Website downtime is, unfortunately, a common occurrence for many websites, some of the reasons why website downtime happens might come as a shock to you.
As users of websites, we expect the site to always be up, day or night, no matter what day of the week it is, and yet, big organisations such as Amazon are estimated to be spending at least $72 million as a result of downtime.
Shocking isn't it.
That's a large sum of money, and your website could face similar costs as your website grows.
So in this article, I'm going to take you through the actual costs of website downtime, and we'll uncover why it costs so much!
If you've got a website (which you absolutely should have) then ensuring that your website remains in working order at all times shouldn't be left to neglect.
Customers come and go, and everything that you can do to keep them, and keep the reputation of your business is surely something you're going to want to do right?
Website downtime affects businesses in many ways, typically, if you're an E-Commerce website selling products that get shipped to people, you're going to have an immediate effect of downtime.
Software as a service, also known as SaaS can also be affected instantly.
Because your users won't be able to log in to whatever system you've got if it's gone down.
You've likely got an API integrated into your E-Commerce website or SaaS product, chances are, it's that Stripe integration that you've got to accept payments.
When relying on APIs to be up, and working, you're putting your business and website more into the hands of the API developers.
If the API stops working, then although your website might not experience any downtime, parts of your website will like your checkout.
It's always a good idea to reduce the number of third-party API integrations into your website as this will improve reliability.
As soon as your website goes down, the impact is going to be noticed everywhere, by your customers, and by you, so already, you're going to experience a 100% drop in sales straight away regardless of whether you're selling products, or a SaaS service.
There's no way around this, so you need to be prepared to identify when your website goes down by using a website monitoring tool and there are many of those on the market.
A website monitoring tool will check your website at regular, consistent intervals to ensure your site is working at all times.
It's hard to ignore that when your website or service goes down, you could have an SEO impact.
What kind of impact?
Well, your page ranking could go down in the search engine, just how quickly it takes for your website to be affected has been explained by Matt Cutts from the Google Search Console team.
He's pointed out that it could be as little as a day or two. If your website hasn't come back online within that time frame, be prepared to take a hit on your page ranking.
If you're lucky, your site's SEO won't be changed, but this is a big IF.
A report suggests that just 6 hours of downtime could drop your search rankings by 30%, and it could take well over a month to recover from that.
As a website owner and business owner, anything that you can do to maintain your site's reputation can only be a good thing.
If people leave your website because of website downtime, it's possible that they might not ever come back.
There's not much you can really do about preventing people from leaving forever, but there is something you can do to minimise this from happening, we'll get on to that soon...
If somebody leaves your site, there's a 9% chance that they will never come back if they find that your site is down.
Is that a large enough percentage for you?
Someone once told me that if 10 people in a team each made a 0.1% improvement, you'd improve your business by 1% overall.
Whilst it doesn't sound like a big percentage, it is, and the larger your business, the larger your website, the bigger a single percentage actually has an impact.
So a 9% chance that someone will never return if they find your website is down is a big deal, which adds to the cost behind website downtime.
Now that I've covered how website downtime can affect your business, we need to talk about the elephant in the room.
Just how is downtime cost calculated?
There are several ways that you can calculate the costs, so we'll look at the primary way that it's calculated.
You first need to figure out how you're generating revenue, and this should be pretty straight forward if you're a business owner.
You know just how much money you generate and where it comes from.
If you're a blogger or E-Commerce website, chances are you're making 100% of your sales through your website.
You could be making a proportion of the revenue through, say, affiliate marketing where you've partnered with a company and have some recurring revenue through some of their products or services.
For the purposes of the calculations in this post, I'll use your gross income from your website as an example.
What you need to do, is use this gross revenue from your website's previous year, and then calculate your total revenue for your website based on the percentage attributed to your website.
To the dollar amount.
We'll then divide this up into whatever currency you're using, it could be dollars, it could be pounds.
We'll divide it into months, days, hours, minutes and seconds.
Let's assume that you generate £500,000 a year, here's how that breaks down:
When you sign up to web hosting, you'll likely be able to get some reports about your website's uptime as a percentage.
It'll likely be based over a period of time that you can filter by. You might be able to filter by website uptime over the past month, six months or year.
Let's assume that you're able to filter by every year, and let's assume that your website remains up for 98% of that time, one year.
Meaning 2% of the past year, your website was down.
This calculation gives us 630,720 seconds over the past year that your website was down, and if we compare that with the table above, it would cost £9,460.
That's likely going to be your salary for a month, so we're talking big numbers here.
Ideally, no website downtime is acceptable, your website should remain up at all times right?
Well, there are some circumstances where the answer to this question is accepted, and that's when you're doing website maintenance such as adding a new feature, or fixing something.
You might also be upgrading the web hosting that your website runs on, which will likely involve bringing your website down for a period of time, ultimately, this is why it's said that websites typically remain up for 99.9999% of the time.
It can't ever be 100%, so you should always aim to prevent your site from going down.
Whilst we can't prevent downtime entirely, we can reduce the likelihood of your site going down and if it does go down, we can get an alert to you as quickly as possible.
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