Poor website performance can be the kiss of death when it comes to running a successful e-commerce site, and a recent survey confirmed it. According to a recent Compuware survey, 22 percent of respondents stated that they would move along to a different website if they experienced just a single problem while attempting to make an online purchase. More alarming is the fact that 86% said they were less likely to return to a company’s website after a poor experience. You can’t expect visitors to your site to be understanding about errors, either. According to the survey, 59 percent of users expect websites to work at all times. If your site has issues, this could be costing you dearly.
What the Survey Means for Online Retailers
As an online retailer, your number-one priority is to keep your customers happy. Competition is fierce in general, but it’s especially heated on the Internet. After all, a person can click their way over to another site at any given moment. The Compuware survey highlights the fact that online consumers are intolerant of website glitches, errors and problems. It also shows that they are becoming less and less tolerant over time. In 2009, 10 percent of them said that a single problem would make them shop elsewhere; that number has more than doubled since then.
A Lot is at Stake
After going through all the work that is involved in getting people over to your site in the first place, the last thing you want to do is give them a reason to go away. There are plenty of sites out there that work flawlessly. If yours doesn’t, why should anyone stick around? Why give your competition an edge? It is well worth it to invest extra time and money into monitoring your site and ensuring that it is functioning properly at all times. There are several ways to do so. Learn about a few of the best options below.
Website Monitoring Software
The first thing on your list should be website monitoring software. There are many different programs available, so you should browse around and try a few different ones. In many cases, it’s possible to get a free trial to determine whether or not a particular program is right for you. Once you find the perfect fit, make sure to put it to use.
Website monitoring programs perform a wide variety of worthwhile functions. The best ones for e-commerce sites are designed to measure and monitor the end user experience. They allow you to know, at a glance, the responsiveness and availability of your website. They also continually monitor your site to ensure that it is free of errors. As an added bonus, some of today’s most popular website monitoring programs send you alerts the second a problem is detected. In turn, you’ll be able to respond quickly and correct the problem before it puts a serious dent in your profitability.
Google Analytics Real-Time Statistics
Google Analytics has been around for some time. Even if you opt for proper website monitoring software, you should take advantage of the great features and benefits that go along with this free service. For a long time, Google Analytics strictly provided day-old website statistics. Real-time statistics are now available, however, and they allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of the overall health and well-being of your website. The service is totally free, so there’s no good reason not to put it to use.
One of the best thing about the real-time statistics that you can monitor through Google Analytics is that they display information like page views per minute and per second. By checking in periodically, you can get a feel for your site’s usual traffic patterns. When sudden spikes occur, you can often trace them back to exact social media campaigns and other marketing efforts. When sudden drops happen, on the other hand, you can get right to work to determine what is wrong. Dramatic plunges in traffic are often caused by website errors and problems, so it’s important to respond quickly when they occur.
Google Webmaster Tools
Another great free Google service is Google Webmaster Tools, and it provides several additional ways to ensure that your site is functioning as optimally as possible. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to check in with Google Analytics or Google Webmaster Tools. Webmaster Tools is a complete suite of website optimization and enhancement tools. Many people primarily use it to optimize the visibility of their websites, but it’s chock full of additional tools that keep you apprised of whether or not your site is functioning well.
Through the Google Webmaster Tools interface, you can check your site for errors. When Google crawls your site, it keeps track of things like broken links and dead ends. Those are the types of things that can send visitors packing, so they should be avoided at all costs. With a few clicks of the mouse button, you can generate error reports that let you know if any issues exist. Information includes sites that link to yours as well as links to other pages within your site. You can also check and change the crawl rate of the Google web crawler. This is especially smart to do immediately following major changes to your site.
Reports and graphs are great, but understanding how real people view and interact with your site is important too. That’s where UserTesting.com comes into play. This site gives you instant access to real people who visit your site, put it to use and let you know how they feel about it. In addition to writing summaries about any problems or issues that they encounter, the visitors are recorded while they are actually visiting your website. As they click around, they make comments about what works, what doesn’t and their overall impression. You can select visitors based on demographic information, which is especially valuable.
Website Audit and Redesign through LeapGo
After putting the preceding tools to work, you may discover that serious errors exist on your site. Whether you can pinpoint the problem to precise errors, or if your site is just not user-friendly in general, the next step is getting to work on fixing it. A great way to get the ball rolling is by hiring LeapGo to perform an audit of your site. When setting up the audit, you can let LeapGo know about what you’ve discovered through the tools that are listed above. LeapGo will then perform its own audit of your site to zero in on what’s working and what isn’t.
When the audit is complete, LeapGo will present you with a detailed report of its findings. You can make the necessary changes yourself, or you can hire LeapGo to redesign your site. The latter option is definitely more convenient, and the LeapGo team will redesign your site with user-friendliness in mind. The Compuware survey is just the latest example of why it pays to have an error-free website. A single error can cost you untold amounts of business. What works today could fail tomorrow, so ongoing monitoring is critical. It also pays to have a talented website development team on your side, and you will get that when you hire LeapGo. Check out the tools that are highlighted above and contact LeapGo when you’re ready to take your site to a whole new level.