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Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform written in PHP for e-commerce web sites. Magento employs the MySQL/MariaDB relational database management system, the PHP programming language, and elements of the Zend Framework. It applies the conventions of object-oriented programming and model–view–controller architecture. Magento also uses the entity–attribute–value model to store data.

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Believe it or not, the most important thing about the website of your business is not what’s on it but how fast it loads. Yes, that’s right! 

 

As you can see on this infographic (an oldie but goodie!), there is a clear relationship between web load speed and customer conversions. And unless you have money to burn, the assumption is that you’re in business to earn revenue (rather than just having a fancy looking website!).

 

Let’s say this another way. The faster a page loads the more likely customers will be to visit and do business on your site. The inverse is also true. The slower a page the less likely customers will be willing to wait around and engage with your brand.

 

While this seems fairly straightforward, it’s surprising how few business owners really get the importance of website performance and the role it plays in their overall strategy. It might be nice to have a trendy looking website, but if it takes 10 seconds to load visitors won’t hang around long enough to appreciate all the bells and whistles anyway.

 

It’s important that small businesses leverage the latest web performance insights to ensure that things are running as optimally as possible and that your customers are happy. At the end of the day, this is really all that matters!

 

In order to help keep your business in check, we list out below the top 10 things you should know about website performance today.



Website Speed Impacts Conversions & Sales 


There’s a direct connection between web load speed and sales conversions. Consider this metric: 1 in 4 visitors would abandon the website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. And this one: A 2-second delay during a transaction results in shopping cart abandonment rates of up to 87%.

 

A few years ago e-commerce giant Amazon calculated that a webpage load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Any questions?



“Start Render Time” is a Key Metric 


Start Render Time has emerged as a key metric in web performance and is the first visual cue that something is happening on a website. The following statement gives some words of wisdom on this topic:


The median for Time to Start Render across the web is 2.5 seconds. Shoot for better.  The top 10% of sites on the web start render in less than 900 milliseconds — fast enough that the visitor doesn’t have time to think about the fact that he or she is waiting to see content.  That should be the goal.



Design Best Practices Can Become Your Worst Enemy


Increasing the size of your website’s size, images, third-party scripts, and style sheets come with a heavy price and can adversely affect performance. This is especially true in the world of mobile. Over 50% of all time consumers spend on retails site is on mobile devices, and more than 50% of consumers multiscreen during the purchasing.

 

Some of the worst design practices are evident when web pages are initially blank and then populate, the CTA is the last thing to render, popups block the rest of the page, or when you fail to adopt user experience into your design strategy.

  


Performance Impacts Shopping Behavior 


We get the importance of website speed on customer conversions and sales. But this impact is more systemic than you might think. Kissmetrics shows that 44% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online. And 79% of shoppers dissatisfied with a website performance are less likely to buy from that site again.

  


Mobile Unfriendly Sites Drive Customers the Other Way 


M-commerce is huge, which is why having a “mobile first” website is critical to success. Mobile commerce transactions in the United States are expected to total $123 billion in 2016. $76 billion will be from tablets, while the remainder will be from smartphones. These same numbers are replicating themselves globally.

 

A study from Google several years ago showed that mobile-friendliness was a key factor in purchase decisions, with 67% indicating that a mobile-friendly website made them more likely to buy a product or use a service. In addition, 61% indicated that a bad mobile experience made them more likely to leave.

  


You Can Win with Website Analytics 


Web analytics can make all the difference in how you relate to your customers. The ability to track a single customer across your site and across multiple devices will ensure that you can tailor your brand to their needs.

 

For instance, you want to learn more about when and where they’re visiting from, what devices they’re using, what are their online activities, and other key demographics such as age. Gaining these insights will help your organization better understand what’s important to your visitors and how to personalize their experience.


  

Speed Increases SEO 


In April 2010 Google started using page speed as a ranking factor, meaning that faster pages would earn higher SEO rankings than slow ones. More recently, Google also announced that it’s moving in this same direction for mobile web pages. The point here is that you get rewarded for offering your customers a better overall experience; faster load time means higher SEO rankings.


  

Mediocre Web Hosting Can Increase Downtime 


When reviewing web performance, it’s important not to forget your web hosting service. Even though your provider may offer you unlimited bandwidth, does that mean shared service with other sites that ends up affecting your own web performance?

 

Are you experiencing downtime or bandwidth issues? If so, it’s worthwhile to review your hosting options to ensure you’re getting the most efficient service. Don’t be afraid to insist on 99.99% uptime.

