Downtime is a very expensive problem for social media marketers. Data from HostingFacts shows that the average website is down for at least three hours every month. The loss of accessibility can lead to an immediate reduction in sales. However, the long-term cost can be even worse.
The cost of downtime can be worse for small businesses, even if it is lower in absolute terms. The average business loses $10.6 million a year due to website downtime. Of course, this figure is skewed by massive losses from major companies, such as Amazon and Walmart. However, small businesses that experience excessive website downtime can face long-term costs that they will struggle to recover from. Their brand will be more severely hurt and fewer customers will return to their sites, since they are less inclined to give second chances to them than well recognized brands.
This is why it is vital to build a strong IT infrastructure to support your web presence. You will be able to manage your content marketing strategies more effectively.
Building a Team to Create a Strong IT Presence is Necessary to Maintain a Reliable Website
The recent Covid-19 outbreak has shut down physical markets and turbo-charged the already fast pace that businesses were adopting new technology and spurred them to invest more in content marketing. Business owners are often keenly aware of what their organisations’ requirements are and what they need to achieve in terms of performance and how they can implement technology to improve. However, IT management is generally outside their field of expertise.
Furthermore, training their teams to effectively operate these new technologies — and undertake the long-term maintenance involved in each — are other problems entirely. Many companies simply aren’t equipped to handle these responsibilities in-house, so their content marketing strategies may suffer as a result.
One of the biggest changes is that more customers are making purchases online. Ecommerce sales increased 40% from pre-pandemic levels. Many companies reported a 50% increase in website traffic.
Unfortunately, this website traffic growth comes at a cost. Many companies don’t have the infrastructure to handle it, so they have experienced more website downtime as a result.
This problem can be managed by hiring a skilled team of IT professionals.
Having up to date knowledge about the developments in IT and available solutions from the digital space that best suit any business is the job of a reliable technology solutions expert, not a business owner. Most small to medium scale businesses (SMBs) don’t have the budget – nor the need – for an in-house IT department when third-party IT support services are available. Modern technology and its associated services are available at more economical prices than ever, but if companies invest in the wrong technology or hire firms that can’t provide appropriate support, this will ultimately cost them in downtime, workflow bottlenecks and profit. Their entire digital marketing strategy can grind to a halt if downtime is excessive.
Technology management can be a difficult transition even for very large firms, let alone SMBs. Employing the right IT support can significantly impact the ability of an organisation to make technology an asset rather than a burden and ensure their websites are available to customers.
Here’s what you should look for in a firm before choosing the right IT support for your business.
Location: Does Proximity Matter?
This applies to both your vendor of IT support services and the recipient. Physical locations still matter when it comes to on-site support, hardware-related problems and hands-on training. For instance, if your business needs to relocate, your IT support provider will be needed during the transition. Being in physical proximity to each other means tasks can be done much faster.
If there’s any type of technological breakdown and a virtual connection isn’t possible, then on-site assistance will be required. Having a support provider located in a different time zone creates a time gap that can only be overcome if there’s 24-hour support. A local support company will employ local solutions and make use of what’s locally available. This saves your business money in procurement and keeps solutions local, which are more cost-effective and convenient to maintain.
Price: Discuss Your Potential Needs
Everyone wants to get the best service at the lowest price, though IT support charges don’t come with a fixed price tag. This is a service that can be highly customized and pricing changes with the nature of the work. Generally, IT support services can have a monthly subscription, per hour charges, ad-hoc charges or can be a completely managed support service solution. All these pricing methods will largely depend on your business requirements and the nature of the IT system in place.
It’s important to discuss what the support service includes and what’s charged separately. Pricing should be discussed with a focus on what your business could potentially need. Still, not all potential problems can be identified in one meeting, and new requirements will surface over time. Businesses should keep some extra headroom when budgeting for IT support services.
Nature of Support: Determine Proactivity and Communication Channels
Most IT support services will intervene when problems arise. Many service providers continuously monitor their clients’ IT setup and are proactive in their approach. Addressing system problems before they develop into a breakdown can save your business from interruptions; while these services can be more expensive, the benefits are significant.
Similarly, it’s important to discuss what kind of support will be offered, such as what kind of communication channels are available and how available their support staff is.
Industry Experience: Specialisation and Consultancy
Some IT support service providers specialise in particular services, while others are specialists for particular industries. By having a specialist service provider, businesses can not only receive tailored service, but they can also get good advice in streamlining their system to provide higher utility and efficiency. A specialist service provider with industry experience will know what works and what doesn’t, as well as how common problems can be overcome quickly. Such a service provider also acts as a great consultant.
Brand Partnerships and Successful Trouble Shooting
Some IT support companies have partnerships with well-known brand names and are specialised solution providers for those companies. If a business is using technology made by a particular brand, it can be a great asset to work with a service provider who’s associated with that brand and has certifications for managing their products. In contrast, these specialist service providers may not be a good choice for firms running custom-made software.
For this reason, it’s good to have a support company that can deal with a variety of systems and has a proven track record of managing similar platforms. Looking at the kind of clients the IT support company serves provides insight into the size of organisations they can handle and the kind of work they can do.
Consider Past and Current Client Reviews
This is often a good way to get a holistic view of an IT firm’s abilities. While the technical aspects of support can be difficult to understand, finding out what their clients think of the services they’ve received is relatively simple. It also adds to an IT support providers’ credibility, includes information related to what they’ve done in the past for clients, and what can be expected from their services overall.
Build a Strong IT Team to Maximize Website Uptime
You need to maximize website uptime to get the most of your digital marketing strategy. Fortunately, hiring the right IT team can help you reach this goal. Follow the guidelines listed above and you can avoid costly downtime from damaging your brand.