Automated Website Performance Tools 2
Is your website a Cinquecento or a 911?
Speed of loading is central to the user experience. It’s also part (albeit relatively minor) of Google’s search ranking algorithm. A faster site = higher ranking.
KISSmetrics (a blog about ‘analytics, marketing and testing’) lists a slow site as number four of the ‘9 user experience pitfalls’.
Why is loading speed important?
Imagine I’m new to your website. I fit the typical visitor profile in that I’m goal-directed and impatient. I expect to be convinced of your site’s message and credentials within a couple of seconds. As a frequent web browser, I’m familiar with other sites’ loading speeds, so will notice if your site is slow.
Here’s some aggregate speed data as reported by Google Analytics in 2012. You don’t want to be down the right-hand side of the slope.
According to surveys by Akamai.com and Gomez.com:
- 40% of users abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds,
- 47% of users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and
- 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
As the respected blog Hubspot puts it: ‘You need to grab attention, get your message across, and spark interest in your viewers … all within just a few seconds.’ It’s called The Blink Test.
Your site may be packed with useful content. But if it loads slowly, your visitors will not stick around long enough to find out!
How to check loading speed
Gomez.com offers a website performance test to test a site’s loading speed from around the world. Fill in your contact details, select the location to test from – and away you go.
Or there’s Google Developers PageSpeed Insights.
Tap in your URL and you’ll receive a score out of 100 for mobile and desktop download performance (for a responsive site, the score will be the same). This tool doesn’t show loading time in seconds. However, it does give helpful colour-coded suggestions as how to improve your speed. It will also display an image of how your site appears on a mobile.
WebPageTest gives both the load time in seconds and a summary of results, full of crosses, ticks and exclamation marks. Just like being back at school!
Finally, Pingdom also shows a site’s loading speed (and where it was tested from). It compares your speed to that of other sites, eg: ‘Your website is faster than 67% of all tested websites.’
I hope these automated tools prove useful in improving your website’s performance. We will feature more in future blogs.
In the meantime, what is your favourite automated tool, and why?