 


Too Many Affiliate Codes & Ads Drain Performance 


Becoming an affiliate reseller and pushing ads to bring folks in is great, but too much of a good thing can also become bad . . . especially for performance. When you go overboard on ads and affiliate code, this can lead to high bounce rates and, in turn, can adversely impact your overall website performance.

  


Website Monitoring Is Key! 


There are significant advantages to adopting website monitoring – cost, scalability, efficiency, to name a few. Not to mention, this frees you up to focus on growing your business, which matters the most anyway.

 

When it comes to monitoring your website, you don’t want to shortchange yourself. Get the peace of mind you deserve by entrusting your business to a proven industry leader.



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Original post on Monitis Blog.



Web performance monitoring is broken into two camps: passive and active. Passive monitoring is defined as looking at real-world historical performance by monitoring actual log-ins, site hits, clicks, requests for data, and other server transactions.

 

This is the kind of monitoring that you need for the day to day, which ensures your business website keeps running optimally, and that there is no downtime to impact your customer experience.

 

Active monitoring is a more experimental approach. It uses algorithms to take current log data and predict future network states. A good example of active monitoring is synthetic transaction monitoring. This involves deploying behavioral scripts in a web browser to simulate the path a real customer (or end-user) takes through a website.

 

Synthetic transaction monitoring is especially important for eCommerce and other high traffic sites as it allows webmasters to test new applications prior to launch. Synthetic transactions are scripted in advance and then uploaded to the cloud as a transaction tests.

 

There are different scenarios where your business would need transaction monitoring in order to stay competitive today.



Entering a New Market 


Before introducing a new application to market you want to have line-of-sight on how real users will interact with that app. Synthetic transaction monitoring provides behavioral scripts that have the ability to simulate an action or set of actions to ensure your application can handle the projected load.

Another benefit of synthetic monitoring is that it helps you simulate what happens when you introduce your application to a new geography. It allows you to test and fix potential issues related to deployments in new regions such as connection speeds (DSL, cable broadband, fiber optics) before real end users arrive. 

 


Finding Issues Before Customers 


Synthetic monitoring helps you to set up baseline tests in order to measure the way your customers will interact with your websites, APIs, or mobile apps. This type of testing can provide direct feedback on performance degradation or availability issues. It also will help your team locate the root cause, engage the right experts, and fix issues before they impact the end users. 


 

Measuring Performance Impact of Third Party Applications 


Today’s websites increasingly rely on third-party features such as carts, ads, customer reviews, web analytics, social networking, SEO add-ons, video and much more to provide outstanding customer experiences. If there’s a weak-link in the chain, or one or more of these elements are not working correctly, it can adversely impact your site.

 

Synthetic transaction monitoring can greatly assist in helping to monitor your third-party applications while also alerting you to potential or real performance degradations and downtime impacts. This helps tremendously in providing line of sight on your service level agreements (SLAs) in order to hold the third-party vendors accountable. 

 


Testing New Features 


Synthetic monitoring is important at any stage of development, but is especially useful for testing your web, mobile, or cloud-based applications before deploying new features into production. During this stage synthetic monitoring can provide a set of baselines and thresholds that reveal any potential obstacles customers may encounter in the real world. 


 

Comparing Your Performance to Your Competition 


With synthetic transaction monitoring you can set up benchmark scenarios to see how your applications are performing over time. You can also benchmark your company’s performance against top competitors within a certain historical time frame or within a specific geographical region. This approach can be especially important for establishing your organization’s strategic outlook for the year as well as for preserving competitive advantage in the marketplace. 

 


Analyzing Your eCommerce Strategy 


If you’re in the eCommerce business, then synthetic transaction monitoring is especially useful for ensuring that your eCommerce strategy is firing on all cylinders. By setting up tests with synthetic monitoring you can get apprised, for instance, about when one of the steps in your website’s online transaction process is no longer working properly. By tracking and analyzing every click and swipe, synthetic transaction monitoring solution can help you to identify problems and prioritize fixes in your website to ensure that customers continue to have the kind of experience they’ve come to expect.

  


Evaluating New technologies 


Another important use of synthetic transaction monitoring is to assist in the choosing, testing, and optimization of new technologies within your production environment. For example, being able to test if a new CDN (content delivery network) is performing as optimally as possible compared to other known benchmarks will help your organization to decide which product or service will provide the most value to your infrastructure.



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This article was originally published on Monitis Blog, you can check ithere.



If you have responsibility for software in production, I bet you’d like to know more about it. I don’t mean that you’d like an extra peek into the bowels of the source code or to understand its philosophical place in the universe.  Rather, I bet you’d like to know more about how it behaves in the wild.

