This article is more than just a few links to some web page speed test tools, it'll also explain why they're good and how you can use them to improve your web page speed loading time.
When it comes to ranking your website on Google, there are some very complicated algorithms which factor in more signals than the average mind could begin to comprehend, just ask the US Congress if you don't believe me.
One factor you can definitely control however and plays a huge role in not only in your websites desktop & mobile ranking but also in the user experience is your web page speed.
Important to note
When measuring your website speed, you'll see conflicting results across numerous websites in terms of page score and time. This isn't a sign of the speed testing tools being incorrect or inconsistent, they're just measuring for different things.
You should also refer back to the website speed terminology for anything you're not sure about.
Website Speed terminology
Fully Loaded Time
Measured on Pingdom as 'load time' this is when the website appears loaded to the customer visually.
The page weight is the total size of the web page measured in mb. The lower this is the better. Everything on your web page contributes to your page weight from fonts to images and balancing website aesthetics with speed optimisation in mind is one of the many challenging aspects of being a website developer.
Page score results
This is especially important when you consider following their recommendations may result in a higher page score but a slower time. Worse yet it may break functionality on your website, these scores are general and don't suit every website. The important factor is the time.
The waterfall is a
This is the measurement from when the browser makes the initial request to view the website to the servers first response. It's a good measure for deciding the website servers suitability for website speed
Other factors will play a role in this including distance to server, how much traffic the website is currently handling etc. Cheap website hosts in particular will struggle with large flows of traffic.
The first paint is the time taken to load any content onto the browser. For most properly optimised websites this is the flash you'll see whilst the website loads as it quickly loads the content and styles it correctly. On slower loading websites you may see an object like a logo or banner sit surrounded in white space whilst the rest of the page loads.
First meaningful paint
The first meaningful paint is the time taken to load the first part of the content rendered readable or viewable to the user. Above the fold content is so important for this reason as the rest of the website is still loading and this section needs to capture the users attention and keep it.
Failing to minify these or move them to the footer of your website will result in the longer 'white screen' whilst your page loads and will increase your page load time.
However referring back to 'fully loaded page time' the longer these take to load even if loaded in the footer, the worse the user experience will be as the website will not function correctly.
Without getting too complicated in regards to the technical comparisons of inline, embedded and externally loaded scripts, we can reduce the script loading times with combining these scripts into one location instead of loading them from multiple areas. This comes with its own complications and should not be attempted on a live website or by someone without web development knowledge as 9 times out of 10 it will break, well everything.
Minification is basically removing as much bloat as possible from your website and code whilst trying not to break anything. Minification tools usually cut back on code by removing whitespace, newline characters etc.
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The Best web page speed test tools
GTMetrix is one of the most popular web page speed test tools on the internet because
A) It's Free
B) It's very comprehensive
With GTMetrix you can test your web pages loading time across devices, browsers, locations and loading speeds. Bearing in mind not everyone in the world is on unlimited broadband this is a very useful approach to use indeed. Especially if you are targeting specific audiences in locations.
For example, if you're targeting users who are exploring a new area with local SEO - there's a strong possibility in the UK
Pingdom will show you the load time of your website. Many beginner website designers or
Pingdom provides users with an idea of how long it takes for the website to actually appear loaded to users from their selection of countries.
Google page test ( Desktop)
Googles have a huge range of useful web developer information available for free with advice for
It contains useful functional information about how to
Bonus : Google Page Test ( Mobile )
Test my site with G
How do I improve my web page speed?
One of the most important things to do when improving your web page loading speed is to reduce the web page weight. As that is usually the main culprit involved with slow websites.
If you are somewhat technically savvy, you can make basic adjustments by yourself which, depending on the severity of your speed woes can make a huge impact.
Let's say for example you have a waterfall generated by GTMetrix and you notice the images are taking up large time slots. You can then use the advice given to re-edit those images to the correct dimensions and use some compression software to make them suitable for the website.
Examine GTMetrixs waterfall, you'll notice generally the images are the largest cause of page load delay. You can then use the advice given to re-edit those images to the correct dimensions and use some compression software to make them suitable for the website.
After you have improved your web page weight through image
Server location matter
Using a content delivery network (CDN) like Cloudflare will help reduce your time to
Whilst these website speed tools are useful, they don't do the most important thing, which is
Beyond the very basic
For more severe problems such as poor servers, slow response times or bloated code. It may be time to go back to the drawing board on your website or you could hire a website speed optimiser to speed your website up to Google's standards. Shameless plug - we do that here!
Just remember that whilst website speed is a huge ranking factor, it's not the be all and end all of googles ranking methods for SEO.
So don't strip your website down to the barebones trying to gain every millisecond possible. Great content matters too and you need to keep your users engaged otherwise they'll just add to your bounce rate.