Let me start by asking you, the reader, have you ever visited a website from your desktop or laptop (non-mobile device) and it just seemed to take forever to load? Did it take so long that you hit refresh a number of times to no avail? Did the slowness eventually cause you to leave the website and try something else? Now, keeping in mind that most mobile devices have slower internet speeds and processing power as notebooks, desktops, etc. How many times have you struggled to load a page on your mobile device? How many times did you leave said website because it would either not load at all, or just partially load?
In some cases, this can be due to network issues, poor signal, and outages among many other things. Often times, it’s the result of poor or outdated design of your website. If you have a feeling you’re losing customers or contacts due to page speed time, the problem could very well be inherent in the design itself. Unless your website was designed in the last 2 to three years, chances are you should audit your website for speed and performance.
There are many great tools that you can use — for FREE — on the web to test your website’s page speed, and I’m encouraging that you do this the first chance you get.
Here’s why, the reality of the “average website/internet user” is that you actually have less than 10 seconds to engage them to “take action” on your website. This means, your visitor needs to easily find what they’re looking for… in less than 10 seconds, then “take action” by clicking on a link to what they are looking for or something else that may get their attention. This factors into what is referred to as a “bounce rate”, or rate of website visitors that land on your website but leave rather than explore or dig deeper into your content.
If you’re getting five thousand hits a day and your “bounce rate” is 90%, that means only 500 visitors of that 5,000 actually “took action” on your website. This is the traffic you want to improve upon. Lowering your bounce rate is usually indicative of having a faster website (among other factors).
What can I do?
Now, I’m sure there are certain brands that are powerful enough to overcome speed and wait time issues due to popularity, but for the purpose of this article, I’m assuming you’re not one of them. If it takes your website 5 seconds to load, that’s half your allotted 10 second action mark! Seconds count in the world of mobile devices, how does your website compare? Here are some ways you can find out.
First, I have found this one to be very useful as it seems to present the speed issues in a different way than the other speed testing websites that are out there. This one is actually made by Google and is called PageSpeed Insights. Simply enter the url of your website, Google will analyze it, and while the results may not make much sense unless you’re a web developer, they use a “Green, Yellow, and Red” color system that’s universally understandable. Seeing a lot of red means you’re not doing so well and provides you with something tangible that you can take to your web development team and have them improve upon. Or you could hire a company like mine to handle this work for you. (Shameless plug).
They also use an “out of 100” grading system. So many of us are already familiar with that. You will be able to easily tell whether or not your website is performing up to today’s page speed standards using PageSpeed Insights.
Another one of my favorites is Pingdom. Very similar to Google’s tool but it scores you in a different way using multiple layers of testing metrics. After Pingdom has scanned your page, you can see initially the “waterfall” view which shows you all of the resources it’s taking to make your web page work and their affect on the pages load time. The second panel “Performance Grade” gives you an “out of 100” grading system similar to PageSpeed Insights but grades you on many different site metrics. Like I said before, if you’re not a web developer, a lot of this information may be confusing to you, but you will recognize the grading systems and see areas that you can improve upon. Either way, Pingdom offers some other layers such as “Page Analysis” and “History” which is pretty cool because you can see if your page is increasing or decreasing in load time over a set date range.
Lastly, and these were in no particular order is GT Metrix. GT Metrix works very similarly to Pingdom but uses an A-F grading system as opposed to 1-100. Either way, all three options offer help sections, while limited in verbiage, that can get your developers started in the right direction working on your websites page speed. GT Metrix has been my mainstay for the past few years, it gives you two grades; a “Page Speed” grade and a “YSlow” grade that both scan your website at different layers of page speed interference.
While I tend to use all three, just to check for discrepancies, one is enough to give you some real time data on how your website is performing in today’s internet.
Web Solutions Services provides this service for free to any potential clients. In the blue box below click “Get Started” to find out how. We will then perform a full website audit and check for much more than just speed issues.
If not, now you can get some insight on your own into how your website is performing and present these findings to your current web staff for review. Everyone’s website should operate like a sports car, give your’s a tune up!