 

After all, from this opaque vantage point comes the overwhelming majority of maddening defects.  “But it doesn’t do that in our environment,” you cry.  “How can we even begin to track down a user report of, ‘sometimes that button doesn’t work right?'”

 

To combat this situation we have, since programmer time immemorial, turned to the log file.  In that file, we find answers.  Except, we find them the way an archaeologist finds answers about ancient civilizations.  We assemble cryptic, incomplete fragments and try to use them to deduce what happened long after the fact.  Better than nothing, but not great.

 

Because of the incompleteness and the lag, we seek other solutions.  With the rise in sophistication of tooling and the growth of the DevOps movement, we close the timing gap via monitoring.  Rather than wait for a user to report an error and asking for a log file, we get out in front of the matter.  When something flies off the rails, our monitoring tools quickly alert us, and we begin triage immediately.



Common Monitoring Use Cases


Later in this post, I will get imaginative.  In writing this, I intend to expose you to some less common monitoring ideas that you might at least contemplate, if not outright implement.  But for now, let’s consider some relative blue chip monitoring scenarios.  These will transcend even the basic nature of the application and apply equally well to web, mobile, or desktop apps.

 

Monitis offers a huge variety of monitoring services, as the name implies.  You can get your bearings about the full offering here.  This means that if you want to do it, you can probably find an offering of to do it unless you’re really out there.  Then you might want to supplement these offering with some customized functionality for your own situation.

 

But let’s say you’d just signed up for the service and wanted to test drive it.  I can think of nothing simpler than “is this thing on?”  Wherever it runs, you’d love some information about whether it runs when it should.  On top of that, you’d probably also like to know whether it dies unexpectedly and ignobly.  When your app crashes embarrassingly, you want to know about it.

 

Once you’ve buttoned up the real basics, you might start to monitor for somewhat more nuanced situations.  Does your code gobble up too many hardware resources, causing poor experience or added expense?  Does it interact with services or databases that fail or go offline?  In short, does your application wobble into sub-optimal states?

 

But what if we look beyond those basics?  Let’s explore some things you may never have contemplated monitoring about your software.



User Engagement


Facebook has developed some reputation around having deployment nirvana.  They constantly roll to production and use a sophisticated series of checks, balances, tests, and monitoring to alert them to problems needing correction.  If the number of baby pictures in my feed is any indication, I’d say they’re doing pretty well.

 

But what happens if Facebook pushes something to production with a mistake not easily caught by automated unit tests?  For instance, what if they accidentally deployed some CSS that turned the “post” button and its text the same color as the background.  The flow of baby pictures would cease, even as all tests passed with flying colors.

 

Monitis offers “real user monitoring,”  which generalizes a specific case can address this situation.  You may want to monitor user behavior in terms of how they engage with the site.  If Facebook monitors how many times per second its users click “post,” and they see that drop to 0 after a production roll, they’ll know they have an issue almost immediately.  Even if they don’t know what causes it, they can triage and mitigate almost immediately.



Revenue


If you have responsibility for any sort of e-commerce operation, I strongly encourage you to monitor your revenue.  In a sense, you might consider this a specific instance of user engagement.  You’ll have some sort of normal drip of people making purchases.  Anything affecting that presents you with an obvious red flag.

 

You might be tempted to think of this as an accounting problem more than a technical one.  Let techies monitor the nuts and bolts and accounting can worry about P&L?  I don’t advise it. Purchases count as arguably the most important metric.  They form the lifeblood of your business.



Bounces


You mainly think of a “bounce” when you think of web applications.  Google defines bounce as “a single-page session on your site.”  I believe this plays on the opposite of “sticking.”  People land, and “bounce off” of your site.

 

I’m going to re-appropriate the term a bit for our purposes here and generalize it to all application platforms.  You might want to monitor the rate at which users exit your application from a particular page/screen.

 

When they leave from, say, an “exit” screen, then fine.  You’d want a high percentage of departures from expected places.  But if people being to leave from a place you’d expect them to remain engaged, that might give you insight into a problem of some kind.  This holds doubly true if it suddenly spikes in one particular place.



User Experience Concerns 


This particular concern would require some fairly sophisticated monitoring capabilities, most likely instrumented from within.  If you do implement such a thing, take care not to impact performance.  But, if you’re up for it, you might learn some interesting things.

 

Consider monitoring user behavior for user experience concerns.  For instance, do users consistently dismiss a dialog far too quickly to have read it?  Or perhaps do they all tend to execute the same key sequences to navigate through several screens?  If so, you might have located opportunities to improve your user experience.  Get rid of superfluous dialog messages and see about adding shortcuts for things they do frequently.

