Archives for posts with tag: Website

Down for maintenance

The other day I was in a hurry to check the status of a flight I was taking later that week. I needed to know if I could fit in an appointment before leaving for the airport. When I went onto the website this is what I got.

For a company of this stature, and for a company that transacts online at this kind of scale, I find this flabbergasting. Such a website shouldn’t ever be down, certainly not at peak hours. This was 17:00 on a week day.

When I worked in the cyber-security business, the standard service level agreement for a cloud-based service was what they call ‘five nines’, or 99.999% availability. In some quarters, four nines wasn’t seen as sufficient for an enterprise’s mission-critical systems. To put this in perspective, five nines availability allows for total unscheduled downtime – assuming uptime is calculated on a 24/7/365 basis – of just six minutes, for the entire year, if my calculations are correct.

Which leads me to conclude either that this is one of those moments of unforeseen torture for a company that sets itself the highest standards of transactional availability, or that the company is in fact a bit sloppy or laissez faire with its customers’ goodwill.

In the time it’s taken me to write this post, I checked back on the site and it was back up, so perhaps we can give Ryanair the benefit of the doubt on this occasion.

What’s the number one rule for the home page of your website? It’s a pretty obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many websites fail when tested against it.

When you go to a website for the first time, you want to know one thing: What do you do?

In other words:

– who are you?

– what do you do?

– how will this benefit me or my company?

This should not be difficult for you to address, regardless of your business.

Put it in a prominent place on your home page – or your landing page for whatever demand generation exercise you’re doing – so people can form a quick opinion as to whether what you have can help them. Otherwise they’ll leave frustrated. Why else do you think people typically abandon a home page way more than 50% of the time?

Don’t forget that you know your company well; how could people not know what you do? But you haven’t seen the website for the first time in a long time…