Category Archives: News

Can the performance of your website impact your brand?

With an increasing reliance on the internet for both information about your organisation and revenue, website performance can seriously impact on your business. The impact of website performance on revenue is both obvious and well discussed. It is, however, increasingly believed there are other, more hidden impacts.

The impatience of website users is well documented with a belief that a delay of over three seconds being unacceptable. The obvious result is that customers will leave your site and head towards a competitor, with the loss of revenue following. A recent piece of research from Avaya suggests that the impact can be more far reaching. This research reveals that over 85% of consumers admit that the speed and quality of a website’s performance affects their trust in that company. 

The amount of money and time you will have invested in building a trusted reputation can be damaged by just three seconds of delay in loading a website! Brand trust is considered very important, especially with the ease of researching your competition on line. Brand trust is too hard fought to lose it due to website performance, given that you will have already taken a hit on revenue.

Testing your website performance may well be an investment that will deliver a significant ROI. It is simple to arrange for a team to work on it and recommend where you have challenges. StarQ are expert in testing, and can put the right team on testing the performance of your website, offering you a chance to retain revenue and brand trust!

Get in touch for more information or to arrange a short, no obligation conversation.

Should you make testing your priority for 2017?

Heading towards the end of 2016 your mind naturally turns to a review of the year. Many in IT will seek to decide if they have set the right priorities. Have you made testing your priority? Many will not have and many product launches will have been impacted.

new-years-day-1838254_640So should you make testing your priority in 2017? It is common for products to be launched with little or no testing. It is common for the pressure to launch to force projects to be launched with a restricted budget and for the project manager to be forced to compromise. The pressure applied can often set unrealistic expectations, and force products to be launched with flaws.

It is often very difficult to persuade the project sponsor to compromise features in exchange for testing, but they will be the first to criticise if the product is unusable. A product with security flaws, performance issues or integration challenges will be blamed on the developer, not budgeting restrictions. Whilst it is unfair to judge a team on flaws caused by lack of budget, often the project sponsor will forget they would not finance testing, but rarely accept responsibility for the outcome.

If you have a project in 2017 and you want to make testing your priority in 2017 why not contact StarQ and we can help you create the reasoned argument to support the investment needed in testing.

Happy Christmas

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The staff and management at StarQ would like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers, old, new and future a very Merry Christmas and a successful 2017. We look forward to working with you in the upcoming 12 months. 

Black Friday…. Who will crack under the load?

Tomorrow is Black Friday, a day when traditionally American retailers offer incredible deals to their customers, but which website will fail to withstand the load? And does it matter?

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and jesadaphorn

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and jesadaphorn

Every year in late November fueled by a tradition from ‘across the pond’ retailers offer  ‘never to be repeated’ offers both in store and on line. The uptake puts a huge load on their websites and every year one or two will crash under the extra load. Their customers will either experience a site that is very slow to load or one that is impossible to access. Statistics prove that on line customers are notoriously impatient with slow websites. According to Kissmetrics 40% of users will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. The increased load on a website from an effective ‘black Friday’ promotion will often slow it to considerably more than the crucial 3 seconds.

Imagine all the effort in creating an effective promotion only to have those hard fought customers leave to your competition! The wasted advertising spend and promotional effort, all because your website cannot stand the load.

It may be a little late to plan for tomorrow, but it’s a good moment to think about getting your website load tested for the next big promotion. If you ensure your site will withstand the load where others fail you could be the site that receives the disgruntled customers from your competition!

To find out more get in touch, and we will arrange a consultation to see how you can mitigate the risk of a slow website and capture your competitors customers!

Was the Canadian government embarrassed by the sudden interest in its immigration website?

As the Trump win became increasingly likely last night it was reported by the BBC website that the Canadian government’s immigration website crashed. A coincidence or another example of a website unable to cope with increased load?  

error-101408_640The website is (at the time of writing) working fine. However, according to a Guardian article ‘Data from Google suggests searches for ‘move to Canada’ spiked significantly during the night as Trump victories unfolded in key battleground states’. Speculation as to if the outage were purely a coincidence or due to a spike in load continue. Despite this, and the likely mileage many commentators and even comedians may get, the issue is possibly one of lack of preparedness.

Whilst the election result was too close to call in the last few days, surely a spike in interest, purely due to media speculation, was predictable. If the outage was caused by a lack of ability to handle load, it is yet another example of a national website being unprepared. Whilst most serious applicants will return to the website, if your website crashed, will customers return?

Online customers are impatient, if your website is slow to load they will head off and seek a alternative site. There are very few who don’t have competition, better prepared, and happy to take away your business. So maybe it is worth making sure you are the one who is taking business from your competitors?

To ensure your website will cope with any predictable load why not contact StarQ and we will get our load test team to help you ensure you are online whilst others are struggling to handle the demand!

Tesco hack, why should you take notice?

You can’t have missed the news that Tesco bank has been hacked, and if the security of a UK bank is vulnerable, what does the ‘Tesco Hack’ mean to you as a business owner? 

work-933061_640The media is abuzz with news of money taken and accounts suspended of unfortunate Tesco bank customers. Tesco shares have suffered. The reputation of Tesco will undoubtedly take a bit of a battering. All this seems so far away from a local business than it is possible to be, so why should you care?

