Responsive Website Design and Online Marketing Benefits

In this technology world, you need to update your marketing strategy with the advancement of new platforms. In 2009, Morgan Stanley, one of Fortune 500 company, made a prediction of rise in popularity of ‘Mobile Web’ compared to ‘Desktop PCs’ by 2014. Being in a competitive market, you should keep your website responsive and mobile friendly.

If you are still not considering mobile web traffic in your analytic data, you are losing significant revenue (for sure). Although mobile web technology hasn’t overtaken the desktop, according to comScore data, there is significantly mobile traffic increase in 2014 compared to 2013. You should keep your eyes from where new customers are approaching your website – it may be from tablet or smartphones or Desktop etc. So be prepared! Now let’s learn more about responsive web design and how it will benefit your online marketing strategy.

What is Responsive web design?

Matt Cutts (Head of web spam team at Google) provides a great, non-technical explanation: “Responsive web design just means that the page works totally fine whether you access the website URL with a desktop browser or whether you access that URL with mobile browser,”.  Matt Cutts also said – “Things will rescale, the page size will be taken into account.”

There is no separate version of mobile sites, tablet or Desktop versions in Responsive web design. Website should open flexibly with any respective device. Responsive web design allows any visitor to access website with best readability on all their favorite digital devices. Also it gives amazing control and creativity to apply for your website.

With Responsive web design your whole website remain same except CSS code it will change as per device browser.

User-friendly content management system (CMS ex: wordpress) is quite helpful for responsive web design. There are many ready-to-go designed templates available, which saves your time / money compared to [unlike] custom design.

Smartphones, tablets & many more devices have changed the approach toward design and user experience. Users now interacting with websites on smartphones and tablets are not the same as doing that on a desktop computer monitors. Id Website opens as desktop view having to zoom in and out to find the content you’re looking for it give bad user experience. While, content is king and discoverability of content are foremost success metrics.

User experience is one of the main reason to go with responsive web design. Now let’s talk about SEO benefits of Responsive Web Design!

1) Google Recommendation

Google recommended responsive web design as website will be common on mobile / traffic / PC. This is best way to focus on web as well as mobile users. Also, Google favors mobile friendly website for mobile search. It helps in achieving keyword ranking in mobile search.

2) Usability:

Google want to deliver best and relevant results for their visitors for any of the search term. Google will make note of immediate return to their SERPs, considering no useful or relevant information on the website. In this case, bounce rate of the website increases and your ranking will drop.

Visitors will read and share all the content they want and on whatever format they are accessing with a responsive web design

3) Duplicate Content:

There is no chance to get hit by Panda algorithm for the duplicate content in desktop, tablet or mobile version of website. There is only one URL for any webpage in all digital devices.

4) URL Structure:

Responsive websites have common files/folder for all the digital devices (mobile, tablet or PC). This makes easy for Google to index the webpages as there will be only common set of pages/files. As per the user experience is concern, this design works best with all devices and Google trust value increases.

5) Mobile Search Ranking:

There is a special preference for all devices compatible websites in the new mobile ranking strategy of Google.

With the increase in smartphones usage, there is a prediction of increase in mobile search. It may overtake desktop search queries in 2015 as according to BIA/Kelsey analysis. Responsive web design will help in achieving this.

6) Link Earning:

With responsive web design, back links are common for mobile version and desktop version of website. So the link juice from one URL to another will flow same in all formats of Digital Devices.

7) Local Search Benefits:

Smartphones have facility of Maps and phone call number. Visitors searches on web browsers for the local shops as per their need. This helps increase in shopping or inquiry about your product and thereby mobile traffic and ranking.

8) Bounce Rate and Trust Factor:

A responsive web designed site solves the problem of high bounce rate by showing same content on the desktop / mobile / tablet site. Google will interpret high bounce rate as like visitors are not interested in the content of the website. This leads to reduction in Google Trust as well as ranking drop.

9) Reduced Page Load Speed:

Page load speed is one of the keyword ranking signal in Google Search Engine as it impacts user experience. Visitor searches something on Google Search engine and if the clicked link takes time to open – it is not best for business.

Responsive web design have CSS media queries that work on respective different devices. It helps in reduction of loading time as per device.

10) Awesome User Experience = Natural Social Signals:

Responsive web design allows visitors to read and share the website content in any digital devices. Anyone can see the same shared content on social media on any of the digital devices with almost same loading speed. This helps in earning great number of social signals for your website.

Conclusion:

Going for Responsive web design for your website is a big challenge. But it will definitely put you one step ahead of your competitors. Increase in mobile traffic is a bonus. This is the age of smartphones! Keeping your website updated with latest technology will help you in your online business.

