Four Ways to Minimize the Effects Downtime Has on Your Online Business

In the world of ecommerce, downtime costs your business money. Even if you manage to maintain a total uptime of 99 percent, it means that your site is down for about 7 hours each and every month. Exactly how much money you lose during those 7 hours depends on your site's sales volume and how much money your site averages per hour. Regardless of what the loss comes out to, almost everyone will agree that any loss of profits is too much. To make matters worse, downtime doesn’t just affect your site's profit margin. It also affects your site's reputation and customer retention. If you want to minimize the damage that downtime can do to your site, there are some measures you need to take.

1. Implement Website Monitoring Service

Here at Alertra we often discuss the benefits of quality website monitoring service. You don't want to be the last to know when your site goes down. If your site goes down at three in the morning and you don't find out about it until you wake up at eight, it means that your site has been down five hours without you even knowing. During those five hours, it is very likely that some customers tried visiting your site or making a purchase, only to have to go to the competition to get what they need. With website monitoring service in place, you ensure that you are the first to know when something goes awry with your site. This allows you to take immediate measures to get your site back up and running again, minimizing the risk that customers will forego your site for the services of a competitor who isn't experiencing downtime.

2. Ensure Your Hosting is Sufficient and Reliable

The best made plans can be laid to waste by a hosting plan that isn't sufficient or a hosting company that isn't reliable. When you search for a hosting plan, make sure you sign up with a company that is reliable. Read reviews and avoid companies that have a reputation for frequent outages. Also make sure that you sign up for a hosting package that will provide you with sufficient bandwidth. The best hosting company in the world won't do you any good if you choose a plan that can't adequately handle your site's traffic or data needs.

3. Put Action Plans into Place

Uptime of 100 percent is a goal you should aim for, but chances are your site is going to go down at some point in time. That means you need to have plans in place for when it happens. Make sure you have a copy of your site on a backup server with another hosting company so you can redirect your site if necessary and make sure you know how you plan to communicate updates to your customers when downtime occurs. At Alertra we often recommend using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to keep your customers informed as to the downtime issue, what has caused it, and when they can expect it to be resolved.

4. Take Advantage of Webhooks

In today's day and age, not everything has to be done manually. Alertra customers have access to powerful webhooks that can help them automate processes when downtime does happen. For example, you can use webhooks to notify customers of downtime-related issues and you can also use webhooks to redirect your site to a backup IP if your primary hosting company runs into downtime issues. Not only do webhooks make life easier, but they can also reduce the amount of time your site is unavailable to the public.