Imagine you have a brick-and-mortar store in a popular location, selling great products, making excellent money, but suddenly the front door gets jammed and people stop coming in. Uh-oh!
You’d immediately call a professional or try to fix the problem on your own, wouldn’t you? After all, you’re losing money and regular customers are getting annoyed, thus making them go elsewhere for their needs, and possibly losing a mix of local and web reputation when they take to online reviews.
This scenario is no different than what happens when your website goes down (even for a few minutes).
People want instant access to information and to see their actions happening in real-time (such as clicking the checkout button); a site that hiccups or go completely offline is one that completely disrupts this flow.
You can sure bet your web reputation is on the line.
The Fine Line of Uptime and Web Reputation
Web reputation is how people see you based on what they read, videos they’ve seen, social updates, business profiles, and whatever else paints the picture since they can’t physically interact.
To ignore your online reputation is bad business plain and simple.
Ignoring it has some harsh consequences:
- You may not notice discussions about your brand, products, or services in time to jump in and interact before the community decides they no longer care for them.
- You could miss very lucrative opportunities to work with other major players of your industry, answer urgent customer support questions, or never see how far you can build your authority in the marketplace.
These things happen because of turning a blind eye to monitoring your web reputation and brand. Now, imagine what happens when you turn that blind eye to your site uptime (aka the hub of all your online reputation):
- You will see a cut to your search engine placement due to site uptime and speed being one of the many factors in SEO.
- You will begin bleeding money not just from those that were in the middle of making a purchase but also those that may have been returning or referring others.
- Your customer satisfaction will crumble because the website is often the central location for help (FAQ’s, live chat, contact details, and more).
- You could completely disrupt the workflow of a business which relies on your services (thus losing them money in the process).
You can see where site uptime really becomes an important factor in business but especially so since it’s directly tied to your industry’s perception.
So now you’re interested in…
99% Uptime: What Your Reputation Truly Needs
There is no such thing as 100% uptime because you can never quite predict such things as natural disasters, power outages, hacks, or goofy mistakes unintentionally made by the I.T. person.
Ninety-nine percent uptime is the standard to aim for which basically means you’re likely to always see the site up unless there was a real fluke (it could run for years before this ever happens).
The uptime isn’t some magical thing that happens on its own, though — there are plenty of things you need to consider and do on your end to stay up and running:
- Service Providers – You’ll want to make the investment into a reliable web hosting provider. The advertised uptime is obviously in the forefront but you’ll also want to consider the dynamics such as dedicated vs cloud hosting, storage size, backend scripts and control panel, and great customer service.
- User Policy – User faults, such as playing around with the site code, are frequently the actions that bring a site down. It’s best to restrict access to the code of the site and the hosting backend only to your Web professional.
- Caching Services – Even the best hosting can have trouble when a piece of content goes viral and millions of people start hammering the site. A caching service acts as an additional layer to deliver the content through cloud services — it lightens the load on the site and helps it from crashing.
- Monitor Activity – Services such as those provided by SiteUptime.com helps you monitor the site but more importantly, you receive the reports which show the possible errors causing the problems.
- Content Delivery Networks – Sites that offer a massive amount of media may want to have it delivered through a CDN; these are servers dedicated to content delivery (one of the largest hosted through Amazon) which will speed up your site but also take the load off your server.
Overall it’s good practice to invest extra time and money into the right resources to keep the site running.
But let’s say you didn’t heed the cautions, your web reputation takes a punch, and the site goes down for an extended period of time…
Blackout: Recovering Your Reputation
Of course, it’s important that you also create a strategy for your downtime in the event it happens. You’ll want to quickly notify users, redirect traffic, bring out the backups, and get in touch with professionals since your reputation (and income) is now on the line.
Sometimes that’s not enough.
A long period of website outage begins to erode your online reputation the moment someone can no longer complete their activities (reading a post, making a purchase, and especially trying to get in touch with customer service).
Luckily every site and its community are different.
A company like Google going down for even a few minutes disrupts millions of individuals and professionals (and tarnishes their web reputation). You, however, have a little leeway with your customers and community.
Here are some things you’ll want to do if your site drops for longer than expected:
- Immediately apologize through your main channel whether it’s an email to your customer list or an update on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn.
- Continue to be transparent with the process of returning the site online all-the-while reassuring that user information remains secure.
- Offer those subscribed to services additional time; those purchasing physical products could be given a discount because of the interruption.
- Record all interactions with your professionals and keep reports and event logs so that it can later be used for educational purposes and built into the contingency plan.
- Consider a major social media push or paid campaign to reach as many of your followers and customers to detail what happened, how it affected the users, and that the site is now back online and better than ever.
There you have it. Reputation saved.
Obviously, you don’t want to ever be in this situation which brings us back to the point of monitoring your website in the first place. Do consider tapping into the powerful SiteUptime API to generate those reports and find the leaks that eventually lead to the breaks.
Your web reputation is on the line. Don’t let a little oversight on how the site is working be what boots you out of the spotlight of your industry.
Get in touch today and see how SiteUptime can work for you.