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Website Monitoring: Make Sure Your Traffic Has Where to Land

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 9 min read
Website Monitoring: Make Sure Your Traffic Has Where to Land

Intro

Today, websites are the centerpiece of everything you do in your business. You have to ensure that your website can work smoothly as any kind of failure might lead to the loss of many customers. Your website is your gateway to the whole world. This is to emphasize that having a website monitoring system to avoid any failures is critical for any business.

As a business owner or the person in charge of an organization’s website, you have to know about any issues on your website instantly to be able to properly use the traffic and prevent customers from having an unpleasant experience visiting your website.

DIY monitoring is extremely time-consuming and rather impossible, which is why you need a complete set of website monitoring tools to help you monitor every single action on your website and have everything under your control.

What is Website Monitoring?

Since technology is growing extremely fast, website monitoring techniques are also being enhanced continuously. That is a result of several socio-economic issues such as Covid-19 and the reduction of retail sales.

The term “Website Monitoring” is commonly used to explain how web teams measure the reliability, performance, and security of a website. Websites are today much more complex than before, with all the multiple third parties, online payment theft, and improved performance.

Most businesses today care about their websites more than they ever did. If an unwanted problem occurs on their website, companies immediately try to address it and prevent it from a repeated occurrence.

The data relating to website monitoring can be collected in two ways:

  • Synthetic Monitoring: A website monitoring platform that acts as a customer
  • Real User Monitoring: A website monitoring platform that collects data from a real user’s machine

Each of these website monitoring types is individually advantageous, let alone using both of them together. Synthetic monitoring helps with deep technical data analysis, depending on the amount of data you need.

Real users also geographically and technically deal with impacts on certain groups. When these two monitoring types are used together, they can provide a complete picture of the website experience.

There is also another way to categorize website monitoring:

  • Monitoring client-side: Related to what is happening to the customer, or “the outside looking in
  • Monitoring resources: Related to what is happening to the system, or “the inside looking out

This classification simply means that if your server is working smoothly, it does not mean that your customer is happy too, and vice versa. Both sides are important.

With all the advancements in the cloud system in addition to the improvements in application performance management systems, server monitoring is now very easier than before. That is why most website monitoring platforms are focused more on the client side of the websites, instead of monitoring the server.

How Website Monitoring Works

A global network of cloud servers works in the process of website monitoring. This global network interacts with a website to make sure that everything is working precisely. The platform tries to test the website and performs multiple actions to collect all the integral website monitoring data.

A website monitoring platform can usually do the following tasks to find the required data:

  • Connects to the website to see if it is available
  • Checks the return for response code to see if the website is responding properly
  • Checks the content to see if the website is performing as expected
  • Loads the content into a real browser to capture a point in time
  • Records the time of loading for any page element to see if it works
  • Tests the website against over 200 industry-standard checks
  • Tests a complete user journey including login, search, purchase, etc.
  • Collates all of the test results as a single entity to find the problem
  • Creates trends at a website and account level to see if the problem is repeating
  • Visualizes the errors in alerts, dashboards, and reports

Why You Should Use Website Monitoring

Lack of website monitoring can cause several damages to your website. You will not be able to find out about the issues, and your website may slow down and even crash. The data on your website may soon get lost, and you will face unexpected and extended downtime, especially if you have an important organization or business.

Almost 88 percent of the customers who have a bad experience when visiting a website are much less likely to return. It is safe to say that downtimes can eventually lead to reputational damage as well as loss of customers.

But website monitoring is not useful only to react to issues. The information you receive from website monitoring can enhance your website user experience, optimize its performance, find intermittent problems, and even empower SEO which leads to even more sales and better ranks on search engines.

In other words, website monitoring has moved from reactive issue management to proactive revenue gathering, and this is what the next generation of website monitoring is looking after.

