Every site has them. Whether they’re for analytics, advertising, customer support, or CDN services, third-party services are here to stay. However, for 2013, I believe that these services will face a level of scrutiny that many have avoided up until now.
Recent performance trends indicate that while web site content has been tested and scaled to meet even the highest levels of traffic, the third-party services that these sites have some to rely on (with a few exceptions) are not yet prepared to handle the largest volumes of traffic that occur when many of their customers experience a peak on the same day.
In 2013, I see web site owners asking their third-party service providers to provide verification that their systems be able to handle the highest volumes of traffic on their busiest days, with an additional amount of overhead – I suggest 20% – available for growth and to absorb “super-spikes”. Customer experience is built on the performance of the entire site, so leaving a one component of site delivery untested (and definitely unmonitored!) leaves companies exposed to brand and reputation degradation as well as performance degradation.
In your own organizations, make 2013 the year you:
- Implement tight controls over how outside content is deployed and managed
- Implement tight change control policies that clearly describe the process for adding third-party content to your site, including the measurement of performance impacts
- Define clear SLAs and SLOs for your third-party content providers, including the performance levels at which their content will be disabled or removed from the site.
When speak to your third-party content and service providers about their plans for 2013, ask them to:
- Explicitly detail how they handled traffic on their busiest days in 2012, and what they plan to do to effectively handle growth in 2013
- Clearly demonstrate how they are invested in helping their customers deliver successful mobile sites and apps in 2013
- Lay out how they will provide more transparent access to system performance metrics and what the goals of their performance strategy for 2013 are.
Take control of your third-party content. Don’t let it control you.