Posts Tagged "customer support"

How to Lose Web Customers in Five Easy Steps

Attracting new visitors to your web space can be a challenge. Unfortunately, losing customers is much easier. Here, we’ve collected the top five ways in which customers are lost, and easy fixes for each issue.

Boredom

Visitors today have come to expect a visually exciting, informative, and fun-to-browse web space. If your site comes up lacking, you can kiss those visitors goodbye. Many small business owners and bloggers unwittingly lose customers by failing to pay attention to details like visual appeal and creating engaging content.

The Winning Strategy

In order to attract visitors to your web space and keep them there, simply ensure that your site is a fun place to be! Provide plenty of photographs and interesting information. If your site includes product descriptions, make them as vivid as possible. Pay attention to how each page of your site looks, and make changes as necessary. Once you’ve determined the unique aspects which make your web space exciting, you’ll be surprised at how little time it actually takes to keep them well-maintained.

Slow Response Times

If your web space hosts anything which invites visitor feedback, such as a forum, blog or chat, keeping on top of your response times is critical. Many visitors are immediately put off if their comment or question goes unanswered for a long period of time, and many will never return for that very reason.

The Winning Strategy

Set a schedule. You may want to place this response time on your web space, to let visitors know that while they may not get an immediate response, they will receive one in a timely manner. One week should be your absolute maximum amount of time, but a few days will create even happier visitors. A great way to get used to your schedule is to give yourself a week-long maximum reply time, but check in and reply to posts, questions or comments whenever you have a few spare minutes.

Infrequent Blog Posts

Have you ever become a fan of a blog, only to inexplicably see its creator simply disappear? Frustrating, right? Don’t leave your visitors with that same feeling of disappointment. If your web space includes or is centered around a blog, a schedule is essential. Visitors enjoy knowing that they’ll be treated to fresh content on a regular basis, and if you begin letting them down, they’ll become less and less likely to return.

The Winning Strategy

Set a schedule. Yes, another item for your schedule—but one which will reap huge benefits in visitor loyalty. Depending on your available time, set a fixed number of posts per week. It’s also a good idea to make this number visible on your web space, so visitors will know what to expect. Once you’ve set that expectation, meet it every single week. Even if you’re stuck for an idea, there’s nothing exciting to blog about or you’ve been out of town visiting relatives all week, type out something and post it. Visitors will appreciate the reliability, and you’ll see the results via increased traffic.

Lack of Basic Information

When visiting your web space, visitors should be able to see—or very easily access—basic information about your company, store, or business. This essential information varies, depending on what type of business you own. However, common examples include driving directions, phone numbers and hours of operation. Our top picks will guide you through much of this process, ensuring that vital data is never left out.

The Winning Strategy

Keep it Simple. This is, perhaps, the easiest of all fixes. Simply ensure that your essential information is easy to find on your web space’s home page. There may be other, more exciting things which you want to shine a spotlight on, but your landing page needs to include this information. Placing it at the very bottom of the page is perfectly fine, and actually very common. Just ensure that it’s easy to find.

Lack of Interactive Options

Even the most basic sites today usually feature some type of interaction. This can be as simple as the option to leave comments on a blog, or it can be as elaborate as the option to create a custom order. Choose the options which make the most sense for your unique business, then keep them well-maintained. Visitors to your site have become accustomed to interactive options, and a flat, boring page is a surefire way to send them away disappointed.

The Winning Strategy

Choose carefully. Don’t go crazy and pile all the interactive options you can find onto your site. This will only lead to confusion, and you probably won’t have time to properly maintain them all. Instead, pick the options which best complement your business, and maintain them extremely well. Keep your visitors up to date and current, respond in a timely manner if applicable and ensure that everything is running smoothly.

Conclusion

As you can see, losing customers is easy. Thankfully, with a bit of forethought and dedication, keeping them and winning new ones is just as simple. A guiding principle of retail sales is to never allow a customer to walk out of the store unhappy. Your web space is your ‘store,’ so ensure that each visitor leaves with a positive memory and a plan to return. Get started today with side-by-side comparisons of traffic-driving plans and features!

How to Avoid Website Crashes

Setting up your web space is a fun process. However, as you’re enjoying picking out lush pictures and setting up areas for personal visitor connections, remember to keep an eye on the technical side of things. Bandwidth is one of the most commonly-ignored aspects of a new web space. Unfortunately, a miscalculation or oversight in this area can leave your visitors facing a crash. Our top pick in hosting services, along with many other of our recommendations, have easy-to-use tools to help you avoid this scenario.

