November 4, 2010, 1:10 PM

A new tool gives a better view of site performance

AlertSite helps ReadingGlasses identify problem areas quickly.

Lead Photo was looking for a better way to see how its site was performing. The retailer first tried using a basic tool that pinged every minute to check if the home page was loading.

But Jason Kyle, e-commerce director, wanted to know more. Specifically hewanted to know if all the site’s pages were loading, if the checkout process was quick, and if images and Flash sequences were loading and displaying properly.

Kyle says he found a cost-effective answer with tools from site performance vendor AlertSite. The tools test web site URLs and send immediate alerts to Kyle and others if consumers get page errors or if features or pages load slowly.

Kyle worked with AlertSite to set benchmarks such as maximum home page load time, and directed the program to alert him when the thresholds were crossed. He also implemented a tool called DéjàClick to record customers’ click streams—from browsing products to adding items to their carts and checking out. He configured the tool to capture shoppers’ site experience and track the performance of pages, links, components, objects, cursor movements and rich-media components such as Flash. He set up DéjàClick to monitor visitors every 30 minutes from five geographic regions: Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, London and Sydney.

Whenever an error occurred or response times slowed, the program sent Kyle an alert. The system also notified other staff via their method of choice: e-mail, phone call, SMS message, pager or via desktop monitoring.

Kyle says the system has helped him avoid outages and solve performance issues fast.

For example, when the site was experiencing an error in Dallas, Kyle received a phone alert. After logging in, he learned the site had been hacked. Through the new tools Kyle was better able to quickly find the exact injection point in the site’s JavaScript coding that the hacker exploited and fix the problem before it caused further damage.

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