Notwithstanding how attractive and responsive your project is, you’ll definitely need quality web hosting to locate it online. This is where Softsys Hosting solutions come into play. Choose from the extensive selection of shared, VPS anddedicated hosting services and take your website to the next level of performance.

Cloud Servers or Standard VPS for Ecommerce Web Projects

Standard VPS Hosting vs. Cloud Solutions for Ecommerce Projects

There are various web hosting plans available on the Internet to host your website or your ecommerce online store. Some of available hosting choices offer discount coupons too and can save hosting budgets dramatically. For a developer or seasonal web hosting customer, selecting the best web hosting plan is rather easy. But for any newbie, it is confusing to understand these web hosting features & choose the most suitable one at an affordable rate.

Common web hosting choices based on Linux and Windows platforms:

1) Shared Hosting.

2) VPS Hosting.

3) Cloud Hosting.

4) Dedicated Servers.

Burning question is how to determine the best web hosting option out of these?

1) Shared hosting is enough to host any small scale business website.

2) If you own a mid-sized website, go for either standard VPS Hosting or cloud hosting.

3) And if a website boasts huge images / videos and uses extensive server resources, dedicated hosting is your only option. No doubt, fully redundant cloud hosting can also be a viable choice.

So, now let’s talk about the best web hosting plan to host any ecommerce website. How to determine the best option for ecommerce project?

Standard VPS

VPS hosting is ideal for small business websites as it is one of the best value for money. It allows you to configure a server with the much needed features and is easy to manage. VPS hosting comes with customization facilities and complete control features.

Now let’s talk about how vps hosting will fit ecommerce hosting needs. Going for vps hosting with managed level services & SSL certificates is recommended for any start-up or established projects. Going for a web hosting company with the managed service level will solve all the problems related to your server. Additionally, an SSL certificate helps in secured transaction, preventing the hackers from entering your website.

Cloud Hosting

Instead of being a traditional single unit server, cloud hosting operates from many servers simultaneously. Each individual server includes its own OS and can be easily customized. Cloud VPS plans are scalable on-the-fly. Any number of resources such as CPU, RAM, and storage space, etc. can be added at any given time frame and here there is no need of migrating your server.

Summary

With cloud VPS you pay for the resources used only, while with standard VPS hosting, you have to pay some fix amount each month. If a website is getting heavy traffic, cloud vps is the best option, while traditional VPS won’t meet all you requirements. Choose from cloud servers or standard VPS the one that will better suit your current and future goals.

Windows VPS vs. Linux VPS: Getting the Most Out of Your Web Hosting Account

When it comes to choosing the best hosting option for your needs, it is important to note the difference between virtual private server interfaces running on popular operating systems. Although launching a virtual private server on Linux and Windows can be somehow similar, there are certainly some differences on either system. Here’s a rundown of some of the top pros and cons that you can face by choosing Linux or a Windows-based server:

Linux VPS

Linux is open source software and you can find this operating system anywhere for free. Linux based servers are known for their amazing ongoing performance and uptime. They’re fairly easy to adapt, but it may require a little more technical knowledge as the OS isn’t quite as intuitive as a Windows-based system.

Some of the top Linux pros:

  • Its free and open source.
  • Works well with PHP and other open-source applications.
  • Lots of OS versions, including Debian, Ubuntu and more.
  • Fantastic integration with cPanel.
  • Less load on the servers with SSH access which grants greater control level.

There’s really only one major con of the Linux system:

  • SSH management for Linux VPS isn’t as easy to work with as the Windows interface.

If you have the tech skills to manage a Linux-based system it can be an affordable VPS hosting option with lots of open source compatibility.

Windows VPS

Windows offers one of the most intuitive systems for reliable VPS hosting meaning that even someone with very little in the way of a tech background can get up and running after paying a licensing fee. Windows database server hosting and large Windows VPS are available in US, Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. It is a great OS as it offers fantastic integration with other Windows-based software and scripts.

Main Windows pros:

  • Easy to manage with low IT skills. Great graphical interface similar to regular Windows XP.
  • Full integration with Scripts from ASP or ASP.net.
  • Ideal for fans of MS SQL databases.
  • Massive amount of support and tutorials from Microsoft with regular security updates.

The main Windows cons include:

  • More expensive to operate and buy licenses.
  • Doesn’t have the same ease of integration with open source applications.
  • Does not support cPanel.

If your business heavily relies on Microsoft-based products, a Windows-based VPS is probably one of the best options for you although it can be more expensive to run.

Main Hosting Trends of 2015: Ultimate Speed and Performance

When it comes to hosting for your website or for infrastructure services in your company the latest trend for 2015 resides in ultimate speed and performance. While security and mobile support have been other past focuses for hosting, many are looking towards the future and utilizing cloud as well as dedicated servers to improve access speed around the world.