How Crashes Occur

The technicalities of a site crash aren’t very technical at all. Crashes have to do with two aspects—bandwidth and traffic. Bandwidth represents the amount of visitors—traffic—which your site can support at the same time. If traffic exceeds bandwidth allotment, your site will perform a NASCAR-style crash and burn. A crashed site can’t be visited, which translates into a great deal of lost visitors—and customers. Obviously, this is something which needs to be avoided at all costs.

Choosing the Right Package

If you’re not the most tech-savvy person in the world, there’s no need to worry. The majority of small business owners, bloggers, and other site owners are not—this is why the best site-hosting services offer customer support.

A well-trained customer support professional will work with you as you decide on a package, helping you to determine how many visitors your site is likely to attract. Once this is determined, you’ll have a better idea of how much bandwidth to purchase.

As always, read the fine print. You don’t want to be stuck with a small package when your web space begins to catch on and attract tons of business. This is where another very important piece of web space tech-knowledge comes into play.

Keeping Track of Your Site

Depending on which company and which package you choose, you’ll have several options when it comes to tracking your site’s performance. Most performance statistics packages will give you tons of useful information, including SEO performance and rankings. They’ll also give you the total amount of bandwidth your web space used up in a day, week or month. This is invaluable, because it lets you see how close you might be coming to a crash.

Watch these numbers very closely. If you don’t understand them at first, ask a tech-savvy friend or call up customer support. You need to stay on top of these numbers, as they reveal how well your web space is truly performing.

Once you notice that your bandwidth use is coming close to your total allotted bandwidth, it’s time to upgrade. This is not a place to cut corners. Upgrading before you absolutely need to will help to ensure that visitors to your web space are not greeted by a disappointing service-error message.

What a Crash Tells Visitors

While creating the impression that your site is crazy-busy isn’t a bad thing, doing it via a crash message is a very, very bad thing indeed. Crashes send the message that your site is unreliable, untrustworthy and, essentially, a place to steer clear of. Not exactly a pleasant impression, is it? Thankfully, it’s easily avoided. Our recommended hosts feature easy-to-understand stats for easy maintenance. By keeping on top of your performance numbers and upgrading when necessary, you can easily avoid a crash and the unfavorable visitor impression it creates. Whether your site is in the building phase or has already gone live, now is the time to start watching those numbers!

Top 5 Web Space Mistakes

For those who aren’t already well-versed in running their websites, the web hosting market can seem complicated. It’s actually very easy to avoid making the biggest mistakes when looking for web space. Here are five of those, and what you should be doing instead.

1. Placing too much importance on a single aspect.

Yes, your site may very well require a lot of large video and audio files, and that would make having a good amount of disk space available very important to you. But it’s still not the only thing that matters. Good web space needs to have a variety of different things acting in tandem; you will regret it if you pick an otherwise substandard option because of one particularly attractive bullet point. Look for a provider that boasts an attractive feature set all around, not just in the one respect that you care most about.

2. Undervaluing tech support

Things generally do not go perfectly. Your web space should always come with solid tech support as a hedge against that. If possible, that should include live support via chat or telephone; however, even if those aren’t doable within your price range, a good ticket system and a sizable knowledge base are essentials. If the tech support isn’t up to par, then you want to look elsewhere, period.

3. Taking the host’s word for things

The job of a web host’s website is to convince you to give them your custom. They’re going to accentuate the things that they have going for them, and they’re going to downplay the things that they don’t. Once you’ve found an option that looks good, look up more information elsewhere. User reviews are ideal here. See what people who’ve already taken the plunge have to say about the quality of their service. The last thing you want is to be roped into using a substandard hosting provider because of the marketing. If you need to find a good web host fast, click here to see the web hosts we recommend.

4. Paying too far in advance

Yes, most paid web space is cheaper if you pay for it for years at a time—or more, for that matter. But doing so also locks you into them for the intervening time period; this is a big commitment, and it’s one that you should only really make when you’re confident that you won’t regret it. To start out, consider paying only for a few months; that way, if you decide that things aren’t working for you, it’s no hassle for you to move. Once you’re confident in your selection, then by all means go for the best bargain available—but don’t make big purchases prematurely.

5. Using over-specialized hosts that run single software packages

If you just intend to run a blog, a forum, or some other common piece of software, it may seem odd to go to the trouble of using general-purpose web space to set those up when you could just pick one of the many hosts that will run the same software for you, often free of charge. Dodging the hassle of managing your own software is attractive, but it’s still not worth it. You have very little control over “your” site with such a host; they choose when things are updated. They choose which plugins and themes you have access to. They choose which ads you run, and make all of the profit from those. You save a little work in the short term, but you’re going to make things much harder in the long run.

