Website Monitoring: Where It’s Headed
August 10, 2013 marketing_wqq40vb8 0
As a blog that prides itself on looking ahead at the web performance industry, we’ve noticed some some dynamic shifts in the overall needs of webmasters. Ten years ago, it was enough to simply monitor uptime and call it a day. If people could access your site when they typed in your URL, then you were in good shape. It’s funny to think about what a stark contrast that is to today, where developers, webmasters, and even large companies are sometimes monitoring hundreds of different devices and tasks in a wide variety of ways.
From mobile apps to rich media content, the needs of users are much more intensive than they used to be. This also changes the landscape for companies trying to provide these services. Web performance companies are being forced to innovate more instead of competing on prices for the same set of services. In the end, this is good for the free market because tough competition breeds innovation, and consumers are the ones who ultimately benefit from that.
When looking at the needs of the industry, it’s relatively clear that there are two basic categories that have emerged from the original “uptime” standard. These are speed monitoring, and user behavior monitoring. Let’s take a moment to take a look at both of these categories.
Speed monitoring is essentially the measurement of how quickly pages load, and how quickly the website can perform certain tasks and deliver content to the user. One of the biggest reasons this has become more important in the past decade or so is because users have come to expect more from their devices, and are substantially less patient. People are accustomed to broadband speeds, and they generally have very short attention spans. This can dramatically affect their experience on a website, and ultimately lead to lost sales, lost user registrations, and other problems for the website owner.
The second category that’s become more and more popular is user experience monitoring. This type of monitoring involves creating a script or bot that will mimic user behavior in order to test different functions on a website. An example of this could be a shopping cart where a user purchases physical or virtual goods. Either way, a bot can be programmed to attempt a purchase on a regular interval to ensure that the shopping cart is up and running. You can probably imagine the implications of running a website where you sell something that requires a user to check out with a cart, and having that inaccessible for a certain period of time. In the end, that can amount to lost revenue and a decreased user base.
It’s important for anyone running a website or operating in the web space to take note of these emerging trends, because you may be asked to procure these services for your company, or at least work with the data that they provide. So take your time, and do a little homework on the industry if these topics are unfamiliar. That way, when the time comes that you need to utilize different types of monitoring, you’ll be prepared and ready to move ahead.
Here’s a great video from Steve Souders, one of the most notable web performance gurus talking about the future of performance, and where’ it’s headed.
A nice infographic from Strange Loop Networks (strangeloopnetworks.com) showing how impatient users can be when it comes to web performance.