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Digital Hospitality: 4 Ways Web Hosting Affects the Quality of Your Website

web development tips

Prime real estate space is highly valuable. This is why a plot of land of certain size in a certain area could be worth 10 times as much as another plot of land with a same size but in a less popular area. For new families embarking on a new beginning, a plot of land in a good neighborhood surrounded by good schools and good hospitals would be considerably more attractive than a plot of land in a lousy, remote neighborhood, making the former considerably more expensive. For businesses, the amount of traffic around and proximity to public attractions could weigh in your favor.

What happens though when this issue of space shifted into the digital world as online businesses are now the norm instead of the exception? You might think that the issue of where the website is located doesn’t really matter but it actually, just in a wholly different way. In the world of web development, businesses are so hung up on designing the perfect website that the discussion of where that website should be hosted isn’t a priority but I’m here to outline some arguments on why that needs to change.

Great hosts aren’t just for Airbnb

In this year alone, the Facebook family of apps, including Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp, suffers from several different outages, cutting off access to their billions of users. If you’re not among those billions of people, all the power to you but for those that rely on those services on a daily basis, these outages are highly infuriating because they were entirely unexpected. If there was maintenance and people were alerted ahead of time, they might’ve been more receptive.

I’m absolutely certain that Facebook as a company opts to use the best hosting option available for their servers but in the world of web development, even the best is far from perfect. Of course, with the number of users in the billions and where security threats are a constant, Facebook is a very extreme example but it does highlight the importance of web hosting when it comes to online businesses. The quality of your website isn’t just decided by the website itself; your choice of web hosting will also have a measurable impact on the quality of your website.

Website load speed

Let’s say you’re about load a shipment of boxes from a warehouse to a truck. Obviously, the amount of time and work you’re going to have to make depend on the amount of boxes you have to move but it would also depend on how the boxes are going to be moved. Using a conveyor belt would be faster and requires less effort than if you’re going to have to carry the boxes one-by-one through a series of hurdles. In this analogy, the amount of boxes is the size and complexity of your website while how the boxes are moved is the access provided by your web host provider.

The amount of access and resource available to your website is dictated by your hosting plan. A cheap, shared hosting plan means that multiple websites are hosted in a single server and the amount of resource and computing power of that server has to be shared between those websites which means slower loading times. A dedicated server, physical or virtual, doesn’t suffer from this limitation but they’re also considerably more expensive, especially physical dedicated server. Keep in mind that for a simple portfolio website, a shared hosting option might be enough so try to balance these options with what you actually need.

Website uptime

No hosting option will be able to guarantee you 100% uptime, that’s just simply a statistical impossibility, but the good ones should at least be capable of guaranteeing 99% uptime. The numbers however, are just one piece of the puzzle, you also have to ensure that the web hosting provider you choose keep the unexpected downtime to a minimum and that you’re always given a heads up when a scheduled downtime is about to happen. You know how the saying goes, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

Website security

There are two ways a website can be hacked, by invading the administrator section of a website and by invading the actual server where that website is hosted. The former is your responsibility but the latter is in the hands of whoever owns that server. There’s a type of service referred to as colocation hosting in which a business merely rents the server space where the server is located and the business is responsible for the managing of the server itself but typically, this is left to the hosting provider, which is why it’s imperative for you as a business to go with a provider that takes the issue of cybersecurity as serious as it should be.

Website scalability

For the forward thinking business owners, it’s typical for you to look at where you’d like your business to be 5, 10 years down the line. In the physical space, this means having a good foundation for your property so that when it comes a time for you to expand your wings, you could just simply expand the space you currently have now instead of having to hunt for a bigger location. This scalability issue is also present in the world of web development as as your business grows, you also have to contend with a bigger, more sophisticated website and more traffic.

If you think that going with a dedicated hosting option is a bit of overkill at this stage of your business, that’s completely in your discretion but you’d want to make sure that your hosting provider provides you with a seamless and easy way for you to upgrade and scale your website when the time comes. If you think that scaling in web development is easier than in the physical space, you’re right but it’s still quite a complicated process and you’d want to attach yourself to a hosting provider that knows what they’re doing.

