If you want to be the owner of your own business, the first thing that usually pops to mind would be to set up eCommerce websites. This comes as no surprise as eCommerce sales skyrocketed in 2018. Surprisingly, its momentum is still going on strong as ever.
So, setting up eCommerce websites makes sense. The task of doing so can be pretty daunting but not impossible. There are several things to consider when opening up your own online store such as researching for a suitable eCommerce platform. When you’re done setting it up, next on the list would be to source for a good and reliable web hosting solution to host your online store.
There are two main and crucial factors that help you determine which web hosting solution best fits you – web hosting speed and its performance. These are essential to help manage an eCommerce site to better outperform the competition and produce a noticeable increase in revenue.
What do you need for eCommerce websites?
The following are some of the things you need to consider in order to set up your eCommerce websites.
1. eCommerce solution and tool
You can hire a programmer to develop your online store from scratch or you can use already available eCommerce solutions and tools to help you do so. There are many such tools in the market; all in one website builder, plug-ins, add-ons, or just the shopping cart software.
One popularly used eCommerce solution is Shopify which is an all-in-one eCommerce solution for website and shopping cart creation. Shopify is easy to use. Even though you’re not familiar with technical matters, you can easily use Shopify to set up your online store.
If you are familiar with WordPress, you can install WooCommerce. Using WooCommerce will give you more control over your online store compared with Shopify. This means you need to do everything on your own from installation to troubleshooting.
2. Web security best practices
eCommerce sales are soaring and its popularity is sky-high. This is certainly good news for you as an owner of the eCommerce websites. Unfortunately, this also means that cybercriminals will look into targeting more eCommerce retailers.
A breach in your online business could potentially affect not only you but also your customers and hence your business reputation. Therefore, it is highly essential for you to always carry out web security best practices at all times.
How to secure your website and your eCommerce data?
Always keep yourself up to date on the web security latest best and safe practices. Implement and enforce them in your system infrastructure. The list below shows the recommended safe practices and is not exhaustive:
- Always use strong passwords
- Use SSL Certificates
- Source for a secure and reliable Web Hosting solution
- Enable MFA (Multi-factor Authentication)
- Keep your software always updated
- Use a VPN
- Use a CDN (Content Distribution Network)
- Always have backups
- Have a good DRC (Disaster Recovery Plan)
Web hosting solutions
You’ll need a reliable and good web hosting solution to host your website. Because there are many web hosting solutions out there, the task of choosing a truly reliable, scalable and robust web hosting provider can be pretty daunting and overwhelming.
But fret not, it can be done. There are various available packages that include features that you may or may not need. So, it really is more of a question of knowing what you need and getting the best and most best-suited solution that you can afford.
In general, there are several types of web hosting services, namely shared, dedicated and cloud-based. Smaller businesses will usually go for a shared service type, as this is more economical but you will be sharing with others.
If needed, you can choose to upgrade to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) which uses virtualization technology, giving you dedicated resources on a server with multiple users. This is a more secure and stable solution than simply shared hosting. Since it is on a smaller scale, it is relatively cheaper.
A dedicated server, as the name suggests, is basically one server totally reserved for your business alone. In the past, this was costly so this is mostly used by large conglomerates expecting high traffic. However, dedicated servers are now not as expensive, so you can consider getting this if it makes economic sense to your business.
Last but not least, as the cloud has greatly impacted the business environment, business web hosting has now also embraced the cloud. This is an alternative to traditional hosting methods.
The good thing about cloud hosting is in the flexibility it offers; you can easily expand anytime with no downtime to your business.
Web hosting speed and performance
As mentioned, web hosting speed and its performance are essential to help manage a website better in outperforming the competition. You can make use of tools such as WebPageTest and GTmetrix when it comes to analyzing your online store performance.
1. Web hosting speed
Web hosting speed has to do with the bandwidth of the web hosting solution. It indicates the volume of data that can be transferred or downloaded from a website. The speed of the network, connections, and applications running on a hosting server increases when the bandwidth increases.
In order for you to determine the amount of bandwidth your online store requires, this largely depends on the complexity of its layout, the traffic flow and the future growth plans that you have for your eCommerce site.
2. Web hosting performance
The web hosting performance is literally determined by its speed in handling incoming requests and also its reliability in terms of uptime. The page speed here refers to the time taken for a website or media file to download from a hosting server and then display appropriately on the web browser page.
A high uptime simply means your online store has no downtime and is always available whenever a user wants to access it. These both have a profound impact on the website’s overall performance and thus the user experience as well.
Why web hosting speed and performance matters for your eCommerce websites?
Studies have shown that 98% of organizations claim that a single hour of hosting downtime can cost a loss of over $100,000. A 1-second delay in page response could lead to a 7% reduction in conversions, so let’s say your eCommerce site is making $100,000 per day, a single second delay could potentially cause you a revenue loss of $2.5 million a year!
Furthermore, from the customer’s perspective, a 1-second delay can cause the customers’ satisfaction to drop by 16%. Statistics have also shown that 78% of online shoppers who encounter issues with website performance simply refuse to return to the website again while 44% of this figure will talk about this bad experience with their friends. This, in turn, will hurt your brand and reputation and the effect could be a long-term one.
In 2018, Google included page load times as one of the factors to be considered when ranking search engine results. Each search engine employs a specific algorithm to determine the page rank and one of the top factors in this algorithm is page load speed. Therefore, website pages that are slow to load will not rank high in search engine results.
According to Kissmetrics.com, 47% of people expect your website to load in less than 2 seconds and 40% will abandon it entirely if it takes longer than 3 seconds. Amazon confirmed that a 1-second delay could lead to $1.6 billion fewer in sales a year and this happens to a highly established and reputable company.
So, if users cannot wait 1 second for Amazon, what more will happen to your eCommerce websites? You’ll need to ensure your website is at its top-notch state, at all times. If not, you’ll be looking at a potential loss of a huge chunk of revenue.
If you want your eCommerce site to remain competitive, it must be as fast as possible and have a high uptime, while still meeting the demands of customers. First impressions are crucial on the Web. It’s all about psychology. Fast and reliable websites are equated to being professional and trustworthy. Speed is equivalent to efficiency and confidence.
The faster your website, the higher your conversions. The better your website performance, the higher your chances of retaining your audience and engaging them. In a nutshell, a faster and more efficient eCommerce site automatically translates to higher revenue. Speed and performance really matter.