5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Better Website
Test and Monitor | Posted January 07, 2013

Every year, it’s the same old thing – you’re going to go back to your high school weight, exercise every day rain or shine, save twice as much as you did last year (what’s zero times two?), get a new job that feeds your soul… Okay, when you get through making THAT list, how about turning your attention to a new set of resolutions that you can actually accomplish?

Here's a handful of our favorite tips to help get your site in tiptop shape so you have more time for the treadmill yourself.

1. Get serious about API Monitoring

Very few websites or web applications these days don’t use a generous number of APIs but the reality is that few system administrators monitor their performance. APIs are the glue that holds your applications together, and in many cases, third-party APIs create a big part of the user’s experience with your site. And yet, many companies don’t monitor them to ensure that they are responding within a reasonable threshold. Make 2013 the year you get serious about creating monitors for your APIs, including the ones your company relies on but didn’t build.

2. Don’t assume one browser is the same as another

When you run your web performance monitors, are you just running them against one browser and assuming that’s enough? When you use a browser for your work, do they all work the same? Everyone has a favorite browser, largely for performance and stability reasons. So, make sure your users are getting the right performance no matter what browser they favor. Even if your quality assurance team tested in all three of the major browsers, we all know that a new release of a browser can change its performance. This year, make sure your browser-level monitoring is running against all the browsers your users care most about.Resolution kanban board

3. Build more durable monitors

You run hundreds, if not thousands, of monitors every day against a whole host of site elements. The last thing you need is to get false alarms from some of your critical monitors because the data they return is unpredictable. In 2013, take the time to plan out which monitors need branching and conditional activities so they can stand up under things like out-of-inventory conditions or A/B testing for your web pages. Then build those branches so you can sleep through the night instead of responding to false alarms.

4. Focus more on Perceived Performance

It’s great that you're running system monitors that tell you how well your site is performing at the infrastructure level. But does that really tell you how it feels to be a user on your site? While it can be crucial to make sure that the code in your production environment is responding as expected, that often does not correlate to your user’s experiences. Make 2013 the year you add the user perspective to your monitoring plans so you can ensure that the “above-the-fold” experience is a good one.

5. Make sure you have the right tools

You probably don’t go to the gym and run in place for an hour as part of your fitness regime. In fact, you picked your gym because it was easy to get to and had a host of equipment available. So, why make your website get in shape without the same advantages? Spend some time researching the available tools that can give you the flexibility and reporting you need in order to make 2013 your website’s best year ever.

Happy New Year to all of you from the SmartBear team!

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