The online business is a wide-open free market characterized by rising customer expectations and cannibalistic competition. ROIs hugely depend on sales from customer conversion.
Your website as the doorway to your online business plays a major role in attracting customers. An effective website presence is needed for customers to enjoy a delightful experience. And that boils down to the performance quality of your website.
Website performance is based on a composite of three major factors; Content, services, and systems quality.
- Systems quality covers the technical performance of hardware and applications.
- Content quality is about presenting relevant, user-friendly, and comprehensive content.
Service quality refers to how well your site visitors are supported.
1. System Quality
The quality of hardware and software services determines the performance of your website. A consistent service level achieves good website performance. From the customer viewpoint, these refer to the metrics of availability, reliability, usability, and acceptable response times.
To sustain customers’ trust, products and services offered have to be delivered as guaranteed. Your website has to be up 24/7. Some of the elements that govern this include:
Web Hosting Performance
Always ensure that your site is parked with a reliable web hosting service provider. These experts can help ensure a high-performing website. Although you might be tempted to save costs and go for shared hosting, there are many disadvantages to this low-cost hosting segment.
Shared resources mean your resources are being shared with other websites on the same server. High traffic on other websites can affect your website’s performance. By going solo, you determine the resources you need now and, in the future, based on your traffic and peak times.
Google recommends a page speed lesser than two seconds. Slow speeds bring many negative effects including higher bounce rates. Page speed within two seconds means an average of 9% bounce rates, and for five seconds that goes up to an estimated 38%. Search rankings may also be affected, along with conversion rates.
Pinterest’s improved page speed resulted in increased search engine traffic and sign-ups by 15%. The BBC website experienced a 10% decrease in visitors with each additional second delay to page load times. This shows the importance of page speed for customer conversion.
To improve performance, you can use monitoring tools and improve the software design of your website. Some of the utilities you can consider using include:
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- The various options to improve page speed include:
- Optimizing images by using CSS sprites
- Improving server response time
- Using a Content Distribution Network like Cloudflare
- Minifying code
- Reducing the use of URL redirection
- Browser caching
The security support provided by web hosting service providers has to be efficient and reliable based on service level contractual agreements. Poor service levels such as unscheduled downtime affect the quality of web performance.
Ensure the security of your infrastructure plus that of service providers is up-to-date. This includes protection from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, viruses, and malware.
Your website should have the required certification for the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. SSL encrypts the data streaming from web servers to the visitor’s website. It secures the communications channel between these endpoints.
Install Google’s Completely Automated Public Turing (reCAPTCHA v3) on your website. It protects your website from bots, spam, and abusive traffic jams. The advantage of reCAPTCHA v3 is no user interaction is required. The original CAPTCHA which tried to differentiate humans and bots, using letters and numbers, then matching pictures is an irritation-filled user experience.
A healthy website requires regular checks and resolutions for irregularities and scheduled updates. Get the services of a reliable web hosting service provider.
Monitor your website for dead links and images. Update obsolete information. Use keyword research tools to get higher ranked keywords that are driving traffic and conversions. Check backlinks to ensure no spamming is taking place. Update PHP and modules, database management system, and plugins to the latest version.
Work with your web hosting provider on contingency plans in the event of unexpected events detrimental to the health of your website. Have a scheduled backup and disaster recovery plan. Ensure minimum scheduled and unscheduled downtimes. If they occur frequently, it might be time for an upgrade.
2. Content Quality
Content has to be relevant, personalized, and simple. From a customer perspective, the personalization has to be on a personal level with an emotional appeal boosting self-esteem. Web design and copywriting are important factors in website performance.
Less is more is the basic principle of good web design. The design should drive customer conversion without affecting speed. There should be a balance between visual and page speed. Keep it simple, functional, and easy to navigate. For best results, a combined search engine and web design techniques provide for a streamlined technique motivating customers to visit your website.
First impressions count. The first few seconds on a landing page determine the building of a connection that is to continue or move on. Use a design that resonates with your customer segment.
The practical tips for consideration are a combination of psychology and social behavior used as a basis for web design. Application of the following techniques influences customer behavior on your website:
- Apply Rule of Thirds and the F-pattern for the positioning of important images such as brand logo, the latest news, and offers. The eyes normally scan 41% of the time in the upper left corner, 25% in the bottom left corner, 20% in the upper right corner, and 14% in the bottom right corner.
- Use negative space to highlight the main content and use the right colors.
- Limit decision options–A single strong call to action (CTA) button positioned on the upper or bottom left corner.
- Attractive typography.
- Product promotion and brand storytelling-Use Videos with virtual reality (VR) techniques. Lowe’s VR how-to-videos had a 36% higher recall compared to YouTube.
- Manage visual perception–Gestalt 4 grouping principles recommend images to be organized based on similarity in color, size, shape, orientation, white space. Proximity, continuity, closure, and connectedness should be considered.
- Place human faces, as seeing a human face induces connection and familiarity.
- Minify codes- Clean up code by removing unnecessary spaces, comments, and line breaks.
Copywriting has to be informative, concise, and persuasive. The tone, style, and language have to connect with your target segment’s demographics. The average person’s attention span is short, 8 seconds, and normally only 28% of a web page is read.
The header title has to be distinctive, an attention-grabbing title that within eight seconds will motivate the visitor to dive deeper. The narrative should speak to them instead of at them. Use a story-telling approach as it resonates with customers.
Empathize with visitors. They have come to your website based on a need. Fulfill that need by highlighting the benefits they will get from purchasing your products. Do not go overboard highlighting features unless each feature is linked to a benefit.
Keep in mind the range of accessibilities; mobile, desktop, tablet. Either desktop or mobile browser software. The hierarchy of content, that is headers, explanatory CTAs, and correct visual content should be accessible regardless of tool or medium used.
3. Service Quality
Service quality refers to the level of customer support provided for visitors. A website with integrated support services leads to better customer relationships. A high level of service quality builds an excellent reputation in encouraging repeat customers. Website performance is rated higher for quality customer service support as seen in external review sites, e.g., Google Play Store.
First Level Service Quality
The customer service support level has to be efficient and reliable. The first level of service support normally is the frequently asked questions (FAQ) website pages, order tracking, and online chat services. These have to be monitored 24/7 and answered promptly and comprehensively.
Services that respond to customers’ changing needs will gain greater sales. Multi-channel retail services for purchasing and delivery of goods improve customer choices. These provide greater options for customers during browsing, making payments, or choosing delivery options.
Adding videos, webinars, and podcasts improves the customers’ experience. Holding hands while going through video tutorials improves customers’ confidence and assurance.
Second Level Service Quality
The second level refers to customer service help centers. They should practice empathy, assurance, responsiveness with follow-up services. The channels of communications such as email id, contact numbers, and addresses should be available. Payment and refund facilities should be secure, fast, and convenient (anytime, anywhere).
Content, service, and systems quality are broadly the three major factors that affect your website performance. Plan and execute accordingly with the right technology support for higher conversion rates and sales.