With the infinite possibilities of what can go wrong with a website, it’s challenging to recommend a one-fix solution.
At Bear Group, we are no stranger to helping clients tackle website issues — from standard improvement requests to the (thankfully infrequent) urgent blockers where a site might be down and time is of the essence.
A few months back we polled a small group of marketers, asking them what issues “kept them up at night.” As you can imagine, they wondered what to do when their website crashed. This is definitely a worst-case scenario, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for everything in between.
While it’s nearly impossible to list everything that could go wrong with your website, we’ll be discussing some of the most common issues that your website is likely to encounter.
Prioritizing Website Support Issues
Successfully building and supporting a website is a collaborative effort between the website manager, who works within the website every day, and their development team.
Addressing technical issues is, of course, a crucial part of that collaboration. To properly evaluate and tackle technical issues, our Run State website support team organizes issues into five different categories: standard, minor, major, critical, and blockers.
We define new feature requests and simple website improvements as standard issues. These are when clients are seeking information or requesting new functionality and are not particularly urgent.
Minor issues could be things like updating date formatting to accommodate different visual presentations of important events, adding new small content types to help create a better user experience, or order process for ecommerce platforms. It may also include something like helping manage user roles and permissions to create a secure and organized site user base.
Major issues are typically problems with the user experience that inhibit how your users interact with your website. This could mean an error with the shopping cart functionality or faulty menu navigation, for example.
Major issues are addressed more quickly than minor issues and typically require work that is too complicated for non-technical website admin and needs to be directly addressed by developers.
Critical bugs are technical emergencies that require a swift response from our Run State team. Critical issues are ones that interrupt crucial business needs. They are similar to what we call “blockers” but potentially not as serious, though still requiring swift attention.
Blockers are the most significant website issues — the kind you’d want to drop everything to address. Luckily they are also some of the least common, so don’t be alarmed. A blocker can be anything that interrupts access to business needs and/or core site functionality with no immediate work around. This could be something like a completely crashed site or a site that cannot accept any form of payments. These are addressed immediately by our Run State website support team.
What notifications should you set up to help detect website issues?
Adding these to your website can help you stay on top of any potential technical and performance issues:
How to prepare for technical issues
There’s a certain level of risk to doing business online, and while you may not be able to prevent your website from ever experiencing a critical website issue, there are a few preventative measures you can take to prepare.
First, determine your security processes and monitor them closely. The internet is constantly evolving; just as you should routinely update the look and feel of your website for UX (user experience), you should also update your security system.
Second, establish a matrix of responsibility. Your website is built on a stack of technology that communicates with each other, and if your website goes down, immediately contacting the right party to address the issue will save you valuable time. Knowing who to call for server issues and who to call for platform issues, will help your website get back online in the case of a crash much faster.
The quickest way to handle emergencies beyond your ability is to establish strong communication with your service providers. Establishing a plan of action ahead of time can make a huge impact on how your website and your team handle critically urgent situations.