When you own and run a website, you will want it to perform at its best. Otherwise, if pages load slowly or throw up errors, your visitors will experience frustration and may never return. With this in mind, here is a short guide on why and how you can improve your website speed.
Why: Google and the leading search engines look at page loading times when determining SEO results. If you are near the top of the front page, you will struggle to pass the competition if your pages load slowly. Since SEO is competitive, if you can speed up your pages slightly, you will enjoy higher SEO results. Furthermore, visitors who land on your site with a slow connection will grow frustrated when the pages load slowly. With plenty of users coming to websites with smartphones, tablets and other connections, it’s not always easy to offer an enjoyable experience if the pages render poorly.
How: Now, if you want to beat your competition and enjoy a profitable website, you need to change a few simple things. Before you do anything, you need to get a baseline speed report. You need to speed test a website before you make improvements so you know whether or not thing things you’re doing are helping. To speed up your site, resize your images and clean up any code on your site. Also, if you use WordPress, check out your plugins and remove any you don’t use or need. Then, after resizing images and checking your plugins, your programmer can pore over the code and look for any errors or issues. Once he or she fixes any errors, you can test the website and view the results. If you stack up well against the competition, you can finish the task and not worry about slow pages. If issues still occur and other sites blow yours out of the water, consider drastic measures; when taking huge steps like re-coding the pages, you will help your cause. Either way, once you speed up your site, you are well on your way to improving your business.
Site speed is an important metric for the leading search engines. At the same time, your visitors will appreciate when pages load quickly and without errors. Luckily, with a proactive approach, you can speed up your pages and watch as your visitors grow happy and your conversion rates fly.
This is a questions that a lot of people running a website or hosting data for web applications might be thinking about. At its basic level, a Service Level Agreement, which is also known as an SLA, is an agreement between you and your web hosting provider. This agreement stipulates the certain level of service that they must provide, which usually relates to uptime. For example, an SLA might say that a web host must provide at least 99% uptime to a customer, and if they don’t then the customer is entitled to a refund, credit, or some other type of benefit. Although SLAs may be seen in other industries, this is the common interpretation of them as it relates to the web hosting industry.
With that said, keeping track of this uptime can be somewhat difficult. This is because you might not always know when your site is down, and if you do, it might only be for a little while, and it’s not always easy to keep track of these things. So, with that said, it may be a good idea to get some type of SLA management solution in place in order to keep tabs on your uptime and downtime. One of the best ways to do this is by using a third party solution that can ping your server at different times and record whether it was accessible or not. Then if you find that the overall percentage of uptime reported by your third party vendor is outside of your specified SLA, then you can go to your web host and talk to them about some type of refund, credit, or whatever was specified in your actual SLA.
There are a lot of different vendors/companies that offer these types of solutions, some of which include New Relic, Pingdom, Manage Engine, and a number of other vendors. Pricing and features will obviously vary among different vendors, and you may want to evaluate different solutions in order to determine what the best platform is for your site, and what types of features you need. Some vendors may also have free trials associated with their services that can help you get acquainted with the service without having to pay up front. It’s important to read their terms though so you understand what you’re getting into, and if you’ll be charged up front or at any point. The bottom line here is that you may want to seriously consider keeping an eye on your uptime and downtime if you want to enforce the terms of your service level agreement.
Many factors must come together for web applications to be great. In the absence of even one of these factors, a web application may be just good—or plummet to downright terrible. For app developers, a great web app brings them money and visibility. For consumers, a great app looks good, is easy to use, intuitive and reliable.
A Gleaming Look
An excellent app projects the correct tone and look for its purpose. The layout is logical, and scrolling is minimized. There’s no design overkill. For example, a children’s game would probably have bright colors and bigger touchscreen buttons for players. Any tutorial text should be conveyed in simple language. Vandelay Design has a great page on inspirational designs. The most important thing to understand is that you don’t need to be a design professional to design a great web app, but you should at least spend some time doing a research about what goes into a good design.
Easy to Use and Intuitive
The ideal web app streamlines any signup or registration process. It doesn’t require the user to wade through pages that require his address, income level and other information. It respects people’s time, which is in ever shorter supply for consumers these days. Once they purchase or download a web app, they expect to easily be able to use it. They don’t want to have to study a technical manual to figure out how to use their application.
Reliable and Versatile
A great web app rarely, if ever, crashes. For example, an app that allows people to make Internet phone calls must do so consistently and with high voice quality. Also, consumers use all sorts of phones and operating systems. A great web app is designed with this diversity in mind and works optimally on most, if not all, systems. It stores and backs up consumer data, and depending on the app, should sync with its counterparts on a consumer’s phone, computer, tablet and so on. Contact information for support is logically displayed and easy to find.
