Changing Website Hosts

My website is by no means attracts a massive volume of curious visitors, but I do try to keep it regularly updated with some choice new works in my "latest" section, as well as often moving the best to my "portfolio" section for a slightly more static display. I don't intend making money from my website either (apart from hopefully inspiring a few visitors to buy some of my work), but rather see it as my own little haven in a confusing sea of ever-changing online photo-sharing sites and forums. This is the one place where the work and opinions on display represents only "me" without wanting for "likes" or playing in the hands of someone else's motivations.

Obviously I want my website to be seen and hopefully enjoyed by others, otherwise what's the point? This became a sensitive point for me when, despite my constant efforts to promote, views remained disappointingly (and consistently) low. Despite a number of other concerns (which is not really the point of this post) I also noticed that, despite what my previous website host promoted, pages and images took an uncomfortable long time to open despite it supposedly being re-sized for optimum performance. This problem persisted even when I replaced all my images with new reduced file sizes. Though it seems obvious now, this lead me to realize, through my own online behavior patterns, that visitors simply don't generally have the patience to wait for a page or image to load, resulting in them abandoning the page, or most likely, the entire website out of frustration. After raising my concern a number of times with my host, they assured my that there is nothing wrong from their side.

I've been with this web host for a number of years already, and on a top-tier "professional" plan. After reading a blog post by prolific photographer and blogger Nicholas Goodden expressing his own positive experience in moving to a new website host, I contacted him for more information and a reference and immediately set to work to make the change!


Despite expectation, the change-over was relatively painless and actually enjoyable! I already knew exactly what I wanted to achieve, as I've spent a lot of time developing my "brand" and "look-n-feel" on my previous site. I could simply try to duplicate what I've already developed and come pretty close to what I anticipated it to be. There was only one obvious difference - the addition of this integrated blog - which I rather enjoy to use to display a bit of "behind the scene" work, or can present collections of work together with some thoughts.

Though still at relatively low levels compared to many other more popular sites, the change to my current website host has made a dramatic difference to my visitor count, as can clearly be seen on the graph above. I attribute this almost exclusively to the fact that the content of my site now loads almost instantly, keeping my visitors interested and involved. Also telling is that the average "bounce rate" has fallen from somewhere in the upper 70% to around 60%, which (for me) is a rather desirable and encouraging trend, which happened immediately upon the change-over.

I guess what I want to say is - don't be bogged down with a website host that cannot keep pace with the changes and challenges of the modern online life. Life's too short and you put too much effort and pride in your work to risk your website getting an undesirable reputation due to something completely beyond your control.

I omitted mentioning any names on purpose, as this is not meant to be a rant against, or punt for any party. It's just a factual observation.