We’ve written many times about how important it is that your website runs at top performance. To recap, it not only keeps customers happy, but it also helps with your search engine performance and reduces the load on your servers.
Fast websites also trend to work better on mobile devices too, especially when the user is connected to a weak mobile data signal.
Armed with the knowledge that your site needs to be fast, how can you actually measure how quick it is to load a page?
The most straightforward way is simply to try out your site yourself. Visit your site on a browser to give yourself a rough gauge as to how it’s performing. Then, visit your competitors’ sites and see how they load. Are they better? Worse? The same? You’ll at least start to get clues as to whether anything is wrong.
In truth, this should only be the start of your journey to measure your site’s speed. At the very least, you should be testing it on different devices, operating systems and browsers, using Ethernet, WiFi and mobile connections.
As you might be able to work out, that multiplies out to hundreds of possible permutations, and testing them all would be time-consuming, while not being particularly accurate or actionable.
A much more accurate and useful way to test your website’s speed is through Google’s Core Web Vitals. It’s a tool that all website owners should use, as it not only tests the performance of your site, but it will also give you accurate, usable information on exactly what is slowing your site down.
Assuming you’ve got a decent hosting package, there’s a comprehensive list of factors that can slow down your site, from unoptimised images to a maze of plugins, overly complex themes and drawing content from multiple sources around the internet (for example ads and videos).
We can’t recommend this service highly enough – it’s one of the basics that really does live up to its name and repays your small time investment many, many times over.
Finally, you can get a pretty decent idea of your site’s speed from one of the many online browser-based speed test services. Examples include Pingdom, PageSpeed Insights (also by Google), GTmetrix, Catchpoint and KeyCDN.
This list is far from exhaustive (there are dozens more), and we couldn’t recommend any particular one, although they all pretty much do the same thing.
Some of these are clearly tools designed to get your contact details so they can send marketing materials to you, or miraculously suggest their own software to solve your speed woes (who’d a thunk it?). So it’s a case of buyer beware and all that.
However, as a starting point to see if your site has any glaring issues, they’re worth a pop.
Generally speaking, as long as you follow best practices when you’re developing your site and use professional hosting, you shouldn’t have any serious issues with page speed. But if you do, you know who to call.