Waiting, Waiting, Waiting for My Page to Load
I found out something very disturbing. My page loads really slowly. I don’t mean a little bit slowly, I mean REALLY slowly. In fact, Alexa.com tells me that 95% of sites load faster than mine. Scary!!
This is not great news when page load speed is one of the things that Google looks at when ranking your page. With further investigation, although this is true, it appears not to be very relevant. Google's own blog post said – ‘While site speed is a new signal, it doesn't carry as much weight as the relevance of a page. Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com at this point.' That was on May 4th, 2011.
With that concern out of the way, and probably the more important thing to consider anyway, is the enjoyment people have when visiting my website. The last thing I want is people getting bored and leaving!!
There are a lot of websites and tools out there where I could check my site load speed. The all work pretty much the same. You put in your URL and they run a few tests on your website. You then get a whole page of information – most of which I did not know how to decipher.
I started with the website – https://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/
Do you see that? – it took a whole minute to load in New York. It also says that my site is slower than 97% of tested websites.
I then tried the load time from Amsterdam, as you can choose 3 different locations to test. It came back better – the load time 7.91 seconds, but still slower than 81% of tested sites.
I then moved onto GTMetrix.
It said my page load time was 7.81s, similar to my second test on Pingdom.
The last one I looked at was BrowserMob. (Well, I looked at about 20, but this is the last one I am sharing here.)
Again, creeping up to the 8 second mark.
You may have noticed under the initial information on each page, there are a series of bar graphs. These let you know how long various aspects of your site take to load. You use this information as a guide on what changes to make to your site to help it load faster.
So then, the next obvious question is – ‘How long should a site take to load?’
‘The not so complete consensus on the internet is that a web page needs to load in around 4 seconds or less before you can start to lose visitors. Some visitors will sit and wait no matter how long the site takes to load, but on average if your pages are climbing past that 4 second mark then your visitors could be getting impatient.' https://www.moongrabber.com/web-design/how-fast-does-your-site-load
As you can see, I am in serious trouble. My pages are taking almost double that.
Google has created a tool to help people with this called Page Speed. I am not going into too much detail about it here as I am going to write a whole blog post on it, as it is a very worthwhile tool to use. It gives you, in order of priority, steps to take to speed up your site. The irony is – even though it is called Page Speed, Google says – The Page Speed Score does not measure the time it takes for a page to load.
This week I am going to look at all the factors that combine to make a site slow or fast. I will then feedback to you what I discover.
Until then, I would love to hear how you are getting on with testing your own sites (I know you won't be able to resist). While you are doing that, keep this in mind.
Geoff Kenyon ran various tests (which you can read in more depth at SeoMoz) and came up with the following findings:
- If your site loads in 5 seconds it is faster than approximately 25% of the web
- If your site loads in 2.9 seconds it is faster than approximately 50% of the web
- If your site loads in 1.7 seconds it is faster than approximately 75% of the web
- If your site loads in 0.8 seconds it is faster than approximately 94% of the web