which results in a huge spike in traffic to your website.? Make sure your web hosting provider can quickly scale your hosting services when needed, providing higher resources on the fly, just in case you happen to see an unusually large influx of traffic.
The last thing you want is for your website to crash and burn.
Researching and sorting through the many available options for Web hosting services can be overwhelming, to say the least. Use the three key elements as general guidelines to finding a service provide that's right for your ecommerce operation.