Web development Birmingham

Website speed tests: check the performance of your website

 With websites being technical products you may be wondering how  to go about testing their performance. Fortunately there are free independent tools out there that allow you to quickly test your website.

Here is a short video demonstrating some simple checks you can do yourself to test your website using pingdoms website speed test or Googles site speed test:

Websites referenced in this video:

Updating our website performance

It is worth adding that since we ran this test, we made some changes to our website including completely refreshing the whole home page. To show how useful these tests are in practice, here are the updated test results after the changes we made were put into place:

Google PageSpeed Test

updated page speed results

But why not aim for 100? In the case of our website there are some ways we have chosen to build the site that are at the sacrifice it's page speed score. For example "render blocking javascript" refers to scripts that run on a page that need to be loaded before the web browser can accurately render the page, so having these in place will slightly slow down a websites load speed. As some scripts (e.g. some associated with youtube video playback) are needed to remain render blocking it is challenging to increase this score further without a significant and time consuming change of approach.

Pingdom website speed test 

Here is a test showing how the old home page performed on a pingdom test last year. Take particular note of the page size and number of requests:

original website results from last June

With the new redesign in place, general optimisations resulted in a much improved page speed straight away:

before optimisations pingdom test

Then, taking into account some of the results from the PageSpeed tests we were able to drop this further to achieve the outcome that our "website is faster than 97% of all tested websites".

pingdom speed test result may 5th 

Market comparison

To put this into context. let's compare these scores against some big sites you are likely to know about:

Amazon:
Amazon speed test

Google:

Google speed test

Twitter:

Twitter performance test

Facebook:

Facebook performance test

These tests were run at the time of writing this article.

Why this matters

  1. Increase visitor retention. Ideally your website should load within one second, if it takes much longer then you risk your visitors leaving before your page even loads.
  2. Usability & user experience. If a user spends time waiting for your site to load then this is time where they could be exploring your content. 
  3. Accessibility. Many of the things you need to do to improve page speed also improve the general build quality of the site. A better build can mean that your site performs better on many of the W3C accessibility guidelines.
  4. Search engine performance. Google considers the page speed of your website compared to your competition in it's ranking mechanism (see video below).

Does your website load slowly?

If you have run these test and aren't happy with the results from your own website then please contact us, we may be able to help without you needing to replace your website. Or, if you are interesting in finding our more about what we do then explore our home page: Web development in Birmingham.

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