The Super Bowl festivities and buzz are in full swing and the countdown to kickoff is ticking away! Every office in the country is discussing “which Peyton Manning will show up on Super Sunday” and wondering is “Cam the Man” a dawning of a new era in professional football? But beyond the normal fan chatter around the water coolers is the other major topic of the day, Super Bowl Commercials! Every year the nation waits in eager anticipation to see which companies are going to be spending $5 million dollars for their 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl and more importantly – who will be crowned the winner of the Ad Wars! And in typical marketing fashion, what used to be kept secret and unseen until Super Sunday, the ads are now advance released and already competing for the most online visits and best performance days before the game.
As we have reviewed and shared in the past, website performance is critical to a company’s success and should be monitored diligently. The impact to a business if their website is down, loading slowly, having transaction troubles and crumbling under the load is both huge and immediate. Visitors will give up waiting for your website to work fast and efficiently and abandon you to head to your competitors. Monitor effectively and continuously and don’t lose customers and revenues.
Uptime – Not to overstate the obvious, but if your site is not up and running then you aren’t even getting a chance at business. Nobody sits around watching their own website 24 hours a day but that is exactly what needs to be done. What is required to do this properly is to have in place a cloud based up-time monitoring system that notifies you virtually instantly when your website is down or has a performance issue. The monitoring architecture should be such that it; checks availability and response times from multiple locations around the globe, alerts on outages and performance and produces daily, weekly and monthly performance reports. The frequency of this monitoring should be as often as possible, optimally it should be every minute.
Full Page Load – It is common knowledge that the slower your website page builds the more customers get annoyed and after 3 or 4 seconds they start leaving in droves. If your website builds in 5 seconds instead of 4 you can expect to lose between 7% and 11% of your expected business revenues. Fast building websites are a key building block for optimal business performance.
Transaction Monitoring -As an ecommerce business whose life line is reliant upon website transactions for leads, closing online sales and generating your revenues this is a hugely important component. Even if your website is online and building pages quickly, if your customers stumble as they attempt to make the purchase they will get annoyed quickly and abandon you and go to your competition. The need for speed and efficiency during the transaction phase of their visit to your website is critical in closing the sale, creating a satisfied customer and maintaining your overall business reputation.
Stress Testing – Your website is up and running and everything is chugging along nicely. Pages load quickly and your customers are happy and life is rosy. You are sitting back and taking a well deserved breath in the normally hectic day in IT ops. Then all of a sudden your calm is shattered by call after call from the marketing and sales people screaming that the website is down and customers are screaming. What could have gone wrong? After a quick look you determine that normal traffic levels have suddenly doubled and the few site visitors getting through are creeping along at a snail’s pace and dropping off one after another.
How could it have been prevented? By load testing the sites to make sure they could handle the traffic they were seeking and expecting. Every website should be periodically performing load tests to see just how much traffic it’s prepared to handle, and handle in a fast and efficient manner. Those last few words are extremely important. It isn’t good enough that your customers get to your website; they need to be able to move through it and make the transactions you are so eager to get. So Load Testing by itself is good, and in some cases is sufficient, but the reality of today is that Load Testing needs to be able to do 2 things; it needs to stress your site AND it needs to test the transaction level load carrying capabilities. If your visitors get to your site but then can’t complete a transaction it is bad for you both. You lose the sale and they are so frustrated and annoyed that you may never see them again.
Oh, and enjoy the game too.