Twerking Dog

Your Website Shouldn’t Twerk

Twerk: A provocative dance styling typified by moving one’s behind up and down rapidly; unfortunately popularized by Miley Cyrus; often promises a lot more than what is delivered.

Hint: Your website shouldn’t do this!

Twerking Dog

Depending on your personal and dancing preferences, twerking might be a desirable thing – or it might be a symbol of all that’s wrong with the world. (I tend to fall into the latter camp.) One thing we can agree on is that your website should not be going up and down like a pop star’s dancing pet’s behind.

You’ll have to forgive me for being a bit obsessive about web hosting issues. As a florist I’ve gone through too many nightmare experiences where critical lines of communication (phone lines, internet access, web hosting) have gone down at the worst of times. As a web services provider we had our own hosting nightmare just a few years ago that still wakes me in a cold sweat every now and then.

In more recent times, though, Google has started to factor website speed and reliability into their ranking algorithms. They know what the usability experts have shown in study after study: customers hate a slow, unreliable website.

To feed my obsession I started tracking our uptime a long time ago. We have multiple services that monitor our websites and send out alerts to many people if anything even appears to possibly be going wrong. I’ve also started tracking the websites of other floral providers and I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Websites from some guys are twerking. A lot.

The Problem: Part 1

The problem with a twerking site (going up and down rapidly or intermittently) is that you might not know it’s offline. It can be ok one minute, or for one user, and then down next minute for another customer. This is frustrating for customers because they never know if the site will be online from one visit to the next, or one page to the next. It’s frustrating for you because you’re losing customers without even knowing it.

Response Time & Outages
What a twerking website looks like

The Problem: Part 2

Google is constantly crawling websites – at least, it’s constantly crawling sites that it thinks are:

  1. Worth caring about (authority)
  2. Able to handle the crawling volume (fast and reliable)

If Google detects the pages are slow in loading, or encounters multiple errors loading your site, they will scale back the crawling of your site and possibly lower your ranking.

Crash vs The Twerk

We should note the difference between a full-on crash and twerkiness. This graph shows a prolonged crash:

A real crash
Crash: This website was offline for a prolonged period of time.

On the other hand, this graph shows that (to quote T-Pain) goes “Up, Down, Up, Down”…

Long term twerking: You might not notice, but your customers will!
Long term twerking: You might not notice, but your customers will!

Long Term Twerking Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Here’s a look at a website that had a bad Mother’s Day week:

A bad week
Red = time offline. I honestly and truly don’t wish this one anyone!

How here’s a look at the search engine visibility of that same website, over the same time period:

Search ranking changes
Twerking caused instability in the search rankings for this website.

The “Bottom” Line

So not only does a twerking website irritate customers and cost you sales, it also hurts your ability to have people come to your site via search. If your website has a twerking problem, the time for an intervention is now.


PS: There is one more thing that I feel needs to be mentioned. As independent (aka non-wire-service) web providers we have a calling to be as good – perhaps better! – than our wire service counterparts. Yes, they have larger budgets and corporate infrastructures to support them, but that’s no excuse. If we are ever to convince the larger floral populace that there is a viable alternative to wire service-hosted web solutions we need to provide a service that is every bit as professional and reliable. I’m preaching this to the Florist 2.0 team, as well as every other floral provider – both established brands and new entries just figuring this out. Let’s be better. This can’t be how independent websites are viewed.