We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in a meeting, and someone casually mentions, “Is it just me, or is our website slow?“. The room goes silent for a moment, and everyone starts to wonder. Is it a one-time glitch, or is there a more significant issue? The truth is, there are better ways to manage your website’s performance than relying on anecdotal evidence or gut feelings. In today’s digital age, where every second counts, monitoring your website’s performance is not just a good practice, it is a necessity.
Why website performance matters
Before we dive into the how-to, we can talk about the why. Website performance is not just about speed; it’s about user experience. Slow load times can lead to high bounce rates, low user engagement, and lost revenue. According to a study by Google, 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if a page takes longer than three seconds to load. In e-commerce, a one-second delay in page load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
The limitations of traditional monitoring tools
Traditional monitoring tools like ping tests or simple HTTP checks can give you an idea of your website’s uptime, but they fall short of providing a comprehensive view of performance. These tests don’t interact with your website like a real user. They won’t fill out a form, click a button, or add an item to a shopping cart. In other words, they don’t perform transactional tests that mimic real-world user behaviour.
The power of real-world transactional tests
Real-world transactional tests go beyond simple uptime checks. They simulate a user’s journey through your website, performing multiple steps like logging in, searching for a product, and completing a purchase. By doing so, they provide invaluable insights into the performance and functionality of critical paths in your website. Here’s why they are essential:
- Identify bottlenecks
Transactional tests can help you pinpoint exactly where the slowdown is occurring. Is it during login, checkout, or somewhere else? Knowing this can help you focus your optimisation efforts where they are needed most.
- Test third-party integrations
Many websites rely on third-party services for features like payment processing or social media integration. Transactional tests can alert you if any of these services are causing slowdowns or failures.
- Improve user experience
By regularly monitoring how real-world transactions perform, you can proactively address issues before they affect your users, thereby improving their overall experience.
The importance of monitoring from multiple locations
Your users are global, and so should be your monitoring strategy. Performance can vary significantly depending on the user’s location due to factors like network latency and CDN effectiveness. Monitoring from multiple locations gives you a more comprehensive view of your website’s performance and helps you identify location-specific issues. It also helps reduce the number of false positives associated with network or performance issues common with single-location monitoring by verifying if the same problems are seen from elsewhere.
How to get started
- Identify Critical Paths: Determine your website’s most important user journeys that should be monitored.
- Choose a Monitoring Tool: Opt for a tool that supports real-world transactional tests and allows monitoring from multiple locations.
- Set Up Tests: Configure the tests to mimic real user behaviour as closely as possible.
- Set Up Alerting: Decide what performance is normal and what performance is abnormal and make sure you know about issues before your customers do.
- Analyse and Optimise: Regularly review the data and make necessary optimisations to your website.
How can we help?
We not only design, deploy and manage solutions for our customers, we also help you monitor and ensure they are meeting the expectations of their stakeholders.
We employ multiple local and global monitoring nodes using tools like Zabbix. Our tests range from essential transactional monitoring to full user and browser emulation testing with technologies like Cypress and k6.
If your website is going slow, then we’re available 24/365 to look into the results, debug and resolve the problem with or for you.
Don’t just meet user expectations – exceed them, talk to us about your monitoring needs by clicking below.