Perhaps one of the biggest changes is the increased demand for online payment methods and the accompanying rise in credit card fraud and cyber attacks. The most important Web hosting trends of 2015 all have to do with increasing website traffic and improving the user experience. Website owners have optimized their pages for search engine results as much as possible, and they’re looking for new ways to connect with an audience.
As mobile devices gradually replace desktop and laptop PCs for most people, website owners are learning to optimize their sites for 480-by-640-pixel screen resolution. A few lines of CSS code make a user interface responsive to the type of device displaying it. All of these changes make it necessary to track user activity with business analytics, and hosting packages are beginning to include this invaluable service for site administrators.
1. The Importance of Business Analytics in Web Design
One of the opportunities created by the Internet is for online businesses to collect data from their customers and site visitors. Business analytics is simply the study of user activity in an effort to improve site performance, sales and page ranking. These services tell Web administrators how well particular ads perform on Web pages, how long users stay on a page on average and which links attract the most clicks.
This information is incredibly useful because it allows website owners to experiment with different configurations until the best one is found. It’s become one of the biggest trends in Web hosting because it gives site owners an edge over their competitors within their content niche. Getting good search rankings in Google is getting harder every year as established authority websites dominate the first page of search results in every category.
Without carefully examining site metrics and trying new strategies, website owners are unlikely to improve their rankings. Most search engine traffic doesn’t come from the second page of Google search results because few people look beyond the first page. Therefore, strategies other than search engine optimization are becoming necessary for most blogs and e-commerce sites.
2. Top-Level Domain Personalization
The next big trend in Web hosting is personalizing a website’s top-level domain, or TLD, by the type of industry or location of the business. The advice most Web administrators heard throughout the 2000s was not to buy .NET, .BIZ or other alternative TLDs because users would forget these unusual suffixes and replace them with the more familiar .COM when navigating to a website.
This advice still holds true to an extent, but in many cases, it’s a good idea to buy .NET and .BIZ versions of a website in addition to the .COM version to prevent copy-cat sites from stealing traffic. The new trend in TLDs is the use of personalized words, such as .FLORIST for a flower seller or .SHOES for a shoe store. These URL suffixes stick in a customer’s mind and make it easier to remember a Web address. It’s a kind of mnemonic device for remembering a Web URL, like a phone number that spells out a catch phrase to make it easy to remember.
TLD personalization also helps with SEO because it incorporates keywords into a website’s domain name. For example, the TLD .VEGAS turns up in a geo-specific search for hotels in Las Vegas, and .NYC turns up in a search for businesses in New York City.
3. Mobile-Friendly Web Software
A few years ago, Web hosts only offered software and plugins designed for viewing on a big screen, and mobile-friendly options were uncommon. Those were the days when BlackBerry made the only smartphones, and only Senators and business executives used them. Now that just about everyone has an iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet, people are accessing websites from desktop computers less frequently. Laptops and desktops are still the most common platforms for Web browsers, but Android and iOS will eventually be more popular.
When it comes to mobile Web design, businesses can either optimize their websites for mobile users or spend money to develop a mobile app. Web-based apps can perform most of the same functions as installed apps, but they can’t use the device hardware for program execution or access data stored on the device. In any case, online businesses need to be extremely careful about credit card payments accepted through a payment gateway. Externally hosted gateways are responsible for data security, but integrated gateways must conform to PCI DSS protocol.
4. Keeping Users Safe From Cyber Attacks
All of these innovations in Web software have given criminals more opportunities to steal user data, and there are stiff penalties for website owners who don’t follow proper protocol. Another top trend in Web hosting is the use of advanced cyber security protocols to reduce online fraud and keep website visitors safe. By offering SSL certificates, PCI DSS compliance and virus protection, Web hosts create a safer environment for their customers and ordinary Web users.
When it comes to website optimization and cyber security, Web hosts are constantly competing with each other to improve their offers and make Web administration easier and more productive. The top Web hosting trends in 2015 set the stage for a safer and better World Wide Web in the years to come.