Have you ever wondered how fast your website speed should be? Well, it’s time to step up your game and speed up your website if it’s over three seconds.
Website optimisation is essential for improving the site speed, conversion rates, search rankings, user experience, etc. Think about it — why would users wait for lengthy loading times when other webpages load faster when other pages can load faster and, hence, be more responsive?
A slow page speed portrays your brand in a bad light. Slow website speed or a web page full of errors look unprofessional. Sometimes, a website appears presentable on a desktop, but how it performs in search engine results is equally critical and may seem like a disproportionate mess to mobile users.
Since you have less time to capture the users’ attention online, website traffic metrics, for both mobile and desktop devices, should be closely monitored, both on mobile and desktop devices; the first impression is the last.
So, let’s look at some speed checker tools you can use to improve your website’s performance!
What Slows Down Your Website?
Before you start digging into site speed tools, you need to know the root cause of the problem. Let’s start utilising multiple tools to comprehend how website loading works and identify potential speed issues and what determines its load time.
The An optimisation tool shed lights on the most common issues hindering the loading speed of a fast website as follows:
- Large images take a considerably long time to load, and using other tools may help identify these inefficiencies.
- Apps, widgets, plugins that can affect how fast your pages load and other third-party tools can hinder the site’s speed.
- Too much redirection is bound to slow down the page load time.
- Hosting issues caused by a cheap server.
- Theme and large files need time to load correctly.
- Excessive external resources like jQuery, Icon and font libraries.
- Broken links can also cause browsers attempting to pre-fetch assets to cause slight delays.
Tools To Measure Page Speed
To improve web page speed, you will have to start by measuring the loading time and understanding how your browser loads a web page; there are several testing tools worth looking at, but you might be wondering which one works best for you with many speed measuring tools.
Hence, we have listed some speed measuring tools to explain your website’s performance. Some are paid, while the rest are beneficial free website tools to help you get started.
1. Google PageSpeed Insights
Despite various speed tools, Google PageSpeed Insights remains the go-to option for beginners with its simple UI and compatibility with desktop and mobile. Since Google supports it, you can check whether the website performance is good enough for a high search ranking.
All you have to do is enter the URL of the website on the text bar and with just one click on “Analyse”. Then, PageSpeed Insights will test the content page and provide its performance report as a score between 0-100. A higher score depicts a faster website.
Besides the speed score, you will get a detailed list of factors slowing down the content, enabling you to check your website and implement changes as per suggestions. Additionally, you will get a separate score for the mobile version.
Overall, this performance testing tool by Google is a simple, beginner-friendly, and effective way to incorporate best practices and improve web page features.
2. Pingdom Website Speed Test
Albeit less informative than Google, Pingdom is another popular speed tool that’s been used to test page speed for a while. You do not need to log in to use this speed test when you need to measure your page loading speeds. Add your URL, which instantly shows the speed and analytics you must know to improve the website performance.
The free trial period allows a single test, while the paid version includes speed monitoring and alerting features.
Getting a registered account for the best website speed testing tool on GTmetrix will significantly enhance your page speed for a detailed insight into your site’s performance. GTmetrix provides in-depth information on the overall performance, speed, timings, and more factors relating to your website’s responsiveness.
Other than that, GTmetrix suggests solutions for your page’s problems, helping to make it both more responsive and user-friendly.
GTmetrix is a speed test tool designed to detail your website’s performance and how to improve it.
You can only test your website from the default location, but with a registered account, you can conduct tests from servers around the world without an account, i.e., Sydney, Australia. So, we recommend signing up and running the test from different locations, browsers, and connection types.
GTmetrix also offers website monitoring tools to constantly test the page load times of your website and notify website owners when it’s underperforming.
The Uptrends tool, trusted among web developers, allows you to run a site speed test from either of the ten locations available. You can check the speed and performance of your website on desktop and mobile devices.
Interestingly, you can pick the screen resolution while configuring your website on a desktop. This implies that Uptrends will check the website performance more comprehensively by choosing one of the four browsers — Chrome, PhantomJS, Firefox, and IE. Bandwidth throttling is another consideration it uses to check the website speed under various conditions.
Registering for a paid Uptrends Synthetic account will get alerts, basic monitors, message credits, and more.
5. Google Analytics — Site Speed Suggestions
Another tool by Google is a game-changer for websites with slow load time. Although it shows the PageSpeed Insights score, you can get a better idea of the user experience by showing the analytics differently.
Google Analytics lists the average page load time and shows the web pages that need immediate optimisation and the ones that perform the best. Knowing the highly visited web pages will help analyse the factors that may help improve the conversion rates of the rest.
How To Improve Page Speed?
As discussed earlier, there are many culprits behind a slow site speed. Accordingly, many methods can help you with website speed optimisation. Here are some common and easy ways to increase page speed.
1. Decrease Image File Size
A website must have images to catch the users’ attention and retain it. However, the load time gets affected when image files are too large. So, what do you do? Of course, removing images is not an option; you must find the perfect size for your image.
Compress the images to decrease the size and optimise other factors as well. You can use image optimisation tools like WP Smush to resize images without degrading the quality. Just install and activate the plugin and let it work its way to spruce up your page speed.
Other options for reducing image size are tinypng.com and imagecompressor.com.
2. Reduce Web Servers Response Time
The DNS consists of IP addresses and their respective hostnames. Every time a user enters a URL, the DNS server translates it into the IP address that locates the website. Looking for the exact DNS record is what consumes the most time.
Even a three-second delay can increase the viewer bounce rate by 32%, going up to 90% with a five-second delay. Hence, switching your DNS server can be a game-changer in terms of speed optimisation.