It would be fair to say that some of the most secure websites belong to UK banks. So far there is no speculation as to how the hackers accessed the site. It is also fairly obvious that the rewards to the criminals from the ‘Tesco Hack’ will be substantial, the work, and skills required, would be substantial. If criminals can surmount Tesco’d security, is your site secure enough?

One way to find out is to engage a third party to use penetration testing to find out. An expert will (with your full permission) attempt to access your website and let you know where the vulnerabilities lie. StarQ offer affordable penetration to small and medium businesses. Get in touch today to see how we can help you remain secure.

 

Is outsourcing losing control or increasing flexibility

There are many blog written on outsourcing, and many organisations embrace outsourcing whilst others actively avoid it. When it comes to testing, should you employ an in house resource or outsource? 

To outsource tasting or keep in in house? With an increase in sophistication there is naturally an increase in specialism. This is evident in many professions and no more so than information technology. In addition to specialism naturally some aspects of a project require experience and skills whilst others are suitable for lower skilled, lower cost resources.This is especially so with testing.

If you decide to recruit your own, in house, testing resource, you will have to compromise. You may compromise on skills due to availability or budget. You may have to compromise on when and how much testing to do, as you could at times be under resourced, but equally over resourced during quieter times. On substantial projects these workflows should be more predictable and manageable, but with a smaller team, whilst having embedded testers is ideal, it may be uneconomical.The option is to outsource.

To discover if outsourcing is the best option for your project, StarQ has very experienced project managers who can advise on the best option for you. We can either offer the outsourcing service for you or help you find the right resource for your requirement. Why not get in touch today and one of our team will happily discuss your requirement and come up with the best solution for you.

Glastonbury website crashes!

The annual rush to secure tickets for the legendary music festival has again led to headlines like the Guardian’s ‘Glastonbury ticket website crashes’ . Whilst all the tickets sold in record time, the impact of website crashes can be more widespread than revenue loss. 

live-concert-455762_640Glastonbury clearly lost little or no revenue as it is a complete sell out, and the festival will undoubtedly be full and a huge success, so does it matter that the site crashed? For those of us who don’t have a huge international following we will be concerned about losing revenue if our site crashes, but there are other less readily measurable risks. I am sure that the reputational damage to Glastonbury will be minimal, but what about their partner see tickets? Will promoters question the ability of See tickets to deliver a stable platform to fill their (less popular) event? Sometimes the impact is neither instant nor fully measurable, but can still damage your business.

Is it possible to mitigate this risk? With a predictable load mitigating the risk simply requires effective load testing. Selecting the right partner to deliver load testing can ensure you do not end up losing money, reputation or future custom. StarQ can offer resources that have been proven in some of the most challenging situations and ensured integrity of high profile websites. To access this resource get in touch

What else to consider when launching your new website?

Whilst relaxing on the beach, hiking in the mountains or just enjoying a well earned break, were you inspired to launch a new website? If so you are not alone, it is common for new ventures to start after the summer. You have, I am sure, considered the hosting, design and even optimising for SEO, but have you considered the security of your new website? 

Taking a break from setting up new website If you google ‘website hack’ you get over 63 million results, and just under half a million hits on the news page. Never a day goes by and a new story of a hack appears on the news. The quote ‘‘It is predicted that Cyber Security could rapidly become the #1 risk to your business. It is said that today it is no longer if, but when your business will become a victim’ is regularly repeated.  The challenge is that there are almost as many solutions as problems. Established business owners are often overwhelmed and put their trust in outsourced IT companies. So as a new website owner what can you do?

There are many places you can go for advice and suggestions, but most are a generic solution and not focussed on your site specifically. The best way to find out how easy it is to hack your website is to ask someone to hack it! Be very careful tho, the wrong person will hack your site and run off with all the information. That is where ‘Penetration Testing’ comes into force. Know popularly as ‘white hat hacking’ or ‘ethical hacking‘ penetration testing will mean an ethical employee will find weaknesses in the security of your new site. You will receive a report from the expert and have the opportunity to bolster the defences before criminal elements get involved.

StarQ will undertake penetration testing using a UK based professional who will seek the vulnerabilities in your new site and produce a report for you to action. If you would like to find out more please get in touch.

How much could a slow website cost you

As we approach the crucial trading period in the run up to Christmas, thoughts turn to ecommerce, but is your website up to the challenge? Or will a slow website cost you dearly?

How much have you lost with a slow website

Missing festive sales?

In an article earlier this month the BBC looked at the impact of a slow website and slow loading speeds on online revenue. It quoted two interesting statistics. The first was that North American fashion retailer Nordstrom saw online sales fall 11% when its website response time slowed by just half a second. The second cited Office stationery retailer Staples, who it says, saw its online sales increase 10% after speeding up its website by a second. Online customers are impatient!

The biggest challenge, as mentioned by Nordstrom’s Mr Brugalette, in the article, is that the IT team may be unaware. He said ‘To make things more difficult for them, many don’t even know that their sites are running slowly because their IT teams are concentrating more on keeping the service up and running than on speed and performance.’

Given the risk of losing 10% of customers, or gaining 10% by getting the loading speed right, there is a sound business decision to undertake performance testing on your website now. It is quite likely that your site is running slower this year than last year, simply due to third party connections to Google, Facebook and Twitter!

Before finding your festive season is spoilt by poor ecommerce results, get in touch. We can run performance testing on your site and ensure it runs well now and when put under pressure from lots of customers wanting to spend their hard earned cash with you. Worth investing now to ensure you don’t have a slow website rather than finding out too late!