You may have heard the words “website downtime” uttered in hustled corners in your office as the IT department frantically announces all systems go. You’ll undoubtedly recognise the trusty 404 pages that light up your desktop, showcasing that a page “no longer exists”. You’ve probably seen all sorts of error codes like 301, 302 and basically, every three number combination you can think of that tells you something has happened to your website.
Much of these are hugely damaging to your brand reputation and to your revenue stream, mainly because it can affect your rankings in Google and your bounce rate. But what happens when your whole website goes down and you don’t even know about it?
What is website downtime?
Website downtime is when your website effectively goes offline and no one has access to it or it isn’t fully functioning as it should. It can be caused by many things, the most common are badly implemented plugins, poorly written code that includes infinite loops, website hosting issues, system database errors, and hundreds of other variations.
Website downtime and user experience
Contrary to popular belief, website downtime doesn’t mean your website is down everywhere. Your website can easily be down in the UK but working absolutely fine in India; it’s dependent on the servers. But this is where it can prove hugely detrimental to your users’ experience and ultimately, customer trust and satisfaction.
For example, say you work at a globally-used company. You have customers using your product or buying your stock from 50 different countries across the world, all adding to your revenue and driving your company goals. Within those 50 countries, you will have your top-performing locations that bring in the most revenue. So in this instance, let’s say the English-speaking countries, the UK, USA, and Canada all convert the most visitors and therefore drive the most revenue. If your website goes down in one of these countries as opposed to the lower-performing Belgium, it will cost you more in time and revenue and presumably will be seen by more potential buyers and customers.
This is especially true when companies launch online sales for Black Friday and Boxing Day; more traffic comes to their website meaning more pressure is put on their servers and ultimately, the website isn’t strong enough to sustain the traffic and goes down.
The impact of website downtime
The impact? It’s easy to think that the average customer might just think that website downtime is just “one of those things” and “technology can’t always be trusted to perform the way you want it to”. But you’d be wrong - customers are more knowledgeable about websites than ever before and they’re not going to wait around for yours to get back online. Selling denim jeans?
They can find somewhere else to get them. Selling WordPress plugins? Again, there’s somewhere else to get them.
As the world has become more dependent on the internet, users have become smarter and quicker at identifying ways to save time and energy by simply going elsewhere when a page isn’t loading quickly enough or a website is down. With the click of a button, they can be on your competitor’s site without a second thought, whilst your website remains down and you still don’t know about it.
Losing potential customers isn’t the only downfall to website downtime; you lose something far harder to get back - trust. With so much skepticism over which websites we can and should trust to buy from, things like a fully functioning website is a sure sign that the company can be trusted. For example, a working domain, a well-formatted and functioning landing page and a quick page loading time can all form trust in your company. If your website is down, customers are lead to believe that you don’t take website security seriously and that you’re not committed to the user experience so they’ll just move along to a company that they believe does - your competitor.
Companies and website downtime
Prevention is always the key to maintaining a solid user experience; especially since website downtime can be predicted ahead of time. I’m not suggesting a time machine (although if you’re reading this is 100 years’ time, this may be the genuine solution), but website monitoring solutions that include server monitoring can help to identify the possibility of downtime before it happens. They can see any potentially suspicious activity that could be causing issues like malware, they can identify slow page speed which could be an initial sign that it’s all about to fall apart and they can even monitor your domain so you’re not hijacked out of nowhere. Long gone are the days of simply turning things on and off again in hope that they’ll work; websites require a full-time monitoring system that works away in the background so you can get back to your day job.
Uptime monitoring solutions
As more and more websites go down, there’s an increased demand for uptime monitoring solutions that ensure websites stay online and work the way they should do.
Website monitoring solution StatusCake provides tools that monitor the whole of your website’s performance. From uptime tests in varying locations to page speed monitoring, domain expiration checks to SSL certification reviews, you’ll remain in the know with instant alerting when anything is flagged as detrimental or dangerous to your website. All of these things can affect your website staying online and the likelihood is, the majority of these will go unnoticed. Do you know when your domain expires? Or when you set up your SSL certification? The answer is probably no which means your website is in danger of randomly being taken offline without warning. StatusCake has helped over 140,000 customers ensure that this doesn’t happen and their website is always performing to the best of its ability.
Website downtime - a thing of the past
You don’t have to suffer the results of website downtime now that there are proven solutions to making sure you can stay online. It’s important to remember how influential your brand status and trust in your company is, especially since it takes such a long time to build. By using a website monitoring solution, you’ll eliminate the risk of website downtime and make sure that you’re consistently providing a service that out-performs your competitors and ultimately, drives revenue. I know, it’s exciting, right?
StatusCake is one of our very lovely clients, who provide a whole range of monitoring tools and features to keep your website and applications in tip top condition. Thanks to them for writing this article!