 

And you certainly aren’t limited by my suggestions here.  If you have the capability to monitor interactions like this, study your own users with their particular happens and look to improve their experience.



Time to Load Visual Elements


This is another item that you hear about most frequently in websites.  But, as with my looser interpretation of the “bounce” concept, you could really measure this anywhere.  After all, sluggishness is sluggishness.

 

If you find yourself in a position to monitor the visual performance of your software, you stand to benefit from doing so.  Few things torpedo the user experience as quickly as maddeningly slow loads.  If this is happening, you want to know about it.

 

This holds doubly true for visual elements superfluous or non-essential to the experience itself. In the world of websites, think of ads or random widgets.  And, while you can test a lot of this for yourself, concerns may arise in the wild that you can’t mimic in your own shop.



Think of Your Own in the Spirit of Innovation 


I’ve enjoyed the exercise in exploring what you might want to monitor.  As both an entrepreneur and software developer, I like thinking about possible implementations, offerings, and features.

 

In fact, that captures what I find so appealing about the DevOps movement.  As we marry software creation and software delivery, we open up an entirely new category of innovation, that requires new and powerful tools.  We can then combine those tools with the inventive spirit to deliver ever-higher quality software.



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This article was originally published on Monitis Blog, you can check it here.



Today it’s fairly well known that high-performing websites and applications bring in more visitors, higher SEO, and ultimately more sales. By the same token, downtime is disastrous for companies and can lead to major hits on a brand, reputation, and overall customer retention.

 

But there’s often a gap between knowledge and theory. In other words, people get the fact that high web performance is critical for revenue. But the reality is that somehow this gets lost in translation when it comes to implementation.

 

To be clear, web performance monitoring is defined as “the process of testing and verifying that end-users can interact with a website or web application as expected. Website monitoring is often used by businesses to ensure website uptime, performance, and functionality is as expected.”

 

If website performance is critically important to the success of your website, then what exactly are the key metrics you need to be tracking in order to measure that success? Let’s take a look at this question in more detail.


 

Page Load Time


This is one of the key metrics in web performance monitoring since everything today is about speed and seconds translate into dollars earned or lost. Page load time measures the time to load every content on a webpage. It’s calculated from the time the user clicks on a page link or types in a web address until the page is fully loaded in the browser.



Unique Visitor Traffic


This important measure tells you how many individual visitors are coming to your site in a predefined timeframe. An upward trend in this area will indicate that you’re providing content that is valuable to your target audience and shows that your marketing campaigns are successful.


  

Start Render Time 


Start Render Time is the first point in time that something is displayed on the screen. It doesn’t necessarily mean the user sees the page content. In fact, it could be something as simple as a background color. But it’s the first indication that something is happening on a website. Start Render Time has emerged as a key metric in web performance.

  


Bounce Rate 


This is a measure of the percentage of visitors to your website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate indicates that visitors are making it to your site but finding nothing of value to keep them there. A good explanation could be that the landing page either has no clear calls to action or else a poor overall design.

 


Direct Traffic


This is a measure of the traffic that reaches your website directly by typing your URL into their browser, using a bookmark, or clicking on an untagged link in an email or document. This measure can indicate that you’re doing a good job of creating original content through email marketing, newsletters, and other channels.

  


Requests Per Second


Requests per second is a key metric which tells you how many actions are being sent to the target server every second. A request can be considered as any resource on the page such as HTML pages, images, multimedia files, databases queries, etc.

 


Throughput 


Generally speaking, throughput is a measure of how many units of information a system can process in a given amount of time. It’s an important metric in web performance because it tells you how much bandwidth is required to handle a load of both concurrent users and website requests. You always want to aim for a higher value of throughput.

  


Error Rate 


This is a measure of the percentage of problem requests in relation to all requests. If you see a spike in the error rate at a particular point in a load test, then it’s a good indication that something is preventing the application from operating correctly. This is valuable information that you need clear insights on.

  


Peak Response Time 


This is a metric that looks at anomalies within the average response time by showing elements that are taking longer than normal to load. This metric offers a very helpful way to pinpoint slower than normal applications that should be investigated further.

  


Landing Page Conversions


This measures the number of visitors who reach your landing page and fill out a form to become a lead. Along with this metric, it’s important to keep eyes on all types of conversions in your marketing funnel (visitor to lead, lead to customer, and visitor to the customer) to ensure that you’re avoiding any roadblocks or bottlenecks that can keep them from converting.



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This article was initially published on Monitis Blog, you can read it here.


