Companies that are driven by web performance, like Google, develop a culture of performance from the top-down thanks to performance-minded CEOs. For the majority of organizations, however, this is not the case. Often, it’s up to those working at every day performance monitoring to inform the organization of the business value of a company-wide focus on performance, convince key stakeholders to make real changes to processes and infrastructure, and maintain an ongoing performance-driven culture.
Step one: Build your case
Before you can instill a culture of performance, you first need to demonstrate the value of strong web performance to your colleagues and superiors. To do that, you must build a case based on business standards that everyone can relate to, specifically by demonstrating the clear link between web performance and revenue. Calculate how much revenue you would lose if your site was down for hours, or even minutes. Ask how much time IT spends fixing problems when they could be working on other issues. Figure out what your competitors’ web performance is like and how yours compares (if it’s better, you have to keep up; if it’s worse, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of their weakness).
To drive your point home, provide evidence whenever possible. Give examples of successful performance-related initiatives either at your company or from others. Demonstrate how trimming seconds off of your site’s current load time will lead to increased revenue and better customer loyalty. Talk to clients who have made performance a priority and find out how it affected their bottom line.
Step two: Create a benchmark
Once you sell your idea based on business impact, it’s vital to be able to measure that impact. To do so, creating a benchmark will allow you to measure how much your performance improves, and to ensure that your ROI can be monitored.
Step three: Communicate goals and report back on them
By establishing performance monitoring as a priority, you should be able to track your site’s improved speed, reliability, and availability using the benchmark that you’ve established. But it’s also vital to communicate this success to your teammates and superiors. Showing progress as you go will invigorate those around you and urge them to find even more and better optimization strategies.
Step four: Instill the performance attitude
Improving your site’s performance is all well and good, but there’s never a time when you can say that’s finished. Remember, performance is a journey, not a destination; there’s always going to be room for improvement.
That means that cultivating a culture of performance rather than completing a single project should be your number one priority. Your team should constantly be measuring and re-measuring performance, detecting more areas for improvement, and updating goals.
There should also be an unending level of scrutiny to any changes made to your online presence. Does a new change affect your site’s loading time? Does a new marketing technology add risk to the site? Will you be able to scale effectively with this change in place? The beauty is that by instilling this culture of performance, these questions will become part of the decision-making process, enabling you and your team to foresee potential problems before they happen rather than having to go back and correct them after the fact.
A performance culture does not mean a focus on driving expensive infrastructure investments. Rather, a performance culture can help companies maximize, allocate, and leverage resources more effectively and strategically. But perhaps most importantly, it means an unwavering focus on the end-user experience. Potential impact on the end-user experience must be top of mind in all website-related decisions and proposed changes.
Creating and maintaining a performance culture takes time and effort. But the pay-off is worth it.