What Is Your Website’s Loading Speed?
Ever clicked on a link to a website only to watch that little loading icon spin and spin. And spin. Then spin some more. Oh, heck with it! Let’s try a different website (click, close window).
Web page loading speed is the speed at which web pages are downloaded and displayed on the user’s web browser. Essentially, it is a measure of how quickly a website responds to requests (think clicks).
According to Google, which has been ranking searches since 2010 per the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog, website speed is important. It matters both to a website’s owner and the many users of the Internet.
Why Is It Important?
Web page loading speed is essential to the site’s success and, today, has become vital for search result positioning. Furthermore, from an operational view, quick website speed potentially reduces operating costs that may affect the bottom line and/or revenue stream of a company.
Would a visitor to your website want to remain on your site and/or revisit your site if the download speed is slow? Definitely not! As you may know, most of us are typically impatient and want our downloads to be fast and crisp.
This particularly applies now that the use of mobile devices is so pervasive. “Heavier” web pages not only mean more waiting time, but they even affect users who pay for their data plans based on how much they download.
Slow sites affect sales. If your website is slow and you are selling products or services, a prospective buyer will often abandon the site. Instead, he or she will quick find a competitor’s website to make the transaction.
What Affects Web Page Speed?
There are many things that affect the loading speed of a web page. Many of these are pretty technical, and lie beyond the understanding of the typical business owner.
That said, here’s a list of things that affect web page speed:
- Image File Size
- Third Party Content
- Web Page File Size
- Combine Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)
How to Improve Loading Speed?
For most business owners, there isn’t much you can do directly. Except one thing. If you blog or manage your own content, check the size of the images you upload to WordPress. WordPress generally won’t accept large images (those over 1 MB, for example). But even if it does, learn to resize images prior to website uploading.
You can do this using image management software (e.g. Photoshop). Or, you can simply use an online site like http://resizeimage.net/ or http://www.picresize.com/. They are free and easy to use. The important thing is to resize the image to about what the published dimensions will be on your website. So, if you want a picture to be 400 pixels wide, then resize it to that before uploading.
Tools for Measuring Web Page Speed
How does one determine the web page speed? Test it! There are various tools available on the Internet that determine and analyze your website’s download speed. Be sure to test it anytime you have made changes to the site that may affect the loading speed (for example, content changes that involve images).
Below is a list of tools you can use to test and analyze your web page loading speed. Each test tool’s web site address is provided and a brief summary of what they offer:
The Pingdom Website Speed Test by entering your URL tests the load time of the page, analyzes it and finds the bottlenecks such one can fix any issues that occur to speed up the web site.
GTmetrix gives you insight on how well your web site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it. Essentially GTmetrix allows you to enter your URL and the tool analyzes your web site.
Think with Google- https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/
This tool is easy to use by typing in your URL, clicking on the arrow, and it tests your speed. This tool provides an analysis of your web site’s speed and gives you various recommendations.
Dotcom-monitor instantly tests your website speed in real browsers from 25 locations worldwide. It analyzes the web speed and provides recommendations to increase the speed.
Be sure to use the same tool to measure changes in your site speed since every tool works a little differently. You will want to “compare apples to apples” for a meaningful look at what changed. Once you have tested your site, you may want to have a conversation with your web master to discuss specific changes he/she can make to speed up your site.