One is that users are much less tenacious, much less tolerant of poor performance. Five, six years ago there was still the sense of novelty. Today, though, they’re using the Internet for very critical things, critical utility, be that trading stocks or looking at bank accounts or making purchases.
Delivering complex functionality in a manner that satisfies high user expectations requires a tremendous infrastructure, which in itself exponentially multiplies the opportunity for slow performance or outright failures. To deliver a customized “my” page on a site such as Yahoo! or Google or one of the news portals, for example, may require hundreds of servers. And running a search-and-transaction site such as eBay takes a huge amount of processing horsepower.
Whether the objective is to reduce abandonment rates, to increase self service and reduce call center loads (and costs), to increase average sales or repeat purchases, performance monitoring is critical to acquiring the data needed to formulate sound Web strategies and tactics. Web performance is the common denominator underneath every Web site metric and is fundamental to achieving any Web site goal.
Things can and do go wrong at any step of the way — in the site’s own internal network, over the Internet backbone, across the last mile of the local ISP, or on the user’s desktop. Site operators employ a number of strategies to monitor this complex path and pinpoint the many problems that inevitably come up.
Today, your customers are perusing your merchandise and buying from your mobile and Web sites using a vast array of devices, including desktop PCs, smartphones, cell phones, wireless laptops, and tablet computers from wherever they’re located, anytime.
This new “Everywhere Web” is a place where customer expectations are high, and if you want to prosper, you certainly want to ensure that your web and mobile quality always deliver for all of your customers, with no excuses. Don’t disappoint them with an online experience that is slow or that doesn’t serve them. If your sites don’t sell to them when they want to buy from you, those customers may not come back.
To win them over and drive sales, your company needs to stay on top of all the new devices that your customers are using to find you online. That means ensuring that your site performance is ready to meet the needs of all of that device diversity. Making it even more complex are new electronic devices such as tablet PCs and iPads that blur the lines between traditional desktop computing and the mobile world.
It may seem like a lot to worry about, but by following a performance monitoring strategy that keeps up with new devices and Web services accessed by these devices, you can turn this challenge into a competitive strength for your business.
The place to start is with benchmarks to establish online performance goals for all your online sites that can then be monitored, measured and improved over time. The needs of broadband and mobile users are quite different, so you should be benchmarking both types. Broadband sites include far more graphics and audio-hungry features, because there is speed to spare to deliver them. Mobile sites are usually pared down to get out just the basic information to customers, while cutting out the flashy extras due to mobile bandwidth and screen size limitations.
The Internet is being reinvented, morphing into a medium capable of delivering extremely interactive and rich experiences. While this
next wave of Web sites and experiences holds significant promise in terms of customer retention, interaction, and revenue growth, it also poses new challenges. A poor online experience translates directly to less satisfied users, poorer brand perception, and higher costs.
Website performance characteristics vary across geographic locations, and Internet traffic congestion and last-mile latency can degrade Web site performance significantly. However, reliable performance monitoring and traffic analysis across geographically spread locations can provide vital information to ensure a site’s success. A best-in-class solution provides a streamlined process to measure and monitor Web sites and mission-critical Web applications across the globe, while providing real actionable insight into the end-user experience
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