How to prevent ads from killing your web site

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Sunday, December 11th, 2016
SvenH

We’ve all seen it and we’ve all hated it. Your web page begins to load and then, right in mid-load it stalls out. It’s not just a brief hiccup, you stare at half a page for an eternity while an ad loads. Get past that ad and then the next one starts. Pretty soon you don’t care anymore about the website, you just want to move on. All of a sudden, throwing an ad blocker into the mix is looking like a really good idea. If you’re the owner of a web site, reliant on ad revenues. that is really bad news.

Looking at it from the point of a website owner, ad blockers toll the bell of revenue death. But so does losing your audience because they can’t stand ads. So choosing between losing eyeballs and losing ad revenues, is like choosing between the plague and cholera. What to do?

Well, one path forward if you’re supporting your site with ads is to find a way to hold your audience while your pages load. The best way to do that is to find out what it is about the ad loading that is keeping your pages from rendering quickly. Because we all know that it’s not really the ads that are the problem, it’s the long page load times. And that is actually really good news – make the ads load quickly and problem is solved.

Monitor and load test the web sites – including ads

Several specialized companies offer advanced technology for testing, monitoring, and optimizing the performance of web, cloud and mobile applications. Running a load test involves creating a small or large number of virtual users via programming script, running a simulation in which those virtual users access your site, and gathering information about how well the website performs under the traffic load. You can find out how quick load times are during normal, peak, spike, and overwhelming use rates.
Real browsers are used to capture all the calls and responses it takes to load your page, including calls to ad servers. You can dig deeply into the way your pages are being served and see if you have delays getting DNS resolutions or whether certain ad servers are taking forever to serve their content.
Seeing the time that it takes to deliver all the things that make up your page will help you decide the order in which your page is laid out to put more of the ‘above the fold’ content up before calling out for ads so your users see more of what they came to see before the ads start slowing things down.

The point is that you can’t let your revenue generating content push your users away so you need a way to keep them from wanting to block the ads that pay for your site. You need a versatile web monitoring service to give you the insight to what artifacts are slowing you down. That way you can address the key issues, whether it’s something internal like your page design or external like slow ad delivery from the ad server. Don’t let the ads kill your digital business.

by Sven Hammar, CEO, Apica

Sven Hammar is co-founder and CEO of Apica (http://www.apicasystem.com/), a provider of powerful, best-in-class technology for testing, monitoring, and optimizing the performance of cloud and mobile applications. Mr. Hammar he has decade-long experience and expertise in web performance and web optimization, e-commerce, cloud services, IT entrepreneurship and the Internet. He is also a serial entrepreneur who has founded several successful IT companies over the years.

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