We all know that the speed of a website is one of the most important factors for successful conversion rates. Faster loading websites benefit from higher SEO rankings, which directly affects higher conversion rates, overall user experience, engagement and low bounce rates.
Factors impacting the speed of a website
The speed of a website depends on multiple factors. Firstly, ensure that the website is hosted on a fast dedicated server that is optimized to serve webpages quickly. Sever-side data compression techniques must be used to reduce the page loading time. The caching of the website must be configured properly and CDNs must be enabled. A CDN can cache different elements of a website in a user’s geographical location. This helps in reducing the round trip time, as the content does not have to go back to the original server. It is also important to prioritize which content loads first, so that the user experience is not impacted. Latency is another critical factor. High latency can lead to poor webpage loading time, and can significantly affect the speed of a website.
Other useful techniques include reducing the number of HTTP requests that a webpage makes; reducing the number of large images and cleaning up and streamlining code and reducing URL redirects.
There are a huge number of website speed test tools, website testing tools and website performance tools that can help companies understand the key issues with respect to their website loading time.
Speed Test Tools
On the Internet, there are a huge number of free and paid free website test tools that help companies analyze their website loading time by running page speed tests. These tools can be used to check website speed and performance. These tools can be used to understand how your website is experienced by different mobile or desktop users. You can also use on page analysis tools or website speed test tools to identify the key performance bottlenecks for your website, and take relevant actions.
WebPageTest is a must have tool, and offers users the choice of over 40 regions or locations and over 20 browsers. If one clicks on page speed, then the tool suggests a grade as well as recommended changes in an order of importance to improve website speed. Companies also have the option of selecting a country to run their tests. This allows them to measure their website’s performance from different regions in the world.
Pros of WebPageTest
- One of the oldest and free website performance testing tools
- Extremely useful in recognizing and detecting slow-loading assets
- Allows companies to run multiple tests at the same time
Cons of WebPageTest
- Difficult to learn
- An outdated interface compared to modern tools
- Queue based system for popular locations
Link to tool: WebPageTest
Pingdom is another extremely popular tool that offers good analytics. The tool allows companies to measure and analyze different parts of a webpage such as load time or page size. As the results are saved, it allows firms to measure how results change over a period of time.
Pros of Pingdom test
- Extremely easy to use tool for non-technical users
- Easy to understand charts and reports
- Fast results
Cons of Pingdom test
- Limited choice in number of locations and browsers
- Less number of features compared to other free tools
Link to tool: Pingdom
#3 Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights grades your website on a scale of 1 – 100. The higher the number the better optimized your site is. Anything above an 85 indicates that your website is performing well. PageSpeed gives you reports for both the desktop and mobile versions of your site. It also recommends what improvements you should make next. A Google web performance test is said to be the ultimate standard for quality, as Google is the world’s most popular search engine.
Pros of Google PageSpeed Insights
- Extremely useful for Google compliant search recommendations
- Ability to offer both desktop and mobile based testing
- User friendly interface
Cons of Google PageSpeed Insights
- Non-technical users may find the interface challenging to use
- Inability to choose the location
Link to tool: Google PageSpeed Insights
GTmetrix is an extremely useful tool as it can give a detailed breakup into different metrics such as page speed and loading time. It also assigns every website a grade, which allows companies to test the performance of their website with respect to different parameters.
Pros of GTmetrix
- Ability to quickly identify key areas of improvement for a website
- Useful features such as Speed Visualization that helps developers track loading time per second and the obstacles that are a hindrance
Cons of GTmetrix
- Different results when run at different times
- Limited number of server locations
Link to tool: GTmetrix
#5 Website Test
WebsiteTest enables companies to test their website speed from different locations or regions around the globe using real devices, browsers and connections. Companies have the option of entering multiple URLs and comparing them against each other or standard industry pages. The tool is extremely easy to use and the results are extremely simple for companies to comprehend and execute.
Link to tool: WebsiteTest
Pros of WebsiteTest
- Ability to check how your website compares to competitors
- Understand what factors need to be considered to improve page loading time
Cons of WebsiteTest
- Lesser number of features when compared to competitors
DareBoost has a huge number of checkpoints – close to 100 different factors, that help companies analyze their website for speed. There is an option of testing a website for mobile devices as well as the desktop. Reports are also easy to use with clear instructions on the action to be taken.
Pros of DareBoost
- Ability to identify key issues of underperformance of website
- Ability to track multiple pages at the same time
Cons of DareBoost
- Price high when compared to other comparable competitors
- Relatively less number of customizable features
Link to tool: DareBoost
#7 Google Chrome DevTools
Another great free tool from Google. It’s extremely simple to use and you can launch it anytime in your Chrome browser. They’ve recently added an aggregated details panel into the waterfall timeline. This allows you to more easily see what is costing you the most time, and you can then break it down by domains, sub-domains, etc. We recommend this for beginners because it’s so easy to use and it gets the job done.
Pros of Google Chrome DevTools
- As it is integrated with the browser, it helps enterprises check how different elements of a webpage load
- Ability to check the responsiveness of a webpage according to different network combinations and page speeds
Cons of Google Chrome DevTools
- Has steep learning curve and can be difficult to understand for non-technical people
- Too complex to learn for a traditional developer
Link to tool: Google Chrome DevTools
Since mobile is taking over, optimizing your mobile web into a fast and responsive website is a key factor. Another way to simulate a speed test on a mobile device is to use Chrome developer tools in device mode. To enter device mode click on the small phone icon in Chrome DevTools or you can press Ctrl + Shift + M (Cmd + Shift + M). You can then choose what device you want to emulate, the orientation, and even resolution. You can also change the network throttling to see how your website actually would render on say a regular 2G or 4G connection.
This little insight helps you see how well your mobile web does in bad connection conditions. Getting an A on this test will surely reduce the bounce rate a lot. Web speed and optimal mobile browsing experience are everything these days – don’t wait too long to optimize too late.
Other useful tools and techniques that you must consider
Google Analytics: One of the best tools to consider for providing statistics and analytics tools for your website. This is extremely useful for analyzing traffic for your website and can be used extensively for SEO or marketing purposes.
Heat Mapping: A heatmap for a website shows a visual representation of how viewers go through every section on your website. Using heatmaps, you can for example, determine the key areas where visitors are not visiting on a website. This can be then mapped with website analytics data to check how people interact or land on a website. Using these insights, an organization can decide to go for a website redesign.
Behavior analytics tools: By using behavior analytics tools, you can go beyond traditional analytics tools and find out where individual users are getting dropped off on a webpage and how users are interacting with different elements and sections.
Readability Tests: Readability tests allow companies to check the ease of reading for a given webpage. There are readability tools available that help companies to easily check the readability. A better readability score can result into better traffic, as content is easy to read.
Besides these useful tools, there are other important tools such as website feedback tools, usability testing tools, SEO reporting tools, backlink analysis tools, competitive analysis tools and mobile testing tools.
Understanding the different parameters which affect your website performance is critical in providing the best possible experience to end users.
With over 17 years of experience, GlobalDots has an unparalleled knowledge of today’s leading web technologies. Our team knows exactly what a business needs to do to succeed in providing the best online presence. We can analyze your needs and challenges to provide you with a bespoke recommendation about which services you can benefit from.
Contact us to take this step with true experts beside you. Together, we can scale the bar for excellence and create a better experience for your customers