6 Powerful Tools to Help You Monitor Your Website Performance | Hacker Noon

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@peter-jobesPeter Jobes

Peter Jobes is a tech & blockchain writer. Featured in VentureBeat.

As we move into 2021, it feels as though there’s never been a better time to optimize your website’s performance. 

The emergence of Covid has forced millions of brick and mortar businesses to rethink their online strategies as a means of survival. The mass transition towards more eCommerce setups among retail organizations, in particular, has flooded the market with more competition and caused existing companies to ramp up their operations to compete. 

(Image: The Future of Commerce)

As we can see in the example above, eCommerce orders during the peak of lockdown rose by as much as 63% in 2020. This represented a significant rise in orders when compared to 2019. 

In a world that’s set to continue its transition away from high streets and towards working from home conditions, optimizing your company’s website has never been more vital. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that exist in order to effectively monitor your website’s performance. Let’s take a look at six leading examples and explore how they can help you to compete in an increasingly fierce digital environment: 

Google Analytics is the king of website performance tools. When attempting to optimize your website, it’s almost always done with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. Given that Google is by far the most popular search engine on the planet, it’s very much worth website owners tapping into the tech behemoth’s dedicated analytics platform. 

The best thing about Google Analytics is that it’s a free service that’s capable of tracking the performance of your desktop website, mobile applications, kiosks and just about anything that’s capable of accessing the internet. 

The insights that Google Analytics shares can concern information about who’s visiting your website, how they’re interacting with your pages, the decisions they’re making and the purchases they undertake. 

The platform can even easily integrate with your Google Ads account, meaning that you can craft data-driven advertising campaigns that are more likely to be a success. 

It’s also possible to create custom reports based on your needs. This helps you to track specific industry information, and Google Analytics even helps you to create customizable goals to better track your eCommerce performance. 

However, for all of its incontrovertible qualities, Google Analytics does have some drawbacks. One of the key issues with the platform is that it’s so intricate that many users need to dedicate some time towards ‘learning the language’ of the platform. 

While the free version of the tool offers a good level of insight, if you’re looking for a more in-depth overview of your website’s performance, it can set you back financially. To access Google Analytics 360, for instance, the cost to businesses can rise to as much as $150,000 per year. 

(Image: Rich Page)

Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) offers up the tools for website owners to perform extensive experiments through A/B testing various graphical and textual on-page elements. 

A/B testing forms the cornerstone of building a user-friendly site that displays favourable information and functions that can attract more clicks and conversions. 

The platform also offers users the ability to record visitor sessions for playback analysis. For instance, if a company used the live user recording feature on the VWO to find a significant error in the shipping of goods that appeared occasionally on-site, the playback feature can help in identifying and rectifying the problem. Sometimes these deep insights can be the only way for users to identify issues. 

VWO is a premium tool which requires businesses and website owners to get in touch to receive price quotations. However, there is a free trial of the platform available for users to get to grips with in the meantime. 

One of the most important aspects of your website – whether it’s an eCommerce outlet or focused on just about any other industry – will be its loading speeds

Different factors can slow your website down such as a heavy reliance on images and multimedia on your pages, or a cheap domain registrar, or below-average CDNs. Sadly, internet users have a habit of being somewhat impatient, and even if your landing page is the most awe-inspiring webpage on the internet, if it takes too long to load, everybody will have bounced away from your site before they even get a chance to see it. 

One of the most effective speed test tools out there comes in the form of Pingdom. There’s no login required to access Pingdom’s features and the reports are effectively streamlined in order to provide users with only the information that they need for an appropriate level of insight. 

When you fire up the tool, your website’s performance is graded from 0 to 100, and then has a breakdown of factors like response codes, content size, request types, requests by domain and a waterfall chart that helpfully visualizes the load times of your files. 

The best thing about

Pingdom’s Speed Test tool is that it’s free to run a single test from any of the 70 locations listed.

However, if you sign up to the platform’s Synthetics solution starting at $10 per month for 10 uptime checks, you can set yourself up with page speed monitoring as well as a system that alerts you to when your website experiences slow spells. This can be particularly useful if your site needs to maintain a high speed to ensure conversions take place. 

(Image: Datapine)

Zendesk is a platform that offers an entire suite of customer support and analytical products. In particular, Zendesk Explore is an omnichannel analytics tool that allows users to monitor their brand in a comprehensive manner while studying traffic flows from across various platforms. 

This website performance tool is great for monitoring traffic from multiple sources, whether they be organic traffic, social media or email clicks, all within a single dashboard. 

At the heart of Zendesk Explore is an unparalleled range of customization. Through the use of custom reports users can tailor their queries and dashboard results with various different aspects that can be relevant to their business. This allows you to tailor your data effectively in order to quickly access the metrics that mean the most to your site. 

To get to grips with the rich level of customizable analytics offered by Zendesk Explore, businesses can take advantage of a free trial, while a lite version of the product gives users a free insight into the sort of performance tips and tricks they can discover on the platform. The premium services offered by Zendesk Explore are relatively manageable also, with prices starting from as little as $15 per month

Weighing in as a more robust website analytics tool, Finteza attempts to build on the wealth of actionable data offered up by Google Analytics while working on hauling it into a user-friendly interface at a less-competitive price. 

It’s hard to go toe-to-toe with the might of Google Analytics, but Finteza offers quality in terms of usability and the imaging of data in ways that the intricacies of Google struggle to manage. 

Finteza is wholly focused on helping website owners to discover the true quality of their website traffic – from insights into the ratio of visitors who are in fact bot crawlers and website performance insights to easily identifying the 12 forms of ‘bad traffic’ that a website can receive. 

Understanding that quality is just as sought after as quantity when it comes to the delivery of information, Finteza offers users the choice of 15 different types of audience reports to get stuck into. 

However, for all of its promising developments, Finteza sadly doesn’t offer any form of free plan at the time of writing. However, at a cost of $4 per 100,000 impressions per month, it can be a very cost-effective way for smaller businesses to embrace the world of analytics. 

(Image: Angel)

One of the key facets of website performance in the world of eCommerce revolves around customer databases. As companies grow, so too can their customer databases. This can cause issues when the data they convey becomes unwieldy, siloed and segmented. 

More problems can emerge when there’s no standard data governance plan in place for businesses. Abbreviations and variations of words can often cause confusion and mislead the reporting process. 

However, Segment tries to resolve these problems by establishing an infrastructure to collect, clean and control customer data on behalf of a business.

By integrating with a huge list of tools like Google Analytics, Salesforce and Facebook Pixel among many others, the platform can actively look after scores of data that can help to optimize your website through a wealth of insights

Segment is especially important as a tool for eCommerce sites that will rely on the collection of data surrounding customers in order to optimize its operations.

Fortunately, there’s a free version of the tool available to get to grips with, while premium pricing starts at $120 per month. 

Conclusion

2021 will likely see a continuation of the massive remote work trend that’s been taking place during the age of Covid. If you’re looking to make the most of the online presence of your business, the tools listed here can aid you in jumping ahead of your competitors and leveraging sales that could ultimately help to keep your company afloat during these unfamiliar times.

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Peter Jobes is a tech & blockchain writer. Featured in VentureBeat.

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