Pages that load quickly perform better in search results and are also seen as more user-friendly.
The first impression of a user is critical – a site that lags or loads painfully slowly the first time they visit it will likely repel the majority of users.
Website loading speed is especially critical for e-commerce sites since people do not want to buy from a slow website – what if it delays the shopping process? If the site is slow, many visitors will simply leave without waiting for the information to load.
How Do I Check the Performance of my Website?
Several speed test tools, such as WebPageTest, Pingdom, GTmetrix, and PageSpeed Insights, can be used to assess the performance of your website.
The outcomes may differ depending on the platform. Yet, if you run your site via several SEO tools and calculate the average, your results and page load times will likely be similar.
Try to keep the testing circumstances the same each time you run a speed test; otherwise, the results could be biased and unfair. For example, choose the same testing location (e.g. London if your store primarily targets UK customers), and test on the same device and connection each time, such as an iPhone 12 on a 4G connection. You can see which device is the most popular for your users by looking in your analytics tools.
The scores and timings you receive from these third-party testing tools provide a general estimate of the speed performance of your website and may vary.
Running numerous speed tests with various tools and comparing the results is a good idea. This will give you a clearer picture of how quick your website is. Not everyone has access to a 5G or even 4G connection, so timings will vary, and it is best to use the average results for better accuracy; this is part of the reason why webpagetest.com does three site speed runs as part of their test and shows you all three outcomes.
What is a Good Loading Time for a Website?
We try to avoid scores out of 100 or grades, as these can be subjective. However, we do appreciate these can be easier to understand for some.
Timings vary depending on which metric you are looking at. If we want to measure how quickly the server loads (also known as Time to First Byte or TTFB), anything under 100ms is a great result; anything under 200ms is recommended by Google, although a server response time in the range of 300-500ms is pretty standard.
We can look at the Fully Loaded Time to assess how long it takes for the entire page to load. Typically, something in the 0-4 seconds range is recommended because the first five seconds of page-load time have the most significant impact on conversion rates. When working with eCommerce stores, we aim for a fully loaded time between 0-2 seconds where possible to allow stores to be more competitive.
Other metrics that are important when discovering how to measure site speed include Time to Interactive, Total Blocking Time and Largest Contentful Paint.
What Effect Does Load Time Have on SEO?
Page speed is a ranking factor considered by Google. Search engines know how short our modern attention spans are, so they are much less likely to serve a slow-loading page to searchers.
Google measures your speed using previous Chrome user experience data and real-time tool tests. All search result rankings, including desktop, mobile, and ad searches, are affected by rate.
Steps to Check Website Loading Time
There are numerous methods to measure website speed:
Launch your Chrome/Firefox browser and navigate to the web page you want to examine. Right-click and choose “Inspect” and then select the “Network” tab. Once you run the test, you should be able to see all the information, including the load time, as your web page loads.
Chrome also provides an open-source automated tool called Lighthouse to monitor the site’s performance. To begin, click the “>” button and select Lighthouse.
Website Speed Tools or Online Browser Extensions
These are websites where you may manually check page load times.
Simply enter the website’s address, and you will obtain a quick snapshot of how fast or slow your website is at that time.
Some of the site speed tools we use most often are:
How to Improve Website Loading Time
Here are three essential tips for improving the loading time of your website:
Caching Should be Optimised
When a visitor opens a site, your web page’s image files, CSS, and Java files also load, consuming a significant amount of page load time.
Your browser can save these resources or files for future requests when caching is appropriately configured. These files can be retrieved from the cache rather than downloaded from the network each time on subsequent page loads. This reduces bandwidth and hosting costs as well.
Expires headers can be used for static site components and Cache-Control headers for dynamic ones. When these headers are used, a site’s various features become cacheable, like pictures, stylesheets, scripts, and flash.
This reduces HTTP requests and hence improves page load time. You can control the length of time that components of a web page can be cached by using Expires headers. Resources such as company logos that are unlikely to change can be cached for longer.
Optimise Image Format/Size
The photos on your site consume a significant amount of bandwidth, affecting the loading time of your website.
It is insufficient to downsize your website’s photos in HTML because this alters the image’s appearance rather than size and uses extra code unnecessarily.
Resize the photos to the desired size using external image editing software, such as Photoshop, and set the resolution to 72 dpi.
Use image optimisation tools to compress the image further and minimise its size, such as:
Standard image formats such as JPG, PNG, and GIF are best for faster website loading, but it is recommended to use next-generation image formats where possible such as webP.
A webpage that needs plugins may cause your page to load slowly. Not all plugins are excessive, such as social sharing plugins, but always check to see whether a better option for the plugin exists, such as using custom or built-in features.
You can also check the size of the plugin before adding it to your website. Choosing the most lightweight option that suits your needs is generally the best option.
If you use a CMS such as WordPress, it is recommended that you check for software updates regularly.
You should test any upgrades on a separate staging website first to ensure they don’t cause any issues. Keeping up with software changes enhances the speed of a website.
While monitoring your website’s visitor statistics is essential, using other tracking software may slow down page load time.
If you use a CMS like WordPress, you should allow either WP stats or Google Analytics to run scripts on your page, but not both.
A slow website is a significant problem that can affect your reputation, irritating potential visitors and inhibiting Google and other search engines from discovering and crawling your website, leading to diminished organic visibility.
So always ensure you are checking your site speed and making the necessary changes to improve and fix the issue before it affects your business as a whole!
Consider our site speed audit today if you need help assessing your site speed.