Analysing site speed – Two essential tools

Analysing site speed – Two essential tools

In April 2010, Google announced on their Webmaster Central Blog that site speed had been added to their search ranking algorithms, explaining that “faster sites create happy users and that when sites respond slowly, visitors spend less time there.”  Shopzilla carried out A/B testing comparing conversions with page load times and found that the faster pages delivered between 7% and 12% more conversions.  Firefox ran similar tests and found a 15% increase in conversions.

So if a faster website brings more conversions, how can you find out if the page load times for your website need urgent attention?  Below I’ve listed two free tools which may help.

GTMetrix

GTMetrix is a free and easy to use site performance tool.  Enter the URL of a website and within a minute it will present you with a host of useful suggestions on how to improve loading speeds. (See a sample from a report below)

 

GTMetrix also provides a breakdown of loading speeds by file called a waterfall report.  This allows you to see which images, javascript files or css files are taking the longest time to download for your customers.

 

 

Pingdom

Pingdom provides a number of services including site speed reports, DNS reports and server downtime monitoring.  The site speed report gives a quick and easy summary of page load times.  I prefer using Pingdom’s page load time reports as the

y seem to detect where the website is in the world and run the tests from the closest server giving more accurate .

You can also view the history of loading times for a given web page which includes reports which have been run by all of Pingdom’s users from around the world.

Pingdom also provides a waterfall report.

Using these tools you should be able to easily identify bottlenecks, bloated files, server-side improvements and on-page issues.  In the next post I’ll explain some of the most common fixes and some other tools which will help you do so.

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