This is particularly beneficial to online stores that deal with noticeable financial transactions and sales. Downtimes in such stores can easily lead to considerable losses and even thefts. It is safe to say that eCommerce monitoring for online businesses can be extremely integral as they can monitor their entire sales process with ease.

Types of Website Monitoring

When you simply click a button on a website or purchase an item there, thousands of things happen and numerous different problems may occur. There are several website monitoring types that can show you a bigger picture of overall website performance.

1. Uptime Monitoring

This is the most common type of website monitoring. Through that, a request is sent to a webpage to see if it responds and whether the response code is correct. This type of monitoring should not be used alone because sometimes the page may be responding, while the content of the page may be corrupt.

To prevent this, most of the time you should perform a content check on the page. In this monitoring type, no actual image or element is downloaded, so the real performance data cannot be received; however, this gives you a great view of seconds-by-second availability.

2. API Monitoring

If you do a simple search for something online, the results are requested from an API, which is often a third party. Briefly speaking, a powerful “backend” process runs to deliver data and any issue can easily lead to faulty services, so your API must be running precisely.

To monitor the API, a response is requested from the API and it is then measured to make sure it is correct. More advanced API monitoring even allows teams to chain requests together to see if the logic is working. For example, send this request to the API and if it is received, do something predefined. The monitor can only pass if the ultimate part of the test is successfully passed. This is called chained API monitoring.

3. Server Monitoring

We usually forget that there is a cable, a switch, and a physical server behind anything we see on the Internet. Years ago, websites were hosted on a limited number of physical servers. That is why any kind of failure needed to be addressed right away.

However, most websites today run in clustered highly resilient server environments in the cloud, often hosted by professional teams. Therefore, the failures are not as commonplace as before, but still, a slow or unreliable server can affect the user’s experience negatively. That is to say, server monitoring is crucially important.

Monitoring the performance of the server also helps you identify the following items:

  • Availability and data loss
  • Responsiveness of the server
  • Server capacity
  • User load
  • Speed of the server

4. Performance Monitoring

Performance monitoring is critically important in complex websites, and marginal shifts can negatively affect revenues. Performance monitoring makes sure that the website is showing the essential content as fast as possible.

If it takes more than 3 seconds for your website to load, you may lose up to 40 percent of your traffic. Enhancing the performance of your website can increase your conversions by over 7 percent per second.

Web performance optimization teams can use both synthetic tests and real user monitoring to inspect data right down to a specific file level to optimize the entire webpage and help the website deliver its ultimate potential.

5. User Journey Monitoring

User journey monitoring is a technique used to monitor critical functionality or transactions of a website. For example, when you fill your shopping basket on a retail website, the availability and responsiveness of the website might be proper, but if the functionality is slow or failing, the user experience will be equally impacted.

To avoid this issue negatively affecting brand loyalty, teams run synthetic tests to make sure that the core website functions are working within the proper threshold. During these tests, a script is run to imitate the user interacting with the website. This is pretty much similar to an online mystery shopper testing the website’s process at regular intervals.

6. Third-Party Monitoring

Due to the modern websites’ complexity today, the challenges of monitoring have increased dramatically. Most websites rely on third-party technologies now.

You have to monitor the third parties to make sure they are available and working properly. Third parties account for a huge proportion of performance and security issues. That is why monitoring them is extremely important to ensure they can deliver a return on investment.

7. Website Assurance Monitoring

Another integral aspect of website monitoring is assurance. It is used to monitor all dependencies of a website.

Critical components in a website including the SSL Certificate and the website domain are hugely important factors whose failure can lead to devastating issues. The availability of these components is vital for any website.

8. Security Monitoring

Security is an overlooked aspect of website monitoring. Your website is what connects your customers to your organization. That is why online payment theft is one of the most essential threats to the reputation of your business.

Almost 30,000 websites are hacked around the globe on a daily basis. Around 64 percent of organizations have experienced at least one form of cyberattack. Also, there were 20 million breached records back in 2021.

