Having a fast website is essential in today’s online environment. If your website doesn’t load fast you run the risk of visitors abandoning your site resulting in a high bounce rate and low conversions. But you might be asking yourself “how fast is my website” and what should I benchmark my speed results against?
Well, in this post, we’re going to go over what you need to know in terms of what you should be looking for when running a speed test, what sort of benchmarks you should be looking at, and ways to speed up your website.
Performing a Speed Test
The easiest way to determine how fast your website is, is to perform a speed test. There are a variety of speed test tools available online and they each have their pros and cons. Check out this list of the top 15 speed test tools if you would like to see what’s available. Otherwise, we recommend using one or more of the following four main tools:
Each tool provides different advantages. For example, KeyCDN’s speed test tool allows you to test your site’s speed from multiple locations and returns a simple overview of which assets are taking longest to load. Google Insights offers details and recommendations for optimizing both the desktop and mobile versions of your site. Pingdom provides some additional information such as requests by content type, size by content type, etc. Lastly, Web Page Test provides results on performance metrics which the other tools do not.
As an example, we’ll run our main site through both the KeyCDN speed test tool and Web Page Test.
KeyCDN Speed Test Tool results:
Web Page Test results:
When running your speed test the first thing most users look at is the overall load time. Sure that’s a good indicator of how long it takes for your site to load but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Look for assets that are taking longer to load than most and then dig into the details of those assets to figure out why. Furthermore, we’ve identified 14 important performance metrics you should be analyzing.
Benchmarking Your Website
The average page load time can vary depending on the industry you’re in. For example, a simple blog that loads mainly static content can load much faster than a large website which hosts thousands of videos. Therefore, it’s important to identify which category your site falls into.
However, as a general rule, it is recommended that your site loads in under 2 seconds.
2 seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second. – Maile Ohye, from Google
As mobile devices are becoming more and more prominent, Google also strongly encourages web developers to prioritize mobile site load times. Below is image displaying the percentage increase in bounce rate as the page load time increases.
Obviously, the faster a page loads the better. Although there will always be some latency, this is inevitable. When benchmarking your site against others in the industry, do a couple of keywords searches in Google that relate to your niche and collect the URLs of the top 10 websites. Then, run a speed test against all of these sites and compare them to your own. Web Page Test has a handy tool called Visual Comparison that you can use for this.
Ways to Speed Up Your Website
We’ve talked about speeding up websites many times in both our support and blog articles. There are several ways to achieve a faster loading site with each method ranging in complexity and time required. Additionally, if you’re using a particular CMS, there are likely ways to improve its performance which you may not find in general performance tune-up guides. In the interest of providing a comprehensive guide to ways you can speed up your website, links are included below to comprehensive performance articles.
General Performance Guides
- 18 Tips for Website Performance Optimization
- Front End Optimization – 9 Tips to Improve Web Performance
- Analyzing HTTPS Performance Overhead
CMS Performance Guides
- 18 Tips on How to Speed Up WordPress
- 13 Tips to Speed Up Magento Performance
- 11 Tips to Speed Up Drupal Performance
- 10 Tips to Speed Up Joomla Performance
- What Affects CMS Performance?
Other Performance Guides
- 18 Quick Tips for Improving AngularJS Performance
- Improving PHP Performance for Web Applications
- Latency Optimization – Tips for Optimal Performance
The next time you’re trying to answer the questions “how fast is my website” consider using one of the four speed test tools mentioned above. Once you’ve received your speed test results, be sure to analyze your assets and see which ones take to longest to load. If your overall page load time is more than you would like it to be, check out our performance improvement guides above to help you speed up your website.