As we move into 2018, technical excellence will play a more important role than ever in how search engines like Google perceive websites and how potential customers perceive brands. In a world of mobile-first indexing, increased security and faster load speeds, any business with a website will be looking to cloud technology to support their success.

Cloud technology as a whole has been growing in popularity in recent years, though typically it’s those smaller businesses with greater agility who are first on the take-up.

That said, the number of larger businesses also jumping on the cloud-based bandwagon is increasing, with the security of the technology getting better all the time and regulation updates affecting individual sectors and all businesses impacting the way we work in a number of ways.

When it comes to web marketing, a website is no longer a ‘nice to have’. Instead, it’s the business’ shop window – and in many cases, is now the only interaction a prospect will have with your brand prior to making a purchase decision. Get it right and your business can thrive through better search rankings and great user experiences. Get it wrong, and your business could be missing out on visitors and therefore sales, with those users choosing your competitors instead.

Improving website load speeds using cloud hosting solutions

One of the primary applications of the cloud in web marketing is cloud-based hosting. This means that the website itself is ‘stored’ in the cloud – making it more robust, less open to attack and faster at responding to user requests.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a common platform used by some of the web’s best-known sites, as well as smaller and growing websites. Via AWS, it’s possible to implement something called a ‘separation of concerns’, where assets related to the website can be stored and served separately to one another, and therefore all at the same time, rather than one having to load before the next.

This is becoming a much more common convention in modern web design, as it makes for much faster loading sites; all the better for the user, and for search engines when deciding where to rank your website against your competitors.

Storing web imagery in the cloud

The images used on a website speak volumes. When we use high-quality imagery, we are able to give our visitors a much clearer representation of what’s on offer.

If we consider the case of e-commerce websites (where products are sold online) in particular, great imagery goes a long way to replacing that tactile experience of holding a product in store. For those lead generation websites (where we are trying to generate enquiries for our services, rather than sell products), we use imagery to show more about our brand, giving insight into the way we work and, importantly, who we are.

But imagery can also be a huge burden on a website. Delivering those images to users every time they visit is a waste of load time, and can be easily mitigated using cloud storage solutions.

These storage solutions, usually in the form of a ‘content delivery network’, make it possible for images to be stored and then served from an alternative solution – meaning the demand is on that platform, rather than your own server. The images are still on your site, and as far as the user is concerned, are no different to an image served direct. But the benefit is less demand on your server, which can in some cases mean cheaper hosting solutions, too.

Web project management via cloud-based platforms

While some businesses may have an internal web management resource, others share the responsibility amongst their team or choose to outsource.

Cloud-based project management platforms make website management so much easier. Through solutions such as Teamwork or Jira, management of website tasks is streamlined and multiple people can collaborate to accomplish goals, regardless of physical proximity.

If your business has a website (and let’s face it, there are very few that don’t these days), the opportunities available to you via cloud tech are only going to increase. Start investing now to prosper in the future.

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Aaron Dicks is the founder of multi-award winning digital marketing agency Impression. As well as leading his team in the delivery of search marketing services, Aaron also heads up the web development department, specialising in high-performance websites and educating his industry on best practice and innovation across development techniques. Find out more at https://www.impression.co.uk/web-design/