There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to visit a website only to be greeted by pages and images that take forever to load. In this day and age, even the slightest delay can send users back to the search page to find another website with the information they seek.
Website speed is important when trying to retain visitors — so, if you have a hunch that your site is lagging, it might be time to test and improve its speed.
How to Test Website Speed
How do you test website speed? How does it impact your website? Is there a way to make your site faster for users? These are just a few questions you might have as a site owner.
Before we dive into the options, let’s look at what website speed means and why it matters.
What is website speed?
Website speed is how quickly your website loads for users. This is based on an average of multiple page speeds — page speed, or page load time, refers to how long it takes for the elements like text and images on a page to fully load.
These days, website visitors are often turned off by even the slightest delay — in fact, research has shown that someone is likely to click away from your site if it takes more than 400 milliseconds — a literal blink of an eye — to load.
Why does website speed matter?
As we mentioned, site speed can quickly determine whether a user sticks around on your website or not. But it’s actually even more important than that.
Search engines, particularly Google, place heavy importance on site speed when determining which websites to show at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
Sorry, but you just can’t be number one if your site is moving too slow! Website speed optimization helps increase search engine optimization, or SEO) — so, it shouldn’t be ignored.
How to Improve Website Speed
Once you’ve determined your website speed for both desktop and mobile, you’ll probably begin to wonder how to make your site faster and more efficient.
This is the process of website optimization, which can help increase your rankings in the SERP, retain audiences for longer, secure more leads and even boost sales. If you’re ready to start optimizing your website speed, check out HubSpot’s free course on website optimization to understand website optimization from the ground up and learn how to make your website the best it can possibly be.
Website Speed Test Tools (and Website Speed Test for Mobile)
You might be wondering how to test your website speed — luckily, there are many website speed test tools, as well as website speed tests for mobile, to help.
1. Google PageSpeed Insights
It makes sense that if you’re trying to boost website speed and, by extension, SEO that you’d turn to a search engine for insight. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a website speed testing tool that scores your site speed on a range from 0 to 100 — the higher the score, the better.
Google PageSpeed Insights will generate tests for both desktop and mobile, too, followed by suggestions to improve your speed score. While there’s a lot of helpful information with this tool, it’s best for experts and developers rather than beginners.
Like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom ranks your website speed from 0 to 100, but this tool is known to be easier to navigate and better for beginners. You can test based on location, and it will tell you your score, page load time, page size, and total requests as well as offer suggestions for improving speed.
Pingdom offers more detailed analyses, too, to help anyone — from novice to expert — troubleshoot problems and make improvements quickly.
GTMetrix is ideal for beginners. Log in if you want to perform multiple tests across various browsers, locations, and connections, and your free account will save your previous 20 tests and associated data.
Compare data across different tests and download the generated waterfall charts to help you find anything that’s slowing down your website.
Created by a Google Chrome engineer, WebPageTest is a free site speed testing tool with more advanced data and insights than many other free tools offer (although there’s a simple test option if you’re looking for something more straightforward).
Test your website speed across various browsers, devices, and locations, and the tool will even generate reports and insights to identify issues and improve site speed.
Sematext is a unique DevOps tool that combines all aspects of performance monitoring. In addition to providing real-time alerts and debugging solutions, support for all major frameworks, and end-to-end visibility and observability, it providesSematext Synthetics.
With this feature, you can test website speed across multiple locations and different devices. You can also track Core Web Vitals, among other metrics, and benchmark your site's performance against competitors.
Test your website for free across various browsers, locations, and devices with Uptrends. It’s as easy as typing in your domain and choosing one of 11 locations. Then, watch your site speed as you flip between desktop, mobile, and various browsers.
From there, Uptrends will show you your Google PageSpeed score, load time, and requests as well as provide suggestions for performance improvements.
DareBoost offers website speed tests and monitoring services to help you maintain or improve website speeds. The tool analyzes more than 80 types of data, meaning you’ll be able to quickly identify weak spots for improvement. The design is user-friendly and ideal for providing easy-to-digest reports.
8. New Relic
If you’re willing to financially invest in improving your site speed, New Relic is a helpful tool that offers many details about how your website is performing. The tool can do speed tests for mobile and show you response times for your plugins and themes.
New Relic also offers automatic notifications when website speed drops, so you can investigate further and resolve the issue faster.
9. Google Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool
It’s more important than ever to have a mobile-compatible, responsive, and fast website. Google’s mobile site speed testing tool analyzes your mobile site speed, quickly notifies you of load times, and offers recommendations to increase speed on mobile devices.
Type in your domain so Google can tell you your site speed in just seconds — change the location and connection (it defaults to 4G) for more details. As you scroll through the report, Google offers several tips for optimizing your website to improve conversion rates and sales, too.
Improve Your Website Speed
Website speed is more than just a possible nuisance to your audience. A slow website can hurt SEO, leading to lower search rankings, fewer clicks, less leads, and a decrease in sales. By taking the time to test and improve your website speed, you’re also investing in the overall well-being of your website.
Originally published Dec 31, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated August 09 2021