Studies have shown that as little as a few milliseconds of lag when accessing web format files or a website can be enough to discourage a user from returning back to the website. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) has taken on a whole new focus in this industry and as a result many are opting for Windows-based virtual private servers, dedicated servers, cloud servers and more.

A virtual private server as well as a dedicated server can deliver the ultimate speed for any of your web applications or for a website. This means that you can enjoy an ultimate uptime as well as the quickest possible access to all of your web elements. This will cut milliseconds off of the time it takes for your web page to load which can actually improve search engine results, maximize the amount of return visitors that you might get and minimize any issues that might occur from accessing your web content.

Another big focus to increase performance and speeds is DDoS protection. These types of attacks can quickly shut down a website or any web elements for hours. Recognizing one of these attacks as it occurs and having means to prevent this denial of service attack is absolutely crucial. With the proper protection in place, a website will remain up even if it’s experiencing some type of attack guaranteeing that competitors and hackers cannot affect your hosting. Having this level of protection up and running will secure your online business from costly downtimes.

Major Pros of Hosting Data Backup

Data Backup

How important is it to backup your data regularly?

“How important is your data?” This is the first question I ask customers if they are not sure of whether to invest in having data backup enabled for their particular hosting account. If you cannot afford to lose your data or in case it is highly critical for your business operations, there is no doubt that you should be considering having data backup in place for your account.

There are various automated backup products available on the market that will help you in automating the process along with reporting you about successful / failed backups and appropriate system in place for easy restoration of data in case it is ever required. We use R1Soft backup service for all of our managed servers which takes backup of the entire server in a schedule that is setup by you – this can be as frequent as every few minutes to once a day or week or month. We typically backup every night with the retention period of 6 days (last 6 days of data is retained for restoration).

Data backup comes very handy in various cases:

  • Accidental delete of files / folders. In case you/your developer accidentally delete a file / folder, you can easily jump to your backup console and restore it without the requirement to rebuild it.
  • Compromised files – in case your server is infected by virus / malware which has modified or scrambled your files, you will need to restore these files to the original version in addition to removing virus / malware from your server.
  • Bad OS Update. In case your server is hit by a bad OS update which breaks things, you will need to restore it back to a state where it was running smoothly. Backups turn out to be very handy in this case, so that you can revert to a restore point whereby your system was in the appropriate working state.
  • Hardware issue with server – in case your server hardware or storage devices (HDD, SSD, RAID controller, etc.) fail for some reason, you will be looking at complete data failure with immediate requirement to restore your data to a working state. Appropriate data backups in place help immensely in this scenario, so that you can move your system to a state before hardware crash.

No one can really predict on when will they need data from their backup copy, but it is highly important for above reasons to ensure that you have backups in place which are monitored regularly. You should carefully understand your use case and select backup software which is appropriate for your requirements. R1Soft works fairly well in most of the use cases as it all supports backing up of nearly all operating system servers. Few other products like Veeam, Acronis have also evolved and in use by many enterprises. The key to any backup software is to ensure that you are able to backup and restore your data in a timely manner and data integrity stays intact. Having an efficient backup system in place helps in business continuity to ensure that you do not spend time restoring your important files / folders in case of accidental delete (human or non-human) as you will already having an efficient backup system in place. It has been a myth that having RAID protected storage is a replacement of backups, but this is completely incorrect – there are several cases whereby RAID can fail completely with no ability to regain the data that existed in your storage array. Hence, you should always have an off-server and preferably off-site backups for your infrastructure.

We at Softsys Hosting backup all of our Shared / Reseller servers on a daily basis along with backing up customer virtual machines or dedicated servers with managed services on our network backup servers. We have reporting enabled which will update our 24/7 technical support team in case backup fails for some reason so that we can fix this immediately.

How to Choose a Hosting Plan for Your Web Store?

If you are hosting a web store (ecommerce website), it is very important to choose a correct hosting plan from your hosting provider as it will directly affect your business. A few important points to consider are outlined below:

1) Hosting Company

You will definitely need to consider a web host which has years of experience hosting ecommerce websites and can help you in getting your store up and running 24/7. It is absolutely necessary to avoid a newbie host (less than 2 years in business) as you may end up with issues that are not sure of resolving quickly. Furthermore, you should also ensure that your prospective host has fully enterprise class server hosting infrastructure / data center to ensure that your website performs at the best of its ability at all times. A fully managed server is highly recommended since it will ensure that you have backups, security, monitoring & 24/7 support taken care of by the experts.

