Image by FreePik on FreePik.com
Your competitors might seem like they’re your mortal enemies, but with just a shift of your mindset, they can quickly become your best source of information and research! Taking a bit of time to do a competitor analysis every few months can make a huge difference.
While there’s a lot you can actively do to get ahead in business, you might be shooting yourself in the foot if your web hosting is working against you. Here are 10 things your competitors can teach you about web hosting, and what your hosting choice can do to your business.
1: Speed Matters
It’s a fast-paced world in all senses, and that extends to how quickly your website pages load. Did you know… More than half of your visitors will leave if your page doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less?
If your competitors are selling more than you but your product/service is better than theirs (without bias!), this could be to blame. Your slow loading speed could be costing you sales! There’s no chance of making a sale if they’re leaving before they can even see your product or offer.
You can check your competitors’ site speed using tools like Pingdom or SEMrush, and compare it to yours.
2: CDNS are Necessary
A lot of web hosts use CDNs these days, and if your competitors are using one of those and you aren’t, well, you might be behind. A CDN—content delivery network—circulates your website’s data across a wide network of servers, throughout the world.
So when someone from the USA, the United Kingdom, China, India, Australia, or anywhere else in the world pops onto your site, it’ll load from a server close by, cutting valuable seconds off their loading time.
Competitors who use web hosts with a CDN will see more business, thanks to faster loading speeds, which ultimately makes for a streamlined UX. Get yourself a CDN if your host doesn’t use one!
3: The Type of Hosting You Choose Matters
If you’re using shared hosting and your competitor is using cloud hosting, they’re going to be way ahead of you. You’ll be fighting other sites for resources while they’ll be growing and moving forward with a stable, reliable host behind them.
Shared hosting is never the best choice for businesses. Personal blogs, sure. But if you’re planning on making a living with your website, go for dedicated or cloud hosting. You’ll be much more on-par with your competitors with extra resources on your side.
4: Mobile Experience Is Important
Some hosts don’t offer a great experience on mobile, but you could be missing out on sales that go to your competitors. More than half of visitors arrive on mobile, and if the experience on your site isn’t pretty and easy on mobile, they’ll hop off to a competitor with a nice mobile site.
Double-check this upfront if possible. Do a real mobile experience test yourself, and get a few friends to check it out too. If your web host doesn’t provide a smooth, easy UX on a smartphone, you’re practically handing sales to your competitors!
5: Security Can’t Be Compromised
Ever heard of a company being hacked and having their customers’ sensitive details and data leaked? You don’t want to be that company. Learn from competitors’ mistakes and make sure your web host’s security is top-notch.
6: 99% Uptime is NOT Enough
You might think your web host offering 99% uptime sounds amazing. But hold your horses, because every competitor who’s using a host with 99.9% (or more) uptime is getting more than 10 minutes extra uptime than you are.
An uptime guarantee of 99% means you’re losing 14.4 minutes per day, which equates to 3 ½ days per year! An even scarier statistic—studies show a staggering $85k cost PER HOUR of downtime… And some of that could be money YOU’RE losing!
Competitors who use hosts offering 99.9% or more, will see less than 2 minutes of downtime every day, equalling just 8 ½ hours a year.
7: Hosting Affects Your SEO
That competitor who’s ranking higher than you every time? It might be down to web hosting. When you’ve got great web hosting that helps keep your site speedy, secure, and available, Google picks up on it and ups your SEO scores.
Of course, you still need to do all the SEO things on your own blog posts and pages, but if you’re pretty on-par with your competitor and they just keep edging you out… They may be just a touch ahead of you thanks to better hosting.
8: Hardware/Software is Crucial
You might be using the latest, greatest laptop and equipment, but if your host’s servers and software is outdated, well, your equipment can only go so far. Dated hardware and last year’s software can slow your site down, and we already know what slow sites can do to your business.
If your competitors are using a host that offers up-to-date software and solid-state drives, while you’re stuck in the dark ages with regular old drives and a-few-updates-behind software… Well, we know who’s coming out on top there.
9: Your Web Hosting Can Hold You Back
Wondering why competitors who used to be on the same level as you have grown and you haven’t? There’s plenty that goes into it, but if you’ve been putting in the same effort, then consider that your web hosting could be holding you back.
Yes, web hosting is a small thing. But it’s also the entire foundation on which your site is built, so… It’s really worth finding yourself a web host that can grow along with you and keep giving you what you need as you scale.
10: It’s All In Your Hands
Your web host could definitely be wreaking a little havoc on your business if they’re not quite right for you. But it’s also important to realize that YOU have a role to play as well. You can take actions like optimizing your pictures for the web, checking and getting rid of plugins you aren’t using, and doing a bit of digital house cleaning.
And if things still don’t fall into place at that point, well, you aren’t stuck with your current web host forever. Do an audit to figure out where they may be falling short, double-check what your exact business needs are, and make sure the two match up. If not, find yourself a new web host and watch how you catch up to your competitors… You may be shocked at the difference it makes!
About the Author
Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related, at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.