The time it takes a website to load is a critical statistic every website owner must understand. Google and
other search engines have all made clear just how much a difference loading even 0.1 seconds does to a website, especially for eCommerce websites. A longer loading time and you will find yourself with:
- Lower rankings on Google and search engines
- Higher bounce and exit rates
- Shorter time on site
- Less conversions
- Less ad revenue
The list could go on. For this reason, trying to find ways to make a website quicker is always on an owner’s mind. However, before this, you first need to understand just how quick a website is. There are many different tools you can use to measure the speed of a website, and, truthfully, there is no right or wrong way to measure it.
Taking this into consideration, I recently looked into the top ways of measuring website speed, so you can make a judgement as to what tool, if all, you would use.
GT Metrix is one of the most famous ways of measuring a website’s performance, and generally one of the best tools. What GT Metrix can offer is a time to first byte (TTB), total loading time, average loading time, whilst providing a waterfall and complete list of areas of improvements.
What is particularly useful for GT Metrix is that they offer Ad blocking plus. Many websites use ad networks to monetize their websites – to do this, ads use third party scripts to add adverts onto a website, which ultimately makes websites load slowly. If you enable ad blocker, you can see how your website loads without any of the third party scripts loading, helping you see where you can effectively improve the performance (unless you change ad networks).
You can export information, track data, use different locations (to see if a content delivery network would make a difference). All in all, GT Metrix is my go to place or website speed measuring.
The next best tool I use is Pingdom speed tools. This can be split into two areas: up time and page speed.
The up time looks at the server response time, and records anytime that the server is down, whilst the page speed looks at the loading time for a website, and shows the code that is loaded too.
In general, it is a little simpler in it’s information than GT Metrix. However, this one will come down to preference. Pingdom presents the data it has in an easier to read format, which might suit some people who are not as technically minded as to understand the likes of YSlow and more from GT Metrix.
Google PageSpeed (PS) Insights
Google has it’s own tool, which monitors the mobile and desktop performance of a website. This is particularly useful, as it shows you a numerical value from 1-100 as to how good your website’s performance is.
However, I have found that Google PS to not be the most useful. Some of my websites score highly on PS, whilst they feel very slow to load from a web user’s perspective, and others have poor PS scores but perceptibly feel faster to browse. For this reason, I do not use PS as a measuring tool. It is more important about how fast a website feels to load, rather than how long it takes to completely load a website. This is why time to interactive (TTI) is what you should care about most with your website’s load time.