A Great Web App Also Takes Consumer’s Privacy Seriously
Perhaps most importantly, the best web apps deliver what they promise to. They don’t trick consumers into thinking they provide something they do not. They provide something unique, meaning that whatever the application delivers can’t exactly be found elsewhere or replicated elsewhere. The idea or premise behind it may be nothing new, but its angle or slant is fresh and engaging. It’s a good idea to spend some time considering some of the best practices associated with web application privacy. You may also want to consider hiring an attorney or someone who can help you navigate through this process.
Even the most top-notch web apps may have bugs or issues. Nothing is perfect, but a truly great app is designed for easy updating and tweaking. As the wants or needs of an app’s users shift, so should the app. So, a great web app must have a great development team, too.
When rolling out a new web site or application on the internet, your brand and your bottom line depend upon its success. Making a good first impression on visitors and providing stellar performance without any code or other errors should be your ultimate goal. The best way to ensure that your web site or web application will perform as expected, is to plan and execute proper usability, server load, and security testing before you release your project to the world. This article explains the type of testing you should perform and the advantages.
Critical Testing That Should Be Considered
Web applications need to be tested in a variety of ways to establish how they will respond under specific sets of circumstances. This is referred to as performance testing. Two more critical examples are stress and load testing. Load testing simulates estimated workloads to determine how long it will take for all the page elements to load for each user. This is from a usability viewpoint and not a technical one. This directly affects your end user. Stress testing is used to determine the maximum load (or number of visitors) that your web server can support at one time. This is vital for applications since most user issues will only occur when the server is stressed.
Security Testing Is Another Critical Area That Should not be Ignored
Unfortunately there will always be highly skilled malicious people in the world. Both external and internal security issues should be addressed before releasing an application for public consumption. Also bear in mind that ongoing security audits should be performed regularly to protect your investment as both consumers and available technology changes over time. Some other testing you should contemplate includes HTML verification, unit function testing, and user acceptance testing.
What Happens If I Release My Project Without Testing?
We live in a fast-paced world and web site or application response time should not exceed 10 seconds. (And some people think that’s too long!) You have a very short amount of time to capture someone’s attention, engage them, and then engross them in your content. When pages take too long to load or features don’t work properly, they are likely to move along to the next new thing. Once a user has a bad experience at your site it is nearly impossible to get them back.
How Does Application Testing Benefit Me?
Testing any project prior to release benefits you by preventing unnecessary poor end-user experiences. Or even worse, application crashes. Proper testing scrutinizes your site or system for errors, inconsistencies, and vulnerabilities. Since most bugs are only discovered when an application or a server is under stress, testing shows you what you can’t see during development.
The ideal way to initiate a solid testing program is to first clearly define your objectives, set up team collaboration to manage processes and reporting issues, decide how you will track results, and finally create a testing environment that emulates your actual project.
Ruby is a great coding language—it’s open source, flexible, and dynamic. It can be used to create some of the most brilliant web applications in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s always executed flawlessly. Like any code, Ruby can have errors and cause apps to crash and perform poorly. If you have a public web application, then you should be monitoring it to make sure you’re alerted when these types of problems arise. Think of it this way: if you have a simple checkout page or shopping cart on your website and it stops working, you could be losing quite a bit of money for every minute that passes. And what if you don’t know about this for days? Or until someone contacts you? That could be a bad situation!
In terms of monitoring solutions, there are lots of different options. Ideally, the best solution should be something external and not something hosted on your server. The reason for this is if a server outage is causing your web app to go down, then a self-hosted monitoring solution won’t do you any good because that will be down too. An external solution can go through the steps that you set up at a specified interval in order to keep your alerts consistent; the last thing you want to spend time setting up a monitoring solution, only to have inconsistent or irregular alerts from the software that’s supposed to be the very thing keeping tabs on your app.
There are a lot of different providers that offer web app monitoring solutions, and many of them offer other features than app monitoring such as basic uptime monitoring and user behavior analysis. The most important thing is that you’re alerted as soon as possible when your app goes down, so make sure that if you do use an external web app monitoring service that you choose one that offers multiple ways to alert you. Even if you have a smart phone, you may not always have internet service, but you may have voice service, so if you’re able to be alerted by email, text, and phone then you’re covered in three different ways. Dotcom-Monitor, and Paessler have two of the most comprehensive off-site, external solutions. If you need a proprietary internal solution, you’ll need to hire a developer to custom code that. The best solution really depends upon what your needs are and of course, your budget.
At the end of the day, whether you decide to monitor your Ruby-coded apps is obviously up to you, but if you spend all the time and money associated with developing an app, it only makes sense to ensure that it’s doing what it supposed to be, and if you aren’t monitoring that then there’s no way to know for sure.