How to Identify What’s Slowing Down Your Website
It’s no secret that today’s users demand speed. Every extra second your website takes to load will cause users to drop and potentially send them running to your competition. But identifying what’s causing your website to be slow and for which users is often a mystery. Today’s websites can be made up of hundreds of components making calls to different backend systems. And it’s not just your code and infrastructure anymore – advertisements, content delivery networks and other 3rd party integrations can have a major impact on your site performance. If one of these components is down or slow, your customers may feel like they’ve been transported back to dial-up days while they wait for your website to load.
Identifying what caused slow load times for your customers can be difficult to troubleshoot. Today, resource load time testing is usually done through synthetic monitoring – basically pinging your site from various locations around the world to determine load times. While synthetic monitoring is a good start, it has some drawbacks. The biggest gap is that you can’t get a real understanding of what your customers are experiencing.
If a user experiences an issue that isn’t captured by your synthetic monitoring tool, your team will get support tickets and then try to replicate exactly what the user was doing, often relying on information from the user which delays mean time to resolution. And even if you have synthetic monitoring in place, the issue may not present itself. For example, a user may encounter tailored content on your site based on their browsing history. The content and advertisements they are served may be unique to them which makes for a great customer experience, if the site loads properly. Synthetics may not be enough to capture all of the elements you serve up to different users, causing a blind spot in your performance monitoring.
Real User Monitoring with App Analytics
To truly understand your site’s performance, you need an app analytics solution with visibility into how quickly these components load for real users. In the latest release of CA App Experience Analytics, we’ve added real user resource waterfalls which allows you to drill down into individual sessions to see exactly what an individual or group of users experienced when they reached your site. This lets you to determine how quickly the components loaded and which components caused the slow load times, whether it was an internal or 3rd party resource.
Armed with this data, your team can easily draw conclusions and speed up mean time to resolution so the rest of your customers aren’t impacted. It also allows you to ensure that 3rd party integrations are meeting performance SLAs.
The real user session detail allows you to go beyond monitoring app performance by enabling you to truly understand what your customers are experiencing on your site. The resource waterfall combined with, session replays, heatmaps and drop rates gives you a clear view of what an individual encountered when they visited your site so you can understand the experience your customers are encountering and how to optimize it.
You can try the resource waterfall for yourself by signing up for a free 30-day trial of CA Digital Experience Insights and entering the App Experience Analytics capability.