UX, geek-speak for user experience, is a measure of how people behave towards a product or service. Like other social sciences, the user experience is hard to quantify objectively. In the end, what you like is not necessarily what someone else likes.
While there is no consensus on what a great UX is, a bad user experience is a lot easier to define. In one sentence: it is what kills great businesses.
UX is so fundamentally linked to purchasing behavior that blue-chip companies spend millions of dollars on UX research. To make things more complicated, customer perception influences how usable they find a product. A case in point is Apple fans. Their confidence in the company’s design bars them from trying other offerings.
But what does this mean for an entrepreneur? If you have a great product and lousy customer service, of course, your business will fail. For an e-Commerce website, customer service comes down to how easy it is to use the site. This is profoundly impacted by your hosting provider.
For instance, slow-loading websites are a turnoff for most users. If your site takes minutes to load instead of seconds, many potential customers will take their business elsewhere.
As outlined above, user experience encompasses all factors that affect the customer’s’ willingness to do business with you. As such, choosing your web hosting provider based on cost alone is akin to basing your choice of business premises on nothing other than rent.
Learning how to improve user experience through a web hosting provider is, therefore, crucial for your business. Below are what a company can do to improve UX through web hosting.
Choose The Right Hosting To Cope With Surges
The ultimate UX faux pax is for your site to crash due to a sudden surge in traffic. When online content, products or services go viral, it is a chance for the entrepreneur to get paid for hard work or just being plain lucky. However, if your hosting provider does not offer you a way to gracefully scale up when traffic surges, the website is bound to crash. Prospective customers may end up having a bad first impression and going to the competition. If your website traffic cannot be predetermined, then you need to ensure your hosting provider allows you to scale up easily.
Different strokes for different folks. The same applies to choose a web host. If you don’t know how to choose a web host, do your research to find out what will work best and what will be the cost-effective choice. In a nutshell, VPS hosting is good for certain kinds of sites and web apps and good at handling a sudden surge. For some others, cloud hosting might be more appropriate. Cloud and VPS technologies are the latest trends in web hosting industry.
Suggestion: Secure A Strong Host Provider For Your Website
Consider The Servers Location
Having your servers close to your customers increases the page loading speed since the data travels a shorter distance from the server to your customer’s browser. If your users are globally distributed, then you need to have servers in locations that reflect that distribution.
Furthermore, locating servers in some areas could trigger security warnings in the browsers of visitors. Potential customers can shy away because of such warnings, and this could affect your site UX negatively.
Communicate With Your Host’s Support
Your hosting provider’s user experience tends to trickle down to your site. If your hosting provider offers great support and responds to your issues promptly, you’ll be able to quickly resolve outages, site failures, and availability issues.
Remember what the ultimate user experience faux pax explained above? Availability is when a customer or a lead is unable to access your site when needed. They will go to your competition and probably stay there.
Use A Web Host Who Offers Web Acceleration
How do sites like Google, Amazon, and eBay maintain user experience in the midst of technology changes, fluctuating traffic and, of course, platform upgrades? There is no silver bullet. Instead, they use many approaches.
Each of the optimizations in itself does not achieve much. But when combined, they ensure constant availability. Key UX optimizations are caches, load balancing and pipelining. To work well, these features must be implemented at a server level.
Load-balancing, enhanced cache loading, and web acceleration tools are important when it comes to loading times. If visitors have to wait more than a few minutes for your pages to load, they’re likely to exit the website. Web acceleration tools will certainly enhance user experience.
Use Plugins And Apps Sparingly
It takes two to tango. As such, the user experience is not only influenced by your hosting provider. User experience improvement is your responsibility as the site owner. For instance, uploading a lot of multimedia content on your site will increase the time taken for the page to load. Using content that requires plugins has a negative impact on usability.
If it cannot be measured, it can’t be improved. Moreover, as explained, the user experience is highly subjective. Continuous evaluation allows you to know what changes your audience is most responsive to both negatively and positively.
How does this help? Let’s say you change both the color scheme and font face, increasing the average time users spend on your site by 30 seconds. That is great, right? Maybe. If you roll out the changes one at a time and evaluate each, you might be surprised. It could be that changing the color scheme alone decreased the time spent on your site by 20 seconds. Changing the font face, however, could have increased the time spent on your site by 50 seconds. By rolling back color scheme changes and retaining the new font, you can, therefore, increase the time spent on your site by 50 seconds.
User experience (UX) is a measure of how willing people are to do business with you. While great UX for a lousy product will not improve the product, bad UX can, on the other hand, kill a great product. An often overlooked aspect of usability is the role played by your web hosting provider. The provision of an excellent user experience happens to be an ongoing task that involves finding what appeals to your users and giving them more of the same.
How do you make sure your website has the right user experience? Do you implement any specific actions that we haven’t mentioned to improve user experience? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.