When it comes to deciding which approach to website performance monitoring is best for your business, unfortunately, like so many options in life . . . it depends. In this article, we will discuss two major monitoring approaches: Synthetic Transaction and Real User Monitoring.

 

Let’s break out a few points on each approach before discussing specific scenarios about when it makes sense for a business to deploy them.

 


Synthetic Transaction Monitoring 


Synthetic Transaction Monitoring is a form of active web monitoring and involves deploying behavioral scripts in a web browser to simulate the path a customer or end-user takes through a website. Synthetic transaction monitoring is especially important for high traffic sites as it allows webmasters to test new applications prior to launch. Synthetic transactions are scripted in advance and then uploaded to the cloud as a transaction test.

 

Of course, what we really want to know is when it makes most sense to deploy synthetic transaction monitoring in the real world. Here are 5 scenarios when you should be adopting this approach.

  


Entering a New Market


Before introducing a new application to market you want to have line-of-sight on how real users will interact with that application. Synthetic transaction monitoring provides the ability to simulate the projected real-world load to ensure your application can handle the projected load.

 

Another benefit of synthetic monitoring is that it helps you simulate what happens when you introduce your application to a new geography. It allows you to test and fix potential issues related to deployments in new regions such as connection speeds (DSL, cable broadband, fiber optics) before real end users arrive.

 

 

Troubleshooting Issues Before Customers Find Them


Synthetic monitoring helps you to set up baseline tests in order to measure the way your customers will interact with your websites, APIs, or mobile apps. This type of testing can provide direct feedback on performance degradation or availability issues. It also will help your team locate the root cause, engage the right experts, and fix issues before they impact the end users.

  


Testing New Features Prior to Deployment 


Synthetic monitoring is important at any stage of development but is especially useful for testing your web, mobile, or cloud-based applications before deploying new features into production. During this stage, synthetic monitoring can provide a set of baselines and thresholds that reveal any potential obstacles customers may encounter in the real world.

 

Synthetic transaction monitoring would also be most helpful for testing your site to simulate how it performs under peak traffic times. For example, if you’re trying to discover what the website will look like during the holiday shopping rush, then synthetic monitoring is your best bet. 


 

Comparing Your Performance to Your Competition 


With synthetic transaction monitoring, you can set up benchmark scenarios to see how your applications are performing over time. You can also benchmark your company’s performance against top competitors within a certain historical time frame or within a specific geographical region. This approach can be especially important for establishing your organization’s strategic outlook for the year as well as for preserving a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

 

 

Analyzing Your E-Commerce Strategy


If you’re in the ecommerce business, then synthetic transaction monitoring is especially useful for ensuring that your ecommerce strategy is firing on all cylinders. Here’s how one source describes it:

“In the world of e-commerce, a synthetic transaction can be a transaction that continuously tries to place an order and monitors if that order succeeded or not. If it does not succeed, it is an indicator that something is wrong and should get someone’s attention immediately.”

 

By setting up tests with synthetic monitoring you can get apprised, for instance, about when one of the steps in your website’s online transaction process is no longer working properly. By tracking and analyzing every click and swipe, synthetic transaction monitoring solution can help you to identify problems and prioritize fixes in your website to ensure that customers continue to have the kind of experience they’ve come to expect.



Real User Monitoring


Real User Monitoring, or RUM for short, is a form of passive web monitoring that has become very popular in recent years. In a nutshell, RUM describes exactly how your online visitors are interacting with your website or application by examining every transaction of every user; it does so by looking at everything from page load times to traffic bottlenecks to global DNS resolution delays. This is the kind of monitoring you need for the day to day, which ensures your business website keeps running optimally and that there are no downtime issues impacting your customers.

 

As with Synthetic Transaction Monitoring, we would also like to know the ideal situations when it makes most sense to adopt Real User Monitoring. Here are 5 scenarios when you should be using this approach.

 


Discover Hidden Performance Issues


Most people have used similar to Real User Monitoring products without even knowing it, such as Google Analytics. 

GA provides a good job of giving you high-level metrics such as page views, click paths, browser versions, and traffic sources. But professional Real User Monitoring is much more oriented towards performance and actual experience of your end-user. Google Analytics isn’t enough if you want a more granular understanding of who is interacting with your website.

 

Here are 10 reasons why it is smart to invest in Real User Monitoring.

 

A more full-featured Real User Monitoring solution will use small bits of JavaScript code to drill deeper and track key metrics across the website and application, including such events as DNS resolution, TCP connect time, SSL encryption negotiation, first-byte transmission, navigation display, page render time, TCP out-of-order segments, and user think time.

