The uptime is the amount of time that a hosting system remains uninterrupted. Zero downtime where the uptime is at 100% is the ideal, but not achievable in the real world.
The time that your website is accessible or the hosting service is available is as important as productivity in the contemporary marketplace. It is one of the primary sources of competitive advantage for the business.
The well-being of your online presence as a business is a combination of several factors that include speed and uptimes. Ideally, the uptimes should be consistent, and the downtimes should be far and few between or even at zero.
But why should you maintain a consistent uptime value?
Improve and Maintain Customer Satisfaction
A website is the primary source of information for most customers. As a result, it is critical to maintain decent levels of uptime to keep the customer satisfied. Downtimes are frustrating, and they can make the customer move on to more reliable websites belonging to your competitors, and that is how you lose a good sale or a possible lead.
The first thing that customers ask themselves when they encounter a downtime is how often it occurs. If it happens regularly, the customers are forced to seek alternatives. A large section of them will not feel confident about the reliability of the business.
In August 2013, the New York Times suffered a mysterious two-hour outage in the middle of a busy news day. And while 2 hours may not seem like much, the results were quite significant. The social media exploded, and the stocks experienced a nosedive. Their competitor, the Wall Street Journal did not waste any time to capture their customers by lowering their paywall.
In that context, the most significant effect of the downtime was the loss of competitive advantage that New York Times enjoyed over the Wall Street Journal. The main casualty was customer confidence, and that affected customer loyalty.
In the current business space, where almost every business has a website, outages can negatively affect customer relationships, and eventually, customer loyalty. Short response times and reachability of the site is a competitive advantage.
Loss of sales
In 2013, Amazon lost up to the US $4.72 million in sales when the website was down for less than 2 hours. Gartner research estimates that a minute of downtime has an average cost of up to $5,600. The costs are even higher for larger organizations.
Service outages can take a lot of time to resolve, and you waste time tracking orders and trying to resume communication with customers. The lost time translates to reduced productivity and sales.
Studies show that up to 47% of e-business customers expect the website to take not more than 2 seconds to load, and 40% will try another site after three seconds. In business, the first impressions are long-lasting, and the initial interactions between the company and prospects can make or break the relationship.
Nothing turns off the customer faster than the realization that a business is not ready to transact just yet. A predictable and stable infrastructure is a must-have if a company is to be successful in converting prospects and maintaining the current pool of customers.
That said, the survival of your online business depends on consistent uptimes and little or no downtime.
Image of the Business
In the ever-growing digital commerce industry, your reputation has to be impeccable to enjoy the fruits of competitive advantage. New players are always entering the scene, and lack of reliability can make the new entrants overtake you.
The image of your online business depends on a handful of factors that include the quality of your website. Consistent downtime issues can negatively affect the professional brand image of the company. Your services, products, and brand are unavailable until you come back online. During outages, you are unable to promote any products, and you cannot close any sales. That indirectly amounts to referring your loyal customers to the competitors.
The brand of one of the most prominent players in the industry, Amazon, has suffered from consistent downtimes within one year. The last major outage that the most extensive online market suffered was under an hour. Nevertheless, the downtime cost Amazon more than 5 million dollars in revenues. But that was only a drop in the ocean in terms of the overall effect that the outage caused.
The incident spurred conversations on social media platforms and word of mouth. There was a lot of misinformation regarding Amazon web services, even though their dashboard said that it was working fine. The real casualty, in this case, was not the lost revenue, but rather, Amazon’s reputation.
It is not only productivity, brand, and sales volume that are tied to downtimes, but customer loyalty as well. Your employees can feel disenchanted, and their desire to leave for greener pastures can increase. Your staff is the company’s greatest resource, and a high turnover, coupled with consistent downtimes, can be the last nail to the coffin of your business.
Search Engine Results
Google Bots do not like any websites that are offline, and Google will penalize it. The two most important factors that determine the ranking of your website are speed and the downtimes. If your website experiences frequent downtimes, your website ranking can take a beating.
And even though short downtime incidents and not affect your ranking, high uptime value improves your SEO significantly.
The good thing is that Google is quite forgiving if the outage only happens sporadically or for less than 24 hours. Google automatically try to recrawl the site if it comes back soon enough. If a particular page on your website is more important, Google will recrawl it quite often after a sporadic downtime.
However, if the Googlebot cannot access the site for a significant amount of time, which in most cases is more than 24 hours, then they recrawl it less often. Frequent prolonged downtimes can even lead to deindexing on quality issues.
Malicious codes and DDoS attacks from hackers can lead to potential downtimes due to the damage caused. Monitoring the downtimes and uptimes help identify any attempts to hack the website, and you can take the necessary mitigations.
But apart from malicious attacks, downtimes can be as a result of software failures caused by the management of system resources and user input errors. Inexperience on the part of the provider can cause a serious security event and downtimes.
Also, lack of adequate expertise and internal monitoring can lead to extended periods of downtime that negatively affect the productivity and the performance of the overall business, and that is never what anyone wants.