Saturday, November 11, 2006

The 4 second window

Research by Akamai revealed users' dwindling patience with websites that take time to show up.

It found 75% of the 1,058 people asked would not return to websites that took longer than four seconds to load.

The time it took a site to appear on screen came second to high prices and shipping costs in the list of shoppers' pet-hates, the research revealed.

It found that one-third of those questioned abandon sites that take time to load, are hard to navigate or take too long to handle the checkout process.

The four-second threshold is half the time previous research, conducted during the early days of the web-shopping boom, suggested that shoppers would wait for a site to finish loading.

To make matters worse, the research found that the experience shoppers have on a retail site colours their entire view of the company behind it.

About 30% of those responding said they formed a "negative perception" of a company with a badly put-together site or would tell their family and friends about their experiences.

Further research by Akamai found that almost half of the online stores in the list of the top 500 US shopping sites take longer than the four-second threshold to finish loading.

This is a sobering piece of research and should be a caution to website owners wanting sites that are graphically heavy or use a lot of Flash. We've always suggested that 'less is more' when it comes to web design, and this research tends to support this view.

Distance Selling Regs - New Guidance

The Office of Fair Trading & the DTI have released new guidance on the Distance Selling Regulations 2000. These are relevant to any UK based online retailers & consumers. See at the guidelines here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back again

Am I the only one to have had problems logging in? All attempts to sign in, have my password emailed, etc, all failed. However, now I can get in. Hmmm.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

EPCS Services

Fresh Web Services recently launched EPC Services website. Electrification and Plant Consultancy (EPC) Services, based in Kent, specialise in providing railway electrification and plant engineering services to the underground and over ground railway companies.

The EPC Services website was built using the Joomla content management system. Joomla is ideal for large and small websites and comes with a wealth of features for making your website a top notch marketing tool. There is a member registration module, a newsletter module, an 'Email this page', 'print this page', and 'convert to pdf' link on every page if you want. There is also a contact form with validation built in. All these features mean that you can use your website as a marketing channel from the off. All these come 'out of the box' with the standard installation.

For the larger site there is user management functionality (so that many people can edit your site if you want), and a large number of add-ons to really push the boat out. Indeed, it's learning what & how to turn things on and off that's sometimes a problem.

If this sounds interesting, and something that you would like to consider, then please get in touch so that we can make the web work for you.

Sitemaps Part 2

I've mentioned earlier that Google Sitemaps are recommended by Google as the way to submit your new website to their index. Well, using sitemaps can mean that your website is indexed within days.

Fresh Web Services recently designed a website for Gist Consulting of Leicester. Gist Consulting provide professional writing and researching services - proofreading, copywriting, press releases, website copy, report writing and summarising, etc. Well, we submitted their sitemap to Google last Friday & Gist's new website was in Google's index on the following Monday - essentially indexed in about 2 days. Pretty impressive.

However, that's not the end of the story, as far as getting Gist's website well placed in the search engines. The Gist Consulting website has been developed using the Joomla content management system. This means it uses dynamic urls, which can be a problem for search engines. However, we've used a 'url re-writing' package (OpenSEF) to turn these urls into search engine friendly (SEF) urls - meaning they have keywords in the url & appear as static urls to the search engines
Also, there's all the other SEO (search engine optimisation) thingies that we have to do to ensure top rankings.

However, getting indexed in Google within 2 days is still pretty impressive. If only MSN, etc, could also provide such a quickfire indexing method.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Google Sitemaps

At a recent e-biz expo event in Nottingham, someone from Google recommended their own Sitemaps as a way of getting a new site listed quicker in Google.
Essentially Sitemaps is an xml version of the standard site map html file (of all the internal links on your site) that your website should really have. Traditionally you submitted this html file to the search engines to make it a little easier for the robots to find & follow your site.
Briefly, in this Sitemap xml file, there are the links to each page & also the date of publication plus instructions to google's robot re: when to recrawl your site.
For most people creating and maintaining this xml file would be too much trouble or frankly beyond them. However, CoffeeCup have taken the pain out of this. Their Google Sitemapper costs a mere $29 & does everything you need to crawl your site, create the sitemap (& an html version) & then upload it to your server.
We now use it for every site we produce. What once took a considerable amount of time is now done in seconds. Well worth taking it for a test drive.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

2006 - year of online shopping

In my last post I foolishly attempted to predict trends for 2006. One was that online shopping would come of age in the coming year. Well, stats from the UK Xmas period show this to be the case already.
Basically we're spending more online than ever before, & the increase in online spend has taken the experts by surprise. As I said, this is the feeling we've been getting at - more shop enquiries leading to more actual online shop orders. Very soon our first adult site will go live, while we have a couple more consumer shopping sites in the pipeline.