2) Security

Security is the key for all web stores as they are publicly available (including to hackers). You will need to ensure that your customers’ data along with credit card data are securely stored (with encryption & hashing). Also, database should not be publicly accessible with the appropriate firewall solution in place to keep it safe & secure at all times. The operating system & applications should be kept up to date with latest security updates / patches installed regularly. It is also highly recommended that you have DDoS protection included with your hosting plan since it will help to protect your server from widespread online attacks and ensure that your website stays online even in case of ongoing attacks.

3) Hosting Environment / Plan

For an ecommerce website / web store, it is recommended that you host it in a dedicated environment (VPS or Dedicated Hosting) so that your server node or operating system is not shared with other customers. Keeping an isolated environment helps in safeguarding your website against “bad neighbors” which may exist in a shared hosting environment. With VPS hosting or a dedicated server plan, you will be having total control over your server environment to be able to secure & configure it as per your requirements.

4) Scalability

In ecommerce business, you never know when your business will pick up and you may start receiving high amount of traffic which can typically happen during festival season or when you are running an advertising campaign or simply when your web store becomes very popular. During such a period, you might require more server resources to handle the traffic without affecting your website going down or becoming inaccessible for your end users. Scalable cloud, VPS hosting or dedicated servers can be an ideal choice in such case. You will be able to expand your server resources on the fly.

5) 24/7 Server Support & Monitoring

It is highly important that you have access to technical support from your hosting company on 24/7 basis through email / ticket or live chat based system along with emergency phone support. Things can break at times and it is best to notice & fix them ASAP without impacting your business. A robust monitoring solution from your web host should help in detecting faults or issues with your server and fix them proactively. Also, access to efficient team of system administrators will ensure that you have qualified techs who can fix server issues immediately at any time of a day.

Softsys Hosting offers premium class ecommerce hosting with fully managed VPS and dedicated hosting packages that are ideal for web stores of any size and functionality.

Choosing the Best Dedicated Windows Hosting Services for Business

Dedicated Windows Hosting for Your Business

There are plenty of businesses that rely on Microsoft Windows Servers to host special applications like ASP.NET websites, MS SQL server databases, Exchange email servers, Sharepoint applications, Navison erp system, failover active directory hosting,  etc. However, finding the right web host which can provide you with complete Microsoft Hosting Solutions has always been a challenge for end users. Let us overview some of the most important points to consider when you are shopping for the best dedicated windows hosting for your business:

1. Microsoft SPLA Partner

Microsoft allows using its licenses for production web based hosting servers through authorized SPLA partners only. These are volume licenses which have monthly recurring fee based on the number of physical or virtual processors in your server or number of user licenses. You will have access to full suite of Microsoft licenses through SPLA partner and is the only authentic way of using licenses in production hosting environment. Hence, as a first step, it is important to opt for a provider that will be providing you with authentic & valid licenses as per protocols laid down by Microsoft.

2.  Sales Engineering Team Who Understands Microsoft Windows Licensing

It is important that the sales engineering team of your windows dedicated hosting company is well aware of optimizing your license usage so as to ensure that you are not overpaying for your licenses along with ensuring that you are not missing on important terms of license usage which may pose an issue at a later stage. Microsoft licensing is not the easiest and there are bits & pieces to be taken from various parts of SPUR to come up with complete understanding of its licensing structure.

3. Microsoft Certified Technical Support

It takes a lot of efforts to understand underlying architecture of Windows server hosting products and it is best done by techs who have obtained Microsoft Certification for its products. You will need to have experts to review your website hosting server, database or hyper-v vps hosting servers on a regular basis to ensure that they are performing at the very best and also that they are completely secure with the latest updates / patches applied. Also, in case of any issues encountered, you will need an expert to fix them professionally to ensure that it is resolved in accurate & timely manner with assurance that the issue will not return again in future. It takes years of experience working with Microsoft hosting servers efficiently and hence you will need to consider reviewing the length of a windows server hosting service provided by your host.

4. Enterprise-Class Server Hardware

Microsoft products perform the best with ample amount of resources like CPU, RAM, SSD storage, etc. You will definitely not like to have various server components going out of service at regular intervals which will affect your business website or application severely. Hence, it is important to ensure that your prospective Microsoft host is using the best server hardware components which are attested to run in 24/7 environment. Enterprise servers from SuperMicro, Dell, etc. are recommended along with using Intel processors for efficient processing. It is also highly important to choose correct storage array for your server – best will be to opt for an enterprise SSD server as solid state drives will provide the best performance for your website & hosting. You will need to ensure that your host uses only enterprise-class components for servers for having a reliable server hosting experience. It is also worth considering that the hardware components used (raid controllers, addon cards, etc.) are compatible with Windows Server Systems so as to avoid any potential issues at a later stage.

We at Softsys Hosting have years of experience delivering the best-in-class Windows-based hosting coming with fully managed and self-managed servers, ultimate capacity and resources.