Website uptime is a measure of the percentage of time that your website is online and available for your users. When your site is ‘down,’ you are essentially losing business as your customers are not able to reach your site. When encountered by a 404 error, or Page Not Found error, most internet users will seek services elsewhere, even if that means turning to your competition. So what can you do as a business to ensure a near 100 percent uptime? Read this quick article to find out.
What Is Website Uptime and Downtime?
Website uptime is the percentage of time that a website or web service is available for access in a given period, usually in monthly or yearly increments. Downtime, in contrast, is the opposite: the percentage of time your site is ‘down’ or inaccessible. This may occur when there is a system breakdown or a crashed server. Thus, if your website has a 100 percent uptime, it would mean you have zero downtime. If you had 80 percent uptime, you would have 20 percent downtime. Obviously, the more uptime, the more reliable your website and server, and the less downtime your customers are going to experience.
What are the Disadvantage of Website Downtime?
It goes without saying that when customers cannot see your website, they are not able to send you messages, shop your products, or view your content. They may also become frustrated while waiting for your site to load, or even fail to come back in fear of wasting time. Even if your website goes down for a few minutes a day, those few minutes could be detrimental to your business. If your website receives thousands of visitors a day, you could potentially turn away dozens if not hundreds of customers during that downtime.
Furthermore, your business might also have to deal with the negative publicity of all that wasted effort. Downtime can be highly disappointing to customers who came to your site looking to find important information or to seek services fast. Not only will your customers see you in a negative light, but so might the internet as a whole. Search engines like Google may see your website as unreliable which can also negatively impact your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Unless you actively check your website statistics using a dedicated and trusted website monitoring tool, you might not even realize that your website is down a percentage of the time. This problem is often amplified because hosting companies don’t provide complete or accurate data. While your hosting company may say that you have a 99.9 percent uptime, this may not always be true. The amount of downtime can also vary among different hosting companies.
What Factors Can Cause Downtime?
As you probably have hired another company to host your website, it is not always possible to determine exactly what is causing your downtime issues. Web hosting servers consist of numerous elements, such as network connections, operating systems, database components, server hardware, and other crucial elements. If one or more of these elements unexpectedly fail, your website could unexpectedly go down for a few seconds, if not minutes. with no prior warning. Other times, as in the event of a site-wide crash, it can be prolonged and last for several hours.
While you do not have full control over the hosting portion of your website, you can implement a few simple tips in your business to help improve uptime. As mentioned, it is important to monitor your website using a dedicated monitoring service on a daily basis and note when it goes down. Turn on notifications so that you are immediately notified when your website is down. This allows you to take swift action to get your site up and running again pronto.
If you are experiencing a significant amount of downtime, you may want to consider changing your hosting company. If you do, be sure to review hosting platforms that have a uptime guarantee, and look for verified third-party reviews, if possible. Also, read the service level agreement (SLA) for each hosting platform to verify exactly what the reported “server uptime guarantee” specifies. In some cases, a host’s advertising will mention a 99.9% uptime guarantee, but the fine print won’t actually specify what this guarantee entails.
How Can Your Business Be Affected?
Generally speaking, a micro-second blip in uptime will not significantly impact your business. If however, your website is experiencing a great deal of downtime, it may be wise to sit down and assess the impact it is having on your website and business. Remember, your website’s uptime has a significant impact on your bottom line, and a website that is consistently inaccessible is inevitably costing you money for every minute of downtime.
How Can You Determine If You Need Help
Begin by determining the behavior of your online audience. Use Google Analytics to determine what times of the day your visitors are arriving to your website. Is it in the mornings, afternoons, late at night, or mostly the weekends? Are there noticeable spikes in your traffic at certain times of the day?
This will partially depend on what type of online business you run. For example, if you are a business-to-business (B2B) organization, you will probably receive most of your traffic during the daytime hours when other businesses are working the standard 9 to 5. If your website reaches regular consumers rather than businesses, you may find that you get more traffic in the evenings and weekends when your audience is at home and relaxing on the web. Use this information to determine if your website is usually up during these peak hours. If it is not, you will want to consult a professional digital marketing company to help you take the necessary steps to boost your website’s uptime.
Contact a Digital Marketing Company
Maintaining a very high website uptime percentage is crucial for the long-term success of your online business. This is not always easy to achieve on your own, however, especially if you have limited knowledge about website hosting and what is needed to keep your site online. Fortunately, there are many digital marketing companies available who have the experience, tools, and resources to help keep your website uptime “up” at nearly 100 percent. To speak with a professional digital marketer about increasing your website’s uptime, or for more information about website uptime, contact a digital marketing agency today.