3. Decrease HTTP Requests
Loading a web page creates several requests. Every server contains many coinciding recommendations, each with a different response. Usually, a web page with many elements like images, scripts and stylesheets creates more HTTP requests, which ultimately takes longer to load.
Like testing the site speed is a prerequisite for decreasing the loading page time, tracking the number of server requests is essential for minimising it. However, these numbers may fluctuate if you are using third-party services. It would be best to opt for monitoring tools like Sematext Synthetics for an accurate measurement.
Another simple method for Google Chrome users is using the Developer Tools present in the browser itself. Right-click on the desired page and select “Inspect”. Then, choose the “Network” tab; a window will show the name, size, and time each file takes to load. The total number of HTTP requests will be mentioned in the bottom left corner.
4. Choose The Most Optimised Hosting Option
The hosting provider you choose is pivotal in the website’s load time and user experience. You can select from VPS hosting, Dedicated server, and shared hosting provider.
Beginners usually opt for cheaper alternatives, like a shared server. While this may be sufficient initially with low traffic, high-volume sites require performance-optimised providers and dedicated servers to improve their site load time.
Hosting is a page speed improvement worth making; slow servers often cannot process key requests like database lookups and server-side compiling.
This allows some scripts to load simultaneously, if possible, which helps in speeding up the loading process. WP Rocket plugin is popular for performing this web page optimisation step.
6. Minimise TTFB
Time to First Byte (TTFB) is the time to get the first byte from the server to the browser. Ideally, a TTFB should amount to anything less than 200 ms. While this is a secondary concern for a website, you can use Chrome’s Developer Tools to understand how long the site takes to send an HTTP request and get the response.
If slow TTFB is the main culprit behind your page speed improvement, you might want to check the network, page content, traffic, server configuration, and more.
7. Run A Compression Audit And Enable Compression
Similar to resizing images, other files on the web page also need to be compressed for faster page speed. A page over 100 KB is relatively slower, significantly lowering the performance.
You can use third-party tools like GIDNetwork to understand how compression will optimise your website. Just enter the URL and click “Check”. You will get all the required details of the uncompressed website and suggestions for potential compression.
Further, you must enable compression with any suitable application that locates replicated codes that can be temporarily replaced. For instance, you can use Gzip to reduce download time and enhance the overall speed of your website.
You will have extra tasks if your website does not have Gzip enabled. For an HTML site, you can enable Gzip on your .htaccess file. On the other hand, WordPress users can resort to plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket to allow the compression process.
8. Minify Files
Remember — fewer elements require fewer requests, resulting in faster page speed.
9. Enable Browser Caching
Entering a URL sends an HTTP request to the server; by enabling browser caching, this request is pulled from your browser, which will reduce HTTP requests. When the website loads, its elements get stored in your browser cache. So, the next time you enter the same URL, the browser does not make another request since the elements are readily available from the cache.
W3 Total Cache is an easy plugin to enable browser caching for sites that run on your WordPress site. Alternatively, HTML website users can add codes to the .htaccess file.
Leveraging browser caching is one of the easiest ways to prevent additional HTTP requests from taking up server resources and causing poor performance for the end-user.
10. Content Delivery Network
A content delivery network, a CDN, delivers your content from optimised servers worldwide. You are loading assets like Images, CSS and JS files from the closest geographical server to your website viewers.
Often, a CDN is cost-effective and easy to integrate using DNS or a custom string before your assets.
Tools To Improve Page Speed
Now, you are well-versed with the different tools to run a speed test on your page and identify the various reasons behind lagging load times. So, what next?
Image Optimisation Tools
Besides resizing images on Photoshop, Paint and other editing software, you can use the tools below to ensure your images are optimised. Optimising images can reduce files by up to 80% whilst losing very little quality, depending on whether you use lossy or lossless compression.
Drag and drop images to reduce their size without any visual difference. With the simple process of “quantisation”, which implies combining similar colours, a complex 24-bit PNG file can be reduced to an 8-bit image. TinyPNG saves bandwidth and decreases loading page time.
Image compression may be seen as a reduction in quality, but often, image compression loses very little image quality but reduces the file size significantly.
Kraken.io allows bulk compression of images by quantisation and eliminating junk. You can choose from various modes of compression — lossy, lossless, and expert.
3. PageSpeed Insights Tool
You can check the “Optimise Image” section for “See Optimised Content” links. Click on each link and use it on your website’s PageSpeed Insights Tool. Talk about spoon-feeding!
Mobile Optimisation Tools
Nowadays, cell phones are the most common devices used for browsing the internet. Thus, ensuring smooth page speed and compatibility on mobiles is important. Most of the time, elements like heavy images, texts, and pop-ups increase the load times on such devices.
You can check the number of mobile users of your website on Google Analytics to decide whether mobile optimisation is worth it. Some tools for enhancing page speed on mobile devices are Google Analytics, Mobile-Friendly Test by Google, Google Search Console, WebPageTest, etc.
CSS Sprite Tools
You can combine the images and icons using CSS Sprite to make your website load faster. This saves the time required to make multiple HTTP requests. Although combining images of various dimensions is quite time-consuming, tools like SpritePad and SpriteCow turn it into a breeze.
UX Optimisation Tools
A great user experience is crucial to make your viewers enjoy and stick to the site and eventually boost the conversion rate.
UX tools will help you make your website more human-centric. Ultimately, a human will read the content, see the images, make a purchase, and increase your revenue. So, optimising your website according to users’ needs makes sense.
You must check out popular UX optimisation tools: Hotjar, TryMyUI, and UsabilityHub.
We have already discussed how minifying files can enhance load speed by eliminating extra whitespace. The resulting file size is condensed and hard to read but easy to load.
All-in-One Solution — sitecentre®
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