Why should you monitor the performance of your website?

More and more companies are worried, rightly, about the performance delivered by their website. And we give them reason, because never before has the cost of attention been so high.

We have entered a real click war. A merciless struggle to attract as many visitors to your website. But once this first battle won, another is waiting for you: that of web performances. Because behind this first action of the user (this is known as “First Click”), a new barrier stands: that of the user experience (UX) . An experience that by 2020 could be the cause of 30% of the failures of all digital projects.

While everyone agrees that the customer should be at the center of any good strategy, a majority of sites offer performance well below the user’s expectations. Google believes indeed that a good e-commerce site should load in less than two seconds on pain of seeing an overwhelming majority of its traffic rebound (known as “Bounce Rate”). Two small seconds are enough to determine if your site will perform or not.

Okay, but what indicators should you follow?

Given the overwhelming impatience of your audience, it is important to identify the key metrics that will allow you to measure the performance of your site . We asked Internet Vista, one of our website monitoring partners and publisher of a SaaS solution dedicated to WebPerf, to share some essential indicators.

First metric: the “Uptime” or the availability of your platform

Is your site still available? Remember the giant breakdown of the host OVH last year: thousands of sites unavailable for several hours. Behind each of these clicks so hard to get, a blank page or unavailable . In short, thousands of users with a pebble in the shoe from the first interaction with our brand.

That’s why it’s essential to measure the uptime of your platform, also known as “Uptime”. This is, over a period of time, to verify that URLs are available and to deduct from this period their downtime and the scheduled maintenance time. All you have to do is divide the result obtained by the total time of the period.

Let’s take a quick example: with a 99% Uptime measured over a 30-day period, your website saves 7 hours of downtime . We understand better the interest that e-merchants can have in monitoring this indicator. And it is the same in B2B, since the unavailability of a platform heavily impacts the user experience. An experience that for 44% of users is enough to determine whether they will return to a website.

Second KPI: the speed of your site

Your site is available, but is it fast? This is precisely what the “Response Time” and the “Loading Time” are trying to determine.

For many years, the loading time of a page (the famous “Loading Time”) was the reference value of the WebPerf. But she knows some limitations. Indeed, the latter does not assess the performance of each component of your site. It is also not related to the speed at which the user decides to interact with your platform (the famous “Time To Interactive”). Think about it for a few moments, how many times did you wait for the page to be fully loaded before clicking on a menu item? But stay focused on this famous loading time.

Specifically, the “Loading Time” measures the time required for your site to be downloaded, query by query, from the server on which it is hosted until its full display in your user’s browser. The response time, meanwhile, measures the speed at which your site responds to the instructions of the user (the famous requests) . Combined, these two dimensions make it possible to better understand the performances of your platform.

You can also compare them to data reported by Google. We think in particular of the “First Contentful Paint” which measures the time between the request and the moment when the browser restores the first bit of content. Or the “First Input Delay” which measures the time between the interaction of a user (a click for example) and the moment when the browser is able to respond. In WebPerf, everything is a matter of nuance and not all indicators are necessarily relevant to measure. It’s up to you to determine if it’s interesting for you to follow them all.

Still, these indicators are valuable sources of information on the basis of which it is possible to develop a plan to optimize the performance of your site.

Third indicator: transactional monitoring

Clearly, the first two KPIs proposed above remain too dissociated from the user experience. They are disconnected from the reality of Internet users. While these indicators highlight the performance of key moments in the user’s shopping journey, they do not measure the completeness.

Which brings us to a third important metric: transactional monitoring. In other words, does your site work properly? Does it deliver a good experience throughout the purchase journey? Does the user manage safely at the end of the “Funnel”?

Transactional monitoring makes it possible to establish different scenarios on the basis of which you will be able to measure the performance of the fundamental steps of the conversion process of your customers on your site. From a dysfunctional captcha to a temporarily unavailable payment method, each point can tip the scales in your favor or disfavor. Never forget that no matter how insignificant, the slightest friction can influence the final decision of the visitor.

Other indicators?

We do not pretend to offer you an exhaustive list of web performance indicators. WebPerf is constantly evolving. It is important to identify the axes impacting YOUR users . We talked a little bit earlier about “Loading Time”, an important indicator, but will you have a better perception:

  • From a site that takes 6 seconds to fully load, but whose first items appear after 4 seconds?
  • From a site that takes 12 seconds to fully load, but above-the-fold elements display in just 2 seconds?

These two questions refer to the “Speed ​​Index” , another very relevant indicator that focuses on what the user sees and not what is loaded. What’s better in terms of user experience?

The previous point also echoes the famous “Visually Complete” that is similar to the “Loading Time”, but focuses on what is needed by the user and what he will see first . In short, there are a plethora of indicators and we have presented only three. Indicators that, moreover, should find their place in your marketing dashboard .

How to measure these indicators and correct my site?

All these measures are achievable thanks to dedicated tools. Internet Vista standard measures most of the elements mentioned in this article. These measures identify certain blocking points on the basis of which you can build a list of recommendations for your web agency or your team of developers.

Once these corrections are implemented, care must be taken to maintain these good performances . Our solution offers a real-time alert system that informs you as soon as an anomaly is detected. In the event of a problem, a message containing the cause of the problem is automatically generated and sent to the various points of contact defined in the system.

You can also simulate, monitor and optimize the journey of your visitors on your website by keeping your key pages under surveillance (contact form, purchasing process, login, API …). Finally, you will receive a weekly report on the performance of your platform .

Are other tools available?

Google offers a series of tools related to web performance . Some like the “Test My Site” of “Think With Google” offer very synthetic information. Others are more complex and allow you to identify real points of improvement for your SEA and your SEO :

Not to mention alternative solutions such as Pingdom SolarWinds or GTmetrix , but do not offer a level of personalization as high as SaaS solutions tailored.

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