5 Network Optimization Tips to Improve Performance

network optimization

Americans have a lot to gain from well-designed network optimization techniques. A large number of Americans are dealing with a slow internet connection. When things feel particularly slow on your website, it doesn’t just make visiting it less fun: it makes it less likely.

Website speed is a ranking factor used by Google. So a site that has not been optimized and suffers from heavy downtime can have trouble making a splash in the eyes of customers.

If you want to gain customers, you shouldn’t just expect the problems to fix themselves. Instead, you should follow these 5 network optimization strategies.

Wire Up Devices For Network Optimization

If you run your business from a home network, it can be tempting to constantly use Wi-Fi. But this is not a great idea. The truth is, wired networks are significantly faster than wireless ones.

In today’s world, it is important to recognize the potential threat slow home network speeds can have on your bottom line. A growing number of people work or run their business from home. Even those who do not can still find themselves at the mercy of their internet speeds.

A wired connection will not fix all of your business’s connectivity problems. Issues are likely to remain if you are using out of date hardware or using too many resources. However, it is a good first step for business owners trying to stay online without waiting for a needlessly slow signal to give them the information they need.

We don’t work simple 9-to-5 jobs in office settings anymore. If you want to take care of business from home, a wired connection can be a good start.

Have A New Router For Faster Wi-Fi

In spite of the importance of using a wired connection for network optimization, there are times when you need to go wireless. Maybe it’s for business reasons, such as testing mobile functions on your website. Maybe it’s for fun reasons, such as watching a movie on a Smart TV.

Either way, you should want to speed up your Wi-Fi speeds. One of the best ways to do it is by having a new and up-to-date router for your wireless connection.

There’s a reason that not a lot of people are running a business with an Apple II. To do anything, you need the right device. Unfortunately, there are far too many people using connectivity products that they got a long time ago.

A new router is the only way for any network optimization attempts to reach their full potential. Tye should be taken seriously, so get a new one and make sure your technology is up to date.

Have A Complex and Cryptic Signal Name For Security

Cybersecurity is one of the most important things for any business. Whether you’re running an online art store or a real estate website, you should make enhanced security a fundamental component of your network optimization strategy.

The name of your wireless signal can have a strong impact on the security of your network. If you rename your WiFi and people see the name is that of a business they know, they are more likely to see if they can get access to the network.

Best case scenario, this simply slows down your internet speeds. Worst case scenario, your data is compromised. Either way, you should be aware that having your WiFi “stolen” can put your business at a high risk.

Use a less predictable name, and keep your network hidden. In some cases, it can actually be better to stick with the automatically assigned name on your company’s router.

Also, make sure that you have a password that is difficult to hack. It may be easy for you to type “Password123” every time you want to get your business online, but this is an awful network optimization strategy.

Keep Network Drivers Up To Date

This advice is particularly important after you’ve updated the operating system on your computer. The fact is, it is possible for drivers to fail to engage with these updates.

If this happens to you, you need to make sure your company’s drivers are up-to-date. A strong network optimization strategy should involve regularly checking for driver updates.

If you fail to do this, you can waste money on IT professionals and new devices. If you’re having trouble getting online, or the internet is slow from a particular device, then this should be your first step.

There are a lot of great resources out there for business owners looking to make sure their drivers are updated. Depending on your operating system, you can find lists of all of the newest driver updates using websites such as Lifewire.

If you own an Apple computer and want to make sure your software is up to date, you should look at the downloads section of their website. Either way, the information is out there. It’s up to you to take advantage of it and make sure you’re using up-to-date technology for all of your business needs.

Know When Your Site Is Down

If you don’t know when your site is down, your customers certainly will. And this isn’t a problem that needs to be fixed “eventually.” Even 24 hours of customers failing to have access to your site can result in an exodus of your potential visitors to your competitors.

We make it easy for website owners to be aware of whether or not their site is down. Our service checks your website every two minutes for downtime and can notify you of this downtime via phone calls, text messages, or e-mail.

Don’t find out that your business is offline by failing to turn a profit. Instead, contact us and remain vigilant.

A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Monitoring

cloud monitoring

93% of businesses using cloud services. Monitoring those clouds has become increasingly important. Cloud monitoring is the process of managing and reviewing the function of any given cloud asset.

Through monitoring software, cloud owners are given access and control over their cloud. As an administrator of any given cloud, you can check the health of the cloud device and its various elements. You can check things like operation status and workflow.

However, there are concerns about which types of clouds to use. There are public clouds that have limited control and visibility for monitoring. Private clouds offer much more internal monitoring possibilities and flexibility.

