The loading speed of a website is one of the most important factors affecting the position of the page in the Google search results. But how to check whether your website loads fast enough and which tools to use? Keep reading!
Website loading time can currently be found among the Google ranking factors. Pages that load fast are not only displayed higher in the search results but are also considered as more convenient to use. The users’ first impression is crucial – a site that lags or loads irritatingly slowly during visiting it for the first time will probably deter most of the users. Website loading speed is particularly important when it comes to e-shops because customers don’t want to buy on a slow website – what if it lags during the shopping? Moreover, website load time influences also bounce rate, meaning a parameter that determines how many people left the page after entering only one subpage. If the site is slow, many people simply leave it without waiting for the content to be loaded.
There is no point in running SEO, advertising or perfecting your landing page to attract customers if they’ll leave it irritated because of its slow loading time. A second can be a real eternity for Internet users who want to have everything available immediately at their fingertips.
Now, knowing that website loading time affects not only your position in the Google’s rankings but also the user experience, we’d like to introduce you to the tools that will enable you measuring how quickly your website loads on both mobile and desktop devices. Note that in this particular aspect mobile devices are even more important than computers – remember about the “mobile first” rule. The majority of users browse the Internet via mobile devices, therefore you can’t lead to a situation when your site loads slowly on tablets or smartphones. To find out more about Mobile-First Index go to our previous entry.
The optimal website loading time
The answer to the question about the most optimal loading time of a website is simple – the faster, the better. Here, there is no way to gild the lily. But generally speaking, according to the recommendations, a website shouldn’t load longer than 2 seconds. Every additional second will increase your bounce rate. In order to avoid it, we’d like to present you the tools that will help you to estimate how fast your site is.
Moreover, most of the aforementioned tools will also suggest you what needs to be done to improve your website loading time. Of course, it’s worth following these recommendations but remember to monitor how the speed parameter changes after the modifications – use the same tool to do it as different tools apply different measurement methods and using the same tool at all times will increase the reliability of the conducted test.
Measuring website loading time – the tools:
1. Google PageSpeed Insights
A tool designed by Google to measure website load time on both mobile and desktop devices. It offers tips and suggestions on what should be done or improved and how to do it. The tool uses a point scale from 0-100, and the higher the indicator the better. If you manage to achieve more than 85 points you don’t need to worry about your website.
Additionally, Google PageSpeed Insights provides UX recommendations. It’s available at: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?hl=en. In November 2018, Google presented a completely new measuring machine for PageSpeed and it’s based on Lighthouse, an open-source tool.
It’s a simple tool that gives you the possibility to purchase a premium plan, although it’s not necessary if you want to test only one website. It shows the total loading time of the page, its size, the number and description of requests. The data are presented in the charts which make it easier to comprehend the information provided by GTmetrix. As the tool is extremely intuitive, it shouldn’t constitute any problems to beginners. Many people consider GTmetrix to be one of the best tools as it presents very realistic results. The tool offers also some extra (paid) functions such as a video recording of the website loading. The only downside to GTmetrix is that in order to perform the test you need to queue up. If you’re lucky, it’ll take only a few moments, if not, you may need to wait a long time.
GTmetrix offers a few options of testing your website loading time – one of them is done from the Google perspective, the other one from the Yahoo!. Each of them has its own guidelines according to which the website is accessed. The Waterfall tab is a list of requests and information concerning how these requests affect the page loading time.
3. Yahoo’s YSlow
Yahoo’s YSlow scans the page components and on their basis examines the website loading time. The data are presented in graphics and charts. It also informs which areas require any intervention of the website administrator. If you click on the displayed errors, you’ll be provided with recommendations on how to solve them. The tool comes in the form of a plugin that can be used in Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari.
4. WebPage Test
The tool assesses website loading time with the use of various browsers from different parts of the world and shows the actual connection times. It provides valuable information such as performance diagnostics (e.g. the image of the initial loading of the website), resource charts and suggestions for improvements. The tool tests the website three times and only then gives the average value, therefore measuring your site loading time with its use takes noticeably longer. However, the data are very accurate, shown in diagrams and screenshots.
This tool also requires queueing up which prolongs the process. It gives you the possibility to specify whether you want to check your page loading time on mobile or desktop devices. The test is divided into several categories and you get a score in each of them. After you click on the score, you’ll see statistics and explanations as to why your site has been evaluated in this particular way.
Although the obsolete layout may scare you off, the amount of expertise provided by this tool turns out to be invaluable.
It’s an advanced tool for testing your website loading time, monitoring network performance and analyzing your site in terms of its speed, SEO and security. 5 tests a month are for free and it’s more than enough to optimize your page. It enables you to display and check which technologies have been implemented on the website.
After clicking on the arrow it’ll be explained to you why this particular aspect is important for the website.
6. Load Impact
Load Impact offers 10 tests a month for free. The premium plan, which costs $119 per month, enables you to examine your website as many times as you wish. The test is based on creating artificial traffic to the site and checking how it responds to such overload. The website is “visited” by 1 million users from different parts of the world at the same time.
7. Chrome Dev Tools
It’s a tool to audit the performance of your website. It informs you about the aspects that need to be improved and displays the lines of the CSS code which are inefficient.
The tools we’ve discussed in our today’s entry offer various levels of advancement. Using some of them is a real piece of cake as they’re intended for people who aren’t professionals. On the other hand, there are also tools that are more sophisticated and refer to the background knowledge of the users. Depending on your personal knowledge, we recommend using a tool tailored to your needs. In fact, most of the described tools present very similar data which differ only in terms of the presentation and the level of advancement.