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Aware Monitoring; the easiest way to measure your website's performance.


Frequently Asked Questions: Part I

What type of monitoring do you offer?

Aware Monitoring offers website performance monitoring, including
uptime (protocol) HTTP/HTTPS monitoring, real-browser single page
asset or journey monitoring, and API monitoring.  By simulating a user’s
experience and tracking data about the results, what we provide is
valuable insight into what your users and customers see when they
visit your site.  You or your IT team will be able to self-manage and set thresholds
for the uptime, API and page monitors using your application dashboard.

I use Google Analytics or another analytics software. Why do I need
your service?

Performance monitoring and user analytics monitoring are different
from each other. Whereas user analytics such as Google analytics track
visits and visitors to your page, performance analytics returns
measurements of their experience of your website, such as whether or
not the page loaded and how long it took to load. If you are
interested in tracking user analytics, you must also be concerned
about those users who are unable to access your site or who leave
because the page is loading too slowly. A performance monitoring
service from an end-user perspective can help you to address these
issues and optimise your pages for the best user experience.

I already have internal (systems) monitoring. What’s the difference?

Aware Monitoring does not directly monitor internal systems, or what
goes on behind closed firewalls.  Instead, we specialise in external
monitoring from multiple international locations, providing a window
into the end-user experience, or what your customer or application
user sees when s/he attempts to load your website.  Thus, the
information we provide enables you to improve upon the structure and
layout of your web site itself  to help maintain high-quality site
performance as you make changes over time.

I check my website every day/all the time, and it's never down. Why
should I monitor performance?

Self-monitoring your website is the least effective strategy for
website maintenance and optimisation.  It is impossible for you to
monitor your website 24/7, and therefore, you leave yourself at risk
of website errors due to the dynamic nature of the web and of most
websites as well. Dedicated, round-the-clock monitoring is a necessity
for any website that prioritises the user experience, whether it is a
brochure site, an e-retail site or a SaaS/web application provider.
You do not want confused or angry customers to be the way you find out
your site is down or not working!

Additionally, performance monitoring is an ideal way to begin tracking
and collecting statistics that will help you to improve and optimise
your website over time to better satisfy customers and help you
outperform your competition.

What are the differences between the types of monitoring you offer?

Uptime monitoring, otherwise known as protocol monitoring, is a simple
check to see if a site is up or down. If it is up, an uptime monitor
will not return an error, while if it is down, it will. This type of
monitoring will return a page load time, but on page text alone.

Single page asset monitoring, which we perform with a real browser,
will return the load times of all of the components of the page,
including, text, images, and Javascript, and everything else the
browser loads. This information can then be used to make changes
to these elements to improve and optimise the page.

Journey monitoring is a software script set up by Aware Monitoring to
check a user journey through a site. It is essentially a number of
single-page asset monitors that are set up to check in a particular
order that is customised to the needs of your site. Like the single
page asset monitoring, journey monitoring is done through a real
Firefox browser at the testing node; hence, “real-browser journey

For example, a common e-retailer journey monitoring script may enter a
term in a search box, make a selection, put it in a shopping basket
and load the check-out page, and return the results of how long each
step took and whether or not it encountered any errors. This type of
monitoring is critical to gain an understanding of the end-user
experience on your site.

I understand downtime, but what's the big deal with slowdowns?

Slowly loading websites mean lost customers. In today’s fast-paced
Internet world, switching costs are low, attention spans are short and
customer patience is shorter. Slow -loading pages are regarded as
time-wasters, and pages that time out are not to be trusted.  Optimal
page load times have fallen from 8 to 4 seconds (Akamai, 2006), and
tolerable wait times to only 2 seconds (Nah, 2004).  Research by
Guidance/Synovate (2009) shows more than a third of potential
customers leave when a website is experiencing problems.  Not only do
slowly loading web pages cost businesses customers and revenue, but
online reputation and overall customer satisfaction
 suffers as well.  The experience a user has on their first visit to
your website influences not only whether or not they will buy, but
also whether or not they will return.

What's the difference between your services and free tools?

In general, most free tools do not give the depth and breadth of
service offered by a dedicated performance monitoring service.
Low-end providers only ‘ping’ for uptime, do not reveal component load
times, and do not enable you to set thresholds for errors, making it
very difficult to benchmark and optimise a site based only on the
information they provide.

Benchmarking and optimisation are two main ways by which you can
improve customer satisfaction, enabling higher usage and usually more
sales.  Aware Monitoring’s tool enables you to benchmark your site
against itself, against competitors, and against Internet giants so
you can tell how your site is performing in relation to others.  For
web application providers, we see that speed is inversely correlated
to usage, with decreases in the load time of Google Maps from 100KB to
70-80KB causing traffic to increase 10% in the first week, and an
additional 25% in the following three weeks (Farber 2006 as cited by
Peer1, 2011). However, in order to optimise, you must have a
monitoring solution that measures and tracks your performance,
including component load times, over time. Most free or freemium tools
(Pingdom, Firebug, etc.) do not provide this capability.

What is API (Application Programming Interface) monitoring?

API monitoring is a service that monitors the performance and uptime
of your APIs or those of external providers using a protocol monitor.  
The performance of external APIs can be a critical factor in
the load time of your website, like Google Maps, PostCode Anywhere,
or CDN. If any of these external APIs are not functioning, it
will have a detrimental effect upon the delivery of your service.
Monitoring with a dedicated service will alert you to any API issues
as soon as they occur.

Related tags: API, FAQ, downtime, monitors, protocol, real-browser, slowdowns, uptime, user-journey

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