Do you use third-party services to track links on your Web site? What about for processing your online credit card payments? If so, you are probably losing sales that you don't even know about. Sorry, but it's a fact.
Third-Party Services Defined.
Let me explain what I mean by "third-party" services. These are "link tracking" type of services that one can purchase from various online companies. People use special html link codes that these services provide to keep track of how visitors move around their Web sites. In return for a monthly fee, user gets online access to a Web site that stores their link tracking information on a database, and gives them access to tracking statistics. This allows users to quickly and easily find out such things as which links visitors to their Web sites click on, and how often.
But, it's not just link tracking services I'm talking about here. Payment processing gateways is another type of third- party service that many of us are dependent upon.
These third-party services are great in theory, and when they're working well they're also great in practice. BUT there can be a definite downside to them. That downside is this. If that service company's servers or and/or network go down for any reason, you go down with them!
A Case In Point.
After a few bad experiences over past year, I have made it a habit to check all of my Web sites every morning. I quickly open each of home pages and click on a few key links and make sure they are working as they're supposed to. Of course, I don't have time to check each and every link, but I do test key ones I know my visitors tend to click on most often on their way to making a purchase. And, I definitely check main "order" links on each page.
If I find that these links are not working for some reason, as I have on numerous occasions, it is about worst thing that could happen. In fact, it could ruin one's whole day, because it means lost sales! Last week while doing one of these routine checks I discovered that a number of links were not working on one of my sites. I did some further checking and realized that these links had not been working for more than 12 hours! What this meant was that visitors to my site had been/were clicking on these links and getting a blank page full of gibberish that indicated that my service provider's data base was corrupted. In effect, this problem was crippling my site.
You know what that meant to me of course - lost visitors AND lost sales!
Long story, short. It took more than 24 hours from my initial call until problem was fully resolved. This was during a prime sales period in middle of week. Consequently, I estimate that during 36-hour period that my site was intermittently "out-of-action" due to this problem, I lost somewhere between 6 and 8 sales. Ouch! I can't afford that. Can you?
Here are a couple of other quick examples of similar occurrences that some of you might be able to identify with.
Lost Weekend. Lost Sales.
One Friday night a few months ago I discovered that links on two of my sites were not functioning properly. These links were being tracked by one of "big name" services that is widely marketed across Net. Believe it or not, I spent that whole weekend checking my links regularly and then trying to get in touch with this so-called "service" provider (I use term "service" advisedly here).