Who is watching your website?
When it comes to your website, as business owners it is easy to get (*ahem*) carried away sometimes obsessing about how many visitors your site gets, how long they stay, etc.
No judgement! We all go through phases of this at some point but I’m not talking about visitors watching your website, I’m asking who is watching your site FOR you?
“My site works fine, it doesn’t need watching” is something I hear all too often but – be honest here – when did you last really check your own website? THOROUGHLY? And if you looked at 7pm on a Friday night and your site was DOWN, would you even know where to begin?
Scary fact, but according to the website Small Biz Trends, latest research suggests that the average website is down three hours a month due to the downtime of web host providers. Given there are over 1.6 billion websites currently out there (according to recent figures), your chances of this happening to you is teeny tiny, particularly with a stable, reputable hosting company taking care of your site (read my article on Choosing a Host with the Most here) but finding yourself in that small percentage with no idea just how long your website has been like that can make any business owner’s blood run cold.
So what can you do to protect yourself from this scenario?
The good news is there are many ways to automatically monitor your site’s uptime or availability at little or no cost, so at least you’ll be aware if there IS a problem – long before your customers let you know! What you may not realise is the many incredible insights and advantages to be gained in consistent, structured monitoring of your website activity – and how to use that to measure the effectiveness of your marketing elsewhere.
Take your standard website statistics for example. To the trained eye, this is a veritable treasure trove of invaluable information and far more than a passing glance at how popular your website is this week! Is all the hard work you’ve put in to marketing your Company on LinkedIn recently paying off in clicks through to your website? And what are they doing when they get there?
For example, large visitor numbers to your online enquiry form may first appear to be a positive thing but, upon checking the inbox for these enquiries in your office, they don’t appear to have come through? Could it be your form demands more personal information than someone is prepared to give on first contact (good to know, so you can simplify this), or there could be a technical issue with the delivery – when did you last test your own enquiry form?
That’s just one of a group of simple, manageable tasks you should be carrying out on your site on a regular, scheduled, consistent basis – ideally once a month as a minimum (check out my Top Three things to check in this short Website Insight video). Another is to watch for any sudden peaks or troughs in your overall site visitor numbers.
One client of ours runs a hugely successful membership website in the Southern Hemisphere and was delighted to see their website visitor numbers start to rapidly climb over the course of 24 hours. Thankfully, the monitoring we have in place as part of their ongoing Support Package had already spotted the trend and alerted our team. As the numbers continued to climb, we quickly identified the “visitors” were actually automated bots from an overseas address and were attempting to maliciously overload the site and bring it down. Our team took swift action and any potential disaster was thankfully averted without any negative impact on the live website.
Watching your own website may not be your idea of fun, but it will be someone else’s. Make arrangements now to find someone who will do this for you and you can enjoy your Friday evenings in peace, knowing your site is out there safe and stable, serving your ideal clients day and night.
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