Recently I was in Chicago and had the pleasure of speaking with members of the Chicago Web Professionals Meetup Group. Many of these folks are sole proprietors and consultants building sites and integrating technologies for their customers.
During my talk — Top 10 Mobile and Web Performance Lessons Learned from 2014 — I presented cases where site problems and outages could have been addressed by having detailed knowledge about the users of a site and their experience, such as:
Real user monitoring (RUM) collects these metrics, and more, about the end-user experience and site performance.
From the attendees, I learned some interesting statistics and information about the WordPress platform. The more we talked about end-user experience and WordPress, the more interest grew in having this type of data to deliver better site performance and results. Let me share some of the conversation.
WordPress is Wildly Popular
WordPress is one of the popular design platforms on the web. I use it, too, as our blog is built with WordPress. What I learned from the participants is that:
What is Real User Monitoring, and Why Should You Care About It?
These site designers are already monitoring their sites with Google Analytics – it’s configured into WordPress. With Google Analytics, you can see how visitors are moving through the site, and if they are doing what you hope they will: whether that is making a purchase, getting a download, or just ending on a certain page.
Site designers have also read that web performance has an impact on user satisfaction. But how do you know how your site is performing for all of your users? This is where real user monitoring (RUM) brings the data.
On average for this site, page load time is less than three seconds; though from the yellow and red dots, you can see that not every visitor is getting the same response time for every page. Each red dot may represent a user becoming frustrated at the slow page load time, ready to leave this site to visit another instead.
How do you know which pages are slow, for which users, and why? By collecting experience data from the browser for every page load your visitors experience, you get this information. RUM tools make it easy to see how site performance is affected by things such as:
A Waterfall of User Data
We looked at some slow-loading pages for a website to see why they loaded slowly and found some interesting things. Often, the slow page load was a result of third-party scripts that were blocking the rest of the page from rendering, so the user was left waiting until the script either finished loading or timed out.
Get RUM Faster Than You Can Publish a New Page
As fast as it is to create a new page in WordPress and publish it, you can activate real-user monitoring on your entire WordPress site, collecting user data for everyone who visits your site.
Here are four easy steps to get started: