Productivity

vegetineDo you ever visit your own website just to make sure that it’s up and running? Or maybe you just keep an eye on site access statistics instead (this a malady I have discussed in an earlier article)?

There is a better way! There are online services that can alert you whenever your site goes down. Some are paid, some are free. My personal favorite is Montastic.com. It is free to use for up to 100 URLs. You can set how often the URL has to be checked (as frequently as every 30 minutes with a free account) and also what text must be present or be absent from the page in order for the alert to be triggered. This means that the use of this service can be more creative than just a simple check up on your site’s vitals. For instance, if you are concerned about certain ad groups not showing on the site at times…

By the way, you can even monitor  sites you don’t own, hoping that when they go down you will be the first one to tweet about it. But to do that you probably need to get a paid Montastic account, so that URLs can be checked more frequently. And you better hope that the cnn.com webmasters follow strict rules and must attempt fixing a major problem before tweeting about it to the world.

You might think that web outages are uncommon, but Montastic can one day prove you wrong, because they will check on a site’s performance more often and more regularly than the most diligent website owner.

Montastic operates under a bold and ambitious logo: The free website monitoring service that doesn’t suck.

Give it a try!

3589-agnew-clinic-smallI am not going to discuss different systems that you can and should have in place in order to know what’s happening on your website. It is very much a separate topic, I’ll just mention that I use Google Analytics and Statcounter. But here is an extremely valuable tip about accessing your statistics. If you could follow this advice you will be handsomely rewarded. Here is the tip: set aside a specific time each day to access your websites’ stats. You might exclaim, “Why, but I already check my statistics every five minutes!” Well, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Unlike in quantum physics where observing a process intervenes with the process itself, watching your stats closely does absolutely nothing other than eat up your time. So, just close that window. That’s right. Close it and come back to open it in a few hours.Sure, I’ll play devil’s advocate here and say that unless you watch your statistics you will never know that your website is down. But how often does that happen realistically? If you spend 10 minutes a day every day checking in all the time you are wasting valuable time that could be used for creating new content or just resting your eyes! How much would 10 minutes a day add up to within a year? Is it really worth the time just to make sure that you quickly find out that your site is down? Even if you could fix the problem yourself would the loss of revenue be really that devastating if you discovered the dreaded database crash within minutes or within hours? Chances are, most problems with your site being down will be identified and fixed without your knowledge by the hosting service technicians. But if you really want to be on top of the game, there are other options. You use a system that will periodically check your site’s vital signs and send you an alert when something is not right. This system can be fine tuned to look at things that you don’t even normally pay attention to, including potential hazardous activity on the site.
Another big reason that drives website owners to their stats is healthy curiosity. It is always interesting to know where your visitors are coming from, what keywords they are using, what paths on the site they are following etc. Sometimes this information can be helpful in improving your site and adding new content for the information hungry crowds. However, this information can be also condensed by Google Analytics or by whatever other service you prefer. At this point you will also discover, for example, that a certain keyword is gaining popularity. The information will become something that you can act upon, not just wonder in curiosity about the importance of trends and events on your site. By the way, you can also enable email reports from Adsense.In my opinion, the only time when you have to monitor live stats on your site is when you are specifically trying to bring traffic through advertising or a social media campaign. In such cases you may need to make quick decisions that will affect your site’s reputation and possibly your profits.

So, set up a specific time to check your stats and avoid doing it all the time. You will thank yourself later!