May 24, 2021

Website Monitoring: a Simple Explanation

How website monitoring can help your business to increase revenue by minimizing downtime.

A bit of perspective: The importance of monitoring your sites

There are about 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide which represents a total of 59.5% of the population, according to Statista. Imagine if everyone had access to the internet, which might become a possibility soon enough with Elon’s Musk Starlink internet service.

With that many people using the Internet, it is indisputable that in the society that we live, every single interaction that we do involves the Internet at some level. Shopping, reading the news, browsing Instagram or other social platforms, listening to Spotify, getting an Uber ride, ordering a pizza, watching your favourite movie on Netflix, you get the point. Our lives are entirely conditioned by the Internet, and mobiles have helped the process making it much easier to interact from anywhere (mobiles go where you go, even to the loo).

And with the global pandemic we’re facing, many companies have had to reinvent themselves finding new online opportunities.

Covid has reshaped consumers’ habits. According to Forbes, eCommerce sales grew by over 30% in 2020 and will continue to grow. Companies will rely on the Internet to offer their services and products to a soaring and more demanding population over time.

So with so many things you can do online, so many people looking for new ways of interaction, entertainment, services, and shopping, and infinite options in the market.

How can you ensure users return to your website?

Despite the industry that you are in, and the product or service that you’re offering, users need to have a good browsing experience on your website. If they don’t, it is unlikely they will return.

Imagine you’re browsing for a new pair of sneakers, click on the e-commerce shop you want to browse, and… “Ooops…something went wrong”. How frustrating it can be to enter a website that is down? Or that it disconnects in the middle of the payment process? Or stops working when drafting an important document in the cloud? What do you think is going to happen? I’ll tell you what. The user will get frustrated, think that your business is unreliable, and move on to somewhere else. There are many websites offering similar, if not the same, products and services. That is one potential consumer you just lost because your website was not accessible when they needed it.

How do we avoid this? By using a website monitoring tool.

What is website monitoring?

The dictionary definition of to monitor is “observe and check the progress or quality of (something) over a period of time; keep under systematic review”. There are many types of monitoring applications in technology. You can monitor servers, domains, SSL certificates, and other applications. Today, we’re just going to learn what website monitoring is.

Website monitoring is a software tool that detects downtime by processing of testing and verifying that the end-user can access the web application. In plain words, users are unable to access your site.

The tool sends a notification via SMS, voice call, email, or integrations such as Whatsapp, Telegram, Slack, PagerDuty or others (it can even be Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin or any other social platform you normally interact with), alerting the designated contact person when the website is down. It also provides the cause, time of downfall, and duration.

It can also do more than just track and notify downtimes, it can also monitor performance and latency (response time that the website takes to load). This is important because data shows that the lesser the latency the higher the conversions, also meaning more customers happy.

What is downtime?

Downtime is the amount of time that a website is not accessible to users, which is commonly known as the site is down.
But downtime is more than “I cannot access the website”. The former implies a situation where the website content cannot be reached by users, normally you will see an HTTP error message. This would be categorised as Hard or Full website downtime.

A website can also experience Soft or Partial downtime. This happens when a site fails to load correctly. It might take a long time to load all, or some of the content: it works ok for John but Jessica cannot access the content.
As you see, downtime affects users in different ways.

There are several factors that cause downtime. The most common are:

- Human error
- Hosting providers
- Understaffed/underpaid IT department
- Inadequate hardware and software
- Security flaws
- Server bugs
- Problematic software deployments
- Internet outages

To reduce the impact on your web, the best practice is to monitor your website. Giving users a good navigation experience won’t damage your reputation, diminish sales, or benefits. And in the long term, it will reduce maintenance costs.

Reasons why you should monitor your website?

You should know that 100% uptime does not exist. So the important question is, do you know when your site is down?

In today’s digital society, it is imperative to have a website that is fully functional and accessible from any location. Many companies operate internationally selling their products and services to users located in any part of the world. For those, it is mandatory to have a website that is operational and responsive at all times.

Receiving a notification on time, allows you to take action to solve the problem before your customers realise you were down in the first place, or to even halt an expensive marketing campaign.

Implementing a tool that tracks uptime can provide several benefits:

1. Knowledge and Control

Downtime happens to every single website, which is inevitable. However, you can make the most of it, by taking control of your uptime and reducing your downtime.
By monitoring your website, you can learn the cause of the downtime, fix the issue, and collect data for improving your back-end system and avert the same problem from ever happening again.

2. Built Brand Reputation

A website that is not stable, is seen as unreliable. Imagine logging in into your bank account to make an urgent payment for a supplier that needs the funds in order to carry out work. You go to the transfers page, just to find out that it is not loading. What would you think of that bank? It would create an overall negative user experience, and a bad reputation for the company.

3. Avoid loosing customers and potential profits

A website experiencing downtime, even if for just a few seconds, can make your business loose existing and potential customers.

Downtime happens even to giants such as Google or Amazon. The only big difference is that they have 24x7 multiple dedicated teams worldwide and multiple layers of redundancy, making downtime very unlikely. If anything goes down, the backup systems engage automatically and technical teams will be notified right away.

If you plan ahead by putting the correct measures in place, you’re investing down the track, saving money, avoiding profit loss, bad reputation, and stopping yourself from having a huge unpleasant headache.

4. Improve SEO ranking

SEO is just another way of improving your search ranking by optimizing your website to generate unpaid organic traffic. A search engine such as Google, will penalize your website if it experiences poor performance like being down or slow

5. Keep Customers Happy

One of the highest priorities of a business should be customer satisfaction. Navigating through a website should be a stress-free user interaction experience. If the user gets annoyed when your site is not working as it should, it is unlikely that the user will return. They’ll move on to a competitor. Moreover, they are likely to share their bad experiences with other users. A user who experiences a smooth and quick interaction with the site, will return and recommend you to others.

6. Peace of mind.

Let’s face it, downtime can be managed and minimized by implementing a website monitoring tool such as ours. It is an advantage to use your time in other aspects of the business while you rely on receiving notifications when downtime happens. It gives you peace of mind knowing that you only need to act when you’re notified.

How much can I expect to pay for this type of service?

There are numerous companies offering all types of monitoring services to small, medium, and big companies. Each one of them specialises in a specific monitoring service, have different features, integrations…but did you know many are Free?

If you’re a start-up or have a hobby-project website offering some type of service, product or information, then you might be ok starting with a free plan.

Our Free Plan allows you to monitor up to 10 pages, receive unlimited notifications by email, create checks every 5 minutes, retain data logs for up to 2 months, and the possibility of creating a Status Page for your customers (a feature used to create a two-way transparent communication with your clients, by informing scheduled maintenance and updates on your website).

Should I upgrade to get more features?

If you’re a small, medium or big company, or simply want to get more features of what Free Plan includes, then you’re better off upgrading to a paid plan.

- Faster frequencies checks of up to 30 seconds;
- Notifications by email, SMS, Voice and integrations;
- Unlimited monitors;
- Metrics to analyze website stability;
- Monitor locations across the world;
- Higher period of data retention;
- Custom white-labeled Status Page.

Overall conclusion

A company website is a “business card presentation” of your business. A master tool used to communicate your product, service, and identity.

We have made clear that in the society that we live, the broad number of internet users, and the growing competition rising in the market, having an accessible website at all times is considered a MUST, - especially in today’s fierce competition of rising brands that comprises the market.

Implementing website monitoring to your business, will provide a clear advantage over other websites allowing you to minimize the impact of downtime, increase customer satisfaction, grow your benefits, and decrease costs.