What we talk about when we talk about performance: Part Two

In part one, we more clearly defined what site performance is. Here, in part two we’ll take you through how SD recommends you address site speed and scalability, with savvy.

How can you address your Site Speed?

Improving site speed shouldn’t be viewed as just a single, one and done,’ project but rather, a long term and strategic approach that fits into your overall website development and ongoing growth efforts.  Naturally, ecommerce enabled websites are constantly evolving; from new development and integrations, to catalog and content updates – here are key steps to establish a foundation for measuring and tracking site speed against ongoing development efforts on your site. 

  1. Create a consistent framework in leveraging not only the right tools (ex.: New Relic APM Pro) but ensuring that these tools are properly configured and setup to measure and track site speed. 
  2. Perform an initial site speed review (leveraging said tools), in order to generate a record of truth backlog for remediation items that should be managed, executed, and monitored ongoing. 
  3. Determine a budget and a pace of development including tracking efforts that works for your business in conjunction with the goals and results that you set out to achieve.  SD recommends a monthly review and remediation plan although the key is to establish an actual cadence after the first review. 

 

An example of a custom client scorecard/dashboard built by SD which pulls in data and tracks site speed over time after participating in SD Boost Program.

2020 is nearly over (much to the relief of many) so rather than putting your site speed on the priority backburner and panic again this coming September, start your planning now. Set aside a specific budget; make sure you have data driven goals. Invest in your site speed as a marathon, not a sprint.  You already know you’ll be adding new featuresevolving design, upgrading for security and honing your marketing driven initiatives, so why not plan to nurture your site speed the same way? Site speed isn’t a once-a-year item, it should live in your roadmap alongside all of your other major KPIs.  

Lucky for you, SD has a new initiative that’s primed for the trailblazer that wants to improve site speed, thus educating yourself on how to plan around your infrastructure and optimize your business (hint: that should be all of you). No one is exempt from these concerns, and no business is neutral when it comes to these goals. SD Boost is an accessible initiative that helps you monitor and remediate on site speed concerns over time, making it a digestible and ongoing effort.  

So, we come full circle 

Don’t let a slow website cost you revenue.  

Make your web pages fast on all devices.  

Bring it up in your next planning meeting and ask yourself, what kind of steps can you take to help monitor and improve your site speed? Don’t wait for your boss to notice a flaw, or a customer to log a complaint. Get ahead of what you know is important, take the lead on arming your business with the right data, and pioneer long term approach with your team.  Ask us about SD’s Boost program today and we’ll be happy to share some knowledge on how this could apply to your business goals and plans for 2021 and beyond! 

This post was written by two of Something Digital’s Strategic Engagement Managers, Laura Kim and Holmes Koo.

What we talk about when we talk about Performance: Part One

“Make your web pages fast on all devices.”

“Don’t let a slow website cost you revenue!”

What do those statement make you worry about if you are responsible for running an Ecommerce site? Do you know what kind of conversation you’d need to have? Common requests that we get at SD are, “I need to improve Performance,” or “Our site is slow.” What should you do if a customer complains that it takes too long for a page to load? How do you define what kind of traffic your site can handle?

“Performance” is often used as an umbrella term for several aspects of your site. We want you to feel empowered to use more concise language, so let’s define what you are likely referring to:

Site Speed

Site speed is the average time it takes for the end user to start consuming pages on your site. The factors that undermine site speed are varied, common ones are:

  • Image file size and how they load
  • Bulky or unused custom code
  • Redirects
  • Javascript issues
  • Etc.

The importance of site speed is not going to be elaborated on; high conversion rates, low bounce rates and ranking are all benefits that we’re going to assume you know (and want).

There are a number of tools out there that are free and extremely tempting to rely on as benchmarks or even standards, for site speed. As with all things that are free, they should be treated with caution; those tools are often setup to convince you of a specific brand of resolution, which may have nothing to do with your business, since they’re meant to be generic. The best way to understand what’s happening on your site is perform a reliable audit, whether using a reputable tool or professional resource such as your agency partner.

Scalability

Understanding how your site would perform under increased or expanded workload if often a temporary or seasonal concern, but more and more businesses are realizing the benefit of always knowing exactly how your site might react under any level of strain. 2020 certainly made that awareness more valuable, and also exposed how little some might be able to speak to the assessment of infrastructure capabilities. As part of a measure of scalability, load testing clarifies how much concurrent traffic your infrastructure can handle. Not only should you understand what your site can handle, but you should also be aware of what kind of traffic would potentially bring it down. Given today’s ever changing buying habits, this is now prerequisite information.

