Website Monitoring 2: Availability
If your site goes down you’ll be notified immediately – usually with an email or SMS text message – so that you can deal with it before customers see it, assume you are out available (or maybe even out of business) and, contact a competitor.
It is a good idea to check more than just one page on your website. Sure – the home page that greets visitors is the most important and you want to be sure it is available but hopefully visitors are going to click deeper into your site and you want to make sure that those pages are available too.
The big concern is always a prolonged outage, one where your website goes offline for several minutes or hours, but brief intermittent outages, as short as a few seconds, are another serious concern.
These outages are almost impossible to detect without a monitoring service. They are so brief that you are very unlikely to just stumble across one when checking your site manually. Without a monitoring service you probably won’t ever know they are happening.
Is it really a big deal if your site briefly goes offline on a regular basis? Yes! Sure, your website will be available to most visitors when they arrive, but the longer they stay the more likely they are to encounter an outage or timeout that will end their session. And when do people spend the most time on your website? When you least want to interrupt them… when they are placing an order!
A timeout error in the middle of an order will typically end the session, forcing the user to start the process over again. And there is no reason to assume that they are going to start over again with you:
When a site experiences an outage, 9% of online customers permanently abandon the site, and 48% of site users establish a relationship with a competitor.
One of the most respected SEO experts in the flower business (and monitoring enthusiast) Ryan Freeman of Florist 2.0 explains that:
Ryan Freeman, Florist 2.0
“A twerking website (one that goes up and down) frustrates your customers and it can also hurt your standing with search engines. They see a website that is less reliable and are reluctant to endorse it with a high ranking”.
The part about search engines is very important. People choose a search engine because they trust it to provide good results when they perform a search. Search engines take that trust seriously. The same way you strive to provide your customers with the best possible flowers search engines strive to provide their visitors with the best possible search results… and they are very reluctant to send their visitors to a website that frequently goes offline.
Monitoring helps with all of this. A monitoring service will alert you as soon as your site goes down and again when it comes back up. And it will provide detailed information on all of the checks and outages in reports that illustrate exactly how your website is performing.