Lessons for restaurant websites from a survey of WordPress hosts

On Tuesday WPShout.com released the results of its survey of WordPress hosts. The survey collected the opinions of 159 individuals who have WordPress websites with one of several web hosts. It asked their opinions on customer satisfaction, website speed, reliability and more.

If you’re a web developer with several sites up, you should definitely read their whole summary. Here are a few takeaways that I think are most valuable for restaurants.

Spend just a little bit more

A lot of restaurants are hosted on the cheapest plan they can find. Many of the bigger hosts like GoDaddy, HostGator, DreamHost and Bluehost specialize in these budget offerings. But they also scored at the bottom of the satisfaction rankings — even when respondents were asked about value for their money.

In order to offer these bargain prices, companies have to cram as many users onto a single server as possible.  That means you’re sharing speed with tons of other users. This often results in the big peaks and valleys in response times. Ever go to your site and it takes forever to load? That’s probably because someone else on your box is taking up your resources.

Jumping from that $5 per month price point to a $10-20 per month plan won’t give you speed like Google. But it can make a big difference in the stability and response times of your site. Also, hosts tend to value you more and so they’re quicker and more helpful when responding to support requests. If you’re running a business, an extra $10-20 per month shouldn’t be a major expense.

Research your host

Don’t be afraid to do some research about your host and switch if you’re not happy. A great place to start is HostingReviews.io, which compiles social media comments about hosts to give them an overall satisfaction ranking. Many hosts will transfer your site for you, so you don’t have to worry about the technical details. And getting on a host that’s friendly, supportive and delivers your site quickly can make a big difference.

Speed matters

I know, your website is up and it works. Why bother changing it? Because speed matters — especially so for the restaurant industry. A large portion of a restaurant’s website traffic comes from mobile — around 50% in many markets. A lot of those visitors are people on-the-go, looking for somewhere to eat in a foreign city, on a terrible 3G connection that takes forever to load.

If your site is too slow, they’ll look elsewhere.

Paying a little bit extra each month for fast hosting is worth it.

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