We created this step-by-step guide to help you set up your SpeedCurve Synthetic monitoring, and to help you onboard your team members who are new to SpeedCurve. As always, we welcome your feedback. If you have any questions that aren't answered here, send us a note at support@speedcurve.com.

If you haven't signed up for SpeedCurve yet, you'll need to do that first. The signup process is pretty simple, and there's no credit card required for your 30-day free trial.

Contents:

  • Step 1 • Add URLs, regions, browsers, and custom settings
  • Step 2 • Manage your monthly checks
  • Step 3 • Add more users and teams
  • Step 4 • Benchmark yourself against your competitors
  • Step 5 • Set performance budgets and alerts
  • Step 6 • Add WebPageTest scripts
  • Step 7 • Create custom metrics
  • Step 8 • Explore Hero Rendering Times
  • Step 9 • Get to know the dropdown filters
  • Step 10 • Create custom charts
  • Step 11 • Get page-level diagnostics

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Step 1 • Add URLs, regions, browsers, and custom settings

In this short (5:40) video Mark walks you through the steps to add more URLs, regions, and browsers, as well as create custom settings to emulate different connection types and speeds.

Learn more:

Case study: How Scotch.io used SpeedCurve to make its pages 50% faster

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Step 2 • Manage your monthly checks

Your SpeedCurve Synthetic plan is billed based on the number of performance checks you make a month. With a Pay-As-You-Go plan, you pay only for the checks you use. With an Enterprise plan, you pay for a pre-determined number of monthly checks, at a 10-20% discount over PAYG. (See our pricing guide for more information.)

No matter what type of plan you have, it's in your best interest to manage your monthly checks to get the best value out of SpeedCurve.

Learn more: 

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Step 3 • Add more users and teams

The ability to create multiple users and multiple teams is a feature of our Synthetic Enterprise plan. If you're already an Enterprise user, this video shows you how to add users/teams. If you're not an Enterprise user and want to learn more, contact us at support@speedcurve.com.

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Step 4 • Benchmark yourself against your competitors

Knowing which of your competitors are faster than you is a fantastic way to get performance buy-in throughout your organization. Here's how to use SpeedCurve to compare your performance with any other site

(Bonus: It's super easy to set up! Extra bonus: You can also generate great visualizations – like side-by-side videos and filmstrips – to share with your team.)

Learn more: 

Case study: How The Guardian used SpeedCurve to help make its site four times faster

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Step 5 • Set performance budgets and alerts

Performance budgets are a vital tool in your web performance toolbox. They take the hassle out of monitoring your page performance by notifying you (by email, Slack, or HipChat) whenever your metrics cross a certain threshold.

The great news: creating performance budgets is quick and easy. Here's how to get started.

Learn more:

Case study: See how Zillow uses SpeedCurve to create and enforce performance budgets

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Step 6 • Add WebPageTest scripts

WebPageTest scripting (which is available with our Enterprise plans) lets you expand your SpeedCurve testing by allowing you to do things like add repeat views and test private dev and staging sites.

Learn more: 

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Step 7 • Create custom metrics

It’s great to have standard metrics – such as onload time and start render – that work across all web pages. But these metrics don’t tell you about important things you care about, such as how quickly your ads and third parties are rendering, or how fast your site appears to users. 

This is where custom metrics come in. SpeedCurve lets you implement custom timers to track the performance of key page assets – such as hero images (for tracking user-perceived performance) or third-party scripts (for tracking ad performance). Using JavaScript, you can mark the important times during page loading and those custom metrics are displayed in your SpeedCurve dashboard.

Learn more:

Case study: See how Cars.com created a custom “Time to Interact” metric with SpeedCurve

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Step 8 • Explore Hero Rendering Times

These are a set of metrics we created to mitigate the fact that only about 15% of websites use custom timers. They're an out-of-the-box way to learn how page elements that probably correlate to user experience – largest image, largest background image, and H1 – render in the browser. They're available on your Sites dashboard.

Learn more: Hero Rendering Times: New metrics for measuring UX

Case study: NerdWallet used SpeedCurve's H1 Render metric to help improve font loading by up to 30%

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Step 9 • Get to know the dropdown filters

The dropdown filters at the top of each dashboard let you quickly generate custom charts with your data: 

All you have to do is click the arrow icon at the end of the filter menu to see your options:

Just hit the green 'Go' button when you're done, and you'll see your updated charts.

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Step 10 • Create custom charts

Your Favorites dashboards make it super easy for you to cherry pick the metrics and data that are most meaningful to your business – and then share that data with your team.

You can quickly and easily build your own charts which:

  • Group charts into different dashboards for different users. For example: You can add an "Exec Summary" dashboard that includes high-level charts for those monthly management meetings. Or you can create separate project-related dashboards to help your dev team focus on priorities.
  • Combine synthetic tests and LUX (real user monitoring) in one chart.
  • Choose average, median, or 95th percentile.
  • Create charts that have multiple metrics.
  • Select multiple values for a filter, eg, browser = Chrome or Firefox, country = UK or US.
  • Compare A/B tests in a single chart.

Learn more: How to create custom charts in your Favorites dashboard

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Step 11 • Get page-level diagnostics

Being able to monitor and measure the performance of your pages is crucial. The next step is to quickly find out what’s hurting your pages so you can stop the pain.

You want to know:

  • Which performance rules is my page breaking?
  • How do I prioritize my optimization efforts?
  • How can I communicate this quickly and clearly to my team?

Every time you run a synthetic test, your Lighthouse scores appear at the top of your test results page by default. Lighthouse is an open-source automated tool for auditing the quality of web pages. You can perform Lighthouse tests on any web page, and get a series of scores for performance, accessibility, SEO, and more.

Here's how to see your Lighthouse audits for each test run:

1. Go to your Site dashboard.

2. Select the page you're interested in from the menu at the top of the page.

3.Click on whatever point on the test timeline you're interested in. You'll see a pop-up with a 'View Test' link, like this:

4. Click the 'View Test' link to go to the test results page. Your Lighthouse scores are at the top of the page: 

5. Click on each Lighthouse category to see your list of audits and recommendations, like this:

6. If you want to see your full Lighthouse report, click on the text link at the bottom of the list of audits.

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Questions?

We're always working to make your SpeedCurve learning curve as short and sweet as possible. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know! Send your comments to support@speedcurve.com.

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