Uptime corresponds to the time when a site is accessible from the Internet. The opposite term - downtime - shows for how long a site has not been working during specified period of time. Usually uptime is measured in percents, and for period of time is choosen year. Percents over the year could be easily transformed into time values. Some typical values of uptime and corresponding period of unavailability during the year are shown here:
90% - 876 hours
99% - 87 hours, 36 minutes
99.9% - 8 hours, 45 minutes, 36 seconds
99.99% - 52 minutes, 34 seconds
So high uptime is really important. Even if it seems that 99% is pretty high value - it corresponds to several days of failure. If that happens in a row, many clients can be lost. Uptime value is usually guaranteed by web hosting, where the site is hosted. Website Monitoring may help you to increase the uptime and check if the value, declared by the hosting company, is real.