Is my website too slow? How to check your page speed – Part 1
Chances are, your site is probably slower than average but is your website too slow? A large percentage of sites on the internet are riddled with problems that are causing their sites to under perform. The good news is you are not the only one and there are some simple steps you can take to improve your site. If you are trying to rank well in search engines such as Google or Bing, improving your site page speed and performance can also have a huge impact on your search result rankings. We are going to focus on ways to address these things on a WordPress site but the same tests can be performed on any platform.
What is the definition of page speed or page load time?
Page speed or page load time is critical to your site’s success and is probably the number one issue with most sites. With a rapidly increasing percentage of sites being accessed by mobile devices over data networks, how long your page is can affect how long it takes your site to load. Think about all the times you are waiting for a site to load and just give up — your website visitors are no different.
How fast should your website be? Well Google aims for page load times to be a half a second over a typical high-speed internet connection, which is like the blink of an eye. This has changed from just a few years ago where they were aiming for 5 second page load times. It just shows you how much standards can change in a short period of time due to advancement in technology.
But you are not Google so what should you aim for, what’s realistic? That depends on what kind of site you have, who your users are, and how those users access your site — whether via mobile devices or on a desktop computer. Either way, 2 seconds is a good goal to strive for. Some pages might load quicker or slower than others due to the content of the page. Simply put, your goal is for the page to load before someone leaves your site due to lengthy load times. If your page load time is 5 seconds that is too long.
How to test your page speed and performance
There are lots of online tools available to test page speed and performance, but I really like https://www.webpagetest.org. This gives you a comprehensive report and grade for your site’s overall performance.
There is also Google Insights which not only provides a grade for your site but also gives recommendations on what you can do to help in the areas you have a poor grade.
There are many factors that cause a page to load slow — In Part 2 we will explore a few of those factors and provide some solutions to help improve site performance.