The Best Way To Measure Page Speed And Performance In 2019

Friday, March 8th, 2019

With the New Year well underway it’s a good time to evaluate your website performance. For 2019 this will mean taking a good look at page speed – the faster the better.

The rise in mobile search and data speeds over the past few years has led to an need for page load speeds to meet the increasingly impatient needs of fast-paced consumers who simply can’t be bothered waiting for a website to load.  

Google has been quick to recognise the importance of page speed and has for some time been using page speed as a ranking factor inline with its continuing desire to promote a better overall user experience.

What Is Page Speed?

Not to be confused with ‘site speed’ (the combination of a selection of different page’s speeds), the term ‘page speed’ commonly refers to page load times or the time it takes to fully display a specific page’s content.

Page speed takes into account the time it takes for users to see a visual response from their initial page request (click) up to how long it takes to load the entire page contents and enable interaction features.

Why Does Page Speed Matter?

Research has shown that over 53% of people will leave your website if a page takes longer than 3 second to load. Anything over 10 seconds and next to nobody is hanging around for that. Think about this for a minute, does anyone like waiting for anything these days? Are you losing potential sales because your website is taking too long to load? 

Page speed is a big one when it comes to providing a positive user experience, the fact is slow page speeds are going to mean higher bounce rates and this is going to affect conversions – if your site visitors can’t get the information or response they need, fast, then they will quickly move on. 

Measuring Page Speeds

Unfortunately not all page speed measurement tools are going to give you accurate results, the reason being Google uses a mix of real-life field data and “lab test” data to determine its page speed figures.

This means while an online speed test (lab test) run from your computer may indicate your site is quite fast, Google may still determine it to be slow based on actual real life user experiences as they will take into account the type of browser used (Internet Explorer, Safari etc), the device used and even geographical location.

For example; if a site visitor is using an old out of date mobile phone accessing your website using questionable 3G data service in the middle of the Coromandel Forest Park, this will result in slow page speed recordings. How do you fix that? The answer is you can’t – it is never going to be possible to upgrade mobile services around the world or buy everyone a new phone, so what can you do?

Best Page Speed Tools

The good news is Google provide some excellent tools to help you analyse your website performance, firstly by understanding more about your users and secondly showing you where improvements are needed.

The PageSpeed Insights tool uses a combination of the ‘Chrome User Experience Report’ for real-world data and lab test software ‘Lighthouse’ to analyse your page speed. Simply enter a URL and hit “Analyse” and you will be presented with a detailed report.

The PageSpeed Insights report will give you a good rundown of the performance of each page, both on mobile and desktop devices, while also providing some suggestions on areas that need attention. A score of 85 or higher per page is your goal here, but any improvements are going to be of value.

4 Tips For Optimising Page Speed

These are 4 of the more common suggestions you are likely to encounter when looking at reducing page load speeds.

  1. Minimise Redirects. Avoid using redirects if possible, the more redirections you have the longer it takes your user to get to the page they want.
  2. Properly Size Images. Large images or lots of them are going to take longer to load, think about file size, type and compression options.
  3. Enable Text Compression. Minimising the byte size of network responses that include text content means less bytes to download which equals faster page loads.
  4. Minify Bulky Code. Cleaning up your code (CCS, Javascript and HTML etc) can make a big difference, the less unnecessary extras the easier it is for the browser to read.

Analysing page speed is a great start to improving website performance, but it is just the beginning! Take a look here for more tips on optimising your website for Google Search and improving the user experience. Or talk to a professional online marketing specialist in New Zealand.

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Mark started working in the Internet industry in 1994. He went on to startup New Zealand Tourism Online, Avatar and other companies. Mark enjoys meeting with clients and strategising online marketing solutions.

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