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Why you should be monitoring your website

Internet
(Image credit: Shutterstock / NicoElNino)

Right now, there are over 1.8 billion websites on the Internet. And according to an IBM survey, around 70% of sites do not have the proper monitoring for cyber resilience. This study was based on large enterprises, so this figure could be worse when factoring in smaller businesses – cyber resilience isn’t just an issue for major corporations.

Take, for instance, the potential impact of malware on a small business. Once infected, a site could see a dramatic reduction of traffic as users are kept away by their browsers. As a result, organic SEO takes a beating. And without a dedicated team of technical experts to regularly monitor, a small business could have all this go unnoticed for days.

And here’s the thing: the longer it takes to fix problems like these, the larger the SEO impact, and the longer it ultimately takes to recover. This is why regular website monitoring is so vital.

About the author

Iqbal Ali is co-founder of site monitoring tool Sitemoni

The problem is that monitoring can be a time-consuming and repetitive activity involving many tools and services. Even if you hire a web developer or webmaster do this manually, it’s just not an efficient use of time.

Automation matters

Instead, it’s preferable to automate all this monitoring. The same IBM report found that automation increased cyber resilience significantly.

When monitoring is automated, checks vital to a business’s online health can regularly run from multiple locations worldwide. These checks can be anything from cyber resilience to anything else specific to a business.

What’s more, these automated monitors can run with a thoroughness and consistency that a human cannot match. Instant notifications are dispatched if a site goes down or if an all-important email account is unreachable.

In case you think you have to set all this up for yourself – you don’t. This is where web monitoring services can help.

The case for web monitoring services

Cybersecurity is only one part of effective monitoring. A good web monitoring service will cover this aspect and also supply a breadth of other monitors too. For example, they can keep tabs on your site’s search engine and keyword ranking.

As monitors run regularly, they provide peace of mind about the state and health of a site. A good monitor will run invisibly in the background, notifying if there are any issues.

Overall, we can identify four key reasons you need a web monitor.

Avoid potential downtime losses
“Downtime” is the time that your website is inactive or unreachable.

During this inactivity, customers can’t make purchases or bookings. No one can find out about your business. According to Gartner Research, the average cost per minute of this downtime is estimated to be around $5,600.

Depending on an organisation’s size and product offerings, this hourly cost can fluctuate between $140,000 and $540,000. This cost long term impacts to a brand beyond the period of downtime itself.

The longer your site is down, the worse the impact is on brand reputation or SEO (or both). Many websites can experience downtime without the owners or managers knowing about it.

Downtime isn’t just about your website, either. It could refer to any number of essential areas of your online presence, for example, critical email accounts and APIs.

Ensure cyber resilience
That IBM survey mentioned earlier also found that as many as 57% of large organizations have had a data breach or cybersecurity incident via their websites. Again, this is likely to be a higher statistic when it comes to SMEs.

Having an insecure website is a bit like living in a house with no locks. It means that your website is open to attack by any number of nefarious users or scripts. These hackers’ intentions will vary from stealing customer data and causing an enormous GDPR headache, to sending out brand-damaging and impossible-to-come-back-from communications via your website and CRM systems.

All this can affect SEO as well, as mentioned earlier.

Monitor the health of your SEO
We’ve already explored how security and downtime can negatively impact SEO. But other factors can affect your SEO, too – site speed, for instance.

What this means is that it’s useful to monitor SEO performance closely. Problems with your SEO could be a symptom of a larger problem. And even if it isn’t, organic SEO is a tremendously important aspect of a business’s web performance. Without it, you may not have much traffic to engage and contribute to your conversion rates.

An SEO drop for your website for a long time can have significant implications for your business. It can also be pretty hard to recover from because Google, much like an elephant, never forgets!

Enjoy proactive and time-saving solutions
The consequence of problems with your site usually means hours of unscheduled and reactive work. In his seminal book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey cited being proactive rather than reactive as one of the fundamental cornerstones for being effective.

So, how can we apply this principle to our online health? Well, there are two steps:

  1. Know that a problem exists as early as possible
  2. Know what actions you should take to resolve this problem

You should look for a web monitoring solution that covers both of these points. Monitoring your site closely for issues is only part of the solution. It’s also essential that you get those all-important reports that detail the actions you need to take. Ideally, these reports should be easy to read and easy to act on.

Having all your monitors in one place ensures efficiency. It means that this monitoring won’t distract you from your day-to-day activities. And if the information is in an accessible dashboard, it makes the information that much easier to digest.

So, don’t get caught out. Make sure you’re monitoring your site.