Affiliate Marketing: Prevent Landing Page Downtime: My Favorite Website Monitoring Service
I remember waking up a few years ago in an amazing mood.
I had plenty of sleep, my coffee was delicious, and I was ready to conquer the day.
My mood went from 100 to 0 real quick when I checked my stats overnight.
I spent around $5,500 in traffic while I was sleeping, but the stats showed $0 in revenue.
What the hell happened?
I was thinking the network’s tracking was off.
But then I saw I had zero hits on my server.
My landing page was down for 9 hours.
While I was dreaming, I was losing hundreds of dollars per hour. And the worse part is that I had no idea, and I had no system to handle it.
How many times have you visited a website and saw a message like this: “404 page could not load”?
You could be losing money hand over fist, and you wouldn’t even know why.
Whenever you have a problem, always think about the solution.
How do you prevent this from happening again?
Well…staying up all night to watch your stats isn’t the smartest decision. Neither is only running traffic while you’re awake.
What if you knew every time you site was down, and you had a system to handle it?
There are companies out there that will monitor your URLs for you. If your sites go down, these companies will send you an email/SMS.
This means you can take action immediately to get your sites back up and running, or you can pause your traffic until the site gets back online.
Some of these services are not that good…
I’ve used most of the main ones, so here are my thoughts on them:
Monitis – The Best Website Monitoring Service
Price: Differs depending on your needs
- Guaranteed up-time
- 24×7 live chat support
- Solid GUI interface
- Easy to learn
- The pricing is a bit higher than other services, but this is because they’re good
I’ve sworn by Monitis for years. I use it so much that I included it on my tools page. One of the best things about Monitis is that it runs 100% in the cloud, so you don’t have to download or install any software.
I was able to get it running in less than three minutes. It’s a simple solution that does exactly what you want: you’ll be alerted if your site has even the slightest downtime.
Keeping your site from crashing is priority #1.
With Monitis’ Uptime Monitoring service, you can run frequency checks multiple times a minute to catch even the smallest outages. The company monitors websites from nearly four dozen servers across the world, so they pick up and problems fast.
You’ll get an email from them each day showing what uptime percentage and number of times failed. Here’s a screenshot of my daily email.
This email won’t help you when your site goes down, but it’ll help you know how good your servers are, and if you should consider switching servers.
If an issue does occur, you’ll be notified within one minute. You can also set up services for multiple domains and pages, so you can ensure your entire affiliate empire stays up-and-running.
Monitis also has a good dashboard that you can customize to suit your style. I don’t really spend much time in the dashboard, because once you’ve set up domains, you don’t look at it often.
Here’s an example of what it looks like:
It’s also one of the top tools for monitoring applications on your site. This is more relevant to bloggers/SEO guys, but if you have WordPress plugins that are failing, Monitis will let you know to dump them or update.
Another reason I choose Monitis is that you’re able to create custom pricing plans. You can order real-time user monitoring for between 150,000 and 10 million page views, as well as specify how many times you want uptime monitors and full page load monitors.
Another feature is that you get a daily email showing what % of the time your site was live. This can give you feedback about how well your servers are doing, and if you should switch companies or not.
I think Monitis is as solid a website monitoring tool as you’ll ever get, but some people have complained that it doesn’t have the same granularity with reporting as other web monitoring tools.
But I’ve used these guys for 5+ years and have never had a problem.
Monitis definitely gets a 5/5 for me and I’m happy to recommend it to you guys.
Pingdom – My Second Best Website Monitoring Service
Price: From $14.99 per Month
- Quick response time
- Monitor for any website problems
- Custom load times
- They aren’t very good about announcing new features
The service is used by the companies such as Amazon, Dell and Google, so you know it’s legit. Currently, Pingdom has over 60 servers in Europe and the United States. Every website on its platform is monitored by about 12 of them at any time.
One nice thing is that Pingdom can catch any functionality problems on your site. Let’s say your site is up, but your affiliate tracker is having some hiccups. Now all your affiliate links are broken for whatever reason.
Pingdom lets you know when issues come up so you can take immediate action.
Since Pingdom has servers throughout the world, you can also request custom reports on load time and uptime for different countries, browsers, and devices.
This can be a big benefit if you’re operating in international GEOs.
It’s easy to get a good server in the US, but what about your mobile campaigns in Indonesia? How do you know what the load times are on your landing pages there?
Pingdom offers a Starter Plan for $14.99 a month, which covers one website and performs 10 checks on your site 10 times per minute. That’s not gonna fly with most affiliates – we use dozens of domains.
Another option is you can have your site checked up to 250 times a minute by subscribing to the Professional plan at $229 a month (You’ll get a month free if you subscribe for a year).
