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Web Site Measurement Hacks by Eric T. Peterson

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Hack #68. Measure Site Performance

Combining site performance and visitation data can provide valuable insight into visitor behavior.

Because it is so critical to a visitor's perception of one's site, web site performance has been discussed at great length by a multitude of authors. For example, Web Performance Tuning by Patrick Killelea (O'Reilly) is an excellent resource for this information. In this hack, I discuss site performance in the context of web site measurement. If you're interested in a more complete treatment, I encourage you to grab a copy of Patrick's book.

The elements of site performance you need to know in the context of web measurement are the basics of performance measurement and how performance and visitation data can be meaningfully combined in a "one plus one equals three" data integration model.

Web Performance Measurement: The Basics

Web performance management applications measure response time and availability. Response time, or the amount of time a page or process [Hack #69] takes to load, is usually measured from a variety of geographic locations and ideally over both modem and broadband connections. Usually what you end up with is a report similar to Figure 5-1.

The essence of these reports is the average, maximum, and minimum response times and corresponding availability from as many geographic locations as you wish to test (read: "pay for"). The nice thing performance measurement vendors do, at least regarding web site measurement, is provide this data ...

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