How to Test the Speed of Your Site

website speedNow I could simply take credit for this great information and call it my own but that wouldn’t be ethical and it would be a disservice to the true source. So I’ll come clean.

I received an email from Erica Stone this morning, maybe you did too as she has quite an extensive following especially for Amazon fans. She recommended a couple products as you might expect but also gave some great advice about checking the load speed of your site.

You’ve most likely heard that Google likes fast loading sites and you know so does the average visitor. Personally if the pages of a site take too long to load I’ve been known not to wait and simply click away. That may not be fair to the website owner but when it comes to scanning the net I’m not very patient.

Studies have found that I’m not alone. Google’s own research states that the median page load time of is 2.45 seconds, doesn’t seem long at all does it, but they also reported that the mean load time was roughly 6.4 seconds. Load time for mobile devices is slightly slower.

So how do you know how fast the pages on your site load?

Good question. We’ll start with the tool I use because well first it’s free, and second it can tell you so much about the actions of your visitors.

Google Analytics

To access log into Analytics with your standard Google account, it’s the same as your Google+ or Gmail account. Find the site you wish to check if you have more than one and click on All Web Data.

Then click Behavior – Site Speed – Overview along the left panel.
I’m a bit surprised that the Avg. Page Load Time for my site, the one you’re reading, is 8.75 seconds. Possibly a tad slow considering I’m also using the plugins recommended by Erica and many others.

As a side note:
While you’re there check out the data listed under Behavior – Site Content – All Pages, it’s very useful information.

[wpsr_socialbts]

Now for the free tools and the free WordPress plugins that Erica mentioned what great finds! –

Pingdom – http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/

Results come through rapidly here and this site reported that my site had a grade of 78 out of 100, a page load time of 4.19 seconds, and was faster than 38% of all tested websites. How about that!

There is a ton a data here that is somewhat Greek to me but what I did find is that the items that are truly slowing my site down are the promotion ads I have listed in the sidebars, not my actual site content.

GTMetrixhttp://gtmetrix.com/

Now for test #3 – This site reported that my site had a Page Speed Grade of 88% which ranked a B and a page load time of 3.15 seconds. When I have a couple minutes there appears to be plenty of information and tips here to review in order to improve the speed of my site it has a Compare to another URL feature that sounds intriguing.

WP Smush.it

I use this plugin as it is very highly rated and works to reduce image files sizes by stripping meta data and optimizing JPEGS and removing unused colors. The plugin does this automatically on new images loaded after install and you can manually process the image files for those already installed on your site.

There is a bulk Smush.it action if your images have never been reduced and I noticed when mine were smushed they were reduced in size from 4% to 15%, so that must help some.

W3 Total Cache

This plugin works to streamline your site’s cache and improve its overall performance and loading speed. There is a paid version but I was using the free version as I really don’t understand a lot of the technical aspects.

I deactivated the plugin recently though because it was playing havoc with my fonts and changed the general look and layout of my site. I have no idea why and simply add this note as a warning for you.

When you run the tests on your site, I’d be quite interested in how they rank. It only takes a moment to check and who knows you may be able to perk up your site.

how fast is your site

 

 

 

 

Kindly,
Marilyn T

Comments

  1. Thank you! I’ve actually been needing this type of thing. My site seems to be responding slower than usual, so I’ll have to run through these tests. Maybe I need to optimize the site, or maybe it is time to switch to a new hosting service.

    Great timing for me on this post!

    Michael

    • So glad it was timely and useful Michael!

      BTW – if you’re thinking of changing hosts I’ve used both Host Gator and iPage. It seems not many have heard of iPage but I’ve had very few problems and they great support. If you decide to give them a go there’s a link on my site you can use if you don’t mind. Up to you.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Interesting info Marilyn. Site speed is something I just don’t think about. Don’t really know why I don’t. For me, if I have the time, I might wait it out. If it’s something I really want to know, I’ll wait until the page loads.

    With the recent glitches at Hostgator and BlueHost along with the crazy weather we’ve been having, I try to be more understanding of how things are sometimes slower on the net than I’d like. Or perhaps it’s s sign of getting older. I’m just not in hurry. LOL

    • Ah yes, you’re far more patient than I am when it comes to waiting for a site to connect. If it takes too long I figure it will simply time out or such.

  3. Oh yes, I am a HUGE supporter of checking the speed, often. Especially, each time a widget or plugin is added. GTMetrix is awesome and one I definitely use often. Have you used HOBO? I Google it, it is a way to check for tech issues often seen.

    I have used the Bing and Google Webmaster’s Structured Tool as well. Excellent article and one that is really helpful to get crawled by Google. I do use W3 Total Cache, I hear it can act funny with some of the themes, mine it works well so far. I had to disable the minify cache, but otherwise all works well. Great article again!

    • Hello Lina,

      GTMetrix is indeed pretty awesome as I spent far too much time there yesterday. I’ll need to check out HOBO haven’t heard of it before.

  4. Very interesting. I checked one of my niche’s and it came in at 4.70 seconds. Seems pretty fast to me. I tend to give sites about 10 seconds before moving on.

    • 4.7 would seem pretty fast to me as wellMisty, but funny as it sounds 10 seconds is probably longer than I’d wait unless I really wanted to see the site.

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