Price: From $5.99 per Month
- Great load testing
- Layout isn’t great
- Tutorial isn’t very clear
- Weak customer service
Dot-com Monitor can help, but there are definitely better options
One cool feature of Dot-Com Monitor is that it can create simulated traffic to your site, letting you see what’d happen if a certain number of visitors went to your site right now. If it crashes, then you know you have one of two options:
- Limit the traffic you send
- Increase your server capabilities
You can also use Dot-com Monitor to keep an eye on your site’s uptime and applications, just like you can with the other tools on this list. Being able to create simulated users is one of the features that sets is apart from the others.
You can access all of the services for $5.99 a month (they might still be running the 30-day free trial).
There are a couple of downsides with Dot-com Monitoring though.
My biggest problem is that the layout isn’t the most elegant. It takes time to figure it out and the customer service isn’t the best either. That’s another reason I use Monitis – live chat is awesome and their staff are super helpful.
Most of the time I’ll avoid using a software package if they don’t have good quality live chat support. Life’s too short to figure out tech problems by trial and error.
I’d choose a different tool if you don’t want the headaches, but it’s pretty good if you are willing to get past the learning curve and you want the simulated traffic option.
Price: From $9 per Month
- Ideal for newbies on tight budgets
- Pretty reliable for lower traffic sites
- Can’t handle high traffic volume
- Customer support isn’t the best
- Documentation isn’t very clear
As a newbie, you don’t need the same tools as established affiliates. You aren’t pushing as much traffic, so there’s a lower chance your site will drop out.
A super affiliate might be pushing millions of clicks per day, while a newbie might be doing 1% of that.
That doesn’t mean you don’t need a website monitoring service, though. You still stand to lose money AND time if your site is down for prolonged periods of time. This means your data is always bad, and you can’t make intelligent decisions about your business.
Maybe you don’t need to run 10 checks a minute with a low traffic site, but you will want to find out if there are any problems right away.
Part of the problem of have a low marketing budget is that it takes time to collect data. Losing $20 isn’t a huge problem, but losing a day’s worth of data sets you back if you’re halfway through a test.
Site24x7 can be a decent option, especially if you’re on a tight budget. It monitors sites from 50 locations across the globe and can run checks every minute, which may be all you really need for your campaigns.
The tool is legit, but be aware that they don’t provide great support. That said, for $9 a month, you can run checks every minute for up to 10 sites. It’s not a bad deal if you aren’t ready to spend a lot.
Price: From $9 per Month
- Multiple notification options
- Can’t handle high traffic volume
- Customer support isn’t the best
- Need to pay a premium for reliability
Having “Pager” in the name almost makes me wanna run away lol.
PagerDuty has its advantages, but overall, I don’t think it’s that reliable for affiliate marketers.
One of the good things about PagerDuty is its reporting.
You can get updates through email, a phone call, text message or notifications on an Android app. It’s pretty convenient, and it also has an easy-to-use GUI interface.
However, there are a few downsides with PagerDuty. I won’t say the servers totally suck, but they aren’t the most reliable either.
To get what you need out of the service, you’ll have to pay for a custom “Enterprise” plan, which is kinda expensive compared to the other tools.
If you really want accuracy, Monitis or Pingdom beat PagerDuty hands down. And if you’re on a tight budget, use Site 24×7.
You’re investing a lot of time and money to become an affiliate.
The last thing you want to do is jeopardize your $500+ a month testing budget with a server that’s always going down.
What you need is a decent website monitoring service that tells you when your servers and landing pages are functioning properly.
If you can afford it, I’d recommend choosing a higher-tier service like Monitis or Pingdom. If you can’t, the cheaper services are better than nothing, but keep a close eye on their reliability to ensure you’re getting what you’ve paid for.
Setting up a System for When your Site’s Down
So I know what you’re thinking.
You can setup the service to text / email you when your landing page is down, but what’s the point if you’re still sleeping?
Here’s the system we’ve implemented in our company.
- We have staff overseas. We have some staff in the Philippines that are working when we aren’t (due to the 12 hour time zone difference).
- They get emails / SMS if the website’s down.
- We have a decision-making procedure on what to do if the landing page is down:
A. They do their best to contact me or my media buyers for us to address the problem.
B. If they can’t contact any of us, then they’ve been trained to move the files over to a backup server (We have screencasts / SOP’s they can follow).
C. Worst case scenario is they can log in and pause the traffic if they can’t fix it so we don’t lose any money.
It’s a simple system that only took a few hours to implement.
I saw the power of it when a few months later the landing page went down again. But this time I didn’t lose any money.
When it went down my VA Darlene moved the traffic over to a backup server. We would’ve lost about $9,500 in 8 hours if we didn’t have these systems in place.
Even though this is a website monitoring post I want you to have a bigger takeaway.
ALWAYS look for solutions to problems.
Whenever you make a mistake, figure out a system to prevent it from happening again.
Got another monitoring service you love that deserves a spot on this list?
Let me know in the comments!