Regardless of which type of cloud you use, monitoring its workflow, safety, and infrastructure is important. We’ve one the research for you and have made a guide to keeping your cloud in optimal shape:

How It Works

Web-hosted applications that store your data and allow others to access it over the internet is a cloud. Consumers use clouds on a daily basis by using things like Dropbox or Gmail.

Businesses also use clouds and in similar ways. They use additional software options that help them subscribe to business applications or rent server space for their various needs. They rely on clouds for customer service through things like site speed.

Monitoring Tools

Cloud monitoring works by offering a set of tools that can survey and monitor the resources of an application. These applications are used through the cloud. The tools come from either in-house tools from the cloud provider or tools from separate providers.

In-house tools from the provider are a great option because the tools come with the service. You don’t have to install any additional hardware for this. The independent option is different because their service provider is probably different than their software service provider. This creates cloud monitoring that isn’t quite as seamless.

Functions and Evaluations

All in all, these tools perform important functions that help look for problems that can create problems in your business and transactions therein. It can eliminate problems when delivering service to customers and also help with evaluations on performance.

From security monitoring to customer behaviors, cloud monitoring can be a great asset your business. The security aspect of a cloud is increasingly important with hacks happening on a regular basis.

Keep It Safe

Keeping your network safe through security can help your team detect any breaches. They can teach you where your business is weak security-wise in the cloud and help you secure your cloud foundation before any attacks occur. With improved function and security comes improved speed.

As your cloud works with effortless fervor, the speed of your system will also increase and improve the user experience. Speed is a great conduit to a satisfied customer. Through cloud monitoring, you can look at your speed metrics and analyze data that helps you reach optimal service levels.

Why Cloud Monitoring Is Important For Safety

Some of the most notable benefits of cloud monitoring tools are having form and structure in place. With everything in place, you’ll have solutions that can be built for your organization and specific business type.

Based on the size of your business, if your cloud activity increases, monitoring tools can simply scale your cloud up for fit your consumer needs. What’s more, when your business subscribes to cloud monitoring it can save you money in the long run.

You won’t be paying for startup or infrastructure. This gives you the option to share maintenance costs with other business users. You won’t suffer from interruptions or problems that can locally hurt your workflow. The tools that come with your monitoring service can also be used on many devices.

Your business is probably operating and serving customers on desktop computers, phones, iPads, etc. With tools seamlessly working through all of these devices, your business transactions can be monitored on any app. You can monitor them from any location as long as there is internet access.

The world just got a whole lot smaller with cloud monitoring services.

It’s An Efficient Process

When your business makes monitoring cloud services part of your company and budget, you’ll be able to set goal. You can also plan ahead with the tools in place. Consider what activities you’d like to have monitored and get specific about them.

Not every aspect of your business can be measured and reported. Focus on the most important parts and think about the data that will be the most useful to you and your company. Then, you’ll have a comprehensive view of your company performance as all of the data and information is shown through one single platform.

You’ll be able to analyze, make changes, and change paths much easier when all of the information is organized in a simple form in one place. Is your company growing? Simply scale the monitoring tools to fit your growth.

You may experience increased costs, but with growth comes monitoring expenditures and analytic costs.

Always have a backup plan especially with our current weather patterns. Test your cloud monitoring tools to see exactly what occurs when there is a power outage or a security breach. When certain levels are met, evaluate how the alert system reacted.

Find a company with great reviews and testimonials. Finding a company that is tried, tested, and true can save you and your website.

Monitor and Rest Easy

Monitoring is important for any business or organization. Companies rely heavily on their cloud and its performance capabilities. Avoid mistakes many companies make by suffering major losses with data breaches. Systems that aren’t safe or efficient will experience a loss of customers through poor customer service.

Know exactly what’s going on in your cloud. Use tools to collect data on how it’s performing well, and also consider the areas it’s inefficient in. From total security to providing stability during outages or breaches, monitoring is the key to safety and success.

When you’re ready for cloud monitoring services your company needs to operate at the best levels possible, contact us today.

Here’s Why Your Monitoring Strategy Failed

monitoring strategy

Having a monitoring strategy in place is a crucial part of your online presence. It allows you to measure the health of your website, or those of your clients.

You need to know when a site goes down and having a strategy in place means you can attend to the cause immediately.

Your business could suffer a 37% reduction in your company reputation while your website is down. If that website is an e-commerce site, potential customers might assume the store is closed and never return.

Read on to discover why your monitoring strategy has failed – and what you can do to fix it.

Where a Traditional Monitoring Strategy Goes Wrong

Many companies use separate teams to focus on particular parts of their IT network. They also use a similar principle if they have a range of websites to monitor.

That can be great if you want to exploit staff expertise in specific specialties. Maybe you have separate teams for e-commerce websites and news websites.