How Important Is Your Web Server’s Location?

Web space has a market in every country. The question is, should you purchase web hosting within your own country? Or are you better off getting it from one of the more established US-based providers?

Latency

Let’s start with the advantages of a local web server location. For you, at least, latency is going to be significantly lower than it is with out-of-country providers; after all, you’re sending signals a much shorter distance back and forth. That being said, it’s important not to overstate the significance of this. Modern broadband infrastructure has very low latency even across long distances. Unless you intend to run a demanding real-time service—for example, an online gaming server—latency isn’t that important.

Tech Support

What’s more important, though, is tech support. Any web host needs good, reliable tech support to be worth your money. Ideally, this should include live support. So there is a sizable advantage to having a host within your own country. Being in the same time zone prevents you from having to worry about the exact hours when live support is available, and having support in your native language can be extremely helpful.

All in all, though, you’re going to be better off looking at web space within the United States than at providers in most other nations.

Web Space in the United States

The US web hosting industry is much more mature than most others. These businesses have been operating for decades in some cases. There’s much more useful information available to you before you make a decision—you can consult years and years of customer reviews in order to figure out just how able they are to deliver on the features and performance that they promise.

Furthermore, the underlying broadband infrastructure in the US is relatively solid, and most of the large server farms are easily able to get more than enough bandwidth for their purposes. Other nations can vary in this respect, but generally they can’t produce the same results.

For English-speaking audiences, the largest proportion of your readers will likely be in the US anyway. This means that latency will be minimal for most of your intended users.

For non-English-speaking audiences, it depends on your language. For example, the US has a decent Spanish-speaking population and is relatively close to several Spanish-speaking countries, so having a US web server location isn’t bad for a website targeted at Spanish speakers. German, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as prevalent in the geographic region, so latency will be higher for most of your target audience. Again, though, latency only really matters with the most finicky of real-time services, so keep that in mind.

Conclusion

In the end, if you want to serve a non-English-speaking region and require live tech support in your native language—or intend to run real-time services which are hindered by latency—you’re best served by a local hosting provider. But otherwise, US-based hosts provide superior speeds, and have already worked out kinks that competitors in other nations are still figuring out. Just make sure that you select an established, reliable web host with good technical support.

The Most Important Web Space Features

Setting up your web space involves an endless array of features to consider. How can you possibly make sense of it all? Well, it’s time to take a deep breath and relax. In this article, we’re going to review the features that are most important for your website. While this isn’t a complete list, it’ll give you an idea of what to look for when shopping for a web host.

Web Space Cost

You’ve probably been shopping around for a hosting service already, and some of the prices you’ve seen probably left you stunned. Services can run into the hundreds. However, when just starting out, there is no need to pay anywhere near these high costs. Shared hosting is a very affordable option, and web hosts provide it for as low as $3 a month.

Site Builders

A good site builder is essential for the beginner and small business owner. These tools will make what can be an incredibly complicated process simple and easy to understand. All the details have been worked out for you, so your website can be up and running almost immediately.

Site builders also let you make your website really come alive by incorporating personal touches. These touches make your site stand out from the pack, so use them well and show your personal style.

Technical Support

You don’t want a hosting service that leaves you out in the cold when something goes wrong and you need assistance. The best services offer 24/7 support and a variety of communication methods. Look for a service that offers at least live chat support. If they offer email and phone as well, that’s even better.

Uptime Percentages

Uptime refers to the average amount of time you can expect your website to be accessible to you and your customers. Downtime should be very minimal. Look for a service which offers a 99.9% uptime rate, and make sure that this rate is guaranteed. Because the more time your website is down, the more traffic and money you stand to lose.

Backup Frequency

Some of us have gone through the frustration of having our computers crash and losing valuable documents and data. Now imagine if your entire site crashed, taking all your information away, never to be seen again. Not a pretty picture.

Web hosting services offer data backup on a regular basis. In most cases, this backup occurs on a daily or weekly basis. The data on your site is backed up on a secure platform, ensuring that even if the hosting service experiences a crash, your data will be safe and secure. This is a vital feature, and you shouldn’t consider signing up with a hosting service which doesn’t offer data backup on a regular and reliable basis.

Conclusion

Each small business is different, but some fundamentals of web space building simply don’t change. Insist on the best when it comes to these crucial components of creating your site. After all, you can’t build a strong site on a shaky foundation, so start with the best and you’ll have the foundation you need to prosper and grow.