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.

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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…