How to Make Your Status Page Stand Out From The Rest
If you’ve ever had a website or service go down as you were using it, then you’ll understand the irritation of a generic error message and a plea to “Be patient!” (if you’re lucky). It’s almost like they know they’re not telling you the full story.
The companies that are on top of their outage game will have a prepared link or redirect to their Status Page (or at least, have one prominently displayed on their pages and social media) for times like these.
With Uptime.com, Status Pages can be more than just a tool for calming frustrated users. They can be an extension of your brand, a tool for building trust with your user base, and so much more.
Use these tips to build your own Status Pages (or upgrade your existing ones), and help redeem what could be an otherwise dissatisfied user experience. Cement yourself in the eyes of your users as a company that keeps their needs at heart and their questions in mind. And as a bonus, let your Customer Service or Support team off easy at the same time by providing the answers from the get-go. Two birds with one stone.
Bring Your Branding
In a perfect world, there would be no outages and no maintenance, and thus no need for Status Pages. But for now, we will ground ourselves to our current, imperfect world. Here, it’s important to have a place where users go to confirm that their wifi isn’t just acting up again. They need to know, from the source, whether the service is working or not.
Status Pages, by their nature, want to be seen. So make them clean and professional, and clearly yours. Major companies, like Apple, Buzzfeed, and others have crafted their Status Pages to be neat, easy to read, and in-line with their existing branding. Take Apple’s as an example. It’s exactly what you would expect, from the font to the colors, to the navigation bar for the rest of their site across the top.
With Uptime.com, customize your Status Page to your exact specifications. Logos are a given, but we also allow custom inline CSS and HTML to match your existing sites. Another trick is to utilize CNAME redirects, so your Status Page is masked to your own domain. Great page design with half the effort, it’s hard to beat that.
Be Proactive with Incidents and Maintenance
Status Pages are great for providing peace-of-mind when things are operational. But it’s when a server crashes or a key site goes down that Status Pages really prove their worth every penny. Incidents can be broadcasted and managed from a central place, and deliver key updates to show the progress being made.
The three things a Status Page needs to communicate are what went down, why it went down, and what progress has been made so far. Proactive honesty is the name of the game. This transparency will go a long way in building the trust of your user base. Update them every hour, even if it’s just to show you’re still working on it.
The flip-side of Incident management is Maintenance. Using the same tools as before, you can communicate expected outages well in advance. Give your users warning when a particular service will be down and let them plan accordingly. Every service needs routine maintenance from time to time; your users just want to be told before it happens.
Take Advantage of Email and RSS Subscriptions
If your website crashes, but nobody received a notification…does it count as an incident? Philosophical musings aside, the average user won’t have your Status Page open in a separate tab. Some might have it bookmarked, but nothing beats an email. Direct and convenient for everyone involved.
Automate this proactivity with Email and RSS Subscriptions, which gives your users a button on the Status Page itself to sign up for notifications in (nearly) real-time. Give yourself a minute or two to quickly spell check your update, and then get back to work on the outage. Leave the notification work to us.
We remind our own users to subscribe to our Status Page to stay up-to-date on both the planned and unplanned happenings at Uptime.com, and you should do the same with your users. The more you reinforce your Status Page as the central hub for information, the more your users will know where to look when they have questions. And as I mentioned at the beginning, a good Status Page in an outage is worth a thousand support tickets. Support staff will thank you for keeping such floods out of their ticketing systems.
Password Protect Internal Systems
Not all Status Pages are created equal, and at Uptime.com we understand that different audiences require different information. Up until now, we’ve been mostly discussing resources designed for the general public. Those are necessary, but internal teams and key stakeholders will also want to see how things are going on the inside. And the everyday user doesn’t (and shouldn’t) need that much detail.
All 3 of our Status Page “flavors” can be toggled “Publicly Available”, or not. Basically, this determines whether anyone with the right URL can view the status of your systems. However, we have one deeper layer of security: protect your Status Page with Basic Auth password credentials.
As I said before, there are tons of systems whose status should be visible – but only to a select few. “Non-Public” Status Pages, or ones behind a login screen, are a great way to do that. And, as a sneak peak for readers that got this far: stay on the lookout for bigger and better things releasing in the Status Page security department.
Be Transparent With Historical Data
Lastly, keep reinforcing the trust you have garnered with proof of your track record. Transparency is a strength these days, so show your historical data – outages, incidents, maintenance, and even your SLA numbers – for your users to see. Being upfront with both your successes and failures will go a long way to show your users that you’re taking things seriously.
Every company has dropped the ball once or twice. Maybe an incident didn’t get reported for a day, or an on-call rotation was missed. No matter what it is, mistakes are a learning lesson to take on the chin. Besides, it’s always better to get out in front of these issues than let others bring them up. That’s the whole point of Status Pages in the first place.
I touched on SLA data for a moment previously, but I didn’t give it the attention it deserves. SLAs are the binding agreement that connect vendor to company to user, so use our Public SLA Page to show off your 99.99% uptime numbers. Using the built-in thresholds for the associated checks, data for both uptime and response time performance are seamlessly displayed. And with our green-yellow-red color grades, it doesn’t take long to see exactly how you’ve been doing.
In an age of increasingly online-only services, uptime is held to a higher standard than ever. Status Pages allow you to position your company at the front of the pack. Show your users that you care about their needs, that you can deliver the right information to the relevant parties, and that you aren’t afraid to admit a past failure. Use clean and modern branding to match the tech giants with their legions of designers and developers. With Uptime.com, Status Pages are a walk in the park and an easy way to up your game.
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