What is Synthetic Monitoring and Should a Small Business Website Use it?

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Synthetic monitoring may seem like a complicated process. But you don't have to be technically savvy to understand what it is and use it to your advantage. Website and small business owners may be able to benefit from using synthetic monitoring software. Still, they will need to know how to use it.

Synthetic monitoring refers to a software process that can test the usability of a website for users. The software reports bugs and performance issues to website owners and flags where websites can improve. This is particularly important for small businesses.

If you want to use synthetic monitoring but don't know what it is or how it can benefit you, you're in luck. This article will explain what synthetic monitoring is, the type of software there is, what each one does, and how it can benefit small businesses.

What is Synthetic or Directed Monitoring?

Synthetic monitoring, also known as ‘directed’ or ‘journey’ monitoring, is a system or software tool typically used by webmasters and site owners. Generally, these website owners are business owners who host transactions and other customer-based services on their pages.

These synthetic monitoring programs mimic the actions of real users or customers on a site. However, unlike a real user, automated testing programs perform these actions to find and report performance issues, errors, bugs, and other problems within a website. Once it has performed the task it has been directed to complete, the software will compile all of the issues it has flagged into a comprehensive set of metrics.

This data helps website and business owners track their sites' performance and rectify any issues that occur quickly and timeously. They can also highlight potential areas of improvement businesses can take advantage of to improve their site. If you’re already familiar with real user monitoring, it’s easy to learn the difference between this and synthetic monitoring.

Types of Synthetic or Directed Monitoring

There are several types of synthetic monitoring that can all be used for specific purposes. Each one is designed to perform a particular task and can help small businesses and large corporations monitor the performance of their web or e-commerce sites.

1. Synthetic Availability Monitoring

When web admins use programs that execute synthetic availability monitoring, the software helps to confirm whether a website or mobile application responds to user requests. The software acts as a bot that mimics how a real user interacts with a website.

When the bot performs availability monitoring, it checks a website's response time and accuracy. It will then send web admins and e-commerce owners a report that details the site's responsiveness and if it would be able to successfully fulfill a real user’s on-site requests. Synthetic availability monitoring basically shows how well your website is performing.

2. Synthetic Transaction Monitoring

Synthetic transaction monitoring has its own unique process to assess how a user will experience a transactional process within an application or on a website. This is extremely important for all businesses but particularly for small businesses.

While large companies can survive losing a transaction or two due to faulty transactional processes on their e-commerce platform. If their website or application encounters performance issues, they can work on them after receiving reports. Their small loss of revenue is easily recoverable.

However, when it comes to small businesses, every transaction counts. That means that small companies and entrepreneurs can’t afford to have performance issues on their applications or websites. But this is where synthetic transaction monitoring software comes in.

The bots in this process will log into a website like genuine users and attempt to complete a transaction while on the e-commerce platform. The software will evaluate every step of the process, including purchasing products and services, filling out query or user request forms, and shipping detail forms. When the bots go through this process, they flag every issue they encounter or potential weakness within the system. They will send this report to the website owner, who can rectify these problems as quickly as possible and negate any lost transactions resulting from them.

3. Synthetic Performance Monitoring

Synthetic performance monitoring uses availability monitoring as a foundation for building on. Performance monitoring is the building block that adds more complicated processes for more comprehensive analytic reporting.

As well as checking a website’s general performance, this monitoring system also checks the site’s essential components like page loading and response speeds. These elements are then checked within the context of a real browser in addition to mimicking the actions of real users.

Simply put, the software can create a false environment that recreates how a user would use the site when using an application or browser. This process can be completed on a PC browser, mobile web browsers, and other versions of websites that can be loaded by various devices. Synthetic performance monitoring is used to further the search for performance issues, bugs, and errors. The software’s bots will ‘double-check’ the software in a more complex circumstance, thereby flagging more errors and reporting them to website owners.

Benefits of Synthetic Monitoring for Small Business Websites

Small businesses that rely on websites for e-commerce and other transactional service processes must ensure that their sites run optimally. Without good site performance, these businesses can lose traffic and sales. Users with a poor experience of a business’ website will usually see the business in a worse light and defer to their competitors.

Users will trust websites that fix errors quickly more than sites that frequently encounter issues or take too long to rectify them. For this reason, using synthetic monitoring can help to keep users and customers coming back. Additionally, fixing errors timeously or rectifying an issue before it can affect user performance can help improve trust.

Lastly, small businesses with high-performing websites can keep up with larger competitors. They can keep up with floods of traffic and keep improving their site's responsiveness. With constant data being fed to website owners on how well a site performs, they can run with the big dogs and keep their customers happy.

There are tons of other benefits to running synthetic monitoring software that applies to small businesses and any website owner. So, if you want to run other sites alongside your e-commerce platform, they may be handy to know.

Final Thoughts

Synthetic monitoring is crucial for any webmaster. Website owners running any site, from a blog to a fully-functioning e-commerce site, can benefit by keeping their site performance in tip-top shape. Site owners can also keep up with competitor websites and improve their user experiences to keep their customers and followers coming back.

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!