 

A Guide to Website Speed Optimisation You Can Advise Your Web Developers About

web development tips

After years of living, we can’t deny the fact that what’s inside this Earth moves in a very fast pace. As time goes by, almost everything in this world is designed to be fast and easy. Remember when we used to look for a taxi if we don’t have much time to take a bus? I admit, life back then was very difficult, especially for me who lived in a very small village in my hometown. Even though I have a car, if the car is used by my parents, I have no choice but to take other transportation if I need to go somewhere. However, the hardest part of taking other transportation back then was the part where I had to find it. Living in a small village has its advantages and its drawbacks as well. While the air is cool and calm there (no pollution, no big buildings), taxis and buses are rare to find. Imagine if I was in hurry and no transportation passing the area. Sometimes I would call the taxi company but they always told me to wait for their call as they were also looking for the nearest taxi in my area. Thankfully, not long after that, my suffering finally met its end. Online transportation is now available in this world. Calling for a ride has never been this easy and fast before. I can get a ride in no later than 10 minutes. Thinking about this reminds me of my job. As a person who works for a web development, web design and SEO agency, I often have to face difficulties when it comes to website errors. Well, not really me, technically, since I am a content writer, not a web developer, but say, if there was an error in a website speed, I was also indirectly affected because people would get a hard time finding the content I have written, right? Therefore, we need to pay attention to details when it comes to website. Think about the last time you encountered a slow-loading website. You might have closed out the browser tab entirely or felt less inclined to patronise the site once it finally loaded. Don’t worry; if you have a business with a website as well as hiring a web developer, I’ve got a solution for you in this article. Keep reading to find out!

Before we begin this guide, first there is something you should do; find out if your website is really slow. One way to find out if your website is slow is to open a new private browser tab on your computer or mobile device, then type in your URL. Use a stopwatch to find out how quickly (or slowly) it loads. While his isn’t the most scientific approach, it’ll give you a general idea. If your website takes 10 seconds to load by your count, you know you have some work ahead of you. Once you are done with the testing, you have to…

Optimise image loading

Ever seen that circle spinning around when the image is loading? Oh, we all hate that. The easiest website speed optimisation tip for images is to upload the smallest possible version of your image for your site. For example, that your blog pages are 700 pixels wide. You would want to restrict your images to that width for optimal speed. However, make sure the images are not too small either. Test different image sizes on your site first to make sure they render appropriately on all screen sizes. After this step is done, start…

Optimising Javascript

Unless you know how to code, you will need a developer for this process. Javascript can prove fragile, and changing the wrong thing might break your site. Javascript allows you to put interactive elements on your website. For example, many forms work off a combination of Javascript, CSS, and HTML. If the Javascript has too much weight or is not optimised for speed, browsers will struggle to load and render it. That’s why it is important to keep communicating your needs to your web developers so that when you find troubles in your website, you can advise your web developers to fix it especially when it comes to coding and Javascript. Now let’s get to the next part.

Check your plugins

If there are too many plugins on your website, it will likely slow down your website in the long run. The browser has to understand what all those plugins mean and how to assimilate them with your website itself. Too often, business owners and marketers install every plugin that looks like it might do something fancy. Worse, when they deactivate those plugins, they don’t delete them from their WordPress installation. For that reason, communicating this with your web developer is very important.

Page speed is one of the most important considerations when it comes to optimising your website. You want your visitors to get your content quickly and navigate to different pages as easily as possible. Remember, consumers have short attention spans. You don’t want to give them a reason to exit your site before accessing the important content on your website.

A Proper Rethink: Why Businesses Should Revisit Their SEO Strategy From Time to Time

SEO tips

In the business world, some departments have it far easier than others. The HR and the finance department for example is usually static and unchanging, there might be certain periods where they’re much busier than the usual but you’re usually juggling around the same things. Contrast this to those working on the field of marketing, where trends change as often as the pop culture fads. In one moment, you might be making references to the latest Avengers film while in the next; you might be talking about something else entirely.

