If you can't do the job yourself, there are Web site monitors for hire

If you can't do the job yourself, there are Web site monitors for hire

If your organization is short-staffed but still requires regular Web site checkups, you might consider buying help from a small but growing number of service providers specializing in Web performance monitoring.

Using special software tools, these companies measure the activities of visitors to your site and report their findings at regular intervals.

The tools they use vary. Some look for specific problems, such as faulty page loading, broken links and transaction interruptions. Some detect network bottlenecks or the failure of an Internet service provider to meet its service-level guarantees. Others simulate network traffic to the Web site and measure the site's response. And still others employ bots to automatically measure human responses to various Web site scenarios, such as slow page loading.

Among the vendors that offer monitoring services, for a monthly or yearly fee are BMC Software Inc. (www.bmc.com); Freshwater Software Inc. of Boulder, Colo. (www.freshwater.com); Engage Inc. of Andover, Mass. (www.engage.com); Keynote Systems Inc. of San Mateo, Calif. (www.keynote.com); Mercury Interactive Corp. (www.mercuryinteractive.com), Exodus Communications Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif. (www.exodus.net), and WebPartner of Cupertino, Calif. (www.webpartner.com).

'J.B. Miles

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