Or you may have one set of tools to monitor website uptimes and another focused on FTP servers. You might monitor availability and performance using two separate systems.

Different types of sites come with different problems so it makes sense to keep specialists on hand to monitor them. Or does it?

Separating Teams Creates Silos

Keeping teams separate to maintain their specialisms means that the teams work independently. They don’t share data about any problems with each other.

The team responsible for the e-commerce sites might come up with solutions that would benefit the news websites. Without cross-fertilization of ideas, those solutions are lost.

You can end up with several teams working to resolve the same problem without sharing resources that could speed up the process.

They may all initiate a different resolution for the same problem, making it difficult to monitor which one works. You’re also paying several people to fix the same problem, which could be fixed by just one.

Problems go unsolved because they don’t originate in a system that the team is responsible for. With no one to oversee the system as a whole, these problems never go away.

Silos Can Cost Money, Rather Than Saving It

Different teams may need different tools. But if they all buy the tools they need without checking if the organization already has them, you may spend money on more tools than you actually need.

Paying several teams to monitor several systems can mean your site ends up being down for longer, losing you money or customers. If they pooled their knowledge, they could come up with solutions faster.

And if people leave your company, they take their expertise with them. It costs time and money to train incoming staff to replace them.

Try Switching to a More Centralized Strategy

When you centralize the system, you use standard procedures to run your monitoring strategy. Staff share resources and knowledge, meaning your team still operates even if one person leaves or is off sick.

It’s easy to update your team on new software or procedures. You only need to communicate the updates once, instead of several times.

For example, you might decide to introduce a monitor API. They let you scale your strategy from one website to however many you run.

Training your team once will save time, and money, instead of running training sessions for different teams.

Be Proactive Not Reactive

Running a monitoring strategy on the silo model tends to be reactive. Your team solves a problem after it happens.

Taking a more holistic approach means you monitor everything at once so you can see problems coming. Even if you only have one website, focusing on potential issues ahead of time will save downtime later on.

Solving problems before they happen will keep your website up and running, improving the experience for your customers. Improving load times is important for e-commerce sites.

Websites that are down for a prolonged period face search rank penalties from Google. If your client is running PPC ads, they’ll still be paying every time a user clicks on an ad, even if the website is down.

There can be over 100,000,000,000 Google searches per month. No one wants to pay to direct any of those searches to a website that doesn’t work.

Look at First and Third Party Performance

A good strategy takes both first party and third party applications into account. You may have no control over the third party element (e.g. your web host) but you can monitor outage patterns.

If site downtime becomes a regular occurrence, switch to another provider. Likewise, if a third party website plugin habitually causes problems, find an alternative.

Monitoring first-party content is much easier since you have more control over it. You can tweak anything you use as you go along.

Monitor the Whole Website

Does your current strategy only monitor the home page? Users will click through to other parts of your site and no matter how good your home page is, they’ll leave if those other pages are down.

Monitor the entire website and its content. You should know if a specific page goes down or suffers problems. Focus your efforts on that single page rather than the whole site.

Make using the website feel like a seamless experience. You might notice anomalies on single pages that don’t occur elsewhere. Your team can learn more from those individual instances than common problems.

What Should You Do Next?

If your strategy has focused on multiple elements, you’ll need to reorganize them into a single plan. Finalizing your monitoring strategy can be time-consuming while you investigate options and put procedures in place.

Save time and money by partnering with a company that can offer you a monitoring strategy that’s simple but effective.

SiteUpTime monitors your website every two minutes from eight different global locations. If a failure appears, it’ll check using a different geographical location to rule out false positives.

If you want to increase the uptime of your site – along with your peace of mind – then contact us today.

7 Front End Optimization Hacks You Can Do Right Now

front end optimization

It’s frustrating spending hours crafting the perfect piece of content to have it barely get noticed.

That time spent creating and editing feels like a waste because traffic remains stagnant. All-the-while competitors receiving great community reception for content pieces half the quality.

The problem isn’t the content… it’s the front end optimization.

There’s something preventing people from digging in and exploring. Something that Google doesn’t like so you’re ranking lower. What could it be?

There are several elements of the front end that could make a difference. Which is why we’re coming at you with several hacks you can do right now.

Front End Optimization: Hacking a Good UX

User experience is an encompassing area of design taking account of how users “feel” about their experience. It’s a process best outlined through Peter Morville’s user experience Honeycomb.

The honeycomb attributes value if it’s:

  • Useful
  • Desirable
  • Accessible
  • Credible
  • Findable
  • Usable

This model allows the designer to consider all beneficial elements that work off another. It sets a baseline when acting on front end optimization efforts.