Oftentimes, the way a page might load slowly for a customer is just the tip of an iceberg. You need to be able to take that pain point, outline what might be causing it, and then decide how you validate that and resolve it. “Acknowledging that your site might have some underlying issues that you can’t see on the surface is the first step.” -Neil Patel

Hopefully you’re now armed to have a more productive conversation around site speed and scalability; whether you’re highlighting concerns or requesting enhancements. We challenge you to move away from throwing around the word “Performance” and address these initiatives with intentional specificity.

Check out part two, where we outline how SD recommends you address site speed and scalability, with savvy. Until then, contact us to discuss your site!

 

This post was written by two of Something Digital’s Strategic Engagement Managers, Laura Kim and Holmes Koo.

My Summer Experience at SD

This past year has been a year of “firsts” for me. It was the first time I lived on my own, the first time I commuted to work, the first time I kept a time-sheet, the first time I directly reported to a manager, and the first time I got to work as a summer analyst in New York City. My name is Mia, and I just finished my first year at Tufts University (Go Jumbos!).

Working in a New York City office was intimidating in the beginning. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. In a few weeks, I slowly picked up on habits and office etiquette. The Orientation process summarized the different teams at Something Digital and the company’s history. However, they did not specifically go over how to report to someone, update your time sheet productively, stay organized, schedule a meeting with 10 very busy people, and get up at 7 am every day to catch a train into the city. However, I did finally master these skills (still struggled in the wake-up department though).

My personal summer project ended with a presentation to the managers and partners in the office. When I found out that I would have to give a presentation at the end of the summer, my stomach immediately dropped. I was reassured by my manager, Mickey Winter, that she trusted me and knew that I would learn the material.

This sentiment of trust, confidence, and helpfulness is characteristic of Something Digital’s office atmosphere. The people in the office work like a well-oiled machine. They are constantly discussing strategy, new ideas, and issues, while being very inclusive and smiling broadly. I can tell that the people truly love to be there because of Something Digital’s honesty and transparency.

I discovered a lot about myself and my career by working with the people at Something Digital. My presentation went great (if I do say so myself)! Of course I was nervous, but the sense of accomplishment and positive feedback that I received when I was finished was very rewarding. I can only hope that my career is filled with as much inspiration and excitement as those of the people at SD.

The four weeks that I spent as a summer analyst flew by very fast. I learned a lot from my superiors, fellow summer hires, and the office experience itself. My new skills in scheduling, organization, business, presenting, copying, printing, and lunch run techniques are always going to be useful for me. Starting a new job after college without confidence or any solid occupation idea can be scary. But, this job has given me a better sense of my own skills and what I want my career to be like. This was an incredible year of “firsts”, and Something Digital is definitely a first I will value for a long time.

Written by: Mia, Summer Analyst

Ecommerce Weekly Round Up (01/23-01/27)

How is your UX design affecting your conversion rates?

Source: ABC Money

One of the most important elements when building or maintaining a website is your UX design. The perfect user experience needs to have the user at its central focal point. Everything a web designer creates needs to serve the user and their goals and motivations. If there are flaws in the user’s journey, you could see your site visitors dropping off before they reach your conversion point.
Go to article ›

Part 3: Designing for accessibility

Source: Something Digital Blog

Welcome back to our part 3 of our 4-part series on accessibility and ADA compliance for your Magento store. In Parts 1 and 2 we built a business case for investing in ADA compliance, outlined best practices, and discussed challenges with accessibility when dealing with specific site features. In part 3 we will discuss some of the challenges involved with building an accessible frontend theme.
Go to post ›

8 design trends businesses should watch in 2017

Source: Business2Community

Now that 2017 is here, businesses are going to make good on their goals for the new year. For many businesses, updating their UI and visual content is one of those goals. Part of keeping your brand relevant is keeping it fresh. Staying on top of the latest design trends is a good place to start. After all, you probably want to position your brand as a trendsetter, right? If you haven’t updated your site’s design in a while, it might be time to give your site a makeover based on some of these trends that are going to dominate 2017.
Go to article ›

Cyber weekend 2016. How did you perform?

Source: Something Digital Blog

In 2016, Something Digital’s clients saw 18% overall revenue growth YoY, mainly thanks to email, mobile, and affiliates. In 2017, we anticipate a continuation of the same trends, with growth occurring over the month of November as a whole instead of just Cyber Weekend. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the metrics, trends, and 2017 predictions based on SD’s clients.
Go to post ›

How to target the right audience in 5 simple steps

Source: Entrepreneur

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting your own business is trying to appeal to everyone. Knowing your target audience’s motivations is essential to tailoring your business and is one of the fastest ways to success. Here are five truly simple steps that will allow you to target the right audience and be more successful than you ever imagined.
Go to article ›