You bought synthetic monitoring, and you’re well on your way to becoming a #webperfectionist. You can’t wait to dive in and start setting up checks that will give you visibility into performance and will make recommendations on how to improve. You want to configure your account so you can quickly find checks and other users understand what they’re seeing. You also want the setup to scale if you add more sites, monitors, or complexity; it should be simple to maintain over time. Lastly, the structure should align with your business goals and metrics so you can pull and compare important data sets.
Ok, so where to begin? We’ve broken the process down into five simple steps.
1. Review your business and performance needs:
- What are the strategic initiatives that led to your synthetic monitoring investment?
- What sites, brands, or products generate the most revenue?
- What user flows or pages are most visited or most directly tied to revenue?
- What is your go-to-market approach (mobile, global, etc)?
- Who are internal stakeholders?
Get specific on tactical items:
- What sites, brands, products to monitor?
- Who are the power users? Who will need access for reporting or alerting?
- Are you planning to monitor by device type, viewport size, user agent, or browser?
- Do you have different sites for different countries? Do different properties need to be checked by different locations?
- What part of the dev process are you testing (e.g. live or pre-production)?
Here’s a list of common items to test by industry:
- each brand or site
- home page, product search flow, and check out process
- each web property
- home page performance with and without ads
- article page with and without ads
Web App (SaaS)
- each product
- login page, home page, data-rich page (usually reporting)
- CDN or infrastructure
- Cluster or location
- Staging and live
- Desktop and mobile
- By browsers
It can seem overwhelming at first, but most clients find clarity after they spend a bit of time exploring. How granular you get depends on:
- what’s most important to your business
- what configuration options come with your package or tool
- how pricing and check limits work with your vendor
For example, if you have a smaller package, you may opt to only test your flagship website or brand. Or you may decide to test the checkout flow over the product search page if you can’t do both.
2. Get familiar with your synthetic tool’s search, interface, and organization options.
Start by examining what data is displayed on dashboards, reports, alerts, and overview tables. Understand what information is included in a report emailed to your boss. Identify how you can and should configure reports for your specific needs.
For example, Rigor lets you search by name, check type, or tag to build reports:
Tag Report for checks tagged “Mobile”:
When you understand where and how checks and supporting data are displayed, you can better align your organization strategy for maximum usability.
#protip Put as much helpful info as possible in the name of the check. Wherever and however data is displayed, you will have what you need with a well-named check.
3. Consult with your vendor.
Ask for help from the experts. Your vendor has experience working with customers like you and knows its product the best. Leverage your vendor’s knowledge and resources. No need to re-invent the wheel!
At Rigor, we have dedicated resources helping to onboard every client, and we’ll happily advise based on a client’s specific needs.
4. Create an organization structure and document it.
Now that you’ve done the prelim work, you’re ready to map out your structure and naming conventions. How?
- Good, old-fashioned spreadsheets work great. Make sure it’s shareable and quick to edit. It should be easy for a non-power user to understand.
- Create a rough draft organization plan including naming conventions, tags, folders or other methods you want to use.
- Set up some checks to test your plan out. Navigate through the tool, send a sample report, and perform a search.
- Any gaps or changes you want to make based on your “synthetic testing”? Tweak if needed.
- Include examples and screenshots in your organization system document.
- Once the organization plan is complete, share with your team, other departments, your vendor, and anyone who may create a check.
#protip What info should go first in your naming convention? If you exported all the names and sorted alphabetically, which checks should be together? This is the “top-level” of bucketing, usually a brand, site, or department. Get more granular from there.
A simple, standard naming system will ensure check names are clear yet concise. We encourage common or easy-to-decipher abbreviations for brands, browsers, or other internal shorthand. A good litmus test — will your boss’s boss understand?
A few examples:
- BrandA – US – CheckoutFlow – Mobile – FF
- [SiteB] Article – WithAds – Desktop – Chrome
- Staging: BrandA – NewSite – IE
With your organization resource as reference, you’re ready to begin full configuration and set up of your account. Refer back to your resource as needed, make it easily accessible for frequent users, and build it out as your culture of performance grows.
Special thanks to Rigor clients with great account organization and naming conventions. We’ve picked up tips and tricks from you along the way!
Other suggestions, considerations, or mistakes made? Please comment below and share with other #webperfectionists.