 

These metrics provide you with a more detailed picture of your total performance environment. Real User Monitoring is a way of looking at large amounts of data and slicing and dicing it until patterns begin to emerge. RUM can help you find those underlying performance issues that would otherwise go undetected and come back to bite you. 

 


See What Devices Your Visitors Are Using


It’s really helpful to know what percentage of your visitors are coming to your website on mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, and how many are using traditional desktops. Knowing this information can make a difference in how you customize the user experience.

 

For example, if you run an eCommerce website and find that at least half the traffic is coming through mobile devices, then you’re going to want to ensure the page load times are as optimal as possible. Expectations are particularly high on mobile sites. In fact, research shows that 57% mobile customers will abandon a site if they have to wait 3 seconds for it to load.

 

There are thousands of various devices, networks, and operating systems out there. By using Real User Monitoring, you can gather the relevant information on each device type in order to customize a user experience that is extraordinary.

 

Certain RUM platforms can also collect additional important information, such as network provider, OS, browser version, user location, application version, mobile device specs, connection type, network latency, and available end-to-end bandwidth.

 

 

Learn How Visitors Interact With Your Site


Visitors take a variety of paths to get to your website or application. Maybe they found you through some kind of blog or video content, an advertisement, or through social media. Once they land there, Real User Monitoring tells you exactly what they’re doing and how they’re interacting with your brand.

 

This is why understanding page views and load times, site page build performance, and users’ browser and platform performance – all across various geographical regions – are key metrics for understanding how your visitors are doing. This is critical because it provides a ton of useful data for how to optimize your site. By identifying important entry points, such as your eCommerce shopping cart, Real User Monitoring will help ensure the site can handle higher traffic loads – especially during peak holiday shopping times.

 


Discover How 3rd Party Scripts Are Performing


Today’s websites increasingly rely on third-party features such as carts, ads, customer reviews, web analytics, social networking, SEO, video and much more to provide outstanding customer experiences. These tools can be very useful but there’s also a downside. If one of the scripts is unoptimized it can keep your webpages from loading correctly. Another more common factor is that slow scripts can delay the load times of your site.

 

Real User Monitoring can assist in alerting you to potential or real performance degradations and downtime impacts that may result from third party scripts. Being able to monitor the business impact of third party scripts can also provide more line of sight on your service level agreements (SLAs) in order to hold the third-party vendors accountable.

 

 

Find Out How Performance Impacts Your Business Bottom-Line


Even with the shift in recent years to focusing on the end-user, there still tends to be an assumption within IT that application runtime metrics are enough to keep things flowing. It is not, and here’s why. Knowing how a single application is behaving at a point in time doesn’t necessarily give a full picture of your infrastructure. We need optics on the quality of the end-user experience across all applications on all devices at all times. It really comes down to this, as one writer has well summarized: “To translate IT metrics into an End-User-Experience that provides value back to the business.”

 

In other words, there needs to be a clear correlation between web performance and business performance. This is where Real User Monitoring can help. RUM can provide useful insights into the relationship between website load times and sales conversions on key pages so that you can prioritize which pages need to be optimized.

 

At the end of the day, what really matters is that your visitors are enjoying a great user experience at your site and converting into paying customers. The elegant website, the advertisements, the images and other the bells and whistles are all well and good. But if visitors are leaving your site soon after arriving, then something is amiss. Real User Monitoring can make the difference between a casual visitor and a paying customer.



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Read the original post on Monitis Blog.


Hi.  My name is Erik Dietrich, and this is the first time I’ve posted on the Monitis blog.  By way of introduction, I thought it would make sense to talk about my initial experience with Monitis.

 

Before I do that, though, I need to explain a bit about myself.   Don’t worry.  It’s relevant, I promise.

 

I’m a techie by trade.  Specifically, I have historically made a living as a software developer, architect, dev manager, CIO, and, these days, IT management and strategy consultant.  On top of that, I write and present frequently, including routine publishing to my own, tech-centric blog.

 

Because of this, I know a certain tension to which you can, no doubt, relate. I’m talking about the tension between not having time to build and look after your own website and thinking, “what kind of developer am I if I don’t build and look after my own site?”  I feel awkward about it, but over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better to leave my site’s development to WordPress and the folks that make themes for it.  I just don’t have time to take care of it myself.

 

But this delegation can lead to embarrassing lapses.  I write about software professionalism, IT strategy and the delivery of high quality solutions.  So when someone that follows me on Twitter sends a tweet informing me that my website has gone down, I can’t help but feel silly.  Anyone looking at the situation obviously knows that it’s my hosting company or, perhaps, something with WordPress.  But that doesn’t stop me from feeling the ironic sting of being the last to know about my own outage.