Marketing has always been about the zeitgeist, searching for something that’s currently dominating our current discourse and if appropriate, using them for our own benefit. This has been the case for decades and will probably remain true for the foreseeable future. As a relatively new branch of marketing, SEO is also bound by the same rules and as we go further into this discussion, I’m going to outline several reasons why it’s a good idea for businesses and SEO services alike to revise their SEO strategy from time to time to keep up with the ever-changing landscape.

Adapting with the latest marketing trends

Before the start of the final season of Game of Thrones, Mountain Dew aired a commercial featuring some of the brand’s usual collaborators humming the series’ theme song. During the Marvel-related euphoria that coincides with the latest Avengers two-parter, Infinity War and Endgame, my social media feed was also filled with so much Avengers-related content that you can’t swing a metaphorical dead cat without hitting Thanos’ absurdly large chin. The same thing also happened during the run-up to Harry and Meghan’s first child.

Taking advantage of the latest pop culture trends has been part of the marketing playbook for as long as that playbook has existed but it’s pretty common for brands to give the same treatment to their whole SEO strategy in general. Making fresh & original contents does help with SEO but that’s far from enough as SEO as a field encompasses a whole lot more than just content. SEO has one foot in technology and the other in marketing and the fact that these two fields never stay rooted in place should be enough to convince you.

Google’s algorithm are constantly updated

Search engine algorithms are constantly tweaked based on the data they’re getting from queries submitted by their public. Most of the time, these tweaks are minor but every now and again, Google rolls out one major update or two that should definitely prompt a proper rethink on your part. These major updates are usually announced beforehand and while the technical details of what the update would change is kept strictly confidential, some general information revolving around the update would typically be published to keep businesses from being caught off-guard.

To keep you abreast of what’s cooking at Google, it’s a good idea for business owners to subscribe to the Google Webmaster blog as that’s where news around Google’s search technology is published. Even if you aren’t fully in control of your SEO strategy, you have a contract with an SEO services company that does the heavy lifting for you, say, it’s still a good idea to at least keep yourself informed so you could tell when they’re doing the job you paid them to.

The world of web development are constantly updated with new technologies

SEO is broadly divided into two categories, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. The latter refers to things you do outside your webpage for the purpose of generating traffic such as posting on social media platforms while including a link to your website. Meanwhile, the former relates to the things you do inside your website such as uploading blog posts to your website and optimizing how your website is displayed and loaded, which directly revolves around the world of web design & development.

A decade ago, when a webmaster wants to optimize their website for mobile devices, they have to go through the painstaking process of stripping the more sophisticated elements of their website and adapting the size of the remaining elements to small screens and a portrait landscape. Eventually, with the advances made in mobile devices and web development, the concept of responsive web design becomes the new normal with websites now simply adapting to the size and orientation of the screen they’re displayed on.

Responsive web design is just one example in how web development practically changes the world of SEO as Google at the moment considers responsive web design to be the model for mobile optimization. However, this could change in the future as companies experiment with new display models such as folding phones and VR, which is why it’s important for business to adapt their on-page SEO strategy with the latest news in web development. What is considered a best practice now might turn obsolete in just a couple of years.

Being on the first page is good, being first period is better

Another reason why businesses might want to take a second look at their SEO strategy is simply because there might be a better way of doing things or because your current strategy just isn’t working. Comfort is the enemy of progress and thanks to the somewhat esoteric nature of SEO, there’s always something you could do in order to achieve a better result. It’s possible for example that the keywords you’re optimizing for is slightly too generic and your effort is practically being bulldozed by bigger brands with considerably more brand recognition. It’s also possible that your contents just aren’t relevant enough to be given top billing on search engine results.

The business of optimization is akin to a true friend’s work; it’s never done. There’s always something you could to increase efficiency, either by getting more results using the same amount of resource or getting the same amount of results by using less resource. Even if you feel your current SEO strategy is working well enough, it’s never a bad idea to take a second look as there are probably a couple of things to try out that you might’ve previously missed.