PageSpeed is a term used in the industry to define the time it takes a specific webpage to load. It's important to remember that website complexity and page size are always involved in the equation alongside web performance, loading time, and PageSpeed.
According to a Kissmetrics report, around 40 percent of users will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Pages that load faster offer a better user experience and are more likely to retain users.
Google includes PageSpeed as one of the top ranking factors right alongside SEO and attention-grabbing headers. This means that any CSS, DNS, or HTML-based web page that takes too long to load may never appear as a top result on the Search Engine Result Page.
This holds true for both mobile and desktop users. In fact, because mobile users are typically in a hurry and are hypersensitive to latency and poor optimization they may leave a slow webpage quicker than desktop users who are waiting for plugins and other software to load.
Surprisingly, about 73 percent of mobile users appear to be unhappy with PageSpeeds. This small factor can cause businesses to lose clients as it can affect the conversion rate.
A good example is Walmart, which saw an increase of two percent for every second of increased website speed. You will find several more similar examples on the internet.
PageSpeed can even increase loyalty and retention, increasing the amount of time that any one visitor spends on your website.
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It's commonly believed that the easiest way to check PageSpeed is simply to open a webpage and objectively determine how long it takes to open. If you are truly looking for an optimal speed test, we would suggest any of the below online performance tools and performance monitoring sites.
Google’s own tool, PageSpeed Insights, can measure the performance of a webpage for desktops and mobile devices. Based on Lighthouse, it offers a score between 0 to 100 points and includes waterfall charts alongside other uptime metrics.
The higher the number, the better the performance. A score of 85 or more is considered acceptable Anything below 80 requires intervention.
On the positive side, Google offers tips on what you can do to improve website speed. However, some of these tips can be hard to implement. It’s best that you hire the services of a professional agency to take care of things.
Pingdom comes with a free speed testing feature that displays results in waterfall view with the option to filter output by file size, load times, and load order.
Just like our first pick, Pingdom offers a score between 0 to 100 points. The result is broken down into twelve elements, each with an individual score. This feature can help developers identify improvement areas and make changes.
The tool is extremely popular among beginners due to its ease of use. Moreover, it keeps a history, which makes it easier to track improvements.
Google Analytics provides valuable information including site speed. You can access this feature by going to your Google Analytics dashboard. You’ll find it under the ‘Behavior’ section.
GA uses a snippet added to a page to find information including webpage-load time, execution speed, and document load time.
Though not the most popular website pagespeed testing tool, Google Analytics can be helpful for users who want more data. However, GA is known to provide inaccurate results since it uses random sampling to collect data.
This is the era of mobile-friendly sites with a growing number of people using phones and tablets to access the web. Google pays special attention to mobile viewing and encourages developers to take steps to ensure websites are fast to load on hand-held devices.
Powered by Google PageSpeed Insights, Google’s mobile speed testing platform is aimed towards agencies and marketers interested in optimizing for mobile.
The tool is fast and reliable; however, waste no time trying to achieve a perfect score as that may not be possible here.
Last on our list is KeyCDN’s free tool. Said to be perfect for WordPress sites, this platform allows users to select from 14 locations to know exactly how a website loads in different parts of the world. This can be of huge importance for developers interested in attracting international users.
The website gives the option to save history for later viewing. We also liked the breakdown report that shows deep insights including total download time, wait time, and content size.
While the tools discussed above are great at what they do, but may not be able to help you find all of the bottlenecks that are showing up in your performance testing.
There may be a misunderstanding of how to use these tools, and what those results actually mean in a given context.
Put www.berkshirehathaway.com into Google PageSpeed. From the metrics you can tell the site is fast, right? Now take a look at the website, the simplicity allows for quick page load times.
There is no doubt that speed is a function of website complexity, and is relative. HelpSystems.com is a global company with a website that's translated into multiple languages. Their website has extremely quick response times for a complex site.
Next, put in https://www.huffpost.com/ into Google PageSpeed. Pretty slow, right? This is a national newspaper. Their website is not "slow" or poorly designed -- it is fast, given the complexity of the site, which includes things like the number and size of images. We tried putting in the New York Times' website but it didn't even load.
Next, put in https://www.harvard.edu/. Pretty slow, right, especially on mobile?
It's Harvard — the website is not slow given its complexity. If Harvard's target audience were in Africa with 3G cell phone service and limited internet speeds, it might make sense for them to design their site closer to www.berkshirehathaway.com. But, since they are based in America, with an American target audience, where speeds are ever-increasing, including the introduction of 5G, this is not a concern, and their website loads just fine.
Run and Rerun Speed Tests
Don't make the mistake of running a test for PageSpeed only once. Try multiple platforms and run several tests to ensure you get the right result.
If you see a vast difference in results each time you run a test, it might be due to caching.
Your Content Delivery Network (CDN) may affect load time. Consider running some tests with CDN enabled and some with CDN disabled to gauge the impact it has on loading speeds.
Remember the Location
Your website will never have the same load time in every part of the world. It might load in two seconds in some countries and take four in another. This is because the speed largely depends on where your website is hosted and where it’s being viewed.
A website hosted in Australia will be slow to load in the US due to the distance between the two countries. It may, however, load fast in Australia.
Test loading speed using different locations to know how your website loads in each country.
Your website must be fast to load in countries you’re trying to target.
Most people believe that the ideal website load time is between two and five seconds, however, some reports suggest that each second beyond 2 causes potential visitors to bounce off pages due to poor website performance.
According to verified stats, about 47 percent of desktop users expect sites to load in less than three seconds.
If you want to retain people then you must take steps to ensure your site doesn’t take more than two seconds to load, be it desktop or mobile. This can, however, be hard to attain since several factors affect website PageSpeed including content, hosting server, and coding.
You need professional web developers who know how to diagnose and fix the problems keeping your website from operating at top speed and efficiency - O8 can help.
We’ve been in the industry for years and have helped clients have faster and more efficient websites. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you improve website performance.