Mitigating Outages for Professionals


When I ran an IT department as the CIO, I had responsibility for some public facing web applications.  I understood acutely the embarrassment of an outage, and I understood how it could be mitigated.  If you become aware of it first and inform your users, you lose far less credibility in their eyes than if they find out and inform you instead.  The outage is still unfortunate for everyone, but you being on top of it makes it seem almost planned to the users that hear of it.

 

To make sure my group had this advantage, I oversaw the instrumentation of monitoring tools within our network.  This was some years ago now, so I don’t recall the particulars, but I do remember having a dashboard to peruse and getting emails and text notifications to alert me immediately of any problems.  This was powerful stuff.


  

Mitigating Outages for the Rest of Us

 

When it comes to my own blog and site, however, this sort of instrumentation never occurred to me.  I had sound reasoning.  An outage on my site is not critical to anyone.  Nobody logs in and interacts with the site in a high-touch way – it’s just content that I publish for people to read.  I don’t lose money when my site was down.

 

Because of all of these considerations, it made no sense to me to invest in monitoring.  I had a preconceived notion of the cost of such things, since I had, in the past, allocated budget for them.  Had I really gotten serious about it, I would have reasoned that I could probably do better in price a few years later and with different needs, but it never really bubbled up near the top of my own personal priority list.

 

This changed, however, when I encountered the Monitis product offering.  I’ll fast forward a bit and say that today, I have effective monitoring for my site that gives me exactly the data I want and costs me almost nothing.


  

Getting Started


I would offer a “how to” at this point, but you’ll have such an easy time it’s honestly not worth the bother.  Go to the main site, click “start monitoring now” and fill out the requested information.  That’s it.  Really.

 

I did this, and true to what they say, I had monitoring of my site set up within 3 minutes.  At the time I performed the setup, I recall being in something of a hurry, so I just kind of did a fire and forget.  I setup monitoring HTTP for my site, and didn’t think anything more of it for the rest of the day.

 

The next day, I got the email shown below.  I saw that they had hit my site with HTTP requests from 3 different locations.  Cumulative uptime of 100%, too.  I won’t lie — I was a bit relieved to see that “all good” seemed to be the default state of affairs.



For a few more days, I continued to receive this daily summary.  I had an even larger sample size of things being alright, and, about a week in, I found myself with a bit more time to dig into the monitoring itself.  I logged into my newly-created Monitis account and poked around in my dashboard.

 

The default monitoring that I had setup involved 3 locations making HTTP requests all day to my site.  If any 2 locations failed simultaneously, I would receive an email alert that my site was down.  At the time, I had signed up for a trial account, so my next bit of curiosity was “what will this cost me.”  When I went to the pricing page and punched up what this would cost on an ongoing basis, I found the result quite reasonable: $1.20 per month.

 

Wow.


 

My Takeaway: The Value Proposition

 

I could kick myself for not doing research earlier. I keep my finger on the pulse of many different trends and technologies.  And, if you would have asked me whether or not some kind of affordable site monitoring technology existed, I imagine I would have said, “gosh, probably.”

And yet, I never went out and did the research.

 

The obvious lesson here is that affordable and effective monitoring for your site exists.  Even if your site is simply you posting a food recipe or two per month, and a couple of your relatives reading it every now and then, it’s probably worth about a dollar per month to make sure it runs smoothly.  Call it peace of mind or call it professional pride.  Either way, if you have a site, you might as well keep an automated eye on it.

 

But the deeper lesson here is one of cost and specialization.  Cloud technology and its ramifications extend beyond, “it’s easy to provision a server.”  All facets of traditional IT are becoming commoditized and offered affordably and with good quality to people with budgets of all sizes.  If it’s been achievable for the enterprise for years, keep your eyes open, because, quite probably, a version is achievable for you as well.



Sign up for Monitis FREE 15-day full-featured trial! Premium plan starting from $12/month only! 



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Originally, this post was published on Monitis Blog, you can check it here.


Websites are getting bigger and more complicated by the day. Video, images and custom fonts are all great for showcasing your product or service. But the price to pay in terms of reduced page load times and ultimately, decreased sales, could lead to some difficult decisions about what to cut.

 

Web loads speeds are integral factors in determining your SEO and how long customers will stay at your site. But web design, as important as it is for driving traffic, can also get in the way of your ultimate goal of bringing customers and revenue. In other words, you must avoid page bloat at all costs!

