Comic and illustration by Kristi Siedow-Thompson.
There will certainly be times when your website experiences some difficulty. And regardless of if you are an ecommerce site, a coffee shop or even a blog, it can have a negative impact on your daily business. First off, don’t feel alone. There are 644 million active websites out there, and even the biggest and best sites (like Twitter and their iconic ‘Fail Whale‘, as our comic shows) can experience downtime. However, if you do find yourself in this situation there are a few easy things you can do:
- Reach Out to Your Customers
The first thing should be to contact those that will be the most frustrated by your site being down; your customers. Use any mediums that you have to let them know of the problem (before they find it themselves) and that you are in the process of fixing it. An effective method may be to publish something on your social networks like Twitter and Facebook notifying that your site is experiencing technical difficulty and will be back shortly. The bottom line; it’s better that your customers (or future customers) find out from you instead of the other way around.
- Check Domain Activity
Sometimes your site being down can be caused by domain expiration. Although you would have probably been notified that the expiration date was approaching, these warning emails are sometimes sent to your junk mail instead of your inbox. A quick way to check if your domain is still active is by visiting a WHOIS site and search for your website name in expired domains. If it appears in this list, you should act fast to reclaim it from your web hosting provider!
- Contact Your Hosting Provider
Regardless of the situation, it’s a good idea to check with your hosting provider and notify them of the situation. Besides an expired domain, the issue could include anything from your account no longer supporting the traffic to your site (you must be doing something right!) to technical difficulties by the hosting company themselves. Either way, there are often times a priority queue that hosting companies go off of to get sites back online first. You want to be on this list!