Monthly archives "April 2014"

Service Level Agreements: Considerations and Concerns

Service level agreements provide an effective way to manage customer expectations and create common-ground to help understand services, priorities and responsibilities on the part of the Web hosting company. However, it’s not the panacea that will solve all of your communication problems or create the perfect working relationship. An effective SLA opens up the line of communication and helps customers and service providers understand expectations on both ends.

Establishing an SLA

Before you create an SLA, the customer and Web host should gather the required information needed to negotiate. Customers need to know their needs and priorities, while service providers need to have an understand of the level of service that can be provided to the customer. This can be accomplished by reviewing past service history and making an agreement based on past trends.

Agreeing to an SLA

Once a basic agreement has been formed, it’s important that both parties agree that a formation of a service agreement will be beneficial. Slapping an SLA on an unsuspecting customer typically backfires. It’s better to go into an SLA openly and with full cooperation of the customer. For a Web host, this part can be skipped for new customers. The Web host can simply post the SLA as a contract between the host and any new customers. Current customers may need to have the option to leave or take part in the creation of the agreement to avoid backlash.

Criteria to Include

One of the key elements of any Web hosting SLA is the degree of uptime. The SLA must clearly state what a customer can expect at any given time within the month, with the exception of scheduled maintenance. Next, the Web host must outline the type of equipment guaranteed to the customer. This gives the customer a clear indication of the speed and reliability of the servers they are signing up to use. Finally, the agreement should indicate that the power and infrastructure will be running unless there is notification ahead of time of any anticipated problems or service. If any of the elements in an SLA are not fulfilled, then the agreement must provide a remedy to give the customer a refund or some form of compensation of the failure.

Enforcing an SLA

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to lodge a complaint with your web host against your SLA because they aren’t delivering their end of the bargain, there are a number of things that you can do. First of all, you’ll need to have some outside data that’s unbiased in order to present the best case. If you aren’t already employing some type of SLA management solution right now, you may be putting yourself at a serious disadvantage when it comes to proving that your web host has violated the SLA. If you don’t have any outside information, you may be forced to rely on whatever data they have.

Keep in mind that even with some outside data, you’re still at the mercy of the terms of your SLA, and if you didn’t read it over carefully, you may find yourself disappointed in your options. Regardless, if your service is substandard, you should at least try to contact them and see what can be improved.

Slow Loading Websites and Their Impact on Visitors

Your website serves as a gateway for potential clients and customers to discover your services and products. It is essential to have a website that functions properly and is able to handle all of the content you wish to display and the amount of traffic you might receive. There is so much at stake that if your website does not perform as desired, and the clients might just leave your website and head towards the competition. This not only is money out of your pocket but it makes your competition stronger. That is exactly why you need to have a website that loads quickly. If you don’t have such a site, you are sure to see a rather drastic loss of visitors.

Ever since the creation of the Internet and mobile technology, the average attention span has continued to shrink. In fact, the average attention span currently sits at six seconds. This is a only second longer than the average attention span of a goldfish…think about that for a moment. This just paints a rather stark picture as to how quickly individuals want their information presented to them. In the Internet world, there are always other options available, so if your website does not load quickly, a visitor is just going to back out and look for another option. This can cause a drastically negative impact on your website. Slow loading websites send the visitors away, even if the content that eventually loads is worthwhile and quality. If you have a slow-loading website, you need to determine what is causing the slow load time and what you can do to go about correcting it.

For starters, you need to look at the page elements on your site. If the website you are using has an assortment of graphics, GIFs, videos and other content loading right on the front page, that may be the reason your website is not loading quickly. All of the information must be sent to the visitor’s browser, and unless they have both a quick connection and fast computer, it might result in a significant slow down in loading time. Should this prove to be the case, you need to streamline your website and correct the problem as quickly as possible.

However, if your website does not have the overabundance of content and graphics on the front page, the problem could be with your hosting. A host’s server should never be the reason your website is not loading quickly. If it is, it is time to move your website over to a different service provider. A company that is able to ensure your website always loads quickly and smoothly is going to ensure that you have a website that visitors are always able to reach, day or night.