There are many reasons to get into a good data center when it comes to hosting services. One of the topics that matters for today’s discussion might sound a little bit familiar if you have been reading our blow for a while. John touched on this a little ways back, and I would like to explore more about why this is an important factor when choosing a hosting company. When we have a website or online business, obviously the main goal for most of us is to increase traffic and conversion rates, to improve our bottom line and our ROI. One of the very largest things that affects conversion, which gets overlooked all the time is site speed. I have spend a lot of time in the Data Center and Hosting world, and let me tell you…..this matters, big time.
Google let us know in 2008 that we would start seeing site speed playing a role in our quality score. I have seen this being at least a 15 percent conversion rate decrease in anything longer than a three second load time. The crazy thing is that was four years ago, back when we were even more patient than we are now as internet users! If your load times are up over five seconds, all of that link building, blogging, and SEO work could be getting held back by a big shot in the foot of slow load times. The people want the page loading NOW. Don’t take my word for it, just head over and take Peter’s word for it if you do not believe me.
A good way to measure site load speed is to use the simple tool built into Google Analytics. If you are not getting adequate site speed, there are likely more than one reasons why. The internet connection where you are at may be the culprit, but we would hope that it is NOT the broken link in the chain. Secondly, it could be the hosting provider or the platform you are being hosted on. If you are sharing a server with another client that is taking up all of the available bandwidth to your platform, you may be getting pushed aside with you traffic. Any hosting provider can crap 1000 people on one big server, but it may not serve you best when it comes to load times on your site, especially if you happen to be sharing space with a spammer or email-happy guy.
The other thing many hosting providers can be guilty of is throttling bandwidth. Meaning, they give you a 100 Mbit port, but for some reason the traffic speed coming and going through their router to you is much less than that at certain times of the day(likely to lower their own usage costs, as they are typically billed on a 95th percentile model). If this is the case, get out of there and get over to a hosting company that will give you what they say they will. This will matter when you are hanging by…seconds to convert traffic on your site. There are a lot of tools for checking site uptime, speed, and reliability but we recommend Pingdom to get you started. It is FREE and will provide you with an in depth measurement of the performance of your host so you know where you stand.
Image Credit: Flickr, Rob Marco