ADVICE: Web hosting tips to improve online sales
A faster and more responsive website can lead to an increase in online sales. Andrew Hall, copywriter at Nublue, runs us through his top five tips on improve your website behind the scenes
Having great content and the right design for your website are highly effective ways to increase your store’s conversions, but they’re not the only steps you can take. There’s just as much opportunity to improve your site’s performance behind the scenes, from speeding up its server load time to boosting your site’s security in order to increase consumer trust.
Consumers have less and less time to devote to any one website they visit, especially with the sheer number of retailers they can browse for high-value items like jewellery. While you can change the look and feel of your website’s design to increase its visual appeal and user experience, there are also steps you can take with the help of your web hosting provider to give your site some hefty extra horsepower. Done right, these changes will be more or less invisible to the vast majority of your customers – but they could also give you some very visible results in your site’s traffic and conversions.
- Speed up your website with CDN
Some 47% of consumers expect webpages to load within two seconds according to KISSmetrics, and 40% will leave a website that takes longer than three seconds. Load speed is a vital part of optimising your ecommerce site for more conversions – and web hosting services like a content delivery network could do this for you. A content delivery network can make your website load significantly faster for your customers, particularly with your all-important image content. CDN works by making copies of part of your website’s content, like images, on a network of external servers worldwide, creating shortcuts in your site’s load time. Every site’s different, so there’s no set amount that CDN will shave off your load time – but the changes can be significant, and pretty noticeable for people visiting your website.
- Update your ecommerce software
As well as keeping your ecommerce site safe for your customers, updating your ecommerce software as soon as there’s a new stable version can also give you new enhanced features that could create fresh opportunities and efficiencies for your jewellery business. If you use Magento for example, one of the world’s most popular ecommerce platforms, then you might want to look at migrating your website to the new Magento 2 platform. It gives you easier store customisations, improved performance and enhanced features – basically it’s better software in every respect and could help to remove potential hurdles for your customers.
- Upgrade to SSD hosting for faster site response times
A study by Aberdeen Group found that even a one-second delay in web app response times could negatively impact page views by 11%, conversions by 7% and customer satisfaction by up to 16% – and this study was carried out back in 2008, so audience expectations for a fast, smooth user experience could well be even higher in 2016. A highly effective way to speed up your website’s response times for your visitors is to use web hosting operating SSD servers.
A web server traditionally writes your website’s data to a spinning hard disk, kind of like a miniature record player. Some newer web servers use solid-state drives (SSD) with no moving parts, which are essentially circuit boards. They use faster flash storage so that your website can handle more demands on its data from more customers at the same time, giving visitors faster response times when they shop on your site.
- Establish trust with a high-visibility SSL certificate
Trust is everything online, especially in ecommerce. Your customers want to see that their personal and financial data is secure when they buy from you, and the more obvious the better – so make it crystal clear. An SSL certificate is an important method of establishing trust among new and returning customers on your site. Some 53% of consumers recognise that the padlock symbol (achieved using an SSL) means greater safety, and just 3% of consumers would give their credit card details to sites without a padlock symbol, according to the CA Security Council. It goes without saying that your site should use an SSL certificate to encrypt your customers’ financial data and help to protect it from hackers.
- Change your web address to .shop or .jewellery
A generic top-level domain name, or GTLD, lets you switch out .com or .co.uk in your web address for a suffix related to your industry, like .jewellery, .shop or .boutique. If you’re struggling to stand out from the crowd then a GTLD could make your website easier to remember, and easier for people to recommend to their friends – especially if the name of your business can play off against it to turn your web address into something quick and catchy.
About the Author
Andrew Hall is the copywriter at Nublue, a Lancaster digital agency which provides web design and hosting services for clients including the national jewellery brands T H Baker, House of Watches and The Jewel Hut.