A website is so much more than a way to connect to your customers. In the 21st century, a business isn’t complete without a speedy, fully-functioning website that looks great on mobile.
Even if you aren’t conducting business over the web you still need a reputable site for prospective clients to browse. The operative norm for investigating is no longer asking a friend unless your friend is Google.
Search and you shall find…
In most situations, a Google or Bing search will give customers the necessary information to make a choice when researching a product or service. If your company doesn’t appear when customers look for the products and services you are providing, you can assume that they won’t investigate your brand any further or find you at all.
A web presence can help you create a brand that represents trust and availability for your customers, allowing you to manage your own reputation and provide instant support for your business. Not only must your website please your website traffic, but search engines as well. A major component of search engine page ranking (SERP) is how quickly your web pages load, an important aspect of SEO that we will address later in this article.
But first, let’s begin with 5 must-haves to help you get started online to provide superior service, a stellar reputation, and an instant connection with your clients:
A great domain name with corresponding email addresses
Nothing negates a successful business reputation like a long, overdone domain name or an email address that ends in yahoo.com or gmail.com. To appear as an established business, you must offer a short, easy to remember domain name with a matching email address as a contact option.
If you are having a hard time finding the perfect .com, consider registering a gTLD, or generic top-level domain. These new web address ending options allow businesses and individuals to stray from the over-registered .com, .org, or .net. With over 700 options to choose from, you are bound to find the perfect web address for your business. Find the perfect domain name for your business here.
An attractive and functioning website
How your website looks is almost as important as how it performs. Your website should be simple, inviting, and crystal clear. If you would like to see a list of characteristics that aren’t part of a great website visit The World’s Worst Website Ever. They offer a list of over 60 ‘don’ts’ to help you on your way to website success.
When you build your website, make sure that the path towards the final destination (also known as a call to action) is very clear. By including very few distractions, you can ensure that your website visitor’s journey ends with a desirable outcome — such as signing up for a newsletter or purchasing your product. Including too many options will confuse visitors and end unfavorably.
A fully mobile-optimized site
For a website to keep pace with Google and other search engines, it must be fully optimized for your mobile. Failure to do so can drop your search engine rankings while discouraging site visitors from spending any time viewing your website. More and more people are choosing a tablet or smartphone to surf the web, and if they come across a website that doesn’t accommodate their screen, it is almost guaranteed that they will quickly turn to a website that can.
A practical ecommerce strategy
Creating a realistic ecommerce strategy to take a path that best suits your specific industry. If you aren’t quite sure which ecommerce road is best, take some time to fully research the market and discover what is working for other businesses in your field.
You will want to have your ecommerce strategy in mind from the beginning. This is because the ecommerce portion of your site will need to meet certain specifications before you get started. You will also want to research different security tactics to make sure that your clients feel secure while using your site. We recommend an SSL certificate and a partnership with a malware protector like SiteLock to meet all of your security needs.
Speedy site delivery
The average website visitor will click away if a website hasn’t loaded within three seconds. This gives the average website owner just three seconds to make a great first impression. There are many tricks of the trade that can help your website load efficiently, but without a web host that makes speed a priority, you can only do so much.
By partnering with a reliable web host like Midphase, your site visitors will enjoy our top-of-the-range hardware and amazing infrastructure. You and your customers can enjoy quick load times and less downtime while we work behind the scenes to make sure that your website is always at top-notch performance.
5 Ways To Speed Up Your Website
Beyond choosing an optimal web host, there are additional steps that you can take to make sure that your website is matching the load time expectations of your website visitors. According to Sean Work, Minister of Propaganda at KISSmetrics, “47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less,” said Sean Work, Minister of Propaganda.
Thus, no matter how great your web design, impatient visitors will not wait around for slow-loading pages. Yahoo Developer Network reports that 80% of users’ time is spent on the front-end, further amplifying the requirement for faster loading websites. Which just goes to show that the speed of your website is just as important as the content.
You can test your website speed with a helpful website like Pingdom Website Speed Test. Once you know your web page loading speed, here are five methods, which you may find helpful in boosting site speed.
Minimize HTTP Requests
HTTP requests are important for load testing. Visitors use browsers to visit your website which creates an HTTP request on the server, where the server responds to each request. Each CSS stylesheet, script, flash component, or image adds to a new HTTP request which impacts site speed. So, the fewer requests, the faster the page loads. By combining all scripts into a single script and merging all CSS into a solitary stylesheet translates into precious gains in speed.
Data compression plays a major role in website load times and is a standard feature in modern browsers. However, browsers can’t compress all content so it’s still important web developers and designers take necessary steps to compress their content. “Uncompressed content hurts all users,” said Arvind Jain, Engineering Director and Jason Glasgow, Staff Software Engineer, Google.
“For bandwidth-constrained users, it takes longer just to transfer the additional bits. For broadband connections, even though the bits are transferred quickly, it takes several round trips between client and server before the two can communicate at the highest possible speed.”
There are four main reasons why uncompressed data occurs:
- Anti-virus software
- Browser bugs
- Web proxies
- Misconfigured web servers
Make sure you ask your web developer or web designer to modify the necessary scripts to speed up your site’s loading time. “Simply put, GZIP compression works by finding similar strings within a text file, and replacing those strings temporarily to make the overall file size smaller,” said Kevin Khaw and Eric Higgins, Google Webmasters.
Web pages load faster on repetitive visits if the resources come from the cache. Caches are local copies of static website files that rarely change. “When a browser can reuse a local copy, it saves the time to set up a connection as well as the time to download,” according to Steve Lamm, Engineer on Web Performance at Google. He continues, “The key to making the cache work effectively is HTTP caching headers, which are sent by the webserver to specify how long a resource is valid and when it last changed.”
Deploy WordPress Caching Plugins
Specifically when speeding up a WordPress website, changes in appearance and function are inevitable. If you are running a WordPress website or blog, install cache plugins to optimize the performance and speed. By doing so you can provide a better user experience.
With several from which to choose, here are a few tried and tested plugins to consider:
- Total Cache
- Super Cache
Total Cache is highly recommended for WordPress blogs. Some report Total Cache increasing site speed by up to 10 times.
Put Stylesheet at the Top
“While researching performance at Yahoo!, we discovered that moving stylesheets to the document HEAD makes pages appear to be loading faster,” according to Yahoo developers. “This is because putting stylesheets in the HEAD allows the page to render progressively.”
Web pages with massive amounts of content should implement this method. Remember, the internet is a two-way connection. No matter how fast your server loads, you also need to consider your visitors’ internet connection. Always consider your visitors’ experience when they visit your site. Your search engine result will show you better results.
For a fast website that pleases search engines, your priorities should begin with an excellent web host like Midphase. Secondly, a terrific website builder or platform like WordPress to help you build and manage your website. Third, inexpensive, professional domain and email addresses are a must. Finally, expert 24-hour support will help you solve your hosting issues and answer any questions you may have.
Luckily, when it comes to expert products, services, and support, Midphase has everything you need. Get started today!
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