5 Tools to Analyze Your Website Performance
So you’ve created a stunning mobile business website with fantastic usability. The hard part is done, right? Unfortunately no, in order for your website to perform at its peak, continuous improvement is necessary. The business climate is competitive, and websites are still the frontline for building brand awareness and trust. With all the changes constantly occurring in technology and your business, you cannot afford to set it and forget it.
Growth Driven Design is the new model of website development that recognizes that technology and your businesses are not standing still, and neither should your online marketing. By making incremental improvements consistently over time, your website can continue to function at peak performance, and even improve right along with your business growth. However, in order to continually improve, you have to set a benchmark of performance right now. In this post I’m going to give you five tools that you can use to analyze your website performance, and then work to improve everything from load speed to conversion rate.
Availability & Speed
First of all, to understand how effective your website is with your visitors, you need to know what their experience using it is like. Speed and availability refer to how quickly your site loads a page, and what percentage of the time it is working. Speed can be indexed occasionally or in realtime, while availability needs to be constantly tracked over time. Since being accessible is obviously crucial, you shouldn’t overlook this as you analyze your website performance.
This company bills itself as “Everything you need for website monitoring,” and they’ve nailed it. Their tools can monitor simple site uptime, or web app uptime. You can program several steps, which is handy if you have an e-commerce store, because Pingdom will take a product, add it to a cart, checkout and pay. If it cannot make it through the steps, your customers can’t either, and you are losing sales.
Using Pingdom’s Real User Monitoring, you can see in real-time how quickly your site is loading for every visitor. Does your site load quickly for visitors geographically near it, but very slowly for overseas visitors? Perhaps you need to implement a CDN, and Pingdom will help you determine when this is necessary.
Pingdom also has several free resources for testing site speed and providing feedback for what else can be optimized. If you haven’t chosen a good web host, your performance in uptime and speed will be negatively impacted.
If you are a fan of simplicity, you will appreciate Uptime Robot. This is a simple and inexpensive way to monitor uptime of your website, and quickly get notifications when your site is down. It doesn’t have as many options for what those checks can do, but it serves a place as a backup uptime check, or for non-production sites. Since the service is completely free for up to 50 monitors, you don’t need to feel bad about using it to monitor just about everything.
Monitor any website that you have a stake in to see if your really getting the uptime performance that you’re being sold. Or monitor your competitor’s websites to gain some insight into where they are cutting corners.
It also has a slick user interface and produces nice graphics that look good using in reports.
Knowing as much as possible about the visitors to your website has always been important, and most likely you are familiar with Google Analytics, which is a fairly universal tool for gathering these statistics. However, there are several other options that can compliment or replace the Google machine for this purpose. Getting to know your visitors and the content they view is the next step in analyzing your website performance.
Gauges offers a simplified version of analytics that makes it easy to quickly set up and understand your content’s appeal. This is especially important if you’re writing a business blog and you need to know what is resonating with visitors. Gauges shows you in real time what visitors are interested in and how they got to your site. It has a slick Air Traffic Live view that also shows real-time traffic on a map.
Have you ever wanted to know what people are most interested in on your site? Crazy Egg creates a heat map of your website, showing you where people are clicking, hovering their mouse, and how far down the page they make it before losing interest. If your main call-to-action is not getting as much action as you’d expect, Crazy Egg can give you some insight into why.
The most powerful of the tools listed here, HubSpot doesn’t come cheap, but its ability to tie together powerful analytics, social media marketing, email marketing, SEO and marketing automation makes it a revenue generating fiend. HubSpot analytics show every step of the journey from visitor to customer, and this insight gives you the information you need to hone in on those channels that are most effective for your business.
HubSpot is designed to be a one-stop online marketing shop, with all the tools and power you’ll need to successfully market your business online, using inbound marketing (a term that HubSpot coined). While the expense and the complexity might mean it isn’t a good fit for some businesses, it is still a tool that every marketer should know about.
If you are looking for a one stop shop for everything from email, accounting, and help desk software to marketing automation, you need look no further than Zoho. Their tag-line “Operating System for Business” is well deserved, and I have been very impressed with their tools that I have used. They have undergone a major shift over the last couple years and have integrated all these tools into a powerful suite of cloud business tools.
The days of not knowing who is visiting your website and why, and what you can do to reach them better are over. If you are not working on improving your site every month, or even every week, then your website is languishing and becoming less effective every day. Growth Driven Design is no longer an option, it is the new standard by which all businesses will be measured.