To keep your organization's website secure, you need to perform vulnerability scanning, perimeter monitoring, and more. But, what if your website is hacked or one of your teams mistakenly leaves a door open? This proves the importance of website security monitoring.

9. Core Web Vitals Monitoring

Core Web Vitals are a collection of metrics that measures the user experience stages of a webpage, including interactivity, loading, and visual stability. These stages apply to all web pages and any website owner needs to measure them to provide the best user experience.

First Input Delay (FID) measures interactivity, Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures loading performance, and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures visual stability. Your Core Web Vitals are compared to the values recommended by Google.

Internal Monitoring or External Monitoring: Which is Better?

Should you monitor your website from inside or outside of the firewall? Most people believe that external monitoring is the more reliable option.

Internal monitoring is only useful when users behind a firewall such as corporate Ethernet access the website. Also, it means that the monitoring service is already inside the same environment that needs to be monitored. The occurrence of an outage can lead to undetected issues in internal monitoring that will eventually affect the end-user’s experience.

On the other hand, external monitoring can prevent failures resulting in internal monitoring and notify the support team when there is an outage. Another thing to consider about external monitoring is localized problems where only a portion of users in specific geographical areas are affected.

Some errors such as DNS lookup errors and poor performance affect only some users, which is why testing using checkpoints located near the users can detect localized errors and poor performance.

Why You Should Externally Monitor Your Website

If you still do not know if external website monitoring can be beneficial to your business, here are some benefits to consider:

  1. Immediate Detection of Failures: Website monitoring systems let you know about any issues instantly before a customer or your boss warns you about them.

  2. Minimized Downtime: You will be able to minimize your downtime as your monitoring system warns you about issues in a flash.

  3. Verify Your Hosting Provider Quality: You should not rely only on your hosting provider as they do not care about informing you of downtimes. Website monitoring allows you to verify uptime reports delivered by a hosting provider and set your subcontractors as additional alert recipients to shorten the reaction time.

  4. Prevent the Waste of Your Campaign Budget: Outage consequences are the worst during advertising activities as they can negatively affect your brand and your customer’s campaign is not displaying during the downtime.

  5. Monitoring the Server Performance: Monitoring your website allows you to predict and prevent a failure such as when a load exceeds the server's capabilities. You will then have time to react before the website goes down.

  6. Discovering Hidden Problems: An example of this is when everything is running smoothly on your website, but your contact form is not. You will only notice the issue after you detect the number of contacts has dropped. Website monitoring can help you detect these hidden issues too.

  7. Detecting Unauthorized Interference: Website monitoring allows you to verify file checksum and compare it with its reference. This way, you will be alerted if a hacker or virus tries to modify a key file on your website.

  8. Check Everything Beyond Your Website: Website monitoring is not only useful for monitoring a website and web servers; it allows you to test your mail server, file server, database server, and more.

  9. Inexpensive and Without Installing Anything: Using a website monitoring system will cost you only a few hundred dollars per year, which is worth it considering all the benefits. Also, you can set up the system in minutes with a simple sign-up process and without installing anything.

Final Words

The expectations of customers related to your service delivery are soaring considerably every day, increasing the demand on your website significantly. Everyone expects your website to be always up and running. The bitter truth is that although a slow website may not necessarily lose you a sale, it will lose you a customer.

What is more fragile than brand loyalty these days? With all the options available on the market, there is no way but to make your website faster, safer, and more reliable than other competitors.

The only approach to achieving these goals is through website monitoring. Despite the fact that websites and their monitoring are getting more complex every day, having a view of the entire platform from both the customer’s sight and your application performance is the key step to overtaking your competitors today.

If you need to know more about website monitoring as well as the optimization of your website SEO, check out Ranktracker’s blog today.

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins

is the Co-founder of Ranktracker, With over 10 years SEO Experience . He's in charge of all content on the SEO Guide & Blog, you will also find him managing the support chat on the Ranktracker App.

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