The days of hiding behind an old website are long gone. If your website doesn’t have the latest state-of-the-art features like a fancy responsive design and if it doesn’t load reasonably fast, then customers are going to conduct their business elsewhere.
Website design is a huge part of getting it right with your customers. And there are some good articles out there to tell you when it’s time for a website upgrade. Obviously, one of the major ways you’ll know is when you see sales start to drop off.
But have you ever thought about applying the same due diligence to your web application performance strategy?
Website performance is simply all about keeping your website or application running properly. It’s about ensuring that the page load times are adequate and that everything is up and running as expected.
Obviously, website performance is critically important to the success of your website. As is well documented, there are direct correlations between desktop and mobile page load speeds and customer sales. The slower is your site, the less revenue flows in. Therefore, it’s incumbent on businesses today to ensure they are getting the most mileage out of their existing web application monitoring tools.
As we will explore below, there are a number of “signs” you should be looking for to tell when it’s time for an upgrade.
The fundamental purpose of your website is to bring in revenue. Trends in web design, as any trend, will fade with time. Some of these trends are imperative due to technology development, like responsive design. Some are more likely to be shifts in industry aesthetics, like the change from skeuomorphism to flat design. In any case, unless your business absolutely depends on it, blindly following all the new design trends can become a problem for your web performance.
Ultimately you need to trace lack of conversions back to your website application monitoring tools to see where the gaps are and traffic bottlenecks are.
Too Many Outages
Outages leave everyone frustrated – customers who can’t access your site and internal IT folks who are trying to pinpoint the root causes. If you’re finding that your website and applications are getting buggy, loading slowly, or just plain not working, then it’s time to give your web performance monitoring strategy a complete overhaul.
High Bounce Rates
High bounce rates are another important metric that a properly working web monitoring tool should clue you into. These rates mean that visitors are either negatively inclined toward your website or else cannot really find what they’re looking for on your site. Either way, high bounce rates are a clear sign that your website monitoring strategy is in need of a major change.
Slow Load Times
According to Kissmetrics Blog, 40% of customers will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. In other words, there exists a clear relationship between web load speed and customer conversions. Slow load times are generally a symptom of poor or outdated web design. However, once the root cause of slow load times is addressed, back up the plan with a robust website monitoring strategy.
Too Much Page Bloat
The average web page is now over 2MB with images comprising 62% of the page weight. What’s more, is that a large percentage of the images on the web are unoptimized, meaning that they are uncompressed, unconsolidated, and wrongly formatted.
While it’s great to have a trendy looking website, if the site takes 10 seconds to load visitors won’t hang around long enough to appreciate all the bells and whistles anyway.
If you find that your website is taking way too long to load, the first culprit is probably “page bloat.” This can also be exacerbated by too many advertisements and affiliate code. The first step to a healthier website is to begin with implementing web performance monitoring best practices.
Behind on Latest Technologies
Let’s face it, today more than ever technology is the primary differentiator for businesses. In other words, companies absolutely must be on top of the latest breakthroughs or else they will not stay in business very long. Customers are simply too savvy when it comes to technologies to know what websites are worth their time. Obviously, the days of Flash are long gone, so you’ll want to ensure your website is HTML5 optimized.
The same also goes for cloud. Research indicates that cloud adoption is steadily growing among SMBs. For example, in the U.S. the cloud market is expected to reach $32 billion by the beginning of 2016, representing a 19 percent year-over-year growth rate from $18.9 billion early in 2013.
Keeping your customers happy should be the single-most important part of your business. After all, they’re the ones who have invested in your service or product offering. Without customers you might as well close the shop and go home.
When you start to recognize a spike in customer complaints, either because of inability to access your website or else because of a buggy application, listen carefully and recognize this as an opportunity to earn back their trust.
Once you’ve resolved the problem, then is the time to invest in a more robust web application monitoring tool that can catch the problems before the customers do.
You Don’t Know Your Downtimes
Industry experts suggest that downtime can cost as much as $7900 per minute. That’s a staggering $474,000/hour! Obviously, a down website results in lost time and money not to mention frustrated customers. There are a whole host of side effects that come with downtime: compromises productivity, lost customers, a hit on your brand reputation, etc.
The problem as well is that when downtimes hit companies often don’t even know how to measure the real impacts it has on their business.
You should aim for uptime 99.99% of the time, and to help with that you need to upgrade your website performance monitoring strategy.
In April 2010 Google started using page speed as a ranking factor, meaning that faster pages would earn higher SEO rankings than slow ones. And in April 2015 the company again introduced a new algorithm that marked down mobile page rankings for companies who do not have a mobile responsive web design.
The point here is that faster load times mean higher SEO rankings. If you find that your SEO is sub-optimal, then it’s time to upgrade your website monitoring tools and look for ways to improve overall performance.