Let’s keep this mode of thinking in mind when making improvements with the following hacks:

1. Improving site uptime

Say what you want about bias but improving site uptime would provide the best return on investment if you’re short on time.

After all, what good are the design changes if the site isn’t online?

40% of people will leave if a site takes longer than 2 seconds to load. Combining great Web hosting, a CDN, and website monitoring removes this problem.

Take these three actions:

  1. Upgrade your Web hosting plan
  2. Install Cloudflare or Amazon CDN
  3. Contact us about website monitoring

A great foundation (ie. uptime) will allow the other front end optimization hacks take full effect. Small changes make a big difference with the user experience.

2. Cleaning up the markup

A website becomes convoluted with code as updates and redesigns take effect over the years. Legacy code and plugins linger resulting in incompatibilities and slower page speeds.

Here are a few, quick ways to improve the markup:

  • Use HTML5 for fancy graphics vs .jpegs and .pngs
  • Reduce page file sizes by minifying the HTML, CSS, and JS
  • Swap inline CSS/JS to external files
  • Simulate and optimize page structure

These back end changes will dictate the front end optimization. Faster load speeds and simpler markup lets you explore creative strategies that were hindered by frustrating code.

3. Bringing back embossed

A study by the Nielsen Norman Group found users experiencing “click uncertainty” due to flat UI elements.

The study paired eye-tracking software with modified versions several site pages and domains. The pages showed flat UI elements versus 3D elements.

The results found a lack of stimuli in the flat UI themes.

A flat UI may be easier to scan but the “click uncertainty” is preventing people from taking action because they don’t know what to do. Resulting in fewer conversions.

Try this: Bring back 3D call-to-actions in design elements and measure results against the recent site theme.

4. Ditching the stock

Generic stock photos are a cliche in modern web design.

We spend our time on online social platforms mingling with real people. We’ve become accustomed to seeing one another.

There’s an immediate “blindness” to stock photos when we see them. The NYT’s covered how we ignore generic photos way back in 2010!

Instead, use a combination of:

  • In-house photos (you & employees)
  • Unique, high-quality stock (sparingly)

Choose photos representative of your brand and offers.

Include illustrations and stylization with the photos to create punchy imagery.

5. Using prefetching

Prefetching tells the browser to load elements before user interaction. This reduces page load speed when users navigate away from the page.

An easy way to enable prefetching is attributing links with the rel=”prefetch”.

Tools like Prerender.io creates a cache of JS files. The file is delivered to the browsers and search bots. The middleware reduces load speed resulting in a happy visitor and improved SEO.

Want to learn more? Take a look at CSS-Trick’s guide to prefetching, preloading, and prebrowsing.

6. Going mobile first

Reasons to design for mobile:

  • Most access the web through their phones
  • Android will overtake Windows for Internet usage
  • People use 9 apps per day (30 per month)

The limited “real estate” of a phone screen presents challenges in design.

Design for mobile first by:

  • Removing unnecessary navigation
  • Reducing page file sizes
  • Placing content front-and-center
  • Setting a visual hierarchy
  • Avoiding large graphics

A simple way to implement mobile-first design is by using website-to-app services such as Wix or Squarespace. These tools will take your existing site and convert it into a mobile-friendly design. Then, package it as an app!

The entire process of this conversion should take less than an afternoon. Minus minor tweaking and listing it in app stores.

7. Compressing graphics

A couple hundred extra bits of data can make all the difference in reducing page load speed. Reducing site graphics is easy with the help of file compression tools.

Want to compress images online?

  • Tinypng.com
  • Kraken.io
  • Webresizer.com

Else, use a desktop application to make the tweaks:

  • Photoshop
  • Gimp
  • XnView

These programs contain options to resample photos to keep image quality while reducing file size. In Photoshop, you will find this within the Image Dialog Box when sizing and saving the image.

Feeling lazy and use WordPress? Use the SmushIt plugin to automatically reduce image sizes while keeping the quality.

Experimental Hacks and Measurable Results

What works for one site may not work for another. These hacks may draw upon best practices and experimentation but you should use analytics to verify results.

Tools to help with measuring would include:

  • Crazy Egg (heat mapping)
  • Optimizely (A/B testing)
  • ClickTale (analytics)

UserTesting.com (another great testing tool for our list) recommends an internal approach to major design changes. Set benchmarks and test the new front end optimization features within a closed group before taking it live.

Hungry for more Hacks?

Our blog covers a range of website tips and tricks.

You’re bound to find additional front end optimization hacks. Experiment with applying hacks aimed at specific niches that aren’t used within yours. Shake up your industry and set new standards!

You’ve put in the hard work crafting great content. Get it found.