Making your customers happy is essential in any industry, but it’s imperative for online businesses because the competition is only a few clicks away. If you want your customers to be satisfied, providing them a great user experience is essential.
This is easier said than done, however. There are many approaches for organizations wanting to improve their user experience, and picking the right one can become overwhelming. We’re here to help.
In this post, we’ll show how website monitoring is a vital technique for achieving a great user experience.
How Does Website Monitoring Help You Improve the End-User Experience?
Website monitoring is the practice of using automated, synthetic checks and real user data to monitor how your site or web app behaves in production. The most basic types of monitoring check for uptime and performance, but there’s much more to it than this.
We’ll walk you through five ways website monitoring can help your organization improve its end-user experience.
It Helps You Verify and Ensure Availability
Uptime is undoubtedly the most crucial factor for the end-user experience. After all, the worst possible user experience is not being able to access the website/app at all. Additionally, every second your app, service, or online store stays down represents a loss of revenue and a stain on your company’s reputation.
With the help of alerts and notifications, website monitoring enables organizations to detect when their sites are down so they can investigate, find, and fix the problem and get their websites back online.
Uptime/availability is the most important factor in the end-user experience because all the following factors rely on it. It’s the foundation upon which you build everything else.
It Helps You Ensure Fast Loading Times
Ensuring your website is online is a great first step, but it’s a first step nonetheless. It’s also vital to ensure it performs great. Why?
Do you like slow pages? I sure don’t. Neither does Google. Slow page speeds negatively affect SEO. If your website is slow, users will be less likely to find it in search results in the first place.
Even if users do find your slow site, they’re less likely to buy from it. It’s long been documented that slow load times impact conversion rates. When your page takes too long to load, the bounce rate increases and conversion rates go down. Response time is another key metric contributing to the overall end-user experience when it comes to website performance.
With website monitoring, you can monitor both response time and load time. You can set benchmarks for the ideal performance and get notified when these metrics go above the thresholds. If specific geographic regions, platforms, or browsers are important to your website, real user monitoring (RUM) can identify hot spots for poor load times so you can track satisfaction.
You Can Test Complex Site Interactions
Ensuring your website is online and performing is crucial for providing a great end-user experience. But does your site have a login, cart checkout, or signup form?
Modern websites do a lot more than just display a bunch of information. Instead, they’re often full-fledged applications. Users can interact with them in complex ways using rich workflows. If these workflows don’t work as expected, it’ll harm the user experience, so it’s essential for organizations to test them.
Under the overall website monitoring umbrella, synthetic monitoring is the practice of using software to simulate real users interacting with the application. Synthetic monitoring helps you validate crucial interactions by creating automated tests to verify the workflows work as intended.
You can—and should—set alerts to let you know when things go wrong. With synthetic monitoring, you can also simulate accesses from different regions of the world, ensuring the workflows work as intended no matter where they’re being accessed from.
It Allows You to Act Proactively
When there’s something wrong with your live site or app, it’s crucial for you to react as quickly as possible. But do you know what’s even better than this? Being able to detect and fix problems before they affect users.
Website monitoring allows you to identify many different issues with your website. You can set up alerts and notifications to ensure the relevant people get notified about issues so they can fix them ASAP.
Why is acting proactively so important? Well, it boils down to reputation. We live in the social media age. If you have the opportunity to find out about an issue before your frustrated customer vents about it on Twitter, you’d better take it. And this is exactly the kind of opportunity you get by adopting website monitoring.
It Helps You Detect and Fix Regressions and Edge Case Issues
Fixing a bug might make an old one reappear. Adding a new feature might break an existing one. We call these types of problems software regressions. They’re a common source of poor user experience.
Edge case scenarios are rare but possible situations. Because of their rarity, they’re often not covered by more traditional forms of testing. When they occur, they harm the end-user experience.
How can website monitoring help with these two problems?
First, your monitoring checks can act as a regression testing suite of sorts. This is especially true if your organization acquires the habit of—whenever a bug is found—creating a failing check for it before it’s fixed. If the bug ever reappears, you should be notified.
When it comes to edge case scenarios, synthetic monitoring can come in handy. Since it simulates user interactions, you can use it to cover corner cases or edge case scenarios you wouldn’t find through means relying on manual interaction with the site, such as manual exploratory testing or even real user monitoring.
Adopt Website Monitoring and Stay One Step Ahead of Problems
When it comes to online businesses, we live in fiercely competitive times. No organization can afford to offer its customers a poor end-user experience. If they do, they’re virtually begging for their customers to go to their competitors instead.
What can companies do to provide the best possible user experience? The first step is education. Engineers must be aware of tips, techniques, and best practices they should use to ensure a great user experience.
Despite education being so important, it can only go so far. Even the most qualified engineers still make mistakes. Besides, the complexity of modern software development pretty much guarantees something will eventually go off the rails. There are just too many moving parts for everything to work smoothly all the time.
Aside from educating their personnel, every organization that cares about user experience should also invest in tools and automation.
A great website monitoring tool allows you to stay one step ahead of problems—and the competition. By using the right types of automated checks, you can ensure problems will be found as soon as possible. But this is useless if the right people don’t learn about the issues. With the help of alerts and notifications, you can ensure this information reaches the relevant people, who can then take the necessary steps to fix the problems before they affect users.
Now that you know what website monitoring can do for your organization, the next step is finding a tool. We invite you to start a free trial of SolarWinds® Pingdom® today and start reaping the benefits you’ve learned about in today’s post.
This post was written by Carlos Schults. Carlos is a consultant and software engineer with experience in desktop, web, and mobile development. Though his primary language is C#, he has experience with a number of languages and platforms. His main interests include automated testing, version control, and code quality.