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Is your website working at the moment? Do you know?

Most of us sit there and just assume our website is working for us, twenty-four hours a day. It almost certainly isn’t. Your website host will be quite aware that their service isn’t 100%, but don’t expect them to tell you that.

For the last few months, one of the many free extras which we’ve been offering to companies who “join the BMON community” (by using us to run their Google AdWords campaigns) is to monitor the availability of their websites. We do this by sending a quick signal to their websites every few minutes to see if it responds. The results have been quite alarming. I’d say that at least a third of our clients’ websites are “down” for a few minutes or more every week. Often it’s in the small hours of wherever the server is based, suggesting some sort of routine maintenance is going on. Remember though, that might not be the small hours for many of your website visitors!

If you don’t want this frequency of monitoring, Google’s Webmaster Tools service now reports back if the “Googlebot” crawler finds any problems with your site. While that’s only going to find problems which occur during the inconsistent times it visits your site, the service is better than nothing. Take a look at your Webmaster Tools message centre for that information.

If you don’t have Webmaster Tools running on your website, or don’t know if you have, then I cannot stress strongly enough how useful it is. Should you have an IT department or website manager, ask them if this free service is installed, and how you get access. If you run your own website, you can set it up yourself. It’s particularly straightforward if you already run Google Analytics, as most companies do. Regular BMON clients can ask us to set it up for them.

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