Last updated - November 10, 2023
Keeping an eCommerce site up and running is a never-ending battle and one that requires advanced weapons and tactics to tackle effectively from moment to moment.
Even short periods of downtime can be a death blow to your online retail site, so understanding what causes this is key to striving toward uninterrupted availability.
To that end, let’s talk about the biggest uptime challenges that you face today, and what options you have for countering them.
Network Outages: What you Can Do to Avoid them and Keep Customers Shopping
Network outages can be a major pain for eCommerce website owners, as they lead to downtime and unhappy customers. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of network outages occurring in the first place.
First, make sure your hosting provider offers reliable uptime guarantees as part of a service-level agreement so that you’re covered if something goes wrong.
Second, use multiple redundant connections such as fiber optics and dedicated lines where possible. This will ensure maximum availability even when one connection fails.
Finally, consider using cloud-based services or server clusters that allow data traffic to be routed through different networks automatically should an issue arise with any single service provider.
With these strategies in mind, online shoppers will always have access to your store no matter what, and you’ll also be prepared to sidestep disruption efficiently if it does come calling.
Website Crashes: Why they Happen and How to Prevent them
No one likes a website crash – it leads to lost sales, and customer dissatisfaction, and can damage your reputation. To ensure that this doesn’t happen to your eCommerce store, you’ll need to take some proactive steps.
First of all, make sure there is regular maintenance performed on the server hosting your website so any performance issues are addressed before they become an issue for customers.
Second, test regularly for compatibility with different browsers or devices which may cause problems if not optimized correctly. This is doubly important in an age where there’s more fragmentation in terms of the hardware and software that customers are using than ever before.
Finally, use automated monitoring services that alert you when certain errors occur so that they can be fixed immediately before shoppers experience them firsthand.
The Need for Speed: Strategies to Make Sure your eCommerce Site Loads Quickly Every Time
A slow website is the bane of any online store. In fact, it’s effectively equivalent to downtime because if performance isn’t up to scratch, it will do just as much damage to your reputation as if the site wasn’t available whatsoever.
To make sure customers don’t experience a sluggish shopping session, it’s important to ensure that your site loads quickly every time they visit. This means using strategies such as caching or minifying code and compressing images so there is less data being transferred at any one time.
Also, look into content delivery networks (CDNs), which help reduce latency by delivering pages from local servers, instead of those located far away from end users.
Finally, use performance analytics tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix that allow you to identify potential problems with speed. This way you’ll always know what needs improvement in order for shoppers to get the best possible browsing experience.
It’s worth pointing out at this point that if you don’t have the in-house ability to make such tweaks, or carry out regular monitoring and maintenance of your site, then outsourcing to external service providers like USWired is a powerful option. Third-party experts can take the reins of your eCommerce store and troubleshoot performance woes and all sorts of other dilemmas, preserving uptime effectively and affordably.
Security Breaches & DDOS Attacks: Protecting yourself from the Unexpected
When it comes to eCommerce, security is paramount. Unfortunately, malicious actors are constantly looking for ways to exploit weaknesses in websites and networks.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to your site, you’ll need to take some proactive steps toward shielding yourself from attempted attacks.
Start by using secure encryption protocols such as SSL/TLS that help protect data transmitted between customers and servers.
Next, consider putting measures in place that detect suspicious activities like distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, so they can be thwarted before any damage is done.
Most importantly, always back up mission-critical files regularly, so if a breach does occur, there will still be copies of the core available to help with restoring your site to an operational state again.
Because of the ever-shifting landscape of cybersecurity, which is set to continue changing and evolving in 2023 and beyond, you cannot afford to rest on your laurels. Implementing modern security solutions and staying on top of the latest news and trends in this space will leave you less vulnerable to exploitation, and less susceptible to unplanned downtime as a result.
Meeting Customer Expectations: Features your Site Needs to Succeed
Uptime is not the only element that will determine whether your eCommerce site sinks or swims this year. The all-encompassing element of customer experience has to be handled well so that the people who land on your product pages have a seamless journey toward making a purchase.
As part of this, you’ll need to make sure all the necessary features are in place and working correctly. There are a few things to think about in this context, such as:
- Offering multiple payment options such as credit cards or PayPal so customers can choose their preferred method.
- Providing an accurate product search tool that allows visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly. This will reduce frustration while improving overall usability.
- Including helpful features like live chat and personalized recommendations, which give shoppers more control over their experiences while also increasing engagement with your brand.
And of course, for each new feature or component you include in your site, you’re adding another point of failure that has to be monitored and managed. Thus uptime isn’t just about the site as a whole, but its various facets. A faulty search function can harm sales figures just as much as an out-of-action product page.
It takes vigilance to maintain a sufficient level of uptime on any eCommerce site, and what you need to remember is that this isn’t just about keeping existing customers happy, but also outdoing competitors.
In the age of online shopping, consumers can afford to be fickle, so don’t give them an excuse to ditch you for another retailer, but wow them with a fast, stable, and user-friendly site whenever they visit. If all this sounds outside of your skill set, outsource support to experts, then sit back and watch the sales mount up.