Impact of Website Downtime on Your Online Business

Whether you are using your website for selling services or products online, or simply for online presence, its performance is very important. Most business owners rely on their hosting company to take care of website uptime. But it is unlikely that their web host company can ensure 100% uptime as there are many factors that can cause the website to go down.

Causes of downtime:
The reasons for website downtime may not be specific nor the same for every website. However, there are four common factors which may cause downtime. They are – planned downtime, failure of components, malicious attacks, and natural disasters.

1.Planned downtime by the web host happens when the host performs some tasks like server upgrade, upgrading the hardware or software applications, etc. During such operations sites hosted by that particular server may go down. However, once the upgrading is done, the sites become available.

2.Failure of components: The complex hardware and software components of a server may sometimes fail to function due to some programming errors, virus attacks, file corruptions, etc., which eventually leads to site downtime.

3.Malicious attacks: Faulty operations of users or intentional attack of hackers/malicious users may lead to file corruption making the site unavailable.

4.Natural disasters: Any physical damage to the hardware components caused due to some natural calamities like hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis, storms and fire accidents may also cause server downtime.

The results of website downtime:
Due to the above mentioned reasons, the sites hosted on the victim servers may face significant downtime in different ways. Based on that, downtime is classified into two types: hard downtime and soft downtime.

•Hard downtime: During hard downtime the website becomes completely unavailable to the users. Trying to access the website during hard downtime directs them to dead pages or to the pages with HTTP errors or displays some malicious content (if the site is hacked).

•Soft downtime: Soft downtime is when the website suffers poor performance. It takes a lot of time to load and some parts/content of the site becomes unavailable.

Impact of website downtime on your business:
Inconsistency in uptime and performance of your website will negatively impact your business in many ways.

•Negative affect on the profitability of the business: Research made by Akamai technologies found that 47% of the consumers become impatient if the web page takes longer than 2 seconds to load and 14% will move to another site for shopping. It implies that if your site is loading slow or becomes unavailable, it drives away the potential customers of your business and hence impacts your revenues.

•Reduced customer satisfaction: Besides impacting the sales of the business, website downtime also gives a negative shopping experience to the visitors. Despite your reliable product range and attractive pricing, if the customer feels dissatisfied about the performance of your website he totally loses trust in your website, your business, and your products. He is less likely to buy from your site again. Moreover, the loyalty of high spending online shoppers is based on the quick page loading.

•Negative impact on search engine rankings: Site loading time is one of the crucial ranking factors in Google search results. Apart from it, when human search evaluators from Google try to rate your site and find that it isn’t loading, they may give negative ratings due to which you may lose your organic search engine rankings and thereby lose genuine search traffic.

Effective monitoring to prevent the implications of downtime:
Whether it is planned or unexpected, every website may suffer downtime at some point in time. So, all website owners need to consistently monitor their sites to ensure proper performance without downtime. This is, however, a tricky job, as it requires professional expertise in the field of monitoring. Thus, hiring a reliable website monitoring service company will help. An effective monitoring service monitors websites 24X7 and immediately notifies the moment the site goes down.

Many online businesses often ignore downtime thinking that it is a small issue. But downtime is not negligible, as it negatively impacts the revenues and also leaves a negative impression that affects the business in the long run. So, get informed about the downtime of your site and try to resolve the issue before it erodes your customer base.