Why Isn’t Web Monitoring Used By Mid-Market Organisations?

It really is hard to imagine the world without the web, it is a central part of all our lives. We buy clothes online, communicate, plan holidays, book restaurants, listen to music and so on. Yet with all the reliance and emphasis on connected systems it still amazes me how many organisations don’t value their websites uptime, in particular mid market businesses.

Let me put this into a practical context. I live in a small village and firmly believe in supporting local businesses but it still amazes me how many of the shops shut on days that I consider to be key shopping days. The wine shop in particular is always closed when I want to bob out and buy a bottle. This is usually on a Sunday afternoon 🙂

Fifty years ago this was how things were done but in today’s “always on” world I found it hard to understand. If I had a wine shop the weekend would be a key part of the week when I would expect to make the majority of my sales.

As a result, go to the local COOP. I do this because they never shut and accordingly, I respect the fact, they open extended hours. I am not alone, in fact the place is packed on a Sunday at 5 o’Clock. Chianti Classico please, thank you!

Why are you going on about wine?

Well, my point is this: internet shoppers act just like I do. If a website is down (a closed shop) or consistently slow they will simply go elsewhere. Why? Because they can. Patience is a rare commodity as far as internet shopping is concerned, and uptime is a given.

So at this stage, you might say, that this is an obvious point, a site creating revenue like an online shop is an easy example to use. Anyone who could lose money through downtime should and probably does have a robust monitoring process. Right? No – wrong – surprisingly many don’t. You would probably be amazed how many obvious candidates for web monitoring don’t have anything in place.

These businesses often have revenue generating sites or have connected systems that support a critical business process so they have every reason to monitor availability but for some reason they don’t. Given how affordable these systems are to use, you would think that most online businesses would have a monitoring service in place, but many don’t.

So why not?

It could be that in the mid market the revenue losses are not significant enough to raise eyebrows – or that many managers believe their web host or web agency is doing it. It may simply be that they have never knowingly been aware of an outage.

Web hosts do have monitoring in place but it is usually limited and focused on the network rather than the application itself. If you think about it, Web hosts have a conflict of interest here. There is no incentive for them to highlight an error that no one is aware of, is there? Do you you tell your customers about all problems? Erm, no, so why should your web host? A digital agency’s attitude in this area varies greatly. Some are really hot on availability monitoring and offer exceptional after sales support, some on the other hand, have little focus.

88% of users won’t return to a site after a bad experience.[1]

The point isn’t whether you should do it or your web host but more the fact that if an outage occurs your customers and potential customers will be aware. In fact, chances are some of those that experienced the outage were new customers and their first impression will stick. According to statistics[1], 88% of users won’t return to a site after a bad experience.

I am not one for scare mongering but I do think there is some truth here. Do you return to consistently slow websites?For me, if a site is slow or offline, the customer experience is naturally effected and that can not be a good thing.

So my argument for availability monitoring lies in the fact that it matters and for what it costs it is well worth the investment. If you are not yet convinced then I have listed below 5 additional reasons why you might consider monitoring your website:

  1. Not being aware of down time is unprofessional
  2. It affects your reputation and customer perception
  3. It gives your competitors an edge – everyone loves a story
  4. Monitoring tools can be used to benchmark your sites performance.
  5. Speed and uptime are good for SEO

[1] – Gomez, 2010