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tmbTrusted Media Brands, Inc. is a global media and direct marketing company that connects consumers around the world with products and services from trusted brands including: Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home, The Family Handyman, Birds & Blooms and many others.

Since their beginnings, they’ve been creating the kind of content that readers want to deeply engage with again and again. Their trusted, empowering, and uplifting content is designed to help readers improve their lives and grow their connections and experiences of life. Through this content, Trusted Media is able to uniquely cultivate amplified engagement from their readers.

We spoke with Trusted Media’s Director of Web Technology, Ryan Schmidt, about working with Rigor.

What were the benefits of employing Rigor’s monitoring service?

We were looking for a tool that not only captured website performance data but also allowed for easier analysis to compare different data sets and visualize trends. Rigor enables us to quickly create and customize reports, easily view data in graphs to see trends and dive down into the detail, and customize alerts with specific thresholds on different metrics. In just a minute I can create a graph illustrating a particular performance problem, showing the trend and extent of the problem over time.

What are your measurable business goals and how does Rigor help you achieve them?

We have specific performance goals for our websites based on the Time to First Byte (also known as Start to Render), Visual Complete (also known as DOM Complete or DOM Loaded), and Fully Loaded (also known as Page Complete) for a desktop browser and a mobile browser.

Our quarterly goals were set based on having a Visual Complete time threshold and a Fully Loaded time threshold met 95% of the time with more aggressive goals set for Mobile devices. Next quarter we are setting our Desktop goal to be 40% faster and our Mobile goal to be 16% faster. To this point, our focus has been on improving Visual Complete load times with less emphasis on the full page load times. Rigor allows us to very easily monitor our efforts and report on our progress towards our quarterly goals.

Prior to Rigor, we were looking at data from a variety of tools and were not able to consistently measure our performance with defined goals. Once we standardized with Rigor as our tool we were able to save a lot of time and reduce confusion by looking at the same numbers to set performance goals across our branded websites.

Why would you recommend Rigor?

I’d recommend Rigor because I found the tool to be a cost effective mode to capture a large sample of performance data and super useful to quickly graph and visualize website performance over time or comparing against other competitors.

Rigor has changed the way we work internally to shift our discussion from various measurements and tools to actually focusing on the performance improvements necessary to make our websites consistently load faster.

Ryan SchmidtDirector of Web Technology, Trusted Media Brands

Rigor has changed the way we work internally to shift our discussion from various measurements and tools to actually focusing on the performance improvements necessary to make our websites consistently load faster.

An internal win I think we achieved at TMBI was the ability to finalize our metrics and then set some actual concrete goals, the same performance goals across our websites despite there being differences in the underlying technology. Now we’re able to easily look at graphs comparing sites and seeing trends. Within 45 days of setting our initial performance goals around consistent page load time, we were able to achieve those goals and are now finalizing our next performance goals.

What suggestions do you have on how to make a business case for performance monitoring investment?

First, be sure to do a hands-on trial of monitoring tools that includes technical people and business owners because you want all to buy in to this and all to understand how performance is being measured. We are still in the early stages of this process, but we have everyone using the same language and metrics now.

We made a business case for investing in more frontend monitoring tools by retiring and consolidating other tools and services related to server monitoring because that is pretty basic stuff now and didn’t give us an edge. Rigor allows us to focus on the frontend performance of our websites that can more directly impact and be tied to revenue.

Sharing successes is also important for prioritizing web performance. We share our successes internally via screenshots to stakeholders with brief commentary and give lots of people in the organization access to Rigor so they can view the data themselves.

About Ryan:

Ryan has a background leading teams, designing, developing, supporting, and optimizing web-based systems including e-commerce, CMS, and custom applications for airlines, publishing, government, and nonprofit, always with a focus on creating the most appropriate solution. He is goal oriented and has a passion for internet technology and problem-solving.

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