 

This is why businesses today, more than ever, must develop a clearly defined web performance optimization strategy. In fact, web monitoring should be an integral part of your web design best practices. To be clear, web performance optimization (or WPO) is the science of making your website perform better so it increases visitor retention, improves SEO, and drives more sales.


To give a great case study of how WPO works, consider what 37signals (now Basecamp) did with their Highrise marketing website. Using A/B testing, the company did multiple tests to determine the best plan for their landing page. In one case, the original background was white and cluttered with information. A dramatic change was made by replacing this white background with a picture of a person smiling.

 

The new landing page led to an increase in signups at the Highrise site by 102.5%!

 

This list provides another 99 great case studies of how WPO made a huge difference in website conversions.

 

In what follows, we take things further by providing you a brief checklist of the key steps to ensuring your website performance optimization strategy is on track.



Keep Things Fast! 

Website conversions are integrally tied to the speed of the site. One second saved in download time can make all the difference between a sale or a bounce.


  

Check Your Web Hosting 

Your web hosting may offer “unlimited bandwidth” but if it involves shared services with other websites that impacts overall performance, then is it really worth it? It’s always a good idea to periodically review your hosting plan to ensure you’re getting the best value for your dollar.

  


Make Your Site Mobile First

Having a “mobile first” website is critical to success in today’s digital marketplace. If you don’t believe it, just consider that mobile commerce transactions in the United States alone are expected to total $123 billion in 2016

  


Image Optimization 

“Page bloat” – or the practice of cramming websites with high density images – has gotten out of hand and is the number one culprit for long page loading times. Don’t bloat your website! One of the best ways to ensure proper image optimization is to adopt correct sizing and formatting for all your images.

  


Go Easy with Affiliate Codes & Ads  

Ads and affiliate code are good . . . up to a point! But when you go overboard, this can lead to high bounce rates and can adversely impact your overall website performance. Constantly check how third-party applications impact your load speed! 

 


Cache Often 

Caching is a mechanism for the temporary storage of web pages in order to reduce bandwidth and improve performance. This saves server time and makes your website faster overall.

  


Use a CDN 

Content Delivery Networks deliver the static files of a website, like CSS, images, and JavaScript, through servers that are in closer proximity to the user’s physical location. Every second that you save in download time is dollars in your pocket.

  


Make Your CTA Front & Center 

Don’t make your landing page a game of “guess where to check-out the merchandise.” Visitors don’t want to spend extra time trying to figure out where to complete their transactions. Your Call to Action should be front and center on the landing page.



Adopt Cloud-based Website Monitoring 

Imagine having all of the vital statistics for your website in a nice convenient dashboard, and getting alerts about trouble spots long before they reach impact your customers. Cloud hosted web monitoring is the crucial component in today’s digital marketplace. IT system monitoring is first of all a real time data that can help you respond to problems. You cannot do without monitoring tools, if you hope to optimize and maximize your application’s performance.



Sign up for Monitis FREE 15-day full-featured trial! Premium plan starting from $12/month only! 

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3 proven steps to speed up Magento powered sites. The article focus is on optimizing time to first byte (TTFB), full page caching and configuring server for optimal performance.
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E-commerce is quite a gambling world, and you should never entrust your business to a lucky chance. In order to outrun your competitors in a race to attract as many customers as possible, you need to have a well thought-out strategy under your belt. So what are those three key ingredients that will make the recipe work and let your Magento store prosper?

magento-conversion-rate-optimization.png 

     1. Follow up e-mail strategy

 
Did you know that almost 80% of leads are captured between the 5th and 12th contact with a potential client? If it comes as a surprise to you, you surely need a better insight into your follow up e-mail strategy. While many Magento store owners fear being too e-mail overbearing, the statistics shows that you get only 2% of sales on the first contact, 3% by the second, 5% by the third, and finally, around 10% of sale only by the 4th contact with the client. Are you still doubt beating around the bush or are you ready to remind people of your Magento store? Simple guide-lines for a fresh start with a good follow up strategy:
 
  •  Don’t be faceless; put some personality into your e-mails
  •  Stick to well-structured informative content that is to the point
  •  It’s all about being in a relationship with the customer: do not forget such things as birthday congrats/discounts , for example
  •  Time your e-mails right and on a regular basis
  •  Don’t forget a “call-to-action” pitch; all you need is a link-click to your Magento store.


     2. Loyalty program

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Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform written in PHP for e-commerce web sites. Magento employs the MySQL/MariaDB relational database management system, the PHP programming language, and elements of the Zend Framework. It applies the conventions of object-oriented programming and model–view–controller architecture. Magento also uses the entity–attribute–value model to store data.

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