Making sure your website can handle traffic is an often overlooked but very important test. It needs to be done on a regular basis to let you know how your site is performing, what your customers are experiencing and ultimately to let you know what will happen if you have a surge or spike in website visits. Lack of testing will almost surely lead to disastrous results.
Why Load Test your website? It is a well know fact that if your site is slow it leads to unhappy visitors and a loss in traffic and revenue. In a recent study it was shown that the top e-commerce retailers lost over $600,000,000.00 due to slow websites.The really sneaky sad fact is that most customers will never complain to you about it, they will simply go to a source and site that is sharp, crisp, easy and fast. If you don’t test your site on a regular and scheduled basis you won’t know the bad news until it is way too late. Once you lose customers they normally don’t come back. Once they have that bad taste in their mouth they are gone forever. It is a documented fact that if your website takes longer than 2 seconds to do a full page build clients aren’t happy. And the longer your site takes to build the worse they feel about it. In the infographic, from Kissmetrics, below you can see this clearly.
So that is the “why” of it. You need to load test to protect your business, protect your investment and to please your customers. The next question is “when” should you do it. Some businesses run the test only when they are expecting a scheduled increase in their traffic. Such as when they are launching a major marketing campaign, having a large sale or when they have some other type of scheduled event that will generate increased traffic loads. Examples of this are; a University during online registration, a sports team kicking off their season ticket sales, an e-commerce site advertising a sale, CYBER MONDAY, Super Bowl Sunday advertisement companies, a company undertaking a campaign to strengthen their brand, etc. The bottom line fact is that you have a website to get traffic, to gather leads and to do business. Don’t neglect the care and health of the core of your sites reason for existing. Unfortunately, these surge moments are not the only time you should be testing. While a spike in traffic and revenue is generated during these periods the truth is that your basic business and customers come to your site all the time. Don’t take for granted that everything is working just great. If your loyal client base is disappointed by your sites performance during the normal business cycle they will abandon you and will not even return during your “super sale” days. You need to be monitoring and testing on a regular basis. At a minimum you should run a load test every month, plus a heavier one when you have a scheduled event coming up.
How is the final question you need to address and it is the easiest one to answer. You need to use a cloud based monitoring and testing company that can initiate this test and the associated traffic from multiple sites around the globe, send the proper amount of traffic your way and measure and report the results it in a way that is clear, concise and accurate. Monitis has a dynamic load tester that can load your site with a very minimal load or you can test it with up to 20,000 simultaneous requests/page builds. The load should build from zero to the set threshold so you can see the impact of various traffic levels. As the load increases you will see at what point your site starts having slower and slower page builds and increasing error responses. In the Monitis load test report below you can clearly see that as the number of concurrent visitors on this site increases the page build time also is increase very quickly. With very little traffic the page builds in less than 4 seconds but at a peak test load of just 150 concurrent site visitors the page load time slows down to a peak worst performance of nearly 1 minute. No customer is going to hang around a an entire minute while your site struggles to build a single page.
In the load test report below you can clearly see that as the site struggles to handle the increased traffic the number of error message (NOK count) climbs and climbs, something you never want you customer to experience.
Load testing also provides you with the opportunity to find bugs and errors in your site – not every issue is a question of bandwidth. Your internal network servers and even the page design can all contribute to poor or degrading user experiences.
So don’t delay any longer. Sign up now for a free 15 day trial period with Monitis and you can run our Load Tester to see just how valuable a tool it really is. Use it and support your business and support your customers, you both will be happy that way.