The overwhelming evidence indicates that a Web site’s performance (speed) correlates directly to its success, across industries and business metrics. With such a clear connection, it is important to monitor how your website performs. So, do you know how fast is your website?
Below, Web Leap team has highlighted 5 free tools you can use to not only test your website’s load speed, but even receive suggestions on how to make it faster.
1. Google PageSpeed Insights
A good starting point for measuring website load times is Google Page Speed Insights. To use it, type the URL you want to check into the on-screen box. Press the “analyze” button.
As Google has been making a big push for a faster web, this tool analyses your website’s load speed and provides suggestions on how to improve it, both for desktop and mobile browsers.
While PageSpeed Insights does not provide you with your website’s actual load time, it does provide you with a score based out of 100. It then shows you what parts of your site you absolutely need to fix to increase that score, what you should consider fixing, and what you are already doing correctly.
As an added bonus, it provides suggestions for improving your website’s user experience on mobile devices. Bingo!!
2. Pingdom Website Speed Test
Unlike Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom’s Website Speed Test tool provides you with your website’s actual load time. That’s a bonus!
You can also select what location in the world you’d like to perform your test from. Enter your URL in the on-screen box, press “test now” and you get a report divided into several sections. These include page analysis, a performance grade and a waterfall analysis, helping you identify the most important causes of website slowdown and how to fix them. A waterfall chat shows every element that has loaded on your current page and how long each took to load.
In addition, Pingdom assigns your page a performance grade and makes suggestions on how to improve that grade. You can also see a history of all tests performed for your page on Pingdom.
GTmetrix is a bit different than the other tools in this list. Instead of providing you with one load score and list of suggested improvements, it provides two.
The resulting report highlights dozens of different aspects of website load times and grades each one from A to F. A traffic light grading system lets you see at a glance which areas of your site work well and which need attention. Each issue is a link which gives more detail when clicked. One useful aspect of this tool is that it ranks the critical issues in order of importance so you know where to start to make the biggest impact.
As it runs your website through both Google’s PageSpeak Insights and Yahoo’s YSlow test, it gives you double the recommendations for improvements. Isn’t that great!
Webpage test is the most advanced load speed testing tool on this list.
First off, when setting up your test, you can choose from a large number of locations to perform the test. You can also choose what browser you want to test your site with, including some device-specific browsers such as Chrome.
The WebPagetest performs a test on your site twice: a first view and a repeat view. This is incredibly useful for websites with a caching system setup. The first view gives you the web page’s load time without caching, and the repeat view with caching.
In addition, you have a large number of advanced customization options to choose from, including multi-step transactions and content blocking.
But hands down, our favourite feature of WebPagetest is the video capture. During each test, it records your webpage so you can see exactly how your site loads.
5. How to Find Site Speed Issues with Google Analytics
Google Analytics includes site speed in its reports. You can find it in the Behaviour section. Click on the overview link to see a snapshot of page speed issues and use the Page Timings link to see how individual pages are loading. The Page Speed Suggestions link shows how individual pages could be improved, allowing you to target your most important pages first.
Bringing Your Site up to Speed
So what are the actions you need to take once you have discovered your site is slow? Luckily Google PageSpeed as well as GTmetrix are very helpful in showing you what is slowing down your page. The items are even rated in terms of difficulty of implementation. So once you’re using those tools, you’ll have a lot to do! There are quite a few on the list which can be managed by yourself if you have the knowledge and resources. However, it is always advisable to leave technical issues with the experts which will let you concentrate on growing your business. If that’s your next step, simply give us a call on 01772 507118.
It’s up to you how far you go with your optimization. There’s always the perfectionist approach which aims at nothing less than 100%. That’s cool, and a possible killer for your competition in competitive niches. It’s definitely recommended to reach for 80% and higher. Everything below that is not really acceptable.
Page speed matters. Having a fast website is important, and it will become even more important as time goes on. So you need to start monitoring your website’s load time and find ways to improve its speed. These 5 tools are the best currently available for just that task.
In the long run Google always rewards sites that care for their visitors, so don’t miss out on that opportunity!