|By Marc Goodman||
|September 18, 2009 11:00 PM EDT||
Keeping your brand alive and well on the Web isn't as easy as it looks. There are few things as important as your reputation, and in the Web 2.0 economy, your reputation is increasingly tied to your web presence. So keeping the website up, available, and responding quickly is critical not only for success, but also for survival. If you think about it, a website's reputation on the Internet can be boiled down to two questions: ‘Is it up?' and ‘Is it fast?'
Sure, some websites just make it look easy. Take Google, which is always up and always blazing fast. When was the last time you connected to the Internet, typed in google.com, and nothing came up? While you have the triumph of Google on one side of the coin, you have other sites that are cautionary tales. These days, major site outages make the news. Amazon.com had problems on June 6 of this year, and that outage hit most of the major media outlets.
MySpace has long been beleaguered by site performance problems as well as availability. It's not always up, and it's rarely fast. Facebook, on the other hand, is a Web 2.0 site that has done an excellent job of remaining consistently up and fast. Perhaps for this reason it's no coincidence that recently, Facebook surpassed MySpace in visits for the first time. A slow site can even elicit the rage of one of the world's richest men: an email surfaced recently where Bill Gates took his own company to task over usability problems. Among his chief complaints: the website he was trying to utilize was unbearably slow.
There are a number of issues that can affect a site's performance and uptime, such as the network, server hardware, and application performance over the network. However, there is one piece of core technology that virtually every website uses to help ensure uptime and performance, and that's an Application Delivery Controller (ADC).
The Importance of the Brand and the Website
Whether a website is used to interface between employees, suppliers, or as a customer-facing tool, a company's website is a representation of the company's brand and reputation from both a content and usability perspective. A website should be easy to use regardless of the user's level of technical expertise. If customers try to access a company's site and meet up with the ‘World-Wide-Wait,' they will abandon the visit and a sale may be lost. If they constantly need to re-enter data, the sale may be lost. Word-of-mouth then takes over and friends tell friends and the next thing you know, the company is faced with a marketing and branding headache. Conversely, a well-run, available website with ample bandwidth, storage, and load balancing may provide competitive advantage.
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